Pomfret's China

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Will the Communists Call President Ma "Mister"?

The highest ranking delegation of Chinese officials to visit Taiwan arrived in Taipei on Monday. Chen Yunlin, Beijing's top negotiator on Taiwan affairs, is leading a 60-person delegation, in the first Taiwan-China negotiations ever on Taiwanese soil. No one more senior from China has come to Taiwan since the end of the civil war in 1949 (unless you count the Nationalist Party which fled the Communist takeover.)

These negotiations are hugely important and extremely symbolic. For China and Taiwan, they are tantamount to the US elections. While they are not going to usher in new governments, they could set in motion a new era of relations between China and Taiwan -- unless knuckleheads on Taiwan or China mess it up.

The negotiations are expected to result in some deals: an agreement on China and Taiwan's first direct air- and sea-cargo links, and a new air route that for the first time does not go through Hong Kong's airspace, cutting the journey from Taipei to Shanghai by more than an hour. This is important to Taiwan because for years the absence of such direct links with China cut Taiwan out of some parts of the global supply chain. And with the direct links it will, as the Economist has said, "make it easier for the 1 million Taiwanese businessmen in China to come home to spend their money."

But as is often the case with talks like these the real proof of their success will be the atmospherics.

How will the Chinese negotiators react? Will China be smart and give Taiwan some 'face' or continue to deny that the island of 23 million has a legitimate (and democractically) elected government? And will Taiwan's independence extremists succeed in once again ruining the prospect for better ties with China as they push an agenda that is actually hurting the cause of Taiwan's independence?

The key question for China is simple: What is Chen Yunlin going to call Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou when he meets him on Thursday? If he address him as 'president,' that would be enormously significant because it would underscore the fact that China at least recognizes that Taiwan is more than a province. It would give huge "face" to Taiwan.

If Chen calls him "mister," however, it would be tantamount to a rude slap in the face

My guess? The two sides will probably work something out so that Ma enters the room first announced as "the president of the Republic of China." Chen will enter second; so he can pretend that he didn't hear. And then Chen will call him 'you.' This will bomb in Taiwan, however. I really hope I'm wrong.

The reason that I am not that optimistic that the Chinese will act like good guests and call Ma 'president,' is because in general the PRC is a lousy winner. Right now, its position -- its military, its economy and its geopolitical heft -- dwarfs that of Taiwan. So why not give a little? Call Ma 'president.' The reason is that China is run by a group of nine guys -- on the standing committee of the Politburo. If any of these characters suggested that China back off of its global full-court press to limit Taiwan's influence by addressing Ma Ying-jeou as 'president,' that official -- and all the thousands of people who work for him and rely on him for patronage -- would be weakened. China's leadership is run by men (and they are 99.99 male) who are paranoid of being seen as too conciliatory. They basically don't understand that in order to improve ties with Taiwan, China will need to woo not just Taiwan's business class but its people. China's failure to see this limits the Communists' wiggle room on issues like these. The Chinese government will justify its failure to break any ground with Taiwan by cloaking itself in its "principled" stand. And Chen will return to Beijing with a few new deals but nothing else.

Now for the Taiwanese independence activists. Since Ma was inaugurated, there have been a number of protests against Ma and his moderate stand on China. Most recently on Oct. 25, 600,000 turned out against Ma. In late October, a Taiwanese legislator and six associates helped beat up a Chinese official, Zhang Mingqing, who was holding initial talks in Taiwan about Chen's visit.

What are they planning for Chen? Tsai Ing-wen, the chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, has said protesters will dog Chen throughout his visit to Taiwan. I must say Tsai's new-found populism is disappointing but pretty predictable and it shows Taiwan's independence movement to be as sclerotic as China's politburo. Why? Well, if you look at Taiwan's situation honestly, the only way actually to ensure its continued existence as a government separate from China, is to improve ties with China. That's what Ma is trying to do. Why would Tsai and her people want to stop it? The only reason I can determine is that they want to create a crisis because only in a crisis do their politics have any traction among most of Taiwan's people.

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Comments (45)

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

More interesting topics on Taiwan:

1. "How blooby will pro-independence protesters be?"

