Taiwan's Ministry of Defense said that on the morning of September 9 and 17, 18 PLA fighters operated in the Taiwan Strait, setting a new one-day record; Earlier, Beijing issued the "Opinions on Supporting Fujian to Explore a New Path for Cross-Strait Integrated Development and Build a Cross-Strait Integrated Development Demonstration Zone". The author, Wang Xiaodi, a lecturer at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law and an assistant researcher at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, believes that in solving the Taiwan issue, in addition to "abundant martial virtue", Beijing cannot ignore the importance of the cultural scene, that is, the mainland-led substantive governance embodied in the integrated development of the two sides of the strait.

On the evening of September 9, the mainland issued the "Opinions on Supporting Fujian to Explore a New Path for Cross-Strait Integrated Development and Build a Cross-Strait Integrated Development Demonstration Zone." As soon as the news came out, my friends in Fujian and Taiwan in my circle of friends cheered, and the cross-strait integration and development that had been waiting for many years had finally made major progress.

In the current public opinion environment in which cross-strait soldiers are fighting fiercely and dangerously, the discussion of cross-strait integration and development is far less enthusiastic than that of "armed unification", which once made us ignore the importance of this work. In fact, since the "Sunflower Movement," the mainland has had a clear line of change in its work toward Taiwan, that is, to grasp the dominance and initiative in cross-strait relations, and this is reflected in both civil and military aspects.

On September 2023, 9, the Information Office of the State Council held a press conference in Beijing to introduce the "Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Supporting Fujian to Explore a New Path of Cross-Strait Integrated Development and Build a Cross-Strait Integrated Development Demonstration Zone". (China News Agency)

On the one hand, it is necessary to increase the morality of the Taiwan compatriots, and on the other hand, it is necessary to strengthen the armed forces against the hostile forces. The armed forces have long been familiar to everyone, and various cordial exchanges between the PLA and the Taiwan military in the Taiwan Strait have long dominated the hot search.

Compared with the armed "bloodline", Wende's part may not be magnificent enough, but it is not wonderful enough. Cross-strait reunification pursues the unification of rivers and mountains, the unification of government decrees, and to some extent, the reintegration of the national governance system. If you were asked to give me an overview of the current Wende project, I would say that although the two sides of the strait seem to be in a state of "partition," the gears of fate of the mainland-led de facto governance of Taiwan have turned.

Cross-Strait Integrated Development: Mainland-led Substantive Governance

If cross-strait reunification is led and accomplished by the mainland, then Taiwan compatriots will be part of the masses of the people and the object of service of the Communist Party of China.

First of all, it is necessary to popularize a concept: "the overall strategy of the New Era Party for resolving the Taiwan issue." This is a comprehensive exposition of a series of concepts, ideas, strategies, and policies on the party's work toward Taiwan since the 18th CPC National Congress, and is the fundamental observance and program of action for all circles on the mainland in its work toward Taiwan at present. The integrated development of the two sides of the strait, which we are going to talk about today, is an important part of this, and is regarded as a basic project for peaceful reunification, which can enhance the expectation and motivation for reunification, achieve a high degree of unity in the process and purpose of reunification, and provide more adequate conditions for advancing the great cause of reunification.

September 2019, 9, Pingtan, Fujian, Pingtan Strait Dual-use Bridge. (VCG)

Cross-strait integrated development is a multi-dimensional system including policies, regulations, systems and public services, aiming to promote economic, social and cultural exchanges and integration between Taiwan and the mainland, and to rebuild a cross-strait community with a shared future while shaping the sense of identity and identity of Taiwan compatriots. However, affected by the cross-strait political situation, the current cross-strait integration and development is aimed at attracting Taiwan compatriots to land westward and promoting their social integration on the mainland of the motherland.

How can social integration be promoted? "We have always respected, cared for and benefited Taiwan compatriots, continued to be committed to promoting cross-strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, deepening cross-strait integration and development in various fields, improving systems and policies to enhance the well-being of Taiwan compatriots, promoting cross-strait joint promotion of Chinese culture, and promoting the spiritual harmony of compatriots on both sides of the strait." How to improve the system and policies to increase the welfare of Taiwan compatriots? The report of the 19th National Congress also pointed out from a high level that it is necessary to share development opportunities and provide equal treatment. The "Opinions" also mentioned that we should always respect, care for, and benefit Taiwan compatriots, and improve policies and systems to enhance the well-being of Taiwan compatriots and enjoy equal treatment.

