Sat, May 19, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Is the PRC hijacking Chennault's legacy?

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Chennault is not the only historical anti-communist figure to have undergone rehabilitation in China in recent years. One of his old allies during World War II, for decades reviled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a murderous tyrant and the man who led his defeated troops to Taiwan in 1949, is being recast as a misguided leader who, flawed as he was, did both good and bad. Chiang, Mao’s nemesis, is now being reshaped to fit a historical narrative whose ultimate aim is to reinforce the concept of “one China.”

One by one, the giants who lent credibility to the concept of “two Chinas,” or “one China, one Taiwan,” are falling victim to the swift pen of “united front” revisionism. The sad part is, people who should know better are falling for Beijing’s ruse, which not only fails to serve history correctly, but also risks further eroding Taiwan’s continued existence as a free, democratic society whose distinctness from China should be cherished rather than regarded as an impediment to the strengthening of ties between the US and China.

Meanwhile, another statue of Chennault makes its home at a museum dedicated to his memory at an air force base in Hualien. One of the Taiwanese officials who unveiled it at a ceremony in August 2006 is now posted in Washington where he is endeavoring to procure for Taiwan the combat aircraft it needs to defend itself. Chennault would have approved of that.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

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