Sun, Oct 12, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Lee attacks China-centric ideology

WEAKNESS The KMT's Sino-centric indoctrination has led to a confused people and a nation that cannot stand up for itself, the former president said yesterday

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday lashed out the ideology of his old party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), blaming it for many of Taiwan's political ills and hindering the development of a true Taiwanese national consciousness.

What Lee called a "Greater China national consciousness," -- an identification with China and the nationalistic goal of establishing China as a world power -- which has been drummed into Taiwanese during half a century of KMT rule, has been an obstacle to constitutional reform and has resulted in the wasting of resources, a confused political system, political turbulence, ideological confrontation and partisan feuding.

It has also been a major stumbling block to the nation's economic and social development, Lee said.

Lecturing pupils of his "National Policy Class" at the Lee Teng-hui School, a political think tank established by Lee, the former president said: "This China-centric frame of thinking has made Taiwan incapable of standing up to pressure by outside powers and foreign interference, downgrading Taiwan into something like a colony."

Because Taiwan has long been ruled by foreign powers, the country hasn't formed an adequate Taiwan-centric frame of thinking and this has led to the public's vague understanding of national identity, which itself has undermined national solidarity.

"At the Double Ten National Day celebrations Friday, there were even some people calling out `long live Hu Jintao' (胡錦濤). The people saying that were apparently ignorant of which country he lives in. This is the most horrible and chaotic thing about Taiwan," Lee said.

Lee said apart from China's constant "barbaric" threats which have prevented Taiwan from dismantling many of the structures of the KMT dictatorship, the people of Taiwan haven't been inspired with a Taiwan-centric frame of thinking, partly due to the ideological education imposed by the KMT.

As the president of the Republic of China for 12 years, Lee said his reforms met with great difficulties that any normal country wouldn't have had, including democratization and promotion of the nation's international standing.

He said during his tenure as president, six sets of constitutional amendments were enacted, but met with obdurate resistance from die-hard unification supporters who opposed changing the constitutional system from a design which included the 35 provinces in China to one that fits the nation's current territorial reality.

He also said the now defunct Taiwan Provincial Government, which ought to be completely abolished, still keeps about 400 staff members and a nominal chairperson -- something President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should work to correct. Lee said, however, that Chen was prevented from making this common-sense move by the strong pro-China forces in Taiwan.

Lee concluded the country should continue the campaign drive to change the nation's name to Taiwan to distinguish it from China and enlarge Taiwan's footprint in the international community.

In related news, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday welcomed KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) promise to amend the Constitution were he elected president next year, but urged Lien to be "creative" in carrying out reform.

Lien announced on the pan-blue alliance's Double Ten Day celebrations in Chiayi County Friday that he would initiate constitutional reforms were he to be elected.

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