2. How will ex-president Chen Shui-Bien save himself?

3. Will bloody protests save Chen Shui-Bien from going to jail?

Seriously, is anyone surprised at their bloody protests? Probably not. Welcome to the real world.

anakin1992 Author Profile Page:

GORIJENNA,

give me break. there is complete no joy at all if you catagorily compare mainland china and taiwan. taiwan only has 23m people while china has 1.3 billions. for fairly comparison, do it btw taiwan and shanghai or jiangshu province. taiwan went into industrialization far ahead than mainland, but look at those poor south taiwan, now you want be proud of being a taiwanese?

by the way, the culture in mainland is far far ahead of that on taiwan. yes, books printed in taiwan might be looking good or the wording might seem to closer to ancient books, but it does not render your advantages over that in mainland. yes, even though those treasures in national palace museum might be better in term of quality than those in beijing national palace museum, it does not mean you could even understand what these are about. yes, many people in chinese can not understand those ancient relic and in term of number they are more than 23m, but i can tell you that there are more than 23m in mainland who can recite those ancient relic from head to toe.

don't be such a dwarf, when you say chinese cultural is not preserved in mainland. to be honest, what pissed me off most is that you type of people don't even know what your cultures are. so go figure...

gorijenna Author Profile Page:

"Without a home", topper2u?

Taiwanese do have a home - Taiwan!

It's a pretty good home, too. I live here; I should know. It's cleaner, friendlier, freer, safer and offers a higher standard of living than China.

Also, it not only offers interesting perspectives on Taiwanese culture (which has diverged from Chinese culture in the hundreds of years that the original Taiwanese settlers have been living here), aboriginal culture, Japanese culture, and...(drumroll)...

...Chinese culture that no longer exists on the mainland! What China tore down, Taiwan preserved and the island is a better place for it.

Taiwan. Jia you!

gorijenna Author Profile Page:

Another few points that bother me about Pomfret's article - Ma's stance on China is not "moderate". 600,000 people turned up - good people with widely-held views, not "extremists" - because the country feels that Ma's stance is far too friendly to China.

And Zhang Mingqing was not "beaten up". He was pushed, his car was jumped on, and he was told "Taiwan bu shi Zhongguo de". He was not "beaten". That's one hair short of an all-out lie.

And finally, being a "memorial person" in China is no reward - the government is corrupt and illegitimate. It would be nothing but a disgrace to be celebrated by a nation governed under them. That person would also be the disgrace of Taiwan - remember, the people simply do not want unification. And yes, their opinions matter.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To mtlyorel,

I understand your concern, that is our Chinese concern too.

But I really don't think a progressive movement would help out the China situation, now.

A country only can improve little by little, it is not a ride of 4 door car, but a boat that carries 1.3 billion people, it is huge machine, but still it is already changing in a aggressive pace right now.

Corruption never left Chinese government, and 1 regime controlled China for over 2000 years already, for a body to heal that only can benefit from its inside, in a gradual process, not a outside force that would only break her in pieces, and in the end majority suffer even more, Russia and Iraq are the example.

That is reason Chinese usually shy away from political conflict to seek both piece, again, we are not aggressive nation, 2000 years history as our hard prove, the only thing we need is that some of the outsiders not to look at us and treat us as their enemy.

Sure, China has her weakness, but all things are changing, and compare to US and China society in 30 years range, we all know China spins much faster than US, and future can only be better.

Yes, the Mao and my parents generations did a lot of stupid things, not only Mao and gang of four messed up China, its the people and everyone in it, but still many forgive Mao as he was leader, he was not perfect, he was at worst moment when China stood alone helplessly after WWII and during the cold war of 2 Empires' struggle, also to protect Mao's family we forgive, but I don't see a lot of Western people do have such ability to forgive and let things go pass, and I believe if my people have such strength, then we can make there.

all thing start with difficulty.

thmak Author Profile Page:

Any leader in Taiwan has the chance to be a memorial person in the history of China if he can lead Taiwan back to China. The two Chiangs lost the chance due to their grudges of being kicked out of China and became the forgotten persons. Chen lost the chance because he loves money more than anything else and became the most corrupt president in the history of ROC. China has evolved from the Maxist idea to a social capitalistic idea. Ma has his chance if he forsakes the anti-China ideas of the Chiangs and Chen.

Increaseinfo-Decreaseprobs Author Profile Page:

All in all, this article is a pretty decent simplification of what's going on, albeit surprisingly casual in style. Despite other posted comments, I agree that though the issue of using the term "President" may seem a minor act, it has extremely large implications. It's simply a symbol of this perennial jostling limbo.

A few important points:
1) In light of the global economic meltdown, Ma Ying-jeou is actually doing better than many Asian peers at keeping the economy going. Unfortunately, as is the case in any country, we often cannot see beyond our own borders; but instead of Ma trying to deflect blame to the world economy, he's been overly silent and actually DOING WORK... Unfortunately politics requires a little more marketing than his team has been doing.

2) There was no beating up of Zhang Mingqing; yes, there was rude hounding which distracted the old man from his footing, but certainly no beating took place.

