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Talk of the Day -- Vogel: Taiwan's democracy inspiring for China

2012/06/15 23:01:45

Ezra F. Vogel, a professor emeritus at Harvard, has said in interviews with local reporters that Taiwan's democracy is inspiring for China and can serve as a model for China's democratic development even though Beijing leaders would not publicly admit it.

Vogel, who is currently in Taipei in conjunction with the release of the Chinese edition of his new book "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China," have also speculated that if Deng were still alive, he might coin a new term to replace the so-called "one country, two systems" formula that China has initiated as a strategy to unify Taiwan.

As most Taiwanese people do not accept Beijing's "one country, two systems" unification overture, Vogel said, Deng might invent a new term to epitomize China's policy toward Taiwan if he were alive.

After all, Vogel said, Deng was a pragmatic man who supposedly would not mind using another term more appealing to Taiwanese so long as it would not undermine China's ultimate goal of taking over Taiwan.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of Vogel's comments on future developments in cross-Taiwan Strait relations:

United Daily News:

Vogel, now in his 80s, has spent over 10 years writing the new biography of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping since he retired from Harvard in 2000.

The release of Chinese edition of the book on June 1 by Taipei-based Commonwealth Publishing Group has drawn interest and concern of local scholars versed in China's historical, political and economic developments.

In an interview with this paper on Thursday, Vogel said that even though cross-strait exchanges have focused on economic issues in the past few years, the dialogue platform between Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang and China's ruling Communist Party has played an important role in bilateral engagements.

Such a phenomenon indicates that the two sides have maintained a certain degree of political contact, Vogel said.

He further said that peace in the Taiwan Strait over the past few years has given him optimism about future prospects for cross- strait ties.

Asked about the possible impact of Taiwan's democratic experience on China's future development, Vogel said more Chinese people should be allowed to visit Taiwan to see for themselves the vitality of democratic operations here.

Acknowledging that Taiwan's democracy can serve as a model for China's democratization, Vogel said it would take time for China to move toward that goal.

After all, he said, China is a big country. Any reform or new measure can only be experimented in certain selected areas at the beginning and the process may take enormous time to mature or complete, Vogel added. (June 15, 2012).

China Times:

Vogel has made extensive research and interviews for writing Deng's biography. According to his study and observation, Vogel said, Deng desired "very much" to unify Taiwan during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, Vogel said, Deng would not pursue the unification goal in a rash or reckless manner.

In his view, Vogel said, Deng tended to mull issues from a broad perspective.

He also predicted that China's future leaders would follow Deng's policy guidelines in engagement with Taiwan.

So long as Taiwan does not pursue de jure independence, the current peaceful status quo would continue in the years to come, he forecast. (June 15, 2012).

(By Sofia Wu)