Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Lien Chan: You want to talk about a coup d'etat?

By Ruan Ming 阮銘

What is a coup d'etat? It is an assumption of national authority through an illegal procedure. According to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) definition, it is called "stealing the state." But it was Lien who intended to steal the country. However, due to his misjudgment of the internal and external situation, he failed to steal Taiwan when his intention was unveiled.

He panicked when both President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) pointed out his conspiracy by calling the opposition's mass protests from March 21 through 27 an "aborted coup d'etat." Because of his fear of public criticism, he slyly claimed that Chen viewed the Taiwanese people's expression of opinion as a coup, a statement I think is balderdash! This could be best described as "confusing the public," and "the more concealed, the more conspicuous."

Public demonstrations are considered quite normal in a democratic country. If a demonstration gets out of control when violence occurs, both the law and the police will deal with it. How can a demonstration be mixed up with a coup? Taiwan is already a mature democratic county, and the Taiwanese people do not easily believe in politicians' populism in light of their democratic sensibility. The nationalization of Taiwan's military is laudable, and military officers will never become adventurists' tools for stealing the nation. It's tragic that Lien actually intended to steal the country in the post-election chaos.

Lien's made the attempt because his desire for power blinded his wisdom -- a result of his serious misjudging of the overall situation.

First, for the US, Lien's accusation against Chen of "stealing the nation" was a reflection of his unwillingness to lose the presidential election, as well as his intention of stealing Taiwan by illegal means. He even fantasized that the US would interfere with Taiwan's affairs due to its supposed distrust of Chen. Do not forget that Lien's strategists have constantly urged Washington to announce that the election was invalid, and to send US representatives to monitor a re-election, forcing voters to abandon Chen and vote for Lien. This is an example of Lien's blindness.

Second, for China, didn't Lien's strategist, independent Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜), who personally declared war against the president, say that Chen's re-election victory would leave Zhongnanhai no choice but to attack Taiwan?

Third, Lien knows that it's hard to rile Taiwan's military troops, and that a military coup is absolutely impossible. Therefore, his dream was to unite with Washington and Beijing to oppose Chen. If Beijing had clearly announced its intention to attack Taiwan if Chen was re-elected, and Washington announced its distrust in Chen and even canceled its promise to help Taiwan protect itself, the military would have had no choice but to abandon Chen in order to save Taiwan. This is yet another example of Lien's blindness.

The US plays the key role among the three parties that Lien was betting on -- Washington, Beijing and the military. After the US made clear its attitude, Lien could only hold a funeral for his coup on March 27. The ruin of his coup dream was a good thing not only for the Taiwanese people but also for himself. If he can wake up and hand over the party leadership and assets, the KMT's new generation will be able to carry out active reforms, turning the party into a balancing force in Taiwan. It would be a wise choice for Lien to "redeem his sins by good deeds," as the Chinese proverb goes.

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