Sun, May 27, 2007 - Page 8 News List


I also agree "that the contribution made by Chiang and his government must not be ignored," as Waldron observed.

Not ignoring his contribution simply means knowing history.

But this doesn't mean Chiang should be glorified or immortalized in any way. To do so, to say the least, is in very poor taste, considering the large number of Taiwanese and Mainlanders who suffered under his regime. The victims of his dictatorship could do without such reminders.

That Chiang's "contribution" kept the communists out of Taiwan is true. However, the generalissimo's considerable efforts were driven by his lust for power and his desire to "retake the Mainland" thereby restoring his position of absolute rule over China, which in his vision included Taiwan, of course.

A free and democratic Taiwan was the last thing on Chiang's mind.

If Chiang contributed to the freedom Taiwan currently enjoys, he did so completely unwittingly. Indeed, if he were alive and in charge today, Taiwan would still be under martial law, under the rule of a one party dictatorship and I would face harsh punishment indeed for writing this letter.

Michael Richardson

Hsinchu County

Remember the Korean War?

Waldron's letter is filled with a combination of exaggerations and gross simplifications as he tries to make a case for Chiang Kai-shek.

Taiwan was not taken over by the Chinese Communist Party because of the Korean War, not because the Nationalists came here. US president Harry S. Truman was fed up with the corrupt Chiang regime and willing to let Mao Zedong and Chiang duke it out. Russia's support for North Korea upset the balance in Asia and made Truman put the 7th Fleet in the Taiwan Strait. Containment of Russia's communism was the goal. Chiang's presence was more of an accident.

As for the claim that Taiwan was "desperately poor," it was desperately poor because of what happened between 1945 and 1949 when Chiang gutted the island to support his lost cause in China. After World War II, Taiwan had damage from bombs, but it had food and infrastructure. Waldron should read the work of George Kerr, who was here then.

Taiwan under Japan was not a third world country -- it was far more advanced than most places in China and its educated were more involved in a call for democracy than any of Chiang's underlings -- until Chiang's government killed them off in the 228 Incident and ensuing White Terror.

Many voices in the US wanted to get rid of Chiang because he was a corrupt dictator. They wanted a more competent general. Waldron's implication that "many" people in the US wanted relations with China is absurd.

The actions of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who had a history of selling out countries, were only guided by his aim to contain Russia.

Waldron's story of going to Kinmen in the early 1970s caps off the typical myopic vision that most US observers had when the generalissimo let them tour select areas and monitored who they talked to. The Mainlanders were the core of the conscripted army because Chiang knew he could count on their loyalty. They had no where to go and Chiang feared arming too many Taiwanese. Many Taiwanese had fought for Japan and Chiang had even used them as cannon fodder against the Communists in China. Waldron implies the Taiwanese were helpless waifs.

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