Prev Up Next


Ma calls on China to face ‘painful’ past

MIXED MESSAGE: The president said in a statement on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre that China deserved praise for progress on human rights

By Ko Shu-ling
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 1


“[The rule of law and human rights] are universal values that should become the common language of the people on both sides.”— President Ma Ying-jeou


Top: A man blocks a column of army tanks on Chang’an Avenue east of Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 5, 1989. Bottom: Cars drive down the same section of the avenue yesterday on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.



President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday lauded China’s efforts to address human rights issues but called on Beijing to face the “painful history” of its bloody military crackdown on demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In a statement released on the 20th anniversary of the massacre, Ma described the 1989 killing as “painful history that must be courageously dealt with.”

Taiwan, too, has a tragic past, but its government has made efforts to ease the pain and advance social reconciliation, he said.

“An arms race or fierce competition on the diplomatic front are the last thing both sides want to see,” he said. “What we need most is improvement of the rule of law and human rights. They are universal values that should become the common language of the people on both sides so they will see a future that is free and democratic for their children and future generations of all Chinese.”

Ma praised China for economic reforms that had improved the lives of Chinese and said China deserved praise for efforts to improve its human rights record.

“Although its efforts [to improve human rights] have received mixed reviews from the international community, they have shown that Beijing is willing to address the issue and become more open,” he said.

Ma, who during his terms as Taipei mayor was a vocal critic of Beijing’s crackdown on the 1989 protests, has kept a low profile on the subject since taking office. He issued a short statement on last year’s anniversary and did not attend any commemorative events.

The Presidential Office said Ma would not attend any of the events this year, either.

Ma returned from his 10-day visit to Central America last night. His statement was released while he was on the plane. A close aide to Ma said the statement was revised more than 20 times and the tone was stronger than last year.

The aide said Ma should focus on China’s prospects for democratization and the impact of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on cross-strait relations rather than the concerns of individual democracy activists, although the president was not opposed to meeting them if his schedule allowed.

Ma drew criticism last month for declining to meet exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹), one of the student leaders of the 1989 protests. The Presidential Office said Ma did not have time for the meeting.

Ma said in yesterday’s statement that Beijing had signed the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in addition to publishing several white papers on human rights and unveiling an action plan on human rights in April.

Last month, Ma signed the two UN conventions after the legislature approved them, along with a law giving them legal force.

Over the next two years, Ma said in the statement, the government will complete a blanket review of all laws and regulations to identify any that conflict with the two UN covenants to be amended as soon as possible.

Ma said he was happy to see both sides of the Taiwan Strait had taken concrete action to improve their human rights records.

“Such a sound development should not be [temporary] but an irreversible trend,” he said.



Democracy activists criticize Ma over massacre statement

By Loa Iok-sin
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 3

Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Tsai Chi-hsun (蔡季勳) and Chinese democracy activists criticized President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) statement released yesterday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

“Ma’s statement was too weak,” Tsai told the Taipei Times. “He mentioned remembering history, the 228 Incident and the White Terror but didn’t condemn human rights abuses in China today.”

Tsai jointly issued an open letter calling on the government and the public to pay more attention to human rights in China last week.

She said Beijing not only refuses to admit its mistakes in the bloody crackdown or conduct an official investigation into the incident, but also continues to deny free speech and assembly.

“In recent years, China has even started to arrest lawyers who stand in court to defend people’s legal rights,” she said.

Tsai therefore disagreed with Ma’s comment that China had made progress on human rights.

“Of course you could say that the human rights situation has improved if you compare the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] with the Qing Dynasty government 200 years ago,” she said.

On the other hand, exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Min (汪岷) said that, based on his own observation, the human rights situation in China today is worse than 20 years ago.

“Twenty years ago, university students and professors could talk about politics and criticize the government in public,” Wang said. “Nowadays, the CCP has tightened its control over dissidents — it’s arresting and harassing democracy activists and people who want to say something about the Tiananmen Square Massacre.”