The principle of equal treatment is king. In theory, it is the proper duty of Taiwan compatriots to share the well-being of the mainland people as Chinese citizens. However, before the equal treatment was clarified, there were two extremes in the attitude of local governments towards Taiwan compatriots for a long time: either hold the sky or step on the ground.

On the one hand, Taiwan compatriots enjoy "supranational treatment" in many fields, such as policy care in graduate student admission. On the other hand, Taiwan compatriots are treated differently in many areas, such as not being able to choose freely and staying in hotels (Taiwan compatriots below the three-star level are not accepted). In this case, Taiwan compatriots are still trapped in the ultimate proposition of the classics: Who am I? Where did I come from and where am I going?

On the surface, equal treatment is a benefit to Taiwan, but in the long run, it is a major step to eliminate identity differences. From now on, Taiwan compatriots who should pay social insurance and mortgages who should carry housing loans, regardless of each other, are not superior to others, and are not half a point of dwarf, all of which are a screw in the process of socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics.

It is easy for Taiwanese to apply for a residence permit in the mainland and do not need to resort to travel operators. (China News Agency)

At present, a series of Taiwan-related policies deployed by the central and local governments on the principle of equal treatment are collectively referred to as the Taiwan-related public policy system, and this system is part of the larger governance system of cross-strait integrated development. Broadly speaking, since the 80s of last century, since the return of Taiwan's opening up veterans to their hometowns, the relevant governance work of cross-strait integrated development has begun, but in a narrow sense, the governance work of cross-strait integrated development refers to the governance work with equal treatment as the core since the <>th National Congress. The biggest difference between the two stages is that the mainland's attitude toward Taiwan compatriots has become more ordinary from looking up to Taiwan compatriots in the early days of reform and opening up.

Deepening cross-strait integrated development: the logic of platform-based governance

If cross-strait integrated development is an act of national governance, then deepening cross-strait integrated development means that national governance is renewed.

At present, the integrated development of the two sides of the strait has seen a trend of socialization of governance and a downward shift in the focus of governance. The truth is actually very simple, the grassroots is the last stage of governance, and it is the frontier space of people's production and life. Unlike the "landing" of Taiwan businessmen and Taiwan cadres in the past, the Taiwan compatriots who "landed" now ridicule themselves as "Taiwan laborers", and most of them are ordinary people who are running for their livelihoods, and they are glorious members of the 996 and 007 armies. They're scattered across the city's districts, streets, and neighborhoods, and probably live next door to you—one upstairs from mine anyway.

The downward shift in the focus of governance focuses on solving the problem of suspension of Taiwan-related governance - governance potential energy and resources are suspended above the grassroots level, unable to effectively sink to meet the needs of Taiwan compatriots. It feels like hanging a piece of meat on the beam of your house, and the beam is seven or eight meters above the ground, looking at the smell of meat, but not eating it in your mouth.

The reason for "suspension" is either insufficient governance resources or "obstruction" of governance structure relations, the role of which is more basic. If the structural relationship is not smooth, even if the resources are sufficient, it cannot be effectively sinked. Theoretically, national governance includes two parts: government governance and social governance, involving two aspects: section structure and political and social relationship structure. From the government's point of view, the Taiwan Compatriots' default mother's Taiwan Affairs Office is a coordinating body in terms of functional design, which belongs to responsibility and power, and needs to mobilize relevant functional departments when facing the request of Taiwan compatriots, while other functional departments belong to the right and no responsibility, and the governance potential energy is idling in such a segmentation. Theoretically, the division of the government can be compensated for on the social side by strengthening social autonomy, but due to the highly political nature of Taiwan-related affairs, the participation space of social subjects is small and the initiative is poor.

On June 2023, 6, Xiamen, media reporters photographed in front of the main venue of the Straits Forum Conference. The 15th Straits Forum opened in Xiamen on June 15, with the theme of expanding people-to-people exchanges and deepening integrated development. (China News Agency)

An effective way to solve the above contradiction is to realize the platformization of public services, and relevant governance innovations are concentrated in Fujian, a demonstration area for cross-strait integrated development handpicked by the central government, with the Shangfang sword of "first mover and first trial".

From the perspective of the government, by setting up a comprehensive administrative service center, all departments are concentrated in one place, breaking the "dimensional wall" between each other and realizing "one-stop" services. For example, in the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, Taiwan compatriots can solve their own problems in different functional windows, and different functional windows directly link with the administrative departments to which they belong. In fact, it has formed an administrative service center for the special needs of Taiwan compatriots.

