Fri, Nov 16, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Paradigm shift needed on Taiwan

By Bruce Jacobs 家博

First, both regimes considered the Taiwanese natives to be second-class citizens and both systematically discriminated against the Taiwanese. For example, under Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, both the Cabinet and the KMT’s Central Standing Committee always had a majority of Mainlanders, even though they accounted for less than 15 percent of the population.

Second, both regimes clamped down very hard at first, killing tens of thousands of Taiwanese. This occurred under Chiang Kai-shek after the 228 Incident in early 1947, when his armies systematically slaughtered tens of thousands of Taiwanese.

Third, both regimes continued to rely on oppression for about 25 years. Under Chiang Kai-shek, this was the White Terror.

Fourth, owing to international and domestic circumstances, both regimes “liberalized” after about a quarter-century. Under the Chiangs, this took place in the early 1970s.

Fifth, as both regimes came under pressure, they again stepped up repression. Under Chiang Ching-kuo, this repression followed the Kaohsiung Incident of Dec. 10, 1979, when the regime imprisoned many political activists.

Finally, both regimes tried to make Taiwanese speak their “national language” (國語), Japanese and Mandarin Chinese respectively, as part of their larger cultural attempts to make Taiwanese second-class Japanese and Chinese.

Thus, in summary, the KMT regime under the Chiangs was rule by outsiders in the interests of the outsiders. It was a dictatorship in which Taiwanese had no power and in which Taiwanese suffered massive and systematic discrimination.

If we look back at Taiwan’s history, there was only one short period when a Chinese regime (a so-called Han regime) ruled Taiwan from a base in China. This was the Chiang dictatorship from 1945 to 1949.

No other Chinese regime based in China ever ruled Taiwan. To say that Taiwan has been a part of China since “the beginning” is pure nonsense.

For academics, this point is now very clear. However, we still have to educate government leaders and bureaucrats in both Taiwan and in the world’s democratic powers about this very important historical fact.

How did the so-called “one China” policy come into being? The Chiang Kai-shek dictatorship declared that Taiwan had always been a part of China without any historical evidence. Mao Zedong (毛澤東) picked up on Chiang’s falsehood and he also declared that Taiwan had always been a part of China.

When the democratic nations of the world bargained with Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, and with Mao Zedong and his successor, Hua Guofeng (華國鋒), in the 1970s, they agreed to a “one China” policy. Of course, Taiwanese were never consulted, nor were historians.

The “one China” policy has the same historical validity as the old “flat Earth” perspective or the idea that God created all of the world’s creatures 6,000 years ago. In terms of Taiwan’s foreign and international relations, we clearly need a paradigm shift.

If Taiwan were to continue to emphasize its so-called “diplomatic allies,” the only result can be failure. The numbers can only go down and eventually the number will reach single digits or even zero. What can Taiwan do?

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