The need for a nation
Watching the presidential election political debates, I was struck by the way in which the three presidential candidates engaged. They tried to highlight their competitors’ shortcomings, boasted about their own strengths and promised to do a long list of things for the people. The question is: How are we humble citizens to believe such promises?
In the 2008 presidential election, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised that his administration would be “good right away,” a promise that resulted in nothing. Such problems are deeply concerning.
On behalf of Taiwanese (in particular the disadvantaged, workers, farmers, fishermen and Aborigines) I would like to ask the three presidential candidates why so many countries do not recognize the Republic of China (ROC)? Do you have any strategy to respond to this problem? None of you mentioned this when outlining your political views or addressed this issue in the debate.
Over the years, politicians have been careful to take very good care of entrepreneurs because such people are invariably important campaign donors. However, other than in terms of employment, only a small minority of people benefit from the assistance of entrepreneurs. Although the majority receive no such benefits, their living environment is contaminated by the increasing number of entrepreneurs in certain industries. Most people are wronged by industry and the pollution it produces.
Although some people have said that the ROC is a government-in-exile, most of the international community does not recognize the ROC, choosing to refer to the nation as “the Taiwan authorities.” We do not have formal status in the international arena and cannot participate in the UN. To attend the World Health Assembly as an observer, we had to be a province of China and more often than not have to be renamed “Chinese Taipei” to participate in international activities.
Despite this, we remain subject to China’s periodic posturing and scare tactics. Our only choice, it seems, is to submit to humiliation.
Polish writer Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz asked: “Where are you going?” (Quo Vadis). I want to ask the candidates the same question: “After the election, where do you plan to take us?”
In August 1977, when my late husband was minister of economic affairs, he received a telephone call from the then-minister of foreign affairs Shen Chang-hwan (沈昌煥), informing him that Uruguay had detained a Taiwanese fishing boat for fishing in its territorial waters. Its government demanded that the ROC pay a fine of US$1 million within 24 hours. Because we were not a UN member, we were diplomatically weak. My husband rushed about to get the money from various channels to pay the fine and conclude the matter (see C. C. Yang Memoirs, p. 394 to 396).
Taiwan has very high-quality people. At the outset, it might seem impossible to establish our own country, but as long as we work together with patience, purpose and hope, I believe that we would earn the respect of the international community. Then we could finally be a dignified country with economic prosperity and a happy life, shared by all.
Yang Liu hsiu-hwa