Monday, January 18, 2010

The Su Family of Yunlin: The Ideological Spark that Transforms the DPP?

The Su Family of Yunlin: The Ideological Spark that Transforms the DPP?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 18, 2010

Su Chih-hao is the executive director of the Su Tung-chi Foundation. On the 12th of this month he published a newspaper article entitled, "Liberation from the Insular Mentality." He appealed to the Democratic Progressive Party to forsake its self-imposed isolation and seek peaceful contacts with the Mainland, in order to create a win-win situation. Su Tung-chi is Su Chih-hao's father. Su Chih-hao is Su Chih-fen's brother. When a family with a long history of Green Camp political activism makes such an appeal, it is definitely an attention getter.
Su Tung-chi's son in law, i.e., Su Chih-fen's husband, is a mathematics professor Huang Wu-hsiung. By coincidence, about the same time last year, Huang published a proposal entitled, "Seeking Fifty Years of (Cross-Strait) Peace," and initiated an online signature drive. He proposed "maintaining the status quo for fifty years, no reunification, no independence, and Republic of China demilitarization written into the Constitution." Huang Wu-hsiung's cross-Strait views overlap with President Ma Ying-jeou's "no reunification, no independence, no use of force." If anything, they are more radical than Ma's. calling as they do for a constitutional amendment.

The cross-Strait situation is changing. On Taiwan the Blue and Green camps are locked in a fierce struggle. Could the son in law of the Su Family be the spark that transforms the DPP's thinking about cross-Strait relations?

The Su Family in Yunlin was among the few families on Taiwan active in the resistance movement during the Japanese occupation. During the Japanese occupation Su Tung-chi went to Mainland China to participate in the Sino-Japanese War. Following retrocession he joined the Youth League. He ran for County Councilor and County Executive. He helped Lei Chen organize the "China Democratic Party." He was also involved in the Taiwan independence related "3/9 Incident" and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was only 39 years old when he entered prison. He was granted amnesty due to the passing of President Chiang Kai-shek and released from prison. Su Tung-chi's entire life reflects the best traditions of the democratic and opposition movement on Taiwan. Meanwhile Yunlin, Taiwan's most "native" agricultural county, best reflects Taiwan's grass-roots character. The son in law of the Su Family has made a cross-Strait proposal quite different from that of the Green Camp and the DPP. The Su Family's influence may not be fully realized, but the Su Family has a long history in the opposition movement. One seldom encounters such a capacity for transcendence. The Green Camp and the DPP should settle down and carefully consider the views expressed by the Su Family's son in law. His views may become the basis for future cross-Strait policy.

The United Daily News analyzed Huang Wu-hsiung's "Proposal for Fifty Years of Peace" in a newspaper editorial published on February 10, 2009. Su Chih-hao's article was not as specific as Huang Wu-hsiung's. But in terms of reasoning and emotion, it was equally moving.

Su Chih-hao wrote that for the DPP, cross-Strait relations, reunification, and independence were blind spots. The times are changing. The tide is changing. Mainland China is changing, The world situation is changing. The Democratic Progressive Party must adapt to a changing world. It must remain responsive to public opinion. It must move closer to the center.

Su Chih-hao has offered some sobering thoughts about democracy on Taiwan. He said that the era of democratic reform and liberalization may be mere illusion. Winning elections, expediency, and short-term advantage are everything. An insular mentality is bedeviled by amnesia. The economy may be first rate, but politics are third rate. Internal bickering is eroding the island's foundations. But the KMT and DPP can offer no solutions.

Su Chih-hao has a rather positive evaluation of Deng Xiaoping. He has high praise for Deng's "wisdom, foresight, self-confidence, perseverance in the face of overwhelming opposition." He also had positive things to say about Chiang Ching-kuo. "(Chiang Ching-kuo's) one small step for a man sounded the bell for cross-Strait peace. It created an opportunity for peaceful cross-Strait interaction." Remarks such as Su Chih-hao's are rare within the Green Camp.

Su Chih-hao exhorted the Democratic Progressive Party. He said the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have the same culture and belong to the same race. They are connected by an umbilical cord. They are brothers, and ought not to be hostile nations. The DPP need only set aside disputes and seek common ground in its referendum on self-determination. "Great wisdom," it is said, "often appears foolish." The DPP can be reborn. It can engage with the Mainland. It can demonstrate greater goodwill. Lien Chan and James Soong broke the ice during their Journey of Peace. The DPP can follow suit.

Su Chih-hao exposed the hollowness of democratic politics on Taiwan. He said, "democratic reform and liberalization may be merely an illusion." Politics on Taiwan is "third rate politics that offers no solutions." He noted that cross-Strait relations are at a critical juncture. The so-called "bottom line referendum on self-determination, " overlaps with the "referendum on reunification" promoted by Tsao Hsing-cheng and others, including this paper. In sum, Su Chih-hao's proposals have much in common with mainstream thought on Taiwan. Democracy on Taiwan should be used to protect the Republic of China in cross-strait interactions. It should not be used to divide Taiwan. It should not blindly oppose globalization and insist on hostility toward the Mainland.

Su Chih-Hao wrote that the times are changing, the tide is changing, Mainland China is changing, and the world situation is also changing. Chiang Ching-kuo saw this 20 years ago. Twenty years later, apart from the blind, and liars committed to self-deception, everyone sees it. Are the Su Family of Yunlin really the only people in the DPP and Green Camp able to see it? Are Su Chih-hao and Huang Wu-hsiung the only ones able to see it? Are these people blind, or merely engaging in self-deception?

Are cross-Strait issues and democratic politics on Taiwan merely "third-rate politics that offers no solutions?" What sayeth the DPP?

2010.01.18 04:11 am













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