Wed, Jan 25, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Time for the Taiwanese to wake up

By Huang Tien-lin 黃天麟

Taiwan is under a spell, and it is following the wizard's instructions and voluntarily walking to the execution ground. A tragedy is about to be played out where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will take over Taiwan.

This is no abstract prediction of Taiwan's demise, but a composite of reality and a few reasonable inferences. I hope that this article will serve as a wake-up call. The goal is to make sure that the scenario described above will never happen.

Is this sensationalism? Definitely not. Read the omens described in the following paragraphs, which are all the result of the "Go West" policy.

First, China has already deployed more than 800 missiles along its Taiwan Strait coastline, and the People's Liberation Army is sparing no effort in its preparations for an invasion of Taiwan. In spite of this, Taiwanese businesses are pouring a never-ending stream of capital and technology into China, thus strengthening the Chinese economy.

Last year, China's trade surplus reached US$101.9 billion. This sum included US$1 billion of high tech products exported by foreign-invested companies in China, and Taiwanese businesses were responsible for more than 50 percent of that. Total Taiwanese investment in China has reached an alarming US$280 billion. But strangely, there are still people in Taiwan clamoring to "go West" and criticizing the government for trying to put the brakes on.

Second, China has built simulated Taiwanese airports in Gansu Province and the northeast of Hainan Province where they have models of F-16 fighters. There, the Chinese army holds day and night exercises simulating an invasion of Taiwan.

In spite this, there are still people in Taiwan opposed to the arms procurement bill and who have blocked the procurement budget a total of 45 times. Their purpose is to weaken Taiwan and leave the door open for China. The problem is that the Taiwanese public does not show the slightest bit of interest in this situation and their only concern are business opportunities. It is easy to see that Taiwan is spellbound.

Third, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) not long ago declared that unification is the party's goal, and on Jan. 11 he opposed the inclusion of Taiwan within the scope of the US-Japan Security Treaty. Rejecting the arms purchase on the one hand and the US and Japan on the other is nothing short of surrender. But paralyzed by the spell, the Taiwanese public didn't even notice.

Fourth, in the wake of manufacturing moving to China, Taiwanese businesspeople fear China's power, and Taiwanese media outlets are no longer supported by industrial advertising. As a result, their numbers are dwindling as they fold, one after the other, opening the way for investment from China.

The government, however, sticks to the principle of press freedom and lets them disappear through its laissez-faire approach. The result is that local voices are too weak to stir the public and break the spell. There is no more fairness in the media.

Fifth, following educational reform, schools are becoming more and more dependent on industry. Out of self interest, "Go West" has become central to economic thinking in Taiwan, and direct links have become an unassailable necessity.

Apart from saying that "it is not a panacea," no one in the government dares explain the dangers of direct links and how they will further undermine Taiwan's situation.

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