Freedom and Democracy disappear in Taiwan
August 31, 2000
Freedom and Democracy vanish from Taipei’s “Tiananmen Square”
On August 22, citizens of the Republic of China woke up to discover that a row of familiar signs in front of Taipei’s Presidential Palace had suddenly and mysteriously vanished, overnight. The eight giant signs which lined one side of Taipei’s counterpart to Tiananmen Square for almost two decades, read “Zhi Yu Min Zu, Tong Yi Zhong Guo,”or “Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China.” These eight Chinese characters were clearly visible in the background during Chen Shui-bian’s May 20th inauguration ceremony. They appeared in electronic and print media images of the event held in Presidential Square.
What happened to them? Where did they go?
An AFP article which got zero notice outside Taiwan, but which was picked up by the English language China Post noted:
“The removal of the slogans sparked speculation over the new government’s political intentions.”
Freedom and Democracy are dead. Long live Freedom and Democracy
The removal of the slogans as it turns out, was indeed, “politically motivated.” The signs reading “Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China” were demolished by Chen Shui-bian, who only three months ago at his inaugural ceremony stood before them and shouted:
“Long live freedom and democracy!”
Chen Shui-bian stood before them and said:
“The government should rule on the basis of majority public opinion. The interests of the people should reign supreme over those of any political party or individual… [I understand I must put] national interests above those of political parties… from the moment I take my oath and assume the presidency, I will put all my efforts into fulfilling my role as a “president for all people.””
Chen Shui-bian stood before them and said:
“I fully understand that, as the popularly elected 10th-term president of the Republic of China, I must abide by the Constitution… and ensure the well-being of all citizens… I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called “state-to-state” description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regard to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, there is no question of abolishing the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council.”
Wow. Sounds pretty good. Almost as good as “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
Freedom and Democracy, Victims of Collateral Damage
The Republic of China’s 1991 “Guidelines for National Unification” read:
“the two sides of the Taiwan Straits should foster a consensus of democracy, freedom and equal prosperity, and together build a new and unified China.”
The twenty year old signs A-Bian ordered demolished read:
“Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China.”
Does anyone else smell a rat? Does anyone else suspect something is rotten in the State of Denmark? Does anyone else doubt A-Bian’s sincerity? Anyone who has not been duped by warm and fuzzy sounding Taiwan independence propaganda knows exactly what happened.
Freedom and Democracy had to be sacrificed. They were hanging out with the wrong crowd, Reunification. One might say that Freedom and Democracy were “collateral damage” in the Taiwan independence elite’s Jihad against the Satanic Forces of Chinese Reunification. As Madeleine Albright might argue, Freedom and Democracy were Chinese Reunification’s “willing executioners.”
The Taiwan independence elite’s attitude is Freedom and Democracy are nice to have as long as they don’t stand in the way of their precious “Republic of Taiwan.” As long as Freedom and Democracy were useful in garnering sympathy for Taiwan independence, fine and dandy. After all, “Freedom!” and “Democracy!” go over big with well-meaning, gullible Yanquis. We can be counted on to write our windbags in congress and demand that by golly America is going to stand up for a “Free and Democratic Taiwan” against the Bogeyman from Beijing.
But just let Freedom and Democracy work against Taiwan independence, then watch out.
A Room with a View
Can’t you just picture A-Bian, glaring petulantly out his office window at the hated second half of the slogan “Shall Reunify China,” dying to take a blowtorch to it, but caught on the horns of a dilemma? Can’t you just hear A-Bian, known for his bad temper, ranting at cowering flunkies:
“Am I going to have to see that goddamned slogan every time I look out my window for the next four years?”
A-Bian knew if he ordered only the last four characters “Shall Reunify China” taken down and the first four characters “Freedom and Democracy” left up, even an idiot would realize what he just did.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened next.
“Freedom and Democracy” were immediately torched and hauled off to the scrap heap, right along with “Shall Reunify China.”
Chen Che-nan, Acting Secretary-General to the President, [is that a great title for a brown-nosing flakcatcher or what?] then told the press the private industry group which underwrote the construction of the signs had requested they be torn down for safety reasons, a claim promptly and categorically denied by the group named.
