Implementing 'one country, two systems' arrangement with Taiwan a serious challenge: Chinese scholars

Chinese experts concluded experience with Hong Kong could not be directly applied in Taiwan

Chinese scholars met in Shanghai today to discuss the "Taiwan plan."

Chinese scholars met in Shanghai today to discuss the "Taiwan plan." (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Implementing a “one country, two systems” arrangement in Taiwan would be a serious challenge for China, said Chinese scholars at a “Taiwan plan” forum in Shanghai on Wednesday (April 10).

Over 20 experts attended “Xi Jinping’s National Unification Discussion and ‘Two Systems’ Taiwan Plan” conference, convened by the Shanghai Institute for East-Asia Studies and the Hong Kong Cross-Strait Think Tank Association.

The scholars concluded that Beijing’s experience with Hong Kong could not be used to shape its policy towards Taiwan, according to Central News Agency. Prior to the 1997 sovereignty transfer, “one country” was never a problem for Hong Kong, they said, whereas both major political parties in Taiwan insist on sovereignty.

Beijing needs to confront how its “indisputable” sovereignty can, in the face of Taiwan’s existing legal institutions and military, respond to the diverse voices of support for independence in democratic Taiwan, said one scholar. Without a specific plan, they said, implementing “one country, two systems” is a worthless idea.

Bao Chengke (包承柯), a deputy head of the School of Advanced International and Area Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told CNA that since Taiwan universally rejects “one country, two systems,” the committee did not begin any concrete discussions.

Beijing should first trumpet the positive values of the arrangement, Bao said. He suggested that Beijing carry out “one country, two systems” test areas in China, to give citizens a glimpse into how the arrangement could work.

Supermedia Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ji Shouming (紀碩鳴) said unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan has sovereign rights, a constitution, a military, established political procedures and a functioning democracy. Directly applying China’s experience with Hong Kong to “engage in democratic negotiations with people from all walks of life in Taiwan”—as Xi proposed—would be a misstep, he said.

Professor Richard Hu of The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Politics and Public Administration said Beijing’s long-term policy of “oppose independence and promote unification” in Taiwan has so far not helped China.

“These are Xi’s political aspirations, but no specific timeframe or roadmap has been established,” he stressed.

Hu Ling-wei (胡凌煒), deputy director of the Shanghai Institute for East-Asia Studies, said his understanding of Xi’s “one country, two systems” plan for Taiwan is that is has concrete principles but no tangible content.