3) Tanks would be brought over on ships, planes or perhaps hanging from helicopters. Whoever made the ridiculous reply to another poster about the tanks not making it to TW because the drivers would drown... Seriously?

4) At current, China is just raw materials and a house of cards. For all the hooplah, what it really comes down to is controlling its image and keeping investors attracted to its cheap workforce and oppressed population of potential consumers. The salient point about 9 scared guys controlling the country is right on track, but needs to be driven home more deeply. It does indeed create a self-sustaining vicious circle from the top all the way down to local community governments. Unless some form of chaos is introduced, capitalism will take decades to nibble away at the current structure.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Think about it, if 80% residents of Taiwan holding both Taiwan and China PR's passports, then all things are solved, no need war ever, never.

Even those who operate US aircrafts in Taiwan are Chinese too, and both sides share the same name China.

Only Mr. John Pomfret would be unhappy.

foreverocky Author Profile Page:

The trends won't be shaken.

1. China becomes better and better in all aspect. Just compare it with what it was like 10 yrs ago, and compare it with other developing countries.
2. Taiwan and Mainland are getting closer and closer, in economic wise, they have been bound together, just take a look at the newly signed agreement, you will know what I mean.

So, Taiwan will be reunited, no one can stop it.

Cueball2008 Author Profile Page:

Donald2

"The large protest last week was lead by ex-president Chen shui-Bien"

No, it was led by the current head of the DPP - Chen just attended.

"They have to use food safety as the reason for protest."

No, they used Ma's poor record as a reason to protest.

"even if the pro-indepence groups tried to de-Chineselize in last 10 years"

No, they restored Taiwanese culture that the KMT had been suppressing for decades.

"the pro-independence segment in Taiwan have no idea of democracy"

They have done more to protect democracy than the KMT have. In 2004 the KMT were verging on a coup attempt when they disputed the election results.

"The pro-indepenence grouips are nothing but hate groups."

Nope, they are unfairly demonised by their political opponents like the KMT and Chinese nationalists.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

The large protest last week was lead by ex-president Chen shui-Bien, who is only a few corruption trials from going to jail. They have to use food safety as the reason for protest. It is obvious that the pro-independence group will be on Chen shui-bien's side no-matter-what. Taiwan has shown the world that democracy can have root in Chinese culture, even if the pro-indepence groups tried to de-Chineselize in last 10 years. Comparing the the trial of Ted Stevens of Alaska and the American democracy, the pro-independence segment in Taiwan have no idea of democracy. They are simply antiChina, against Chinese, and are against Chinese in Taiwan. Remember Chen shui-bien's calling for all who think they are Chinese to swim back to China? The pro-indepenence grouips are nothing but hate groups.

Topper2u Author Profile Page:

Wasting time pondering how one will be addressed. Not much else to be taken from this piece of unusual "journalism".

While a form of capitalism seems to exist along side communism, democracy does not and never will.

The "Taiwanese" people of Taiwan have struggled long for their voice and democracy.

Now there are those who would wish to sell their homeland. These individuals never felt that Taiwan was home and for many of them who have had to work in China, they've found to their surprise, they don't feel particularly welcomed there.

Without a home. What a legacy the KMT has left for their children.

mtlyorel Author Profile Page:

To General Yuefei

What I am referring to is systemic failure of the Chinese system.

The food scandals are just one, but very prominent example of the failure of the Chinese regime. It is open knowledge that producers in China have only one motive - to make money and screw everyone and everything else. This is the attitude perpetrated by Chinese communism - hisotrical examples abound.

When you have a country where the government and the businesses collude and think nothing of putting plastic in food destined for babies, chemicals in pharmaceuticals to treat leukaemia sufferers, you have a total breakdown of society.

I do give you credit that not 100% of the population agrees with the corrupt practices, but this is done in the context of a repressive regime where any dissent or challenge to the ability of the regime to make money is violently suppressed. Hence you have this vicious cycle of poison foods, pharmaceuticals, lead paint toys.

In the end it is China that will suffer the most since there is already a huge backlash against products made in China. You reap what you sow.

As for the history lesson you posted here, that is irrelevant to the discussion at hand and you would save you and us time and effort by stop regurgitating worthless propaganda.

Cueball2008 Author Profile Page:

"In late October, a Taiwanese legislator and six associates helped beat up a Chinese official, Zhang Mingqing"

Err, no, the legislator helped him up after he tripped over. Where are the hands that pushed him in the videos of the incident? He was walking backwards and not looking where he was going.

