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Pan-blues, CCP Siding Against Democracy
Paul Lin

During his visit to Japan, US President George W. Bush called on China to learn from Taiwan and raised the level of the US-Taiwan relationship. China offered an immediate reaction to Bush's speech, with cliches about "interference in domestic affairs." Bush then attended church in Beijing and noted that there is no religious freedom in China. US officials later said they were disappointed with the meeting between Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao. These are all signs that the US is shifting its China policy away from the idea that economic development will automatically put China on the road toward democracy, toward a mixture of containment and exchange.

This, of course, is not what the people in China and Taiwan who wish to suppress Taiwan's independence want to see. Some media outlets in Taiwan also oppose this change, saying that the US is dealing with the rise of China by once again moving toward contact and cooperation, reducing Taiwan to a pawn that may be abandoned as the benefits to the US and China from their relationship increase. They reason that as US policy comes into conflict with its core interests, Washington will prioritize those interests.

At the second China-US conference held on the eve of Bush's visit to Beijing, Xiong Guangkai, a deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, got into a heated argument with Brent Scowcroft, senior national security advisor to former US president George Bush. Xiong repeated the cliche that Taiwan is China's domestic affair. Scowcroft stressed that the Taiwan issue also involves fundamental US interests.

Ignoring the question of "domestic affairs" and equating fundamental and core interests in this way serves to highlight the US' determination. Economic cooperation with China is in the US' practical interests, while democracy is part of its fundamental interests, not only because it is part of the US' founding spirit, but also because it affects its national security.

Unlike the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which will elevate the interests of a small clique of privileged leaders to the level of national interests. Americans frankly admit when something affects their national interests. This is why the Chinese media are full of pretty slogans such as "flesh-and-blood brothers," "serve the people," "oppose hegemony" and "liberate mankind."

When Scowcroft mentioned US national interests he should actually have said that since democratic Taiwan is a model for Asia, its existence and development is relevant to the fundamental interests of the region and even the world at large. That's because in a struggle between a democracy and a tyranny, the victory or defeat of the democracy will have a domino effect that affects the individual interests of tens of millions of people. This is also the most fundamental reason why the US and China are locking horns over Taiwan -- one of them is a leader of global democracy, the other a bastion of tyranny.

Taiwan belongs on the side of democracy. Even during the authoritarian era, Taiwan took sides with the free world. Today, however, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is not above joining hands with the CCP to suppress Taiwan and the US in order to protect its own interests. It keeps harping on the demise of Taiwan and the US, and instilling distrust for the US among the Taiwanese public.

Following the obstruction of the special arms procurement bill, this is yet another attempt to upset the relationship between Taiwan and the US, and achieve what the CCP has been unable to accomplish. This kind of ungrateful behavior shows us the utter degeneration of some pan-blue politicians and media outlets.

Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.

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