Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Direct Flights: Is the Door Locked on the Inside or the Outside?

Direct Flights: Is the Door Locked on the Inside or the Outside?
United Daily News
translated by Bevin Chu
June 13, 2007

Comment: An excellent editorial. Really nails Pan Green mendacity to the wall.

Why are the Pan Greens so terrified of direct links? Because direct links would undermine their ongoing attempt to indoctrinate the Chinese people on Taiwan with the notion that they are "Taiwanese, not Chinese."

Taiwan independence is rooted not in any alleged love of "freedom, democracy, and human rights," but in self-hating "Taiwanese, not Chinese" identity politics.

Close contact with fellow Chinese on the Chinese mainland would subvert the Pan Green attempt to promote "wen hua tai du" (culturally oriented Taiwan independence) by making boogeymen of their fellow Chinese.

Direct Flights: Is the Door Locked on the Inside or the Outside?
United Daily News
translated by Bevin Chu
June 13, 2007

The Kuomintang (KMT) has proposed a "Direct Flights Plebiscite." The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Legislative Committee has mocked its proposal, declaring that the matter is simply "not up to us." Their argument is pretty strange, considering that the DPP is the biggest obstacle to direct flights across the Taiwan Straits.

Taiwan's economy has been in a slump. The main reason is the DPP's Closed Door Policy. This is something that both the man in the street and international rating organizations understand quite well. Now, the opposition party wants to break through the DPP's self-imposed blockade by holding a plebiscite. The DPP has responded, saying the door was locked not by the Chen regime from the inside, but by the Chinese Communist Party from the outside. Does the DPP really think it can shrug off its own responsibility like that?

Closer examination of the DPP's argument that "The Commies locked the door, not us" reveals that the DPP has fallen into its own trap. At first the DPP told people: For the political and economic security of Taiwan, we cannot allow direct flights to and from the mainland. Many people believed them. They believed that Taiwan's front door must be locked, and direct flights must not be allowed. But years later, many of these same people have realized that a perpetual state of siege is not the answer. The status quo must change. So now the DPP tells everybody: "The reason you can't get out, is that the door is locked from the outside." Does the DPP really think the public is going to swallow that argument?

In reality, Deep Green hardliners within the DPP have always opposed direct flights, and the DPP has always exaggerated the negative impact of direct flights. Yet today, the DPP is loudly proclaiming that direct flights are "not up to us," implying that "It's not that we're opposed to direct flights. It's that Beijing won't agree." Well if that truly is the case, then why does the DPP oppose a "Direct Flights Plebiscite?" Why doesn't it actively encourage the public to participate in the plebiscite, expressing the will of the people? Wouldn't that make the DPP's willingness to promote direct flights known to Beijing? The DPP insists that direct flights are "not up to us." The reality is the DPP is unwilling to acknowledge the reality of "Anti-Closed Door" public sentiment.

The direct flights issue has evolved to the point where it must be put to a vote. The saddest aspect of this controversy is not whether the door was locked from the inside or from the outside, but that a political party purporting to be "democratic" and "progressive" cares nothing about the will of the people. A political party that relentlessly trumpets the value of plebiscites as an expression of the will of the people, regards plebiscites as its exclusive franchise, and forbids its use to others. Not content to manipulate public opinion, the DPP also subverts the democratic process.

The KMT's "Direct Flights Plebiscite" may be a defensive maneuver aimed at the DPP's "KMT Party Assets Plebiscite." But at a deeper level it also has offensive significance. Besides liberating the KMT from self-imposed restrictions, it allows the KMT to turn one of the DPP's favorite weapons against itself. If direct flights are "not up to us," is "Joining the UN under the name of Taiwan" up to us? Why is it permissible to hold a plebiscite on "Joining the UN under the name of Taiwan," despite the fact that it is "not up to us," but not permissible to hold a plebiscite on "direct flights?" Are we to understand that whether the public on Taiwan is permitted to hold a plebiscite is up to the DPP?

The fact is the "Direct Flights Plebiscite" and the "Joining the UN under the name of Taiwan Plebiscite" are different level issues that require different level solutions. Cross-Straits direct flights will of course touch upon sensitive issues such as air routes. But because they involve only the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, so long as both sides are sincere, finding a compromise at the technical level should not be too difficult. In fact, direct flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong and between Taiwan and Macau have already provided us with precedents. On this point the DPP, due to its ossified mindset, may be unable to achieve a breakthrough. The KMT on the other hand, may be able to make some progress by making an end run around the problem. Plebiscites in favor of "Joining the UN under the name of the Republic of China" or "Joining the UN under the name of Taiwan" will inevitably touch upon other nations' China policy. Those, by contrast, truly are "not up to us."

Recently, game wardens attempting to capture a "tiger" in the Linkou mountain area wound up capturing a dog instead. The 2004 "Taiwan Independence Plebiscite" became the "Guided Missiles Plebiscite." The "Guided Missiles Plebiscite" became the "Buy Guided Missiles Plebiscite." The exalted status of plebiscites under a constitutional government has been reduced to an election season farce. Today, both the Blue and Green camps are determined to "link" plebiscites to elections, as tightly as possible. Predictably, few will capture any "tigers," but many will capture dogs. Seeing plebiscites abused in such a manner is hardly something anyone wants to see.

Don't tell us how many locks have been installed on the door to the Chinese mainland. Just ask the DPP to remove the locks it has installed on the inside of the door. Otherwise, why shouldn't we demand a plebiscite?

Original Chinese below:

2007.06.13 04:08 am










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