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Taiwan-China Relationship Among Hot Topics at Sino-American Conference
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Taiwan-China Relationship Among Hot Topics at Sino-American Conference

WHEN SCHOLARS MET at Penn Law last September for the 32nd Annual Sino-American Conference on Contemporary Chinese Affairs, they focused on China’s uncertain future, and on Taiwan’s uneasy relationship with mainland China and the threat to peace in the region it represents.

Describing the Taiwan Strait as “the most dangerous spot on the planet,” National Chengchi University Professor Yuan-kang Wang contended the rise of democracy in Taiwan poses grave dangers to regional and global security. Wang and other participants stressed that Taiwan’s status has become an increasingly volatile subject. While the People’s Republic of China (PRC) insists on unification under a “one country, two systems” model in which Taiwan would be a “special administrative region” of China, Taiwanese political leaders, including President Chen Shu-bian, have more forcefully asserted the island’s independent status.

At the conference, titled “Democratization (and Its Limits) in Greater China: Implications for Governance and Security in East Asia,” leading scholars from Penn, Columbia, Duke and other universities in the United States, and colleagues from China and Taiwan debated whether recent developments in the PRC foreshadowed meaningful steps toward constitutional democracy or marginal adjustments to an unreformed system that faces growing challenges.

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