Saturday, May 31, 2008

Time to Use Our Heads to Resolve Real Problems

Time to Use Our Heads to Resolve Real Problems
China Times Editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 31, 2008

Call it breaking the ice. Call it melting the ice. The leaders of the ruling parties on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait finally met yesterday amidst an atmosphere of goodwill. They agreed to resume talks between the SEF and ARATS in mid-June. The mainland will open up four locations for direct flights from Taoyuan's CKS Airport. In an unprecedented move, CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao personally committed to negotiate with Taipei over increasing the ROC's international space. This must await follow-up consultations by the SEF and ARATS before it becomes official of course. But the success of the Wu Hu Meeting has already created an optimistic atmosphere for the SEF and ARATS negotiations comin up in June. The check the KMT issued, promising direct charter flights and the arrival of mainland tourists by July, may not bounce after all.

Watching the KMT and CCP party hierarchy shake hands and exchange ritual greetings was emotionally overwhelming. These two political parties have been locked in a life and death struggle for over half a century. How many historical grievances have they accumulated? How many lives have been lost? How many families have been torn apart? Today the leaders of the two parties are citing peace as their highest value. They are vowing to put the interests of the people first. Looking back at these struggles between the KMT and the CCP, one can't help wondering how many generations have been carried away by these currents of history? To dismiss these struggles with a wave of the hand seems disrespectful. Without this tangled history, there would be no complex and intractable cross-strait problems today. But in the end what can one say, other than "It's all in the past?"

Whatever might have happened, in the end these matters must be left to the historians. How future history will be written, is in the hands of a new generation. Will cross-strait relations move towards peace, reconciliation, dialog, cooperation, and mutual benefit? It all depends on the leaders on both sides. Since the second ruling party change in March, Siew and Hu have met at the Boao Forum, and President Ma has delivered his inaugural address. These made the current Wu Hu Meeting possible. As we can see, the authorities on the two sides used informal contacts as feelers for formal contacts. They invested considerable energy and used considerable discretion. They avoided all sensitive language. They even expressed good faith through the manner in which they presented their positions, making sure the other side could interpret their position in their own manner.

This linguistic sleight of hand is necessary because cross-strait dialogue has been interrupted by prolonged confrontation and stalemate, by a vicious cycle of zero sum provocations and mutual recriminations on the international stage. If the two sides can stop picking each other's arguments apart in an attempt to make political hay, but instead seek the greatest common denominator, they can transform the process into a virtuous circle.

The Wu Hu Meeting is reestablishing bilateral talks as soon as possible. It is authorizing direct charter flights and mainland tourism to Taiwan. It is also confronting the issue of the ROC's international space, particularly membership in the WHO, head on. This was always an issue Taipei would raise, but to which Beijing would give either the cold shoulder or an non-commital response. This time however, Beijing has taken the initiative. It has explicitly stated that once cross-strait consultations resume, "priority will be given to Taiwan's participation in WHO," and that "we should be smart enough to find a solution." These words were spoken by Hu Jintao himself, the highest ranking leader of the CCP. They have ground-breaking significance and deserve our attention.

We need to realize that as long as we do not deliberately bring up sensitive issues, direct flights or mainland tourists are mainly technical issues. But the Republic of China's international space and participation in international organizations is an another matter altogether. These touch upon the core issue of the dispute over sovereignty. Beijing has consistently adopted a hard-line policy in the past. Most of the obstacles to cross-strait reconciliation reside here. Now, on its own initiative, Beijing has offered to begin consultations on this matter. Therefore one can predict with near certainty that the two sides will find a way to enable the ROC to participate in the WHO. This will become the focus of the next stage of cross-strait relations. Can the two sides create a virtuous circle? This will be a key indicator.

in the past neither side was willing to give an inch. The other side always had to do this, that, and the other before one responded in kind. The result was each side would obsess over its own concerns, and no one got to talk about anything. Now the two sides have learned to shelve their differences. Call it what you like. Call it looking the other way. Call it Different Interpretations of One China. At least the two sides are now willing to seek common ground, willing to tackle what is mutually beneficial, and postpone more sensitive issues until the establishment of greater mutual trust. As long as the two sides maintain such a pragmatic attitude, and seek mutually acceptable solutions, they will encounter little difficulty. The KMT vs. CCP struggle is history. So is the cross-strait propaganda war. It is time to resolve issues of substance. It is time to use our heads.

中國時報  2008.05.30








Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Wu Hu Meeting: Sun Yat-sen and the 1992 Consensus

The Wu Hu Meeting: Sun Yat-sen and the 1992 Consensus
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 29, 2008

On May 22, the United Daily News published an editorial on KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung's upcoming visit to the mainland. We urged him to deliver a message to CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao, saying: "The two sides of the strait cannot avoid earthquakes, but the two sides of the strait can avoid war."

Yesterday, the Wu Hu Meeting took place. Wu Po-hsiung told Hu Jintao, before live television cameras, before viewers watching in realtime on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, "No one can guarantee that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will not experience natural disasters. But through our joint effort, we can ensure that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will never experience war."

Sichuan earthquake relief efforts motivated authorities on both sides of the strait to value the historic opportunity and to redouble their efforts to communicate. As expected, weekend charter flights, mainland tourists to Taiwan, and other "Four Constants" received Hu Jintao's endorsement. This was essentially Hu Jintao's gift to the Ma Ying-jeou administration. Its significance extended beyond specific policies. It established a foundation for stable and amicable cross-strait relations. It significantly reduced internal and external pressure on the new KMT government regarding its cross-strait policy promises.

Wu and Hu repeatedly underscored the importance of the new cross-strait situation and the importance of the new cross-strait opportunities. We hope cross-strait relations will grow following the Wu Hu Meeting, both at the macro level and at the practical level. At the macro level, the two sides need a common political ideal. We suggest a "Sun Yat-sen Framework." At the practical level, the two sides need a better political framework, one that reflects the way they actually interact. We suggest the "1992 Consensus."

First, the Sun Yat-sen Framework. In 2005, during the Lien Hu Meeting, Hu Jintao told Lien Chan, "The Chinese Communist Party... has long been a staunch supporter of Sun Yat-sen, a collaborator with Sun Yat-sen, and an heir to Sun Yat-sen's tradition. During this visit, when Chen Yunlin greeted Wu Po-hsiung at the Nanjing Airport, Wu quoted Sun's proposal for national unity. The staff of the Sun Yat-sen Tomb noted that the 392 stone steps leading up to the tomb symbolized the "Three People's Principles, the nation's territory, and cooperation between the two parties." Wu Po-hsiung did not pass up an opportunity to present his own views. He mentioned Sun Yat-sen's formulation, "Of the People, by the People, and for the People," and with a brush penned the words, "tian xia wei gong, ren min zui da." (the earth is our common heritage, the people above all else."

During the 2005 Lien Hu Meeting, the United Daily News published an editorial noting that cross-strait interaction lacked an overarching framework. Communism could not provide that framework. Afer all, the Communists themselves were engaged in De-Communization. But the two sides respected Sun Yat-sen, therefore a Sun Yat-sen Framework for cross-strait interaction could ensure long term stability.

Regarding the Sun Yat-sen Framework, "The Chinese People" seems to be the buzzword in current discussions of cross-strait relations. Ma Ying-jeou and Wu Poh-hsiung have both stated that "People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese." During yesterday's Wu Hu Meeting, expressions such as "love for one's compatriates," "blood is thicker than water," and "one's own flesh and blood" emerged. The problem is that in addition to "tian xia wei gong" and "the people above all else," a reunified China needs civil rights and economic prosperity. The Taiwan region's second change in ruling parties is considered a significant achievement by many in the mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao regions.

Regarding the "Big Tent" Theory, Beijing's "One China" hard sell seems to have been replaced by a "One People" soft sell. Regarding the Sun Yat-sen Framework, Beijing is stressing Chinese nationalism. Taipei is stressing "national unity, civil rights, and economic prosperity" in equal measures. Wu Po-hsiung's couplet "tian xia wei gong, ren min zui da" summed up his position.

Wu Po-hsiung's couplet has three implications. First, it is an internal memo to the KMT. That is why he said the KMT must "clean house." Second, it is a message to Beijing. If Beijing wishes to stabilize cross-strait relations, it needs to understand that leaders on Taiwan must honor the concept of "tian xia wei gong, ren min zui da." Beijing must understand it is no easy matter to preserve the Republic of China. Third, Wu Poh-hsiung apparently wanted to encourage Beijing, as a friend. Upholding civil rights and achieving economic prosperity are probably goals Beijing aspires to, but feels it is unable to fulfill as yet. This does not negate the reforms and liberalizations Beijing has implemented over the past 30 years. If one day Beijing can ensure civil rights and economic prosperity on mainland China, then the Divided China problem will be solved. The two sides will most assuredly find a solution. The Sun Yat-sen Framework offers an elevated perspective, one that can provide the overarching superstructure for cross-strait interaction.

Let's review the 1992 Consensus. Between the 2005 Lien Hu Meeting, and the current Wu Hu Meeting, the language of the 1992 Consensus has remained the same. But the substance of the 1992 Consensus remains unfulfilled. After 20 years of ups and downs, Beijing realizes that in order to stabilize cross-strait relations, it must secure the Republic of China. Without a secure Republic of China, there can be no stable cross-strait relations. When Taipei stresses the need to face reality, the reality it refers to is the reality of divided rule. When Beijing stresses that it is setting aside disputes, the disputes have merely being set aside. They have not been resolved.

When Hu Jintao took the initiative to invite Wu Poh-hsiung to visit, he did so on the understanding that Wu Po-hsiung was the Chairman of the ruling party of the Republic of China. But he did not officially refer to the Republic of China. When Wu Po-hsiung stood before the tomb of KMT Founder Sun Yat-sen, he reported that the KMT had regained political power. He referred to Nanjing as the seat of the national government. In his eulogy to Sun, he noted the date as "May 27 of the 97th Year of the Republic." But he never uttered the words "Republic of China." Only when he referred to Sun Yat-sen's date of burial, "June 1 of the 18th Year of the Republic," did he finally utter the words "Republic of China." Wu Po-hsiung's frustration can be imagined. The 1992 Consensus merely shelves disputes. It does not confront reality. The two sides must not limit themselves merely to shelving disputes on the basis of the 1992 Consensus. They must also confront reality. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait could use the former East and West German model, or the current South and North Korean model as their framework for interaction. We believe the results would be more salutory than those for East and West Germany, or those for South and North Korea.

A major earthquake in Sichuan has inspired the public on both sides of the strait to interact in an exemplary manner. They became the theme of yesterday's talks in Beijing, Wu and Hu wound up acting as the peoples' spokesmen. Such an atmosphere is beneficial to cross-strait interaction. It puts the people first. The role of leaders is to accurately reflect the thoughts and feelings of the people.

If we look at cross-strait relations purely on the basis of who is bigger or smaller, the question inevitably becomes "Who will gobble up whom?" But if we look at cross-strait relations on the basis of ideas, then it leads to competition in the pursuit of "national unity, civil rights, and economic prosperity." If we look at the Sun Yat-sen Framework and the 1992 Consensus from this perspective, then the two sides are unlikely to squander this historic opportunity.

2008.05.29 03:00 am














Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Donate the Balance of the Chung Hsing Bills Fund to Charity

Donate the Balance of the Chung Hsing Bills Fund to Charity
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 28, 2008

No sooner had the new administration opened its doors for business, than reports emerged that the KMT hoped to reclaim the 240 million NT balance in the controversial Chung Hsing Bills Fund. In terms of both timing and procedure, this is an unwise move. To stir up dust that had long settled, for the sake of a tainted sum of money, can only damage the KMT's image.

Both the KMT and PFP are being naive. The KMT hopes to reclaim 240 million NT belonging to the party. James Soong hopes to emerge from the shadow of the Chung Hsing Bills scandal. One party hopes to receive monetary benefits. The other hopes to clear his name. Both see a win/win scenario. But they are forgetting the third keyholder in the case -- Lee Teng-hui. They are also forgetting the public on Taiwan, which has been following this case for the past eight years. Besides, even assuming the procedural knots can be untangled, this case is not as simple as "You get your money back. I get my name cleared." Public perception is a tricky matter.

The Chung Hsing Bills Case is not just an internal KMT scandal. It is also an old-fashioned backroom deal. During the 2000 Presidential Election, Lee Teng-hui fought tooth and nail with James Soong. James Soong lost because Lee Teng-hui used the Chung Hsing Bills scandal to block Soong's path to the presidency. The KMT also lost power. It was a lose/lose proposition. The public on Taiwan endured eight years of Chen regime misrule and degeneracy. Nothing good can come out of revisiting the Chung Hsing Bills scandal.

Wu Po-hsiung and James Soong appear interested in bringing closure to this affair. But if the 240 million NT is treated as a reward for making peace with Lee Teng-hui, this could make matters even worse. After so much storm and strife, the air surrounding the Chung Hsing Bills Case may never clear. All we can do is allow bygones be bygones, then donate that dirty money to charity. Only this can result in a win/win/win scenario.

Each of the parties should deal with the personal and financial issues separately. Personal issues must not be linked with financial issues. Money must not be the price of reconciliation. Only then can the Chung Hsing Bills scandal finally be resolved.

The concerned parties include Lee Teng-hui, Lien Chan, and James Soong. Much has changed since then. Lee and Lien once stood on the same side with regards the Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal. Following the debacle however, Lien and Soong ended up as running mates. Now that the political winds are blowing from Ma Ying-jeou's direction, Lee Teng-hui has once again changed course. Obviously changes in the strategic scenario influence personal attitudes. Over the past eight years, the concerned parties have formed and broken alliance after alliance. Witness the ruling Democratic Progressive Party drunk with power. Witness Taiwan's regression and the people's suffering. How can one not be chagrined?

The public on Taiwan is fed up. It has endured eight years of pain. The public on Taiwan has handed the incoming administration a new mandate for Taiwan's future. Lee Teng-hui and James Soong have receded into the shadows. That they might wish to resolve old grievances is understandable. Besides, the pain of the Chung Hsing Bills Finance case is something Lee, Lien, and Soong inflicted upon Taiwan. If those responsible for the scandal can reconcile, then they can apologize to the people. The disposal of the money however allows no room for ambiguity. According to James Soong and Wu Po-hsiung, the 240 million NT slush fund came from various secret channels. Lee Teng-hui ordered James Soong to establish the fund. The fund definitely belongs to the KMT. According to Lee Teng-hui, this is untrue. But Lee has flip-flopped on this allegation repeatedly. The two sides differ on what happened, primarily on the main reason why this fund couldn't be withdrawn. Besides caring for the Chiang family, this "Party/Government Operation Fund" includes private campaign contributions, grants, and other sources of income. funneled through private channels. Under such circumstances, can one really regard them as KMT funds, to be reclaimed by the KMT and used for other purposes?

Controversy over KMT party assets has never subsided. If the KMT attempts to reclaim these funds, whose origins remain unclear, and brings back bad memories of improper party assets, is it really worth it? Besides, 240 million NT may be tempting, but attempting to reclaim will summon the ghosts of a bygone era -- an era of palace intrigues and political infighting. The KMT barely has time to look to the future. Why let this dirty money destroy its image?

If these political elders are willing to set aside old scores, they may as well donate the money to charity. Or else simply allow the time limit to expire. The funds will automatically forfeited. They will then be returned to the state treasury, to the people. Consider the funds a contribution these political elders owe the people of Taiwan.

2008.05.28 03:06 am



回顧興票案始末,它不只是國民黨內部惡鬥的醜陋一頁,也讓舊式密室政治的汙穢現形。二 ○○○年的總統大選,是李登輝與宋楚瑜的惡鬥;結果宋楚瑜因李登輝主導的興票案而阻斷了總統之路,國民黨也痛失政權,可謂兩敗俱傷,而台灣人民則由此承受了扁政權八年失政敗德的苦果。就此而言,興票案已是絕無可能討回「公道」。







Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How Will Chow Mei-ching Fulfill Her New Role?

How Will Chow Mei-ching Fulfill Her New Role?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 27, 2008

Once the news came out that First Lady Chow Mei-ching intended to retire, charitable groups began fighting over her tooth and nail, trying desperately to recruit her to their cause.

This was hardly unexpected. If Chow Mei-ching had continued going to work, had continued being a career woman, the public would have respected her decision. They wouldn't have bothered her too much. But now that she is retiring, the public has a whole new set of expectations of her. They want her to take part in charitable work. That the public would react this way was entirely predictable.

To Chow Mei-ching and the larger community, this is a big deal. Chow Mei-ching may be willing to meet the public's expectations. But would she be merely sticking her big toe in the water? Or would she be diving in head first? Would she be taking on all comers, or concentrating her efforts in a single area, for maximum effect?

Thirty years ago, Song Mei-ling retired from public life. She has been followed by a secession of First Ladies, including Liu Chi-chun (Mrs. Yen Chia-kan), Chiang Fang-liang, Tseng Wen-hui, and Wu Shu-cheng. None of these are the kind of First Lady we wish to discuss at the moment. Today the public has all sorts of expectations of Chow Mei-ching, and Chow Mei-ching appears duty bound to meet these expectations. In fact, If a nation has a First Lady who can participate in charitable activities and touch the hearts and minds of the entire nation, she is not merely a sidekick who can amass approval points for the president, she is a precious asset to the entire community. Does Chow Mei-ching have such expectations of herself? Is she ready for such expectations from the public?

We believe that Chow Mei-ching is willing to fulfill her new role. If Chow Mei-ching is conscientious, she should not merely dabble. She should devote all her energies to a specific charitable activity, enabling her to make a genuine contribution. She may wish to focus on families, with an emphasis on youth. If Chow Mei-ching becomes a field worker for a charitable organization, her high media profile may become a hindrance. It may be best if she settles down inside some particular charitable organization. She can then network horizontally with other organizations that deal with families and youth. For example, If Chow Mei-ching were to settle down inside the Tzu Chi Foundation, or the Family Support Center, she could set up a "workshop" within such a reputable charity, and through such a workshop connect with other charities willing to be part of a larger network. She could even link to universities and vocational schools. Each charity would solve problems its own way, but each charity would support other charities. She could do great things. Chow Mei-ching could become "The People's Chow Mei-ching." Chow Mei-ching would be working for everyone.

Chow Mei-ching participating in such an effort would be a golden opportunity for all sorts of charities. Helping families lies at the heart of all charitable activity. This includes low-income households and elderly people living alone. Helping youth, in turn, lies at the center of the heart of all charitable activity. One cannot not wait until parents, driven by despair, kill themselves and their children by setting charcoal fires in their living rooms. Such efforts as delivering meals, visiting the housebound, and tutoring, require vast amounts of human resources, financial resources, and love. If the various charities can establish horizontal links, they can share resources, eliminate dead corners, and reduce blind spots, They would complement each other and increase each others' effectiveness. Therefore instead of squabbling over her, the various charities should come up with a win/win approach that pools their resources. Only this will enable Chow Mei-ching to maximize her potential. Only this will enable her to benefit the entire community.

If by some miracle Chow Mei-ching still has energy to spare, she can participate in other charitable activies. But we think it would be best if she stuck to the same theme, such as families or youth. She should establish a solid reputation in a specific area before expanding out to others. Two years from now, in her capacity as a charity worker, Chow Mei-ching may even wish to visit children in the Sichuan region who were victimized by the earthquake.

Based on recent public reaction, charitable groups have exerted a great deal of pressure on Chow Mei-ching. But Chow Mei-ching should see these expectations as well-intentioned. The public should allow Chow Mei-ching to decide how she wishes to participate in charitable activities and to what extent. Chow Mei-ching is known for being as cool as a cucumber. But if you look closely at her forehead, you can detect a trace of tension and a touch of melancholy. The shackles imposed by the Ma family are something she can't talk about. If she dives into charitable activities right now, her public persona may lack softness, warmth, and openness. Becoming involved in charitable activities may not be much of a challenge for her. But if Chow Mei-ching keeps an open mind, and plunges headlong into charitable activities, she has a good chance of achieving something meaningful. Once she unleashes her full potential, and reveals the full extent of her charisma, the public will see a sunnier, brighter, more charismatic Chow Mei-ching. If so, the cool as a cucumber Chow Mei-ching we know so well, may finally allow the public to see her smile.

The public considers Chow Mei-ching more charismatic than Ma Ying-jeou. In fact, just as Song Mei-ling was able to be her own woman, Chow Mei-ching does not need to be conceived exclusively in terms of his relationship to Ma Ying-jeou. Why not take this historic opportunity to allow Chow Mei-ching to make a name for herself?

2008.05.27 02:27 am










The Historical Significance of the KMT/CCP Meeting

The Historical Significance of the KMT/CCP Meeting
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 27, 2008

KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung will depart today on a visit to the mainland. The day after tomorrow he will meet with CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao. This is the first time the leaders of the ruling parties on both sides of the strait have met. Needless to say, this is a major event.

History unfolds like myth. Had the KMT not lost power in 2000, Party Chairman Lien Chan would never have been able to visit the mainland in 2005. Had Chen Shui-bian and the ruling DPP not been guilty of such rampant misrule, the "KMT CPC Platform" would have remained Politically Incorrect and beyond the pale. Had the KMT not made a comeback in 2008, the leaders of the two ruling parties, Wu and Hu, would not have been able to meet today. History unfolds spontaneously. It morphs mysteriously, like the clouds. It flows relentlessly, like the rivers. It conceals forces that can change our world.

Wu Po-hsiung is the Chairman of the Chung-kuo Kuomintang, the ruling party of the Republic of China. General Secretary Hu Jintao did not evade this political reality when he extended his personal invitation to Wu Po-hsiung. Admittedly, Hu Jintao extended his invitation to "KMT Chairman" Wu Po-hsiung. But by implication, the invitation was extended to the ruling party of the Republic of China. After all, without the Republic of China to rule, Wu Po-hsiung could hardly be the chairman of a ruling party.

Naturally these implications have remain unstated. They have remained implicit and unofficial. Hu Jintao is not greeting Wu Po-hsiung in Hu's capacity as President of the People's Republic of China. He is greeting him as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. This, ironically, exemplifies the separation of party and state. Nevertheless, Wu Po-hsiung is in fact the "Chairman of the ruling party of the Republic of China." Both sides know this perfectly well. This is precisely why the Wu Hu Meeting is of unprecedented historical significance.

The history of modern China has been the history of struggle and reconciliation between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. This includes struggles over who would rule the nation, and struggles over "Whither China?" After 1949, the two parties governed separately. The KMT was determined to "counterattack the mainland." The CCP was determined to "liberate Taiwan." During the late 1970s however, the CCP embarked on its own version of Perestroika and Glasnost. During the 1980s, the KMT lifted martial law. By 1990, the Cold War was over and the buzzword was "globalization." In 2000 the KMT lost control of the Republic of China for eight years. Now however, it is back in power. Thirty long years have passed. Heaven has turned on its axis. People have come and gone. Major changes have taken place within the CCP and the KMT, both in form and content. The Wu Hu Meeting scheduled to take place the day after tomorrow sums up the vicissitudes of life over those 30 years. It is a new beginning for a future without limits.

To sum up, the Civil War between the KMT and the CCP is over. They no longer have anything to fight about. The prevailing international framework does not permit a cross-strait war. Mainstream public opinion on both sides of the strait will not countenance fellow Chinese killing each other. Numerous mainland leaders have said "There is no issue of who will do away with whom." The new point of departure is that KMT vs. CCP conflict should evolve into competition, and competition should evolve into cooperation. This is what Ma Ying-jeou means when he speaks of "peace and mutual prosperity."

Before 1949, the KMT and the CCP were both situated on the mainland. A life and death struggle was inevitable. This led to a loss of a perspective regarding the question, "Whither China?" In retrospect, China's fate seems like the Wrath of Heaven. But ever since the two sides have been governed separately, they seem increasingly in competition than in conflict, and increasingly in cooperation than in competition. Whither China? Whither the Chinese people? That we leave the tender mercies of History.

When Wu and Hu meet the day after tomorrow, they should no longer be thinking in terms of who will do away with whom. They should be thinking of coexistence and mutual prosperity. Destiny is unfathomable. A life and death struggle between the KMT and the CCP on the mainland led to separate rule, then to today's competition and to tomorrow's cooperation. Surely Wu and Hu appreciate these ironies of history. Surely they will not fritter away this historic opportunity.

That historic opportunity is here. That historic opportunity is now. After many ups and downs, Taiwan is now a democracy and a free market economy. After 30 years of reform and opening up, the mainland is now on the right path. With the rise of China, new opportunities present themselves. The mainland authorities have more work to do, for example, in the area of democracy and human rights. We believe the mainland authorities genuinely wish to resolve these issues, and are merely waiting for the right time. That being the case, must the KMT and the CCP continue their civil war? Can't they coexist and prosper?

Therefore we hope that these two ruling party leaders, will take the road to democracy. We hope that together they will build a better future for the people, that they will encourage and assist each other, that they will minimize conflict and maximize competition, or better yet, cooperation. They have no need continue the civil war.



歷 史的流變宛如神話。倘若不是國民黨在二○○○年失去政權,黨主席連戰不可能在二○○五年訪問大陸;又倘若不是陳水扁與民進黨政府的倒行逆施,「國共平台」 亦不可能具有社會正當性;再倘若不是國民黨又在二○○八年贏回了政權,又豈可能出現今日兩岸執政黨黨魁聚首的「吳胡會」?上述歷史流變,看似有如行雲流水 地自然與流暢,其實卻寓藏著旋乾轉坤的重大意義。


當 然,這些意義,目前尚是「潛台詞」,並未在台前宣諸語言文字。胡錦濤未以「國家主席」的身分接待吳伯雄,而以「黨總書記」的身分會客,可見仍在「黨國分 離」的操作階段;但即使如此,吳伯雄的身分是「中華民國執政黨主席」,這卻是賓主皆知的政治事實,而這正是「吳胡會」空前無匹的歷史意義。

國 民黨與共產黨的和解與鬥爭,曾是中國現代史上的主軸。其間當然有政權的爭奪,卻也有「中國往何處去」的義理之爭。一九四九年以後,兩黨隔海分治,又有「反 攻大陸/解放台灣」的鬥爭。然而,隨著中共在一九七○年代末期嘗試改革開放,一九八○年代末期台灣解嚴,及一九九○年代「冷戰結束」及「全球化」以來,再 加上二○○○年以後國民黨失去中華民國政權八年,以至如今又重新執政;漫長三十年來,物換星移,人事代謝,共產黨與國民黨的互動關係在形式及內涵上皆有重 大變化,後天的「吳胡會」可謂是這三十年滄桑的總結,亦是無限未來的新起點。

這個總結應當是:「國共內戰」已無延續的條件,國際主流架構 不容兩岸開戰,兩岸主流民意亦不容相互殘殺。這正是中共數位領導人曾經說過的,兩岸不存在「誰吃掉誰的問題」。所謂的新起點則是:國共兩黨之間,應當從 「鬥爭」,轉為「競爭」,再由「競爭」轉為「合作」。這正是馬英九總統所說的「和平共榮」的憧憬。

一九四九年以前,國共兩黨共處中國大陸 之內,你死我活的「鬥爭」不可避免,反而扭曲了「中國往何處去」的義理追求;回首前塵,真有如造化的天譴。然而,兩岸隔海分治以來,如今反而儼然出現了兩 黨「競爭」的態勢,與「合作」的契機,以及對「中國往何處去」或「中華民族往何處去」的更深刻思考,這卻是歷史的恩典。

吳胡後天會面之 時,內心不應再有「誰吃掉誰」的意念,而應存有「共生共榮」的思維。回顧冥冥之中歷史意志的顯示,造化竟能將曾經同處大陸、「鬥爭」得你死我活的國共兩 黨,安排到今日隔海分治,進而出現了可能互勉互惠的「競爭」與「合作」的契機;吳胡二人皆應體驗此一歷史恩典,不要辜負了此一歷史機遇。

此 時此際,確是最佳的「歷史機遇」。就台灣而言,經歷了跌宕起伏,終於實現了民主政治與自由經濟。就大陸而言,三十年的改革開放無疑已走在正確的道路上,而 有了「中國崛起」的願景與機會;即使中共當局目前尚有作不到的地方,譬如民主及人權,但我們亦深信這並非中共當局所不想作,應是尚待來日。倘係如此,國共 兩黨還有什麼理由延續所謂的「內戰」,又豈有什麼理由不能「共生共榮」?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Big Tent Theory: A De Facto rather than De Jure Solution?

Big Tent Theory: A De Facto rather than De Jure Solution?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 23, 2008

In his inaugural speech, President Ma Ying-jeou said "People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese." Together with Beijing's "both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China," the two statements have caught peoples' attention.

At a meeting chaired by Vincent Siew during April's Boao Forum, Beijing's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said more than once that "under the premise that we are all part of the same family, everything is negotiable." To everyones' surprise however, a press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce changed Chen's wording to "under the the premise of One China, everything is negotiable." But after bilateral discussion the press release was amended and the passage "under the premise of One China" was deleted. These developments suggest that Beijing's official position is that "under the premise that we are all part of the same family" is interchangeable with "under the premise of One China," and that the Ministry of Commerce press release was in error.

Hu Jintao and Vincent Siew seem to have validated this notion during their talks. Hu told Hsiao "Compatriots on both sides of the strait are all part of the same family. They are all kinfolk, all part of the same community." What Beijing did was to replace "One China" with "One Family." Perhaps they were using "under the premise that we are all part of the same family" or "under the premise that we are all Chinese" interchangeably with "under the premise of One China." Chen Deming used "under the premise that we are all part of the same family" as a synonym for "under the premise of One China." Yesterday, during Chen Yunlin's remarks to Taiwan, he omitted any mention of "One China." Instead he referred to "the renaissance of the Chinese people and a brighter future." He also spoke of "safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese people" and of "allowing the spirit of the Chinese people to shine."

The two sides are distinct political entities. This is a political reality. Beijing initially maintained that "Taiwan is part of China" or that "Taiwan is a province of China." Such formulations have encountered resistance. Beijing now maintains that "both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China." This is a significant change from Beijing's original formulation. If "Taiwan is part of China," the "China" means "People's Republic of China." But if "both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China" then "China" refers something other than either the mainland or Taiwan.

This third definition is the underlying premise for the "Big Tent Theory." It means that although both Taiwan and the mainland sit beneath a "Big Tent" known as "China," this China is neither the People's Republic of China nor the Republic of China. It means that the mainland and Taiwan, as well as the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, fall under the aegis of a third entity, a Big Tent. This Big Tent may actually have more structure than the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. One China, Different Interpretations amounts to each side establishing its own political edifice. The Big Tent on the other hand, puts both political entities under the same roof.

But what precisely is this Big Tent? Is it a third definition of "China?" If so, perhaps the two sides can become a confederation? If not, then how can one maintain such a Big Tent? If a third, de jure definition of China as a Big Tent is infeasible, perhaps a de facto definition of China as a Big Tent would be more acceptable? Perhaps "the Chinese people" or "we are all part of the same family" would be more acceptable? Perhaps if we move in this direction, we can find a way out.

Hu Jintao said "compatriots on both sides are all part of the same family," Ma Ying-jeou said "people on both sides are Chinese." Chen Yunlin spoke of the "spirit of the Chinese people" and "the Chinese peoples' fundamental interests." That all three used such formulations at such a critical juncture is no accident. The two sides may be attempting to find a mutually acceptable Big Tent when "reunification, independence, and war" are all unacceptable.

Eight years ago, Chen Shui-bian was elected president. He presented floral wreaths before Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, acknowledging that he was heir to the Republic of China's legal system. He honored his ancestors from afar. He acknowledged his roots. He acknowledged that he had inherited the traditions of the Chinese people. Political solutions are one means of linking the two sides of the strait. But shared cultural traditions are also an important means. In fact, shared cultural traditions often kick in when political solutions are inadequate. The impact of shared cultural traditions may even be stronger than political solutions. The impact of the Sichuan earthquake on the two sides of the strait is a clear example.

Besides, according to Chinese tradition, political solutions involving the imposition of laws are predicated upon "Might makes Right." Social cohesion within a civil society, on the other hand, is predicated upon "The Way." Must the two sides be linked by political solutions involving the imposition of laws? Why not first promote a Big Tent based on mutual trust among the Chinese people. Why rush to impose a de jure political solution based on the imposition of laws?

Perhaps the substitution of a Big Tent for de jure political solutions amounts to a Big Tent Theory?

2008.05.23 02:51 am










Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chairman Wu Po-hsiung: Please give Chairman Hu Jintao the Following Message

Chairman Wu Po-hsiung: Please give Chairman Hu Jintao the Following Message
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 22, 2008

Next week, at the invitation of Hu Jintao, Wu Po-hsiung will visit the mainland. We would like to ask Chairman Wu to convey a message to Chairman Hu. That message is: The two sides cannot avoid earthquakes, but the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can avoid war.

The Great Sichuan Earthquake created an unexpected climate of reconciliation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. This climate of reconciliation grew from a spontaneous reaction on the part of the public on Taiwan. Wang Yung-ching started the ball rolling by donating 100 million NT. This set the tone for the public's perception of the Sichuan earthquake and its subsequent response. The DPP government, not wanting to find itself behind the curve of mainstream public opinion, promptly announced a 2 billion NT disaster relief program. This was followed by humanitarian charter flights between the two sides, waves of volunteers, and large quantities of relief supplies rushed to disaster areas. A major earthquake brought down all kinds of barriers between the two sides, liberating everyone from psychological and physical barriers built up over the years. Liberated psychologically, people on Taiwan were free to express their heartfelt concern for mainland quake victims. Conversely, people on the mainland were free to express their gratitude and appreciation for their Taiwan compatriots' compassion and goodwill. Liberated physically, humanitarian charter flights were able to shuttle back and forth freely, exposing the folly of previously imposed political shackles.

The earthquake stimulated cross-strait dialogue at two levels. First, the humanitarian level. In essence, the living and dead from the September 21, 1999 Taiwan Earthquake spoke with the living and dead from the May 12, 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. The deceased in Taiwan and in Sichuan bled the same blood. The survivors in Taiwan and Sichuan shed the same tears. Second, the political level. The heartfelt concern of the public on Taiwan for mainland quake victims unconsciously repaired years of trauma to cross-strait political relations. People on Taiwan blazed a trail for both governments. Fortunately both governments elected to make the most of the opportunity that presented itself. They used earthquake efforts to raise cross-strait relations to a new level.

The Wu/Hu Conference will debut under these circumstances. Wu Poh-hsiung will express sympathy for mainland quake victims on behalf of the Taiwan public. Hu Jintao will express gratitude to the Taiwan public for its generosity on behalf of mainland quake victims. This meeting will be the first between these two chairmen. As chairmen of their respective ruling parties, they must remind each other to heed the common aspirations of people on both sides of the strait. An earthquake may be an extraordinary event. But in a sense it is merely a magnified version of the hardships people every day. An event such as an earthquake reminds political leaders about the nature of their responsibilities. When Hu Jintao and Wu Po-hsiung meet and discuss the earthquake, they must remind each other to live up the expectations of the people.

