Tuesday, February 01, 2011

China is a ‘big brother’ indeed

For the Chinese Communist Party, even unrest in places as far away as Egypt is seen as a threat to its hold on Zhongnanhai

Critics of Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao (陳光標) might have recoiled in horror over the weekend after the tycoon said China was like a “big brother” to Taiwan. The fact of the matter is, China is indeed a “big brother” — but in the Orwellian sense.

In their tumultuous history of interaction with Chinese, which has intensified amid efforts by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to foster closer ties across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwanese often complain about China’s lack of knowledge about Taiwan. In the same vein, survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 point to continued efforts by Chinese authorities to filter information on the mass demonstrations that led to the crackdown, with the result that ordinary Chinese now suffer from collective amnesia.

So much for the observation by Chinese intellectual Wang Hui (汪暉) that “history, experience and knowledge are resources we must use to overcome ourselves in our present state.” Or, for that matter, the “one country, two systems” formula often touted for Taiwan, which risks sucking Hong Kong — the first experiment — into China’s cognitive limbo: More than two decades after the Tiananmen Square protests, former student leaders like Wang Dan (王丹) and Wuer Kaixi (吾爾開希) now find themselves unable to enter the territory.

My editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

1 comment:

mike said...

Good stuff.

However, I would qualify this...

"...but in the end, should Taiwanese, with their democracy and freedoms, threaten to undermine the CCP’s foundations, a fate far worse than the blocking of a term on a search engine awaits them."

... with the cautionary conjecture that a "worse fate" may be visited upon us on both sides of the Strait should we retreat entirely from the task of rationally reforming the PRC - and whichever way you cut it, that does involve "undermining" the CCP.