Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tung, Ma, Article 23 and an ECFA

In its strategy for the unification of Taiwan and China, Beijing has not only been transparent about its intentions, it has also relied upon tactics that proved effective in the past.

After a lull in such efforts for the greater part of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, Beijing reignited its drive following the election of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as Taiwanese president.

Despite a series of agreements signed since Ma came into office in May 2008, by far the most consequential item in Beijing’s instruments of unification is the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), which could be signed as early as late next month or in June.

In its approach for the trade deal, Beijing has acted in ways that are strikingly reminiscent of the process surrounding attempts to pass Article 23 of the Basic Law in Hong Kong. Both the content and the manner in which Beijing and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) authorities attempted to pass the bill were controversial. Among others, the bill contained provisions on national security that threatened to blur the lines between Hong Kong’s special semiautonomous status and that of China, and Beijing’s Liaison Office in the territory seriously underestimated the level of opposition to the proposed legislation.

This op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


Thomas said...

I would be interested in knowing your opinion of Christine Loh's book. I was thinking of buying it.

Here's another parallel: The CCP's courting of sympathetic Tibetan officials in the 1949-51 period (Of course you can preserve your religious system and government structure, we just want you to affirm you are Chinese and that we can control your foriegn policy).

The Seventeen Point Agreement was supposed to leave Tibet's institutions intact and keep PLA activity in Tibet to a minimum. We all know where that went.

J. Michael said...

Hi Thomas,

You're absolutely right; there are many parallels with what happened in Tibet, before and after it became TAR. We see this happening again after Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, where the elite was again co-opted by Beijing after experiments with more localized - i.e., Tibetan - administration.

My review of Mrs Loh's will appear in the Taipei Times on Sunday, April 25. I highly recommend it.