“In 1989, people were able to stage a demonstration in Tiananmen Square, but today, you can’t even stay in the square if there are 10 or 20 of you,” he said.

Wang said the CCP acts as if it is working to protect human rights but is actually tightening its control on dissidents.

“As a president, Ma should not weaken his criticism of the CCP government for economic interests,” he said.

Another Chinese democracy activist Cai Lujun (蔡陸軍), who lives in exile in Taiwan, said he was disappointed by Ma.

“I wonder with which eye did Ma see the CCP making any improvement in human rights? ... People are still being arrested just for writing articles criticizing the government,” Cai said. “I used to admire Ma a lot, so I was shocked last year when he said things that seemed to cover for the CCP, and this year, I am very disappointed and angry that he’s openly praising the CCP.”

Cai was jailed for three years for posting Internet articles criticizing the Chinese government.

He was also upset that Ma cited historical events in the US, Europe, South Korea and Southeast Asia to say that government crackdowns on dissidents were common.

“What are you [Ma] trying to prove by citing examples in other parts of the world? Are you trying to say that because other countries did something terrible, it’s okay for the CCP to do so?” Cai said.



Group battles apathy to remember victims

By Hsieh Wen-hua, Tseng Wei-chen and Loa Iok-sin
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 3

Members of the Mainland Democratic Movement Support Group light candles at a ceremony in front of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall in Taipei on Wednesday evening to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing.


The Mainland Democratic Movement Support Group (血脈相連大陸民主運動後援會) is unfamiliar to many in Taiwan’s younger generation.

But following the Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989, it was a prominent activist group whose members secretly entered China to try to rescue threatened democracy activists.

Twenty years ago, it had more than 100 members, but that number dwindled over the years to less than a dozen.

The remaining members got together to organize a series of events in Taipei’s Liberty Square to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the massacre on Wednesday night.

The events began at 6:04pm on Wednesday when former New Party legislators Yao Li-ming (姚立明) and Chien Ta (錢達) led supporters as they rode bikes around National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall 20 times.

At around 9pm, Yao, Chien, Chinese democracy activist Cai Lujun (蔡陸軍) and former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) delivered speeches and sang songs to commemorate the tragedy before staging an overnight sit-in on the square.

Photos taken at Tiananmen in 1989 and a documentary on the massacre were also shown.

Participants lit candles for those who died during the massacre.

Despite heavy rainfall yesterday, several people still remained at Liberty Square.

One volunteer, Ms Liu (劉), sobbed on Wednesday as she told the group’s story.

On the evening of June 3, 1989, students at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and supporters in Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall sang with each other via a radio broadcast, which was abruptly cut off around 11pm, soon after Taiwanese artist Chen Pai-chung broadcast from the square that the Chinese army had entered Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) then began their crackdown on the protesters.

Chen called on volunteers to support the democracy movement after returning from China. Later in 1990, the group raised funds from overseas Chinese democracy activists to purchase a secondhand cargo ship, the Goddess of Democracy (民主女神號), hoping to sail between Taiwan and China to broadcast the truth about the incident. Unexpectedly, the Taiwanese government refused to approve the plan.

Tainan businessman Wu Meng-wu (吳孟武) later bought the ship, which is now berthed in Tainan’s Anping Harbor as part of exhibits related to the incident.

The group’s annual commemoration ceremony continued for 10 years but because of dwindling membership, the event was changed to biannual.

Even the song Wound of History (歷史的傷口), sung by a group of Taiwanese singers to show their support, has gradually been forgotten.

The group attempted to contact old members this year, but was unable to track many of them down.

Others said it “was inconvenient to participate in politics again,” as they were doing business with China.

Meanwhile, the lack of interest of both the Taiwanese government and public disheartened members.

“I cannot accept the CCP regime’s method of killing civilians with tanks,” another volunteer, Ms Chung (鍾), said.

“Our aims have been simple over the past 20 years. Although cross-strait relations have improved, we have not altered our original intentions,” she said.

“We do not intend to subvert or eliminate the CCP regime. We just want to awaken the outside world’s most basic humanitarian concerns,” Chung said.



