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LinkAsia | Apr 10
China is worried about a real estate bubble. Housing prices have been rising by double digits in almost every Chinese city, and in Beijing alone ha...
Over in China, the former prime minister of Taiwan and chairman of the opposition Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party, Frank Hsieh, made an unlikely visit to the Chinese mainland. Hsieh's party supports Taiwan's independence from China. For more on Hsieh's visit, here's our Taipei contributor, Cindy Sui.
Hsieh knew he had to exercise great caution. His party, after all, had long criticized the ruling Kuomintang for being too close to China. Although Hsieh had said the main purpose of the visit was to attend a bartending competition, he actually spent much time talking with Chinese officials in charge of Taiwan affairs. The visit has generated a lot of discussion on social media, websites and blogs. But while some people favor Hsieh's move, others were not pleased.
One person writing online said the Chinese officials did not argue about the DPP's views on Taiwanese sovereignty. He said, "I hope we can find a way for the normalization of interaction between the two parties. The experience from this time will definitely be an important step in the history of the DPP and cross-strait relations."
The party lost the last two presidential elections partly because many voters were worried that if it won, tensions between Taiwan and China would resume and the relations which have improved significantly over the last few years would deteriorate.
This person said the party is trying to win the next election. He wrote, "The DPP indeed needs to understand China and have a window for dialogue with China."
In China, Hsieh proposed that Taiwan and mainland China develop their relations on the basis of each other's constitutions, rather than the 1992 Consensus, a controversial agreement between the Kuomintang and China. Under the agreement, the KMT and Beijing agree there's only one China in the world, with each free to define what that China is.
But some netizens frowned on Hsieh's proposal because Taiwan's constitution also states that it is a territory that includes the mainland. This person said Hsieh should seek consensus among Taiwanese people instead of using the constitution, in dealing with China.
He wrote, "In a real democracy, 'the people' are the most important entity. Others such as the constitution, national flag, political parties, and politicians are minor." Some people believe the days of the Kuomintang being sole representative of Taiwan in negotiations with China are over.
This person wrote, "when the DPP and Communist Party's relations improve, the days of the Kuomintang's monopoly over the right to speak about cross-strait relations are over." Hsieh talked to the Chinese about ending roadblocks to Taiwan's admission to international organizations like the World Health Organization and other UN affiliated bodies. Some people, however, thought by visiting China and trying to work with Beijing, the DPP risked hurting Taiwan's independence and sovereignty.
This person wrote, "Doesn't Frank Hsieh understand that you don't beg China for more international space! You need to work hard for it yourself." Others accused the party of being hypocritical. This person said, "the DPP had said we can't rely on China for everything. But it looks like now it's also relying on China. With this kind of ruling and opposition parties, do we have enemies anymore?"
What Hsieh has learned in China is expected to have an influence on how the DPP develops its future policy on the mainland. But it's hard to say how the party will find a balance between satisfying its members who are practical and not afraid of building ties with Beijing and appeasing those members who are still very much in favor of Taiwan independence and want the party to stand by its principals and not give an inch to China. But one thing is sure, the DPP is facing pressure, after losing the last two presidential elections, to show voters that it can develop a China policy that will not antagonize Beijing or hurt economic and other relations with Taiwan's biggest trade partner. This is Cindy Sui for LinkAsia in Taipei.