Sun, May 27, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Letters

Chiang attracted the PRC

I would like to disagree with my good friend Arthur Waldron on his recent statement that "had Chiang [Kai-shek, 蔣介石] and the Nationalists not taken refuge in Taiwan, it is a near certainty that the island would now be a province of China" (Letters, May 22, page 8).

I suggest that if Chiang and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had not moved to Taiwan in the late 1940s, but rather had remained in Hong Kong or Shanghai (or simply been defeated), the PRC would never have developed such strong feelings about "Taiwan."

Taiwan became a bone of contention because the Nationalists moved there and perpetuated their civil war against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

If Chiang had remained in China, then it is rather certain that Taiwan would have followed the same basic route of so many other countries in Asia and Africa, which were decolonized and gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s. The Philippines, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Malaysia, Ghana, and other countries were all "desperately poor and little known to the outside world," but they were subsequently recognized by the international community.

Research by a number of people, including former American Institute in Taiwan director Richard Bush, has shown that the CCP didn't show the slightest interest in Taiwan until approximately the time of the Cairo Declaration of 1943, and they did so because Chiang had started showing interest in the island. There is of course one famous 1936 quote from Mao Ze-dong (毛澤東) to US reporter Edgar Snow published in the book Red Star over China: "We will extend them [the Koreans] our enthusiastic help in their struggle for independence. The same thing applies for Taiwan"

It is clear that in the second half of the 1940s, the main preoccupation of the CCP was to win its civil war against Chiang. They only focused their attention on Taiwan because Chiang and his remaining Nationalists fled there. Thus, Taiwanese saw their island and its future become a hostage of a civil war in which they had no part.

Gerrit van der Wees,

Washington

Better off without Chiang

Many thanks to Arthur Waldron for his professed support for the Taiwanese quest for self-determination and democracy. His assertion that Taiwan was desperately poor and little known during World War II, however, completely ignores historical facts.

In Asia, Taiwan was second only to Japan in terms of development in infrastructure, educational level and GDP during the period up to the end of World War II.

Taiwanese life today would be better off if Chiang Kai-shek had never escaped and taken up the position of unwelcome dictator of Taiwan until his death.

Chiang's merits, if any, were overshadowed by his criminal acts, which included massacre, terrorizing the populace and despotism.

If Chiang had been administrating based on the interests of Taiwan, he would have accepted then US ambassador George Bush's advice to remain in the UN General Assembly in 1971.

No credible evidence supports Arthur's contention that the US would have handed Taiwan over to the PRC for the sake of unity.

Charles Chang

Sacramento, California

Chiang's `contribution'

I read with interest Arthur Waldron's letter. I agree with his assertion that without Chiang Kai-shek and his army, Taiwan would now be a province of China.

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