We wish to clarify some misunderstandings in Sunday’s editorial (“Ma blames Japan for tourism lull,” Aug. 31, page 8).
While meeting last month with several delegations from Japan’s political and business circles, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called for further expansion of economic and trade ties, tourism and cultural exchange.
One thing he mentioned was his hope to see more tourists from Japan.
In saying this, his point was that cooperation in the public and private sectors would spur growth in the tourism industries of both countries, which, in turn, would mean more contact and stronger friendship ties.
Ma made this point in the friendliest of tones.
There was no “accusatory tone,” nor was he “blaming” Japan or holding Japan “responsible” for anything.
Office of the President
If one listens carefully, it is possible to hear the sound of democracy dying in Hong Kong. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) killed it on Sunday.
The bad news is that now everyone knows there is no such thing as “One country, two systems.”
The good news is that now Taiwan knows beyond doubt there is no such thing as “One country, two systems,” it will be increasingly difficult for Ma to continue pretending that there is a future in China for Taiwan.
It is strange that the CCP leadership professes love of country yet labors tirelessly to close its net of oppression tightly around the people of China.
China has become an economic powerhouse, but suffocating restrictions on freedom keeps China from realizing a greater role in world leadership.
The very thing that would propel China into that role, is the one thing the CCP fears most — freedom of choice.
The US is a relatively young nation compared with China. Yet there are principles (“of the people, by the people and for the people”) — which inspired Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) — that came from the heart of one of the US’ greatest leaders in his Gettyburg Address.
One of former US president Abraham Lincoln’s predecessors, John Quincy Adams, once set out concisely key principles of leadership: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Reading these words again, I am struck with what seems to me to be the irony of the CCP’s own view on leadership, which is essentially the opposite: If your actions force people under mortal fear to only follow, only watch the back of the head of the person in front of them, only do what they are told and become numb to your ruthless oppression and violence, you are a tyrant.
This is the vision of life in the world under “democracy with Chinese characteristics.”
It will take continued vigilance in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan to keep the people of China aware that there are other potentialities for them aside from the CCP’s ruthlessness.
It will take equal vigilance in Europe and the US to resist becoming subsumed within the Chinese economic juggernaut that brings goodies with a smile and a dagger to the heart of freedom with the CCP’s style of economic blackmail, the “one China” syndrome.
People must support the voices of change and democracy in Hong Kong.
They must also protect Taiwan and the Taiwanese, and ensure Taiwan forever remains an independent democratic nation capable of leading by example and showing what could be possible for the people of China and other oppressed nations if they could only throw off the bonds of tyranny.