Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Identity is key to nation’s future

To address surging public doubts, Foreign Policy magazine has released the recordings of its interview with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). As it turns out, Ko’s actual words were “the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing.”

Before the clarifications were made, however, China’s mouthpiece the Global Times had already rushed headlong into an attack on Ko, saying that colonial progressivism is a way to praise the colonized. Comments made by Taiwan’s pan-blue camp and pro-unification media are basically in tune with this point of view. A Chinese netizen commented, “Only by continuing to increase our national strength can we impose restraints on this whore who thinks foreign powers are superior.”

Perhaps this is what the Chinese really think. People like this completely brush off the tragic fact that Taiwan cannot determine its own future. They criticize Japan for having colonized Taiwan and call Taiwanese imperial citizens of the Japanese Empire, but never bother to reflect on how cruel they are when they claim that Taiwan is a part of China and that the Taiwanese are also Chinese.

The history of Taiwan is for the most part a history of colonization. During the Age of Discovery, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain took turns ruling parts of Taiwan. Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功), known in the West as Koxinga, forged a Han Chinese regime in Taiwan during his attempt to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and restore the Ming Dynasty, but in the end, the Qing defeated him and took over Taiwan.

After the First Sino-Japanese War ended in 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1945, World War II ended and Japan surrendered to the Allies, and in 1952, the Treaty of San Francisco, officially signed by Japan and the Allied Powers, took effect and Japan relinquished its dominion over Taiwan.

Before Japan gave up its rule, however, Chiang Kai-Shek (蔣介石) and his regime fled to Taiwan, and the democratic world accepted the Republic of China’s occupation of Taiwan in order to block the expansion of the Communists. Not until 1996, with the first free and direct presidential election, did the 23 million people living in Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu decide who they themselves wanted for a leader.

China, on the other hand, was invaded by imperialists in modern times, and Chinese leaders nowadays continue to take considerable advantage of nationalism as a way to continue their hold on power. All they need to do is come up with some anti-Japanese, anti-American or anti-British rhetoric to stir up the entire nation’s memories of past humiliations, diverting the whole nation’s attention away from interior problems.

The irony is that most Chinese leaders are paying lip service to the opposition to foreign countries, but their actions usually speak louder than words: They send their children to these imperialist nations, and this is also where they hide any illegally appropriated fortunes they have gotten their hands on. It is easy to see that they are using anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism as tools to monopolize their hold on power in China.

The reason that they put salt on old wounds by attacking imperialism and colonialism in such a conspicuous way is nothing but a trick to disguise the fact that they themselves are colonizing China. Today the “New China” is just as autocratic, authoritarian and feudal as the old China that was invaded and colonized, and it is governed to the same extent by arbitrariness and the lack of rule of law. The real liberation of China is yet to come.

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