Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan's own bamboo curtain

By Paul Lin 林保華

On Dec. 3, I attended the "Evening of Defending Taiwan's Roots," sponsored by Lee Teng-hui School (李登輝), campaigning for Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) candidates in the legislative elections. Typhoon Nanmadol was creating a storm outside and this unseasonable assault made me think of Taiwan's situation, buffeted by China and Taiwan's pro-China politicians. It gave me a sense of urgency about "defending Taiwan's roots."

Although I am a Chinese, I have led a life drifting about many countries in the world, including 17 years in Indonesia, 21 years in China, and another 21 years in Hong Kong after leaving China. I acknowledged mainstream values in Hong Kong, but when Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, I then went into exile in the US.

My life has been rootless; therefore, knowing that Taiwanese people were gathering to defend their roots, I could very much understand their feelings and also envy them for having such an opportunity.

No matter whether it is a presidential or legislative election, the veteran's community votes has been a hot topics. It makes me think of the film, Spring Outside the Bamboo Fence (竹籬笆外的春天) starring Cherie Chung (鍾楚紅) as lead actress. This film reminds me again of the term, "bamboo curtain."

The Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917 was referred to as the "iron curtain," and China was called the "bamboo curtain" after 1949. It seems that the "bamboo curtain" is milder than the "iron curtain," and this was why western countries preferred China back then. But, in reality, communist China's dark and barbaric regime is a curtain of blood.

Since emancipating myself from China's "bamboo curtain" in 1976, I have tasted the beauty of the outside world. Looking back at my life, I feel shame at having taught the "anti-Chinese Nationalist Party (anti-KMT)" line of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) textbooks.

Although I regarded the KMT as a dictatorial political party, it was not as evil as the CCP, and I could also better identify with its anti-communist stance. I identified more closely with the KMT as democracy began to develop from the end of the administration of the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and through that of former president Lee Teng-hui.

But since Lien Chan (連戰) became KMT chairman, the party's orientation has changed. The KMT's "conspiracy" with China on major national issues is especially contrary to my viewpoint.

Since Lien's defeat in the March election, he has forsaken localization policies and notions of having roots in Taiwan; not to mention forsaking the notion of "defending Taiwan's roots."

As a result, pro-China politicians like Lien have incited confrontations among different ethnic groups in Taiwan, and created civil disturbances, as if to facilitate China's political intervention in Taiwan.

People within the KMT, or the "bamboo fence," thus become the victim of the KMT's political bargaining counter. The KMT made themselves a mini-China behind a "bamboo curtain" of their own, detached from the outside world and today's ever-advancing era, and unable to empathize with the sentiments of Taiwanese people.

I sympathize with many members of the KMT for having been forced from their homes in China. The older generation, though they have lived here for half a century, still do not identify with Taiwan and although the next generation may seem better, the younger ones have also been influenced by their seniors. While some have escaped the "bamboo curtain," many others are still trapped behind it.

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