* University/ Institute: Purdue University, West Lafayette
* Nationality: China
My Thoughts on Cross-Strait Relations after Studying in Taiwan for a Month
For a full-time college student, it is fair to say that I travel often. My passports usually get stamped a few times a year, but visiting my best friend Shawn’s home province Taiwan had always been wishful thinking up until this summer. Whether you like the term Taiwan Province, or you would prefer making a distinction between “People’s Republic of China” and Taiwan (Republic of China)”, we will probably have to settle with agreeing to disagree.
Apart from an epic summer shuffling every night, I actually went to Taipei to study Cross-Strait Relations at National Chengchi University (NCCU) – one of Purdue’s sister schools in Taiwan. NCCU excelled in dazzling visiting students with interdisciplinary and opposing views on the seemingly revived cross-strait relations. This perfectly rendered the complications and contentions embedded in the question: if Taiwan should reunify with mainland China.
First, a bit of propaganda from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). According to Dr. Joseph Wu, former Director of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the US (a de facto Ambassador to the US), 10% of residents in Taiwan want immediate reunification, 20% prefer seeking independence, and 70% would like to maintain the status quo with mainland, as well as leaving the options up to future generations. Dr. Wu also explained that the bulk of the population hesitates to choose now, because Anti-secession Law passed by Beijing’s congress authorized the People’s Liberation Army to reunify Taiwan by force upon declaration of independence, and also because they value Taiwan’s current democratic political system.
Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) – current ruling party of Taiwan – believes that the Republic of China founded in 1911 by the party lives on in Taiwan and Fujian Provinces, notwithstanding loosing mainland China to the Communist Party in the civil war and the consequential establishment of People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. According to Dr. Chang, a former think-tank member for the Kuomigtang President Lee Teng-hui, elderly members of Kuomintang and its veterans make up the majority of population in Taiwan that wishes to see immediate reunification of mainland China and Taiwan. Those educated middle class and younger generations are mostly indecisive, while supporters of DPP are pro-independent.
There is no doubt on whether reunification will bring Taiwan prosperity, but resistance arises because Taiwan will not trade a transparent and democratic political system for just more money. Indecision emerges because breaking the status quo could invite a bitter war. Across the strait, Beijing would not promise to refrain from taking over Taiwan (R.O.C.) by force, because it deems itself as the successor of Republic of China, and as the sole legal representation of China. Taiwan, being a former province of ROC should be automatically translated into a province of PRC. Things seem to be in a deadlock, and brinksmanship is prevailing.
Political conflicts arise because people care about things. The only way to unravel the situation is to promote convergence on what we value. Reunifications always trumped the uproars of secessionists. China had seen it all in the past 5000 years. Things will only get straightened out with sincere conversations. Where future cross strait relations might hold is not even a question. Real question remains as how to facilitate the process of mutual understanding and appreciation after more than half century of separation and hostility.
British Simon refuses to do the Peace sign in the Yankee way.
Do the peace sign on the top of the hill near Taiwan's northeastern coastline.