Freedom and Democracy vs. What Really Matters
For the past 12 years Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura has had no qualms whatsoever about nullifying the ROC electorate’s freedoms and democratic institutions whenever they stood in the way of Taiwan independence. I’m not accusing Taiwan independence elitists of deliberately, systematically, maliciously setting out to extinguish every last spark of Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan. I’m merely pointing out that if one pays attention to what they do, instead of what they say, one quickly learns Freedom and Democracy don’t rate very high on the Taiwan independence elite’s shortlist of What Really Matters.
If you want to seehow quickly the Taiwan independence elite changes its tune when the Sanctity of the Democratic Process frustrates their Taiwan independence goals, look up “Taiwan’s Little Emperors.” The dirty little secret about Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura is that its highest priority has never been Freedom and Democracy, but the establishment of a “Republic of Taiwan, Freedom and Democracy Optional.”
Their aptly named “ROT” would in fact be a reincarnation of the puppet regime known as “Manchukuo,” presided over by Henry Puyi, the “Last Emperor” depicted in Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic of the same name. It would be independent in name but in fact a client-state of a rightist dominated Japan hostile to China first, and America second.
Chinese Bankers vote for Reunification
If you want to know what people want, don’t waste time conducting surveys asking them “What do you want?” Most of the time what you’ll get is not what they want, but their wish list for Santa Claus. What you’ll get is what they would order for lunch if they know in advance somebody else is picking up the tab. What you’ll get is what free market economists refer to as “moral hazard,” irresponsible behavior detached from any serious consideration of the consequences of what happens when it comes time to pay the piper. The only time this rule does not apply is when a free lunch is not involved.
Taiwan Independence and Free Lunches
If you’re serious about wanting to know what people really want, don’t ask them directly. Simply look at what they’re willing to pay for out of their own wallets. “Money talks,” as the vulgar expression goes, “and bullshit walks.” If one earnestly wants to know how private Chinese citizens on Taiwan feel about Chinese Reunification, one need look no further than the “Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China” signs.
The twenty year old signs were a public service sponsored by the privately funded Bankers Association, which paid for their original cost of construction and annual maintenance. Taiwan’s banking industry voted, with their NT dollars. Taiwan’s bankers know only too well for Taiwan to have any economic future, it will be as an integral part of what American multinationals refer to as “Greater China.”
Taiwan’s Weighted Index or TAIEX fell another 273 points yesterday. From a 52 week high of 10,393, it closed at 7543, a new 52 week low. Taiwan’s shareholders, who are overwhelmingly small, individual investors rather than large managed funds, are voting with their NT dollars, right alongside Taiwan’s bankers. They too are casting a vote of “No Confidence.” During the Cold War Douglas MacArthur referred to the island of Taiwan as “an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the western Pacific.” Did I hear somebody say “Titanic?”
A Free Republic of Taiwan? Or a Republic of Taiwan, For Free?
If one asks Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura, “What do you want?” They’ll reflexively tell you they want a “free and independent Republic of Taiwan.” If one asks Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura, “What’s wrong with One China comprising two equal but autonomous regions, the ROC and PRC?” They’ll turn up their noses and dismiss any such suggestions as “unacceptable.”
So far, no surprises.
But be so impolite as to overstep the polite bounds of “normal” conversation and ask them the personal price they’re willing to pay to get what they want, or say they want, and watch their body language.
Ask them if they personally, are prepared to grab an M-16, volunteer for combat, and risk having their spinal column severed by a stray round out of nowhere, or their legs turned into a pink mist by the one antipersonnel mine that escaped their notice.
Ask them if they personally, are prepared to return from the front lines of a Chinese Civil War they provoked in a body bag, or live the remainder of their lives in a wheelchair.
Then watch them shift uncomfortably in their seats as they assure you “Of course I am.”
You’ll quickly discover that what Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura wants is not a “free and independent Republic of Taiwan,” but a “Republic of Taiwan, for free, dependent on the US Seventh Fleet.”
Fraudulent, hypocritical lip service to Freedom and Democracy is the rotten tooth Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura places under its pillow at night, with the expectation that a carrier battle group will be there next morning, courtesy the American Tooth Fairy.
Freedom Fosters Chinese Reunification
Citizens of the Republic of China demand freedom. But much to the chagrin of Taiwan’s Japanophile elite, Chinese on Taiwan use their freedom to “fraternize with the enemy,” i.e., their fellow countrymen on the Chinese mainland.
