Strive for China's National Rejuvenation and Peaceful Reunification*
January 2, 2019
My fellow Chinese,
Today, we are meeting here to solemnly commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. As a new year begins, on behalf of the people on the mainland, I extend sincere greetings and best wishes to our fellow Chinese in Taiwan.
It has been 70 years since Taiwan and the mainland were separated. Since China entered the modern era, the emergence and evolution of the Taiwan question has been inextricably interwoven with the history of the Chinese nation. The Opium War of 1840 and ensuing wars of aggression launched by Western powers plunged China into a state of anguished turmoil, with its lands torn apart. And Taiwan fell under a foreign occupation that lasted for half a century. In wave after wave, we Chinese engaged in an epic struggle to resist foreign aggression, liberate the Chinese nation, and realize the country's reunification. Our fellow Chinese in Taiwan made a huge contribution to this struggle. In 1945, together with other peoples around the world, the Chinese people won victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, a part of the Global War Against Fascism. Taiwan was thus recovered and returned to China. It was not long, however, before the two sides of the Taiwan Straits fell into a state of protracted political confrontation due to the civil war in China and the interference of foreign forces.
Since 1949, the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people have endeavored to pursue the historic mission of resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's full reunification. Working with our fellow Chinese in Taiwan, we have de-escalated tense confrontation across the Taiwan Straits, improved cross-Straits relations, set out on a path of peaceful development, and continually made breakthroughs in cross-Straits relations.
– Over the past 70 years, responding to the longing of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, we have ended the estrangement between the two sides. We have achieved overall direct two-way "three links"1 and have initiated substantial exchanges, communication, and cooperation between the two sides. Cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation have steadily expanded and grown increasingly closer, and mutual affinity has deepened. Our fellow Chinese in Taiwan have made a major contribution to the mainland's reform and opening up, and they, in turn, have shared the mainland's development opportunities.
– Over the past 70 years, acting in a spirit of seeking common ground while setting aside differences and on the basis of the one-China principle, the two sides have reached the 1992 Consensus that "both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one China and will work together towards national reunification". The two sides have thus initiated consultations and negotiation and promoted cross-Straits party-to-party exchanges. We have opened up a path for the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations and realized a historic meeting between leaders of both sides, thus elevating cross-Straits political interactions to a new height.
– Over the past 70 years, keeping in mind the changes over time in the growth of cross-Straits relations, we have proposed the policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question, and established the fundamental guideline of peaceful reunification based on the well-conceived principle of "one country, two systems". With this, we have responded to the call of our times in the new era, namely, to promote the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations and unite our fellow Chinese in Taiwan to strive for our country's rejuvenation and peaceful reunification.
– Over the past 70 years, holding high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, we have forged friendship and strengthened cooperation with other countries and consolidated the international community's commitment to the one-China principle. More and more countries and people have gained a better understanding of China's position on reunification and given their support to it.
– Over the past 70 years, bearing in mind the overall and long-term interests of the Chinese nation, we have stood firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Rallying all the Chinese people around us, we have resolutely defeated all attempts to create "two Chinas", "one China, one Taiwan", or "Taiwan independence", and have achieved major victories in the fight against separatist activities for "Taiwan independence".
As the evolution of cross-Straits relations attests, no force or people can ever change the historical fact and principle that Taiwan is part of China and that the two sides belong to one and the same China. We people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are Chinese and share a natural affinity and national identity built of kinship and mutual assistance, a fact that can never be altered by any force or any people. The tide of our times – cross-Straits relations moving towards peace and stability and continuing to move forward – is a tide that cannot be stopped by any force or any people. The historical trend towards a stronger China, national rejuvenation, and reunification cannot be stopped by any force or any people.
My fellow Chinese,
By reviewing the past, we can draw inspiration for both the present and the future. Our country must be reunified, and will surely be reunified. This is a conclusion drawn from the evolution of cross-Straits relations over the past seven decades; it is also critical to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era. We Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, all of us Chinese at home and abroad, should jointly uphold the national interest, follow the historical trend, and work together for the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations.
First, we should work together to promote China's rejuvenation and achieve its peaceful reunification.
The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the reunification of our country are a surging popular trend. They are where our greater national interest lies, and they are what the people hope to see. We face each other just across a strip of water, yet our two sides are still far apart. The fact that we have still not been reunified is a wound left by history on the Chinese nation. We Chinese on both sides should work together to achieve reunification and heal this wound. All our fellow Chinese in Taiwan are members of the Chinese nation. You should be proud of your Chinese identity, fully consider the position and role of Taiwan in China's rejuvenation, and pursue both the full reunification and rejuvenation of China as an honorable cause.
