Sat, May 19, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Is the PRC hijacking Chennault's legacy?

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

“My grandfather went to China in 1937. China was not a communist country at that time. He only saw the oppression and suffering of the Chinese people. That is why he stayed. Most people in this country do not know what the Japanese were doing to the Chinese,” she said. “I tell people that the Japanese killed between 25 and 50 million Chinese people and they are always surprised.”

The Sino-Japanese war is known as the forgotten war, Calloway said, adding that she was working very hard to help people remember the sacrifices of not only the Americans, but also the Chinese.

“General Chennault’s support was for the Chinese people. He even started an orphanage for children who had lost their parents during the war,” she wrote.

As to her meeting with Liang, Calloway underscored its importance as a catalyst for communication.

“The meeting last week was important to me because I think if we can open communications from both countries about how to better our relationships between the people of the countries, we will make a better world,” she said, adding that she had been invited to China on several occasions, including a trip in 2010 to unveil a statue of her grandfather at the Flying Tiger Memorial Museum in Zhejiang Province with former US president Jimmy Carter.

“The Chinese seem to have a great appreciation for what the Flying Tigers did for their country. There is a statue of General Chennault in Beijing that my mother had her picture taken with. We have partnered with a museum in Guilin called the Flying Tiger Heritage Park. It is where a cave of operations that General Chennault used during the war is located,” she said.

Turning to Taiwan, Calloway said she had never visited but had always wanted to.

“It would be an honor for me to receive an invitation to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” she said. “I know that my grandfather and one of my uncles owned a home there after the war. I also understand that there is a statue of General Chennault that I would like to see.”

“I am not a political person. I do not have to agree with other people’s politics nor they mine to have an appreciation of history,” Calloway said.

However, other people involved in this story are political and could do far more damage. There was another guest of honor at the gala alongside Huawei USA president Charles Ding on Aug. 19 last year. That man was retired US admiral William Owens, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who, since 2006, has been a managing director at AEA Investors in Hong Kong. And AEA is a business partner of — you guessed it, Huawei (Calloway denies the company is linked to the PLA).

Under the Sanya Initiative, an exercise in Track II diplomacy between the US and China launched in recent years, Owens has been a strong proponent of ceasing US arms sales to Taiwan. Members on the US side include retired general Ronald Fogleman, former chief of staff of the US Air Force; retired general John Keane, former vice chief of staff of the US Army; and retired general Charles Wilhelm, former commander of US Southern Command.

In an op-ed in the Financial Times in November 2009, Owens referred to the Taiwan Relations Act, under which the US is committed to ensuring that Taiwan has the means to defend itself against China, as antiquated and deleterious to better relations between Beijing and Washington. Among other things, the Sanya talks have focused on phasing out US arms sales to Taiwan in line with eventual reductions in the number of missiles that the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps aims at Taiwan, a proposition that some defense experts have called dangerously naive.

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