They demand the freedom to travel, ship freight, mail letters and packages directly to any and all regions of their own country, including the Chinese mainland. This freedom, commonly referred to as “San Tong,” or “Three Links,” is something Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait demand, as is their right as citizens of One China.
The lower 48 states belong as much to American citizens from Alaska or Hawaii as to residents of California or New York. Similarly, the Chinese mainland belongs as much to Chinese citizens of the Republic of China, as it does to Chinese citizens of the Peoples Republic of China.
Amazingly, some DPP politicians may be beginning to see the light. I say “may be” because it’s too soon to tell if they really “get it” yet.
Xiamen is a port city in Fujian province, directly across the Taiwan Strait, the mainland province most Chinese on Taiwan hail from. “Taiwanese,” so-called, is merely the Chinese dialect spoken in the Minan region of Fujian. Frank Hsieh, incoming DPP Party Chairman and Mayor of Kaohsiung recently declared matter of factly that, “Kaohsiung and Xiamen are two cities within the same nation.”
No kidding! Will wonders never cease?
Chinese on Taiwan demand that Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura respect ordinary Chinese citizens’ right to invest in the Chinese mainland, build factories on the Chinese mainland, make religious pilgrimages to the Chinese mainland, visit relatives on the Chinese mainland, marry fellow countrymen from the Chinese mainland, bring their husbands or wives to Taiwan from the Chinese mainland. Citizens of the Republic of China demand that Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura respect their right to do all these things and more without official harassment.
This right is being denied them by an arrogant political elite.
No, not by Beijing, which earnestly wants to bring the two sides closer together. But by Taipei’s Quisling Nomenklatura, which does not, and which is determined to keep the two sides apart by hook or by crook, the will of the people be damned.
Lee Teng-hui’s cross Straits “policy,” euphemistically dubbed “jie ji, yong ren” or “avoid haste, be patient” has served no other purpose than to hinder, impede and obstruct the spontaneous reconvergence of the two halves of a divided China.
When Chinese on Taiwan firmly rejected Lee Teng-hui’s autocratic “head in the sand” proscription against direct contact with their mainland brethren, Mr. Democracy’s all too typical reaction was in essence “If you don’t like it, you can lump it.” The last thing in the world Lee Teng-hui and Taiwan’s Japanophile elite want is for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to spontaneously merge back with each other.
When Freedom conflicts with Taiwan independence, Freedom goes while Taiwan independence stays.
Democracy Fosters Chinese Reunification
Citizens of the Republic of China value “democracy,” or to be more precise, what George Washington and most of our Founding Fathers preferred to call “republican government.” But much to the chagrin of Taiwan’s Japanophile elite, the Chinese people on Taiwan favor reunification with mainland China.
Earlier this week on “Da Jia Lai Seng Pan,” or “You Be the Judge,” a popular viewer call-in show on GTV, the on-air survey question asked was “Do you favor reunification, independence, or the status quo?”
Out of 6,840 viewers who phoned in and voted, 4,858 voted “reunification,” 1,792 voted “independence,” and 190 voted “status quo.”
That works out to 71% in favor of reunification, 26% in favor of independence, and 3% in favor of the status quo.
On air polls are of course not scientific, but results like this are quite typical, provide useful anecdotal evidence about mainstream sentiment, and are entirely consistent with the results of the March 18 presidential election, when 61% of the vote was split between four candidates who favored reunification.
The 71% figure for viewers supporting reunification is especially revealing, since even DPP officials concede that a substantial percentage of the 39% who voted for Chen Shiu-bian were not endorsing Taiwan independence, but merely wanted to rid themselves of “Mr. Democracy” Lee Teng-hui’s rampant corruption. These voters voted for Chen only because Nobel Laureate Lee Yuan-tse, advisor to Chen Shui-bian, assured them Chen would not foment Taiwan independence and reignite a still unresolved Chinese Civil War, but devote his energy to cleaning up corruption.
Let’s glance at the numbers:
71% – 61% = 10%
39% – 10% = 29%
The 26% who phoned in and voted for independence closely approximates A-Bian’s 39% plurality, minus an estimated 10% to 15% who liked the sound of A-Bian’s anti-corruption pledges but who do not endorse Taiwan independence.
