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Cross-strait Relations. ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook 2011 Ch06 cross strait relations

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From the last edition of the ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook that used to be published by the disbanded Government Information Office (GIO).

From the last edition of the ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook that used to be published by the disbanded Government Information Office (GIO).


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  • 1. The signing ceremony concluding the sixth round of cross-strait talks was held in Taipei on December 21, 2010. The 15 formal agreements and one joint statement of understanding produced by the first six rounds of talks have considerably improved cross- strait relations. (Courtesy of the Straits Exchange Foundation)06六校2(indexed). 2.indd 80 2011/10/18 12:22:19 AM
  • 2. 6 Cross-strait Relations At a Glance • SEF-ARATS talks produce trade pact and other agreements • Taiwan, Hong Kong establish cooperation channels • Increasing cross-strait movement of people • New legislation allows mainland Chinese students to study in Taiwan O ver the past six decades, the societies on either side of the Taiwan Strait and relations between them have undergone momentous transformations. In 1949, as a result of civil war on the Chinese mainland, the government of the Republic of China relocated to the island province of Taiwan to advance the ideals on which the Republic was founded. Since then, the two separately governed territories have evolved in different directions politically and economically: The ROC has become a thriving democracy with a well- developed free-market system, while mainland China, though gradually adopting free-market mechanisms, has remained authoritarian. The relationship between the two has changed over the past two dec­ ades from one of estrangement and military confrontation to one char- acterized by extensive people-to-people and economic exchanges and semi-official consultations. While the possibility of armed conflict across the Taiwan Strait remains a matter of international concern, the resumption of institutionalized cross-strait talks in mid-2008 and signing of agreements on a variety of practical issues offer hope that steady progress can be made toward building a framework for advancing mutual trust, peace and prosperity. 8106六校2(indexed). 2.indd 81 2011/10/18 12:22:19 AM
  • 3. 6 Cross-strait Relations Evolving Relationship issue. In 1979—eight years after the ROC was forced to withdraw from the United At the time the Republic of China was Nations and the China seat was transferred founded in 1912, Taiwan was under Japa- to the Beijing government—Beijing’s nese colonial rule as a result of the 1895 policy statements began to stress the use Treaty of Shimonoseki, by which Qing- of “peaceful” means to achieve unifica- dynasty 清朝 China (1644-1912) ceded tion. Taipei 臺北 responded to this with a the island province to Japan. At the end of “three noes” policy—no contact, no ne- World War II in 1945, the ROC govern- gotiation and no compromise. ment declared Taiwan a province of the Beginning in the 1980s, the ROC Republic. Four years later, after fighting a underwent political democratization as civil war with Chinese Communist Party well as economic liberalization. Since the (CCP) rebels, the ROC government led lifting of martial law in 1987, Taipei has by the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuo­ adopted progressively more open policies mintang (KMT) 中國國民黨, relocated to toward Beijing, spurring economic, cul- the island. Since then, the ROC govern- tural and educational exchanges. ment’s effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and the Penghu 澎湖, Kinmen 金門 and Matsu 馬祖 archipelagos, 1988-2000: Lee Teng-hui in addition to a number of smaller islands. Administration Meanwhile, the CCP regime declared In addition to promoting political re- the establishment of “the People’s Re- forms that greatly advanced democracy, public of China,” and the preamble to its the administration of President Lee Teng- constitution asserts that “Taiwan is part hui 李登輝 took steps to put the cross- of the sacred territory of the People’s Re- strait relationship on a realistic footing. In public of China,” implying that the ROC 1990, just as democratization was going has ceased to exist. Many facts, however, into high gear, an advisory panel called demonstrate its continued existence: the National Unification Council 國家統 The ROC government exercises sover- 一委員會 was established under the Office eignty over territories more populous than of the President. In February 1991, the three-quarters of the world’s nations; it council issued the Guidelines for National