October 2, 2000
If the fanatical TAIP, aka Taiwan Independence Party, aka "Jianguodang," is to be believed, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore is the Nemesis of Taiwan Independence, the James Cameron T2 Terminator of Taiwan Independence.
About twenty TAIP members, a significant percentage of the fringe party's membership, picketed the Taoyuan Westin where Lee Kuan Yew was a VIP guest and the National Palace Museum where his wife was a VIP visitor. Their angry banners read "Lee Kuan Yew, Betrayer of Taiwan, Get out!"
Talk about killing the messenger. Actually they were just getting warmed up.
Taiwan independence "ji ben jiao pai" or "fundamentalists" from both the DPP and TAIP then went on the evening talk show circuit to rant incoherently against the venerable Senior Minister, a guest of ROC president Chen Shui-bian, who knew Lee when Chen was still Mayor of Taipei.
After enduring their diatribes one Taiwanese woman viewer phoned in and wondered why Taiwan independence zealots, who are in the quaint habit of referring to themselves as "Brave Taiwanese," were so anxious about what the former leader of the tiny city-state might say about Taiwan. Did they think Singapore was about to launch a military invasion of Taiwan?
Actually the Taiwan independence zealots' concern may not have been entirely misplaced.
Taiwan independence zealots are worried that Lee Kuan Yew's utterances during his unofficial or "officially unofficial" visit to Taipei might be like the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Chaos Theory, generate a Perfect Storm halfway around the world, and bring down their Taiwan independence House of Cards.
For while the Senior Minister at age 77 is no spring chicken, his political vision remains a perfect 20/20. Lee Kuan Yew, the Sage of Singapore, in contrast with Lee Teng-hui, the Tinpot of Taiwan, sees with crystal clarity the utter futility of Taiwan independence. Lee Kuan Yew has never been one to mince words or pull punches, and like Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," could easily have embarassed the Taiwan independence zealots under the full glare of the media spotlight, had that been his intent. It was of course not, and Lee Kuan Yew has since quietly returned to Singapore.
As SM Lee told Asiaweek magazine, [September 22 , 2000, Vol. 26 No. 37 Asiaweek, "The Sage of Singapore"]
"If China does not disintegrate, reunification is inevitable. That's what I told president Lee Teng-hui. If China disintegrates, all bets are off, so why try to pre-empt? It's a matter of time for them to get the system changed. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore will be useful to them for another 10 to 20 years because we still know bits and pieces which they do not know. In another two or three generations we may be learning from them. This is going to change the world, unless they implode, which I don't think likely."
This of course is the last thing Taiwan's quisling elite wants to hear.
Motivated by unprincipled and shortsighted opportunism, Lee Teng-hui and his ilk sold out their own people and cast their lot with Taiwan's brutal colonizers, the Japanese. Having sold their souls to become ersatz, second class Japanese, the last thing Taiwan's Quisling elite wants to contemplate is the distressing prospect they might have bet on the wrong horse.
The week before last Chinese historian Li Ao showed a remarkable photograph on his nightly TV talkshow, an ancient black and white photo of Chinese Quislings caught in the act of consumating their Faustian bargain with Taiwan's colonial oppressors. These Quislings stood in a circle around an chest high pile of wooden ancestral plaques. Surrounding this inner circle of Quislings was a second, larger circle of Japanese officials. These Japanese officials' duty was to witness the Quislings set fire to their ancestral plaques, to watch as the plaques turned to ash, to listen as the Quislings declared they were no longer Chinese and had always been Japanese.
The Quislings' reward for their soul-degrading self-abasement? Material comforts and political privileges denied the majority of courageous Taiwan Chinese who could not bring themselves to engage in such self-demeaning behavior, not to mention immunity from "comfort women" sexual enslavement if one was a woman and forced labor at the frontlines if one was a man.
Not surprisingly, when Japanophile Quisling No. 1 Lee Teng-hui was dogged by Taiwan reporters who demanded to know whether he thought Lee Kuan Yew's visit might be of help in restarting cross straits talks, he testily shot back, "No help!"
Not surprisingly, when Japanophile Quisling No. 2 Vice President Annette Lu learned of the Senior Minister's impending visit she sternly warned him not to "deliver information or influence people."
Optimistic predictions about China's future from Lee Kuan Yew are especially upsetting to Taiwan's Japanophile Quislings, because they contain the unmistakable ring of truth. Lee Kuan Yew, the Ludwig Erhard of southeast Asia, is not one to indulge in idle speculation. Lee Kuan Yew and his Peoples' Action Party, led Singapore, a minuscule city-state of 3 million out of Third World poverty and into First World prosperity in a mere 30 years. Singaporeans currently earn even more per annum than Canadians.
The Taiwan independence elite claims to have its finger on the political pulse of Taiwan, and claims that its elitist dream of an aptly named "ROT" or "Republic of Taiwan" is shared by the Taiwan public.
The Taiwan independence elite is half right.
