Wed, Feb 11, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Be aware - know thy enemies

In a free and democratic society where the rule of law prevails, competition between political parties is necessary and normal. However, the premise for such competition should be the interests of the nation and its people. Taiwan's parties should not support the political stances taken by a foreign regime that has publicly vowed to attack their country. Much less should they join hands with such a regime to attack their domestic rivals. Otherwise, a serious problem of national identity confusion will arise, thereby allowing the hostile regime to reap political profits.

What political profits does Beijing hope to reap from Taiwan? Obviously, it wants to change Taiwan's status quo by making it part of the PRC. This is something no one can deny.

What then is Taiwan's status quo? Everyone knows that the democratization of Taiwan's political system began with the lifting of martial law in July 1987. The first ever direct presidential election here was held in 1996, while in 2000 there was the first transition of political power.

In comparison, the Beijing regime has never wanted to practice democracy. It merely wants to thoroughly annihilate a free and democratic Taiwanese social framework where the rule of law prevails -- a society built with the blood and tears of the Taiwanese people -- and replace it with a Communist authoritarian system.

In light of this, it should not be difficult to understand the motive behind the defensive referendum that Taiwan wants to hold. It is meant to call on Beijing to remove the ballistic missiles deployed against Taiwan and not seek to resolve the cross-strait dispute by means of military force. Such a referendum is clearly meant to ensure that Taiwan's status quo won't be changed by the Beijing regime. Creating a new constitution will serve to ensure that Taiwan will continue to deepen its democracy on the basis of the rule of law, and to prevent the emergence of a despotic politician or a military ruler.

However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has worked to protect Taiwan's democratic status quo, has been painted -- by Washington as well as pro-Beijing politicians -- as a party bent on changing the status quo. Those who want to overturn the status quo have been extolled as its defenders. Isn't this logic a little too ridiculous?

When it comes to the national identity of Taiwan's four major ethnic groups and political parties, what is most important is to identify with the democratic system that the nation is practising. No external regime should be allowed to change that status quo. Referendums are one of the best ways to reflect the will of the entire citizenry in a democratic country.

Only a constitution compatible with the trends of the time can ensure that the nation's democratic system will not deteriorate. Only the DPP's approach, therefore, will truly safeguard Taiwan's free and democratic status and ensure that it won't be changed by external political forces or military threats.

In addition to deploying missiles and threatening Taiwan, Beijing has also harbored Taiwanese fugitives, especially those suspected of economic crimes. It has also blatantly tried to influence Taiwan's presidential elections. It is Beijing that is trying to change the status quo. The people of Taiwan need to see this fact clearly.

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