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Taiwan dismisses Chinese rule of logic.

Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty was supposed to set a shining example for Taiwan - a wayward territory overcoming historic forces to return to the motherland's embrace.

Communist China's logic: If Hong Kong can remain politically autonomous and economically prosperous under Beijing's hands-off rule, Taiwan should be willing to accept the same deal.

Unimpressed, Taiwan firmly has said "no" to the pioneering one country, two systems formula under which Hong Kong is allowed to maintain its capitalist system for 50 years.

In the year that has passed since the British colony became a Special Administrative Region of China, Taiwan has seen little or nothing that might change its mind.

Foreign Minister Mr Jason Hu said bluntly: "Taiwan is not Hong Kong. The situation and circumstances between the two are completely different.

"The one country, two systems concept cannot be applied to Taiwan in any case because we have a democracy here. A lot of people in Hong Kong were not even consulted about their own future."

Beijing has viewed Taiwan as a rebeeld province since Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government was defeated by Mao Zedong's communist troops and fled to the island in 1949.

Beijing has said the return of Hong Kong last year, and Portuguese-ruled Macau in 1999, will leave Taiwan as the only territory still awaiting reunification with the motherland.

Surveys show the government's rejection of one country, two systems is widely shared by the island's residents, but political scientist Mr Tim Ting said it was dangerous for Taiwan to be indifferent.

"If the international community begins to see the one country, two systems model as a successful one, Taiwan, with its indifferent and 'we are different' attitudes, will be regarded as a troublemaker," he said.

A close look at Taiwan and Hong Kong has yielded some similarities but also significant differences.

Both have highly literate, business-minded ethnic Chinese populations. Both have strong, respected and welefended currencies. And their economies rely heavily on China's vast, fast-growing economy, though Hong Kong far more so than Taiwan.

Taiwan, however, jealously clings to the sovereignty of its exiled Republic of China, backed by one of Asia's most advanced and widely respected armed forces.

Foreign Minister Hu said: "We may have some shortcomings. We may not be mature enough. But the success of Taiwan's democratisation needs to be shared by Hong Kong and China."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 20, 1998
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