III. The Chinese Government's Basic Position
Regarding Settlement of the Taiwan Question
To settle the Taiwan question and achieve national reunification -- this is a sacrosanct mission of the entire Chinese people. The Chinese Government has persistently worked towards this end since the founding of the People's Republic. Its basic position on this question is: peaceful reunification; one country, two systems.
Peaceful reunification; one country, two systems -- how has this position been formulated? The Chinese Government conceived a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question as early as in the 1950s. In May 1955 the late Premier Zhou Enlai said at a NPC Standing Committee meeting that two alternatives were open to the Chinese people for the solution of the Taiwan question -- by resort to war or by peaceful means. The Chinese people would strive for a peaceful solution wherever possible, he affirmed. In April 1956 the late Chairman Mao Zedong put forward thoughts for policymaking such as "peace is the best option", "all patriots are of one family" and "it is never too late to join the ranks of patriots". However, those wishes have not come to fruition for reasons such as interference by foreign forces.
Major changes took place in and outside China in the 1970s. Diplomatic ties were established and relations normalized between China and the United States. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to shift the focus of the work of the Party and the State to the economic modernization programme. In the meantime, people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, compatriots of Hong Kong and Macao as well as overseas Chinese and people of Chinese descent all expressed their fervent hope that the two sides of the Straits would join hands to work for a resurgence of China. It was against this historical background that the Chinese Government formulated the position of "peaceful reunification; one country, two systems". The position takes the overall national interests and the future of the country into consideration. It respects history as well as the prevailing situation. It is realistic and takes care of the interests of all.
On 1 January 1979 the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China issued a message to compatriots in Taiwan, pronouncing the Chinese Government's basic position regarding peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question. It called for the holding of talks between the two sides of the Straits to seek an end to the military confrontation. It pledged that in the pursuit of national reunification, the Government "will respect the status quo on Taiwan and the views of people of all walks of life there and adopt reasonable policies and measures".
In a statement on 30 September 1981 the late Chairman Ye Jianying of the NPC Standing Committee further elaborated the policy and principles for the settlement of the Taiwan question. He affirmed that "after the country is reunified, Taiwan can enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region" and proposed that talks be held on an equal footing between the ruling Parties on each side of the Straits, namely, the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang.
Referring to Ye Jianying's remarks, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping pointed out on 11 January 1982 that this in effect meant "one country, two systems", i.e., on the premise of national reunification, the main body of the nation would continue with its socialist system while Taiwan could maintain capitalism.
On 26 June 1983 Deng Xiaoping further enunciated the concept of peaceful reunification, stressing that the crucial point was national reunification. He went on to expound the Government's policy on reunification and on the creation of a Taiwan special administrative region.
On 12 October 1992 General Secretary Jiang Zemin of the CPC Central Committee pointed out: "We shall work steadfastly for the great cause, adhering to the principles of peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems' ... ... We reiterate that the Chinese Communist Party is ready to establish contact with the Chinese Kuomintang at the earliest possible date to create conditions for talks on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and gradually realizing peaceful reunification. Representatives from other parties, mass organizations and all circles on both sides of the Taiwan Straits could be invited to join in such talks."
Basic Contents of "peaceful reunification; one country, two systems". This position is an important component of the theory and practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and a fundamental state policy of the Chinese Government which will not change for a long time to come. Its basic contents are as follows:
1. Only one China. There is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and the seat of China's central government is in Beijing. This is a universally recognized fact as well as the premise for a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question.
The Chinese Government is firmly against any words or deeds designed to split China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It opposes "two Chinas", "one China, one Taiwan", "one country, two governments" or any attempt or act that could lead to "independence of Taiwan". The Chinese people on both sides of the Straits all believe that there is only one China and espouse national reunification. Taiwan's status as an inalienable part of China has been determined and cannot be changed. "Self- determination" for Taiwan is out of the question.
2. Coexistence of two systems. On the premise of one China, socialism on the mainland and capitalism on Taiwan can coexist and develop side by side for a long time without one swallowing up the other. This concept has largely taken account of the actual situation in Taiwan and practical interests of our compatriots there. It will be a unique feature and important innovation in the state system of a reunified China.
After reunification, Taiwan's current socio-economic system, its way of life as well as economic and cultural ties with foreign countries can remain unchanged. Private property, including houses and land, as well as business ownership, legal inheritance and overseas Chinese and foreign investments on the island will all be protected by law.
3. A high degree of autonomy. After reunification, Taiwan will become a special administrative region. It will be distinguished from the other provinces or regions of China by its high degree of autonomy. It will have its own administrative and legislative powers, an independent judiciary and the right of adjudication on the island. It will run its own party, political, military, economic and financial affairs. It may conclude commercial and cultural agreements with foreign countries and enjoy certain rights in foreign affairs. It may keep its military forces and the mainland will not dispatch troops or administrative personnel to the island. On the other hand, representatives of the government of the special administrative region and those from different circles of Taiwan may be appointed to senior posts in the central government and participate in the running of national affairs.
4. Peace negotiations. It is the common aspiration of the entire Chinese people to achieve reunification of the country by peaceful means through contacts and negotiations. People on both sides of the Straits are all Chinese. It would be a great tragedy for all if China's territorial integrity and sovereignty were to be split and its people were to be drawn into a fratricide. Peaceful reunification will greatly enhance the cohesion of the Chinese nation. It will facilitate Taiwan's socio-economic stability and development and promote the resurgence and prosperity of China as a whole.
In order to put an end to hostility and achieve peaceful reunification, the two sides should enter into contacts and negotiations at the earliest possible date. On the premise of one China, both sides can discuss any subject, including the modality of negotiations, the question of what Parties, groups and personalities may participate as well as any other matters of concern to the Taiwan side. So long as the two sides sit down and talk, they will always be able to find a mutually acceptable solution.
Taking into account the prevailing situation on both sides of the Straits, the Chinese Government has proposed that pending reunification the two sides should, according to the principle of mutual respect, complementarity and mutual benefit, actively promote economic cooperation and other exchanges. Direct trade, postal, air and shipping services and two-way visits should be started in order to pave the way for the peaceful reunification of the country.
Peaceful reunification is a set policy of the Chinese Government. However, any sovereign state is entitled to use any means it deems necessary, including military ones, to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese Government is under no obligation to undertake any commitment to any foreign power or people intending to split China as to what means it might use to handle its own domestic affairs.
It should be pointed out that the Taiwan question is purely an internal affair of China and bears no analogy to the cases of Germany and Korea which were brought about as a result of international accords at the end of the Second World War. Therefore, the Taiwan question should not be placed on a par with the situation of Germany or Korea. The Chinese Government has always opposed applying the German or Korean formulas to Taiwan. The Taiwan question should and entirely can be resolved judiciously through bilateral consultations and within the framework of one China.