Peace for Life: People's Security
International Conference on Peace for Life in North East Asia
Korea Christian Faculty Fellowship
15. – 19. May 2005 at Roman Catholic Retreat Center, Uiwang, Korea
People's Security And China's Anti- Secession Law
Prof. HUANG Po Ho
Early this year (March 13, 2005), the people's national congress of the People's Republic of China issued a new law of so call "anti-secession" law, declares it's intention of using non-peaceful means to solve the disputes in between the strait. This action has invited critiques from many countries of the world, and provoked a strong protest of a million people flow to the street in Taipei.
The conflict situations exist in Taiwan Strait, Korean Peninsula, and India/Pakistan rela-tion have been considered the most critical and explosive in Asia and even in the world as well. However, after the "war on terror" India and Pakistan have been both recruited into the camp hosted by the United States, at the same time the North Korea once leveled by Bush Administration as "Axis of Evil" has been entangled into the 6 parties talk. United States has skillfully managed to accommodate all these issues in the plan for its na-tional interests. While the situation surrounding the Taiwan Strait, viewing from the raise of military forces of China, and the frequent verbal threatens of using forces which is back up by its more than 600 missiles targeted Taiwan, remain unpredictable and one of the most worrying issues to the world, particularly to people in Taiwan and the Northeast Asia region.
It's timely adequate for us to meet here to discuss on the issue of Peace for Life in North East Asia in this crucial and challenging period of time in human history when the world war threatens are focus on our region.
An Extension Of The Colonist's Civil War
The story of conflict in between Taiwan Strait bring us back to 1945, when the civil war happened in China between Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Communist Party, which ended up with the defeated KMT fled from China to occupied Taiwan, taking the oppor-tunity of the end of Second World War, that Japan abandoned its right of continuing colo-nization of Taiwan after 50 years since the end of Opium War of 1895. The defeated na-tionalist army carried the so call Republic of China's government to occupied Taiwan with-out seeking consensus from the people in Taiwan, new period of colonization by a brutal massacre of about 40,000 Taiwanese elites in 1947 (called 228 incident), which was fol-lowed with a half century long martial law oppressive domination of the island. The people of Taiwan thus, entangled into the civil war of China without given a reason.
Unfortunately, the Chinese civil war was not restrained domestically to China, the Korean war followed by Vietnam war offered opportunities to the KMT in Taiwan to gain sup-ports from the United States making Taiwan as its military logistic base, thus, prolonged the civil war of China in between the strait. The US policy of containment in the cold war period to the Communist China, considered Taiwan as a junction of its defensive chain in the Pacific Ocean through its military presence in all these countries. The collapse of Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, has moved the world to a stage of globalization of the capitalist system, the capital power of United States under the supports of its advance technologies and military forces, ignited by the "war on terror" project launched by Bush administration, has forcefully dominated the global markets and thus reshaped the world geo-political map. It is however; the tension in between the Taiwan Strait has not been improved but even worsens because of this re-mapping of world geo-political powers. Several facts are considered impacts behind the scene, they are:
The raise of China's economic, political and military powers, which gradually substitutes the American monopoly role of its hegemonic power in the region. Which inevitably threats the interest of United States.
The political development within Taiwan: While the overthrown of the KMT's regime signifies the disengagement if not the end the civil war between Taiwan and China. It was a hope of many Taiwanese people that with the native party of DPP became the ruling party, that the hatred of civil war happened between Communist party and KMT will be dissolved; a peace arrangement may be easier for the two sides of the strait. It is however, unfortunately, that China has shifted its concern of the strait issue from the historical civil war concern to the interest of its territorial expansion to include Taiwan for its confronta-tion with the USA in the pacific.
The US-Japan security treaty to formally include Taiwan as one of its concerns of military alliance has re-enforced the tension between the strait.
Separation vs. Secession
Viewing for these developments, we find that the globalization process which moves both United States and China to the world stage of economic battlefield, has made Taiwan a sandwich in between the two supper giant counties. The nature of the tension surround-ing the Taiwan Strait has shifted from original extension of China's civil war to a contest for dominant role in the region between US and China.
