Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Warming ties or hot air?

When Ma Ying jeou (馬英九) was elected president, the Western media hailed it as a significant step toward improved relations between Taiwan and China. Since the election, many articles have been written about how relations are warming and how ties between the two countries are at an all-time high. This could not be further from the truth.

If relations are really warming up, why does China still have more than 1,400 plus ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan? Military spending in China hit a record high in the past year and will definitely increase again next year. China regularly holds military exercises that simulate an attack on Taiwan. Are these actions indicative of countries with warming ties?

Why does China continue to adamantly deny Taiwan access into any international organization, most notably the UN and the WHO? Ma bragged that by establishing direct cross-straight flights, the influx of 3,000 Chinese tourists a day would boost Taiwan’s faltering economy, as well as ease tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Where are all the Chinese tourists? They’re still in China.

The real numbers tell a different story. Since direct chartered flights started in mid-July, the average number of Chinese tourists a week has hovered around a paltry, penny-pinching 300. That’s about 43 tourists a day on average against Ma’s campaign promise of 3,000.

The problem with Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is that their idea of improved and warming relations with China is nothing more than complete capitulation of all the democratic progress and development that Taiwan has fought for over the past eight years.

Of all the countries in the world, only one is openly hostile towards Taiwan. Only one country in the world has given itself the right to attack Taiwan by creating an insane and laughable law — the Anti-Secession Law — passed by nothing more than a rubberstamp congress. To think that the key to rescuing Taiwan’s economy and international standing lies in closer ties — and eventually possible reunification — with this country is not only ludicrous, but delusional.

The future of Taiwan must be one which is decided by Taiwanese themselves. Taiwan has developed into one of the most democratic countries in Asia where freedom of speech and human rights are sacrosanct. What does Taiwan have to gain from aligning itself with the most corrupt and most brainwashed country on the planet?

Earlier this year, Freedom House’s report ranked Taiwan 32nd out of 195 countries in terms of overall freedom of the press. China ranked far behind at 181. During the Beijing Olympics, the entire world witnessed what happens when ordinary citizens exercise their right to free speech in China — jail. Incarceration was followed by immediate deportation for foreigners, and one can only imagine what happened to the Chinese who were fearless enough to take a stand for human rights.

For Ma to think that China is the solution to all of Taiwan’s problems when it’s actually the cause shows his complete lack of understanding about Taiwan and the country where he is now sadly president.

What sane Taiwanese individual would choose to give up all of his or her rights as a free democratic citizen to become part of a communist country where citizens are fed propaganda and lies 24 hours a day?

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