On the eve of 2009, the President of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, Hu Jintao, delivered a capstone speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” (Xinhua News Agency, December 31, 2008). The message was first issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on January 1, 1979, which marked the Communist party’s ‘abandonment’ of its pledge for the ‘armed liberation’ (wuli jiefang) of Taiwan to the island’s ‘peaceful liberation’ (heping jiefang). The 1979 message was the CCP’s first appeal to the Kuomintang (KMT) on Taiwan for an end to hostile confrontation and tension across the Taiwan Strait, and marked the beginning of Beijing’s ‘peaceful unification’ (heping tongyi) strategy. Thirty years later, Hu’s commemorative speech, which coincided with the country’s 30th anniversary of opening up and economic reform spearheaded by the late patriarch, Deng Xiaoping, included a six-point proposal that Chinese analysts and official media are waxing lyrical with praise, calling it a harbinger for peace in the Taiwan Strait (Xinhua News Agency, January 7).
The ‘six-points’ outlined in Hu’s speech are: “1) firm adherence to the ‘one China’ principle; 2) strengthening commercial ties, including negotiating an economic cooperation agreement; 3) promoting personnel exchanges; 4) stressing common cultural links between the two sides; 5) allowing Taiwan’s ‘reasonable’ participation in global organizations and 6) negotiating a peace agreement” (Straits Times, January 2).