Ballots in the Hands of the Youth(2)

Published: 2007-06-14

A few days ago Lin gave a speech at Peking University under the invitation of professor Zheng Xueyi, director of the Peking University Continuing Education Department. After the lecture, he sat down with the Economic Observer for an interview.

The Economic Observer: You've mentioned that the youth on both sides of the straight are experiencing change. How will this influence future cross-strait relations??

Lin Yishi: I think it will be positive. The youth are more and more open, their burdens less and less. The limitations placed on them are also decreasing… With this, as the mainland develops its economy more, as there is more space for economic cooperation, I think that more youth will invest themselves. So in this way I think that we can expect progress [in the cross-strait relationship] for the future.

EO: In your speech you said you had strong feelings regarding the weakening of China's traditional influence over Taiwan. As China develops in the future, what role will China's traditional value systems, ethics, morals, and social norms play, and how will they influence cross-strait relations??

Lin: Cultural commonality is an extremely important element influencing the cross-strait relationship, as intrinsic cultural norms differentiate ethnic groups. Today, Chinese and Americans, Europeans and other East Asians—are different because Chinese traditional culture has been passed down [to modern generations], leading to the creation of a special Chinese quality. The mainland and Taiwan, although politically different, are culturally identical. They can never be separated naturally. So I've consistently held that the maintenance of this kind of traditional culture is an extremely important element of the cross-strait relationship. As long as we are growing with the same cultural backdrop, our relationship can be maintained. But if today there was some change in the value system, it would then be conceivable for a qualitative change to take place. So to this end I still think that our traditional culture should be staunchly protected.

EO: Do you think a qualitative change will occur??

Lin: Of course there's this danger, so we should work hard to reverse this trend. If we're fully aware that a crisis is occurring then we cannot turn a blind eye. For tradition, I believe what's most important is making the person and the family the most basic units. How to develop a society that puts an emphasis on one’s humanity and moral principles is a difference between Chinese and other ethnic groups. So I take changes in these morals and value systems very seriously, and worry about them.

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