"Why? Well, if you look at Taiwan's situation honestly, the only way actually to ensure its continued existence as a government separate from China, is to improve ties with China. That's what Ma is trying to do. Why would Tsai and her people want to stop it? The only reason I can determine is that they want to create a crisis because only in a crisis do their politics have any traction among most of Taiwan's people."

John, I expected more from you but you clearly have no idea about what's happening in Taiwan and come at it from third-hand information.

Tsai doesn't want to STOP the negotiations. She is protesting that Ma has been giving lots away to China without little in return. She and her party proposed that all cross-Strait agreements be approved by a referendum - the KMT said no. If they respect Taiwanese democracy and know how sensitive the issue is, why did they do that? Answer that question please.

Also Chen is part of the party that keeps making threats to bomb and invade Taiwan - why should people treat him like some UN peace envoy? He isn't one. The DPP have the right to protest him and Ma until they are sure that Taiwan's future is safe.

Geez, it's like having to read the People's Daily sometimes on this blog....

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

I swear as multi-talented heartfelt patriot of lady's eye, me General Yue Fei would not fight across the strait, but all residents of Taiwan would benefit from applying China PR's passport, and if 60 or 80 percentage of Taiwan resident hold China PR's passport, Taiwan would never vote for independence, and CCP would love to never pick the worst choice that no Chinese ever want to pick in history, that when our children would read such part that someone had to start this kind of tragedy, and I hope maybe really the patriotic spirit of General Yue Fei visited me last month, and gave me this advice that push China PR to give Taiwan residents password that seems benefit from every aspects for Chinese, his descends, maybe he really visited me.

But please think about it and discuss it with your friend, what is the disadvantage for such solution? beside all benefit for both side Chinese, from economic, political, international, Taiwan's identity, and even the unity of both side militarily, those who stand by the side and laugh would turn to whiten face.

Maybe God had General Yue Fei blessed us thru his patriotism, so no his children will shed blood and country be united as he once lived and prayed.

Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page:

John Pomfret seems to be getting increasingly anti-China in his posts. Taiwan has benefitted far more than China in the agreements already made and likely to be approved during this trip by the Chinese official to Taiwan.

As to denying "face" to the leader of China in not calling him "president," this would be a major ooncession by the Chinese government, as to the sovereignty of Taiwan, akin to President Lincoln sending a delegate to Jefferson Davis and calling his "president," implying recognition of the secessionist government. Pomfret seems highly naive and overtly anti-Chinese, to contend giving a "little face" on this issue would not have major implications. The Nationalist government in Taiwan did not offer the slightest "face" to China for decades after 1949. Taiwan, with United States support, maintained rhe absurd fiction Taiwan represented all of China, including in the United Nations from 1949 to the early 1970's.

Promfret also exaggerates the need, in his opinion, for the government in Taiwan, to continue its existence, to improve ties with China. This seems largely absurd, given how Taiwan has economically prospered and politically thrived over two or three decades.

Taiwan is unlikely to want to become a part of China for at least several decades. There should be a comprehensive agreement between China and Taiwan to reduce tensions in the area. China should get something concrete, such as restoration of small islands just off its southeastern coast and the return of historic Chinese cultural treasures in return for any recognition of autonomy or independence for Taiwan.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The Last Troll of the 50 Years ‘Exile’ Dalai (translate 5 of 5)
The Chinese comment from Hypocrite1

But like his past miscalculation, he still had to swallow his own bitter reap, that he used himself as the poker card of the West to contain China, but under the weather of global economical crisis and growing China, all seemed lost their meanings, and now he became the burden of the West, that to be throw off (As France) or to be symbolizedly attend as a concern (as President Bush’s Telephone Call).

If Dalai really abandoned his ‘middle road’ that was supported by the West, then he actually gave a proper reason to the West to forsake him. What might be unplanned that if now he to depart the living world, which benefited both China and the West.

To current China, that the West could not use this reason to exert, and the Dalai’s last effect would vanish immaterially. To the West, the matter of how to get the support of China with a low cost or without what was urgent issue, and Dalai who had no profit for the West if he passed away now, which would become a effortless favor to China, and earn China’s support without payment. It’s pitiful for Dalai, as a beast struggling at the bay, and never foresaw his beginning of his life tragedy was start since 1959[when he chose to run away], but now what a dreary conclusion would be for him. Sigh.

Note:
John, would you please stretch the comment word limit to 5000?
I mean posting here is not my job, so please make it easier for me.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The Last Troll of the 50 Years ‘Exile’ Dalai (translate 4 of 5)
The Chinese comment from Hypocrite1

France as one of representatives of West power turned direction, which was a death blow to Dalai. What was left for Dalai, was just a humane support. Once this was gone, he would obtain nothing. Also, US faced economical tsunami of a global scale, west could not even attend themselves, and also needed the help of China, and such crisis would not cease in a short period, and after the crisis, the world might face a stronger China, so time currently favored China.

