Friday, March 17, 2006

Taiwan Go Go Go!

Taiwan is a democratic country of freedom. People in Taiwan are going to show their courages against China's threat and to tell the world that we want peace, not war. If you believe that peace and democracy are the univeral values for all human beings, please support and join the people in Taiwan to speak out for peace and democracy!

Let the world hear Taiwan's voice

2006-03-17
Taiwan News Editorial

We urge citizens who cherish their hard-won democracy and prosperity to participate in the "Protect Democracy and Oppose Annexation" march tomorrow afternoon in Taipei City.

The purpose of the march and rally is to show the world and the People's Republic of China that many Taiwanese are opposed to Beijing's incessant and ruthless drive to undermine Taiwan's democracy and suppress our participation in international society.

The march marks the first anniversary of the PRC's "anti-secession law" last March that mandates the possible use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan.

It is essential for rallies such as this to have strong and vibrant turnouts to dispel any impression to the world that Taiwanese tacitly accept being considered "an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China," as claimed by PRC officials.

By our participation we can demonstrate our unified rejection of Beijing's attempt to manipulate our right to determine our own future.

This message needs to be conveyed again and again because the message that most of the world receives from the international media and, unfortunately, from the Kuomintang, is quite different, namely that a minority in Taiwan is "rocking the boat" of the status quo and endangering a secure and prosperous future in a "greater China" by a quixotic bid for "independence."

Different view

The reality is quite different.

While Taiwan is now engaging in the process of democratic consolidation and deepening, the PRC is bent on subjugating or at least reducing it to a facsimile of Hong Kong or Macau in order to both remove the threat posed to its own totalitarianism from Taiwan's democracy and to realize Beijing's own ambitions to gain a hegemony in the Western Pacific.

Taiwan poses no military threat to China, but the PRC's People's Liberation Army has amassed nearly 800 tactical missiles targeted at you and me along with forward deployments of major offensive forces and weaponry.

What is actually at stake is the defense of Taiwan's independence from the PRC and of the right of its citizens to determine our own future, a privilege we have earned through our "quiet revolution" of democratization after a half century of Japanese colonialism and another half - century of authoritarian rule by the exiled Kuomintang.

Numerous opinion polls show that the majority of our people generally grasp what is really at stake.

For example, a poll of 1,072 Taiwanese released Wednesday by the Institute for National Policy Research showed that 83.1 percent think "the government cannot decide on its own whether on unification or independence without the approval of the people," with only 5.6 percent disagreeing.

Nearly 66 percent rejected the claim by Beijing that "Taiwan is a province of the People's Republic of China," while 9.5 percent agreeing with it.

The fact that these majority findings cross political boundaries demonstrates the spread of the value of "democratic self-determination" among Taiwanese.

This result also offers the most salient and potent rebuttal of any arguments by either the United States or the KMT for the retention of the misbegotten National Unification Council and its undemocratic National Unification Guidelines, which were singlehandedly created by the KMT in the early 1990s.

Moreover, 62.4 percent agreed that Taiwan's economic dealings with the PRC have caused nation's capital, technology and jobs to be absorbed by China, while only 12.4 percent said the bilateral cross-strait economic ties led to the remittance of capital and investment by Taiwanese businesses back to boost the economy.

No less significant was the INPR's finding that nearly 73 percent of those surveyed do not agree with sacrificing Taiwan's democracy and freedom for the sake of economic growth.

Rebutting critics

These results, none of which were reported in Taiwan's China Times or United Daily News, rebut the hypocritical calls made by KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou and his followers that the Democratic Progressive Party government and everyone else in Taiwan should only concern themselves with "boosting the economy" and leave troubling problems of "unification or independence" or "re-engineering the Constitution" aside.

Indeed, the INPR poll, and other similar previous surveys, indicates a high sense of anxiety over whether the current nature of cross-strait economic interaction is truly beneficial to the welfare of most of the Taiwan people and our democratic way of life.

This finding shows that most citizens want Taiwan's directly elected government to more actively engage in "risk management" for the sake of all citizens and not only shape policy for the benefit of those who gain or have vested interests in cross-strait commercial ties.

However, a worrisome finding of the INPR survey indicates 39 percent of the 1,072 Taiwanese polled by the INPR stated that they "had no feelings about" the PLA's rising deployment or felt that such deployment would not have any influence on Taiwan, while 8.1 percent agreed with Beijing that such deployments "were necessary."

Although 23.9 percent acknowledged fear and 31.7 percent expressed disgust over the PLA's build-up, the fact that nearly 50 percent of Taiwanese adults were numb to this "clear and present" threat to our national security and even our lives posed by the PRC's aggressive military deployment is deeply disturbing.

The greatest danger to our autonomy lies in ignorance abroad about Taiwan's plight and apathy at home among many of our own people who do not sufficiently appreciate or cherish our hard - won right to choose our own road.

We can help to cure both ills by marching tomorrow.

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