Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: US should support Taiwan

By Michael Yeun

Over the past half century, Taiwan's sovereignty has been violated by the Republic of China (ROC), the People's Republic of China and neglected by most of the world.

As a result, establishing an independent "Republic of Taiwan" is a dream long held by the majority of the people of Taiwan. The concept entails a free, democratic and de jure independent Taiwan, a new constitution and rectifying the national title from "Republic of China" to "Republic of Taiwan" or "Taiwan."

The US, as the sole remaining superpower, should play a more proactive role in making this dream come true. Here is why:

At the end of World War II, in 1945, the US and its allies carelessly turned Taiwan (a Japanese colony since 1895) over to the control of Chiang Kai-Shek's (蔣介石) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The people of Taiwan were not consulted. The brutal abuses of Chiang's occupying military force led to the infamous 228 Massacre -- a Taiwanese uprising on Feb. 28, 1947, that resulted in 20,000 or more Taiwanese being killed by Chiang's army.

Immediately, Chiang's KMT declared what became the longest period of martial law in modern history. The terror of martial law lasted from 1947 to 1987.

In 1949, China's nationalists, having lost the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) Communists, fled to Taiwan and "officially" started their dictatorial occupation of Taiwan. They brought with them the "Republic of China" name and imposed this misnomer on the island of Taiwan and its people.

Most countries in the world kept silent about the 228 Massacre -- the Taiwanese "holocaust." Chiang's bloody deeds were never condemned.

During these dark times, under the rule of the KMT, the Taiwanese lived with very limited political freedom and human rights despite their continuous attempts to participate in the political process.

Just before the lifting of martial law in May 1987, the first Taiwanese political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was established with the help of various pressure groups, including the overseas Taiwanese organizations and international supporters.

Thirteen years later, in March 2000, the DPP defeated the KMT in the presidential election. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) became the first popularly elected president of Taiwan from the DPP. This watershed event moved Taiwan another step toward becoming a full-fledged independent country.

Last March, Chen was re-elected. Not only did his re-election seal the fate of the pro-Chinese parties such as the KMT and the People First Party, it was also a major victory for constitutional reform in Taiwan.

Taiwan still functions under the old ROC constitution, but the majority of the electorate voted for Chen -- a staunch advocate of a new constitution for Taiwan.

It is just a matter of time before a new Taiwan under a new name, with a new constitution will emerge. The time is ripe for the people of Taiwan to reclaim their own country and give it the name "Republic of Taiwan."

The US should now recognize this new Taiwan.

China continues to state that it will attack Taiwan if it proclaims independence. China has about 500 missiles aimed at Taiwan, keeping peace-hungry Taiwanese in a state of daily terror. The number of missiles is increasing every year.

Proclaiming independence is nothing more than a logical extension of Taiwan's democratic development. A referendum would be an appropriate vehicle and a peaceful way to let the people of Taiwan determine their own future.

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