Following are excerpts of this commentary written by Sui Yuan and published on Page 3 of People's Daily (Overseas Edition) on January 4.
In an effort to realize direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" (exchange of mail, trade, and air and shipping service), we have traversed an arduous course over the past 21 years. Over this period, the exchange of personnel has reached more than 2.4 million persons/times and cross-Strait trade has developed to US$25 billion annually, there are now more than 45,000 Taiwan-funded enterprises with a total amount of investment hitting US$45 billion.
At present, telecom business volume between the two sides takes up the first and second place in each other's overseas business volume, mails exchanged between the two sides have exceeded 45 million, such huge exchanges of personnel, materials and information between the two sides have been artificially obstructed by the Taiwan authorities, as a result, personnel and goods of the two sides can only be transported via a third place, and people of the two sides have therefore had to bear several billion US dollars worth of financial burden each year.
The Taiwan authorities obstruct direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" under the pretext of safeguarding Taiwan's "security" and "dignity" and restrict Taiwan investment in the mainland by implementing the "no haste, be patient" policy.
This line of action that goes against popular feeling and the economic law has met with strong opposition from the people on the island. At present, the general public and various parties and organizations on Taiwan Island strongly demand that the Taiwan authorities return to the one-China principle as soon as possible, open direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges", so as to promote personnel contacts and economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.
The perverse action of the Taiwan authorities has led to turbulent political situation in the island, the aggravation of confidence crisis of the public, the plummeting of the stock market and the restlessness of migration. Such ill social conditions have caused the Taiwan rulers to feel ill at ease day and night.
The most fundamental reason for the chaos in Taiwan is Taiwan new leader's deviation from the one-China principle, which has brought many factors of uncertainty on the future of Taiwan. The root cause lies in Lee Teng-hui's support of Chen Shui-bian's assumption of office. Lee Teng-hui had all along adopted the policy of delaying direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges", leaving the "Taiwan independence" forces time and space for development, and peacefully transferring the power to the Democratic Progressive Party with the "Taiwan independence" party program, in an attempt to separate Taiwan from China. History and time always stand by the majority of the people. The Taiwan people have now made their choice, demanding that the Taiwan authorities immediately open direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges", and that Taiwan should maintain close ties with the mainland of the motherland.
Realizing direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" has been the consistent proposal of the mainland. In the New Year Day 1979, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) proposed realization of cross-Strait exchange of mail and shipping, and economic and trade exchange as soon as possible and bringing close economic ties between the two sides of the Straits. This proposal gained universal support from the Chinese at home and abroad. Since then, relevant mainland departments have enacted a series of laws, regulations and policies and adopted active and initiative measures to push cross-Strait exchanges steadily forward and have made every preparation for direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges".
However, the Taiwan authorities have constantly set up obstacles to cross-Strait "three exchanges", trying by hook and by crook to postpone the process of cross-Strait "three exchanges". In 1996, the Taiwan authorities dished out the "no haste, be patient" policy to limit Taiwan investment in the mainland. The new leader of Taiwan, after assuming office, made a public statement that cross-Strait "three exchanges" would be the goal of work he would promote within the year. However, the year 2000 has passed, the Taiwan authorities have not taken any practical action in relation to direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges".
Recently, the demand of Taiwan people for direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" has become ever stronger. Under the pressure of various quarters, the Taiwan authorities were forced to open so-called three minor exchanges along the coasts of Jinmen, Mazu and Fujian on January 1, 2001, in an attempt to open the door to cross-Strait talks under the circumstance of evading the one-China principle and get rid of their political and economic predicament.
However, the public of Taiwan have clearly seen that the "three minor exchanges" is nothing but a little trick played by Taiwan in evading all-round "three exchanges". Mutual exchange has long existed between the Jinmen and Mazu regions and Fuzhou and Xiamen, so implementation of "three minor exchanges" has no practical significance.
It should be pointed out that the shipping between Jinmen and Mazu, and Fuzhou and Xiamen opened by the Taiwan authorities is not the "three exchanges" in its real sense, it can in no way meet the present demand for the huge amount of personnel contacts and economic and trade exchanges between the two sides. The Taiwan authorities have imposed various restrictions on the exchanges of personnel and goods. These practices show that the Taiwan authorities lack sincerity and good wishes for improving cross-Strait relations.
The new leaders of the Taiwan authorities has kept peddling his "three minor exchanges" toward the international community, his aim is to create a false impression on relaxation of cross-Strait relations to deceive the Taiwan public and international opinion.
The "one China, direct, two-way, reciprocity and mutual-benefit" principle should be followed in the direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges". Shipping between the two sides, whatever the distance, should be shipping within one country, considering the present situation between the two sides, we can adopt a special method of management.
In order to strengthen cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges, in 1993 we published the Management Method for Petty Amount of Trade with the Taiwan Region, and now again we publish the Management Method for Trade with the Taiwan Region. All these facts fully prove the mainland's sincerity in promoting direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges".
As early as the beginning of the 90s, we had set up a hundred Taiwan fishermen reception stations, centers for petty amount of trade with Taiwan and centers for fishermen labor export, providing warm and thoughtful service for Taiwan fishermen coming to the coasts of the mainland for shelter from the wind, provisions, medical treatment and doing business.
Considering the long-cherished demand and aspiration of the people in the Jinmen and Mazu regions for direct contacts with the coast of Fujian, we are willing to provide help for tings conducive to improving the livelihood of the people of Jinmen and Mazu and their economic development, so that people living there can experience the warmth of the big family of the motherland.
The reason why we propose that matters concerning contacts between Jinmen, Mazu and the coast of Fujian should be decided through consultations between local people's organizations on the principle of the internal affairs of one country is to avoid unnecessary obstacles, so that people of the two regions can enter into direct contacts as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the new century, the Chinese between the two sides of the Straits cherish beautiful hopes, realizing direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" is the common wishes of the compatriots between the two sides. Let compatriots of the two sides join their efforts for bringing about direct, cross-Strait "three exchanges" and for the peaceful reunification of the motherland!