(Note: This article does not represent the position and views of the BBC)
At the beginning of the happy year 2019, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Chinese President Xi Jinping reminded the world that after 40 years of normalization of Sino-US relations, the Taiwan issue that has affected normalization in the past was still an outbreak unresolved potential. President Tsai Ing-wen firmly states that Taiwan must maintain a liberal democratic system and negotiate with China reciprocally. President Xi Jinping resolutely states that the determination to safeguard national sovereignty remains unchanged and does not promise to renounce the use of force. What are the consequences of establishing diplomatic relations between China and the United States for 40 years?
After a long period of negotiations, Beijing and Washington formally established diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, causing two "losers" to appear. Most obvious is Chiang Kai-shek's "Republic of China" government, which fled the mainland to Taiwan during the civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. Even though Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975, Taiwan was still practicing dictatorship. The second biggest loser was the Soviet Union. At that time, the Soviet Union feared that the Sino-American reconciliation was unfavorable to it, altering the balance of power in the Western countries against Moscow and eventually would have changed.
Many people in Taiwan were very concerned about the normalization of Sino-US relations at the time, and they would be annexed by the CCP, and many of them went to Taiwan to escape the Chinese government. But then, Taiwan has become a clear winner. They were initially repressed under the rule of the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek practiced a Leninist dictatorship and pressed severely against the people, but today, they have the most democratic and democratically elected democratic government in the world, in addition to having the rule of law, more and more The protection of human rights has also promoted their economic and social development. Of course, they still face China's threats and pressures. China's Deng Xiaoping was just beginning to regain its national strength 40 years ago and is now a big country. Under Taiwan's efforts, the US Taiwan Relations Law and the informal support of other countries, the people of Taiwan now is better than it was in 1979. Otherwise, they can still be ruled by Chiang's Kuomintang, not in the A series of incidents began at the end, so that political parties now need to compete in a more democratic society.
The normalization of Sino-US relations, the CCP is undoubtedly the biggest winner. The quickest benefit is that Beijing has gained more support in disputes with the Soviet Union. More importantly, in the long run, he supports Deng Xiaoping's "reform and opening" policy. The timing of these policies is shortly before the normalization of Sino-US relations. Although Japan, other European powers, the United Nations or some international organizations can promote the modernization of China without the support of the United States, the degree is different. The normalization of Sino-US relations really opened the doorway between Beijing and the stimulating China. The impressive economic and social development also saw a great increase in its political, diplomatic and military power.
How should we assess the gains and losses of the United States in normalizing Sino-US relations? This is now a controversial emerging issue in the United States and elsewhere. Many experienced commentators have condemned the United States' interaction with China over the past 40 years and have described it as a catastrophic mistake. Some people think that "China is America's biggest foreign policy failure." The United States helped China to become an opponent and challenged it to establish itself after World War II. Hegemonic status. Some argue that while normalizing relations in the 1970s appears to be a reasonable step, the result has created a contemporary threat that is dangerous to the interests of the United States. In order to maintain world peace, new policies must be adopted, specifically for the suppression. China's strength is expanding. As a respected and sober former Canadian ambassador to China has just said, "China is an increasingly irresponsible power and partner, pretending to follow international standards only when it is convenient."
To reaffirm the wisdom of normalizing relations in the past – I must point out that I was part of the normalization of relations between the United States and China from 1966 to 1978. In the first two and a half years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, I lived in China and arrived to American scholars. Along with professionals to help build a dependable legal system to resolve chaos after the Cultural Revolution.
To assess the success and consequences of normalizing relationships, we have to see if there are other options at the moment. In 1971, the United States finally failed to prevent the CCP from joining the United Nations, and the policy that lasted more than 20 years failed. In the late 1970s, Deng Xiaoping wanted to open up cooperation and reform of his country, becoming a powerful current in international politics and positively evaluating Deng's decision: if we chose to resist this flood, it could also fail. Deng Xiaoping's new policy is appropriate for China's development in the past, and is also conducive to world peace, with or without the participation of the United States, there are also great opportunities for success. If the United States chooses not to participate in China's new policy, but China achieves, the United States will be isolated in Asia or will lose some opportunities and responsibilities. Eventually, under the rise of China, it is still necessary to decide to abandon the policy of confrontation that has no effect.
If the United States refuses to participate and Deng Xiaoping fails, then this failure will become an important part of China's continued hostility towards the United States, which will lead the Chinese people to fall into chaos. The United States has adopted a difficult confrontational policy. Former US President Carter wrote in the Washington Post after normalization, East Asia and the Pacific have a hard-won but relatively stable peace, otherwise we may face a more serious crisis than today.
At that time, the process of normalization of Sino-US relations was initiated by then-President Nixon, but was not completed, after Reagan and Carter took over, Carter was not considered as having made much credit in the process of normalization of relations. His recent article emphasized that after the normalization of Sino-US relations, the economic integration of the two countries made the two countries "the engine of world prosperity". And even I, many people who know China in 1972, or who are now familiar with China, also believe that the normalization of relations has brought huge opportunities for Chinese people to improve economically and socially. Although still living under an authoritarian system, both in China and abroad, people want to see that China has political improvements, in addition to economic and social modernization, but the facts still lower their hopes.
To assess the importance of normalizing relations 40 years ago, it is important that, like other policies, they can not be expected to guarantee future results. The future has changed and there are different possibilities.
The Chinese now dare to foreign policy and their frustrating repression in the country is not necessarily the inevitable result of normalization. If history pushes events in another direction, the results may be completely different. If, in the 1980s, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, Chinese Communist Party leaders who favored liberals and progressive forces, could maintain relations with other leaders, could deal more with the demonstrators who supported democracy and if, Deng Xiaoping, on 4 June 1989 On the day, it was decided not to use force to suppress large-scale demonstrations, and if Prime Minister Zhu Rongji successfully led China's entry into the WTO, he became an enlightened leader with full party power.
People are increasingly dissatisfied with Xi Jinping's extreme monopoly of power, which has hurt both China and foreign countries. China may be able to move towards further liberalization and diversification. I wrote a book on criminal justice in China in 1968. It was the culmination of the Cultural Revolution, at the time I proposed that Mao Zedong cause persistent tragedies in his country, which would eventually inspire some responses and promote better days for Chinese people and the world . The result is the same. Regardless of whether there is a warrant limit, Xi Jinping will not be in power forever. Although there is no absolute thing in the world, China's domestic and international policy, including Sino-US relations, can be greatly improved.
When the Xi Jinping regime represents a major strategic challenge to the liberal international order as a transitional period, the United States must adjust its policies to other democracies, but at the same time they can not react, causing reckless risk and threatening normalization of relations with China. Years of progress as well as their international relations. We should not "throw away the baby with the bath" (throw away the baby with the bath), which means it is good or bad.