The BBC reports on Taiwanese opposition leader Lien Chan's trip to China:
"Peace is no longer pie in the sky," Lien Chan told reporters.It's controversial because Lien is undermining Taiwan's chance for true independence, as well as the position of its elected leader, President Chen Shui-bian, who is getting the cold shoulder from China:
He was speaking in Shanghai, where he was meeting business leaders on the last leg of his controversial visit.
Despite some ideological differences, the Chinese are closer to Mr Lien's Nationalist Kuomintang Party than they are to Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).The BBC says Lien's Kuomintang (KMT) party favors eventual reunification of Taiwan and China, "so long as China is by then democratic." But it's not clear why Lien thinks China will become democratic any time soon. Its current proposal is to govern Taiwan under the same sort of "one country, two systems" approach it used to squelch democracy in Hong Kong a year ago. As Radio Free Asia reported in April 2004:
China has so far refused to negotiate with Mr Chen until he signs up to the one-China policy - acknowledging that Taiwan is part of China.
China has ruled out full and direct democratic elections for Hong Kong's legislature in 2008 and for the Chief Executive in 2007, prompting fears that the territory's promises of a "high degree of autonomy" are fast being eroded, RFA's Mandarin and Cantonese services report.Yet despite the cautionary example of Hong Kong, Lien is all too happy to cozy up to China, appearing to trust its promises of virtual autonomy for Taiwan, even as it threatens the island with a grauitously hostile "anti-secession law". It's difficult to see him as anything but a traitor, a coward, or a fool.
The Standing Committee of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), issued a ruling saying that universal suffrage wouldn't be used to elect Hong Kong's chief executive in 2007 or the territory's legislature a year later, effectively postponing any consideration of full and direct elections until 2012.
"Universal suffrage is not a free lunch," NPC Standing Committee deputy secretary-general Qiao Xiaoyang told a meeting with Hong Kong legislators when the decision was announced. "It is far more courageous to say, with an eye on Hong Kong's actual situation and long-term interests, that there should not be direct universal elections in 2007 and 2008."