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Ma's Take on PRC Naive, or Driven by His Ideology
Young Taiwanese athletes won multiple gold medals in an impressive display at this year's International Childrens Games in Bangkok. However, at the award ceremony, the Taiwanese participants had their national flag ripped from their shoulders by Chinese officials.
Leader of the Taiwanese delegation and Taipei Deputy Mayor King Pu-tsung immediately protested to event officials, who decided that in future athletes would be prohibited from carrying any national flags when receiving awards.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said he felt China's behavior was "very strange."
"This is the sixth time that Taipei has participated in this competition, while it is Beijing's first year. I am completely surprised by this rough attitude," he said.
Ma put the full responsibility on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but he limited his criticism to an objective description of China's "roughness" and stopped short of offering condemnation. Maintaining his image as "Mr Teflon," his intention is to clearly show that he doesn't take responsibility or admit fault in China's behavior.
Ma's feelings toward the CCP make us feel that his behavior is strange as well. The CCP has always been a malevolent party, which is why former president Lee Teng-hui called them bandits. How could Ma, who was vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council at the time of Lee's comment, not understand the CCP's true nature? The CCP has consistently sponsored violence, so is it any surprise that it snatched a few flags?
In saying that Taiwan had been participating in the games longer than China, Ma seems to think that seniority matters.
But don't forget that Lee said in 1995 that "the Republic of China has existed for 84 years. The People's Republic of China has barely existed 40 years. We are the father, they are the son."
Does the CCP acknowledge this order? Not only does it refuse to acknowledge it, but a few months afterwards it held military exercises to act out "the son beating the father." If the CCP dares to beat its elders, why would it care which country had participated in an athletic competition more often?
Ma was "completely sur-prised" by China's brutishness, but the word "completely" exposes the limits of Ma's political wisdom. Ma is completely unaware of the CCP's dictatorial nature, so it's no wonder that Chinese President Hu Jintao is his idol.
Could it be that Ma thinks that his support for eventual unification would make China treat Taiwan better? To the CCP, Taiwan will forever be one of its regional administrations, the KMT will always be the CCP's child, and Ma will never be anything more than one of China's chief executives.
In the past, Ma has ordered the confiscation of Taiwanese flags at international sports competitions in Taipei because they violate Olympic convention. However, the fact that even spectators have had their Taiwanese flags confiscated demonstrates Ma's increasing willingness to pander to the CCP.
With Ma's lack of understanding of Taiwan's state affairs, it is not strange that people worry that he will be equally surprised by the possible consequences of former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh's campaign to topple President Chen Shui-bian.
If Ma is elected president in 2008 and the CCP chooses to invade Taiwan militarily or through other deceptive means, that would probably come as a complete surprise to him as well, condemning Taiwan to eternal perdition.
Paul Lin is a political commentator based in Taipei.
Translated by Marc Langer
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