maintains diplomatic relations with other Unification 國家統一綱領, which affirms countries; and ROC passports are honored a “one-China principle” and outlines a the world over. Moreover, it is consistent- three-phase approach to unification. The ly ranked by global surveys among the first phase calls for the mainland to de- top nations in terms of freedom, human mocratize and carry out economic reform. rights and economic performance. In May of the same year, President Lee announced the termination of the Period of National Mobilization for Sup- 1949-1987: From Mutual Denial pression of the Communist Rebellion 動員 to Initial Opening 戡亂時期, inferring that the ROC govern- During the Cold War, the Taipei-based, ment no longer looked upon the CCP and KMT-led government and the Beijing- its mainland government as seditious or- based, CCP-led government denied each ganizations that must be suppressed, and other’s legitimacy. Each claimed sov- indirectly acknowledging the reality that ereignty over all of China inclusive of the two were on an equal footing. the mainland and Taiwan and attempted In response to the increasing level of or threatened to use force to resolve the exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the 8206六校2(indexed). 2.indd 82 2011/10/18 12:22:19 AM
  • 4. Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council tensions escalated when mainland armed (MAC) 行政院大陸委員會 was founded in forces test-fired missiles into waters off 1991 to serve as the official agency re- the coast of Taiwan. In the run-up to the sponsible for the overall planning, coordi- ROC’s first direct presidential election in nation, evaluation and implementation of March 1996, Beijing intensified military cross-strait policies. At the same time, the exercises in the Taiwan Strait region, once semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation again shooting missiles into Taiwan’s (SEF) 海峽交流基金會 was set up under the coastal waters. direction of the MAC with the mission of In October 1998, the SEF and ARATS negotiating agreements and consulting on resumed talks in Shanghai but made no technical and practical matters with main- progress on substantive issues. In July land authorities. In addition, laws and 1999, Beijing once again suspended talks regulations were enacted or amended to in protest against President Lee’s charac- facilitate economic and cultural interac- terization of cross-strait ties as a “state- tion with the mainland. to-state relationship or at least a special The establishment of the SEF and, state-to-state relationship” during an soon thereafter, its mainland Chinese interview with Deutsche Welle, a German counterpart, the Association for Relations radio station. Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) 海峽兩 In the interview, Lee explained that 岸關係協會, signaled the realization in both this view was based on his belief that a Taipei and Beijing that, despite continuing 1991 amendment to the ROC Constitution mutual non-recognition of each other’s in effect acknowledges the legitimacy of legitimacy, it was imperative to begin the PRC government on the mainland, in interacting on a basis of mutual respect. addition to that of the ROC government The semi-official nature of the SEF and on Taiwan. CCP leaders nevertheless ARATS allows the two governments to claimed that his assertion of the existence negotiate practical issues without affirm- of “two Chinas” was tantamount to a dec- ing the sovereign status of the other side. laration of “Taiwan independence.” In October 1992, the SEF and ARATS Despite the failure of cross-strait talks held preparatory talks in Hong Kong— to steadily build on the initial successes the first time authorized representatives of of 1992 and 1993, the ROC government the Taipei and Beijing governments had gradually eased restrictions on the move- done so. There, they reached an informal, ment of people, goods, capital and tech- oral consensus that their talks were prem­ nology from Taiwan to mainland China. ised on the assumption that there exists It shared with the governments of other only one China, inclusive of the mainland democratic nations the belief that promot- and Taiwan, while agreeing to differ on ing prosperity in mainland China would its precise political definition. This “1992 encourage democratic development there, consensus” served as the basis for historic which would facilitate the peaceful reso- first agreements on practical issues such lution of cross-strait disputes. as exchange of mail, signed in Singapore in April 1993. To protest the United States’ deci- 2000-2008: Chen Shui-bian sion to allow President Lee to visit the Administration country in June 1995, the mainland in- In 2000, Chen Shui-bian 陳水扁 of the definitely postponed further SEF-ARATS Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 民主 negotiations that had been scheduled for 進步黨 was elected president and was re- July 1995 in Beijing. That same month, elected in 2004. The DPP-led government 8306六校2(indexed). 2.indd 83 2011/10/18 12:22:20 AM
