華爾街日報, MICHAEL TURTON, April 9,2009
在那次的致詞當中，馬先生歌頌要回到「台灣的傳統核心價值，包括仁愛、正義、勤奮、誠實、慷慨、和勤勞。 」乍聽之下還算不錯。但仔細分析可以發現他雖然援引「台灣 」兩字，馬先生實際上是意指儒家的核心價值觀，並把台灣島嶼定位在一個大中華文化潮流的範圍內。
By MICHAEL TURTON | From Wall Street Journal Asia 4/9/2009.
Earlier this month Ma Ying-jeou, the president of Taiwan, presided over a ceremony honoring the Yellow Emperor, the mythical ancestor of all Han Chinese. This event may seem minor at first blush, but it demonstrates a growing trend: The Ma administration is gradually redefining Taiwanese culture as more "Chinese" than Taiwanese. This subtle nod to China's mandarins undercuts Taiwan's unique cultural identity -- and by extension, its very sovereignty.
Chinese culture warrior: Ma Ying-jeou observes Confucius's birthday, Sept. 28, 2005.
.Mr. Ma was elected last year by promising closer economic ties with Beijing, and since then he has succeeded in establishing direct air, cargo and postal links to China. But China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, and some Taiwanese are starting to wonder if Mr. Ma has given up too much, too fast in his quest for better relations.
His embrace of "Chinese" culture, as opposed to Taiwanese culture, is just one example of this. Even in his inaugural address, Mr. Ma raised the idea of a racially based polity, the zhonghua minzu, or "Chinese people," saying that "both sides of the Strait are zhonghua minzu." Mr. Ma's approach thus incorporates all local Taiwanese cultures -- many of which are indigenous to the island and emerged separately from Chinese culture -- into a single "Chinese-ness," downplaying any claims of local uniqueness.
In that address, Mr. Ma lauded a return to "Taiwan's traditional core values of benevolence, righteousness, diligence, honesty, generosity and industriousness." Fair enough. But a closer look shows that while invoking "Taiwan," Mr. Ma was actually indexing core Confucian Chinese values, positioning the island within the greater stream of Chinese culture.
The inaugural address was just the beginning. Over the past year, Mr. Ma has on several occasions participated in ceremonies that show the Chinese-ness of his government by positioning it within the ritual symbolism of a Confucian polity. After the president officiated at the ceremony honoring the Yellow Emperor, a presidential spokesman announced that because worship of the ancestors was important to the Chinese people (zhonghua minzu), the president had decided to personally lead the ceremony -- making him the first Taiwanese president to ever do so.
Similarly, last October Mr. Ma presided over ceremonies for Confucius's birthday. He entered Taipei Confucius Temple through a door traditionally reserved for the emperor, and was greeted with a dance once used to pay homage to the emperor. Through these acts, Mr. Ma invoked Confucius as a symbol of Chinese-ness, not as a new moral order for society.
By engaging in ritual and rhetorical expressions of Chinese-ness, Ma concretely aligns himself with Beijing's increasingly culturally based claim that Taiwan is part of China. These actions are a strong reassurance to officials in Beijing, who watch Mr. Ma's actions closely for any sign that he might stray from the path of annexing Taiwan to China, as well as to the Kuomintang old guard in Taiwan, who also support annexation.
Mr. Ma is not the first Kuomintang leader to do this. The KMT embraced "Chinese-ness" for an entirely different reason: From the 1950s to the 1970s the dictatorial KMT-led regime legitimated its rule over the island by declaring that Taiwan was "Chinese," brutally suppressing local identities. Acceptance of local identities grew after Taiwan's transition to democracy in the 1990s.
Given this history, the claim that the people on both sides of the Strait belong to the zhonghua minzu is clearly colonialist: To say that someone belongs to the zhonghua minzu is to assert that they and their territory are part of the Chinese nation. It is thus common to hear Chinese nationalists define such disparate peoples as Manchus, Tibetans, Mongolians, Uighurs and Taiwanese indigenous peoples as "Chinese" and therefore, inevitably, part of China. To the Chinese, who constantly refer to their "brothers and sisters" across the Strait, this language legitimates China's drive to swallow Taiwan.
Seen from this perspective, Taiwanese are the ultimate Chinese dissidents, not merely asserting democratic values against authoritarianism, but dissenting from the very core of Chinese-ness itself: the fundamental idea that Sinitic peoples must be part of a Chinese polity. The majority of Taiwan's citizens see themselves as Taiwanese. Convincing them otherwise while placating Beijing will be a major challenge for Mr. Ma.
Mr. Turton is a Ph.D. student in international business at Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan.