CKS II: The second coming
Now that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been re-elected chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Taiwan is entering a new era that will be hard, distressful and miserable.
Ma is not a gentle man. He is not kind, respectful, frugal nor humble as people used to say he was. He is mean, vicious, ruthless, merciless and untrustworthy, judging from his performances during the past five years in the Presidential Office.
From now on, with the powers of KMT chairmanship and presidency in hand, he will be doing everything his own way, absolutely and mercilessly.
People in Taiwan: Watch out, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) is coming back, sooner than you think.
Taiwan’s identity at risk
One cannot doubt the well-intended pragmatism of former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in rejigging his previous “a constitutional one China” (憲法一中) policy into a new approach: “two constitutions, different interpretations” (憲法各表).
Unfortunately, both of these refer to China and appear to eschew the existence of Taiwan. Arguing about a Chinese government or Chinese constitution ignores the reality that there is a country called Taiwan that has existed for the past 60 years (or perhaps we can say for at least the past millennium).
The Republic of China (ROC) is a fiction and always will be a fiction in Taiwan. It is an imported toy made in China that is irreparably broken. It is an engine designed for a toy plane trying to be fitted to a Boeing 747. The ROC is a remnant of a China that was a dream 100 years ago, and is no more. Taiwan is Taiwan. And that is a fact.
Others have been trying to misuse Taiwan for hundreds of years. The country has evolved, matured and her culture has made her unique, a blend of modern economic success with the ancient influences of Aboriginal culture and China, and colonization by Japan.
We cannot ignore these influences and it is important to acknowledge them, because they make Taiwan what it is today.
Yet those two foreign influences are merely that, like the myriad cultures that intersect in the US, but do not render her someone else’s vassal. Taiwan is no more part of China than she was ever part of Japan. The facts on the ground, to use current popular lingo, are that most Taiwanese do not have any desire or intention of becoming part of the People’s Republic of China, and Beijing’s repeated actions toward Taiwan are a key indicator of its true animus.
The truest sign of fealty is freedom. If one is free and yet continues to show loyalty, there is true fealty.
There are few in Taiwan who have this feeling for China. For those that do, China is their former home, their country and they weep for their homeland. It is understandable, perhaps even lamentable.
However, for the vast majority of Taiwanese, China is a foreign country that has spent the past 60 years suppressing Taiwan in every possible way.
President Ma has done more harm to Taiwan in his five years in office through insidiously implementing back-door surrenders than any leader in the previous six decades of the nation’s history. China is powerful, there can be no doubt, powerful enough to influence the world and marginalize Taiwan.
Pragmatism is one way to survive. However, it is also a way to be slowly strangled.
Watching Ma slowly dismember Taiwan is like watching that proverbial frog in the pot that will not know it is cooked until it is too late. Only an identity can save Taiwan, and “Two constitutions, different interpretations” does not seem up to the task.