Sun, Dec 05, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Give up the China dream

By Joel Linton

I have finally begun to be able to sympathize with the Chinese exiles who came to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) after World War II. They lost a dearly-held dream of a new, great, and modern national China. The communists robbed them of their dream and so they had to face a life of exile in Taiwan. No longer could they be called Chinese nationals, nor were they Taiwanese: they were stuck on the outside.

And so they tried desperately to cling to this dream of China even when they were on Taiwan soil foreign to them. They tried to remake Taiwan into their dream of China.

But as the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right. These Chinese exiles robbed the Taiwanese of their own dream, the dream of Taiwanese self-determination after the Taiwanese had been freed of the rule of Imperial Japan.

These Chinese exiles subjected the Taiwanese to a pretend China and fifty years of military dictatorship, just as the Japanese had subjected them to their colonial rule.

That time is passing. If the Chinese exiles are willing to embrace Taiwan as their new homeland, then let's have done with the terms "Mainlanders" or "outside the province people."

If the exiles are indeed willing to make their home with us, let them also be called "Taiwanese." But if they cannot give up their dream of a China which history has passed by, then let them be called "Chinese exiles." We will wish them well, and work with them to promote democracy in China. And if democracy does take root in China, then one day we can give them a farewell party, so they can finally return to their homeland.

Even though I am an American, I am using the term "we" Taiwanese because I identify so closely with the people and the cause of Taiwan.

Unfortunately some of the Chinese exiles are so far from identifying with Taiwan that they act as if it does not even exist.

But that number grows smaller as the march of history goes forward.

Joel Linton

Taipei

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