Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taiwan's Pride is Its Democracy, Not Its Fists

Taiwan's Pride is Its Democracy, Not Its Fists
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 22, 2008

If within a democracy one holds divergent views, the normal response is petitions or protests. Assaulting someone for holding different beliefs is beyond the pale. Vice Chairman of ARATS Zhang Minqin recently arrived in Taiwan to attend an academic conference. He was repeatedly met with shrill protests along the way. He joked that the public on Taiwan was giving him an "especially warm welcome." Zhang demonstrated remarkable forbearance. Alas, local Democratic Progressive Party officials incited their supporters to subject him to relentless harassment. They went so far as to assault Zhang and stomp on the car he was traveling in, caving in the roof. Democratic Progressive Party leaders used shockingly caustic language, openly calling him "The Enemy." They even added that "Zhang was lucky to get off so lightly." Who knew Taiwan's democracy would come to this? Who knew that the Democratic Progressive Party, which was once the ruling party, would actually consider assault and battery righteous behavior?

Ever since the Democratic Progressive Party was founded, it has hated being referred to as "a party of violence." We do not believe that endlessly repeated "isolated incidents" of violence are the essence of the Democratic Progressive Party. But these incidents happen over and over again, and the leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party never intervene. Instead, they abet and even further incite them for selfish partisan interests. The October 25 protest march is right around the corner. How can leaders of any self-respecting political party tolerate such socially divisive demagoguery?

Ironically, Zhang was assaulted in front of the Confucian Temple in Tainan, the first Confucian Temple constructed in Taiwan. Is this what has become of Confucius' teachings? When the fighting broke out, a group of elementary school children were on a field visit. They were so terrified they hid. Has the Democratic Progressive Party given the slightest consideration to the example they are setting for our children? Democracy is about counting heads. It is not about using ones' fists. The Democratic Progressive Party ruled for eight years. Has it still not learned the meaning of democracy? Taiwan faces a vast Chinese mainland. Its advantage has never been bigger fists. Taiwan's advantage has always been its democracy. Underneath democracy lies civilization. When has a prosperous and sophisticated Taiwan society ever resorted to fisticuffs to achieve victory?

The DPP vehemently objects to the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy. It can protest the Ma administration's policies in the Legislative Yuan, or even on the streets. But Zhang Minqin came to Taiwan to attend an academic conference. It is absurd to use him as a punching bag. What else has the violence achieved, other than underscore the Democratic Progressive Party's barbarism? Does mindlessly trampling the image of Taiwan's democracy beneath one's boots count as "loving Taiwan?"

Democratic Progressive Party officials refuse to reign in their more fanatical grass roots supporters. They have the temerity to refer to a visiting guest as "The Enemy," and to assert that Zhang was "lucky to get off so lightly." The public on Taiwan may have differing views on whether the mainland is "The Enemy." But even two countries at war have rules about how envoys are treated. Besides, cross-strait reconciliation has been the norm for years. The two sides' competition for international recognition, can surely be conducted in a civilized manner. Even the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's scorched earth diplomacy only resorted to money, not artillery. Besides, the ice in the Taiwan Strait has been melting for some time now. After May 20, DPP Yunlin County Magistrate Su Chi-fen even visited the mainland to promote the sale of Taiwan fruit. Mainland authorities may not have rolled out the red carpet for Su, but at least he was received with civility and politeness. No one assaulted him or threatened him.

Is the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy is moving too quickly or too slowly? The political class, the business community, and the grass roots may hold different views. But cross-strait exchanges have become an irreversible trend. Just before Formosa Plastics Group founder Wang Yung-ching died, he said his greatest regret was that cross-strait policy change was painfully slow. It was falling far behind the business community's requirements for sustained global competitiveness. If not for former President Lee Teng-hui's "Patience, No Haste" policy, Taiwan's industrial development would likely have reached a new milestone. Cross-Strait exchanges during the latter part of the Lee Teng-hui administration and the eight years Chen Shui-bian was in power, endured over a decade of stagnation. During this decade or so, non-governmental cross-Strait exchanges continually progressed. Since taking office, the Ma administration has eased restrictions on cross-Straits exchanges. If the Ma administration fails to take action, the private sector is not about to sit on its hands. The Ma administration has yet to fully implement its policies. Does the Democratic Progressive Party really want the people on the two sides to perceive each other as enemies? Particularly when the community is looking to mainland tourists to boost Taiwan's economy? The Democratic Progressive Party supporters' have a peculiar concept of hospitality. It is to frighten away tourists, and thereby chase away Taiwan's economic recovery.

Has the Democratic Progressive Party learned nothing from its eight years in office? Rampant corruption and endless demagoguery is precisely why the public on Taiwan has rejected the Democratic Progressive Party. Over the past eight years, A Bian's demagoguery has increased communal strife to potentially irreversible levels. The Chen Shui-bian regime has stepped down. But the Chen Shui-bian family continues to elude justice. It is expanding its mobilization of Deep Green forces, and intensifying social polarization. It is openly betraying expectations the public once had for a local political party. The Democratic Progressive Party has fallen into a vicious cycle, becoming a "party of violence."

