Published: 23:36, May 27, 2024
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Separatism is intolerable idea in Chinese culture
By Tu Haiming

The provocative speech delivered by Taiwan’s new leader, Lai Ching-te, on May 20 reconfirmed the die-hard separatists’ determination to pursue “Taiwan independence”, suggesting that they are a step closer to demise.  

There is no doubt Lai and his cohorts have been emboldened by and are counting on the support of external forces, which have been playing the “Taiwan card” in their geopolitical strategy aimed at containing China’s rise. But Lai and his cohorts have overestimated the capability of their external patrons, while underestimating the Chinese people’s, particularly the People’s Liberation Army’s, determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Separatism is intolerable in Chinese culture. The separatist agenda of Lai and his cohorts in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is against the will of 1.4 billion Chinese people, and thus is doomed.

In the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, while there have been periods of division, unification has always been the ultimate goal of every dynasty or reign. This is because the idea of “great national unity” has become deeply ingrained in Chinese culture.

Taiwan has been part of China since ancient times; the majority of Taiwan residents’ ancestors were from Fujian province and other coastal regions in southeastern China. The status of the Taiwan Strait is a defacto continuation of a civil war. The two sides across the Strait are not “two nations” as claimed by Lai but a single nation. Residents on both sides are of the same race and use the same language, a fact that can never be denied or changed. There has always been a general consensus among residents of the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as overseas Chinese, that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Such an overwhelming consensus cannot be defeated by the separatists, who are merely a tiny portion of the Chinese population.

That the DPP has won the leadership of the island for its third consecutive term has lulled the separatists into a false sense of confidence. They are peddling the myth about Taiwan residents being “predominantly” in favor of “Taiwan independence”. But they are self-deceiving.

First, this is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. Among those who voted for the DPP, many do not endorse “Taiwan independence”, and many are fence-sitters or flip-floppers.

Second, as Taiwan has always been part of China, its future should be decided by the entire Chinese population, not just by Taiwan residents alone.

China’s growing national power, coupled with international support, will enable Beijing to tackle the Taiwan question head-on at some point in the future, and the US will have to abandon the Taiwan separatists

As a matter of fact, not only mainland Chinese, but also overseas Chinese and Taiwan residents, are opposed to “Taiwan independence”. Mainstream public opinion on the island calls for peace instead of war, economic progress instead of recession, cross-Strait exchanges instead of separation, and cooperation instead of confrontation. Those who endorse “Taiwan independence” constitute a tiny minority of the population. Lai’s comparison of the cross-Strait relationship with that between Russia and Ukraine smacks of fatuity.

There are 197 sovereign countries in the world that recognize the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China, whereas Taiwan only maintains 12 so-called “diplomatic allies”. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, adopted in 1971, made it clear that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, including Taiwan, at the UN; Taiwan is not a country but a part of China’s territory.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 75 years ago, China has achieved two miracles: rapid economic development and long-term social stability. As of today, China is the world’s second-largest economy, the top manufacturing country, the top trading nation, and a major trade partner of more than 120 countries worldwide. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become inevitable.

National rejuvenation is premised on national unity. Ultimately, reunification is the only solution to the Taiwan question, regardless of how the island will unify with the motherland. National resurgence brooks no tolerance of “Taiwan independence”, and any Taiwan separatist forces that stand in the way of historical progression are doomed.

Riding on foreign support, the separatists are becoming increasingly brazen in challenging the red line.

Amid the ongoing paradigm shift in global governance, the United States, which is desperate to maintain its global hegemony, is doubling down on suppressing China, and the Taiwan separatists are merely pawns in Washington’s geopolitical chessboard. Despite its pledge to uphold the one-China principle, Washington is covertly arming Taiwan to the teeth; its support and encouragement have fueled the belligerence of the Taiwan separatists.

Nonetheless, the machinations of a few countries in collusion with the Taiwan separatists are futile. Most countries in the world are opposed to “Taiwan independence” and support China’s cause of reunification. China’s growing national power, coupled with international support, will enable Beijing to tackle the Taiwan question head-on at some point in the future, and the US will have to abandon the Taiwan separatists.

At a meeting commemorating the 110th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution on Oct 9, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping asserted that the Taiwan question arose because of weakness and chaos in the nation, and that it would be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing national reunification are not only the historical mission of the Communist Party of China but also the common aspiration of the Chinese people.

The author is vice-chairman of the Committee on Liaison with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Hong Kong New Era Development Thinktank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.