JKhedrup wrote:1. As founding masters of the large Buddhist orders of Taiwan attempt to reach the masses in the PRC, what will be the implication in terms of the freedom to speak their mind?
Unless freedom of speech is guaranteed across the board, no talk of political discourse or democracy would be tolerated. There are also a lot of inconvenient historical truths from the last century that could be addressed (like how the communists tried to eradicate Buddhism from not just Tibet, but China as well), but wouldn't go over well with the authorities.
I don't see this happening anyway for the foreseeable future. In Hong Kong for example journalists are complaining, rightfully so, that their rights are being slowly taken away. In the PRC officials are discouraged from actively participating in religion. The leadership is paranoid about anyone challenging their authority, and religion has a tendency of challenging secular authority.
3. Will the PRC really allow temples in its territory to answer to the heads of organizations based in Taiwan?
I don't think so. Not right now anyway. They don't even like Roman Catholics answering to Rome and not Beijing. That's why the real Roman Catholics have had to go underground.
The other thing is that Taiwanese Buddhists going to the PRC would tell everyone how they come from a democratic society with freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and that it all generally works well. Even if they didn't outright promote these ideals in the PRC, the devotees on the mainland would get the idea that, yes, they too could have social freedoms like the compatriots over on Taiwan, without society descending into chaos. It would just go to demonstrate that the Communist Party unjustifiably prohibits social freedoms and religion, and hence undermine their monopoly on power.
4. Will the Taiwanese traditions be able to promote a pan-Buddhist, inter-sectarian vision of the dharma? Or will it be Chinese Buddhism competing against "non-native" forms?
Chinese Buddhism as it stands is somewhat incompatible with the other two major forms of Buddhism, namely Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism. The former is regarded as inferior Hīnayāna, and thus it would be inappropriate to entirely accept Theravada (striving for arhatship would not be viewed favourably). Tibetan Buddhism and consequently Vajrayāna are unlikely to be really appreciated. The images of wrathful deities coupling with consorts is an issue. The consort practices, although not really practised by so many people in reality, are unlikely to ever be accepted as legitimate by mainstream Chinese Buddhists. There is also the issue that Tibetan Buddhists will say they are the sole heirs to anuttara-yoga-tantra and hence they have no use for Chinese Buddhist traditions, like Chan, Tiantai or Pure Land.