Tsai’s sep­a­ratist gim­micks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - — PEO­PLE’S DAILY OVER­SEAS EDI­TION

Since tak­ing of­fice, Tsai Ing-wen and her col­leagues have made a series of moves to push for “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence”, from lim­it­ing cross-Straits cul­tural ex­changes and not hold­ing any com­mem­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties to mark the 80 th an­niver­sary of the July 7 In­ci­dent of 1937, which her­alded the start of Ja­pan’s un­de­clared war against China and na­tion­wide Chi­nese re­sis­tance against the ag­gres­sors, to, most re­cently, in­tro­duc­ing a high school text­book re­vi­sion in which the Chi­nese main­land is in­cluded in the sec­tion on East Asia his­tory.

The at­tempts of the sep­a­ratists to “de-sinify” the is­land emerged at the end of the last cen­tury dur­ing Lee Teng-hui’s ten­ure as head of the is­land’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. And his suc­ces­sor, Chen Shui-bian sought to cul­tur­ally di­vorce the is­land from the moth­er­land. Since tak­ing of­fice in May last year, Tsai and her col­leagues have de­nied the 1992 Con­sen­sus that rec­og­nizes one China, and taken aca­demic and ed­u­ca­tional mea­sures in an undis­guised man­ner to de­lib­er­ately try to change the is­land’s lo­cal iden­tity to a “na­tional iden­tity”.

How­ever, the ef­forts made to move Tai­wan far­ther along the road of “in­de­pen­dence” have not pro­duced the ex­pected re­sults. Tsai’s re­fusal to up­hold the 1992 Con­sen­sus on one China has sab­o­taged the po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion for cross-Straits peace and de­vel­op­ment and “squeezed” the space avail­able for the is­land’s eco­nomic growth.

With­out en­joy­ing the same div­i­dends from the main­land’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as it did un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of her pre­de­ces­sor, Ma Ying-jeou, Tai­wan faces harsher eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties than be­fore. As a re­sult, Tsai’s ap­proval rat­ing has con­sid­er­ably de­clined.

The cur­rent moves on the is­land to pur­sue “de-sini­fi­ca­tion” are only gim­micks of Tsai and her fel­low sep­a­ratists, who if they had the best in­ter­ests of the is­land’s res­i­dents at heart would face up to the fact the is­land is part of one China.

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