Tue, Apr 19, 2005 - Page 8 News List

An open letter to KMT chief Lien Chan

By Wang Dan 王丹

Mr. Lien Chan (連戰), after having learned that your party is actively working to arrange for you to visit China and prepare for a third round of talks between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), I and my friends living in exile but still caring about China's development and cross-strait relations, want to express our deep concern.

Our basic stance is that we welcome any opinion or action that helps defuse cross-strait tensions and the development of democracy on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Based on our long experience of fighting the CCP, however, and based on our hopes for a healthy development of cross-strait relations, there are a few suggestions that we want to put forward for your reference.

I remember that during the civil war between the KMT and the CCP, the democracy activist Chu Anping (儲安平) offered a penetrating analysis: "For the KMT, democracy is a matter of how much there will be, while for the CCP, it is a matter of whether or not there will be any at all."

History has proven this conclusion to be right. In other words, it is an important standard for deciding the difference in the KMT's and the CCP's level of support for democracy.

As the cross-strait relationship has developed, we see ever more clearly that the difference between the system on each side of the Taiwan Strait is what lies at the heart of the problem. Mainstream public opinion in Taiwan generally opposes and distrusts the CCP's totalitarian system. If the China of today already had completed the transition into a new democratic state, we trust that the Taiwanese people's view of China would be greatly transformed. No person or group who truly hopes for the healthy development of cross-strait relations should neglect this fact.

To sum up, whether your point of departure is the KMT's founding ideals or the cross-strait relationship, we sincerely hope that during your visit to China you will be able to represent the KMT in bringing up the issue of democratization with the CCP.

We know that the KMT advocates eventual cross-strait unification, but we believe that, unless China becomes democratic, this is an unrealistic vision. Since the KMT now has the opportunity to engage in face-to-face talks with the CCP, it should be the KMT's unshirkable duty to clearly inform the CCP's leadership of the Taiwanese people's hopes for the democratization of China.

We are aware that the KMT has placed strong emphasis on the significance of democratic values when dealing with certain social issues that have occurred during Taiwan's development. We sincerely hope that these ideals will be given equal importance during talks with the CCP.

On the other hand, if a third round of talks between the KMT and the CCP are limited to discussing the protection of Taiwanese businesspeople and their interests, or technical issues such as Taiwanese agricultural exports, and avoid the basic problems in the cross-strait relationship or shy away from offering constructive criticism of the CCP's political system, then not only will we be disappointed, but that would also have a negative impact on your party's status and image.

If your party does not remain firm in its opinions, there is a risk that it will be used by the CCP as a propaganda tool. We do not wish to affect your party's policies, but only want to offer the lessons we have learned after many years of fighting the CCP as a point reference for you and the KMT. We beg your forgiveness should this letter have offended you.

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