Sunday, March 08, 2009

China Dissents, Taiwan Represents

This story broke today about more calls for democracy and for an independent judiciary in China.
VETERAN communists including Mao Tse-tung’s surviving personal secretary, who is 91, have braved the wrath of party leaders in an appeal for more democracy in China, an end to censorship and an independent legal system.

Sixteen party veterans made the call in a letter to President Hu Jintao, ostensibly to voice concern at the lack of public scrutiny of China’s £400 billion economic stimulus package.

“We fear that the privileged class and corrupt officials will make use of this to fatten themselves,” they wrote. “If the relationship between party and people is destroyed in this way, social conflict will become acute.”

The text, published by the intellectual magazine Zheng Ming in Hong Kong, expounds a liberal agenda echoing Charter 08, a mass petition for democracy that is circulating in China despite an official ban.

“We should practise democratic elections, democratic policy-making, management and supervision, entrusting people with the right to know, to participate in politics, express their views and supervise their government,” the letter said.
...while apparently a letter to Obama is being circulated among Chinese dissident communities overseas asking that the Charles Freeman not be appointed NIC chief. The New Republic has it and a list of 87 signatories.

The calls in China keep coming. Taiwan can inspire them -- but only as Taiwan, and not as a satrapy of the Empire of Beijing or as a security state run by A Certain Political Party. That is why the independence and democracy of Taiwan is so important, not only to the 23 million people of Taiwan, but also to the 1.3 billion people of China.

Why am I restating this blindingly obvious point? Because the subject of the letter, Chas. Freeman, doesn't get it. He has said that annexing Taiwan to China....:
It would, however, eliminate the only conceivable cause and venue of armed conflict between the United States and China. And it would maximize the influence of the values Taiwan exemplifies on the mainland.
The reality is, as we are experiencing now, is that as Taiwan moves closer to China, it moves farther from democracy.

Don't forget to check out my blog sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


MikeinTaipei said...

Ah … good old Marty Peretz, whose article “The Freeman Matter Will Not Die” in The New Republic not only does not make a single mention of Taiwan, but also manages to misspell Hong Kong (rhymes with what cars do in traffic). If the torchbearers of the opposition to the appointment of Freeman at the NIC are to be ideological neo-conservative radicals like him—him who, by the way, was lobbying US President Bush nine days after 9/11 to bomb Iraq (was this any better than saying that the Tiananmen Square Massacre was justified?) because Saddam Hussein was “one of the leading terrorists on the face of the earth” — there’s no way the Obama administration will take the appeals seriously. I certainly won’t. The NIC is only but one of many branches of the US government and there’s no way in hell Freeman who last more than a week on the job if he indeed advocated abandoning Israel or killing Taiwan. Peretz & al are doing what they’ve always done when confronted to people who don’t subscribe to their congealed views — character assassination based on fear and innuendo rather than rational arguments.

This whole thing is a complete distraction from far more pressing problems. Much ado about nothing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael, I took a look at your sidebar. Do you have recommendations for schools for learning Chinese in Taiwan? Don't know if you ever took classes in your time in Taiwan. Many people have said good things about studying Chinese at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP), but I would consider other good options if they are out there. Michael or other readers?

reeb said...

A follow-up article in the IHT today:

Seeking justice, Chinese land in secret jails

They are often tucked away in the rough-and-tumble sections of the city's south side, hidden beneath dingy hotels and guarded by men in dark coats. Known as "black houses," they are unofficial jails for the pesky hordes of petitioners who flock to the capital seeking justice.

Dixteel said...

A lot of American, like Freeman, just don't get it. Someone I met online actually think that Taiwan can be used as a "gift" to China, a sort of carrot that can encourage China to democratize. That's just complete BS. It's important to recognize that Taiwan is not a WHORE, although a lot of people want to treat it like one.

If Taiwan unifies with China, China will not change but Taiwan will. Even much smaller country that has close tie with Taiwan like Singapore won't budge a bit in terms of democratization, what hopes do Taiwan has on changing China?! It's time these American wake up from the dream, or self-imposed lies.