The Taiwan independence elite does indeed know what the public on Taiwan wants. The problem for them is the Chinese people on Taiwan don't want what the Taiwan independence elite wants. The problem for them is the hearts of Chinese people on Taiwan do not beat to the Taiwan independence tune. And that makes them mad.
On Monday September 25, 2000 for example, on "Er Yi Lin Lin, Quan Min Kai Jiang," a politically themed TV talk show hosted by Li Tao, Taiwan's answer to Larry King, copycat suspenders and all, the question for the evening was:
"Are Taiwanese also Chinese?"
Of the 5070 viewers who called in, 4399 or 87% agreed, 632 or 12% disagreed, and 39 or 1% were not sure.
For the record, Li Tao, host of "21:00, Quan Min Kai Jiang" which might be translated loosely as "21:00, The People Speak," makes little effort to disguise his own Taiwan independence sympathies, so he is hardly susceptible to the charge that he fudged the numbers to favor Chinese reunification.
Besides, Li Tao's show, as popular as it is, is hardly the only one of its kind. Viewer response on the other popular politically oriented primetime TV talk shows such as "Da Jia Lai Sheng Pan" ("You be the Judge"), "Ba Dian Da Xiao Seng" ("Big and Little Voices at 8:00"), and "Xiang Diu Lun" ("Relativity") during recent months has been virtually identical.
Taiwan viewers have repeatedly and soundly rejected the DPP's Taiwan independence agenda and vented mounting frustration with Chen Shui-bian's insincere foot dragging on resuming cross straits reunification talks.
Shortly after his inauguration, while inspecting a brand new Boeing 737 destined for service as the ROC's own "Air Force One," Chen Shui-bian invoked a lame metaphor about how Taiwan was an airliner and A-Bian was a Chuck Yeager Pilot with the Right Stuff who would fly 23 million passengers safely to their destination.
A-Bian's risible attempt to do a Ronald Reagan Great Communicator number elicited no little amusement among opposition party legislators, who piled on with extended tongue in cheek airplane metaphors of their own.
In fact the most telling metaphor of all is that 23 million Chinese on Taiwan are nothing less than victims of an airline hijacking, and the Taiwan independence elite are their hijackers.
Citizens of the Republic of China have been dutifully paying taxes to the government of the Republic of China. Citizens of the Republic of China have been dutifully voting for candidates running for the office of President of the Republic of China. Citizens of the Republic of China paid good money for tickets on the understanding their seats were on a plane belonging to China Airlines, and their final destination, One China.
Little did they know that once aboard the air crew would suddenly remove their blue "China Airlines" uniforms to reveal green "Taiwan Airlines" uniforms underneath, and announce that "we have assumed control of the plane and shall be proceeding not to the destination indicated on your ticket, but to a new destination of our choosing. Next stop, Tokyo."
Or as mealy-mouthed DPP spokesmen have become proficient at "explaining" to incredulous ROC citizens, "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country, its current name is the Republic of China."
Yeah, right. "And I'm Chow Yun Fat, internationally reknowned movie star from Hongkong, my current name is Bevin Chu."
As I said before, for 23 million hapless passengers of China Airlines Flight 2000, a hijacking is the only airplane metaphor that really resonates.
On Friday September 22, 2000, on "Er Yi Lin Lin Quan Min Kai Jiang," or "21:00, The People Speak" the question for the evening was,
"Do you have confidence in the government of President Chen Shui-bian?"
Of the 10,814 viewers who called in, 1,000 or 9% said yes, 9,759 or 90% said no, and 55 or 1% had no opinion.
When A-Bian invoked his airliner analogy he was probably thinking Charleton Heston in "Airport." The ROC public on the other hand, was almost certainly thinking Peter Graves in "Airplane."
On Wednesday September 13, 2000 on "Ba Dian Da Xiao Seng," or "Big and Little Voices at 8:00," the question for the evening was,
"Should the DPP as the ruling party continue to reject reunification?"
Of the 6,654 viewers who called in, 1,760 or 26% said it should, while 4,894 or 74% said it shouldn't.
On Friday September 1, 2000 on "Er Yi Lin Lin, Quan Min Kai Jiang" or "21:00, The People Speak," the question for the evening was,
"Chiang Ching-kuo, Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian: which of the last three presidents during the past 13 years are you the most satisfied with?"
Of the 10,993 viewers who called in, 8,662 or 79% answered Chiang Ching-kuo, 719 or 6% answered Lee Teng-hui, and 1,612 or 15% answered Chen Shui-bian.
These numbers are all the more astonishing considering "mainlander" Chiang Ching-kuo, whom Taiwan's quisling elite assures us was a ruthless dictator hated by all Taiwan Chinese, died twelve years ago, while "native Taiwanese" Lee Teng-hui, aka "Mr. Democracy" left office only four months ago.
So what happened?
