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Home > East Asia > 

Attaining peace is simple if you capitulate
Paul Lin
6/27/2005

Disregarding the serious domestic conflict in Taiwan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan set his mind on making his pilgrimage to Beijing. He has dubbed the trip a "visit for peace" and duped the Taiwanese people by posing as an angel of peace. Peace visits don't come cheaper than this: As long as he is willing to capitulate before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), achieving peace will be the simplest of things.

For years now, Lien and his generation have seen how China has been making military threats at Taiwan, without trying to unite the Taiwanese people in resistance against the enemy, but rather revelling in the disaster and seeing it as paving the way for their "peaceful surrender.

When Lien and his generation have been advocating unification, have they then been advocating having the Taiwanese democracy join the Chinese dictatorship, or the Chinese dictatorship joining the Taiwanese democracy? Having the democracy join the dictatorship, of course. If not, it would have been "a visit for democracy" instead of a "visit for peace. There are two fundamental reasons why Lien does not want a visit for democracy.

First, Taiwan's democratic elections have led to a transition of government, and although the long-time ruler, the KMT, has lost two elections under Lien, he refuses to pass on the leadership, and he also refused to attend President Chen Shui-bian's presidential inauguration. Filled with hatred, Lien has also used the pan-blue camp's legislative majority and ignored national interests by resorting to a scorched-earth policy that has destroyed good things with the bad. This all proves his inability to accept democracy.

Second, if the KMT wants to regain their hold on power, they can wait for future presidential elections. Lien, however, cannot wait too long if he himself wants the top seat, and that is why he must join hands with the communists against Taiwan. He therefore has to accept the ideologies of the CCP's dictatorship, and he will not promote any ideas of democracy and freedom or demand that the CCP adopt political reform.

Even if Lien is given the same presidential treatment as former US president Bill Clinton and is given the opportunity to speak at Peking University, these two points guarantee that he will not follow Clinton in praising the universal virtues of freedom and human rights or criticizing China's persecution of religious followers, minorities or political dissidents.

And by the same token, it is unthinkable that he will promote Taiwan's democracy to the Chinese people. He may even go so far as to label Taiwan's democracy populist, since he was not elected president.

There are many historical examples to back a claim that "peace visits" are deceitful. When, on the eve of World War II, Western countries sold out the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to Germany in the name of peace, they got not peace, but war. In 1973, then-US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, member of the Vietnamese Communist Party's Politburo, negotiated a ceasefire between the US and North Vietnam for which they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

After Le declined the prize, the Vietnamese broke the peace agreement and by 1975 had captured all of Vietnam. Trying to establish peace with Nazis and Communists is like asking a tiger to hand over its skin -- an impossibility.

If these are international matters, then Lien should feel more at home with Chinese matters and the grudge between the CCP and the KMT. The two instances of CCP-KMT cooperation in the 1920s and the 1930s may lie in the distant past, but let's look at the Double Ten Agreement between the CCP and the KMT that was signed after the end of World War II.

The first article said, concerning the basic guidelines for peaceful nation-building: Both sides acknowledged the war against Japan had come to a successful end, and that a new stage of peaceful nation-building was about to begin that required the joint efforts of both sides, making peace, democracy and unity the first priority. Under the leadership of chairman Chiang, there would be long-term cooperation. Civil war would be avoided, and an independent, free and peaceful new China implementing the three principles of the people would be established.

In order to realize this peace, the US sent General George Marshal to China for three-way negotiations between the KMT, the CCP and the US. Although the Marshal Plan was successful in Europe, the negotiations in China were hijacked by China. Not only was there no peace, but war intensified, killing 8 million of Chiang's bandit troops, while the US ambassador was recalled to Washington.

If the US is encouraging CCP-KMT peace talks for the sake of peace only, they should not forget this 60-year-old lesson. At the time, China's intellectuals were also divided by China's united front. Most believed the CCP's lies about peace, and they suffered for it later. When the CCP had "liberated" China, it did not implement peace. On its own initiative, China entered the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Nor was there peace domestically, as violent political movements leading to the unnatural deaths of 80 million people were used as a means to maintain a hold on power.

Is China today behaving in ways that negate its peace-breaking behavior in those days? If it doesn't, it will of course continue its old ways. Chairman Chiang lost China. Does Chairman Lien really want to lose Taiwan, too? The Taiwanese people can no longer be fooled!

Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.

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