Do-nothingism and Sino­pho­bia

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

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.

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