Chiang Ching-kuo is not a Chi-Com Fellow Traveler
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 8, 2008
January 13th is the 20th anniversary of Chiang Ching-kuo's passing. The ruling DPP regime is attempting to drop the Republic of China and the two Chiangs down their Orwellian "memory hole." Commemorating Chiang Ching-kuo gives us the opportunity to uncover the truth about Taiwan's history, to reconstruct our shared memory, and to provide food for thought.
Chen Shui-bian's ongoing campaign to purge all traces of the Two Chiangs from the island has inspired the public to reminisce and reflect upon the elder Chiang's merits and demerits. The public seldom thought about these political issues in the past. Chen Shui-bian's attempt to demagogue the issue has backfired. Instead, a more balanced consensus has emerged. Most people believe that Chiang Kai-shek had both merits and demerits. They believe Chen Shui-bian's determination to define Chiang as the "Chief Culprit in the 228 Incident" is one-sided and imbalanced. After all, Chiang Kai-shek was a staunch "Enemy of Communism, and Defender of Taiwan." They cannot allow Chen Shui-bian arbitrarily consign Chiang Kai-shek to the lowest rung of Hell. Even if some people are unhappy with the Two Chiangs, Chen Shui-bian's vicious smear campaign against long dead leaders is not something most people are comfortable with.
Chen Shui-bian and the DPP are guilty of deliberately falsifying and editing history in the service of their partisan political struggle. Chiang Kai-shek was guilty of wrongdoing. But Chiang Kai-shek, the "Enemy of Communism and Defender of Taiwan," also made historic contributions. Chen Shui-bian is attempting to eradicate Chiang Kai-shek's historical status as the "Enemy of Communism, and Defender of Taiwan." He is attempting to redefine him as the "Chief Culprit in the 228 Incident." This is not historical truth. This is political spin doctoring. History is not the servant of political ends. Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party are trying to make political hay out of their anti-Chiang political campaign. They are attempting to convince the public that "Chiang Kai-shek was Public Enemy Number One" and "did nothing to protect Taiwan." They are attempting to convince the public that "Chen Shui-bian is a Great Man of Taiwan" and "innocent of corruption." Their attempts are in vain.
Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party are struggling to falsify and selectively edit Taiwan's history. They are attempting to drive a wedge between the elder Chiang and the younger Chiang. The DPP's tortured logic is: "Chiang Kai-shek is the Chief Culprit in the 228 Incident. Thefore the Republic of China is an alien regime and sold out Taiwan. Therefore mainlanders are Chi-Com fellow travelers. Therefore the people of Taiwan must oppose Chiang. Therefore the people of Taiwan must oppose the Republic of China. Therefore the people of Taiwan people must oppose mainlanders. Therefore the people of Taiwan must demand Taiwan independence."
This kind of logic is crudely unconvincing. Yet in recent years it has reigned supreme on Taiwan's political scene. Is Chiang Kai-shek really the "Chief Culprit in the 228 Incident?" Can his historical record as the "Enemy of Communism, and Defender of Taiwan" simply be deleted? If one hates the elder Chiang, does that mean one must overthrow the Republic of China? Does demanding the overthrow of the Republic of China mean that mainlanders or political dissidents must be classified as "Chi-Com fellow travelers?" Does the need to commemorate the 228 Incident mean that one must demand Taiwan independence? Furthermore, how can one talk about the history of Taiwan, how can one talk about the Republic of China, without talking about Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo? The DPP's torture logic simply cannot stand up to rational scrutiny. The recent wave of anti-Chiang campaigns has given the public the opportunity to reflect.
No one can rewrite history according to his own liking. Yet the DPP has attempted to force fit Taiwan's history into its own Procrustean bed. DPP history seems is apparently frozen at 228 Incident, 1947. Chiang Kai-shek is apparently forever frozen as the "Chief Culprit in the 228 Incident." The DPP has left Chiang's historic contribution as the "Enemy of Communism and Defender of Taiwan" on the cutting room floor. It is doing the same with Chiang Ching-kuo, Chiang Kai-shek's successor. Hence such logical non sequiteurs as equating commemoration of the 228 Incident with demands for Taiwan independence.
The Democratic Progressive Party's version of Taiwan's history cites only the 228 Incident or White Terror. Taiwan's economic miracle, gradual democratization, educational opportunities, economic equality, Taiwan's elevation to the status of the head of the Four Asian Tigers, have all been edited out of Taiwan's history. The DPP's interpretation of national identity and democracy is erected on the quicksand of historical revisionism. That is why the DPP is in its current pickle.
And yet incredibly, Chen Shui-bian is still trying to provoke a political backlash with his anti-Chiang political campaign. He is trying to argue that "We must commemorate the 228 Incident. Therefore we must purge all influences of Chiang. Therefore we must overthrow the Republic of China. Therefore we must purge mainlanders. Since the Republic of China, the KMT, and mainlanders are all representatives of an alien political authority, therefore they are all traitors to Taiwan. Therefore they are all Chi-Com fellow travelers." Chen Shui-bian has been struggling for the past year to purge all traces of Chiang and the Republic of China. But take a calm look at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which Chen Shui-bian has turned into an ideological garbage dump. The public is getting wise to Taiwan's history, which Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party have been attempting to distort and revise beyond recognition. They are becoming aware of the illogic behind Chen Shui-bian and the DPP's Taiwan independence rationale.
Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo both made valuable contributions and serious mistakes. Their mistakes will be judged by future generations. Their contributions do not need to be deliberately ignored. Chiang Kai-shek naturally bears some measure of responsibility for the 228 Incident. But Taiwan need not forever be torn apart by the 228 Incident. The 228 Incident does not mean we must overthrow the Republic of China or demand Taiwan independence. The two have no causal connection. By the same token, Chiang Ching-kuo also made valuable contributions and serious mistakes. But it is unlikely that anyone living today or in the future will say: "Chiang Ching-kuo did not love Taiwan. Chiang Ching-kuo sold out Taiwan. Chiang Ching-kuo was a Chi-Com fellow traveler."
Since mainlanders and KMT leaders such as Chiang Ching-kuo love Taiwan, are not traitors to Taiwan, or Chi-Com fellow travelers, who precisely are Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party trying to accuse of being traitors to Taiwan and Chi-Com fellow travelers?
2008.01.08 03:16 am