  • 5. 6 Cross-strait Relations refused to affirm the exist­ nce of a “one e China” or the desirability of pursuing uni- Beijing rejected calls for resumption of dialogue, however, insisting that this fication. It insisted that although any form would be possible only if the Chen ad- of future relationship, including various ministration affirmed that Taiwan and the modes of integration, could be discussed, mainland constitute a single China and no advance agreement on any specific fu- must eventually be unified. It has advocat- ture relationship could be a precondition ed a “one country, two systems” formula for conducting talks. whereby territories under the governance In his first inaugural address, however, of the ROC will, like Hong Kong and President Chen pledged not to initiate any Macau, become a “special administra- move—such as pushing to adopt a new tive region” under Beijing’s jurisdiction. official name for the nation—that might Opinion polls in Taiwan, however, have be interpreted as altering the status quo. consistently shown that the vast majority On several occasions, he urged Beijing of its people reject such an arrangement. to cooperate in establishing a “peace and In the face of the impasse in negoti- stability framework.” ating the establishment of direct links, The Chen administration took a num- President Chen early in his first term uni- ber of further measures that demonstrated laterally approved the opening of direct Taiwan’s good will. These included relaxing seaborne passenger transportation for restrictions on imports from the mainland, ROC citizens on ROC-registered boats mainland-bound investment, and the func- between the Kinmen and Matsu islands tions and scope of offshore shipping centers. and a number of mainland seaports. With In addition, the Chen administration no objection forthcoming from Beijing, began permitting journalists from the this arrangement—known as the “mini mainland to visit Taiwan (although it later three links” 小三通 although it did not in- withdrew this privilege); opened Taiwan volve postal or commercial transactions— to visits by people of the mainland who began on January 1, 2001. lived in, or first traveled to, a third coun- Refusing to renounce the use of armed try; and took steps to negotiate cross- force to assert its claim of sovereignty strait charter flights for ROC citizens over Taiwan, the Beijing authorities con- during holidays and for humanitarian tinued to expand military deployments purposes. Further, Taiwan-based financial opposite Taiwan throughout the eight institutions were authorized to open liai- years of the Chen administration. By mid- son offices in the mainland. 2008, the number of missiles targeted at At the time, cross-strait shipping and Taiwan had increased to over 1,000, and movement of people from Taiwan to the large-scale military exercises simulating mainland had to make inconvenient, ex- attacks on Taiwan continued to be held pensive detours through Hong Kong or annually. Meanwhile, Beijing maneu- third countries. With booming growth in vered to block Taipei’s participation in cross-strait trade and visits of Taiwanese international forums and to hinder its dip- businesspeople and tourists to the main- lomatic endeavors. land, the Chen administration often ex- On March 14, 2005, the National pressed hope that cross-strait negotiations People’s Congress in Beijing enacted an could resume, with a priority on signing “anti-secession law,” which authorizes the agreements to open up “three links” People’s Liberation Army to use “non- 三通—direct transportation of people and peaceful means” to achieve cross-strait goods as well as direct postal service and unification should Taiwan’s people attempt commercial transactions. to “secede” from the People’s Republic. 8406六校2(indexed). 2.indd 84 2011/10/18 12:22:20 AM
  • 6. Oceania, one of the first mainland- operated vessels to engage in direct cross-strait shipping, arrives at the Port of Kaohsiung on December 18, 2008. In response, President Chen issued a six- In President Ma’s inaugural address, point statement, stressing that Taiwan’s he enunciated the imperative of main- sovereignty belongs only to its 23 million taining the status quo during his term of people, and that any law calling for viola- office under the framework of the ROC tion of the basic rights and interests of oth- Constitution. This means no unifica- ers was a setback for human civilization. tion talks with the mainland, no pursuit A year later, in February 2006, Presi- of Taiwan independence and no use of dent Chen declared that the Guidelines force to settle sovereignty issues. In the for National