And now, Dalai had physical condition, had to get treatment in hospital for two times, and was soon recovered, but as getting older he had more urges, facing his many disadvantages from all realms, he risked in desperation to offend the west’s “Universal Value”, openly claimed that he would abandon his stand of “Not Independence Non-violence Middle Road”, sang his lifetime poetic perfected performance, and hoped he again would bring the west attention and compassion to him, as a support that he saw his life needed. Meanwhile, he hoped he could also give some pressure to his negotiation between China.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The Last Troll of the 50 Years ‘Exile’ Dalai (translate 3 of 5)
The Chinese comment from Hypocrite1

2001, Beijing utterly obtained the host of Olympics. The West did not block might be holding the purpose that using Olympics to turn China to the direction of their hope. But after years, China did not walk the road that was planned by west, instead she unexpectedly grew and rose. Such state made the West felt threaten and difficult to accept. So in such situation, Dalai grasped this lifetime chance and threw his utmost strive, almost caused China and West to confront in substantial state. But he must be disappointed that the true ability was the only factor to decide the outcome.

This confrontation was ended by the unconditional compromise of the West, and Dalai and his relation with China were drifting further and further. And the West politicians risked their national benefit for a unrelated Tibet and almost became the enemy of the supposed future primo nation, repented, and started their own adjustment of their policy. Such extrusive change showed on frontline of this confrontation, France. After a few months, the has been leader and initiator of non-border reporting bashing war, the France Secretary General abdicated. Then two of French mainstream TV broke tabu for the first time to broadcast documentary that revealed the negative side of Dalai. The documentary revealed the action of Dalai transgressed religion rights and suppressed other Tibetan sects, also introduced Dalai’s violent implementation and slavery system. Dalai’s sect in a peace jacket and aura started to fade. For sure that France realized that it was needed to restore the truth, that was covered for the purpose of cold war and anti-commies, otherwise their public were beclouded and again their country would be kidnapped by their leftwing media, which they would not be benefited.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The Last Troll of the 50 Years ‘Exile’ Dalai (translate 2 of 5)
The Chinese comment from Hypocrite1

After incident of Sep 11 2001, America as the West leader turned to ally with China again to work in all aspects. And Dalai in such weather, again changed, and started calling to seek a “Middle Road”, initiated to proclaim ‘Non Violence. Autonomy Tibet”. In 2007, he even publicly admitted he was a Chinese, and willing to solve Tibet problem within the frame of China PR’s constitution. But at that time, he already lost his best chance to dialog with China.

During 1980s, China just dispelled chaos and peace was restored, China Central government initiated to reach Dalai, and at that time, China needed him to spend his prime to stabilize Tibet, to also improve the relation with West. But Dalai misread status and after that time, both (China and Dalai) lost trust, and as China grew stronger in a rapid pace, and the West cooperated in effort, also Dalai now of an old age, the meaning and value were already lost and gone. After all, one must has his chip to negotiate, if he does not hold any, then he can only unconditionally yield, or maybe another asks a price that is too high so both are chewed at a stand.

That was the condition for both sides in current years. Basically both might not meet unexpected situation until Dalai naturally walked off historical stage, but the year 2008 provided Dalai a last chance and only chance.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The Last Troll of the 50 Years ‘Exile’ Dalai (translate I of 5)
The Chinese comment from Hypocrite1

Dalai ran away from Tibet China on 1959, since then he started his foreign journey involuntarily. His attitude and stand were often adjusted according to the need the west. During the cold war, he received the support of America, and became a chess piece of US foreign strategy. At that time, he strongly held Jacobinical stand of Independence Tibet. After 1979, America and China officially established diplomatic relation as ally to stand together against Soviet Union, so Dalai had no choice but to intenerate his stand, and he changed his demand to ‘Highly Autonomy Tibet’ with many appended terms.

After the cold war, the ally of America and China needed no purpose of existence for both nations. China once was an target nation that converted, then became a reversal example after the collapse of Soviet. So China became a primary target to contain for the West. So under such setting, Dalai was rewarded as Nobel Peace Prize for a high-colored political reason.
At that time, his stand was again adjusted, so ‘Independence of Tibet again became his core pursuit. So the gate of dialog method between him and his nation once again was shut. But it was unexpected for all that China did not fall, instead became a successful example for all developing countries that were in a turning course.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To mtlyorel,

Surely you are so young that did not see how KMT backed by US in WWII tried and spent all their effort to clean commies that used to represent democratic Chinese, they were expendable too.