The theme of the Wu/Hu Conference will of course be cross-strait relations. Both sides must treasure the friendly cross-strait atmosphere created by the earthquake. They must offer concrete policy prescriptions in response to public expectations. Official gestures of goodwill will encourage and sustain friendly people-to-people relations, creating a virtuous circle. Friendly cross-strait people-to-people relations is a precious commodity. The atmosphere of compassion and mutual concern that emerged as a result of the earthquake must be nurtured by leaders on both sides of the strait. It must become an integral part of the framework for cross-strait relations.

In terms of cross-strait relations, the lesson the earthquake offers authorities on both sides is that peaceful cross-strait relations cannot be achieved by means of war. The lives taken by the earthquake have cut people to the quick. If one day the two sides are driven by their leaders to shoot at each other, that would be an offense to god and man. The authorities and the public on Taiwan must remain confident in their ability to persuade the public on the mainland to cherish and preserve Taiwan's democracy and way of life. They must persuade the public on the mainland to soften their leaders' attitudes toward Taiwan. As a previous editorial in this newspaper stated, when mainland authorities "pin their hopes on the people of Taiwan," they must consider the people of Taiwan's hopes.

Natural disasters are unavoidable. The two sides of the strait cannot avoid earthquakes. But if people on both sides of the strait can demonstrate the kind of concern for each other they did during the Sichuan Earthquake, they are already blood brothers. Man-made disasters can be avoided. The two sides can avoid war. If an earthquake can inspire people to shed the same tears, might not an earthquake prevent people from shedding each others' blood?

We would like to ask Chairman Wu to carry a message to Chairman Hu. That message is: The two sides cannot avoid earthquakes, but the two sides can avoid war.

2008.05.22 02:59 am









Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taiwan's Renaissance Depends on the Rebirth of the Republic of China

Taiwan's Renaissance Depends on the Rebirth of the Republic of China
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 21, 2008

The title of Ma Ying-jeou's inaugural address is "Taiwan's Renaissance." But within the text you see only phrases such as "the Republic of China's Renaissance on Taiwan."

Democracy is blessing. Yesterday, The skies over Taiwan remained unchanged. Life on the island remained unchanged. Apart from a few sections of road in Taipei being closed to traffic for the duration of the inaugural ceremony, traffic remained unchanged. Inside the Presidential Palace however, Chen Shui-bian handed the Great Seal of the Republic of China, the symbol of our nation's sovereignty, over to Ma Ying-jeou. Within minutes, they completed a peaceful transfer of political power. At that moment the entire nation changed. The head of state changed. The nation's course changed. The nation's prospects changed. Everything changed. Democracy is a blessing, a strange and wondrous blessing.

In his inaugural address Ma Ying-jeou said Taiwan is the only region of the world ruled by ethnic Chinese that has undergone a "second change of ruling parties." What is particularly astonishing about this "second change of ruling parties" is that Chen Shui-bian, who asserted that the "Republic of China is dead," will be handing over the reins of the Republic of China government to Ma Ying-jeou, whom champions of Taiwan independence consider an "alien regime." This, in effect, is the "Renaissance of the Republic of China on Taiwan."

One could say that yesterday's democratic transfer of political power nullified Chen Shui-bian's imprecation that the "Republic of China is dead." The people of Taiwan used their ballots to rescue the Republic of China. This aspect of democracy, this "second change of ruling parties" is even more astonishing, and has left people incredulous.

The principle theme of President Ma's inaugural address was the rehabilitation of the Republic of China. First he told his domestic audience "the Republic of China has gained a new lease on life on Taiwan" and that he intends to restore public identification with the Republic of China. Second, he told listeners on both sides of the Taiwan Strait the vital role of the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. He proposed maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, under the framework of the Republic of China Constitution.

This is how President Ma is positioning himself relative to his two major internal and external problems. With regards Taiwan, to borrow Frank Hsieh's phrase, he seeks "Reconciliation and Coexistence," to establish a consensus concerning the Republic of China. With regards cross-strait relations, he seeks Beijing's respect for the Republic of China's status quo, and "peace and mutual prosperity." These problems have vital internal and external implications. If Beijing allows the Republic of China greater breathing room, the public on Taiwan will identify more closely with the Republic of China. If on the other hand, pro independence sentiment on Taiwan increases, Beijing will surely reduce Taiwan's room to maneuver.

Let's take a closer look at his inaugural address, which he entitled "Taiwan's Renaissance." The only place where the word "renaissance" appears is "the Republic of China has received a new lease on life on Taiwan." President Ma pointed out that during his term of office the Republic of China will celebrate its centennial. He underscored the fact that the Republic of China ruled the mainland region for only 38 years, but the Taiwan region for over 60 years. He underscored the fact that "the fate of the Republic of China is now inextricably intertwined with the fate of Taiwan." In fact, the notion that "the Republic of China has received a new lease on life on Taiwan" is inextricably intertwined with the notion of a "second change of ruling parties." After all, If President Ma cannot persuade the public on Taiwan to identify with "the Republic of China's renaissance," how can he talk of "One China, Different Interpretations?"

In his speech President Ma referred to his own status as a "post war immigrant." He said Taiwan was his home, and that his loved ones were buried here. He said he was grateful to Taiwan society for accepting, cultivating, and embracing this "post war immigrant." His words may have reflected Ma Ying-jeou's deeply ingrained sense of Original Sin. His words may have paid obeisance to "earlier immigrants'" sense of entitlement. They did demonstrate that Ma Ying-jeou lacks confidence in his own appeals for "Reconciliation and Coexistence." This may be a tough nut for Ma Ying-jeou to crack.

As expected, President Ma's cross-strait relations will be built on the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. He called for "no unification, no independence, and no war." In his speech, President Ma specifically mentioned "Mr. Hu Jintao's last three most recent remarks on cross-strait relations," He endorsed Hu Jintao's 1992 Consensus and his Four Constants, i.e., building of mutual trust, shelving of disputes, seeking of commonalities, and creation of win/win. Usually inaugural addresses mention only abstract principles. For Ma Ying-jeou to specifically address and dialogue with Hu Jintao in his inaugural address is rather extraordinary. This is because even though the 1992 Consensus has now become the new point of reference for cross-strait interaction, it still takes two to Tango. This is not a solo performance for either side. If Ma and Hu truly believe this is a rare, historic opportunity, they must work together and on the basis of the 1992 Consensus gradually improve cross-strait relations. In which case Beijing will not perceive the 1992 Consensus as a means of indefinitely postponing cross-strait talks, and will be more inclined to allow Taiwan more international space.

President Ma said that the President of the Republic of China's most sacred duty is to defend the Constitution. This is the President of the Republic of China's greatest challenge. On Taiwan, defending the Constitution means two things. One is maintaining public identification with the Republic of China. The other is complying with provisions of the Republic of China Constitution regarding one's powers and responsibilities. Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian failed because they had no desire or intention to defend the Republic of China and its Constitution. That is why they promoted their "Two States Theory," their "Rectification of Names" campaigns, and their "Authoring of a New Constitution" campaigns. They were unable to defend the ROC Constitution because Beijing knew Lee and Chen were merely using the ROC Constitution as cover while they promoted "creeping independence." Ma Ying-jeou by contrast, is someone willing to defend the ROC Constitution. If Ma Ying-jeou is unable to defend the ROC Constitution, then nobody can defend it. Then nobody will be willing to defend it. Then nobody will dare to defend it. Beijing cannot treat the Republic of China the same way it treated Taiwan independence. Beijing cannot treat Ma Ying-jeou the same way it treated Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian.

President Ma Ying-jeou and Chairman Hu Jintao have an historic opportunity to break the current cross-strait deadlock. Both are aware that the recent presidential election rescued the Republic of China from Chen Shui-bian's imprecation that the "Republic of China is dead." Therefore Ma Ying-jeou must midwife the rebirth of the Republic of China. Hu Jintao must respect the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations premise. Only this will enable ROC voters on Taiwan to support and identify politically with the Republic of China and with ROC cross-strait policy. If the Republic of China can not be kept alive, it will be difficult to maintain cross-strait relations. The two sides need such an understanding. Ma Ying-jeou's speech concluded with two rallying cries: Long live Taiwan's democracy! Long live the Republic of China! Normal relations across the Taiwan Strait must be built on Taiwan's democracy and the Republic of China. If the Republic of China loses the support of Taiwan's democracy, cross-strait relations are bound to degenerate. This is Ma Ying-jeou's problem. It is something Hu surely can appreciate.

Taiwan's Renaissance depends on the rebirth of the Republic of China. The rebirth of cross-strait relations depends on Beijing's understanding and implementation of the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations.