Unification had “ceased to address, he also called upon the two gov- apply” because they had been drawn up ernments to “face reality, pioneer a new by an ad hoc presidential commission in future, shelve disputes and pursue win- the days before citizens had the right to win solutions,” thereby enabling them to elect their leader and make their voices strike a mutually beneficial balance as effectively heard. Additionally, the fram- they pursue their respective interests. ers of the guidelines had premised them Immediately after taking office, the on a “one-China principle” and the pre- new administration moved to reactivate sumption of eventual unification without institutionalized SEF-ARATS negotia- consulting the people of Taiwan. tions that had been in hiatus for a decade. The historic first round of talks, held in 2008-Present: Ma Ying-jeou June 2008 in Beijing, produced the first Administration cross-strait agreements in 15 years. The After decades of tension, relations second round held five months later in between Taiwan and mainland China have Taipei was also historic as it marked the warmed since President Ma Ying-jeou took first time a mainland Chinese negotiating office in May 2008. The administration team had come to Taiwan. has implemented initiatives to create con- As of December 2010, six rounds of ditions conducive to promoting regional talks had been held, producing 15 for- peace, stability and prosperity on the basis mal agreements and one joint statement of the aforementioned “1992 consensus.” of understanding (see box “Cross-strait 8506六校2(indexed). 2.indd 85 2011/10/18 12:22:21 AM
  • 7. 6 Cross-strait Relations Talks and Agreement Topics”). This has difficult ones to ensure that development helped reduce cross-strait tensions and of cross-strait exchanges and interactions enhance prospects for lasting regional can steadily progress based on a solid peace and prosperity. institutional foundation. The agreements address the economic Believing that greater harmony be- interests and general welfare of people tween the two sides should bring the ROC on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and greater freedom to participate in interna- do not touch on sovereignty issues. This tional affairs, the Ma administration has conforms with President Ma’s stated prin- given attention to creating more opportu- ciples of putting economics before poli- nities for cross-strait cooperation in the tics, pressing matters before less pressing international community (see Chapter 5, ones, and easily resolved issues before “Foreign Relations”). Cross-strait Talks and Agreement Topics First round, June 12, 2008 (Beijing) •• Cross-strait charter flights (commenced July 4, 2008) •• Direct travel of mainland tourists to Taiwan (started July 18, 2008) Second round, November 4, 2008 (Taipei) •• Direct cross-strait maritime shipping •• Direct cross-strait postal service •• Mechanism for consultation on food safety •• Expansion of charter flights Third Round, April 26, 2009 (Nanjing) •• Regular, scheduled cross-strait passenger and cargo flights (flights increased from 108 to 270 per week) •• Financial cooperation in: - Supervision of banking, securities and futures, and insurance industries (three subsequent MOUs were signed November 15 and came into effect January 16, 2010) - Currency management (authorization of financial institutions to engage in currency exchange, supply and backflow; cooperation in combating counterfeiting; future establishment of currency clearing mechanism) •• Mechanism for judicial mutual assistance and combating crime In addition, a joint statement of understanding on measures to allow mainland investment in Taiwan was released. Fourth Round, December 22, 2009 (Taichung) •• Agricultural product inspection, quarantine procedures •• Product quality standards (metrology, testing, certification, accreditation) •• Labor standards, rules regarding fishing boat crews Fifth Round, June 29, 2010 (Chongqing) •• Liberalization, facilitation of cross-strait trade in goods, services (Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA) •• Intellectual property rights protection, cooperation Sixth Round, December 21, 2010 (Taipei) •• Medical, health cooperation: control of communicable diseases; medical and pharmaceutical R&D, safety management; emergency treatment of each other’s citizens 8606六校2(indexed). 2.indd 86 2011/10/18 12:22:21 AM