With this change of political interest of China towards Taiwan, that it can regardless its many times denial announcements of any territorial relation of Taiwan to China1, to shift its claim of Taiwan as part of China even though its government has never a single day ex-ercise its ruling authority over Taiwan since it's government was established. Therefore the term of "Secession" is obvious a lie, because Taiwan is de facto an independent country. It never and does not need to struggle for secession from China. Instead hoping to be free from China's claims of domination.
Macro and Micro View of Empires
The development of globalization has its impacts on the geo-political power re-arrangement to centralize the power in the hands of the capitalist countries represented by the United States. Taking the chance of September 11 incident, the Bush administration launched its "war on terror" project, which enhanced the military presence of United States in almost every corner of the world. Ninan Koshy has rightly pointed out that: the War on Terror is about empire building for a "New World Order". We are not longer talking about imperialism in the abstract or merely as an ideology. We have to talk about the building of an American empire physically and territorially.”2
It is true that most of the regional conflicts in the world nowadays, involved interests of United States. From a macro view of the globalize world situation, America becomes a sole supper power empire, manipulating and interfering international issues in every corner of the world. United States as a world incompatible empire is responsible for the peace and security of people in the geo-political power balance. It is however, People's peace and se-curity involved not only this macro view of power conflicts. In fact, sufferings of the peo-ple are caused by different regional and even domestic elements as well. They though may not be totally disconnected with the macro view of the world power conflicts, it cannot ne-glect the more immediate causes that induce to the oppressions and exploitations. For in-stance, the woman's suffering in gender inequality, the ethnic conflicts lead to domestic massacre, or the human right violation by the dictatorial ruling authorities, etc..
Peace Is More Than The Absence Of War
In the case of Taiwan Strait, the United States though enacts a main role responsible for the peace building in between the strait, the China's desire of making territorial claim to its neighbor countries is another fact to suffer people in the other side of the Strait. Be-sides, the former colonial group of KMT though stepped down from its ruling status, en-joyed the democratization results out of the prices of life and freedom of the ruled people, continuing control the media and huge party properties, still able to manipulate its interest groups to exercise its boycott of the political development administrated by the ruling DPP party. After the lost of its ruling power in Taiwan for the second time3, KMT chair-person Lien Chan has decided to turn to Communist China which was its civil war adver-sary, for the revenge and punishment of the people in Taiwan for not accept their con-tinue colonial rule.
The recent visits of China done by the leaders of opposition parties in Taiwan have seemingly reduced significantly the tension in between the Strait. It is however, the sum-mits of these parties' heads were all remnants of the Chinese civil war of 1949, and the trips are considered by the people of Taiwan as the failure colonial rulers to beg the sup-ports from their mother country for extension of their continual dominant position in the colonial land. The world beyond the people in the east side of the strait, may feel relaxant to see the development occurred, yet the peace in the price of justice and people's self-determination is not a true peace. Peace is more than the absence of war. No true peace is possible without justice and people's self-realization of their freedom of being human (Imago Dei). We are not revealed fully yet the results of these interchanges between the heads of parties involved in China's civil war, however, we need to make it clear, there will be no real peace and people's security, if the right of self-determination of the once colonized people of Taiwan are not respected and guaranteed without the threaten of the missiles. We need to watch closely the following development of the interactions be-tween and reactions from all the concern countries and parties involved in the Taiwan Strait issue.
Peace Building And People's Security In North East Asia Region
In the name of peace, all empires try to establish their houses on the highest of the mountain. They draw a line and ask people to flow to its side. With the two empires of China and US, almost without exception, all Asian, even all people in the world are now forced to take side. The impressive Bush's militant attitude towards the world countries after 911 that if not be a friend, be considered an enemy, which is correspondent to China's policy of its world diplomatic relations: "no relation, if related to Taiwan." These forced options posed to people have told us that we are living under the false Messiahs. Peace in this circumstance is established on the base of selfishness and greedy of powers and interests and by means of forces and weapons. It is not a peace for people, but for oppressors and dominants.