2008.05.21 02:12 am













Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two Tigers: Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian

Two Tigers: Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 20, 2008

Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou were both born in 1950, under the sign of the tiger. Today, President Chen Shui-bian will hand power over to Ma Ying-jeou.

This is the second time Chen Shui-bian has handed over power to Ma Ying-jeou. Ten years ago, In 1998, Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian lost his bid for re-election to Ma Ying-jeou. The consensus was that Chen's loss to Ma was a one time event. Chen Shui-bian was optimistic about a comeback. Today, 10 years later, in 2008, Hsieh has lost to his bid for the presidency to Ma Ying-jeou. But the consensus is it was really Chen Shui-bian who lost to Ma Ying-jeou. This time Chen Shui-bian lost more than political power. He lost his reputation. He lost his bona fides as the "Son of Taiwan" and his right to speak for "Taiwanese Values." He sullied the reputation of the DPP. He discredited the very notion of a 400 year old heritage of "native Taiwanese values."

Ma Ying-jeou has succeeded Chen Shui-bian twice in a single decade. Such are the vicissitudes of political life. Ten years ago, Chen Shui-bian lost his bid for reelection as Taipei Mayor to Ma Ying-jeou. That evening, as Chen thanked supporters, a tearful audience shouted, "A-bian for President!" Ten years later, all one hears across the land is cries of "A-Bian, Step Down!" Chen Shui-bian has twice paved the way for Ma Ying-jeou. Ten years ago, Ma Ying-jeou provided the springboard for Chen Shui-bian's presidential bid. Ten years later, Chen Shui-bian has provided the springboard for Ma Ying-jeou's presidential bid.

Ten years ago, Chen Shui-bian compared himself to a "mutt" and Ma Ying-jeou to a "poodle." Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou are indeed two very different political animals. One is "Taiwanese," the other is a "Second Generation Mainlander." One is an attorney, the other is an academic. Ten years later however, the difference between Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian has little to do with "mutts" and "poodles." Ten years later Chen Shui-bian is the "Shame of Taiwan," and Ma Ying-jeou symbolizes Taiwan's renewal of values.

Ten years ago, Chen Shui-bian was a sore loser. His satisfaction rating as mayor was high, yet he lost to Ma Ying-jeou. Chen Shui-bian was regarded as a man of ability. But he was unable to persuade others that he was a man of virtue, a man who could be trusted. As a result he was replaced by Ma Ying-jeou, a man who was perceived as a man of virtue, and a man who could be trusted. Ten years later, Chen Shui-bian has left an indelible image of himself as a corrupt and evil man, particularly next to Ma Ying-jeou.

By contrast, Ma Ying-jeou has always been regarded as a man of virtue. In fact, he has even been regarded as a man of virtue who was not a man of ability. Of course it may be that a man of virtue's abilities are not always immediately apparent. Whether this dichotomy between men of virtue and men of ability holds water remains to be seen. After all, Ma Ying-jeou's ability to maintain an image of himself as a man of virtue in the political arena is itself a kind of ability. Conversely, if Chen Shui-bian is a man of ability, yet has ended up defeated and disgraced, having destroyed his party and undermined his nation, is he really a man of ability?

How the future will unfold remains unknown. But if one had to sum up the lives of these two men today, one would have to say that Chen Shui-bian is the man who destroyed the DPP. He destroyed the DPP's political authority, he destroyed the DPP's political reputation. By contrast, Ma Ying-jeou, by helping the KMT regain its former status as the ruling party, is seen as a man who has given the KMT a new lease on life. Whether Ma Ying-jeou can help the KMT recast itself as the representative of mainstream Taiwan values remains to be seen.

Chen Shui-bian won the 2000 presidential election due to internal divisions within the KMT. As the standard bearer of the DPP's calls for reform, he once championed a "New Centrist Path." As a champion of "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution" however, his approval rating plummeted to mere 13%. By contrast, ever since Ma Ying-jeou accused the Lee Teng-hui regime of "abusing power for personal gain" in 1997, and resigned his position as a Minister of State, he has been seen as a reformist. Ma Ying-jeou is perceived as an antithesis of the machine politician, as someone who is "lonely at the top." Chen Shui-bian, who cast himself as a "reformer," wound up in bed with Deep Green Taiwan independence extremists, sealing his fate. Ma Ying-jeou is also cast as a reformer. What will be his fate? Will he be lonely at the top, or will he turn into a player who cuts sweetheart deals in smoke-filled rooms?

Two tigers. Chen Shui-bian became president eight years before Ma Ying-jeou. But during his eight years Chen Shui-bian divided the nation, demagogued Taiwan independence, and exploited "ethnic" bigotry to shield himself from prosecution for corruption. These two men are polar opposites. Ma Ying-jeou became president eight years later than Chen Shui-bian. If Chen Shui-bian hadn't demagogued these issues so shrilly, underscoring his rampant misrule and moral degeneracy, Ma Ying-jeou might not have won by such a landslide. Ma Ying-jeou might not have received such a clear mandate, even before assuming office. Over the past eight years, Chen Shui-bian destroyed himself and created President Ma Ying-jeou.

Ma Ying-jeou's integrity is a silent indictment of Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian meanwhile, is Ma Ying-jeou's object lesson.

2008.05.20 03:01 am











Monday, May 19, 2008

Tsai Ing-wen's Challenge: Restoring DPP Morale

Tsai Ing-wen's Challenge: Restoring DPP Morale
China Times Editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 19, 2008

Not surprisingly, Tsai Ing-wen led, all the way. A clear majority of DPP members handed the future of the DPP over to Tsai Ing-wen. This is the first time the DPP has ever elected a female chairperson. Tsai Ing-wen has no experience at running party affairs. She has no campaign experience. Over the next few years, the DPP must pick itself up after a long string of defeats. This will be a difficult ordeal for both Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP.

This DPP party chairman election was highly unorthodox. The Princes of the Party did not have a showdown. Factional leaders did not engage in infighting. The new generation of Young Turks did not make waves. In the end only Koo and Tsai were left standing. These two have never been close to the power center of the DPP. They are not your usual DPP politicians. Koo Kuan-min is an older generation aristocrat and Taiwan independence hardliner. Tsai Ing-wen is a think tank academic, with some degree of expertise in policy planning. The two candidates neatly symbolize the DPP's options for its future. Namely, will the DPP cling to the Deep Green path, or take a more inclusive, more pragmatic path?

As it turns out, the DPP has chosen the latter. Tsai support crossed factional lines. Despite conflict between the Chen, Hsieh, and New Tide factions, they unanimously supported Tsai Ing-wen. This means that both the DPP elite and grass-roots are aware that notwithstanding Koo Kuan-min's credentials as Deep Green champion of Taiwan independence, the Tsai Ing-wen path is the one the DPP must take in order to have a political future.

The ruling party is about to relinquish power. Tsai Ing-wen has no "honeymoon period." The DPP she commands will face the most difficult period in its history. And circumstances may well get worse. She must immediately stop the bleeding, then lead the DPP out of the political wilderness. Frankly this is an impossible task. But Tsai Ing-wen has no time to think about any of this.

Tsai Ing-wen faces a number of difficult problems. She must heal the fissures that developed within the party as a result of the party chairman election. Nearly 40 percent of the DPP did not support her. She must swiftly unite rival factional leaders and create a unified party hierarchy in order to be an effective opposition party. She must begin the nomination process for the upcoming Mayoral and County Magistrate Elections. Above all, she must restore the DPP's morale, which has hit bottom after a long string of defeats. These goals were no problem for past party chairmen, but they are for Tsai Ing-wen, whose qualifications are limited to the halls of academia and the corridors of power.

If it were merely a matter of problem-solving, that would be one thing. But Tsai Ing-wen must deal with a number of intractable issues. First: the across the board loss of ruling party status, being completely cut off from all access to the resources of the state. Will a handful of Princes of the Party with access to resources be willing to share them with Tsai Ing-wen for the good of the party? Frankly no one knows. When Tsai Ing-wen attempts to get things done, she will face serious financial constraints. Second: many officials of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party are still face prosecution for corruption. If investigators and prosecutors find anything illegal, the DPP's image may explore new lows. Third: Princes of the Party who enjoy seniority are surely waiting to make their move. Tsai Ing-wen lacks both resources and seniority. It is surprising they have been as respectful as they have towards her. The danger is they may not show much respect for a future "President Tsai." For Tsai Ing-wen, money is short, problems are many, and nobody cares.

The only thing Tsai Ing-wen can do is rally the Best and the Brightest among the new generation of Young Turks. This group has its roots in the student movement. They have yet to be bought by special interests, and they have the gift of gab. They are the DPP's last hope. If they are able to transcend factional loyalties and work with Tsai Ing-wen, who can say they won't become a force for the party's renewal?