  • 8. Meanwhile, in mid-2010, Taiwan and in 1988 to 5.1 million in 2010. Over that mainland China’s Hong Kong Special period, ROC citizens made a total of Administrative Region established the 61 million visits to the mainland, while Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultur- mainland Chinese made 4.8 million visits al Co-operation Council (THEC) 臺港經濟 to Taiwan. 文化合作策進會 and the Hong Kong-Taiwan From July 18, 2008, when tourists Economic and Cultural Co-operation and from mainland China were first allowed Promotion Council (ECCPC) 港臺經濟 to travel directly to Taiwan, to the end 文化合作協進會 as platforms for fostering of April 2011, they made 2.24 million closer economic and cultural ties. visits. Arrivals on average topped 3,000 In June 2010, MAC Minister Lai per day in 2010, reaching the target set in Shin-yuan 賴幸媛 became the first MAC the Cross-Strait Agreement Concerning chief to visit Hong Kong. Two months Mainland Tourists Traveling to Taiwan 海 峽兩岸關於大陸居民赴臺灣旅遊協議 , signed thereafter, Hong Kong Financial Secre- in June 2008. The daily quota for inbound tary John C. Tsang 曾俊華 led an ECCPC tourists from mainland China was lifted delegation to Taiwan for its first meeting to 4,000, starting on January 1, 2011. with the THEC. During the meeting, the The ROC’s semi-official Taiwan Strait two sides reached broad consensuses on Tourism Association (TSTA) 臺灣海峽兩岸 mechanisms for further exchanges, areas 觀光旅遊協會 opened an office in Beijing of cooperation and specific objectives. on May 4, 2010. Its primary mission is to As a result, in July 2011, the ROC expand channels of communication and representative office in Hong Kong, for- cooperation with government agencies, merly called the Chung Hwa Travel Serv­ private companies, media organizations ice 中華旅行社, was renamed the Taipei and Taiwanese business associations Economic and Cultural Office in Hong on the mainland. It researches market Kong, reflecting an enhancement of its demand in mainland China and cooper- functional status and its ROC personnel’s ates with local travel agencies to develop diplomatic privileges. That same month, quality tourism products to be promoted for the same reasons, the name of the through seminars and trade shows. Fur- ROC representative office in Macau was ther, the association invites mainland changed from the Taipei Economic and travel agents and media representatives to Cultural Center to the Taipei Economic Taiwan to get a firsthand understanding and Cultural Office in Macau. Further, the of its diverse offerings. governments of Hong Kong and Macau Meanwhile, the TSTA’s mainland Chi- have been granted permission to open nese counterpart, the Cross-Strait Tourism representative offices in Taipei. Exchange Association 海峽兩岸旅遊交流協 會, opened an office in Taipei on May 7, Cross-strait Movement 2010. The two openings marked the first exchange of semi-official offices between of People the two sides of the Taiwan Strait since Cross-strait movement of people has they became separately governed six dec­ increased rapidly since the ROC govern- ades ago. ment began allowing private visits to Until recently, only groups, not indi- mainland China in 1987. The number viduals, were allowed to travel directly of visits made by ROC citizens to the from mainland China to Taiwan for mainland (including Hong Kong and tourism. Starting June 22, 2011, Taiwan Macau) each year grew from 437,000 opened its doors to independent tourists 8706六校2(indexed). 2.indd 87 2011/10/18 12:22:22 AM
  • 9. 6 Cross-strait Relations from three mainland cities—Shanghai, ECFA “early harvest list”; and to launch Beijing and Xiamen 廈門. Initially, the three sets of negotiations on trade in goods, daily arrival quota has been set at 500 trade in services and dispute settlement. people, with a maximum stay per visit of As with the other cross-strait agree- 15 days. ments discussed above, the ECFA’s in- tangible benefits are as important as its Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation practical ones: Development of mutually Framework Agreement beneficial economic relations across the Taiwan Strait can be an impetus for sus- Signed by the SEF and ARATS on tained peace. June 29, 2010, the Cross-Straits Econom- ic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) 海峽兩岸經濟合作架構協議 was rati- Other Developments fied by the Legislative Yuan (Legislature) in August 2010 and came into force in the In addition to the negotiation of following month. agreements, since May 2008 central and The primary aim of the ECFA is to fa- local governments have implemented a cilitate systematization and liberalization number of measures to improve cross- of trade and economic relations across the strait interactions. Taiwan Strait. It calls for the progressive On the economic front, the regula- elimination or reduction of tariffs on most tory cap on Taiwan-based companies’ goods as well as the opening of the serv­ investments in mainland China has been ice sector to investment and competition. raised from 40 percent to 60 percent of For its part, Taiwan also looks forward to their net worth. Further, a number of utilizing the pact to strengthen its position new regulations have been promulgated in the Asia-Pacific economy. in line with the April 2009 joint state- Goods and services that