Wed, Nov 20, 2019 - Page 8 News List

A ‘red’ takeover has its downsides

By Chang Kuo-tsai 張國財

The Jan. 11 presidential election will give Taiwanese voters the starkest choice that they have ever had between a candidate who wants Taiwan to be its own master and another who acts as a spokesman for China.

Taiwanese are constantly being told that sovereignty is not important compared with the more practical dream of making a fortune. While they might be wondering whether they should support the pan-blue camp or the pan-green camp — or maybe one of the parties that come in shades of white and red — they should be asking themselves what would happen if Taiwan fell into the hands of communist China.

After pension reforms took effect in June, many retired military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers joined street protests, because they were incensed that there was “only” NT$50,000 to NT$60,000 left in their monthly pensions.

This issue could be considered from the perspective of how China, under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), cares for its retirees. From Aug. 1 last year, the standard monthly payment for military veterans who returned home, some of them with illnesses, was raised from 500 yuan to 550 yuan (US$71.17 to US$78.28), while the payment for combat veterans and those who took part in atom bomb tests was raised from 550 yuan to 600 yuan.

Old-age pensions for civilians are even less adequate — as of last year, the average monthly pension was 125 yuan.

If Taiwan were to fall into the hands of communist China, why would China’s leaders, whose citizens receive a monthly pension of 125 yuan, pay Taiwanese pensioners a basic guaranteed pension of NT$3,628 a month, about 6.6 times the average Chinese pension?

When several thousand veterans gathered to protest in Zhenjiang, China, in June last year, what they got in return was repression by tens of thousands of the Chinese People’s Armed Police, with 18 veterans sentenced to jail terms.

When hundreds or thousands of veterans went to petition in Beijing, instead of getting to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), they were met by a large contingent of police.

If Taiwan were to fall into communist China’s hands, what hope would the veterans of the annexed, unified, surrendered or whatever-you-want-to-call-it Taiwan have of still receiving a monthly pension of NT$38,990, about 15 times the minimum monthly payment for veterans of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army?

If Taiwan were really under the rule of communist China, would the nation’s veteran-protesters — who call themselves the “800 Warriors” — dare take to the streets, saying that they would fight to the bitter end if they did not get their full pensions? Could they do so without facing consequences?

In today’s Taiwan, anyone who dislikes the president, disapproves of national policies, has something to say or simply wants to protest — or who wants to oppose something, or oppose someone opposing something — can freely do so.

Even if demonstrators set up camp and cook their meals on the square in front of the Presidential Office Building, what is there to be afraid of? All the more so if an immensely rich person or corporation criticizes the government. In such cases, the government is usually ready to do their bidding rather than offend them.

Street protests are almost a daily occurrence in Taiwan, but if the nation were to fall into the hands of communist China, might Taiwanese protesters not face the same fate as the 15-year-old anti-extradition protester in Hong Kong, who, despite being a competitive swimmer, turned up as a naked corpse in the sea?

This story has been viewed 2611 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top