Thu, Feb 21, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Obeying conscience, not Bush on autonomy

By Richard Kuo 郭建國

As a former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, Richard Bush is one of Taiwan’s most influential friends. He is now a senior fellow of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

On Monday last week, Bush published on the Brookings Institution Web site an open letter to Kuo Pei-hung (郭倍宏), chief convener of the Formosa Alliance, in which he urged Kuo not to campaign for a referendum on Taiwan independence, for fear of altering Taiwan’s “status quo.”

Bush suggested that if Taiwan expects the US to send its armed forces to protect it, the US should be consulted about any plan connected with changing Taiwan’s future.

In response, Kuo said that his call for holding an independence referendum, rectifying the national title, writing a new constitution and safeguarding a Taiwan-centric — as opposed to a pro-China — government is a matter of freedom of thought.

Kuo said he believed that Bush’s suggestions were well-meaning and based on the standpoint of US national interests, but added that it was also for the sake of future Taiwanese generations’ right to survive that he had proposed an independence referendum.

Taiwanese’s right to decide their own future is a matter freedom of thought and expression rather than touching on material conditions that would alter Taiwan’s “status quo,” he said.

Kuo said he wondered whether Bush would dare ask ordinary Americans whether they agree with his suggestions regarding this issue.

That is a good question, and I heartily support everything Kuo said.

As for Bush’s suggestions, I would like to ask him: “In 1775, when the people of Britain’s 13 American colonies launched a war of independence against the British king’s exploitation and oppression, did they ask for anyone else’s opinion beforehand?”

Taiwanese have been subjected to more than 400 years of colonial rule by foreign powers, along with a great amount of abuse, oppression and exploitation. Never did any ruler give us the opportunity to express our heartfelt wishes.

Now, at last, some individuals have launched a campaign for an independence referendum, even though the Democratic Progressive Party has boycotted and suppressed it. It is sad that Bush, who claims to be a friend of Taiwan, has chosen to oppose this initiative.

I have to say: “Forgive us, but we cannot accept your opinion. Taiwanese’s will and desire for independence does not depend on what you Americans say, or on what President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) does not say. It depends on us Taiwanese ourselves.”

Finally, I must tell Bush that if a belligerent and dictatorial China attacks Taiwan because the Taiwanese put their aspirations about establishing an independent nation to a referendum, we Taiwanese will wage a bloody resistance, risking death to protect our freedom.

If that ever happens, will the US stand aside and watch as rivers of blood run through Taiwan? Or will it finally recognize how its tolerance of the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) clique in Taiwan following World War II created a historic tragedy of a people without a country and redeem itself by offering a helping hand?

“It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.” If we Taiwanese want an independence referendum, we will not ask for the US’ opinion. We will only ask our own consciences before exercising our God-given right, as free people, to fight for independence and liberty.

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