Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

2007 elections key to saving Taiwan's democracy: Ruan

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Next year's legislative elections are critical to preventing Taiwan's hard-won democratic system from being devoured by China, a former Chinese official said at a forum on cross-strait issues yesterday.

The elections will be the first under a revised electoral system, which should help eliminate old political groupings favorable to China, Chinese political dissident Ruan Ming (阮銘) -- who was a special assistant to Chinese Communist Party secretary-general Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦) and, more recently, served as a national policy adviser to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) -- said at a forum hosted by the Northern Taiwan Society, a pro-independence group.

The forum discussed influences on Taiwan's democratic development in view of the recent movement to oust the president.

Ruan said that Taiwan's current political unrest was a sign that China's power is on the rise and the US' democratic power is ebbing.

Judging from China's recent curbs on press freedom and the "so-called crackdown" on corruption, China's totalitarian government has matured and is starting to expand its influence over Taiwan and other countries, he said.

"Taiwan is a newly born democratic country in Asia. However, the US is quite afraid of offending China, so the US tries hard to suppress what Taiwan's leader says about the nation's constitutional reforms, which is simply an effort to try and correct the fallacies in the Constitution," Ruan said.

"The US is gradually losing dominance in defending democracy in the world. Ironically, it needs the help of China -- a country with autocracy and slavery -- to attain its goals," he said.

Therefore, Taiwan cannot look to the US to protect its democracy, as China's "reactionary power" has infiltrated Taiwan and the anti-Chen movement launched by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) is only the beginning of China's strategy to divide Taiwan, Ruan said.

"President Chen's three wishes made on the DPP's anniversary were to win the next three elections. But predictably, China's three wishes are to make Chen lose those three elections," he said. "Resisting China's anti-democratic power to devour Taiwan is up to the voters."

"The crucial and decisive chance to salvage Taiwan's hard-won democratic system is the 2007 legislative elections, which are going to employ the `single-member district, two-vote system,'" Ruan added.

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