KMT had to deal with the commies and then to deal with Japanese, I guess you were just too young. Haven't you seen Chinese killing Chinese for a sit on a bus, that made me wanna kill them too, three Chinese expend each other, recently some low class just expended our babies, that's just some Chinese, not all of them okay, get a light will ya?

mtlyorel Author Profile Page:

The people of Taiwan desire a PRC passport as much as a glass of Chinese milk.

Look, Taiwan and the world deal with China like a bad smell in the room. You tolerate the smell because if you were to light a fuse, the whole room would blow up.

China has itself to blame for the low opinion it enjoys in the world. Unless the communist government is toppled, there exists little hope for the people of that country. It is a country where human life is expendable and less valuable than a car. (i.e. food scandals) This is the philosophy perpetrated through 60 years of communist regime.

Pity the Chinese people.

bborw Author Profile Page:

I wonder when China will stop calling Taiwan part of China.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

No point arguing about current issue of Taiwan .We would like to live in a People's Republic of China and a Republic of China as well.There are always a few people with different views.It is enough for the fact that Taiwan and mainland cannot cut off each other the economic,cultural, and genic bound except the only ideological dispute.

It is the last resort to go for a war across the strait and the war,had it really break out, would only fulfill the gloating pleasure of other countries.

There will have no war across strait.I for one will not go for it.

etseng Author Profile Page:

Clearly you do not understand the issues at hand. Those who joined the rally last weekend in Taipei are not pro-independence extremists as you seem to suggest. These are hard-working Taiwanese who have seen their economy falter over the past few months, only to find that all that Ma Ying-jeou cares about is appeasing Chinese leaders.
You're right, there is a crisis in Taiwan, but not one that is created by DPP and Tsai. Rather it is a crisis created by Ma's pro-China policies. A majority of Taiwanese people are clearly dissatisfied with his performance considering that his approval rating has dropped to a low of 24%.
Ma's government has done a poor job of responding to the melamine-contaminated products from China. His decision this year to seek participation in UN-affiliated agencies instead of UN membership did not succeed. It is doubtful that Taiwan will be successful in its WHO bid next May. Ma's "brilliant" plan to show good will towards China has not produced any fruitful results. So your interpretation of Ma's approach as going in a positive direction is quite mistaken.

foreverocky Author Profile Page:

@Raincrowlee

You should pull your head out of sands, I can guarantee that you won't see a single PLA tank before all Taiwan air force and battle ship are destroied not even by missle but by Cheap Rockets which have a range of 400km. The strait is like a joke in front of those weapons.

have a nightmare

gorijenna Author Profile Page:

Taiwan's independence activists are not extremists - they're a legitimate political force with legitimate gripes and a will to action. They're also exercising something that China (sorry, Taiwan is not a part of China) lacks - freedom of speech.

More people agree with these activists than reporters and foreign correspondents find it convenient to recognize. Take the 49% who voted against Ma in the last election and add a healthy percentage dollop of disgruntled, regretful Ma voters and those who voted for him but still desire independence, albeit in a more pragmatic way than the DPP offered.

That is a lot of people. Far more than half the country. Yes, the country. Those numbers don't spell 'extremists' - they spell the will of the people.

Unfortunately, thanks to their big, mean neighbor, the will of the people has become distorted, ignored and deeply complicated.

foreverocky Author Profile Page:

@Mr Pomfret
You should really forget about "Mr or President" and spend more time to study the agreement which is about to be signed, that is the real indicator of the future between these 2 parts of China!!!

raincrowlee Author Profile Page:

@hypocrite1

If China sent their tanks into Taiwan, you'd get a lot of dead tank pilots. There's 112 miles of water called the Taiwan Strait between them, and if wasn't there, we wouldn't have had these problems. Those tanks would have rolled in 50 years ago and that would have been the end. It's there, so we're wondering what one Chinese guy will call another.

Have a nice day!

Kai_92604 Author Profile Page:

Who care if Chen call Ma "Mister" or "President"?

The fact is Taiwan is one more step leaning toward China.

Sad to know that few American see a rising big storm coming in Eastern Pacific.

America's days in Asia is numbered.

DanP1 Author Profile Page:

I think it is more likely they will announce Ma as "the president of the Republic of China....(1 second pause)...Taiwan"


eamonizer Author Profile Page:

It is mainland and Taiwan, not China and Taiwan. Both mainland and Taiwan are part of China!

