Banding together against the CCP
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times 2017.10.2
The boycott by National Taiwan University students of the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival” organized by the Taipei and Shanghai municipal governments is like a smaller version of the 2014 Sunflower movement. That movement started as a protest against China’s economic “united front” tactics and infiltration; the boycott of the Sing! China event protested China’s cultural “united front” tactics and infiltration.
There are also some noteworthy differences. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to some degree owes his 2014 electoral success to the Sunflower movement, but now Ko is welcoming the Chinese “united front” tactics.
The violence during the Sunflower movement was initiated by the police, but now that a different party is in power, pro-unification gang members are initiating the violence, with the police reluctant to intervene.
The flag held aloft by pro-unification gangsters protesting the Sunflower movement was the white sun against the blue sky of the Republic of China national flag, but with this recent protest, the pro-unification gangsters were waving the five-star red flag of the People’s Republic of China, which happens to be a motif on the show’s logo.
Ko responded forcefully to criticism of his handling of the situation by saying that people with a robust immune system have little to fear from germs. This raises the question of whether Taiwan has a robust immune system.
It is also a question Ko might ask of himself, for he has been hit by the double whammy of pension reform protesters interrupting the opening ceremony of the Taipei Summer Universiade and the bloodshed that marred the Sing! China event.
Democracy is a good system, but it is far from immune to all threats. The US is the most powerful country, and yet it still relies on its military, the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to hold it all together. Its biggest threat comes from China, as does Taiwan’s.
Do we really have the strength to face up to the might of China?
Ko should be aware of the philosophical dialectic. Yes, cross-strait cultural exchanges began many years ago, but that does not mean the dynamic remains the same. Situations evolve, so how is it possible to maintain the same approach from then until now?
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) attitude toward Taiwanese businesses in China and toward Taiwan is certainly becoming alarming, and the nation must remain alert and vigilant. If Taiwanese do not, something is going to give.
Ko thinks he knows the CCP well, so he must know about Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) three major effective revolution strategies — struggle by force and “united front” tactics being two of them.
Since there is currently no war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, the CCP’s main strategy consists of “united front” tactics, along with occasional violence and force, and it is carried out by the sounding out of a “fifth column” that is undermining Taiwan from within.
If nothing is done to restrain this, the violence will only increase. Given this, not only Ko’s Taipei City Government but also President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration and all Taiwanese must be vigilant.
If Ko wants to leave behind a positive legacy as Taipei mayor, then he should use his time to show the world a new Taipei: He should not be jumping into the choppy waters of independence or unification across the Taiwan Strait, with all the international complications involved.
Two years ago, I visited Ko in his office and asked him to read the beginning of the first article of the Selected Work of Mao Zedong, which reads: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution. The basic reason why all previous revolutionary struggles in China achieved so little was their failure to unite with real friends in order to attack real enemies.”
If Taiwan takes enemies as friends, little good will come of it. Yet the way to deal with the enemy is not by being reckless; it has to be done strategically, and Mao was an excellent strategist. This does not mean scheming among allies, as that would lead to isolation and self-destruction.
For example, Mao killed many of those who had helped him take power, but who were eventually betrayed and deserted by his followers.
This does not apply solely to Ko. There are those within the pro-Taiwan camp who are criticizing others on issues that are not pressing or urgent for the nation and its populace. These people are convinced that they are right and do not seek common ground with others, which is distressing.
In the face of the CCP’s “united front” tactics and violence, the more friends we have, the better our position, even if the friendships might be temporary. We should not squabble over minor issues or interests and let the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and CCP benefit from it.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Lin Lee-Kai