United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 22, 2015
Executive Summary: Lee Teng-hui has been playing with other people all his life. But in the end, he could not escape becoming the plaything of history. Why? Because he could never forget how much he cared about “the glory of being born Japanese". Because the ROC won the war against Japan, he was relegated to “the sad fate of being born Taiwanese". Never mind that he was ROC president for twelve years. Never mind that he has lived to be 90. He longs to return to the past, to when he was "born Japanese".
Full Text Below:
Lee Teng-hui has been playing with other people all his life. But in the end, he could not escape becoming the plaything of history. Why? Because he could never forget how much he cared about “the glory of being born Japanese". Because the ROC won the war against Japan, he was relegated to “the sad fate of being born Taiwanese". Never mind that he was ROC president for twelve years. Never mind that he has lived to be 90. He longs to return to the past, to when he was "born Japanese".
When the rest of the world was commemorating and reflecting upon the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, former ROC President Lee Teng-hui was writing a letter to Japan's right-wing media. Lee regaled them on how he and his brother Lee Teng-ching volunteered for the Japanese Army and Navy. Lee boasted that "Taiwanese back then were Japanese, and fought for the motherland". He denounced President Ma Ying-jeou for commemorating the War of Resistance Against Japan. He accused Ma of "harassing Japan", and " currying favor with the CCP". Lee's ludicrous remarks left people stunned. His pro-Japanese rhetoric showed Lee Teng-hui for what he was, a two -faced hypocrite utterly devoid of self-esteem. He is a prisoner of his memories. He is a hostage of history.
Lee Teng-hui was right about Taiwan not taking part in the War of Resistance against Japan. The War of Resistance against Japan was fought by the Republic of China government. Japan used Taiwan as an outpost for its aggression against and plunder of East Asia. But Lee Teng-hui was dead wrong when he said Taiwan and Japan "were both part of one country" 70 years ago. Taiwan was never part of Japan. Taiwan was merely a colony of Japan forcibly annexed through military coercion. Being colonized is no shame. But worship of one's colonial masters, and nostalgia for one's colonial status, 70 years after liberation and democratization, is worse than senility. It is an indication that Lee Teng-hui is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
Many Taiwanese similar to Lee Teng-hui consider themselves "Japanese imperial subjects". But Lee Teng-hui served 12 years as President of the Republic of China. He receives generous retirement benefits reserved for former heads of state. Yet he openly proclaims that "Diaoyutai is Japanese territory", and boasts that he "volunteered to serve in the military of the motherland (Japan) in its struggle [against China)". For an individual to undermine the sovereignty of the nation and the dignity of its people in such a manner is truly unique. If the people of Taiwan wish to know the truth about how Lee Teng-hui thinks and feels, they need only read the Japanese press. Whenever Lee speaks to the Japanese press, he reflexively abases himself, and begins uttering remarks appropriate only for a subject of the Japanese empire, and totally inappropriate for the former chief executive of another nation. Does this not humiliate the people of Taiwan? Does this not trample over Taiwan's sovereignty?
Many years ago, President Lee Teng-hui was interviewed by Japanese author Shiba Ryotaro. Lee spoke of "the sorrow of being born Taiwanese". He lamented Taiwan's prolonged suffering under "rule by foreign regimes". The interview provoked considerable controversy. Some thought it revealed his Sinophobia and Taiwan independence mindset. Some interpreted it as heartfelt Taiwanese Nativist sentiment. Now the answer has been revealed. Lee Teng-hui's real regret was being born Japanese but subsequently relegated to second class Taiwanese status because Japan lost the war. In his mind, even becoming President of the ROC failed to compensate for the loss of his Japanese identity.
While the whole world was reflecting upon wars of aggression and colonialism, Lee Teng-hui, who served as ROC President for over 12 years, completely ignored Japan's war of aggression against East Asia. Lee pretended not to see the reality of Taiwan's colonization. Instead he joined Japan's war of aggression out of "personal reverence" and "patriotic zeal". He sang the praises of Japan and leveled recriminations against the ROC. Was this merely evidence of his idolatry toward all things Japanese? Or was the Republic of China's eight year long war of resistance against Japan, and Taiwan's half century of suffering under Japanese colonial rule, nothing more than bargaining chips?
Ironically Lee Teng-hui, who was once hailed as "Mr. Democracy", is now taking the lead in whitewashing Japan's wars of aggression. These are wars that even the Japanese government itself has publicly apologized for. To Japanese of conscience, Lee Teng-hui's words probably provoke discomfort or even shame. Even more seriously, Lee Teng-hui trumpeted "Taiwanese consciousness" for 20 years. Since then the water has fallen and the reefs are visible. Lee shows only idolatry toward of Japan, and no hint of "Taiwan centric thought". President Ma thinks Lee's remarks have humiliated the people of Taiwan. Does the DPP consider Lee's remarks acceptable? Can anyone serious about Taiwan independence actually consider Lee Teng-hui, who exhibits not one iota of "Taiwanese consciousness", the "Godfather of Taiwan independence"?
