Tue, May 13, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Beijing's self-serving actions alienating

By Pu Ta-chung 卜大中

An independence activist once said that China will never disappoint us (independence proponents) because it would always trigger the Taiwanese people's abhorrence at the crucial juncture. Looking at China's disparaging and vicious treatment of this country over the years, one has to say that he was a prophet.

Distant instances range from China's moves to fire missiles into the seas near Taiwan in military exercises, to then premier Zhu Rongji's (朱鎔基) saber-rattling to threaten voters in the run up to the 2000 presidential election. Such behavior not only disgusted the people here but also resulted in strong countereffects.

In the wake of the 921 earthquake, what China did is a fine example of requiting kindness with ingratitude, completely forgetting how Taiwan had enthu-siastically made donations to help its flood-relief efforts earlier. When journalists later asked flood victims whether they had received donations from abroad, they said they had never heard of any and only got a box of cookies. Journalists then realized that Beijing had imposed a news blackout on the donations from Taiwan and Hong Kong and that the money had been embezzled by cadres at various levels.

After the 921 earthquake, China required countries that wanted to send personnel to help Taiwan to first get its approval. It even denied the use of its air space to a Russian plane, with a rescue team and relief supplies on board, headed for Taiwan. This disgusting bullying manner simply repelled the Taiwanese people.

Four years on, has China changed its attitude? Has it learned the lesson? Not a bit. As SARS has spread from filthy China to nearly the whole world and Taiwan has seen a rising number of SARS cases, Beijing even required the World Health Organization (WHO) to get its ratification before dispatching personnel to investigate SARS situation here.

In addition to reiterating its platitude that Taiwan is part of China, Beijing aims to cheat the international community into believing that China is capable of "taking care of" Taiwan's medical health.

This is as ridiculous as India boasting that it has the ability to resolve the health problems of England and the US. When the SARS outbreak had just started, China forbade the WHO from putting Taiwan on its list of reported SARS cases, wholeheartedly aiming to turn this country's SARS problem into a part of "China's internal affairs." This move politicized the SARS issue.

When the SARS outbreak had just surfaced in early March, one of China's airlines wanted to provide Taiwan with the passenger list for a plane suspected of having carried a SARS patient, but it was unexpectedly barred from doing so by China's Civil Aviation Administration. What a shitty government!

This is not the end of China's folly. KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has said he will visit Bei-jing if he is elected president next year. To everyone's surprise, Chi-nese government officials were stupid enough to say that they "welcome anyone to come and visit under the precondition of the `one China' principle." That response got Lien into hot water because it almost confirms President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) ridicule of Lien's plan as a "voyage of surrender."

Now many countries feel uneasy to see that Taiwan is fighting the SARS epidemic in isolation and they have proposed to make the country a member of the WHO. China, as usual, spares no efforts to oppose the plan.

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