Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Speak out for sovereignty

By Martin Chen

This letter is in response to an article by Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) ("Face up to the reality of a lack of sovereignty," Nov 04, page 8). Hsu clearly points out the problem regarding sovereignty. I agree with the first half of his article, up to the point where he talks about the US perspective on the problem. But then I got lost. I am not sure what direction he is pointing us in. Is there a hint that, from the China perspective, a solution will be found? If so, he certainly did not show us how.

My proposed solution is to explore a different subject with a two-word addition to his title: "Face up to the reality of a lack of recognition of sovereignty." As far as I am concerned, there is no lack of sovereignty. Democracy is sovereignty. Gaining recognition is the problem. And, believe it or not, the first place where recognition is needed is within Taiwan.

For over 50 years the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime have brainwashed Taiwanese people, so now they are afraid to believe in sovereignty. The KMT regime used every means possible to emphasize the importance of maintaining the so-called "status quo" so they could stay in power. The US maintained it because it could control both Taiwan and China. China of course loved it, because it allowed Beijing to play the Taiwan card against the US. And a few years ago they started using it to take advantage of Taiwanese businessmen investing in China. So what's new, when everyone is just looking to further their own interests?

After this complicated triangular relationship among the three countries becomes apparent, our solution to this puzzle is quite clear. Taiwan needs to be concerned with its own interests. In fact, the country is already headed in the right direction. The majority of Taiwanese people are wise enough to dump the pan-blues. But it will take some years to truly wash away the KMT influence. Taiwan should stand up and use every opportunity it can to accentuate its sovereignty to the world.

On Feb. 28, over 1 million people told the world about it. In September, Olympic heroes from Taiwan told the world about it. There may be pro-unification sentiment among a few old-generation people.

But unification is clearly not a choice. Even the young pan-blue politicians claiming to be pro-unification do not believe it in their heart. Most of them are afraid to even speak out loudly about it. It's because they don't have a good reason for supporting unification. They simply use the sentiment to gain votes and further their own interests.

Many people in Taiwan voiced their anger over US Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent statements in China. It appeared that he made some major errors and later revised part of what he said. But the damage has already been done. To learn from this, one question Taiwanese should ask is: What could we have done better to minimize such damage in the future?

Again my answer is the assertion of sovereignty. Make it heard loudly, not wishy-washy. I would not rule out the possibility that Powell truly did not know Taiwanese would be so upset about his statements. If Taiwanese people want other countries (including China) to recognize it, they have to assert the position consistently and persistently. There will be bumps along the way. Certain tactics will be required. But eventually the recognition will come.

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