Over eight years ago, the Democratic Progressive Party won the presidential election. It did not rely on its fists, but on its ideals. Today, the Democratic Progressive Party has lost power. But has it lost all its ideals as well? Demoralized individuals must pull themselves together. If the Democratic Progressive Party wants to stand straight once more, it must remember that Taiwan is a civilized society. Assaulting someone will not prove you are right. Hatred must not be permitted to spread. Come back to those who placed their faith in you. Transform the Democratic Progressive Party into a party of reason.

中國時報  2008.10.22
台灣自豪的是民主風度 不是拳頭

有 不同意見,陳情、請願、抗議都是民主常態,但是,因為有不同意見而出手打人,是絕對無法容忍的事。大陸海協會副會長張銘清來台參與學術會議,一路行來屢遭 嗆聲,他自我解嘲是台灣民眾給他「特別熱情的歡迎」,遭嗆者都能以如此心情面對台灣民眾的不滿情緒,很遺憾的,民進黨地方民代竟煽動支持者如影隨形地抗 議,甚至囂張到動手打人,躍上公務車踐踏洩憤;民進黨中央公職更以尖刻的言詞指來者是「敵」,如此行為已經算是客氣的了。沒想到,台灣民主走到今天,執政 過的民進黨人,還能如此理直氣壯地自認打人有理。

民進黨從創黨伊始,最痛恨被批評是「暴力黨」,我們也不相信一而再、再而三發生的「個別 事件」就是民進黨的本質,然而,這些反覆發生的事端,從不見民進黨領導階層有效約束,甚至縱容公職激化民眾情緒,以攫取一己一黨之政治利益,尤其一○二五 遊行在即,作為政黨的領導者,豈容社會仇恨情緒因為這些無恥政客的政治動機,一再渲染、擴散?

說來諷刺,張銘清遭毆的地點是在全台首學的 府城台南孔廟前,孔子教化為何物?打架紛亂的同時,正有一隊小學生魚貫進入參觀,嚇得孩子們左閃右躲,民進黨人想過沒有,這是什麼扭曲的教育示範?民主講 究的是數人頭,不是出拳頭,執政八年了的民進黨,難道還學不會民主的真義嗎?台灣面對偌大一個中國大陸,優勢從來不是拳頭比別人大,相反的,台灣的優勢就 是「民主」二字,民主的深層意涵是「文明」二字,什麼時候富而好禮的台灣社會,會以出拳打人取勝?


民 進黨中央公職面對基層激昂失控的行為,無力阻止,竟還認為對方是「敵」,打人的行為「算是客氣」的了。大陸是不是「敵」,或許台灣社會中還有若干不同見 解,但是,不要忘了,兩國交戰還有不斬來使的規矩,遑論海峽兩岸已經和解多年,兩岸在國際外交場域的競爭,用的也是文明人的方法,即使民進黨執政,搞出烽 火外交,用的也是鈔票而非大炮。更不要忘了,兩岸的冰融氣氛已成,五二○之後,民進黨籍的雲林縣長蘇治芬還登陸推銷台灣水果,不要說對方待蘇縣長為上賓, 至少客客氣氣,沒拿出拳頭唬人。

馬政府的兩岸政策是快是慢,政商界和基層社會,或有不同見解,但是兩岸交流早已成為不可逆轉的潮流,甫辭 世的台塑集團創辦人王永慶過世前,最遺憾的就是兩岸交流速度,遠遠在企業競逐世界競爭力之後。若非前總統李登輝的戒急用忍,台灣產業發展或已進入新的里程 碑,兩岸交流從李登輝執政後期到陳水扁執政八年,足足停滯了十數年之久,這十多年來,兩岸民間互通的腳步卻從來沒停過,馬政府就任以來,做的是政策鬆綁, 即使馬政府不做,民間也不會拖延等待,只是讓政府管理機制更難上正軌,難不成,民進黨人真要兩岸人民互為敵人嗎?尤其是,當社會普遍期待開放大陸觀光客能 更有效提振台灣經濟之際,民進黨激進支持者的待客之道,不是嚇跑台灣觀光的客人,而是嚇跑台灣經濟復甦的可能契機。

已有執政八年經驗的民 進黨到底深刻檢討過沒有?貪汙和無止盡的族群動員,正是台灣社會最厭惡而唾棄民進黨的主因,過去八年,因為扁政府的操作,讓社會仇恨升高到難以彌平;扁政 府下台了,卻還讓陳水扁為了扁家弊案解套,擴大深綠動員,激化對立情緒,硬生生摧毀一個曾經深受民眾期待的本土政黨的本質,民進黨卻還無知無覺地陷入打架 政黨的惡性循環。

八年多前,民進黨贏得總統大選,靠得並不是拳頭,而是理念;民進黨如今失去政權,難道連理念都喪失了嗎?失志者必須奮勵 圖強,如果民進黨還想重新站起來再出發,請記得:台灣,已經是一個文明社會,拳頭打不出道理,仇恨情緒不可放任蔓延,請回到那個曾經被人們深切期待、講理 的民進黨。

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