Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Don't be fooled by the Hu-boosters

By the Liberty Times editorial

The power struggle between former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and his successor, President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), has finally come to an end. On Sept. 19, Jiang resigned as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Central Military Commission during the Fourth Plenum of the16th CCP Central Committee in Beijing. This means that he officially handed over his military power and withdrew from the power center, thus ending China's so-called "third generation" of leadership.

Meanwhile, Hu now controls the government, the party and the military, and has become the core of fourth-generation leadership. He has also begun the "Hu Jintao era" in consolidating power for himself and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).

The struggle between Jiang and Hu was a fight for power between the Chinese leaders, not a fight over different directions for the country. Therefore, drastic internal and external changes are unlikely to take place -- especially in cross-strait relations. Those who are dazzled by Hu's public image and political tactics expect him to carry out political reform in China, further liberalize the Chinese economy, construct a peaceful international environment and ease the tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. However, history will prove that not only have they misjudged him, they have also failed to understand the nature of the autocratic CCP regime.

Now that Hu has replaced Jiang, some pro-unification media and experts in Taiwan have glorified Hu's rise as "openness replacing brutality" and "pragmatism replacing harshness." They imply that cross-strait tension was a result of the hardline stance of a few hawkish Chinese leaders in the past -- including Mao Zedong (毛澤東), Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), and Jiang. They believe that cross-strait relations will improve now that a relatively moderate leader has consolidated his power, and that Taiwan and China will live just like a prince and princess in a fairy tale: happily ever after.

If the people of Taiwan are misled by such notions, both our psychological and national defense will be weakened, and a happy ending will certainly not be the result. Instead, the Taiwanese people will walk step by step into a death trap.

When studying China, we need to understand which issues are structural, such as issues of political direction or principle, and which are matters of individual policy, opinion or method. In other words, we have to be able to determine which issues will remain unchanged regardless of the people involved, and what issues will change depending on who is in charge.

Hu, for example, is given a more positive assessment by outsiders than is Jiang. A deeper analysis, however, shows that these positive assessments apply to individual qualities and methods. When it comes to structural issues such as ideology, nationalism and the supremacy of the CCP, Hu and Jiang are products of the same party, and we see no differences between the two. Nor is one of them more enlightened and the other tougher. Hu once cruelly and brutally cracked down on the people of Tibet, an example of how he is far from being a moderate.

China's unification policy toward Taiwan is a predetermined policy. The "one-China" principle, which says that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, has become part of the CCP canon passed on by previous generations of leaders.

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