Taiwan and the WHA, a Gift Horse to be Examined?

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Tuesday May 19, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) just does not get it. They cannot understand why the people of Taiwan are fed up with their continued condescending paternalism. They fail to realize that the people see through the KMT's pretense to love Taiwan as Taiwan. They cannot fathom why their colonial beneficence is seen as just that, rehashed colonialism. The most recent example of this is the shameless behavior of Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan who when challenged on what name was used in joining WHA, tearfully complained, "I really don't know what these people want... I am being patriotic." Patriotic to what? Yes, this has always been the problem of colonial masters wanting to maintain their colonial status.

As prelude to understanding this, examine what recently appeared in the May 19th Asia Times. There, Dr. Jian Junbo of Fudan University, Shanghai, analyzed how the KMT has played fast and loose with the consensus that was never consented to, the consensus that was falsely fabricated, the consensus that Ma wants to use as the basis for the future deals.

Jian writes the following and I quote at length:

On Taiwan's part, Ma has re-endorsed the 1992 Consensus, which states that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, but leaves it open for each side to interpret which - the People's Republic of China (PRC) or the ROC - actually represents China. Negotiators reached the consensus in Hong Kong in 1992, but it was then squarely rejected by Lee and Chen.

On the mainland's part, Beijing has shown flexibility under the leadership of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. This is evident in changes of policy principles towards Taiwan. For a long time, Beijing insisted on three principles:

  1. That there is only one China in the world;
  2. that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory (or Taiwan is one province of China);
  3. that the PRC is the sole legitimate representative of China in the world.

Now these principles have been changed to:

  1. there is only one China in the world;
  2. both the mainland and Taiwan belong to that "one China";
  3. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division.

The new principles are an interpretation of the 1992 Consensus that Beijing feels is more acceptable to Taiwan and show the mainland is willing to deal with Taiwan on an equal footing...

For some analysts, Taiwan's accession to the WHA is a natural outcome of this cross-strait detente. Nevertheless, there are still some problems that should not be overlooked.

Only with Beijing's approval could Taiwan participate in the WHA. The fact that Taiwan must apply for its WHA observer status each year implies that Beijing wants to hold leverage on Taipei in case Ma or future Taiwanese leaders change their stance on the "one China" consensus.

....o win a second presidential term, Ma appears to a certain extent to be an opportunist who wants to cater to all voters, including those who support independence. To win more votes in the island's democratic system, Ma may have to alter his policy towards the mainland if he comes under pressure from the DPP and its supporters... The thaw in relations is also the result of direct people-to-people daily meetings, direct CCP and KMT communication, and increasing mutual trust.

It is plain from what is presented that the CCP and KMT are brokering a deal on Taiwan where their only concern is how the two of them will divide the spoils of Taiwan. There is no love of Taiwan as Taiwan on either side. As always the Taiwanese are being shut out from having any say in their destiny, as always they are expected to accept this as good colonial slaves. Fortunately however, they are finally realizing it and objecting.

Flash forward then to the remarks of Minister Yeh who claims that Taiwan has waited 38 years to attend the WHA, "the people should cherish the moment." Cherish what moment? Cherish another example of Ma sacrificing Taiwan's sovereignty so that he can claim a token gain? Cherish another condescending sell-out?

Yeh claims to be patriotic but patriotic to what, Taiwan or the displaced Republic of China (ROC)? Yeh just does not get it and the same goes for the KMT. The ROC is an anachronism of a past age. Just like Chiang Kai-shek promoted the false dream that he "would retake the mainland," so now Ma promotes the false dream of a defunct and defeated Republic of China and its out-dated Constitution. The ROC is a name from history; the democracy of Taiwan is the new reality. They are different and the people know it. This is what Yeh and the KMT still do not see.