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What would Chiang do? Call on the firing squad

By Cao Chang-qing 《Taipei Times》Apr 14, 2006

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had Taiwan under its dictatorial thumb for more than half a century, but now that Taiwan has found democracy, the KMT has hit desperate times. Having lost power in 2000, it has been pulling all kinds of tricks to oppose the democratically elected government.

Their unreasonable methods have been getting more extreme. But when People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and then KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) visited China last year to join hands with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Taiwan's arch-enemy, to gain "control" of Taiwan, they hit a new low.

This time, Lien is making another trip to Beijing, amid great fanfare, to take part in the so-called KMT-CCP Economic Forum. This should remind the Taiwanese people that, even though the KMT has been relegated to the opposition, its leaders have not lost their dictatorial mindset. Their attitude has been that if they can't govern, they can at least stir things up in Taiwan, and form a relationship with their old enemy in China. This is an attempt to secure their goals any way they can, but history has shown that this is bound to lead to disaster.

Lien's current visit to China is an example of this kind of desperation. As always, it's all about him. He might want to make it look important, but he's not fooling other observers, who see the trip as a farce. It brings to mind a small-time dictator who finds it irresistible to flaunt his supposed might to the rest of the world with endless military parades.

The CCP operates as a party-state which can do as it likes with nary a nod to either law or God. In democratic Taiwan the KMT isn't even in government, and has no authority to set economic policy. It begs the question as to what can be achieved by any accords signed by the CCP and KMT, save putting on a good show and helping Beijing in its effort to see Taiwan become a part of China.

Lien is a political has-been with very little clout; he has had to rely on the CCP to order Taiwanese businesspeople in China to attend the forum. Without these directives the forum would never have gotten off the ground. Taiwanese businesspeople are not happy about this, but they do not dare make enemies of the CCP.

While the CCP is giving Lien special treatment, Lien himself is firmly burying his head in Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) bosom, and leading his party to disaster.
And what is the likely outcome of this farce? Taiwanese businessmen in China may have to hold their tongues and swallow their anger for now, but sooner or later they are going to vent it at the KMT. The CCP doesn't have to worry about votes, it can swing its weight around as it pleases.

The KMT, which has lost its dictatorship, is pushing Taiwanese around on the strength of the CCP's power. But the Taiwanese, who nowadays wield that most effective of weapons, the vote, are not so easily intimidated.

Lien might be able to act pompous when he has the CCP behind him, but the CCP is playing to a home audience, strengthening its position by promoting unification between China and Taiwan.

The KMT and CCP have been dealing with each other for more than 80 years, with the KMT coming out the loser every time. After all this, Lien still has the nerve to ignore the lessons of that history. It's no wonder that people say if Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) were still alive today, the first thing he would do, before oppressing the Taiwanese people, would be to take Soong and Lien, who have been cozying up to the Communists, and drag them out in front of a firing squad.

Cao Changqing is a freelance journalist.
Translated by Paul Cooper

2006-05-01

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