have already ment on allowing mainland investment benefited from such liberalization are in Taiwan. From July 2009 to February enumerated in the agreement’s “early 2011, the Investment Commission under harvest” lists. As of mid-2011, the list the Ministry of Economic Affairs 經濟 of goods comprised 267 mainland- 部投資審議委員會 approved 120 mainland produced items and 539 Taiwan-produced applications for investment in Taiwan items. The list of services included, on worth US$138.74 million. the Taiwan side, banking and eight non- Meanwhile, various other measures financial sectors. On the mainland side, it have advanced people-to-people ex- included banking, insurance and securi- changes. ROC government prohibitions ties as well as eight non-financial sectors. on visits of its high-level officials to In accordance with the ECFA, the the mainland have been relaxed, while two sides’ negotiating teams on Janu- central- and local-government agencies ary 6, 2011 established the Cross-Strait are now permitted to invite mainland offi- Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) cials to visit Taiwan. And amendments to 兩岸經濟合作委員會, which held its first reg- the Act Governing Relations between the ular meeting in February. At the meeting, People of the Taiwan Area and the Main- the two parties agreed to set up six work- land Area 臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例 ing groups responsible for consultations have strengthened mainland spouses’ em- on trade in goods and services, investment, ployment and inheritance rights, and have dispute settlement, industrial cooperation reduced the waiting period for acquiring and customs cooperation; to review the ROC identity cards to six years. 8806六校2(indexed). 2.indd 88 2011/10/18 12:22:22 AM
  • 10. In the area of media exchanges, the helping people in Taiwan get a better un- mainland’s Xinhua News Agency 新華社, derstanding of the mainland. People’s Daily 人民日報 and five mainland local media are allowed to post permanent correspondents in Taiwan. Additionally, Looking Forward mainland reporters now enjoy streamlined Over the three-plus years since Presi- application procedures and are allowed dent Ma called on the two sides of the to visit for up to three months at a time, Taiwan Strait to seize opportunities to extendable for a further three months if advance peace and prosperity, cross-strait necessary. Meanwhile, the number of vis- tensions have eased. The tone of Taiwan- iting reporters permitted for each media mainland relations has shifted from con- organization has increased to five. All frontation to cooperation, from conflict mainland correspondents are free to travel to conciliation—a development widely to any location in Taiwan without having applauded in the international community to give prior notice. as conducive to peace and stability in the In the academic sphere, restrictions Asia-Pacific region. on students from mainland China wish- With ongoing talks on further agree- ing to pursue higher education in Taiwan ments, economic and cultural ties be- have been relaxed and their diplomas tween Taiwan and mainland China can be are now recognized. To facilitate their expected to steadily mature, with hopes enrollment in Taiwan’s universities, in for creating a “golden decade” of pros- August 2010 the Legislative Yuan enact- perity for Taiwan as it integrates more ed amendments to three laws concerning closely with the regional economy. Be- mainland Chinese students—the Act cause the mainland’s military buildup has Governing Relations between the People continued unabated, however, Taiwan will of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland continue to make necessary upgrades to Area, the University Act 大學法 and the its defense capabilities. Junior College Act 專科學校法. The Min- In view of the impossibility of resolv- istry of Education has mapped out prin- ing cross-strait issues overnight, the ROC ciples and implementation guidelines government will endeavor to maintain the concerning the admission of mainland status quo while cultivating harmonious Chinese students, who are expected to relations step by step through negotia- begin studies at universities in Taiwan as tion and cooperation. The development early as September 2011. of common values is also an essential It is hoped that these and other meas­ ingredient in cross-strait relations, as the ures to promote people-to-people exchang- prospects of peaceful interaction will es will enable the residents of mainland be greatly enhanced if mainland China China to understand Taiwan’s free and moves in the direction of greater freedom democratic society while at the same time and democracy. • Mainland Affairs Council: http://www.mac.gov.tw Related • Straits Exchange Foundation (Chinese only): http://www.sef.org.tw Websites 8906六校2(indexed). 2.indd 89 2011/10/18 12:22:23 AM