Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

It’s time to go home

As the saying goes: “Democracy is the art of disciplining oneself so that one need not be disciplined by others.” Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing’s (張銘清) statement that there will be no war if Taiwan doesn’t proclaim independence is a good illustration that Chinese officials need a long time to learn the art.

China is still an authoritarian regime controlling people with fear. There is no freedom of speech or religion where Zhang comes from. Human rights abuse and corruption are widespread.

And Zhang feels entitled to discipline and chastise Taiwanese, forgetting that on this free island it is the right of the people to decide whether they want to be independent or not. They have a choice that Zhang’s fellow countrymen are not given.

We all know China is a nation of great ambition, but to really get a “place in the sun,” it has to build a modern society. And the truly modern are those with integrity, those whose integrity is supported by a network of political and civil rights, those who can vote and argue freely.

It is high time for Zhang to go home and discipline the fellow members of his political clique.

Hanna Shen

Taipei

‘Don’t destroy’

Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who campaigned in many countries for Taiwan to join the UN, is urging people to join the Oct. 25 demonstration against Chinese poisoned foods and in support of Taiwan’s sovereignty, initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union and several pro-Taiwan organizations.

The slogan Freddy will use is mtang huilui (勿通匪類) which means “don’t destroy” (or “don’t degenerate”) in Hoklo. This slogan asks the Ma administration not to ruin Taiwan’s future — its health, education, economy, democracy and sovereignty in particular.

The same slogan has a completely different meaning in Mandarin. It literally means “Don’t communicate with bandits.” In the anti-communist eras of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), Chinese communists were called the “communist bandits” or simply “bandits.” At that time, there was one rule: If you know a bandit and don’t report him or her to the government, you are as guilty as the bandit. The “bandits” were mostly executed in the Machangding (馬場町) area of Taipei.

Today, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — in spite of his worship for both Chiangs — runs a pro-communist government and puts Taiwan in jeopardy. Freddy’s slogan may have different meanings in Taiwanese and Mandarin but serves the same purpose. It asks the government to not get too close to China, otherwise Taiwan will be destroyed.

Hopefully, Ma will listen to the demonstrators’ appeal and take the necessary actions to rectify his unpopular policies toward China. People have had enough of Ma’s “thank you for your suggestions” and then forgetting the suggestions.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

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