Do-nothingism and Sinophobia
When facing a difficult political problem, Queen Elizabeth of England, after whom the Old Dominion is named the Commonwealth of Virginia, used to sleep on it. Her motto was “video et taceo” (I see, and say nothing). Well, the next day or a couple of days later, problems often seemed to have solved themselves. Though she never heard of Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism, she practiced his do-nothingism.
Government officials in Taiwan are more like Confucian activists. One of them, Premier Mao Chi-kuo, took action at once last month when he was criticized at a Legislative Yuan interpellation session for having done nothing before Beijing started issuing the new card version of the Taibaozheng ( ) travel permit for Taiwan visitors to the Chinese mainland.
Two lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who may be just as Sinophobic as most of their fellow members of the nation’s highest legislative organ, grilled Mao for getting no consultations done between his Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and its Chinese counterpart, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council (TAO) on a critical issue that they said degrades the sovereignty of the Republic of China. Instead of trying to sleep on it, the premier said he regretted Beijing unilaterally deciding to replace the old paper Taibaozheng with the card ID to “hurt the feelings of the people of Taiwan,” though few think their country’s dignity is impaired. He also hoped Beijing won’t repeat such a demarche.
Mao isn’t a Taoist. Neither did he know Queen Elizabeth solved difficult problems by sleeping on them to bring stability and prosperity to her kingdom in the Elizabethan Era. He doesn’t know the merit of the Taoist do-nothingism, which might prove the Sinophobic criticism entirely wrong.
As a matter of fact, Mao didn’t know the TAO informed the MAC one day before the issuance of the ID card for travel. Its issuance was declared by Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of China’s National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in answer to the pleas of Taiwan businesspeople in mainland China last June.
The TAO also announced its pilot issuance would start from July 1. It is more likely that the MAC did not consider it necessary to initiate any consultation on the issuance, albeit there was more than enough time to talk it over.
Well, Andrew Hsia, MAC minister, is ready to tell what Mao said to TAO Minister Zhang Chijun when they meet for their second official meeting in Guangzhou on Oct. 13.
Sinophobia isn’t as prevalent in Taiwan as the opposition party wishes. The reason is simple. Diehard Sinophobes who insist Taiwan should be an independent, sovereign state by claiming its ethnic Han Chinese are not Chinese but Taiwanese can’t persuade most of the latter to believe what they preach. Moreover, the people know it’s impossible for Taiwan to be independent because of the opposition on the part of the People’s Republic, on which they have to depend increasingly heavily for their island’s economic growth.
Politicians stoke up the feud between the native-born Taiwanese and their mainlander Chinese compatriots to get elected. President Chen Shui-bian spearheaded the hate-China campaign by his de-Sinicization and dethroning of Chiang Kai-shek as chief culprit of the bloody massacre of innocent Taiwanese during the February 28 Incident of 1947. He succeeded in making Taiwan a house divided against itself.
The two lawmakers of Chen’s party carried on the campaign by falsely accusing Premier Mao in order just to get re-elected come next Jan. 16. On that day, eligible voters will go to the polls to elect their president and a new Legislative Yuan.
If Beijing’s new travel ID card is considered downgrading of Taiwan’s sovereignty, the similar documents issued to mainland Chinese travelers in Taiwan by our authorities equally degrade the People’s Republic. Taiwan’s version is titled “Entry and Exit Permit for Taiwan, Republic of China” with the national flag of the R.O.C. shown.
Moreover, Taiwan requires Chinese visitors to provide their fingerprints to clear customs, while the People’s Republic doesn’t demand fingerprinting. No complaint, official or private, has been lodged against it from the other side of the Taiwan Strait.