Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Facts, rather than fiction

By Mark Krietzman

Sunday's article about Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)speaking on cross-strait issues had a striking headline ("Taiwan and China must work for peace, Ma says," Feb. 19, page 3). It made me wonder: Had war broken out with China? Aren't Taiwan and China still economic partners?

Hasn't Taiwan seeded many Chinese business enterprises?

Aren't the foundations of China's consumer electronics industries founded with the help of Taiwanese and Japanese businessman?

It appears to this reader that Ma once again misses the real issue: the rights of 23 million Taiwanese.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has walked a fine line in balancing international concern about "upsetting China" and the need to protect Taiwan's national identity. I am struck by how the Taiwanese have managed to maintain their cultural core despite occupation by the Japanese and the Chinese. China has responded to Chen's "five noes" and Taiwan's peaceful overtures with threats, missiles and interference in Taiwan's domestic politics.

It is time for Ma to admit that the "status quo" has always been a fiction. And because the "status quo" was a fiction imposed on the people of Taiwan without their consent, it is not the foundation of their free and democratic nation. The nation of Taiwan flows from its people.

A rich culture existed in Taiwan long before the Chinese or even the Japanese colonial period.

Taiwan has always been more than the Chinese icons and symbols former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) brought with him after losing the civil war in China. Taking a snapshot of the time when Chiang was in exile in Taiwan and then calling that the "status quo" is wrong and disrespects the struggles, history and sacrifices of a nation and its native people.

It is time to drop the fictions that anchor Taiwan to uncertainty and to instead support three objectives for the nation: a defined status; direct participation in the international community; and patriotism.

A defined status means that the people of Taiwan no longer need to live in purgatory. The people should be able to freely identify themselves as Taiwanese without fear of annihilation.

Participation in the international community means that the 23 million inhabitants of Taiwan have direct access to the international organizations that have been established to promote world health and peace. Taiwan operates as a sovereign country. Denying Taiwan access to the UN stifles the voices of 23 million people. It is unacceptable that China, after exporting SARS to Taiwan, continues to block Taiwan's entry into the WHO.

Patriotism does not allow divided loyalty. With China having passed its now infamous "Anti-Succession" Law, codifying its military expansionist goals against Taiwan, all politicians should to be united against this common threat. Sadly, some Taiwanese politicians traveled to China as "private citizens" and provided the Chinese Communist Party with yet another propaganda opportunity. Finally, patriotism also means passing necessary legislation to modernize the military, rather than leaving the country in a weakened state.

Mark Krietzman


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