Sunday, May 01, 2005

Now the President of Taiwan Wants to Visit China

Front page news all over the world, back page news in America:Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has urged the Chinese government to open talks with his administration.

After the Nationalist Party surrendered to the Communist Party of China the ruling party in Taiwan suddenly decides it is time to have "direct" talks. The only item the Chinese government has is creating a time schedule for reunification. So far, they patiently built up contacts over many years. The Tiananmin Square suppression and massacre set back their plans but that is already in the dim past, so to speak.

China refuses to talk to Mr Chen until he signs up to their one-China policy - something which would be political anathema for him, she says. says the BBC. Absolutely. Note how the Chinese were silent while Japan twisted and turned, desperately trying to not meet Chinese demands. Then Undersecretary Feith suddenly inks an agreement with China which essentially means we cannot do anything military near China without first letting them control it to some degree. This was another signal surrender of real power.

The Chinese have just begun.

Mr Lien is being treated like a head of state, with lavish receptions everywhere he goes, a sign that Beijing's happy with the momentum created by his visit, our Beijing correspondent says.

This is called "kingmaking" in America.

Here is the official Chinese news says bluntly:

Diehard advocate of "Taiwan independence" Lee Teng-hui is extremely upset these days. He cannot stand another blow on "Taiwan independence", or any signs of improvement in relations across the Taiwan Straits, or the mainstream call in the island province for better cross-Straits ties.

So, this long-time "troublemaker" -- as he is known in the international community -- has jumped out again to blast Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong for their ongoing or scheduled visits to the mainland, and to brazenly call the Taiwan issue "an international issue".

Yet neither Lee's vicious cursing nor his begging for foreign interference can change the fact that there is no way out for "Taiwan independence". Lee's action only betrays his impotence, despair and frustration in the face of reality.

Carrot and stick writ large, no?

Like all other "Taiwan independence" activists, Lee's secessionist activities unavoidably bear the marks of selling out his country. Claiming that he used to be a "Japanese citizen" when Taiwan was under Japan's colonial rule, Lee said repeatedly when he was in office that the Diaoyu Island of China was "Japanese territory" and that China should be divided into seven parts.

In early April this year, Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Su Chin-chiang, who looks on Lee as a "spiritual leader", even visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, which enshrines Japanese wardead, including 14 Class-A war criminals of World War II.

No wonder Lee and his followers were condemned by the general public in Hong Kong and Taiwan as "traitors of the Chinese nation".

This is the nub of the matter. The protests over the Japanese honoring war criminals is directly connected to the present ruling party of Taiwan allowing this, too. All countries struggle with international connections becoming dangerous. When WWI broke out there was a strong anti German backlash in America and in WWII there was a strong anti Japanese backlash.

Once again, Lee tried to smear the visits as "allying with the Communist Party of China and selling out Taiwan", but to no avail.A recent opinion poll conducted in Taiwan showed the absolute majority of the Taiwan people supported the mainland visits by Lien and Soong, and more than 80 percent of them hoped to see development in cross-Straits ties.

Eventually there will be an election on this issue. Hopefully the voters in Taiwan will be able to exert some control over events. The Chinese must use many carrots in their quest for reunification. It must be a win/win enterprise for the sake of humanity and world peace as well as China itself. Just like the germs of democracy in Hong Kong warp and weave its way into mainline Chinese thought, so will the spirit of democracy in Taiwan cross infect China, loosening the bonds of tyranny.

Just as we are losing our own democracy here at home as our rulers manipulate the populace, gerrymandering run amock creates false majorities and close elections are not counted by dictated by Supreme Court fiat based on destructive rulings counter to the spirit of the Constitution, we all can see that democracy is something that isn't easily held nor easily grown. Wrestling for the levers of power here in America might become more violent than the process in China. Both countries are trying to become something that isn't good in the long run: empires.

Not democracies. It is up to the people in China, Taiwan and America as well as Japan to rediscover what a democracy is and to fix our respective houses.

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