The Beginning of the End, Part IV
Lien Chan’s Triumph
May 10, 2005
Executive Summary: On March 20, 2004, incumbent president Chen Shui-bian, via the Central Election Committee, rigged the Republic of China Presidential Election. Chen cheated challenger Lien Chan out of a victory he won fair and square, and the 53% majority of ROC citizens who voted for him out of the national leader of their choice. One year later, KMT Chairman Lien Chan completed a history-making “Journey of Peace” to the Chinese mainland, during which he eclipsed Chen Shui-bian and peformed an end run around the Taiwan independence movement. The Universe had belatedly returned some measure of justice to Lien Chan and those who voted for him.
The 426 Incident: “Kill Lien Chan, Save Taiwan!”
On April 26, 2005, KMT Chairman Lien Chan departed for the Chinese mainland. Pan Blue KMT and New Party supporters who enthusiastically approved of Lien Chan’s “Journey of Peace” arrived at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport to give their leader a joyous send off.
Pan Green DPP and TSU supporters who vehemently disapproved of Lien’s journey, who characterized it as a “Journey of Surrender,” also converged on the airport. They did not come to give Lien a joyous send off. They came to prevent Lien from leaving, by force if necessary. Failing that, they came to stone him with rocks the size of eggs.
Thugs from the “All People’s Taxi Company,” a pro independence taxi company notorious for violent physical attacks upon those guilty of being born “mainlanders,” stalled their vehicles on the freeway in an attempt to prevent Lien’s motorcade from reaching the airport. Upon being intercepted, they led the highway patrol on a high-speed chase straight out of television’s Max X — Maximum Exposure.
Having failed to prevent Lien from reaching the terminal building, elected legislators from the ruling DPP [You read that right], the allied TSU, and other pro Taiwan independence groups converged on the airport with rotten eggs, rocks, glass bottles, slingshots, clubs, even firecrackers, with the announced intention of attacking Lien as he made his way to the boarding gate.
One Taiwan independence zealot even brandished a “guan dao,” a traditional Chinese weapon similar to a Swiss halberd, and wore a T-shirt that read “Kill Lien Chan, Save Taiwan.”
How did the Chen regime Aviation Police Bureau deal with these two groups?
Pan Blue well-wishers, armed only with flowers and ROC flags, whose only intention was to give Lien Chan a joyous send-off were shut out of the terminal building by a solid phalanx of riot police.
Pan Green trouble-makers, who had openly announced several days in advance their intention to commit god knows what violence against Lien Chan, were allowed to swarm into the terminal building via an escalator from the basement level parking garage.
Taiwan independence fellow travelers have long attempted to depict the Taiwan independence movement as something that it is not, an idealistic, progressive, reformist political movement, rather than what it is, a myopic, reactionary, fascistic political movement. The 426 Incident shattered that myth and showed the world the ugly truth.
Pan Green Panic
According to Pan Green mythology, “Lien Chan lost the 2004 Presidential Election.” According to the Pan Green mythology, “Chen Shui-bian is the duly-elected president of the ROC.” According to Pan Green mythology, Lien Chan lacks the means to “sell out Taiwan,” even presuming he wants to, which he most assuredly does not.
No, Pan Greens were not really afraid that Lien Chan would “sell out Taiwan” by signing any secret and illegal treaties with Hu Jintao.
Instead, Pan Greens were afraid that Lien Chan would undo decades of Taiwan independence brainwashing by transforming the cross-straits political atmosphere.
Taiwan independence leaders are worried. They sense that the tide has turned. They sense that their dream of a “Republic of Taiwan” is slipping through their fingers with unexpected and alarming rapidity.
They are right to be worried. The tide has turned. Their treasonous goal of splitting Taiwan off from China is slipping through their fingers, more rapidly than the most optimistic Pan Blue patriots could ever have hoped for.
Taiwan independence Political Correctness no longer works. Nobody is afraid of being called a “Chi-Com fellow traveler” anymore. Tiresome McCarthyite smears, repeated for the umpteenth time, are no longer able to deter Pan Blue leaders from denouncing Taiwan independence and championing China’s reunification.
This is a watershed moment in modern Chinese history, and a far cry from mere months ago, when Pan Blue leaders would tremble in their boots when confronted with wildly unfounded McCarthyite smears.