On the eve of May 20, as the Blue camp is mired in petty squabbles over seating protocol, once triumphant DPP officials are packing their bags, preparing to return to civilian life. The DPP fell as swiftly as it rose. The problems it needs to contemplate and confront are overwhelming. This is a reality the entire DPP leadership must confront together. To demand that Tsai Ing-wen bear this cross alone is unreasonable. How the DPP navigates this downturn is something worth watching.

中國時報 2008.05.19 









Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Bian Confers Chinese Medals Upon Taiwan Independence Elders

A Bian Confers Chinese Medals Upon Taiwan Independence Elders
[United Daily News / Black and White Issues]
Translated by Bevin Chu
May 17, 2008

Chen Shui-bian, who will soon step down, has been handing out medals as if they were product samples. More than a few Taiwan independence elders have been so honored. The more familiar names include Peng Ming-min, Koo Kuan-min, Chen Chi-sheng, Chen Long-chi, and Wu Li-fu.

Chen Shui-bian asserts that the Republic of China is dead. Yet he solemnly confers Republic of China medals upon Taiwan independence elders who would relegate the Republic of China to the dustbin of history. What an absurd scenario this is!

Taiwan independence is a revolutionary movement. Early champions of Taiwan independence refused to participate in Republic of China elections. They considered participation in Republic of China elections tacit recognition of the Republic of China's political legitimacy, hence contrary to revolutionary thinking. Who knew that under Chen Shui-bian, these champions of Taiwan independence would eventually concede the legitimacy of Republic of China elections? Who knew that after eight years, on the eve of Chen's departure from office, these Taiwan independence elders would line up to receive Republic of China medals?

The DPP refuses to acknowledge Sun Yat-sen's status as founding father. Yet Annette Lu accepted a Sun Yat-sen Medal. Chang Chun-hsiung is also an advocate of Taiwan independence. Yet he was delighted to be awarded a Chiang Kai-shek Medal, even though he and his peers have labeled Chiang Kai-shek "chief culprit in the 228 Incident." It's hard to decide whether this is an insult to the Republic of China medals, or an insult to champions of Taiwan independence.

The Republic of China has not had an easy time of it. It has been trampled into the dust by champions of Taiwan independence for the past eight years. For the past eight years champions of Taiwan independence have waged campaigns to "Rectify the Name of the Nation and Author a New Constitution," and to eliminate the name "Republic of China." One of their numbers has even occupied the office of the Republic of China President for eight years. But in the end the Republic of China survived. Champions of Taiwan independence have been driven out of office, and the Republic of China has gained a new lease on life.

From this perspective, Taiwan independence has paradoxically contributed to he Republic of China's survival. Champions of Taiwan independence hijacked the Republic of China for eight years. But ultimately they merely confirmed that Taiwan independence was a pipe dream. Under the Chen Shui-bian regime champions of Taiwan independence looted the nation three ways from Sunday, and showed the world their true faces. The result was a pendulum effect. The Republic of China returned to life. From this perspective, perhaps bestowing prized Republic of China medals on these champions of Taiwan independence makes perfect sense. After all, their eight years of rampant misrule and moral degeneracy unwittingly rescued the Republic of China from oblivion.

Besides, Chen Shui-bian conferred these medals upon these champions of Taiwan independence out of gratitude. It is only right that he reward them for shielding him from the consequences of eight years of rampant misrule and moral degeneracy.

2008.05.17 04:24 am


主張中華民國已死的陳水扁總統,以中華民國的勳章,頒授給欲置中華民國於死地 的台獨大老。這是何等荒謬的鏡頭!



說起來中華民國還真不簡單,被這些台獨蹂躪摧殘了八年,正名制憲、去中華民國化,連總統都給台獨幹了八年;但最後中華民國竟仍能僥倖存活下來,把這些台獨 趕下了台,恢復了中華民國的一線生機。


何況,陳水扁為了感謝台獨大老對他八年失政敗德的包庇支持,也理當對他們贈勳 表揚!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Humanitarianism and Humanism

Humanitarianism and Humanism:
A Major Earthquake turns into an Opportunity for Dialogue
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 16, 2008

The outgoing DPP government has announced that it will raise two billion NT in disaster relief for victims of the Sichuan Earthquake, to be followed by another 700 million NT. Civil servants will donate one day's wages, funds will be raised from the community, and humanitarian charter flights will take off immediately.

This has provoked controversy. Those who object ask, "Why should we contribute to [mainland] China, when it is aiming its missiles at Taiwan?" Or, "Why didn't we contribute the same amount to Myanmar?" Or, "Why propose such an extravagant project five days before you step down?" Nevertheless we would maintain that based on the merits alone, the DPP government's initiative is timely and correct.

The Sichuan Earthquake occurred during a political administration change on Taiwan. The fact that disaster relief activities were initiated by the outgoing DPP's Chang Chun-hsiung cabinet makes it more symbolically meaningful than if it had been initiated by the incoming KMT's Liu Chao-hsuan cabinet. By the same token, Frank Hsieh's donation of 200,000 NT to disaster relief is more meaningful than Ma Ying-jeou's 200,000 NT donation. The ruling DPP government's relief program is significant because it offers an opportunity to conduct humanitarian cross-strait dialogue.

Taiwan's political infighting and cross-strait conflict have complicated public perception of the Chinese mainland. During the early stages of the Sichuan earthquake, the public on Taiwan seemed embarrassed, as if it didn't quite know how to react. Once upon a time, people on Taiwan referred to people on the mainland as "compatriots." But "de-Sinicization" has led to subtle change. Moreover, because leaders on both sides perceive the relationship to be one of hostility, an ambivalent relationship has developed among the people as well. The Sichuan earthquake has triggered powerful humanitarian sentiments. It has swept aside hostility and suspicion. It has led to fence-mending between authorities and people on both sides of the strait. The DPP government can and must seize the opportunity to pledge large scale disaster relief. This would amount to a clear expression of goodwill toward the mainland. Now at least, if the public on Taiwan wishes to express sympathy for disaster victims and offer assistance, they need no longer be constrained by Political Correctness.

The theme of this round of cross-strait dialogue is humanitarian and people-oriented. One could say it is a dialogue between September 21 and May 12, i.e., between the Chi Chi Earthquake in Taiwan and the Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan. When people on both sides of the strait experienced catastrophic earthquakes on May 12 and September 21, they knew the only real issue was how to save lives. In fact it is the common concern for authorities on both sides of the strait. When leaders on each side confront the aftermath of September 21 and May 12, they know how the other feels. The overriding concern for both sides is how to save lives. Politics is supposed implement humanitarian and humanist ideals. If the ruling and opposition parties on both sides of the strait cherish and uphold humanitarian and humanist ideals, then they can look forward to mutually beneficial relations.

The tragic scenes of disaster resemble hell on earth. This has focused everyone's attention on humanitarian concerns alone. This has forced governments to resume their proper role as servants of the people. A tearful Wen Jiabao told a young girl orphaned by the quake, "Fortunately you lived, therefore you must live on." He told her "Don't worry. The government will take care of you, will help you get an education." He spoke the orphan's pain. He also underscored the government and the nation's responsibilities. The lesson of the May 12 and September 21 earthquakes is that nations must be founded on humanitarian and humanist values. Whether one refers to China as the "People's Republic of China" or the "Republic of China" is secondary. If future cross-strait dialogue is based on humanitarian and humanist values, including democracy, it may lead to a better understanding of each others' political positions, and encourage mutually beneficial interactions. For example, the mainland authorities say they are pinning their hopes on the people on Taiwan. If one approaches the issue from a humanitarian, humanist, and democratic perspective, then when the mainland authorities say they are "pinning hopes on the people on Taiwan" they must consider what the people on Taiwan want.

The primary cause for the deterioration in cross-strait relations was not conflict between the political authorities on the two sides, but a the absence of commonly held interests among the people on the two sides. We hope the current September 21/May 12 dialogue will help the people on the two sides to reclaim lost goodwill, and through people to people contacts, encourage their leaders to improve cross-straits relations. In other words, let 23 million people and 1.3 billion people talk to each other. Let 23 million people and 1.3 billion talk to their leaders. Let the earthquake break up the cross-strait political impasse. Renew cross-strait dialogue and on this humanitarian, humanist foundation, seek common cross-strait goals.

Why is Taiwan's reaction to the Sichuan earthquake different from its reaction to the floods in Myanmar? Even before Chang Chun-hsiung announced that the government's intention to raise two billion NT for disaster relief, Wang Yung-ching and other entrepreneurs had already contributed far than that. It was perfectly natural. It was only right. No one should have expected otherwise.

The Chang Chun-hsiung cabinet's disaster relief effort is more symbolically meaningful than the Liu Chao-hsuan cabinet's disaster relief effort. And by the same token, Frank Hsieh's 200,000 NT is more symbolically meaningful than Ma Ying-jeou's 200,000 NT donation.