The future of Taiwan lies in China's reunification, and the wellbeing of the people in Taiwan hinges on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations is the right path for safeguarding peace, promoting common development, and benefiting people on both sides. Thus, the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations is something people on both sides should jointly promote, safeguard, and enjoy. The Chinese Dream is a dream shared by both sides of the Taiwan Straits; only China's rejuvenation and prosperity can bring lives of plenty and happiness to us on both sides. As the Chinese nation moves towards rejuvenation, our fellow Chinese in Taiwan should certainly not miss out. We people on both sides should join hands to fulfill the Chinese Dream, shoulder the responsibility, and share the glory of national rejuvenation. The Taiwan question originated in a weak and ravaged China, and it is certain to end with China's rejuvenation.
Second, we should explore a "two systems" solution to the Taiwan question and enrich our efforts towards peaceful reunification.
The vision of peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems" is the best way to realize China's reunification. It embodies Chinese wisdom – thriving by embracing each other, takes full account of Taiwan's reality, and is conducive to long-term stability in Taiwan after reunification.
Difference in systems should not be an obstacle to reunification; it is certainly no excuse for separation. The principle of "one country, two systems" was proposed precisely to accommodate Taiwan's actual conditions and to safeguard the interests and wellbeing of our fellow Chinese in Taiwan. In terms of how the principle should be carried out, we will fully consider the situation in Taiwan, give full consideration to the views and proposals from all walks of life on both sides, and fully accommodate the interests and sentiments of our fellow Chinese in Taiwan. Provided that China's sovereignty, security, and development interests are ensured, after peaceful reunification, Taiwan's social system and its way of life will be fully respected, and the private property, religious beliefs, and lawful rights and interests of our fellow Chinese in Taiwan will be fully protected.
We people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are of one family. Issues between our two sides are domestic affairs, and it is therefore natural that they should be discussed and resolved by family members. Peaceful reunification means achieving reunification through consultation and discussion as equals. The long-standing political differences between the two sides are the root cause that affects the steady growth of cross-Straits relations, but we should not allow this problem to be passed down from one generation to the next. Our both sides must live up to our responsibility, to our nation, and to future generations; we should put our heads together, be creative, reduce differences, and seek common ground. Doing so will enable us to end political antagonism at an early date, ensure lasting peace across the Taiwan Straits, and agree on a vision for China's reunification, so that our future generations can live and grow up in a shared home with peace, stability, prosperity, and dignity.
On the basis of abiding by the one-China principle, there will be no obstacles in exchanges between political parties and groups in Taiwan and on the mainland. When dialogue replaces confrontation, cooperation replaces dispute, and win-win mindset replaces zero-sum mentality, cross-Straits relations will progress steadily and move far. We are ready to engage in broad exchanges of views with all parties, groups, or individuals in Taiwan regarding political issues between the two sides and the promotion of China's peaceful reunification, in order to forge social consensus and advance political negotiations.
Here we wish to make a solemn proposal: On the common political foundation of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence", representatives can be recommended by all political parties and all sectors of society on both sides, and they will engage in extensive and in-depth democratic consultations on cross-Straits relations and the future of the nation, and work towards institutional arrangements for promoting the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations.
Third, we should abide by the one-China principle and ensure the prospects for peaceful reunification.
Although our two sides have yet to be reunified, the sovereignty and territory of China has never been severed, and the fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China has never changed. The one-China principle is the political foundation of cross-Straits relations. When we adhere to this principle, cross-Straits relations will improve and grow, and our fellow Chinese in Taiwan will benefit. However, if we deviate from it, cross-Straits relations will become strained and volatile, and the interests of our fellow Chinese in Taiwan will be harmed.
China's reunification is a historic trend and the right path, while "Taiwan independence" goes against the tide of history and is a path that can only lead to a dead end. Our fellow Chinese in Taiwan have a glorious patriotic tradition and share a close kinship with us. We remain committed to the principle of placing our hopes on the people of Taiwan. We will continue, as ever, to respect, care about, work with, and rely on them, and we will do our utmost to help them overcome difficulties and meet their needs. Our fellow Chinese in Taiwan, regardless of political affiliation, religious belief, social status, or origin of birth, whether civilian or military, you must clearly see that "Taiwan independence" will only bring disaster. You should resolutely oppose it and join hands with us to create the bright prospects of peaceful reunification. We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification; but we will definitely not leave any room for separatist activities in any form.
As Chinese, we should not fight each other. We will work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification, because this works best for the people on both sides and for our whole nation. We do not renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and a tiny number of separatists and their activities for "Taiwan independence". In no way does it target our fellow Chinese in Taiwan. We people on both sides should work together to pursue peace, protect peace, and enjoy peace.
