Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Leave Room for Future Reconciliation and Cooperation

Leave Room for Future Reconciliation and Cooperation
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
February 19, 2008

Recent changes in the political arena make one wonder: "If that was the case, then what was the point?" These changes in the ruling DPP's past positions can only be described as sanguinary. They have been spun either as "solutions" or as "adjustments." One can only bow one's head and sigh. If the ruling DPP's current position is correct, then why the "daggers drawn" and implacable "Death before Dishonor!" posturing before?

Let's look at the twists and turns in the "Join the UN Plebiscite." The prospects for the "Join the UN Plebiscite" passing are not good. Therefore the ruling DPP is considering supporting the KMT sponsored "Return to the UN Plebiscite." It hopes to promote both of them at the same time, or else persuade the Legislative Yuan to introduce a third version. Chen Shui-bian is even considering recycling his "Defensive Plebiscite" of 2004. These ploys prove one thing. Unless the Blue camp cooperates by mobilizing public support, any and all plebiscites will be DOA. The results of the two previous plebiscites "linked" to the general election prove that the issue is not whether voters will give the plebiscite a one-half majority, but whether voters will allow the plebiscites to qualify at all.

The Blue camp is apparently determined to give the plebiscites the cold shoulder, to the bitter end. It is indifferent to both plebiscites and opposed to the Legislative Yuan trotting out a third version. If Chen Shui-bian promotes another "Defensive Plebiscite," the Blue camp may well launch a "Boycott the Plebiscites" movement. A number of NGOs and Taiwan businessmen are already organizing for that purpose. When the time comes, it may not even be necessary for the Blue camp to mobilize. It need only allow the plebiscites to wither on the vine. The Green camp, in promoting its "Join the UN Plebiscite," finds itself on the horns of a dilemma. It is riding a tiger and can't get off.

Watching Chen, Lu, and Hsieh, marching in lockstep, supporting the KMT sponsored "Return to the UN Plebiscite," has not merely left Pan Blue supporters dumfounded, it has left Pan Green supporters baffled as well. Does anyone remember how Chen Shui-bian characterized the "Return to the UN Plebiscite?" He characterized it as a "Surrender Plebiscite." He quoted the late President President Chiang Kai-shek, who in a moment of weakness, lamented that the Republic of China died on February 1, 1950. Chen said that the ROC died a second time in 1971, when it was expelled from the United Nations. He asked whether a nation "that has already died twice, can really rise from the dead?" The remarks of Government Information Office Chief Hsieh Chih-wei were equally nasty. He said the "Rejoin the UN Plebiscite" was "using plebiscites to undermine plebiscites" and amounted to "collusion with the Chinese Communists." Do their damning accusations no longer count? Has Chen Shui-bian reversed himself? Is he now saying he supported the "Surrender Plebiscite" all along? Is Hsieh Chih-wei now willing to support a "Plebiscite to undermine Plebiscites?" Forget the bafflement of Pan Blue supporters. One can only wonder how Green camp supporters feel in the face of their own leadership's complete flip-flop.

Suppose the Blue camp eagerly goes along with the Green camp initiative. Suppose it allows the "Join the UN" and "Rejoin the UN" plebiscites to be merged into a single plebiscite. Suppose it is willing to go along with a third plebiscite. That would mean Blue camp supporters are utterly indifferent to the insults heaped upon them before. That would mean as long as the Green camp deigns to smile upon them, Blue camp supporters will happily dance to the Green camp's tune. If that truly is the case, then what are Blue camp supporters except doormats -- willing victims of Green camp abuse?

Let's look at another development. According to media reports, Chen Shui-bian recently met with the chairmen of a number of Taiwan business associations on mainland China. He resolved to lift restrictions on cross-strait trade, grant amnesty to Taiwan businessmen, cut taxes, and expand the "Three Mini-Links." He affected great concern for them. His gesture may have been a concession for the sake of Frank Hsieh's campaign. But anyone with a memory remembers what vicious charges the Green camp, from Chen Shui-bian on down, leveled against Taiwan businessmen in the past. They accused them of emptying out Taiwan's coffers, of transferring wealth to "China" and leaving the debts in Taiwan, of trampling over "native industries," resulting in the hollowing out of Taiwan's industries. They even threatened to put Taiwan businessmen on a Most Wanted List for "Economic Felonies." Not long ago Taiwan businessmen purchasing airline tickets in order to return to Taiwan to vote, were said to be "in the pay of China." The Green camp has been making such accusations for at least eight years. Can they really be wiped from our memories with the stroke of pen?

For the past eight years, Taiwan businessmen have been vilified in every manner imagineable. In terms of policy, they have been subjected to "active management." They have been denied their right to travel directly to and from the mainland, and subjected to an array of capital and technology restrictions. These restrictions have never been relaxed. In terms of image, pro-independence media and pro-green academics have relentlessly painted Taiwan businessmen both "red" and "black." Now Chen drops the word "relaxation," as if intoning the words changes everything. He says he wants to grant them "amnesty," as if by doing so he was bestowing an immense favor upon them. One can only imagine how they feel inside.

If today this can be accomodated, and that can be discussed, why was there so little room for accomodation and discussion before? If the restrictions were merely for the sake of votes, if their past positions can be abandoned whenever expedient, how can they be expected to deliver on any pledges made today? Can they be counted on to honor them? Suppose the situation changes? Will they simply renege, yet again? Much of what we say goes on the record, and not everyone is afflicted with amnesia. In order to leave room for reconciliation and coexistence tomorrow, shouldn't we leave some things unsaid today?


最近政壇發生的不少事,都可以用「早知如此,何必當初」來當註腳,若干昔日 可謂是「殺聲震天」的議題,最近紛紛出現變化,不是說要解套,就是說要調整, 真的讓人不禁感嘆:如果今日種種「是非」是認真的,那麼昔日擺出那般「箭拔弩 張」、「勢不兩立」之態勢,又是所為何來?

先看入聯公投的轉向。由於預期「入聯公投」的結果不看好,當局於是試探轉向 支持藍營所推的「返聯公投」,希望能夠讓兩項公投併推,或是整合由立法院再推 出公投的第三案,陳總統甚至不排除還要再推防禦性公投。這些頻頻出招的動作, 其實只說明了一件事,即公投入聯如果還要玩得下去,除非藍營願意動員配合,否 則依前兩次「公投綁大選」的經驗,入聯公投會不會過早已不是重點,能不能通過 領票數過半的門檻恐怕才是問題。

問題是藍營似乎擺明了要「冷處理」到底,既對兩案並陳反應冷淡,也拒絕由立 院再提第三案。如果扁屆時再提防禦性公投,藍營很可能再發動拒領公投票。目前 若干民間團體乃至台商團體都已經在串聯拒領公投票,到時候或許根本不需要藍營 動員,只須消極以待就足夠讓公投案擱置。這意味綠營所強推的「公投入聯」,目 前正陷入進退失據、甚至騎虎難下的態勢。

看到扁呂謝同步定調支持藍營的「返聯公投」,不要說藍營支持者感到迷惘,恐 怕是綠營選民都會被搞糊塗吧!還記得陳水扁昔日曾怎麼狠批「返聯公投」嗎?他 直指返聯公投就是「投降公投」,還說「中華民國」在一九五○年二月一日故總統 蔣介石復行視事之際,以及一九七一年退出聯合國的時候,「已經死了兩次,難道 會活起來嗎?」新聞局長謝志偉的批判同樣難聽,說返聯公投是「用公投亂公 投」,是「和共產黨一鼻孔出氣」。這些當初狠批的語言,如今究竟還算不算數? 難道陳水扁也改口支持他所痛批的「投降公投」,難道謝志偉也願意力挺「公投亂 公投」?先不提藍營支持者會怎麼想,這麼大的立場翻轉,有理會過綠營的支持者 會怎麼想嗎?

話再說回來,如果藍營欣然接受綠營的倡議,讓入聯、返聯兩案輕易整合成一 案,或是願意提出第三案,那也就意味他們對當初所承受的種種羞辱,完全不在 意,只要綠營臉色一變,也都願意跟著起舞,真要如此,藍營豈不是犯賤,自甘被 綠營耍著玩?

再看看另一項訊息:根據媒體報導,陳總統日前在約見數名大陸台商協會會長 後,初步決議鬆綁兩岸經貿,包括特赦台商、調整稅制、擴大實施小三通等,擺出 一幅要照顧台商的姿態。問題是,不論這是不是為配合謝長廷的競選政見所做的調 整,至少稍有記憶的人都知道,往昔綠營從陳水扁以降,曾經扣過台商多少個罪 名!什麼掏空台灣經濟、錢進中國債留台灣、造成台灣產業空洞化、打擊台灣本土 企業等,一度還有意以重大經濟犯罪之名通緝台商,甚至還沒有多久之前,連台商 自助與航空公司預購機票返台投票,都被說成是在領「中國走路工」。這些指控, 講白一點,至少整整罵了八年,難道如今就都這麼一筆勾消?

這八年,扣在台商身上的當然不只形形色色的罪名。政策上,從積極管理、拒絕 直航、乃至於各種形形色色的資金與技術設限等,從未曾放鬆過;形象論述上,不 論是獨派學者還是親綠媒體,無時無刻不在使勁地將他們抹紅抹黑,如今一句「鬆 綁」,彷彿說句閒話般就全轉向了,說要給他們「特赦」,猶如給他們多大恩惠, 站在他們的立場想想吧,這算是什麼跟什麼呢!

如果今天變成這也可以調整,那也可以商量,那當初又何苦把話說得一點餘地都 不留?如果只是為了選票考量,什麼旗幟鮮明的立場都可都說變就變,那試問我們 今天又怎麼能信任此刻的保證,未來一定都能兌現?萬一情況再有變,是不是臉一 翻又都全不認帳了?要知道,許多話一旦說了出去,就是有紀錄了,同時也並不是 所有人的記性,都是那麼差的!要預留未來和解共生的空間,難道今天不該多積點 口德嗎?

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