This 90 year old man has deeply rooted feelings. It is unlikely that any outsider can ever change his mind. Lee Teng-hui considers Japan his motherland. Opponents of curriculum reform idolize Japan. The "Nativist movement" and "Taiwan independence consciousness" have simmered for years. But beneath the surface of these anti-China sentiments, just how much "Taiwan-centric thought" remains?
Lee Teng-hui used "Taiwan's sorrow" to obscure decades of Japanese thought. Strip that away, and all that remains is beating Japanese heart. How did such a deceitful individual get away with manipulating Taiwan for so many decades? And how can such a society not regress?
他自己最終也難逃被歷史愚弄的命運。之所以落入這個宿命， 是因為他心心念念無法忘懷自己「生為日本人」的光榮；然而， 由於中華民國抗日戰爭的勝利，使他掉進了「生為台灣人」 的悲哀軌道。即使當了十二年中華民國總統，活到九十幾歲， 他卻仍不斷地試圖回到過去，回到他「生為日本人」的時代。
台灣前總統李登輝卻投書日本右翼媒體， 以他和其兄李登欽自願加入陸軍和海軍為例，稱當時的台灣人「 身為日本人，為了祖國而戰」；他同時指控，馬英九總統紀念抗戰， 只是為了「騷擾日本」、「討好中共」。滿篇荒唐言，讓人錯愕。 這些媚日辭令，只說明李登輝是一個虛偽、矯情而自卑的雙面人， 他是自己記憶的俘虜，也是被歷史困陷的人質。
因為當時抗日的是中華民國政府， 台灣則是被日本當成在東亞侵略的一個前哨站和掠奪站。 但李登輝說台灣和日本七十年前「同屬一國」，則是大錯特錯； 因為台灣從來不屬於日本國， 台灣只是日本以武力脅迫割據而得的殖民地。被殖民並不可恥， 但歷經七十年的解放及民主化，若有人還在崇拜殖民主、 思念被殖民的日子，這豈止是「老番顛」，這根本是李登輝的「 斯德哥爾摩症候群」。
像他這樣當過十二年中華民國總統、 至今仍在享受退休元首禮遇的人，竟能公然說出「 釣魚台是日本領土」、「志願入伍為祖國（日本）奮鬥」 之類傷害國家主權及尊嚴的人，卻是絕無僅有。一直以來， 李登輝的真心話，台灣人都要透過日本媒體才能得悉； 而他每次面對日本媒體，就立刻自動矮了三截， 說出失格的皇民言語。這些，難道不是對台灣人民的羞辱， 對台灣主體性的踐踏？
生為台灣人的悲哀」，慨嘆台灣長期受「外來政權」統治的無奈。 那次談話，引起不少爭議， 有人認為那暴露他的反中意識及台獨思想， 有人則解讀為他深具本土情懷。如今看來，謎底已經揭曉： 李登輝的怨嘆，是嘆他自己「生為日本人」， 卻因日本戰敗被貶為次一等的「台灣人」，因而感到悲哀。 而在他心目中，即使貴為台灣總統， 也不能彌補他失去日本人身分的遺憾。
當過十二年台灣總統的李登輝， 卻完全忽略日本在東亞發動侵略戰爭的本質， 更故意裝作看不到台灣被殖民的事實，而企圖以個人「孺慕之情」 及「愛國赤忱」的角度切入日本發動的侵略戰爭， 藉由對日本的歌頌，來反責中華民國政府。 這是他個人媚日的愚頑表現？或者他以為中華民國抗日八年的歷史、 台灣人民遭日本殖民半世紀的悲情，可以被他隻手劫掠並置換？
在那裡幫連日本政府都已公開道歉的侵略戰爭粉飾開脫。那些言論， 有良知的日本人聽了，恐怕都會感到不安與不妥，甚至覺得羞愧。 更嚴重的是，對台灣而言，李登輝高唱了廿多年的「台灣意識」， 如今水落石出，竟只剩下一個「日本崇拜」之碑文， 看不出他心中有任何一絲台灣「主體性」之存在。老實說， 馬總統認為李登輝的言論羞辱了台灣人民，難道對民進黨而言， 不會覺得李登輝的言論不妥嗎？對於那些認真的台獨運動者而言， 又豈能接受這樣毫無台灣主體意識的論調，而認李登輝為「 台獨教父」嗎？
外界要改變他的想法恐不容易。但值得警惕的是，對照李登輝的「 日本祖國論」及反課綱運動之「崇日」，多年來台灣沸沸揚揚「 本土化運動」與「台獨意識」，在撇除表面的「反中」泡沫後， 究竟還留下多少真實的台灣主體性？