Fourth, we should promote integrated development of the two sides and cement the foundation for peaceful reunification.
People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits share the bonds of kinship. Just as loved ones wish each other well, we Chinese should help each other. We treat our fellow Chinese in Taiwan as equals, and will continue paving the way for them to benefit first from the mainland's development opportunities and ensure that our fellow Chinese and enterprises from Taiwan receive the same treatment as those of the mainland, thus giving them a greater sense of fulfillment. After peaceful reunification, Taiwan will enjoy lasting peace and the people there will live in peace and contentment. Backed by a strong motherland, our fellow Chinese in Taiwan will enjoy better lives and have more opportunities for development, and they will have more confidence and a greater sense of security and dignity in the international community.
We should take active steps to institutionalize cross-Straits economic cooperation and create a common market for the two sides, so as to increase momentum for development and vitality of cooperation and strengthen the Chinese economy. We on the two sides should promote connectivity wherever necessary, including trade and economic cooperation, building infrastructure, developing energy and resources, and sharing industrial standards. We can start by supplying water, electricity, and gas from coastal areas in Fujian Province to Kinmen and Matsu, and building bridges between them. We should promote cooperation in culture, education, and health care, and the sharing of social security and public resources, and we should support neighboring areas or areas with similar conditions on the two sides in providing equal, universal, and accessible basic public services.
Fifth, we should forge closer bonds of heart and mind between people on both sides and strengthen our joint commitment to peaceful reunification.
The soul of a nation is molded by its culture. We on the mainland and in Taiwan share the same roots, culture, and ethnic identity; it is the Chinese culture that has instilled vitality in us and given us a sense of belonging. The key to kinship lies in mutual understanding. No matter what interference and obstruction we may encounter, exchanges and cooperation between our people on both sides must never be hampered, diminished, or stopped.
We people on both sides should together pass on the best of traditional Chinese culture and ensure that it evolves and grows in new and creative ways. We should engage in exchanges and mutual learning, promote dialogue and inclusiveness, enhance empathy, deepen mutual understanding, strengthen mutual trust, and increase our shared sense of identity. We should maintain our bonds of kinship and shared values, use the right approach to our history, our nation, and our country to raise the awareness of younger generations, and keep alive the great spirit of our nation. Between loved ones, there is no knot of perception that cannot be untied. With perseverance, we are sure to forge closer bonds of heart and mind between people on both sides.
Supporting and pursuing reunification is a righteous cause of the Chinese nation, and this commitment should be recognized by all of us. Our country will always stand firm behind patriots working for reunification. It is our sincere hope that all our fellow Chinese in Taiwan will treasure peace as they do the gift of sight, pursue reunification with the same zeal with which they pursue a better life, and play an active part in advancing the just cause of China's peaceful reunification.
The young are the hope of the country and the future of the nation. Young people on both sides should shoulder responsibilities, forge solidarity and friendship, and work together for a better future. Young people from Taiwan are welcome to pursue and fulfill their dreams on the mainland. We Chinese on both sides must be united and work together to seek happiness for ourselves and create a bright future for our nation.
My fellow Chinese,
Over the years, our fellow Chinese in Hong Kong, Macao, and overseas have shown understanding for and supported the great cause of reunification, and have contributed greatly to this cause. I hope that you will remain committed and further contribute to the peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations and China's peaceful reunification.
My fellow Chinese,
There is only one China on this Earth. The one-China principle is a generally recognized norm in international relations, and it represents a general consensus of the international community. The international community has extended understanding and support for the Chinese people's just cause of opposing separatist activities towards "Taiwan independence" and striving for China's reunification. The Chinese government expresses its appreciation for this understanding and support. We as Chinese must decide our own affairs. The Taiwan question is an internal affair that involves China's core interests and the Chinese people's national sentiments, and no external interference in this issue will be tolerated.
China's reunification will not harm any country's legitimate interests, including its economic interests in Taiwan. On the contrary, it will bring the world more opportunities for development, and create more positive momentum for the prosperity and stability of the Asia Pacific and the rest of the world. Indeed, it will make a greater contribution to building a global community of shared future, to the cause of global peace and development, and to the cause of human progress.
My fellow Chinese,
We cannot choose our past, but we can steer the current course and shape the future. The new era is an era for the Chinese nation to achieve major development and major successes; it is also an era for the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to pursue the same goal. The path ahead may not be always smooth, but when we stand and work together, we can surely create a promising future for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we can surely achieve the great cause of China's reunification.
* Speech at the meeting marking the 40th anniversary of the release of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.
1 This refers to mail, business and transport.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)