Elections have consequences, and elections of change do not always result in change for the better. Case in point, Taiwan. Seven months ago Taiwan voted for change from the independence minded Green Party as the 2nd term of President Chen Shui Ben came to a close. The blue party has been in control since the forties and have ruled the country under one party control with totalitarian flair, killing tens of thousands of civilians in the “228 incident”. After this incident the blue party declared martial law, which lasted for forty years, until 1987. Over the decades the party was intricately linked with banking and investment houses of Taiwan and developed the richest political party in East Asia. Much of the money used to start the parties comes from “black gold”, from illicit means.
This is never declared corruption in Taiwan. The only way to get charged with corruption in Taiwan is to oppose the blue party edicts. When the first democratically elected president of Taiwan, Lee Teng-Hui, advocated for state to state relations with China, reunificationists decried his “corruption”. Presently, much of the Green Party leaders are imprisoned for corruption, when their true crime is disobeying the blue party. The former President Chen Shui Ben is not permitted to leave the country, due to the corruption the blue party has been successfully trading in, for decades.
They say that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. In Taiwan under Ma Ying-Jeou, patriotism is the highest form of treason. Within a week after the election of Ma Ying-jeou, police have been confiscating the flag of Taiwan. I heard reports from family in which Taiwanese high school students waving the flag of Taiwan had their flag ripped from them and their wrists broken. Music shops, which often play loud music to entice customers, have been shut down under public nuisance laws if they play Taiwanese music. Recently the Chinese envoy to Taiwan visited, and Chairman Ma I fear has sold out Taiwan completely to his new Maoist overlords.
Economically, things aren’t much better. The Milton Friedman approach to China, i.e. using economic freedom as the thin end of the wedge for political freedom, needs to be reassessed. Where political freedom does not exist economic freedom is fragile at best. (Just ask Mikhail Khordovsky). Retirement accounts in Taiwan have been frozen for “just five years”, and restrictions have been placed on withdrawals from government sponsored retirement accounts.
Here in America we have a new administration that is a virtual question mark on dealing with Russia and China as they begin to indulge in imperial tendencies held dormant in recent decades. I can only pray that Barack Obama does not look on benignly as small democracies and former Soviet satellites begin to fall like dominoes to large autocratic regimes.
Halcyon Days under “Chairman” Ma
Helpful links: Jonathan Manthorpe in the Vancouver Sun