Thursday, August 18, 2011

Antonio Chiang Column in Apple Daily: Ma not fit to be President

A friend passed along his translation of an Antonio Chiang column from Apple Daily this week. Chiang was a former presidential advisor in the Chen Administration, longtime journalist, and editor of Apple Daily.


Antonio Chiang: Ma Not Fit To Be President

Antonio Chiang is one of Taiwan’s best-known journalists and political commentators. His daily column appears in the Apple Daily, where he writes under his pen name of Sima Wenwu.The Chinese original, published on 17 August, is here.

US Vice President Joe Biden visits Beijing on 17 August. Even if this isn’t an alarm for Taiwan, it is at least an unfriendly signal. But the Ma government thinks that relations with the US are better than they have ever been and that the situation with China is peachy-keen. In reality, this is just Ma is feeling good about himself.

Twenty-nine years ago today, the US and China issued the 821 Communique. In the communique, the US agreed (1) not to treat China and Taiwan as separate countries or to pursue a two-China policy and (2) to restrict the quantity and quality of arms sales to Taiwan. This was a great shock to the KMT of at the time. Ma Ying-jeou, who was Chiang Ching-kuo’s English secretary, should understand this better than anyone.

The focus of the 817 Commuique was arms sales. Biden’s trip to Beijing coincides with an arms sale. He cannot not discuss the F-16 issue. The discussion just won’t be public. US-China relations have never been better. That’s why US-Taiwan relations are lagging behind.

Beijing has refused to establish relations with three of Taiwan’s allies. Ma Ying-jeou isn’t treating this as a diplomatic crisis. Instead, he’s pleased. For him, this is a good example of how to find a way out for Taiwan’s diplomacy.

It is like Taiwan has a friend who is cheating on him and is about to throw herself onto China’s bosom. Hu Jintao is sitting there calmly refusing to make love to the friend. Ma Ying-jeou thinks this is something to be proud of and is parading it around to everyone. What has he gone and done with Taiwan’s national dignity and pride?

Asking Ma for national dignity is asking for too much since his nation’s territory is different from ours. If you talk about pride, he will ask what pride could Taiwan take in the Chen Shui-bian era. But Ma has entrusted his foreign policy to Zhongnanhai. Taiwan’s way out depends on the Chinese Communist Party’s mood. This isn’t a replica of the Finland model. It’s an upgraded version!

During the Cold War, Finland’s foreign relations and defense depended on Moscow’s mood. But Finland had a powerful sense of nationhood. Its internal affairs, politics, economy, society, education, and culture were autonomous and independent. As the people of Finland waited for their opportunity to escape the Soviet Union’s control at the earliest opportunity, they worked hard to make Finland a better place.

Taiwan is in difficult position. Beijing has to be given face, but Ma Ying-jeou is depicting the crumbs that Beijing bestows as political achievements. This is the posture that a vassal state assumes before its master. Ma Ying-jeou is not fit to be a democratically elected president.
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