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Editorial: Taiwan: the KMT's biggest enemy

Thursday, Sep 04, 2003,Page 8

Two interesting things happened on Tuesday. A group of Taiwanese students who had studied abroad called a press conference to urge the public to take the question of their international status seriously. When asked where they were from, they would initially reply the "Republic of China," some of the students said of their experiences abroad. But this answer frequently caused confusion about the difference between the ROC and the People's Republic of China (PRC). Others said their schools insisted on identifying them as being from "Taiwan (Province of China)," which couldn't be further from the truth.

The students called on the Taiwanese public to bravely face up to their identity issue instead of evading it. Otherwise, confusion about Taiwan's international status will only increase, they said.

Also on Tuesday, the KMT's legislative caucus accused the DPP of using the "Call Taiwan Taiwan" street demonstration scheduled for Saturday to push for Taiwan independence and annihilate the ROC.

KMT caucus leader Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) accused the DPP and TSU supporters of not recognizing themselves as ROC citizens even though they live on ROC land, "just like a kid who doesn't recognize his own mother." Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教), another KMT lawmaker, said the DPP had been secretly supporting the TSU in organizing the demonstration. Changing the country's name is immoral, Lee Chuan-chiao said, and those who do it will become the "sinners of history."

But the KMT has little credibility in criticizing the Call Taiwan Taiwan movement as it is the KMT, above everyone else, that needs a name change. Remember, they call themselves the "Chinese Kuomintang" (中國國民黨). The name gives you an impression that it is some underground party from China or a front for the Chinese Communist Party.

The plight of the students is demonstrative of the anxiety of Taiwanese people about long-running uncertainty regarding their international status. But if the Taiwanese themselves are unwilling to face up to the question of their own international status, and if the political parties continue to use policies aimed at keeping the public ignorant and to evade issues with specious pseudo-logic, then how can we hope the international community to clearly distinguish between Taiwan and China?

The KMT-PFP alliance is exactly the kind of political force that likes to confuse the issue of identity. It rejects the name "Taiwan" and holds on to the political fiction called "ROC."

People who understand the cross-strait situation know that the so called "ROC" died in 1949. The KMT fled to Taiwan with its battered army, lorded over the country with the Chiang dynasty and only when Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) came to power was a democratic political framework established and Taiwan was transformed into a normal country.

But there was a limit to what Lee could do as an individual. Cultivating public wisdom is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Even though the DPP wants to continue pushing for the democratic engineering project that Lee did not finish, the KMT-PFP has played a reactionary role in recent years, attacking Lee and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Obviously the word "Taiwan" is their biggest enemy.

We all know that the key members of the KMT and the PFP are relatives or proteges of past KMT political heavyweights. Their blood relationships and personal interests are bound to the past feudal forces represented by the KMT. In opposing reform, democratization and the Taiwanese identity, they also echo the mindset of the Chinese authorities across the Strait.

Apparently we have a long way to go in cultivating wisdom among the Taiwanese public.

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