Sun, Dec 01, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Facing China's fifth column

Historically, the "fifth columnists" were spies who, during the Spanish Civil War, penetrated enemy lines to incite unrest and disruption.

Today, the people of Taiwan are living under the shadow of the new fifth columnists.

The absurd thing is that the fifth column here not only openly hits the streets to demonstrate and to pressure the government, but it even has a spokesperson in Beijing to help it confound the Taiwanese people's sense of national identity.

In no other place in the world can one see democracy more twisted and the line between enemies and foes more blurred.

Last Friday, several hundred Chinese brides married to Taiwanese men demonstrated in front of the legislature, protesting against the government's extension of the period of residence required before they can obtain identification cards.

It was the second time they had hit the streets within one month. Without the behind-the-scenes mobilization and manipulation of the fifth column, how did Chinese brides scattered all over the country become so organized?

Moreover, the pro-unification media have been serving as the mouthpiece of former ROC army officer and current Chinese scholar Justin Lin (林毅夫), who defected to China in 1979. Not only do they try to justify his defection, but they help him make propaganda appeals to his compatriots in Taiwan.

The attempt is obviously to shake the military's morale which is the cornerstone of any country's stability. In this way, the pro-unification media are no different from the fifth column.

Some opposition politicians and businessmen are also taking on the role of the fifth columnists. They know China is bent on destroying the sovereignty of Taiwan and waging an economic and military campaign to corner the country.

Yet, these politicians and businessmen continue to pressure the government to accept the "one China" principle and to open up direct links. These self-proclaimed patriots have become experts in allying with the Chinese communists to sabotage Taiwan's interests. China is using these people to disintegrate the sense of national identity within the country

In short, China is hoping to achieve its political agenda through economic means. When Taiwan's autonomy collapses its sovereign status disappears, it is foreseeable that those fifth-column politicians and businessmen will be discarded by China like old shoes.

Democracy, press freedom and economic freedom, these should have been Taiwan's most powerful swords against Chinese aggression. However, political democracy has now been reduced to a tool through which China shakes Taiwan's sense of national identity. Press freedom has allowed some members of the media to be relegated to mouthpieces of China. Economic freedom has made us vulnerable to the Chinese economy. One cannot help but worry about the future of Taiwan.

As a result of countless people's sacrifices and hard work, the ROC has been standing tall in Taiwan for more than half a century. Too bad that -- due to the bickering and feuding between the opposition and ruling camps, and the malicious obstruction of pro-unification media and greedy businessmen -- Taiwan risks becoming a sinking ship.

If the people of Taiwan do not soon come to an awakening, and if they continue to allow the fifth columns to work in Taiwan, the safety of this country and the welfare of the people here will truly become unprotected and hopeless.

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