Is China’s Visa-free Policy Medicine or Poison?

Is China’s Visa-free Policy Medicine or Poison?
Photo Credit: See-ming Lee @ Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Starting from July 1, the Taiwanese no longer have to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents certificate (also known as the Taiwan compatriot permit) before going to China. Due to sensitive cross-strait relations, this new policy has aroused vast and divergent discussions. There are two mainstream and completely opposite opinions on the issue, but they all fail to tackle the point; moreover, they possibly mislead the public, so this article will attempt to argue with these empty words.

Two misunderstandings of the visa-exempt announcement

The first mainstream opinion mistakes the visa-exempt policy as a great mercy bestowed by the Chinese government. From this perspective, it will definitely be much more convenient to travel across the strait, not to mention the amount of money we can save on administration fee. So why worry about China’s intention behind the policy? This brings up the following two questions: Is Taiwan investing more in China? Is our society and economy relying more and more on China?

The other opinion keeps up an incessant chant of “we are going to be internalized,” and sees this policy as one of China’s ambitions to internalize Taiwan. Though this thought is on the right track, it urges a crisis of conscious and is still a bad description of reality, which might confuse the public.

Does offering visa-free permission to another country equal to issuing a national identification card to the people of that country? It is nothing new to hear China taking advantage of other countries. We didn’t lose the Diaoyu Islands after China sent vessels to patrol them. To annex a country, offering visa-free permission will never be the most valid way.

What should we prepare according to China’s visa-free announcement?

The Taiwanese people should not ignore the fact that China has long been determined to merge Taiwan and they do have effective and correspondent policies. Their strategies are like three pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; strengthening Taiwan’s reliance on China, ceasing hostility and creating an impression that Taiwan is a part of China.

To elaborate further, conquering a country means to comprehensively destruct its government and national defenses. China’s visa-free policy is merely a way to diminish the bitter relationship between Taiwan and China. After all, rival countries rarely provide each other with visa-free permission.

Photo Credit: Yi-Ting Chen @Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

Furthermore, this policy could be a strategy of building up Taiwan’s dependence on China. Yet, here comes what we mentioned above: the up-coming convenience will further entwine Taiwan and China together if the Taiwanese society cannot come up with a thorough plan in the long run.

The visa-free policy has little influence on government structure within a country. We can say it severs its own role in completing the jigsaw puzzle of unifying Taiwan and China, even if it’s not as significant as Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, Free Economic Pilot Zones or peace agreement between the straits.

What else can we do?

Given that we already know the consequences of this policy, what else can we do?

First, we can analyze what other profit we can share with this manipulative big brother and no longer let them get whatever they want. The key lies in understanding whether or not we really need China’s visa-free permission. It appears that we can save a huge amount of money, but will we become more self-supporting after the implementation of this policy? Shouldn’t we take the whole world into consideration rather than put all our hopes in China?

The policy can serve as a good bargaining chip for China. Now that China is allowing us to save a big fortune, they are quite likely to claim corresponding profits back as their next step.

It seems that we do not have to rely particularly on China’s visa-free policy so as to lower the possibility of China blackmailing Taiwan. We need to prepare for China’s requests to lift more bans either politically or economically. Moreover, we must hold our position even if they decide to withdraw the visa-free permission.

Conclusion

To conclude, the Taiwanese should be aware of the methods China might use to merge the island so they will not be influenced by cynical nonsense. We must understand that it’s our priority to develop healthy relationships with multiple countries rather than only China. We need to take the initiative and observe if politicians can identify the essence of the issue instead of be fooled by the government.

Let’s see if government officials can reduce the price Taiwan citizens have to pay in the negotiation with China, or if they can provide solutions that can undermine the damages brought by already signed agreements.

However, if the main political parties and politicians perform poorly in these aspects, then we should really start to worry about being merged by China.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang