Tue, Feb 26, 2019 - Page 8 News List


Taiwan at a crossroad

The humiliating defeat of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the local elections on Nov. 24 last year was a major setback for democracy. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which endorses the “one China” policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), now controls more local governments.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), in response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) Lunar New Year address to Taiwan, declared that Taiwan is a free country and its future must be decided by its 23 million citizens.

However, her approval rating of 19 percent in a recent poll lags behind that of the KMT’s 41 percent. The next presidential election is to be held next year. Will President Tsai and the DPP prevail and avoid Taiwan becoming the next victim, like Venezuela, of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”?

Despite the setback, Taiwan’s democracy will prevail because of the following:

One, most Taiwanese reject Xi’s communist autocracy, and prefer freedom and democracy.

Two, the book Why Nations Fail, an exhaustive compilation of 15 years of historical research on all nations in the world, predicts that China’s authoritarian control of its economy would persist and its spectacular economic growth would slowly evaporate.

Three, it is no coincidence that the KMT ruled Taiwan in the same fashion as the CCP: blocking the advancement of democracy and cooperating with the CCP to extract the wealth of Taiwanese.The KMT has intentionally weakened Taiwan’s defense and is attempting to seduce Taiwanese with the false promise of a better economy that would never materialize. The party has never worked for a better future for Taiwan, but only for its own future.

Four, the exodus from China of foreign companies, factories, wealthy Chinese and even families of high-ranking communist officials, has increased in recent years. It has accelerated after the administration of US President Donald Trump’s astute exposure of the harmful consequences of Xi’s ambition.

Five, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠) has moved his massive assets out of China in recent years. Exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui (郭文貴) has exposed secrets of top CCP officials to Trump and White House official Peter Navarro.

Six, Xi and the CCP are under significant pressure from the trade war against more sophisticated US experts.

Seven, Taiwan scored even better than the US — 93 versus 86 — in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2019 report. Credit goes to the general population, who remembers the peaceful, law-abiding Japanese society in which they lived during the last century before World War II. Many conscientious Chinese also appreciate such a peaceful society.

Eight, Tsai has carried out many difficult reforms in two years, which her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), was unable to do in eight years. These reforms include adjustment of excessive government employee pensions; raising compensation for poorer retirees; and disposing of many massive, illegitimate KMT assets. Tsai has also improved national defense by developing new advanced missiles and building domestic warplanes and naval vessels. Taiwan now has more a transparent government.

Nine, 44 international academics and experts have written a letter endorsing president Tsai.

Ten, the authors of Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and James Robinson of Yale University, are alumni of the London School of Economics, where Tsai also earned her doctorate. Therefore, she must understand the origin of power, prosperity and poverty discussed in this book. It is valuable knowledge that is helpful to her administration of Taiwan’s government.

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