2008.05.16 02:20 am










Thursday, May 15, 2008

Government Business Collusion Must End

Government Business Collusion Must End
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 15, 2008

Vice President-elect Vincent Siew recently resigned his position as Chairman of the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation, an NGO he personally founded. As predicted, most observers approved of his action. On the surface, the foundation bears no responsibility for matters related to national defense, diplomacy, or economics and finance. It has no necessary connection with government matters. But the position of Vice President is a solemn one. To avoid even the appearance of impropriety Mr. Siew was right to resign.

The same standards must be applied to senior officials of other political parties. Miss Tsai Ying-wen is a candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party chairmanship. She also heads two companies: TaiMed Biologics and the Taiwan Rubber Industries Association. Miss Tsai nurtured these two companies from birth. Their purpose is to organize Taiwan's biotechnology talent and develop related industries. The companies are of course for profit enterprises. Miss Tsai is expected to be successful in her May 18 bid for the DPP party chairmanship. Until then the DPP will still be the ruling party. Even though only two days remain between May 18 and May 20, for the chairman of the ruling party to be a chairman of profit-making enterprises, even for a short period, could invite public criticism and taint her public image. Even though after May 20 the DPP will be in the opposition, it will still hold one-fourth of all the seats in the Legislative Yuan. The DPP Chairman's potential conflicts of interest will surely be the focus of public attention.

Another candidate for the DPP Chairmanship, Koo Kwang-ming, also has business undertakings, If he is elected he will also have conflict of interest issues. But the public is particularly concerned with TaiMed Biologics and the Taiwan Rubber Industries Association, because political influence plays a key role in these two companies. According to news reports, TaiMed Biologics has a total investment of 600 million NT. The Executive Yuan Development Fund accounts for about 40%. Beginning this year, the National Development Fund approved a 30% investment in the Taiwan Rubber Industries Association. These two cases make Tsai Ying-wen's conflicts of interest quite clear. The Chairman of the DPP can influence dozens of members of the Legislature. Is there really no problem with the appearance of impropriety? Tsai Ying-wen said that if she is elected, she will resign as chairman of TaiMed Biologics. But this is not enough to ease public concerns. Even if she resigns as chairman of these two companies, family members can serve in her stead. The conflict of interests will remain. Therefore, to truly avoid the even the appearance of impropriety, Miss Tsai and the Executive Yuan Development Fund must adopt even stricter measures.

Concern over collusion between government and business targets collusion, not individuals. This is not selective sided criticism directed exclusively at the Democratic Progressive Party or Tsai Ying-wen. No one who wields government authority may have commercial conflicts of interest. After May 20, the DPP's authority will be diminished. The new ruling Kuomintang will need more stringent external supervision. This includes the Kuomintang President, Vice President, cabinet members, Party Chairman, Honorary Chairman, Vice Chairman, Central Standing Committee, Secretary-General, and Party Chiefs. As long as they wield political authority or can influence it, they must make their financial assets and the financial assets of their next of kin public, for all to see. This includes investments, stocks, and companies they own or for which they consult. Tsai Ying-wen is the CEO of TaiMed Biologics. She campaigned for tax exemptions only after she resigned her post as Vice Premier of the Executive Yuan. Even then, it was inevitable that the public would question her actions. When it comes to domestic economic activity or cross-strait SEF negotiations relating to cross-strait business opportunities, Taipei to Beijing policy, or KMT to CCP dialogue, everyone must be treated equally, according to the same standards.

We would like to remind politicians of the ruling and opposition parties: avoiding conflicts of interest is not merely a legal issue. It is not merely an issue of revolving doors. It is not something the Public Service Act can cover. As a result, even the founding of Taiwan Goals is alleged to be entirely legal, no evidence of corruption has been found in the PNG diplomatic relations case, and Wu Shu-chen's diamond watch was merely borrowed. In the end such arguments convince no one. An amendment to the laws on blind trusts sits idle in the Legislative Yuan. It requires public officials to declare their assets and property, and attempts, as much as possible, to eliminate institutional gray areas. In Ma Ying-jeou's remarks to his new cabinet members, he made particular mention of the need for "honesty, caution, and diligence." Cabinet members may not accept gifts or free hospitality. Since the party's cabinet members must abide by these rules, should Party Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen, and Standing Committee members be exempt? Since one may not even accept gifts, policy decisions that Involve even larger interests require even more discretion.

May 20 will be the starting point for the second change of ruling parties on Taiwan. After enduring years of intolerable corruption, the public is demanding clean government. Those who play in the mud and are already dirty may have trouble understanding the intensity of public outrage. We would like to take this opportunity to remind them. If these political big shots refuse to distance themselves from corrupt practices until they are struck by wave after wave of criticism, it will alread be too late.

中國時報  2008.05.15
政商糾葛 要當機立斷

  副總統當選人蕭萬長先生日前辭去其一手創辦之「兩岸共同市場基金會」董事長一職,外界大都予以肯定。就表面上看,這個基金會並未負擔國防、外交、財經周邊 業務,未必與政務推展有任何牽連;但是以副總統職位之崇隆,當然要避免任何可能的瓜田李下,故蕭先生辭去職位,絕對是謹守分際的表現。

  用同樣的標準,我們也要檢視其他黨政高層的兼職情形。目前正在參選民進黨主席的蔡英文女士,也是宇昌、台懋兩家公司的負責人。這兩家公司都是蔡女士一手催 生,其目的之一固然是整合台灣生技人力、帶動相關事業的發展,但無論如何,公司就是公司,當然要以營利為目的。外界預期,蔡女士將可順利於五月十八日之黨 主席選舉勝出。屆時,民進黨還是執政黨,雖然離五二○僅僅剩下兩天,但執政黨主席即使是短時間擔任營利事業董事長,在形象上都是惹人非議的。即使在五二 ○之後民進黨是在野黨,但該黨在立法院仍然擁有四分之一的席次。民進黨主席的利益與政治分際要如何拿捏,絕對是大家關注的焦點。

 當然, 另一位民進黨主席參選人辜寬敏也有經營事業,萬一他當選恐怕也有政商分際的問題。但是,外界之所以特別關注宇昌與台懋公司,是因為「政治力」在這兩家公司 裡扮演了重要的角色。據報載,宇昌總投資額六億之中,行政院開發基金投資占約四成;而國發基金今年初又通過投資台懋公司百分之三十。這兩案加起來,「國 家」與「蔡家」疊合的共同利益就非常明顯了。民進黨主席若能影響數十位國會議員,難道這裡面沒有瓜田李下的問題嗎?蔡英文表示她若當選,將要辭去宇昌的董 事長一職,但我們認為這還不足以解除外界的疑慮。即使蔡女士辭去兩家公司的董事,其家族仍然可以另派法人代表,利益株連就仍然存在。因此,若要真正迴避政 商之間說不清楚的關係,蔡女士與行政院開發基金就必須要有更果決的做法。

 我們關心政商之間的分際,當然是對事不對人,不會只就民進黨一 黨、蔡英文一人做片面的批評。整體而言,所有掌握廣義公權力的人,身上都不該有任何商業利益的牽連。五二○之後,民進黨所能影響的公權力畢竟較小,新執政 的國民黨更是大權在握,更需要外界嚴密的監督。國民黨籍的總統、副總統、內閣閣員、黨部的主席、榮譽主席、副主席、中常委、書記長、幹事長等等,只要他們 掌握或能影響公權力,就有義務要將其本人及近親所涉入的事業、投資、乾股、顧問,完全攤在陽光下,讓大家檢驗。蔡英文擔任宇昌董事長與推動生技免稅條例, 都是在她辭卸行政院副院長以後的事。但即使如此,外界都難免有質疑之聲。依照同樣的標準,國人對於牽涉到國內經濟活動的部會措施、涉及兩岸商機的海基會談 判、與聞台北/北京之間政策對話的國共平台,都會一視同仁,用同樣的尺規予以檢視。

 我們要提醒朝野政黨的從政人員:利益迴避絕對不是單 純的法律問題,也不是形式上的旋轉門條款或公務人員服務法所能涵蓋。正因為如此,即使鐽震公司設立完全合法、巴紐建交案沒有查到貪瀆證據、吳淑珍的鑽表有 可能是「借來的」,終究無法獲得國人的諒解。目前躺在立法院的公職人員財產申報法修正案之所以要求財產盲目信託,就是要在體制上盡可能杜絕灰色空間。馬英 九先生在其對新閣員的談話中特別期勉閣員要「清慎勤」,不可以亂收禮、亂接受招待。既然黨的閣員如此,黨主席、副主席、中常委等又焉能豁免?既然禮物都不 能收,牽涉到更大利益的政策制定當然更該迴避。

 五二○是台灣二次政黨輪替的起始點。在歷經數年不堪聞問的貪腐醜聞之後,全國人民對於政 治清明的期待都很高。在政壇打滾多時的人也許近墨者黑,不能體會現況與民意的落差,所以在此特別抒論提醒:這些政治大員當下能夠難捨能捨;如果要在一波波 批評聲浪湧現之後才開始切割辯解,那就為時已晚了。