Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - Page 8 News List

How long until true democracy?

By Milo Thornberry

Chen was an unapologetic advocate of an independent Taiwan, which sent political shivers not only through the KMT, but also through Chinese leaders in Beijing. Is it possible that this is the real reason Chen is in prison? Chen seems convinced of it and I have little reason to doubt it. The manner in which the KMT government has conducted Chen’s trials is enough to question how much Taiwan’s democracy has grown.

Peng heads a new international committee calling for free and fair elections.

“We have only one sincere, but strong demand — that the Jan. 14 elections should be conducted fairly and properly, as fair elections are the minimum requirement for a democratic society and the polls come as a great challenge for Taiwan,” he said.

This is the same plea he and his two former students Hsieh Tsung-min and Wei Ting-chao made in their Declaration of Formosan Self-Salvation on Sept. 20, 1964, a plea that landed all three in prison charged with treason.

This is not 1964 and much has changed since then, but how the Jan. 14 elections are conducted may go far in answering the question in Taiwan: “How many generations does it take to grow a democracy?”

Milo Thornberry is the author of Fireproof Moth: A Missionary in Taiwan’s White Terror. The Chinese edition was released on Dec. 10 by the Asian Culture Co.

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