Study slams China on democracy

DISTORTION: A Freedom House study says state-controlled news organizations plan to spend billions of dollars in an attempt to improve China’s image abroad

By William Lowther
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 3

An extensive new study finds that China is actively undermining democracy at home and abroad and conducting an “organized, sophisticated and well-resourced” campaign to subvert organizations that promote human rights.

Along with Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Pakistan, the study says that China serves as a “model of authoritarianism for the 21st century.”

Entitled Undermining Democracy the study has been produced by Freedom House — a US-based international non-governmental organization that researches democracy, political freedom and human rights — and was released on the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

There are five key findings.

By doling out billions of dollars in no-strings-attached foreign aid, China and the other four regimes are hobbling international efforts to improve governance and reduce corruption; they are disrupting the human rights and democracy work of international bodies such as the UN; they are tarnishing the public understanding of democracy by distorting its meaning through well-financed international media ventures; they are stopping legitimate online political debate; and they are distorting history and creating a new generation that is hostile toward democracy and suspicious of the outside world.

Libby Liu (劉仚), president of Radio Free Asia and one of the analysts involved in the study, said: “China has modernized its strategy of suppression.”

“The sophistication of media management by the Chinese authorities, including market-based censorship combined with more traditional methods of intimidation, suggests a system that is both repressive and resilient,” she said.


According to the study, China’s state-controlled news organizations plan to spend billions of dollars on expanding overseas media operations in a bid to improve the country’s image abroad by opening more overseas bureaus, publishing more content in English and other languages and hiring English-speaking Chinese and foreign media specialists.

It says: “China is ruled by the CCP hierarchy, which has both enriched itself and maintained the necessary degree of public support by opening up new fields of economic and commercial activity.”

“Paradoxically, the party has won praise as the guarantor of national prosperity simply by removing its own long-standing restrictions, allowing the Chinese people to climb out of the crushing poverty and social devastation that had resulted from decades of CCP rule. China’s rise has been so dramatic precisely because its starting point was so low,” it says.

The study argues that Beijing has burnished its image by the “studious repression of critical voices.”

It adds that the CCP has “seriously distorted” Chinese history by practicing censorship, twisting textbooks, producing inaccurate television documentaries and promoting false museum exhibits.

“Ongoing and growing problems — pollution, human rights abuses, galloping corruption and social unrest stemming from basic injustice — are largely papered over through the same mechanisms of repression and media control,” the study says.

But it concludes that on the domestic front the CCP is more frightened of its own citizenry than most outside observers realize.

“The top priority of the CCP remains today what it always has been: maintaining absolute political power,” the study says.

It continues: “No other goal — be it economic, military, diplomatic or nationalistic — trumps this aim. Indeed, the recent economic downturn is of great concern to the CCP precisely because it threatens the party’s hold on power.”

Among the population at large, there is a “fear-induced self-censorship.”

The study explains: “In Mao’s day, expression had to stay within certain bounds, while everything outside was forbidden.”

“Today, one can explore anything beyond certain forbidden topics: the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, the Falun Gong movement, the China Democratic Party, Taiwan independence, Tibetan or Uighur autonomy, the Great Leap famine, corruption among top leaders and certain other incorrect views on national or international affairs,” it adds.

Young Chinese today, says the study, may be well educated in mathematics, engineering, or languages and yet live with badly warped understandings of their nation’s past.

“Even worse, they could remain entirely unaware of how they have been cheated,” the study says.

Textbooks stress that certain people in Taiwan want to “split the motherland” and the true history of the Mao era — including the histories of Tibet, Taiwan, World War II and the CCP itself — is routinely omitted.

The study says: “The CCP sometimes fabricates or exaggerates national-level fears precisely for the purpose of distracting attention. Most Chinese people, left to themselves, care much more about their own daily lives than about distant places like Taiwan or Tibet. They wake up in the morning worried more about a corrupt local official than about the Dalai Lama.”