However, governance innovation on the government side can only cover the governance needs at the district and county levels, and more grassroots spaces require the participation of social subjects. From the social point of view, through the guidance of the party and government, let the social subjects, especially the Taiwan compatriots themselves, become the main body of governance, and form a grassroots governance pattern of self-management and self-service. A typical case is the "Taiwan Compatriot Station" in Xiamen, where Taiwan compatriots share their own business space as a public service space, expand the boundary of space functions without affecting the core functions, and provide public welfare (or semi-public welfare) public services such as interactive friendship, policy consultation, legal mediation, health and entertainment for Taiwan compatriots in a certain area.

Why should we continue to deepen cross-strait integration and development: a comparative advantage

The integrated development of the two sides of the strait is actually a popular project pinned on the hopes of the Taiwan people, which is long-term and sustainable, and applies not only before reunification, but also after reunification.

On June 2018, 6, Xiamen Siming Taiwan Compatriot Station Guanyinshan Friendship Point was inaugurated in Xiamen City. On the same day, the third cross-strait youth entrepreneurship training course was also opened in Xiamen. (China News Agency)

At present, a key obstacle restricting cross-strait reunification is that due to the long-term cross-strait confrontation, the mainland has no recognition in the hearts of Taiwan compatriots. Why accept your governance and many other soul questions. Therefore, the lack of recognition of unification is a tree without roots, even if thunder means complete the unification, the Chinese people will pay a huge cost of governance, and the Hong Kong black riot incident is a lesson from the past.

In a word, the higher the degree of cross-strait integration, the lower the resistance to reunification and the cost of governance after reunification. After all, "staying on the island without leaving the people" is just an emotional catharsis in cyberspace, and if the ultimate result of cross-strait relations is China's national reconstruction, then the attachment of the people's will is an unavoidable problem.

Modern state recognition is based on a coordinate system composed of three elements: performance, procedure and ideology, which reflects the three thinking logics of instrumental rationality, formal rationality and value rationality. In reality, the three are a state of dynamic equilibrium, but there are also some emphases. For example, the recognition of the United States focuses on procedures (such as whether the political process is run in accordance with the law, including elections, the rule of law, etc.) and values (such as the political concept of freedom and democracy, whether the worldview of the "city on a hill" is followed). Taiwan is greatly influenced by the United States in its political system, and the people's thinking and actions also follow more formal rationality and value rationality, so when looking at cross-strait relations, there will be some strange theories such as "Taiwan's core democratic values", "democracy against authoritarianism", "mainland rule of law and human rights violations".

On July 2023, 7, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, the awarding ceremony of Taiwan Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Base and the signing ceremony of enterprises entering the park were held in Furiheng Industrial Park, Minhou County, Fujian Province, and four Taiwan-funded enterprises signed an agreement of intent to settle in Fuzhibao Electronics Co., Ltd. The picture shows the unveiling ceremony of the base. (China News Agency)

In the international political system in which the West holds the right to speak, the mainland's discourse on the value dimension is still relatively weak. In addition, as the largest developing country, China's national governance system still has a lot of room for institutional development - the presumption of guilt of the female policewoman in the mainland TV series "Imperfect Victim" starring Zhou Xun is a manifestation of insufficient rule of law, governing the country according to law, and democracy in the whole process are all issues to be tackled in the process of national governance modernization.

The advantage of continental recognition lies in performance. Today, the mainland's high-speed railway, urbanization process, scientific and technological innovation, etc. have all shown amazing achievements on a global scale, and these achievements have not only attracted the attention of the world, but also made more and more Taiwanese people feel the charm of mainland development. Some studies have also shown that adequate public service supply, from infrastructure to social welfare, can help Taiwan compatriots better settle down on the mainland, enjoy the same rights and treatment as mainland residents, effectively promote social integration, and then promote cross-strait integration.

The current path of promoting cross-strait integration and development is to improve the overall level of Taiwan-related public services in the mainland, which is a rational behavior based on comparative advantages. Of course, with the development of the country, the shortcomings in procedures and ideology will gradually be filled, so as to make Taiwan compatriots unite with the country as a whole. It can be said that the process of cross-strait reunification has actually been carried out through a governance project called cross-strait integrated development. This governance project always reflects the dominance of the mainland, and dominance means that the development trend of cross-strait relations has a bottom line, and it will not be derailed and unpredictable. Compared with the overwhelming "abundant martial virtue" of the media, cross-strait integration and development is a dark line to promote reunification, simple, low-key, and slightly plain, but it is also equally important and meaningful, and needs to be "gradual, continuous and long-term achievements".

This article was originally published in "Observer Network" on September 2023, 9, and is reprinted with the author's permission.

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