Ma plays innocent again
Retired general Hsia Ying-chou (夏瀛洲) has simply repeated what President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said and done over the past four years concerning his cross-strait policy (“Ex-general repeats ‘one China’ remarks in China,” Feb. 11, page 1). If the Presidential Office does not approve of such comments, they should ask their boss to clarify his national policy first. Unless Ma’s “one China” policy, which considers Taiwan as part of China, is abandoned, disapproval of such comments is equivalent to disapproving Ma’s policy.
Ma should thank Hsia for saying, in military terms, that the armed forces in Taiwan and China share the same goal of unification. Instead, Ma has urged retired generals to act and talk with extra caution during their visits to China and called for the drafting of a “code of conduct” for retired generals. This code should also apply to the commander-in-chief.
After so many incidents, is Ma playing innocent and make-believe (more metaphorically, 假仙, in Taiwanese) again? Did he forget that “one China” and “eventual unification” are his own policies? His favorite topic, the so-called “1992 consensus,” is nothing but “one China, with different interpretations.” What Ma has done is only to make the description respectful to China, and not respectful to Taiwan.
Hsia has acted as a voluntary messenger for Ma’s policy. If a commander-in-chief gives a confusing order, the whole armed forces under his command will be at a loss — not knowing for whom, or for what, they are fighting.
Likewise, if a president sets an incorrect national policy, the president becomes an ordinary “mister” and the country becomes a “region” of another country. The people become second-class citizens without freedom. Taiwanese do not deserve to become second-class citizens again.
Hsia should be disciplined
Several months ago, while back in the US, I was following my normal morning ritual of having coffee and reading the Taipei Times. That particular morning I almost gagged when I read the remarks by retired Air Force General Hsia. My first comments were: “How can a retired military man be making such remarks [the idea of one China] to the sworn enemy of his country? And now he does it again?”
I, too, am retired military, though from the US Army. There are some things I still hold sacred, and one of those is the oath I swore to many years ago, “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That never goes away. It concerns me that a retired military officer could even consider such a stance and that the current administration is, by not acting, condoning it.
It is also of concern that this administration has, on occasion, allowed or condoned the discussion of sensitive foreign policy, concerning “unification,” by non-governmental or retired persons.
I do not know how the military retirement system works in Taiwan, but in the US, a general officer is never truly retired. They are subject to recall at any time. It seems to me that an immediate recall and disciplinary action might just be in order.
Double standards in play
Recently the media have been vocal about the abuse of a taxi driver by a “foreigner.” Your paper even used the word “shameful” in one sub-headline (“Makiyo, friend charged with assaulting driver,” Feb. 11, page 1). But when a “foreigner” was viciously assaulted by a gang last year, you editorialized the incident as “unfortunate.”
I’m happy to know this incident is treated as a crime — as it should be, but I’m unhappy to know there seems to be a chauvinistic double standard in Taiwan, where the “dignity” of Taiwanese is treated with more respect than the dignity of “foreigners.” This was evident in the media frenzy over a taekwondo incident a while back.
National Cheng Kung University illegally dismissed me 13 years ago. The case involved a high-ranked university and numerous human rights abuses, including the refusal to enforce a Ministry of Education ruling for nearly four years. Yet your paper has not exposed the case as “shameful” or editorialized about the dignity of Americans in Taiwan.
In your article, the protesters are quoted as shouting “We want dignity! We want the truth!”
What do you think I want? Is my “dignity,” or the “truth” of human rights abuses at National Cheng Kung University of less merit or social import?
A taxi union official thanked the media for speaking on behalf of the victim and justice. I wish I could say as much.
I understand this case is different, because the victim was Taiwanese. It has lasted a few days, but a taxi official is quoted saying the case “had dragged on for so long.”
My case has lasted 13 years and your paper awaits “further developments,” as I was told last year. Apart from the establishment of a genuinely free and adversarial press, I have no idea what those “developments” could be.
Richard de Canio
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