Fri, May 19, 2000 - Page 12 News List


A question of trust China discounts Chen Shui-bian's (陳伸賢) articulation that the "one China" principle cannot be a precondition for talks but can certainly be a subject for discussion. Beijing refuses to accept, saying that Chen is not sincere. Recently, China has said that as long as Taiwan accepts the "one China" principle, everything, including Taiwan's participation in international organizations can be discussed. Is the PRC's message then that "we don't trust you, but you should trust us"? Andrew Marble
Time for a historic change For the past 106 years, many world events have significantly affected Taiwan's fate. But Taiwan residents have had no control or say in these events. The Ching Dynasty ceded Taiwan and the Pescadores to Japan in perpetuity in the Treaty of Shimonoseki on April 17, 1895, after its humiliating loss in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894. After Japan surrendered in August 1945 to end WWII, Taiwan and the Pescadores were restored to the ROC based on the Cairo Declaration, an agreement reached among the US, UK and ROC on Dec. 1, 1943. The US-PRC Shanghai Communique was signed on Feb. 27, 1972, instituting the "one China" policy. Since 1986 when martial law was lifted, the development of pluralism and democracy in Taiwan has made remarkable progress. The presidential election victory on March 18 by the DPP and Chen will further advance Taiwan into a new era of competitive democracy. Successful execution of social reform and safeguarding the security of the people in Taiwan are two major challenges for the new government. As the new government prepared for today's inauguration, the tension across the Taiwan Strait increased. China is again threatening Taiwan to accept the myth of the "one China" principle. It is indeed time for the residents in Taiwan to decide what they want to do politically. Let's help in every way to allow their self-determination to work and work peacefully. Donald Shengduen Shih
St. Louis, Missouri
Stand strong Free people can and do work wonders. Your country has made much progress and your quality of life puts your larger neighbor to shame. I trust that Chen and your country's people have the courage of your convictions and will not cave in to pressure exerted by the Beijing crowd. Let freedom ring and prevail. James L. Wilson
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Democracy in China If the Chinese really want to have a democratic state and a modernized society, what they should do first and foremost is give up their chauvinistic and fictitious notion of Chinese nationalism. In traditional Chinese political philosophy, the prevailing viewpoint has rarely gone beyond favoritism towards the ruling class. Paternalism has accordingly, been considered the righteous system, rather than democracy. This is the natural result of a language where the concept of "country" was intertwined within feudalism by combining the word for "state" with the word for "family" to form the term "Kuo-jia," or state-family. Consequently, it is very hard for the Chinese people to distinguish between three fundamental political concepts: state, government and nationalism. To most Chinese, these three things are almost identical and hold an equal value. Once a society has combined these three concepts into a single one, the inevitable outcome is to form a political system of authoritative totalitarianism with a paternalistic nature. Obviously a dictatorship cannot exist without a supportive foundation from the masses. No wonder there is the saying that a dictatorship is the collective effort produced by a group of ignorant people. Democracy has a few fundamental pre-requisites: First, a state is formed by citizens not by nations (ethnicity). Second, citizenship goes beyond nationalism, and is based on the natural endowment of humanism. Third, the government is appointed by the citizens to administer orders according to the preference of the majority, while maintaining an open channel to protect the minority. Without replacing the backwards phenomenon of a chauvinistic Chinese nationalism with the concept of citizenship, the modernization of Chinese society remains far from be realized. Joshua K. Tin
Boonton, New Jersey

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