“But when CCP propaganda tells them repeatedly that the wolf-hearted Dalai Lama is splitting the motherland, they tend to embrace the view that it is bad to split the motherland and that the CCP is the standard-bearer in opposing the splitting,” it says.

“The stimulation of a fear that did not previously exist has less to do with actual danger than with the CCP’s need to strengthen its popular image and divert attention from popular complaints. In recent years the CCP has used incidents involving Japan, Tibet, Taiwan and the United States for this purpose. In the case of Tibet there is evidence that the triggering incidents themselves have been manufactured for the cause,” it says.



Former first lady denies taking bribes, profiteering

By Shelley Huang
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 4

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen appears in the Taipei District Court yesterday for a court session after prosecutors recently filed new charges against her.


Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) yesterday denied taking bribes and profiteering in the first pre-trial hearing for a second wave of charges brought against her.

She said that she received NT$300 million (US$9.2 million) in political donations from former Chinatrust Financial Holding Co vice chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) and admitted that she violated the Political Donation Act (政治獻金法) because she did not report them.

However, she denied that the money she took from Koo and former Taipei Financial Center Corp chairwoman Diana Chen (陳敏薰) were bribes or illegal gains, adding that she didn’t use the money for personal expenses.

On May 5, prosecutors said they had concluded the second part of the investigation into the former first family. They charged former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his wife with taking bribes, profiteering and violating the Political Donation Act.

Prosecutors accused the former president and his wife of accepting NT$10 million in bribes from Diana Chen.

Prosecutors alleged that Diana Chen gave the former first lady NT$10 million to secure the presidency of Grand Cathay Securities Corp (大華證券).

The indictment also accused the couple of inappropriately taking NT$300 million in political donations from Koo.

Prosecutors accused the former president of using election campaign funds and secret foreign relations as excuses to ask Koo for donations, which the couple then pocketed.

Separately, in response to her daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), being charged with perjury on Wednesday, Wu told reporters: “I respect the judicial system.”

TV footage showed her grim-faced yesterday morning as she prepared to take the high-speed rail to Taipei for the hearing.

Before Wednesday, Chen Hsing-yu had been the only immediate family member of Chen Shui-bian not named as a defendant in relation to the former first family’s alleged money laundering activities.



DPP opposes Chinese ad push

CHINESE ADVERTISEMENTS: The proposed amendment would allow Chinese firms to advertise in Taiwanese media without first being vetted by government officials

By Ko Shu-ling
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 4

A legislative committee came to an abrupt halt yesterday when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) boycotted a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) proposal that would allow Chinese businesses to advertise in local media.

DPP lawmakers surrounded the podium where KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), chairman of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, was standing, trying to talk him out of reviewing amendments to Article 34 of the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).

The revisions, proposed by Wu and KMT Legislator Daniel Hwang (黃義交) and endorsed by 28 other KMT lawmakers, would allow all Chinese products, labor services and other kinds of services to advertise in Taiwanese media.

Currently, Chinese advertisers must obtain permission to do so.

DPP Legislator Twu Shiing-jer said this would deprive the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of its right to screen potential advertisers, giving that power to Beijing. Twu said it was necessary to bar Chinese advertisements.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) criticized the MAC for its “gutless” support of the legal revisions, saying “the new law would only benefit pro-China Chinese-language newspapers such as the China Times and the United Daily News.”

Describing the issue as “too complicated” and “too sensitive,” DPP Legislator Yu John-dow (余政道) said it was not the right time to review the bill and Hwang should withdraw his proposal. Wu, however, said Yu had no right to ask Hwang to do so.

After a bout of haggling, a consensus was reached before the meeting began that Hwang could explain the motives behind the proposal and that the meeting would be adjourned immediately after.

Wu said he regretted the decision, but he would respect the consensus.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), who arrived late, was unhappy when Wu said he would arrange another time to review the bill.

Wu then told Ker, a chain smoker, to go out and have a cigarette.

DPP lawmakers responded by swarming the podium, holding placards reading “Oppose Chinese investment in local media,” “open local media to promote bandits” and “Chinese capital comes, Taiwan democracy goes.”

