Mapping a grim future
Only seven months into the new government’s administration, it appears that the monolithic party-state of the 1945-1996 era has been reanimated, albeit dressed in the emperor’s new clothes. If there was the slightest movement toward a separation of powers during the Chen administration, the direction now is away from it, and at a gallop.
Unacceptable is the barefaced arrogance of refusing to take responsibility for errors such as the Maokong Gondola fiasco, wasting money on again renaming the Post Office, police removing the national flag to please Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), the kangaroo court/media trial of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the obviously politicized and grossly mishandled prosecutions of Democratic Progressive Party officials and the astounding insouciance of foreign interloper Diane Lee (李慶安) in the face of concrete evidence of her mendacity and fraud.
Rule of law in Taiwan is undermined when the most senior and authoritative leaders not only breach basic standards of political ethics but also adopt a diversionary strategy of denial and tit-for-tat mudslinging, especially when guilt is almost incontrovertible.
Most offensive, though, is the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) mission to “localize” Taiwan and downgrade its national sovereignty, heedless of the wishes of a majority of residents. “Regional President” Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) absurd and unsupportable claim that Taiwan is a region of the Republic of China (ROC) that includes China and Mongolia is a clear attempt to “internalize” the “Taiwan issue” within a China framework as a prelude to the merging of Chinese and ROC administrative borders and jurisdictions.
J.B. Harley describes a map as a partisan assertion on the nature of space concealed beneath a veneer of representational veracity, an assertion often deployed to subject space to particular social and commercial interests.
Both Japanese and ROC occupations of Taiwan are classic examples of hegemonic cadres attempting to impose a map upon a territory by force in the hope that, given enough time, it will reify into permanent economic, cultural and political institutions.
It is the ongoing tragedy of Taiwan that foreign powers such as China, the US and the KMT continue to refuse to allow the Taiwanese to choose for themselves. In 2006, Ma stated that it was his goal “to shape domestic conditions for unification and plant the unification idea deep in every sector of society in order to move from an anti-independence strategy toward a pro-unification push.” Evidence suggests that this process is well under way.
The KMT is pursuing peace at any cost regardless of the wishes of the electorate, whose sense of “local-national” belonging the party seems to regard with contempt and disdain. One can only hope that a semblance of democracy, human rights and self-determination remains by the next presidential election in 2012, or at least enough for Taiwanese to be able to repair the damage caused to their nation, state and sovereignty by the actions of greedy, short-sighted, reckless and blithe champagne-swilling surrender-pandas.
Here’s to the hope of a happier new year.
Taihsi, Yunlin County
No more tantrums
I have been reading and appreciating the Taipei Times for several years, but your recent editorial (“China’s growing leverage on Israel” Dec. 30, page 8) appalled me.