Hypocrite1 Author Profile Page:

John: just saw this and wanna share with you since I know that you are either a follower or a fan of Dalai Lama.
五十年流亡看达赖的最后绝唱
1959年达赖逃离西藏,自此便开始了其身不由已、流亡海外的生涯。其和中国的关系和立场也随着西方的需要不断调整。冷战期间,他接受美国的援助,成为美国全球冷战战略的一个棋子。此时,他持激进的暴力和独立的立场。1979年中美建交,成为事实上的对抗苏联的战略盟友。达赖也不得不将立场软化,开始转向附加诸多条件的“高度自治”。

  冷战结束后,中美战略合作关系的基础不复存在。而曾被西方当做苏东集团“演变”样本的中国却由于苏东集团的崩溃成为反面教材。于是对中国的遏制成为西方的首选。也就是在这个背景下,达赖获得政治性色彩强烈的诺贝尔和平奖。

  这个时候,达赖的立场再次发生调整,独立再次成为其核心诉求。这样,八十年代双方重启的对话大门再次关闭。然而出乎所有人意料的是,中国不仅没有垮掉,反而成为所有转轨国家最为成功的范例。并迅速崛起成为世界经济第三强。

  2001年“9.11”事件爆发,以美国为首的西方转而与中国再次结盟,全面合作。在此背景下,达赖只得再次转向,以“中间道路”自居,倡导非暴力、自治。甚至于2007年公开承认自己是中国人,愿意在中华人民共和国宪法框架内解决西藏问题。然而,此时,达赖已经丧失了其和大陆谈判的最佳时机。

  上世纪八十年代,中国拨乱反正,中央政府主动与其接触。哪个时期,大陆需要尚算年富力强的达赖发挥安定西藏、改善与西方关系的作用。然而,达赖错判形势,从此双方丧失互信,而且随着大陆的迅速强大,西方的积极合作,再加上达赖年事已高,其意义和价值丧失殆尽。这也是达赖一再向中国示好、让步和双方谈判无法取得进展的原因。毕竟,谈判是需要筹码的,没有筹码或者只能是无条件让步,或者因一方要价过高而陷入僵局。

  这就是近几年双方的现状。本来,这种状态将不出意外地持续到达赖自然退出历史舞台,不料,2008年却给了达赖另一个也可以说是最后一个机会。

2001年,北京以绝对优势获得奥运会主办权。西方这一次没有阻挠的原因之一在于希望奥运会能够使中国向他们所希望的方向演变。然而,几年过去了,中国不但没有走向西方所期待的道路,反而以出乎想象的速度增长和崛起。这令倍感威胁的西方十分的不适应和难以接受。于是在这个背景下,达赖抓住这百年一遇的机会奋力一搏,几乎造成了东西方的实质性全面对抗。但是令达赖不得不失望的是,实力毕竟是决定一切的最终因素。

  这场对抗以西方的无条件妥协告终,而他和大陆的关系则越来越远。而差一点因为和本国利益毫无关系的西藏而与未来第一大国交恶的西方政治家,痛定思痛,也开始进行政策的调整。这突出的表现在曾站在这场东西方对抗最前沿的法国身上。事件过后几个月,曾在这场对抗发挥过巨大煽动作用的记者无疆界的创始人、秘书长梅纳尔不得不黯然辞职。随后,两家主流电视台前所未有的打破几十年的禁忌播出负面表现达赖的纪录片。在这些纪录片中,达赖违反宗教自由镇压其他教派的行为被揭发,过去达赖在西藏实施的残忍和落后的农奴制度也予以曝光。达赖的宗教、和平外衣和光环开始褪色。显然法国已经意识到,过去出于冷战和反共需要的宣传是到了“拨乱反正”的时候了,否则,长期受蒙蔽和影响的民众,将会在媒体和左派政党的绑架下再次做出不符合法国利益的行为。

  法国为代表的西方转向,对达赖的打击是致命的。达赖所有仅剩的资本就是西方道义上的支持。一旦这个也失去,他将真正的一无所有。此外,美国资贷危机发展成为全球性的金融危机海啸,西方不但自顾不暇,还需要中国的帮助。显然,这场危机不会短时期结束,而且危机结束后的世界将面对的是一个更为强大的中国。显然,时间已经完全在中国一边。

  就在此时,达赖身体突然出现状况,不得不两度住院治疗。尽管很快治愈出院,但已过古稀之年的达赖危机感空前增强。面对来自内外的前所未有的不利环境,达赖不得不铤而走险,冒着违逆西方“普世价值”的风险,公开宣布放弃长期宣扬的非独立、非暴力的“中间路线”,发出了他一生的绝唱。希望以此重新引起西方的关注和同情,以及给予他视为生命般重要的支持。同时,也给即将举行的今年第三次与中央政府的谈判施压力。

