Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Who is China's Gorbachev?

From killing Chinese communists to shaking hands with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) 180-degree turn should be watched with caution by Chinese people who desire democracy.

Can cooperation between the two parties bring happiness and prosperity to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait?

"Faced with China's rise, we should be benign, optimistic and focused on co-existence and shared prosperity," former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said.

Chinese people should be able to surmise from such statements that Lien was in fact talking about co-existence between two parties -- the KMT and the CCP -- and not about the co-existence of a democratic China and a democratic Taiwan.

Lien never got over his loss in the presidential election, nor did he ever understand the true meaning of democracy, which is why he is so keen on flying across the Strait to gain support there to undermine the democratically elected president of his rival party in Taiwan.

"Shared prosperity" to Lien means the prosperity of a few party officials in the KMT and the CCP parties, not the prosperity of the two nations in general.

Chinese should remember the history of KMT corruption that made Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) lose China to the Communists and the undemocratic procedures in KMT policymaking then and now.

Every amendment to the party's policies or regulations has been tailor-made for presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Chinese should embrace the idea of an independent and democratic Taiwan because democracy in Taiwan places pressure on the Chinese authorities to democratize.

There are ample opportunities for joint prosperity after China becomes democratic, and when both sides respect each other's cultural and historical diversity, there will always be a space for regional co-operation.

Some potential models are the bigger EU, the smaller Nordic Council and, somewhere in between, the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

These inter-governmental organizations were formed out of a need for regional cooperation and without disrespecting the member states' borders or cultural diversity.

Taiwanese democracy and independence are not a threat to regional security in the Asia-Pacific region, but rather an opportunity for China to follow suit.

In contrast, China's ongoing authoritarian rule not only conflicts with the Chinese desire for democracy, but also represents a threat to China's neighbors and the rest of the world.

Who will be the next Chinese leader with a clear vision for its people and for its neighbors?

The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are waiting for a Chinese Gorbachev to appear and for Lien Chan to disappear.

Alison Hsieh


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