DPP Should Understand Why Hsu Hsin-liang Wept
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 12, 2011
Last Saturday the DPP held its first presidential primary debate. Hsu Hsin-liang, due to his image and rhetoric, made the biggest splash among all the candidates. During his closing arguments, he shared a number of feelings about his political life that shocked everyone in attendance, and moved many to tears.
Green Camp veterans in attendance who heard Hsu Hsin-liang's emotional sharing, teared up. Those who didn't, had hearts of stone. After all, Hsu Hsin-liang's political life was filled with setbacks and heartaches, and reflected the experience of other key figures within the Green Camp. These key figures within the Green Camp may be unwilling to endorse Hsu Hsin-liang's thinking in public. But given their own years of suffering they should be able to empathize with him.
Hsu Hsin-liang precipitated the "Chungli Incident," the prelude to the political opposition movement on Taiwan. This was followed by bridgehead incidents, airport incidents, smuggling incidents, and the Tucheng Incident. Every one of these incidents was a milestone. Hsu Hsin-liang's political views have evolved. It has evolved from "Ensuring that the KMT vanishes from the face of the earth," to "Taiwan Nation Building United Front," to "urban guerrilla warfare," to "boldly going west," to "opposition to the rectification of names," to participation in the "red army" protests, to standing on the same dais as Tsai and Su. but alone in his advocacy of "ensuring the status quo, boldiy opening to the Mainland."
Among those in attendance at Saturday's political debate, no one has sacrificed more on behalf of the DPP than Hsu Hsin-liang. No one was subject to greater humiliation by the DPP than Hsu Hsin-liang. No one was more sincere and honest than Hsu Hsin-liang. Spontaneous applause and laughter proved that Hsu Hsin-liang was not a total pariah, and that Hsu Hsin-liang's political platform was not totally unacceptable. After all, they were the crystallization of 30 years of political suffering. They were enough to make those who heard him break into tears.
Why does the DPP see Hsu Hsin-liang as a traitor? Even Chen Shui-bian once advocated "five noes," "swore to defend the Republic of China to the death," and dismissed the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution" as "self-deception... if it can't be done, it can't be done." Why isn't Chen Shui-bian considered a traitor? When Hsu Hsin-liang advocated boldly allowing Mainland capital onto Taiwan, and Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Tsai Ing-wen boasted that the three mini links and charter flights were implented during her term in office. Su Tseng-chang claimed he was premier at the time. But as it turned out, he was merely the Taipei County Chief. The scene was risible. Su and Tsai blanked out the complete and utter failure of the Chen regime's cross-Strait policy. They then attempted to invoke the three mini links as evidence of their "political accomplishments." Hsu Hsin-liang, on the other hand, promoted a "one China roof, with each side independent," establishing a framework for cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. So just exactly who was engaging in self-deception?
Hsu Hsin-liang's basic proposals are simple and easy to understand. Specifically, the ROC's political path must be consistent with its economic path. This has long been the position of the UDN. Under these preconditions, Hsu Hsin-liang laid out his proposal for DPP rule, in the event it returns to office. The DPP must not advocate Taiwan independence. After all, Chen Shui-bian himself championed the five noes. The DPP must not overturn the "one China principle," ECFA, and other channels of communication. It must not impose limits on Mainland investments, Mainland tourism, and Mainland students studying on Taiwan. It must instead use cross-Strait economic interactions to promote Taiwan's economic development, and to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Taiwan must "boldly open up" and reject Lee Teng-hui's policy of "be patient, avoid haste." As long as the public liberates Taiwan's economic vitality, its economy will naturally flourish. As for the political risks alleged posed by economic exchanges, Hsu Hsin-liang considers this a phony issue. Today's globalized political and economic order is sufficient to maintain the cross-Strait status quo.
Hsu Hsin-liang may be too optimistic. But political and economic policy should permit the public to make full use of cross-Strait trade and economic resources, and leave the government to deal with political and security issues. For example, the ruling party must not advocate Taiwan independence. It must adhere to democracy. Su and Tsai cannot bring themselves to publicly oppose Taiwan independence, despite the fact that Chen Shui-bian championed the five noes. Their unwillingness to do so has turned them into the biggest detriment to cross-Strait political security. Su and Tsai nevertheless insist on sacrificing cross-Strait economics and trade, on the altar of Taiwan independence. Compare their thinking to that of Hsu Hsin-liang, and we find they have inverted cause and effect. Hsu openly opposes Taiwan independence. He feels economic exchanges will result in political security. Su and Tsai meanwhile, cannot bring themselves to utter a single word against Taiwan independence. How can they possibly throw open the doors to cross-Strait economic and trade? Even Chen Shui-bian championed the "five noes." Do Su and Tsai actually intend to make people suffer through times even more painful than the Chen Shui-bian era?
When confronted with their about face on Nuclear Plant Number Four and the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Plant, Su and Tsai attributed their flip flop to "changing times." But Hsu Hsin-liang's opposition to Taiwan independence, and his shift to "ensuring the status quo, and boldly opening up to the Mainland" was also a response to "changing times" in the global "big picture." Su and Tsai reversed themselves on Nuclear Plant Number Four and the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Plant. Are they unaware that "changing times" have affected the cross-Strait strategic picture as well, and that they should rethink their cross-Strait policy?
Hsu Hsin-liang must make full use of his five million NT presidential election registration fee. He has teetered on the edge for most of his political life, and almost become a joke. Now he finds himself on the same dais as Tsai and Su. The public no longer considers him a joke. Hsu Hsin-liang took the lead as he entered a "new era" in history. By doing so, he showed Su and Tsai up for what they were, "older generation" politicians mired in the past. Some in the DPP wept for Hsu Hsin-liang. They wept over the scars Hsu Hsin-liang accumulated over the years. They wept over the Democratic Progressive Party's inability to liberate itself from the self-imposed chains that bind its soul.