然而,就象过去失算一样,达赖这次仍将不得不咽下自酿的苦果。达赖做为一张西方遏制中国的牌,在全球金融危机和中国强大的背景下已失去了意义,甚至成为西方的包袱,而急于甩掉(如法国)或象征性的保持体面的关心(如美国布什的电话慰问)。

  如果达赖真的放弃得到西方支持的“中间路线”,反而为西方抛弃他提供了借口。而且特别令达赖想不到的是,如果这个时候他离开人世,却居然最符合中国和西方的利益。

  对于中国来说,正处于困境中的西方难以再借题发挥,达赖的最后效应将消于无形。而对于西方来讲,如何在不付出代价或极小代价的情况下得到中国的援助是最为迫切的,而与西方利益无关的达赖如果这个时候离开人世,正好借顺水人情压中国让步,等于是无偿的得到中国的援助。只可叹,困兽犹斗的达赖,想不到1959年掀开的悲剧一生,将会是怎样的一个凄凉结局。

Hypocrite1 Author Profile Page:

John: You have made some good points here. However, one more point for you: what if the Chinese just sent their tanks and take over Taiwan, what will Americans do?

John Pomfret Author Profile Page:

Donald2,
You're absolutely right. I corrected it.
Thanks for pointing it out.

John

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Pomfret said: Ma enters the room first announced as "the president of the Republic of Taiwan." What a joke, Mr. Pomfret!

I can only assume this is a typo. I have to respect the reputation of Washington Post that its chinese expert reporter knows the difference between the name of "the Republic of China" and the "Republic of Taiwan". The difference between these two names means peace and war.

Maybe Pomfret really doesn't know that. Who am I to judge those big time reporters.

foreverocky Author Profile Page:

@freebornchina,

Only a war can help China to reunit Taiwan, so I think to give passport to Taiwanese is a very good idea, the only way to make sure a stable territory after reunit Taiwan is to kill all the people who want to be independent, China needs to learn a lot from history of USA and UK about how to do that.

wenchi_yu Author Profile Page:

Gao Konglian called Ma Ying-jeou "President Ma" (Ma zong tong).

wenchi_yu Author Profile Page:

Gao Konglian said "Ma zong tong."

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

but Chinese are untied as you may not think, otherwise wouldn't that be more nations in our land?

freebornchina Author Profile Page:

I don't think "尊敬的阁下" would work because it implies his position is lower (下), as if he is a government minister without portfolio, not a president.

General Yue, Russia gives passports to places they would like to annex and then when they attack they say they are defending their citizens. That happened with the Georgian provinces and now they have given passports to people in parts of the Ukraine. In conclusion, giving passports to places outside your undisputed border is a good way to start wars. What would keep Taiwan negotiator from seeing your proposal as any different?

howardxue Author Profile Page:

My 2 cents: Mr. Chen can call Mr. Ma "Your Excellency" or "尊敬的阁下" in chinese. Sound good?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

I know what they discussing,

That in order to solve US in btwn Taiwan and Mainland problem, CCP government decide to give every Taiwan resident a China Passport, as long as those who hold Taiwan passport, are eligible to get China PR's passport, so this way Taiwan and Mainland 's problem are all solved.

1st
This policy works for both Taiwan and mainland current situation for economy, that residents of Taiwan obtain all benefit of Mainland Chinese, and their assets and rights are protected and respect the same as the mainlanders, and creates market profit for Taiwan residents and job opportunity for mainlanders. Even if they face problem in foreign country, that they can seek help from China PR embassy for they all are Chinese.

2nd
It solves the future military conflict that would be caused by a few Taiwan resident's independence movement, that all of Taiwan resident hold both Taiwan passport and China PR passport, so none of them would ever want to vote for Independence, Democracy rules. Taiwan resident can enjoy their current political system without US or China PR influence. Nor China PR would ever prepare to engage a military operation for such matter in future.

3rd
Chinese (Not China PR) united under one name and one nation without shedding one drop of blood nor fire one bullet, that we will live under a multi political system as Chinese want, as Hong Kong, current autonomic Tibet, and self-governed democratic Taiwan, as the US who used to laugh us that we live under one party, now we have so many. And not to mention all those low-tech refurbish weapons that US sold to Taiwan at high price that will never be used among and against Chinese ever, and directly load up on ebay to cause more trouble for US foreign policy.

oops!

US' government never saw that coming. ha ha ha ha
lol Now, who is the idiot?

freebornchina Author Profile Page:

Maybe Chen will call him "Leader Ma."

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