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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 15:26, July 09, 2004
A rational approach to cross-Strait relations: Commentary
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A concert for Taiwan pop singer Zhang Hui-mei will be held as scheduled in Beijing on July 31. Hearing the news many people across the Taiwan Straits, be they the concert fans or not, all heaved a deep sigh of relief.

Recently, there have been bubbling with talks about the matter between the two sides--mainland netizens criticized certain Taiwan artists by name for supporting "Taiwan independence "; while on the side of Taiwan, a person claimed that his TV station would not show mainland TV dramas after he took over the station; a US report incited the island to explore possibility of taking the Three Gorges dam as the target of military attack, while net surfers on the mainland stood for targeting the island's nuclear power stations in retaliation.

There is no lack of passion in these statements, which, however, are indeed void of reason.

Similar talks are actually longstanding, only that they are expressed loudly and in a concentrated way these days. True, in some aspect these remarks are understandable when the fact-- mainland netizens are longing for reunification and bitterly hating acts for "Taiwan independence "--is taken into account. Some Taiwan compatriots, instigated by certain axe-grinders, failed to consider the far-reaching influence of their speech.

However, if a person, no matter which side of the Straits he is in, lacks a reasonable attitude, then his words and deeds, even if they are based on proper intention, may possibly cause the void-of-mutual trust cross-Strait relations to derail and run out of control.

Owing to historical reasons, the cross-Strait relations are intricate and complex, and compatriots of the two sides, though with the same ancestry and root and the same language and culture, have formed many discrepancies and differences between them after 50 years of estrangement. Reunification is, in essence, integration and diffusion of discrepancies and differences. To achieve this, what is most needed is rational communication and exchange, and what is most detrimental is misunderstanding and harming each other.

Emotional indignation would usually deepen misunderstanding. When attacking each other, people easily fail to distinguish between real and false and thus give rise to misunderstanding and misjudgment. When people's emotion swells, they are liable to talk impertinently and thus hurt each other's feelings, bringing about a qualitative change from the accumulation of quantitative change. .

Wisdom is needed for maintaining rationality, even if one can't achieve farsightedness and commanding height, one should try to have a clear view of each other's objectives and interests, and must not balk at past right and wrong. To borrow an economic term, past grievances are "sunk cost " which has been paid and can't be retrieved. Squabbling over past grievances can only lead to more payment of such cost.

A broad mind is also needed for the maintenance of reason. Take so-called "Taiwan independence " artists for example. Artists are not political figures, what we appreciate is their singing, even if they have their own political beliefs, we should all the same respect their talent as long as they don't speak or act against the principle of national reunification.

Willing or not, the status quo of the cross-Strait relationship is a reality that must be faced by people of both sides. Currently, the most beneficial thing to do is to talk more about the "three links ", about deepening understanding and eliminating misunderstanding, about how to promote cross-Strait economic and trading cooperation to achieve "win, win " results, and enhance understanding through communication and exchange.

By People's Daily Online

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