Community of Common Destiny (1987)

‘Taiwan as a Community of Common Destiny’ was first mentioned by Frank Hsieh on 15th January 1987, during his public debate with Jaw Shaw-kang at the National Taiwan University Alumni Association Building.

The concept of a ‘Community of Common Destiny’ is an extension of mutualism, different from independence. Independence is a political concept whereas sharing a common destiny is a cultural concept. A community of common destiny may not be an independent state but an independent state must be a community of common destiny. The emphasis is on consensus, shared interest and stakes and participation. Therefore, the core concept of ‘Taiwan as a Community of Common Destiny’ is the acceptance of the Taiwan identity. As such, the 2.3 million residents in Taiwan, regardless of ethnic origins, all belong to this Community, as long as they identify with this land. Taiwan’s future lies in everyone’s willingness to be part of this Community and to understand and recognise Taiwan.

In practice, there are three levels involved:

Political

A Community feels the same pressure when faced with an external force. However, Taiwan and Mainland China do not face the same external pressure. Therefore, it is difficult for the two parts to become a Community. Only after the clashes over their own survival are resolved can they talk about a Community of Common Destiny.

2. Economic

Taiwan has to consider not only short-term gains but long-term benefits in economic development. Ecology, the environment and the system all form the foundation for our survival. No one should damage the shared foundation for short-term economic benefits.

3. Societal

Looking after the vulnerable in the society and establishing an appropriate system is the foundation for long-term stability. The key concept of the Community lies in the society sharing the same destiny. Therefore, wealth cannot be monopolised by a minority. For peace, harmony and co-existence, wealth needs to be appropriately and reasonably distributed in a society.

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