Ironically this “inordinate fear of Communism” was originally a KMT weapon against real, live Communist agents during the KMT’s White Terror, appropriated lock, stock, and barrel by Taiwan independence demagogues for use during the DPP’s Green Terror.
The public on Taiwan is overwhelmingly supportive of Lien’s trip. This has Taiwan independence leaders wringing their hands in despair. Lee Teng-hui held a series of press conferences during which he became increasingly agitated as he spoke and openly admitted that he hadn’t been able to sleep for days.
The Pan Green camp’s shocking loss in the December 10, 2004 Legislative Election, followed by the mainland’s highly-effective March 14, 2005 Anti-Secession Law, followed by Hsu Wen-long’s March 25, 2005 public repudiation of Taiwan independence, followed by Lien Chan’s triumphant “Journey of Peace,” are all milestones on the Taiwan independence movement’s road to oblivion.
The Watershed Legislative Election
According to the results of the 2004 Presidential Election — before they were doctored by the Chen-controlled Central Election Committee — Lien Chan was duly elected President of the Republic of China. The only reason Lien isn’t sitting in the president’s office today is the US only demands that fraudulent elections be overturned when its own pawns are shafted. In the case of the Ukraine, the US pawn got shafted. In the case of Taiwan, the US pawn was doing the shafting.
During the lead up to the December 2004 Legislative Election, political observers, Green and Blue alike, noted that Chen Shui-bian was eagerly awaiting the results of the December 2004 Legislative Election. He couldn’t wait to point to the results and announce, “See! This Pan Green majority in the legislature confirms that I really was elected by a majority back in March 2004!”
Unfortunately the results confirmed the exact opposite. They confirmed angry Pan Blue voters’ insistence that Chen lost the March 2004 Presidential Election by a wide margin. This was a devastating blow to Chen. If the December 2004 Legislative Election had gone the other way, he would have been gloating endlessly. As it was, he went into hiding for several weeks and we didn’t hear a peep from him. For a loudmouth braggart like Chen Shui-bian, that was extraordinary.
The Critical Anti-Secession Law
My own view of Beijing’s Anti-Secession Law differs from some of my Pan Blue comrades. I agree that the law provoked an initial backlash, but I believe it was part of a deliberate plan to first intimidate Taiwan independence Quislings with the stick, get that unpleasantness over with, then offer the carrot — a really juicy carrot.
PRC leaders under the leadership of Hu Jintao have made a strategic decision. They have decided that rather than wage an immensely costly war to force reunification, one that could set the nation’s economic development back two or more decades, they might as well use the same money to buy reunification.
Their first target was pro independence industrial tycoons such as Chi Mei’s Hsu Wen-long. Their current target is pro independence southern Taiwan peasants such as fruit farmers.
Their strategy is working, like a well-oiled machine. That’s the reason for Pan Green Panic.
Veni, Vidi, Vinci
Lien Chan’s “Journey of Peace” was an unqualified triumph. Members of the public, both on the mainland and on Taiwan, both Pan Blue and Pan Green, were blown away.
Pan Green leaders, needless to say, were not. TV reporters covering the DPP and TSU showed them sitting around their party headquarters muttering unconvincing rebuttals and accusing Lien Chan of “selling out Taiwan.” By which of course they meant, “discrediting Taiwan independence.” They were seething because they knew Lien was doing a superb job.
Lien Chan has long been dismissed as a “fu bu qi de A-Dou,” i.e., “a loser who can’t get his act together.”
Between April 26 and May 3, Lien proved his critics wrong, dead wrong. Lien showed them his mettle. Lien demostrated that he was a genuine statesman.
Actually we shouldn’t have been surprised. Lien Chan has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He taught Poly-Sci at the University of Wisconsin and University of Connecticut. Lien knows his history. Lien sees the Big Picture.
Lien Chan’s problem, as it turns out, was not Lien Chan. Lien Chan’s problem was Taiwan’s political stage. Lien was too big. Taiwan’s political stage was too small. Lien Chan’s problem was that Taiwan’s populist “democratic” politics called for him to be a Chen Shui-bian style demagogue, a Pauline Hanson style demagogue, a Willy Stark style demagogue straight out of Robert Penn Warren’s searing political novel, “All the King’s Men.”
Political ability on Taiwan was defined as rabble-rousing ability. Political ability on Taiwan was defined wrongly. Political ability on Taiwan was defined the way it is on “Thirty Seconds to Fame.”
