Mon, Nov 01, 2010 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: Ma must stand up to Beijing

It appears that the controversy over comments made by Jiang Ping (江平), head of China’s delegation to the Tokyo Film Festival, has come to an end. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has said the incident was unfortunate and attributed Jiang’s remarks to a lack of communication, while the Executive Yuan has happily designated Jiang’s overt rudeness a matter of personal behavior. That it seems is that, except for the fact that no one really believes such politically expedient assertions to be actually true.

If Jiang’s outburst was an isolated incident, then how do we explain the Taiwanese student studying in South Korea who was chased and beaten up by a group of 30 Chinese students when she displayed the Republic of China (ROC) flag after winning a Korean speech competition in December last year?

How about the decision at the Venice Film Festival in 2007 to label Taiwanese movies such as Lust, Caution (色戒), Blood Brothers (天堂口), Just in Love (幫幫我,愛神) and The Most Distant Course (最遙遠的距離), as films from “Taiwan, China” under pressure from Beijing.

Or there is Taiwanese competitor Liu You-chen (劉祐辰), who was insulted by Chinese participants at the World Cyber Games in Seattle in 2007 after he showed the ROC flag when receiving his bronze medal?

Any random search on the Internet or cursory survey asking about the experiences of overseas Taiwanese students would instantly disprove the Executive Yuan’s claim that this was “an isolated incident.”

Anyone in his or her right mind knows perfectly well that Jiang’s remarks were simply the tip of the iceberg and appeasement cannot possibly be the best approach to such challenges to the nation’s sovereignty.

We cannot but wonder, if as the Taiwan Affairs Office said the incident was the result of a lack of communication, what would have been the result of “proper communication?”

Will it ever be possible for competitors and delegates from our nation taking part in international events to be referred to as Taiwanese and nothing else?

Over the years, the government has rarely, if ever, indicated to Beijing that it will simply not tolerate similar acts of rudeness.

Although Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) seemed to take a tougher stance on the Jiang controversy by saying on the legislative floor that he supported a proposal made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to list Jiang as persona non grata, this does not mean the KMT Government government intends to follow through on the lawmakers’ plan. Indeed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman James Chang (章計平) declined on Tuesday to comment further on the issue.

One cannot help but wonder if the plan was not deliberately concocted to temporarily appease Taiwanese anger, only to be quietly shelved when the brouhaha dies down.

The KMT administration must publicly demonstrate that it is committed to defending the nation’s dignity and it can do this by fully supporting a legislative resolution to sanction Jiang, and endorsing a Democratic Progressive Party proposal to demand an apology from China.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in a speech in Tainan yesterday that China should treat Taiwan with benevolence while Taiwan should interact with China with wisdom.

True perhaps, but wisdom means knowing when to play tough instead of constantly backing down when the nation’s sovereignty is challenged.

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