Plenty. It didn't take long for "native Taiwanese" to figure out that while Lee Teng-hui might have been "one of us," so what? Lee Teng-hui was a Ferdinand Marcos crook who was robbing "us" blind. Chiang Ching-kuo on the other hand, while "from out of state" and an authoritarian to boot, was at least an honest authoritarian, a clean authoritarian, an uncorrupt authoritarian who genuinely cared about the well-being of the Taiwan people.
Score one for the Chinese people on Taiwan. Score zero for Taiwan's Quisling elite.
Poll results such as these are clearly devastating to the Taiwan independence elites' transparent fiction, disseminated uncritically by our "objective" western media, by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek magazine, that the ROC public "yearns for Taiwan independence" and considers itself "Taiwanese, not Chinese."
On-air polls are of course, as I have freely acknowledged, not "scientific." No matter. Results such as these are fully consistent with other more "official" gauges of public sentiment, not the least of which was the recent presidential election.
In fact the Taiwan independence elites' conduct, which drowns out their words, is proof positive they know perfectly well how the ROC majority feels about Taiwan independence.
That's why A-Bian campaigned the way he did, talking up his "New Centrist Path" and distancing himself from the DPP's pro independence party charter. That's why A-Bian solemnly promised, if elected, NOT to make the slightest move toward Taiwan independence. That's why the Taiwan independence elite sings one tune inside Taiwan to attract votes from a political center decidedly unenthusiastic about Taiwan independence, while singing a very different one outside Taiwan to perpetuate the false impression held by most westerners that the ROC public longs for an independent Republic of Taiwan.
Most American readers' reaction by now is, or ought to be, "There's got to be some mistake! This can't be right? Our mainstream media can't possibly be that wrong about Taiwan independence, can they?"
As libertarian anti-interventionists familiar with the real story behind Kosovo know, the answer is "No mistake. Our mainstream media has in fact gotten it exactly wrong."
As John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine, a techie with no political axe to grind, put it in a June 17, 1997 op-ed piece, "My Trip to China."
"China was not what I expected... Let me say this: our media is doing a crummy job of keeping us abreast of what's going on over there... Anyone who thinks this is anything like Russia or the Eastern bloc is as wrong in their assumptions as is imaginable. I would advise you to go see for yourself what's really going on."
Dvorak is being far too kind. Our academia/government/media establishment has treated the American public with the same casual contempt that Christoff, the Svengali-ish media mogul played by Ed Harris, treated his unwitting puppet Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey, in the 1998 SF hit, "The Truman Show."
My father had to be hospitalized last week for an operation. He checked himself into a room at the Veterans' Hospital in Shilin. Both his roommates were diehard anti-communists, veterans of China's Civil War against Mao Zedong's PLA. I should have taped their remarks. They know who the real enemy of the Republic of China is, and weren't shy about sharing their views with anyone who would listen.
One hint: It ain't the PLA.
Just who is it that stands in the way of Taiwan independence?
Is it merely the ruling elite in Beijing? Is it "merely" 95% of 1.3 billion Chinese across the Taiwan Straits? Or is it every other officer, noncom and enlisted man in the Republic of China's armed forces on Taiwan?
Remember Mel Gibson's Scottish nationalist epic, "Braveheart?" Remember the scene where Irish troops unexpectedly defect from the ranks of Edward Longshank's English to join Braveheart's Scots?
Pro Taiwan independence "China experts" and strategic analysts who drone on in authoritative tones about relative troop strengths and armament specifications are utterly clueless about what might in fact happen if Taiwan's Quisling elite provokes open warfare between Chinese soldiers on Taiwan and Chinese soldiers on the mainland.
A-Bian on the other hand, knows this. That's why immediately after his inauguration he dutifully rushed to every last military academy graduation ceremony on the island, frantically waving red, white and blue Republic of China flags and shouting "Zhong hua min guo wan shui!" or "Long live the Republic of China!" at the top of his lungs until he was red in the face.
Let me tell you, pro reunification New Party, People First Party and Kuomintang Reform Faction members got some good belly laughs watching the pro independence A-Bian go through those motions!
Not that it did any good. The TAIEX just fell from a 52 week high of 10,393 to a new 52 week low, below the psychologically important 6500 support level.
Poor A-Bian. He can't understand why nobody believes him. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that four months after his inauguration he still can't bring himself to say three little words, could it?
"I... am... Chinese."
Singapore's Straits Times is currently featuring a special webpage dedicated to Lee Kuan Yew's newly published autobiography, "From Third World to First."
If there is something else I can do that would enable my fellow Americans to better understand how the Chinese people feel about Taiwan independence, than to turn them on to Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore's superb newspaper, The Straits Times, I can't imagine what it would be.
Read especially the segments on "Relations with Taiwan's Leaders," "SM Lee, the go-between," and "Deng Xiaoping's China," by clicking on the pulldown menu.
An hour devoted to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew's uncannily perceptive political insights is worth a hundred squandered on scribblings by China-hating "China experts" such as William Triplett and Edward Timperlake, authors of Year of the Rat and Red Dragon Rising.
A contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's out-of-print classic study of the Old Right conservatives, Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism. Send contributions to
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