Wed, Dec 24, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Grinches across the Strait

In Western tradition, Christmas should be the day when people the world over celebrate the Savior's descent to the human realm. People expect this message of joy to bring peace for all humanity. Unfortunately, the situation this year has been very different. The US, the UK and Japan have all issued high-level alerts for terrorist attacks for fear that international terrorists may take advantage of a time when most people are steeped in merrymaking to launch massive terrorist attacks like ones on Sept. 11, 2001. It is ironic that a time for merrymaking has turned into a time of anxiety.

In Taiwan, we have no choice but to raise a topic that detracts from the fun of Christmas celebrations. For both Westerners and Easterners, the threat they face is only "potential." Whether terrorists will have their way depends on a contest of wits between terrorists and security personnel in various countries. It will not be easy for this gang of criminals to achieve their goals.

In comparison, the threat facing Taiwan is far more serious. The Taiwanese people face a concrete military threat. The language of this threat has been coming continuously from the mouths of People's Liberation Army generals via open media channels, saying that the Chinese military will not hesitate to sacrifice 2 million people to attack and occupy Taiwan.

The American people should recall that soon after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, some Chinese military brass, in an interview with a Los Angeles Times reporter, threatened to fire long-range missiles at Los Angeles. The strong response from the US media at the time was impressive. Based on the same sentiment, we must reiterate that Beijing has been increasing the number of missiles deployed against Taiwan. The number of missiles is now close to 500. Taiwan certainly has the right and responsibility to tell the international community that Beijing is destroying peace in Asia with its missile deployments and that countries should not be duped by the Chinese Communist Party's charm offensive.

More importantly, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has the responsibility to adopt concrete measures to remind the Beijing government that its actions aimed at using military force against Taiwan are destroying peace in the Taiwan Strait. At the same time, Chen need no longer abide by the "five noes" promise he made in his 2000 inauguration speech unless Beijing changes its belligerent strategy.

In recent years, Chinese society seems to have been emulating the Western tradition of celebrating Christmas. While we are happy to see China's gradual integration into international society, we would also like to remind Beijing that Christmas is not merely about shiny decorations and partying. The day carries with it a message of peace. This is where the spirit of Christmas lies. Why won't China's leaders take the opportunity to consider the happiness and safety of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait?

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