Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) has returned to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). In 1993, Jaw withdrew from the KMT to cofound the New Party, as he could not tolerate then-president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) pro-localization policies.
He has returned to the KMT because the party no longer promotes localization and a sense of Chinese supremacy is staging a comeback.
However, the KMT that Jaw is pledging to revitalize is not the KMT that opposed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Instead, it is a “Chinese New Party” moving toward convergence with the CCP.
On cross-strait relations, Jaw has said that Taiwan and China would “ensure 100 years of peace by calling each other brother.”
Twenty or 30 years ago, I said that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait could be “brother states” built on economic reciprocity and cultural exchanges while remaining politically independent. Not only did the CCP reject that, even Jaw turned it down.
What Jaw means when he says that Taiwan and China can be “brothers” is that Taiwan is the little brother that yields to the Chinese big brother. What kind of brotherhood is that?
Jaw has also announced a presidential bid for 2024, and accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of dominating Taiwan’s politics. He said that, as the DPP becomes increasingly arrogant, he is worried about the political situation.
That is pretty strange. Under the Chiang (蔣) family-led KMT one-party rule, the KMT did as it pleased, arresting, detaining and executing people. That did not worry Jaw when he chose to join the KMT for the first time.
Earlier this month, Jaw portrayed the DPP government as the Boxers during the Boxer Rebellion and vowed to eliminate the “Boxers” who dominate Taiwanese politics. That is pretty ridiculous. Having sided against democracy, reform and mainstream trends since his school years, he is the real “Boxer.”
Looking back at the end of the Qing Dynasty, the problem with the Boxers was not their fearlessness of firearms, but their stubborn conservatism and their inability to accept that times were changing. They were a group with outdated ideas and manipulated by vested interests.
In the 1990s, Taiwan started a transition toward democratization and localization. As the transition progressed, the vested interests and the outdated ideas that dominated during the Chiang reign could not easliy be adjusted. Those who held these ideas mobilized against the changes. Judged by their inability to adapt to political reform and change, they were more like the Boxers.
Not long ago, Jaw’s “brother,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), chimed in with Jaw, saying that the DPP was causing cross-strait tension and that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should abandon the idea of Taiwanese independence to ease the tension.
In response, Tsai should clarify that she does not advocate Taiwan independence and say that Beijing should give up its autocratic totalitarianism, because such rule can never be in line with democratic rule.
Which system should be blamed for the tension, the authoritarian one or democratic one? Beijing and Jaw should say clearly what they think.
Lee Hsiao-feng is an honorary professor at National Taipei University of Education.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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