Taiwanese should not fight among themselves

Paul Lin

Taipei Times

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2008, Page 8

At the beginning of this month, Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan in an attempt to further China’s “united front” strategy. During his visit, Chen trampled Taiwan’s sovereignty by not addressing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as president of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.

Ostensibly to avoid offending Chen, the government ordered that the national flag be kept out of his sight during the visit.

In terms of social sentiment, ethics and the law, the Taiwanese public were perfectly within their rights to protest in the name of protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty. However, the Ma government chose to suppress the protesters, forcefully removing those who carried the national flag and those who yelled slogans like “Long live Taiwan!” and “Long live the ROC!” The police even used physical force, injuring a number of protesters.

The Ma administration changed the scheduled time for the meeting between Chen and Ma at the last minute to throw off protesters, while allowing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) flag to be flown on Zhongshan N Road. The public had had enough by the time they saw the government blurring the line between us and our enemy and the various ways in which the government helped the CCP.

It is therefore perfectly understandable that some people became over-excited during the protests.

The way in which those in power deal with such conflicts determines how the situation will turn out.

Unfortunately, the methods adopted by the Ma administration only served to worsen the situation and made contradictions even more apparent, with opposing sides becoming embroiled in increasingly heated conflicts. Were these events the result of incompetence in the Ma administration? Or was the government deliberately trying to instigate a bloody conflict to send a message to China along the lines of: “You need not worry, we are in control of the situation”?

Violent, bloody incidents are extremely regretful. However, the problem is that in the recent protests, it was Taiwanese who were spilling their blood while Chen and the Mainlanders who are now in control of Taiwan were chatting over a few drinks.

It is only natural for Taiwanese to dislike having to face fully armed police officers. However, these police officers were Taiwanese and were not clear as to why they had to squelch the protests just for the sake of a CCP official.

We should believe that most members of the police force do have a conscience, that they were only following orders and that perhaps in the heat of the moment they did not know what to do or how to react. We need to be patient.

Of course, the police force deployed at the protests included those willing to use force to gain promotion or other benefits, while others adhered to narrow-minded concepts of group consciousness.

However, I would like to tell these police officers that freedom and democracy are the ultimate goals of human and social development. Therefore, transitional justice is bound to be realized in Taiwan sooner or later and those who have caused suffering to Taiwanese will have their names recorded in history.

This is something Ma should worry about and this is why he came out and made a clear and definite statement that he had not ordered that Taiwan’s national flag be taken down, and that he was against the use of excessive force by the police. By doing so, Ma has effectively made our police scapegoats to divert attention from him when these issues are investigated further.

Even the son of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚), said that Taiwan is a democratic nation and that we had no need to change our system to fit in with the CCP. This shows that Wu has a very clear understanding of the different values held by people on either side of the Taiwan Strait.

When we fight each other, all we are doing is hurting ourselves and playing into the hands of our enemy. Therefore I urge everyone, regardless of what happens in Taiwan, to refrain from fighting each other and to pay special attention to not helping the CCP, which is hell-bent on invading Taiwan, as well as their slaves here in Taiwan, in their fight against us. This is the only way we can preserve Taiwan’s democratic system.

Not fighting with each other also has a broader meaning and implies that we must have tolerance. As Taiwanese, we should not get into dog-eat-dog struggles with each other, and this includes judicial persecution. What we need to do is to unite and face other countries as a consolidated nation.

Chen stated when he left Taiwan that he would never forget the four days he spent here. However, once he arrived in Beijing, he said that everyone in China was clear about who was in the wrong. Chen’s change in rhetoric reveals the true intentions of the CCP.

Taiwanese cannot afford to forget the ruthless, bloodthirsty nature of the CCP. After the CCP took control of China, it spent 20 years settling scores with the remaining KMT politicians, military and police left in China, and after the KMT took control of Taiwan, we experienced the 228 Incident. We must be vigilant and cannot allow a similar situation to rear its ugly head in Taiwan again.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

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