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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reparing the rift, who benefits, who doesn't?

The rift between Taiwan and China, a long division since the Kuomintang withdrawn to Taiwan in 1949, is a stark reminder of the different entities governing on either sides of the Formosa Strait. Albeit the subtle ancestral similarities, Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese Chinese are drastically different in all aspects - language, cuisine, culture, religion, thought, life and tradition - due to the diverging path both undertook when a nation split after the 1949 Civil War. Although supposedly "liberated" by the Communist regime, the Mainland Chinese had to endure the horrible mismanagement and the entire episode of the infamous Cultural Revolution. Pitted against starvation and the prospect of the survival of the fittest, mistrust amongst the Mainland Chinese grew, eclipsing all friendship, family, brotherhood and collegial relationship, and became a widely acceptable etiquette even to this day. On the surface, it seems collaboration between comrades would ensure an everlasting ruling party. However, the love for the party outweighs all personal bond when it comes sharing secrets, and whistle blowing deemed an effective remedy against any anomaly inappropriate to the model citizenry. Atheism, brought forth by the Marxist doctrine, not only increase the alienation between neighbors, siblings, relatives and partners but also instinctively approves the notion of being fearless. A fearless mind, infused with greed, disposes all conscience, dignity and remorse to become the ultimate motive of the elite few, given them the self reassurance to exploit the people and its environment to meet their million-dollar agenda.

Taiwan, in contrast, enjoyed a streak of positive developments and a warm integration with the Chinese culture brought forth by the retreating Kuomintang. Although dispute between Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese often arose, a compromise was often reached long before it would escalate into something more serious. To elevate the economy, Chiang Kai-shek's successor, Chiang Ching-kuo, oversaw the construction of the ten most important infrastructures in Taiwan. Thereby propelling Taiwan's economy to an unprecedented growth, surpassing that of post-Cultural Revolution China, to become one of the four economic powerhouse of Asia. Unfortunately, the economic dominance felled apart in the late nineties and further disintegrated during the eight-year tenure of Chen Shui-bian, which saw the growing disparity of firms outsourcing to China, leaving few or no job opportunities behind. This unilateral form of exchange, coupled with inflation, brought economy to a stagnating halt, prompting investors a desperate search of a new leeway to income. Fortunately, the March 22 presidential election opened up a new chapter in Taiwan in the form of both new economy development and reconciliation between the two states across the Taiwan Strait. Economy development, in the form of open tourism for Mainland Chinese, will for sure alleviate the stagnating slowdown. However, with ample restrictions, government sanctions, high cost and a countable number of travel agencies, it is not hard to imagine the main beneficiaries behind this historical partnership.

Being a Taiwanese myself, I sincerely hope that the partnership would progress into a peaceful resolution, benefiting people living on both sides, and stabilizing a region long divided by the different political ideology. Let's hope the warm hospitality native to Taiwan would melt the icy frost of a paranoia Marxist-Leninist China, so one day true democracy may dawn for the people of a unified China.

Peace to all! :)

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