Arguing that the matter was a public issue, Hwang said the global trend was to provide as much information as possible to consumers so they could make sound judgments based on the information available.

“Not a single government or country can over-protect their consumers,” he said. “I have faith in our people, who I think are entitled to comprehensive information. I also call on both the ruling and opposition parties to have confidence in the democratic system.”

Regarding the DPP’s worries, Hwang said there were laws in place to keep Chinese advertisers in check. Chinese businesses were unlikely to sway local media outlets if they were impartial in their reports and those failing to meet the needs of the public would be forced out of the market, he said.



Democracy in whose words?

Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 8

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still shows no sign of readdressing the events of June 4, 1989.

This year the CCP increased suppression of those calling for a reappraisal of the killings ahead of the anniversary. Police sealed off the square, forced dissidents out of Beijing, while the authorities blocked Web sites capable of hosting discussion of Tiananmen or even for mentioning the name.

The apparent unwillingness of officials to even allow mention of 1989 is a sign that reassessment of the brutal crackdown — when Chinese troops opened fire on unarmed students protesting corruption and advocating democratic reform — is further away than ever.

The US-based Freedom House released a study entitled Undermining Democracy yesterday to coincide with the anniversary. The chapter on China notes: “the ideological standing of the CCP was at an all-time low” following the crackdown, but in the 20 years since then the CCP’s standing has been revived by China’s “economic boom and revived Han chauvinism.”

Nowadays, the report said, China is in such a strong position that fellow authoritarian states openly tout the Chinese system as a viable alternative to Western-style democracy, while Chinese officials have begun to consider the possibility that their development model may be exportable.

The authors say that key to this seeming rise to respectability has been China’s co-opting of terms such as “democracy,” “human rights” and the “rule of law,” and redefining them to suit its own interests, while touting its relations with other countries as “win-win.”

What is worrying for people in Taiwan, as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) continues its headlong dash to Beijing’s bosom, is the manner in which the KMT has begun to parrot the CCP’s favorite buzzwords.

In its statement issued on Wednesday to mark the Tiananmen Massacre, the KMT said: “Freedom and human rights, democracy, and law and order are … the common goals pursued by both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

“Cross-strait development and a win-win situation in economic cooperation are what we are working toward,” it said.

The KMT did not feel the need to condemn the CCP nor ask it to apologize. Instead it asked Chinese leaders to ensure there would be no repeat of the “unfortunate incident.”

The KMT’s indifference to the killings 20 years ago and its insincerity in calling for human rights were compounded when the party blocked a resolution in the legislature on Wednesday that sought a Chinese apology and reassessment of the “miscarriage of justice” surrounding the Tiananmen Massacre.

People must not let themselves be distracted by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) annual show of concern — however wan — because he does not represent wider opinion in a party whose leaders have never been willing to shake off autocratic tendencies.

Taiwanese have already had a taste of how close the KMT’s interpretation of the “rule of law” resembles the CCP’s during last November’s protests against the visit of Chinese negotiator Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

As the 20th anniversary of these tragic events passes, Taiwanese may soon find themselves faced with a crucial decision on how close they want to get to China. But whatever they decide, they must ensure that any rapprochement respects the time-honored conceptions of “democracy” and “human rights,” and not the sophistry of the KMT or the CCP.



President or puppet

Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 8

How do you tell the difference between a president of a young democracy enacting progressive change and a political puppet of the powers that be? To answer this question, look no further than Taiwan’s “President” Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as he stops over in Seattle on his way home from a visit to Central America.

There was no visit to Washington, DC, as high-level visits between the US and Taiwan don’t exist, a consequence of which is the very isolation that Ma has sought to address by inching Taiwan closer and closer into the arms of the “one China” policy.

Why is President Ma still “Mr Ma” despite a 58 percent mandate to elect him? Because he chooses it. In November last year, a high-level visit took place between China and Taiwan where negotiator Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) addressed President Ma as “Mr Ma.” When the choice of words is so very important to the international recognition of Taiwan, failure to correct language that is in line with the hierarchy of the Chinese Communist Party is unacceptable. After all, how much of the global community is confused by the “Chinese Taipei” designation that Taiwan must use in venues such as the Olympics? What’s in a name, indeed.

