This article looks at Taiwan’s status from the perspective of world peace. It might be the case that Zhongnanhai has never examined Taiwan’s role from this angle in its most internal and confidential conversations over the past 70 years. If even Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping never imagined that Taiwan would play a role that has a direct bearing on China’s life and death today, it would be even more unlikely for the small circle of people who took orders from them to have had such an insight.
That said, this article must be written, since there are still some people in the vast People’s Republic of China who have a realistic understanding of the global situation. They may not be inside the corridors of power, but if history develops in such a way that they become the central figures one day, they will need an alternative solution that has never been heard of. In a nutshell, Zhongnanhai should come to the realization of Taiwan’s status. If it doesn’t, the world will thrust this understanding on it.
This article is titled “the last warning” because there is still one last chance. The window of opportunity might go in a flash, and afterwards one can only cry over spilled milk.
We must first talk about the global situation before focusing on Taiwan. The global situation can be summarized as follows: human civilization is undergoing a paradigm shift unseen for thousands of years. From the Industrial Revolution, capitalism to Marxism-Leninism, every order in human societies that you can name will become the remnants of history in 50 years, or merely 20 years.
Even those concepts such as “the continuation of one-party dictatorship,” “China having the highest GDP worldwide,” “the domination of the world” and “the unification of China” which linger on the minds of Zhongnanhai (of the CCP) are nothing but castles built on sand. When the waves come, they lose their foundations. Make no mistake – this also applies to the US. What is being discussed is about the state of humankind as a whole, including the American people. However, while people in Europe and in the US are allowed to talk and think about this overriding trend, China does not allow its people to ponder upon the issue. Thus, the danger is on China’s side while time is not. Once the paradigm is reversed, the hierarchical structure of power in China will bear the brunt. All countries will lose by then. However, the country that loses first will be subjugated, while the nation that is the last to lose will rule the roost.
The overriding trends leading to this paradigm shift include at least three aspects: first, the battle between “centralization” and “decentralization”; second, the struggle between globalism and national autonomy; third, the wrestling between a “Westphalian absolute sovereignty system” and a “post-Westphalian sovereignty” since 1648.
This paradigm shift of the global order has been going on for some time. The system of federal decentralization in the US is an innovative backlash against absolute sovereignty in ancient Europe. The supra-sovereignty in the European Union of 27 nations has also come into existence as a lesson learned from the concept of absolute sovereignty. From the rise of multinational corporations after World War II, the connection of international finance, the formulation of the Public Aviation Law and the Public Maritime Law to the unification of accounting principles, these trends all point to one thing: any country which faces the world with an ideology of “absolute sovereignty” is against the historical trend, let alone a one-party system that thinks it can violate any convention simply with the phrase “since time immemorial”.
The chaos of the 2020 US election has sent a message to humankind: even the US, which has a federal power-sharing system, is unable to meet the call for decentralization in the new era with its traditional mechanism. The discord within the EU also reveals the fact that its member states are uncomfortable with the “decentralization of power.”
Insistence on power centralization is the road to hell
In recent years, the new generations have risen against globalism in different countries. They are not angry at the phenomenon of supranationalism itself. They detest corporations or organizations that are supra-national in name but centralized in reality. Just think about why it is not multinational companies with a “local” nature, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and IKEA, that have aroused the anxiety of the countries, but multinational companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. Is it not because of their nature of “data centralization”? Furthermore, why is it that Apple, which is also a multinational technological giant, has escaped the animosity of people around the world simply by emphasizing the “protection of data privacy”?
The above phenomena and cases all point to the golden rule of the next wave of human civilization: all countries, institutions or cultures that insist on “power consolidation” and “centralization” are on the road to hell. “Absolute sovereignty” is the quintessential, extreme example of this.
Zhongnanhai is doing exactly that. Had it not been for the idea of “absolute sovereignty”, would Beijing encounter such resistance in the entire South China Sea? Had it not been for the ridiculous rhetoric of “since time immemorial”, would Taiwan’s independent status in the international area be increasing day by day? Had it not been for “absolute centralization”, would it be necessary for China to spend more on maintaining social stability than on the military? If China did not intend to “centralize technological export”, would Huawei be classified as a military enterprise?
As early as 2015, I, in my book titled “A conversation with Xi Jinping on Taiwan and China”, warned Zhongnanhai that the only way to solve the dilemma is to go with the trend of humanity and give up the concept of “absolute sovereignty”. There will be greater room for solving other issues only if Xi accepts Taiwan’s neutralized international status from the perspective of global peace.
Over the past six years, a series of “absolute sovereignty” actions - from the South China Sea, Hong Kong, “one party, one voice”, the micro-management of Xinjiang, wolf warrior diplomacy to the use of force to intimidate Taiwan - has shown that Zhongnanhai is set on the road to the dead end. The CCP has 98 million members, but who has the courage to tell the truth? If Zhongnanhai wants to avoid the repetition of its “Empress Dowager Cixi”, it must change course within two years. My words to the CCP: you have been warned.
(Fan Chou is a Taiwanese writer and entrepreneur.)
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