Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: New Party switch is a distraction

On Sept. 2, the day before Armed Forces Day, retired army general, former Department of General Political Warfare director and spiritual leader of the New Party Hsu Li-nung (許歷農) declared that the party would no longer oppose the communist People’s Republic of China, but would instead push for unification.

Is this really the natural conclusion of the pan-blue camp’s opposition to the Chinese communists — the beginning of an alliance with the old enemy and a running up of the white flag?

This would surely be the bitterest of ironies for former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) if they were still alive to see it.

The anti-communist position of Chiang Kai-shek was orchestrated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) party-state, an extension of the civil war fought between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Support for his vendetta against the CCP was mandatory: There could be no dissent.

To unite the public behind the military, anti-communism became a career in itself. Hsu and his fellow officers made a living out of it and rose up through the ranks to become members of the KMT elite.

In reality, Chiang Kai-shek’s perpetual resistance against the “communist bandits” was simply a means to keep Taiwanese in check and consolidate his hold over the country. At the time, the Cold War was being waged, so the argument was put forward that to keep Taiwan secure, support was needed for the Chiang family clan.

However, in reality, the anti-communist resistance consisted of nothing more than empty sloganizing; No actual counterattack was ever launched nor, for that matter, even contemplated.

After the anti-communist campaign was wound down, a truly national movement came to a close. Everyone was finally free to assume their own view on communism without fear of reprisals.

Once the Chiang Ching-kuo era finished, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in 1991 announced the annulment of the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期條款).

The government in China was no longer defined as a rebel group, and so anti-communism ceased to be a national priority.

Constrained by conditions at the time, the diplomatic relationship between Taiwan and China was ambiguous. Cross-strait high-level talks started off on shaky foundations. Later there was a period of political realignment and legal adjustment, with Taiwan pursuing a course of long-term normalization to become a regular country.

The problem was that although Taiwan long ago stopped defining China as an enemy, China absolutely refused to relinquish its aim of taking the nation by force and still conducts relations from the perspective that the civil war never actually ended.

In dealing with Taiwan’s democratization and transitions of political power, Beijing has employed a strategy of engagement with the KMT, while attempting to freeze out the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The existence of a DPP government is a challenge to the KMT and CCP’s monopoly on cross-strait relations, and this very monopoly presents a challenge for the DPP.

Taiwanese would love for the civil war between the KMT and CCP to just disappear and for Taiwan to become a normalized country, but China sees things differently: It very much wants to keep the war going and to draw Taiwan into the “one China” framework.

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