These figures are all the more astonishing when you consider that fact that Lee Teng-hui has for the past twelve years misdirected the immense financial and political resources of the Leninist KMT party/government machinery into brainwashing the ROC public into thinking of itself as “Taiwanese, not Chinese.” Lee Teng-hui, like Mao Zedong before him, learned to his dismay just how persistent Culture with a capital C can be, how badly Culture can trip up the dirigiste ambitions of sundry self-appointed social engineers and “nation-builders.”
Four years ago “Mr. Democracy” Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian successfully blocked a New Party election reform bill requiring an either an absolute majority or else a run-off election. This March 18 A-Bian squeaked by with a 39% plurality. A run-off election would have put the immensely popular pro reunification former Taiwan Provincial Governor James Soong in the president’s office.
When Democracy conflicts with Taiwan independence, Democracy goes while Taiwan independence stays.
Freedom and Democracy will reunify China
The Taiwan independence elite has been selling Taiwan independence as if Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan justified, even necessitated Taiwan independence. Libertarians who follow Sino-American relations have probably detected a predictable spin imparted to mainstream media news articles and opinion pieces [what’s the diff?] dealing with Taiwan independence. Their spin goes something like this:
“Taiwan [never the ROC] is drifting away from China [never the PRC]. Taiwan is developing its own distinctively Taiwanese political and cultural identity.”
The truth, with almost boring predictably, is just the reverse.
Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan, and eventually the Chinese mainland, will reunify China. Absent artificial constraints imposed from the top down by insolent Taiwan independence “nation builders,” the mainland’s geographical proximity, the pressures of economic globalization, China’s venerable and durable cultural traditions, would draw the two sides of the Taiwan Strait toward each other like a pair of powerful magnets.
The Taiwan independence elite knows this, and doesn’t like it one bit.
This is why they have engaged in Orwellian historical revisionism with a Japanese twist for the past decade, frantically rewriting Taiwan’s primary and secondary school textbooks to indoctrinate Chinese children on Taiwan into admiring Japan and despising their own country, China. Not even the best aspects of Japan, of which there are many, her fine arts for example, but the worst aspects of Japan, her fanatical militarism.
Neoconservative and liberal Taiwan independence fellow travelers are not going to suddenly pretend they don’t appreciate the significance of this kind of control of the public school curriculum I hope?
Lee Teng-hui camouflaged his unsavory neofascist Japanophilia under a garment labeled “Freedom and Democracy,” and got away with it for 12 years. Hapless Chinese citizens on Taiwan could only grit their teeth as ignoramuses within our mainstream western media canonized Lee as “Mr. Democracy.”
A-Bian has no Room for Error
“A mediator between Beijing and Taipei has revealed that former President Lee Teng-hui was opposed to reunification all along, although he gave the impression that he supported the move.”
— Ching Cheong
“Alas, Beijing believed Taiwan’s ex-leader”
The Straits Times Interactive, Aug 20, 2000
Lee is now a fading memory. Now comes A-Bian.
Chiu Yi-ren, one of the younger generation of DPP officials, agrees with what New Party officials have saying for years. After being jerked around by Lee Teng-hui for 12 long years, Beijing has completely run out of patience. Consequently “A-Bian has no room for error.”
Let’s hope A-Bian understands the destructive folly of his predecessor’s example, of paying insincere lip service to peaceful reunification by day, while fomenting ugly separatist hatred by night.
Let’s hope A-Bian is not “pulling a Lee Teng-hui” when he says,
“Under the leadership of Mr. Deng Xiaoping and Mr. Jiang Zemin, the mainland has created a miracle of economic openness… Today, as the Cold War has ended, it is time for the two sides to cast aside the hostility left from the old era. We do not need to wait further because there is a new opportunity now for the two sides to create an era of reconciliation together… we believe that the leaders on both sides possess enough wisdom and creativity to jointly deal with the question of a future “one China.”
Freedom is making a comeback, and Democracy is making a debut on mainland China
Liberal Democratic former president Jimmy Carter and conservative Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have both traveled to mainland China and confirmed that village level elections on the Chinese mainland are the Real McCoy.
[Not that it’s any of our business of course.]
Let’s hope Freedom and Democracy don’t bow out on Taiwan even as they make their appearance on the Chinese mainland, just because they happen to have “creative differences” with a Quisling elite’s dream of Taiwan independence.