Security for the people differs from the security of the oppressors and dominants. While the superpower countries are developing their mass destructive weapons in the name of keeping peace for the world, innocent people are killed mercilessly under their bombs and machine guns. People's security according to the Ecumenical Consultation on Justice, Peace and Security in North East Asia, February 2001, said: "From the perspective of faith, the security of all shall be judged by the shalom security of the poorest, the weakest, the excluded, the subjugated, the minjung. The plumb line of people's security is abun-dant life for the least of those in a global economy affected by extreme poverty, division, injustice, environmental degradation and military hegemony."4 In other words, people's security is based on human rights, gender justice, ecological justice and social solidarity.5
Christian churches in this region, if want to faithfully live out its identity as the body of Christ, have to listen to the voice, even the voiceless voice of people and their hope, and to voice out their cries and agonies through ecumenical solidarity of world churches, par-ticularly the churches in this East Asia region, to build a channel or mechanism to provide a forum so that the hope of peace of the people be heard widely and clearly.
(Adopted at the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress on March 14, 2005)
Article 1 This Law is formulated, in accordance with the Constitution, for the purpose of op-posing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of 'Taiwan independence", promoting peaceful national reunification, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, preserving China's sovereignty and territorial integ-rity, and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.
Article 2 There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division. Safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included. Taiwan is part of China. The state shall never allow the "Taiwan independence" seces-sionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.
Article 3 The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s. Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China's internal af-fair, which subjects to no interference by any outside forces.
Article 4 Accomplishing the great task of reunifying the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Article 5 Upholding the principle of one China is the basis of peaceful reunification of the country. To reunify the country through peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The state shall do its utmost with maximum sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification. After the country is reunified peacefully, Taiwan may practice systems different from those on the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
Article 6 The state shall take the following measures to maintain peace and stability in the Tai-wan Straits and promote cross-Straits relations: to encourage and facilitate personnel exchanges across the Straits for greater mutual understanding and mutual trust; to encourage and facilitate economic exchanges and cooperation, realize direct links of trade, mail and air and shipping services, and bring about closer economic ties between the two sides of the Straits to their mutual benefit; to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits exchanges in education, science, technology, culture, health and sports, and work together to carry forward the proud Chinese cul-tural traditions; to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits cooperation in combating crimes; and to encourage and facilitate other activities that are conducive to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and stronger cross-Straits relations. The state protects the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in accordance with law.
Article 7 The state stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification through consultations and negotiations on an equal footing between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. These consultations and negotiations may be conducted in steps and phases and with flexible and varied modalities. The two sides of the Taiwan Straits may consult and negotiate on the following mat-ters: officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides; mapping out the development of cross-Straits relations; steps and arrangements for peaceful national reunification; the political status of the Taiwan authorities; the Taiwan region's room of international operation that is compatible with its status; and other matters concerning the achievement of peaceful national reunification.
Article 8 In the event that the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that ma-jor incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The State Council and the Central Military Commission shall decide on and execute the non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in the preceding paragraph and shall promptly report to the Standing Committee of the National Peo-ple's Congress.
Article 9 In the event of employing and executing non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in this Law, the state shall exert its utmost to protect the lives, property and other legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan civilians and foreign na-tionals in Taiwan, and to minimize losses. At the same time, the state shall protect the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in other parts of China in accordance with law.
Article 10 This Law shall come into force on the day of its promulgation.
1 China has been many time claiming that it has nothing to do with Taiwan, Ching dynasty did it to encourage the Dutch to occupy Taiwan, even Mao Tzu Tung once encouraged Taiwan to be independent from Japan.
2 Ninan Koshy, A History of the Ecumenical Movement in Asia, vil. 1, ( Hong Kong: CCA, 2004) P. 340
3 The KMT though ruled Taiwan for more than 50 years, was defeated by DPP, a native party after the democratization of Taiwan's political reform, the first time in 2000, and second time 2004.
4 Ninan Koshy, ibid., p. 343