This 1983 editorial published in the People's Daily, which outlines the main points Deng Xiaoping made when meeting with an American academic, shows remarkably few signs of aging. Here it is, with my own rough translation, again.
What strikes me about this is for all intents and purposes, it could have been written by Hu Jintao yesterday. You will also note the insistence of Deng of holding talks on "equal footing" as two parties, not as a central government to a regional government. This could well indicate that the DPP attacks against China's "downgrading" Taiwan in talks has been misguided -- and that the KMT defenses don't really get to the point either.
A few parts have been bolded by me. Enjoy!
The core issue is national unification. Peaceful unification has already become the common language used by the Nationalist and Communist parties. But this is not a unification where we would gobble [Taiwan] up, or they would gobble us up. We hope that the Nationalist and Communist parties can work together to complete the unification of our people and that everyone can make a contribution to the Zhonghua minzu.
We do not support the suggestion that Taiwan have "complete autonomy." Autonomy must obviously have some limits; if there are limits, the autonomy would not be "complete." Complete autonomy would be the same as 'two Chinas,' and not One China. The systems used [in Taiwan and China] can be different, but internationally there can only be one representative of China, and that is the People's Republic of China. We admit that the local Taiwan government can take care of policies related to its internal affairs. Taiwan as a special administrative region, although it would have a regional government, would be like other provinces, cities and autonomous regions [like Tibet and Xinjiang], though it would have some unique rights not seen in other provinces, cities or autonomous regions. The precondition is that those rights do not infringe on the national interests.
After unification, the Taiwan special administrative region can operate independently, and can continue to develop a system different than the mainland. The legal system can be independent, and final judgments would not have to go through Beijing. Taiwan can maintain its own army, as long as it does not threaten the mainland. The mainland would not dispatch any officials to Taiwan, would not send PLA there, and would not send government administrators there. Taiwan's party system, government, military and other systems would all be run entirely by Taiwanese. The central government [in China] would even allow Taiwan a quota for immigration and emigration [to the mainland]. [A-gu: not sure about this sentence, any corrections?]
Peaceful unification is not where the mainland swallows Taiwan, and of course it is not where Taiwan swallows the mainland. The so called idea of "unifying China under the Three People's Principles" is simply not realistic.
To realize unification, we need to use every appropriate method; therefore we suggest holding talks between the CCP and KMT and realizing the Third United Front, rather than having "central government to regional government" discussions. After both sides come to an agreement, then we can make a formal announcement. But what we cannot allow is foreign interference, which would imply that China was not yet independent, and that would carry disastrous consequences.
We hope the Taiwanese, to clarify their misunderstandings, will carefully read the nine points raised by Ye Jianying (叶剑英) in September 1981 [already discussed in Part 1, here] as well as the July 1983 statements Deng Yingchao (邓颖超) made in his opening remarks at the sixth People's Political Consultative Conference meeting.
The conference you held in March this year in San Francisco, "A Look ahead at Chinese Unification," was a great thing.
We want to complete the as yet uncompleted grand mission of unification. If the Nationalist and Communist parties can do this, then all the history that will be written about [Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo] will be a little less harsh. Of course, realizing peaceful unification will naturally take time. If you say there is no hurry, that is nonsense; there are still elderly people around that hope to see unification soon. We need more exchanges, increased understanding. We can send anyone to Taiwan, and the visit can be informal and without talks. We can also welcome them to send someone here, where we would gaurentee their safety and privacy. We mean what we say, and do not intend to mess around.
We have already made 'peaceful solidarity' a reality [probably refers to stabilizing China internally]. The principle of peaceful reunification of the motherland was approved at the CCP's Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee. That policy was gradually developed, and we will adhere to it unwaveringly.
Sino-American relations have been changing lately, but the American leadership has not given up the "two Chinas" or "one and a half China" approach. America always talks about how great their system is, but the president says one thing during the election and then does another after he's in power. At the mid term elections there's still another position, and when its time for the next election there's still another policy. America likes to say China's policy is unstable, but compared to the United States, our policies are very stable indeed.