The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was formed as a result of the dangwai (黨外, “outside the party”) democracy movement. The dangwai movement started in the late 1960s and continued until it finally managed to break the ban on political parties in 1986.
Many democratic demands were raised during this period, such as calls to end martial law, election of the full legislature, lifting of the party ban, and the rights to the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, lecture and publication, an independent judiciary, the nationalization of the military and so on.
These demands are just the ABCs of democracy, but when the dangwai movement made these fundamental democratic demands, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime slandered them and accused them of using the law to break the law, using freedom to destroy freedom and using bogus democracy to destroy democracy.
Hearing these kinds of accusations, it is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry: At the time, Taiwan was a one-party state and a dictatorship. Martial law and the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of the Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) were in effect, Taiwanese were deprived of every freedom and human right and there was no way that constitutional democracy could operate.
Without freedom, how could the dangwai movement use freedom to destroy freedom? Without democracy, how could they use bogus democracy to destroy democracy? How is it possible to use something that does not exist to destroy something that does not exist?
What really destroyed freedom and democracy was the KMT’s six-part ruling clique: party, government, military, police, secret police and the media.
After the passing of father and son Chiang (蔣), Taiwan began its democratization and liberalization process to universal global acknowledgment.
The international human rights organization Freedom House now gives Taiwan a freedom score of 93 out of 100 (China scores 11). Still, in Taiwan, with its high level of freedom, some people are beginning to use freedom to destroy freedom and bogus democracy to destroy democracy.
Who are these people? They all belong to a blue political clique that used to accuse people of using freedom to destroy freedom during the time of the one-party state. They are working together with that regime on the other side of the Taiwan Strait that only scores 11 on the freedom score — the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The communist bandits they used to swear that they would “wipe out.”
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only country on this planet that has vowed to annex Taiwan — so, of course, it is an enemy. Despite that, the five-starred flag of this enemy is allowed to be freely displayed on the streets of Taiwan. Organized crime groups in Taiwan are free to fly the enemy flag and voice their loud support for this enemy.
Former KMT legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) uses his freedom of expression to encourage the CCP to use military force to “unite” Taiwan, and so does China-leaning New Party legislator-at-large nominee Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠), who is able to participate in political talk shows where he encourages the enemy to “unite” as he speaks up for the CCP’s “one country, two systems” model.
If they had said and done the same thing during the reign of one of the Chiangs, they would have been accused of using the law to break the law, and not even the nine lives of a cat would have been able to save them from execution.
Now, on the other hand, they are free to the point where they are able to run for legislative seats on the New Party’s legislator-at-large list, while retired generals such as Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) and others are free to declare their loyalty to the enemy and give instructions to the People’s Liberation Army and still be included on the KMT’s legislator-at-large list.
In what other free country are people so free that someone who defects to the enemy could become a legislator?
Just look at the red media outlets here in Taiwan: They are able to publicly promote the idea that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait “must” be united and ask what is so bad about “one country, two systems.”
During the dangwai era, just asking for basic democracy was labeled “propaganda for the bandits,” but now it is part of press freedom. In what other democratic country are people free to help the enemy invade one’s own country?
So let us say that the conflict between unification and independence is a matter of freedom of expression.
However, on April 10, a Taiwanese delegation of 65 people, representing approximately half of Taiwan’s media outlets, visited Beijing to attend a united front meeting aimed at influencing Taiwanese news. At the meeting, they obediently stood to attention as they were being lectured. Is this a rational and reasonable unification versus independence conflict?
There are reports that China has paid for pro-Chinese propaganda to be published in five Taiwanese media outlets. These outlets have taken Chinese money and subsidies to promote the CCP’s policies and spread fake news attacking Taiwan’s own government. These CCP mouthpieces would never go bankrupt, but democratic and free Taiwan would.
There is an old saying that “without external enemies and external aggression, a country will go under.” The idea behind this is that foreign enemies and aggression keep a country vigilant and self-protective, but with politicians and media that help a foreign enemy grow stronger, there is no hope for free and democratic Taiwan.
If I am accused of painting these people and media outlets with a red brush, I only have this to say: If you dare condemn the concentration camps in Xinjiang, the police violence in Hong Kong and the CCP, which only scores 11 on the freedom scale, I guarantee that no one would ever accuse you of being pro-China again.
Lee Hsiao-feng is a retired professor.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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