By Chen Gau-tzu 陳昭姿
IN APRIL 2005, with the knowledge that he would never gain the presidential seat, then Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) visited China and began to promote the idea of working with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to prevent Taiwanese independence. Later, the KMT began promoting the so-called KMT and CCP cooperation platform.
Perhaps because Lien's successor has a much better chance at the presidency, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) does not dare visit China, but during interviews with the international press, he says that his party's goal is unification.
While the proposal of teaming up with the CCP to suppress independence led the public to chastise President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) government for not taking preventative measures, the threat of eventual unification led the public to once again turn their hopes to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
For many years, Taiwan's economy has relied too heavily on China, allowing it to lay economic siege on Taiwan and to manipulate Taiwanese politics.
Many staunch academic supporters of Taiwan's position often warn against the possibility of Taiwan becoming another Hong Kong. Although that is a danger, turning into another Tibet would be even worse.
The Dalai Lama pointed out in a speech to the US Congress 20 years ago that China had sent 7.5 million Han immigrants to Tibet outnumbering the 6 million original Tibetans. China admits that in central and western Tibet -- the Tibet Autonomous Region -- the 1.9 million Tibetans there have become the area's minority.
In March, the Tibetan representative in Japan told Japanese media that China has drawn up further plans to move 20 million Han people to Tibet. He is extremely concerned that should this plan be realized, Tibetan culture and ethnic character will disappear completely.
Although the Taiwanese public elected a new ruling party in 2000, the KMT is kept alive by the wealth it accumulated from corruption during its half a century of autocratic rule and recent aid and investments from a China betting on KMT cooperation.
Recently, the KMT has been promoting cooperation between the KMT and the CCP and preaching the three direct links, which totally compromises national autonomy and security. Ma even publicly announced that he would recognize Chinese academic qualifications if he wins the presidency.
If these policies were implemented, Taiwan's future could be seen in today's Tibet: Taiwan's 23 million people would be marginalized and belittled, our grassroots lifestyle and culture would become diluted or obliterated and education and employment opportunities would be handed over to China. Tibet has a government in exile that can combat China's Tibet -- Taiwan would have no such fulcrum for leverage.
Joining with China to suppress Taiwanese independence is just the first step toward the goal of transforming Taiwan into another Hong Kong. The second step would consist of obliterating Taiwan by transforming it into a new Tibet.
The face-off between pan-green independence and pan-blue unification is a fight for the very existence of Taiwanese values, which should be maintained in every political contest in every election until the KMT gives up their narrow-minded fantasy of cooperating with China.
Chen Gau-tzu is chief secretary of the Northern Taiwan Society.
Translated by Angela Hong