Tue, Nov 08, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Ma is distorting the facts

By Deeann Kuo

In his Oct. 25 piece in the China Times, Taipei Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), with great rhetorical skill and subtle distortion, misrepresented Taiwanese history and the beliefs about one of Taiwan's most respected democracy pioneers.

Ma asserted that my grandfather Kuo Yu-hsin (郭雨新, 1908-1985), a dangwai ("outside the KMT") leader and tireless advocate of democracy and freedom, did not support Taiwanese independence. This claim is patently false, and appears to be either a calculated effort by Ma to distort the legacy of Kuo for political purposes; or an uninformed -- and therefore irresponsible -- rewriting of history. The public record reveals unequivocally that Kuo Yu-hsin supported an independent Taiwan.

In his written statement presented to the US Congress during hearings on Taiwan before the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Feb. 7 and 8, 1979, entitled "The People of Taiwan Demand Self-Determination and Independence," he stated: "The future of Taiwan should be determined by the people of Taiwan alone, in accordance with the principle of self-determination. Given a free chance, we will reject domination by People's Republic of China and continued dictatorship by the KMT. Meanwhile, we will undeniably promote democratic institutions a la America, British or Swiss style, pursue a free, equitable economic system, seek peace with all nations, and safeguard independence -- de facto and de jure -- for Taiwan, our sacred homeland."

In 1978, Kuo Yu-hsin ran by proxy against Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in the indirect presidential election. His election platform, printed in the the Washington Post on Feb. 28, 1978, stated:

"The future status of Taiwan must be determined only by the people who live in the island of Taiwan. We, the Taiwanese, repudiate the present Nationalist [KMT] regime who, in the name of China, perpetuates a repressive minority rule in Taiwan. We also repudiate the People's Republic of China for its political and territorial ambitions over Taiwan.

"The right to self-determination of the Taiwanese people is not negotiable. We firmly believe that when the people of Taiwan are permitted to openly and freely express their political choice, they will overwhelmingly choose to establish a new and independent country of their own, in which freedom, equality, justice, and democracy prevail."

Kuo Yu-hsin spent most of his life fighting for human rights, freedom and democracy. After serving 25 years in the Provincial Assembly, where he championed social legislation on behalf of farmers, workers, the elderly and the handicapped, he made an unsuccessful bid for the legislature in a campaign that has been well-documented as fraught with election fraud by the KMT.

After years of living under constant surveillance and the threat of assassination by the KMT, Kuo moved to the US in 1977 in self-imposed exile. There, he founded the Overseas Alliance for Democratic Rule in Taiwan and lobbied the US Congress for support on the establishment of democratic rule and human rights in Taiwan.

More than 25 years ago, before even the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party, Kuo Yu-hsin already understood that Taiwan was a de facto independent country. He believed that given a choice -- one made without fear and coercion -- the people of Taiwan would overwhelmingly support a declaration and establishment of formal independence. Kuo Yu-hsin's vision for Taiwan was an independent, internationally recognized Taiwan Nation.

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