The public support that put President Ma in office was based largely on economic promises, the most famous of which was his “6-3-3 Plan,” a plan for 6 percent economic growth, per capita GDP of US$30,000 and less than 3 percent unemployment. Ma has all but given up on addressing the economic issues that won him favor with the electorate, opting instead to disguise conciliatory policies with China as economic measures.

Despite some increased economic opportunities for Taiwan in the region, such as direct charter flights between China and Taiwan and the deregulation of Taiwanese investment in China [sic], President Ma’s focus on such policies is wagging the dog to divert attention from a degradation of civil liberties back home. During Chen’s visit, police were authorized to use excessive force on protesters. Afterwards, members of the opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party were persecuted, some indicted and some held with no cause, including former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Although most of the media was already under the control of Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the scarcity of criticism of the Ma regime is a testament to the erosion of freedom of speech in Taiwan.

So here’s hoping that during Ma’s stopover in the US — the place of his education, the home of the greatest democracy in the world — he recognizes that he is indeed president of his own fledgling democracy and not a puppet for communist China.

Seattle, Washington



Taiwan must cut out the middleman

By HoonTing 雲程
Friday, Jun 05, 2009, Page 8

In Taiwan’s relations with China, the hardest question to answer is why the people of Taiwan regard China as an enemy.

During the Qing Dynasty and even during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, when Taiwanese were Japanese citizens, they never viewed China as an enemy. At most, they felt the two differed in terms of cultural development. The reason Taiwanese see China as an enemy is the “transference,” or redirection of feelings, that followed dictator Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) occupation, rule and party-influenced system of education. It was not caused by historical experience, nor was it the result of rational thought; it was a view implanted in the minds of the Taiwanese by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Although the rules were set by the KMT, the party that began demonizing China, it now doesn’t hesitate to establish a forum with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), sell out Taiwan and collaborate with China. Left with only their anger and not knowing what to do, the Taiwanese public loyally defend the foundation of KMT rule over Taiwan — animosity toward China. Even Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), despite her icebreaking visit to China, has fallen into this trap.

China’s presence in East Asia cannot be ignored; it is necessary for Taiwan to interact with China. This being the case, Taiwan does not need to be represented by an “agent” in its interactions with China, and should instead carry out these interactions itself.

Last year marked the beginning of a huge change for the world. The US has not only remained silent about the ever-increasing pace at which “the governing authorities on Taiwan” are leaning toward China and the fact that these actions could alienate Taiwan from the US-Japan security system, it has also lavished praise on Taiwan for doing so. This is an example of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “smart power” diplomacy and what she refers to as a paradigm shift.

If Taiwanese do not remain aware of the huge changes that are reshaping the state of world affairs and instead surrender intellectually, they will give up their chance. In terms of international politics — and especially the “game” of determining Taiwan’s status — Taiwan will degenerate into a passive object instead of an active subject. The actions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il are unacceptable, but we could study his clever posturing.

In the case of Roger C.S. Lin et al vs United States of America, the US government dodged its duties outlined in the San Francisco Peace Treaty to win the case, in effect giving up the legal advantages granted by uti possidetis, a principle of international law that leaves belligerents mutually in possession of what they have acquired by their arms during a war.

Given this fact, together with the hard lessons the green camp learned under eight years of rule by the Democratic Progressive Party, we must start helping ourselves in flexible ways based on changes in the situation. Engaging China as “the people on Taiwan” outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) is in line with the hopes for peace of the TRA and the US.

Interacting with China does not mean merging with it. Insisting on the civil and modern nature of our society in our dealings with China is the only way to protect Taiwan’s interests. The possibility of “cutting out the middle man” and dealing directly with China is now the most important issue facing the Taiwanese public.

HoonTing is a Taiwan-based freelance writer.

Prev Up Next