Eric Chu’s vision for One China

This story from yesterday’s Liberty Times hasn’t gotten much coverage, but I think it is tremendously revealing.

In July 2000, Eric Chu was a first-term legislator. In an interpolation session with Premier Tang Fei, Chu asked about cross-strait relations. Tang replied that the mainland insisted that anything could be discussed except for the One China principle, so everything was tangled up around the One China question.

I will translate the portion of the article detailing Chu’s response:

“The most ridiculous thing at present is that everyone is stuck on the non-existent One Chine question,” Chu said. He continued with a simple English statement, “There will be one China.” He elaborated in Chinese, “This is the goal we are pursuing. This China could be a new China or a future China.”

Chu stressed that, if both sides had this sort of understanding, if our side asked the other side to give up its position that One China is the PRC and then we also gave up are position that One China is the ROC, if cross-straits relations developed along these lines, understanding that the present is ROC vs. PRC, we could creatively resolve the problem of a future One China.

Concerning a future One China, Chu explained maybe they could start with a virtual One China, and maybe one day they could move toward an actual One China.

Interpolations are as much about the legislator having a chance to express his own opinion as asking what a government minister thinks. Chu did not have to address this topic. He could have asked about taxes or roads or stayed home sick. He chose to bring up cross-strait relations, and he used the opportunity to give a clear statement of his preferences. This certainly does not sound like anyone who is hiding sympathies for Taiwan independence. It sounds much more like someone from the orthodox Chinese KMT wing of the party. Never mind Taiwan independence, Chu wasn’t even particularly interested in the sovereignty of the ROC. As he saw it, the ROC was merely a shell that could be discarded as necessary in the interests of the greater – and inevitable – goal of Chinese unity.

Strategically, I’m a bit surprised by how this story is being used. My guess is that some DPP legislative aid dug it up, and his or her boss decided to slip it to a reporter now. I would have thought they would sit on something like this to use to greater effect at a more sensitive time. I guess this means they are convinced that Chu really is not running for president.

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