Call for Beijing to work with Taiwan to reunify in 'Chinese-style' democracy
Former Taiwanese premier Hau Pei-tsun called on Beijing to abandon any threat of force against Taiwan and work with Taipei to reunify the two sides under a new "Chinese-style" democracy.
Hau told a lecture at City University in Hong Kong that the two steps were necessary to achieve "the Chinese dream", a phrase President Xi Jinping has used frequently to describe his vision for the country.
"The premise for democracy should be to stop the fighting between Chinese people and to end the era of political power that grows out of the barrel of a gun, which are key elements to realising 'the China dream'," Hau, 95, said during the Friday lecture.
The Kuomintang elder said Beijing could learn from Taiwan's experiences in implementing democracy since Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975.
He noted Lee Teng-hui's peaceful succession to president following Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, in 1988.
"Taiwan started democratic reform to end one-party rule and lifted a press ban when the domestic economy was taking off in the 1980s," said Hau, suggesting that mainlanders would desire similar political reforms as their living standard improves.
Hau's participation in the second world war and the KMT's civil war against the Communist Party earned him the rank of five-star general. He was credited with successfully defending Quemoy island during a weeks-long bombardment by the People's Liberation Army.
He resigned as chief of the general staff of Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence in 1989, after Lee appointed him premier.
Hau said that cross-strait relations had improved greatly since the end of the cold war, decreasing the threat of military conflict. The much smaller Taiwanese military long ago gave up any hope of reconquering the mainland.
"The slogans of 'countering back the mainland' created by Chiang Kai-shek and 'liberating Taiwan' by Mao Zedong several decades ago should be forgotten because none of them could be put into practice," Hau said. "The future development of cross-strait relations should stick to 'no war, no independence and gradual unification'."
He proposed a "Chinese-style" alternative to Western-style democracy in which the number of political parties would be controlled.
"The [Chinese-style] democratic system couldn't allow too many political parities," he said.
"Only major parties with at least 20 per cent of public popularity would qualify to nominate candidates."