China Times: Cross-strait distance on human rights

The Central News Agency, 4 May 2011

In a recent interview with German-based Der Spiegel weekly, President Ma Ying-jeou said human rights is a criteria to measure the distance between Taiwan and mainland China.

Ma’s comment precisely identifies the origin of cross-Taiwan Strait estrangement and the direction that the two sides should work toward. It clearly pinpoints why the two sides often do not see eye to eye on some issues and why the mainland is making such slow progress on winning the trust of Taiwan’s people.

The development of human civilization may take different forms, but freedom, democracy, equality and human rights are gradually becoming universal values that are being pursued by people around the world. After years of stable development, a sufficient groundwork has been laid in the Chinese society for the realization of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law.

In a democracy such as Taiwan, there is no ruler. People are the master of their own country, and they choose every four years who will govern the country.

Similarly, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should not race against each other to become the annexer or ruler of the other but should together move in a direction that is favorable to their respective development and to the well-being of their peoples.

As long as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are allowed to grow and thrive on the mainland, the differences across the strait will narrow and the hostility and distrust that are keeping the two sides apart will be done away with. (Editorial abstract — May 4, 2011) (By Y.F. Low) ENDITEM/ls