Lien couldn’t do it. Lien wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t in his nature. It wasn’t him.
Beijing University or “Beida,” finally provided Lien with the proper stage. Lien the learned scholar could finally show the world his stuff, before fellow scholars who didn’t expect or want him to do a clown act.
Remember the expression, “Let Reagan be Reagan?” To find out what Lien was made of, it was merely necessary to “Let Lien be Lien.”
Lien’s performance was masterful. Lien showed that Lien had what Bush Senior lacked, “the vision thing.” Lien’s performance was another nail in the coffin of the Taiwan independence movement.
For a while it looked as if Lien Chan was destined to be a schlemiel, a footnote in history. Who knew Lien would pull a rabbit out of his hat and secure for himself a place in history far more significant and exalted than that of “Mr. Democracy” Lee Teng-hui and “Son of Taiwan” Chen Shui-bian?
The abysmal failure of 17 long years of Taiwan independence economic folly for the sake of an ersatz “Taiwanese national identity,” the traumatic Pan Green defeat in the December 2004 Legislative Election, the public surrender of Taiwan independence True Believer Hsu Wen-long, all provided Lien with the opportunity of a lifetime. Lien saw it, and seized it.
Veni, Vidi, Vinci.
The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways
Sometimes I ask myself, why has the universe (“Lao Tien”) given Lee Teng-hui 12 years and Chen Shui-bian eight years to abuse the Chinese people on Taiwan? Why have they been forced to suffer for so long?
But then I find myself thinking, perhaps it’s a case of the old Chinese fable “Sai Ong Loses His Horse: Blessing or Bane 塞翁失馬焉知非福.” Perhaps the universe is giving the Taiwan independence leadership enough rope to hang itself. By giving Taiwan independence leaders so many years to discredit their own ideology, by the time it’s all over and the dust has settled, Taiwan independence as a political ideal will be so thoroughly discredited nobody will believe in it any more.
Ironically, this is precisely what happened on the mainland to Communism. Mao Zedong and his Communist hardliners insisted on implementing Marxism-Leninism in toto, without compromise. They abolished all private property. They herded everyone into communes. They collectivized industrial and agricultural production. The universe gave Mao every chance to make Communism succeed. When it failed, as it had to when it bumped up against harsh economic reality, it failed spectacularly. When it failed, no one could say it hadn’t been given a fair chance.
The same thing is now happening on Taiwan to Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence, like Communism, has been given two decades to succeed. When it failed, as it had to when it bumped up against harsh economic reality, it failed spectacularly. When it failed, no one could say it hadn’t been given a fair chance.
If on the other hand, James Soong hadn’t faced a split vote in 2000, or Lien Chan hadn’t been cheated out of his victory in 2004, Taiwan independence supporters would probably insist forever that “Taiwan independence never got a fair chance.” Now that Chen Shui-bian, one of their own, has gotten a second term, however illegitimately, and run the economy into the ground, Taiwan independence ideology has been thoroughly discredited, forever, and the Chinese people can move on.
Fate takes some strange turns. Lien Chan won the presidential election fair and square in 2004. He is the Republic of China’s real president. Chen Shui-bian stole the presidency from Lien by illegal, underhanded means. Now however Chen is faced with a dilemma.
He can stubbornly adhere to the DPP’s “Taiwan Independence Party Constitution” and end up as a footnote in history, with nothing to show for his eight years in power. Or he can betray his Taiwan independence supporters, acknowledge the “1992 Consensus” that there is “One China, Two Interpretations,” and make peace with the mainland.
He’s sorely tempted to do the latter. Talking heads have noted that Chen could get the Nobel Peace Prize, but only if he is willing to sell out his fundamentalist supporters. Chen is torn, waffling from one moment to the next.
Ironically if Chen Shui-bian makes peace with the mainland, he may kill the Taiwan independence movement even more thoroughly than Soong or Lien. If Taiwan independence supporters are sold out by one of their own, they may be more resigned to the reality of One China and make less trouble down the road.
If Soong or Lien were to make peace with the mainland, Taiwan independence supporters might never be able to come to terms with it. They might insist that they were “stabbed in the back” by “Traitors to Taiwan,” and later generations might never hear the end of it.
If Chen does makes peace with the mainland however, Taiwan independence followers may be left speechless. They may be forced to come to terms with the fact that their own champion realized their dream was dead and made the best deal he could for them under the circumstances.