t’s no secret what Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party thinks of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, China’s plan to reunify the nation.
President Tsai Ing-wen has experienced a miraculous rebound in her political fortunes, thanks in part to record turnouts in Hong Kong for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square student protests and the ongoing anti-extradition movement.
Events in Hong Kong could not have come at a more opportune time for Tsai as she was facing an unprecedented party primary from her former premier William Lai that could have robbed her of her chance to serve a second term.
At a doorstop interview on Sunday, Tsai reiterated her stance that ‘One Country Two Systems’ was not acceptable to the people of Taiwan.
“The most important job of a leader is to protect the freedom of her people and to protect the sovereignty of the country,” she said. “If you lack the resolve or ability to do this, whatever you say is an excuse.”
t a mass rally the previous Friday in Yunlin county, Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu pointed to the 1.03 million protestors that showed up in anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong last Sunday and made his clearest stance against ‘One Country, Two Systems’ yet.
The Kuomintang candidate had earlier been widely criticized after a cross-strait trip that took place in March, just four months after he was elected mayor of Kaohsiung in a landslide.
In that visit, Han affirmed the 1992 Consensus in meetings with the directors of Beijing’s liaison offices in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Shenzhen’s party chief.
Lampooned by critics for “taking orders” from the mainland, Han decided to set the record straight at the rally.
“So many netizens have remarked online that the Hong Kong of today is the Taiwan of tomorrow,” he said. “This is absolutely impossible, my friends in Yunlin.”
“We in the Republic of China have our own nation, our own constitution, our own national identity, our own people, our own land, our own tax system. This has all come down to us from 1911, and we hold sovereignty over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu islands.”
“So this is why I say we need to defend the Republic of China. Some have said to me, ‘Han Kuo-yu, you accept the One Country Two Systems’. That is absolute rubbish. When have I ever said that I accept One Country Two Systems? How can the people of Taiwan ever accept the One Country Two Systems that’s implemented in Hong Kong and Macau today? This is absolutely impossible.”
“So today, I want to make an announcement and I want to make it loud and clear. Without the country, where would the home be? Let’s get the most important thing out of the way once and for all, and I hope everyone present here today can put your trust in me. If I were to be so fortunate to be able to lead the Republic of China, and to be your president, I can guarantee to you that One Country Two Systems will never ever happen in Taiwan.”
“To all my naysayers and critics, I’ll repeat once again. Taiwan will never accept One Country Two Systems. There is no way the people of Taiwan will accept this, unless… unless… UNLESS… over my dead body!”
Terry Gou, the other leading contender in the race to be the Kuomintang nominee, also pointed to the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong and declared the “One Country, Two Systems” policy to have failed there.oxconn boss
“This is why I advised Han Kuo-yu not to meet with the Liaison office,” he said, though the mayor of Kaohsiung later responded that he did not recall Gou ever to have given the advice.
“We must defend the democratic system of the Republic of China,” added Gou in a series of remarks that shocked observers. With his many investments and business interests on the Chinese mainland, there were concerns that his China policy would be compromised if he ever became president.
Asked by reporters what he would do if the Chinese government decided to shut down his factories, Gou said, “Let them shut the factories down. I’m not scared.”
Gou also took the opportunity to have a go at fellow Taiwanese tycoon Tsai Eng-meng, owner of the snack food company Want Want China now based in Shanghai.
Holding up a copy of the front page of the China Times, owned by Tsai, Gou asked reporters, “Do you think the news of the Hong Kong protests should be on the front page? Or negative news about Terry Gou?”
“Well, apparently Tsai Eng-meng thinks negative news about Terry Gou should be on the front page!” he fumed.
“Now why is this important to him? Because he wants to go to Beijing, to the Taiwan Affairs Office to claim credit,” he said. “If he becomes the kingmaker in this election, he is going to be handsomely rewarded for his efforts.”
“He is not reporting for the survival of the Republic of China. He is reporting for his own self-interest,” added Gou. “He is still not happy that I overtook him to become Taiwan’s richest man!”
ll of the latest developments have put Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, another presidential aspirant who has not declared his candidacy, in somewhat of a quandary.
Since running and winning Taipei’s mayoral election in 2014 as an independent candidate, the surgeon-turned-politician has sought to carve out a new middle ground in Taiwan’s acrimonious partisan environment.
His intentionally ambiguous stance when it comes to relations with the mainland has however raised questions even among his most ardent supporters.
Ko’s remarks made during a visit to Shanghai in 2015 have recently come back to haunt him.
During an interview with Xinhua News Agency in that visit, Ko sidestepped a question about the 1992 Consensus by saying that most people in Taiwan did not really understand what it was, including himself in the past.
Cross-strait relations, he said, should be conducted on the basis of mutual knowledge, mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual cooperation. Above all, it should be conducted in the spirit of the understanding that people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are one big family (”兩岸一家親“), he added.
Ever since he uttered the loaded political phrase, voters inclined towards Taiwan independence have viewed Ko with suspicion.
While Ko had said in January that “One Country Two Systems” was not going to be accepted by the people of Taiwan, his recent remarks on events on the other side of the straits have won him brickbats.
Asked if he had a comment on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen student protests, Ko said “let’s not bother with this”.
Decidedly low-key when the anti-extradition protest movement broke out in Hong Kong, Ko gave a carefully ambiguous answer.
“Democracy does not fall from the sky,” he said. “Beijing needs to consider what it will do very carefully.”
“Let me tell you, all the people of Taiwan are now looking wide-eyed at Hong Kong to see what exactly is happening there,” he added. “The mainland really needs to calm down and consider what it’ll do.”