'Something Green in Taiwan'
Monday March 22, 2004
The winning DPP party in Taiwanís presidential election is the green bud of democracy in China; the KMT losers, the dead wood of a China up against democracy. The KMT would be feeling blue. They thought they were going to win.
So did Al Gore in the last American Presidential Election. He received the most votes. There were irregularities with ballots in Florida. Yet, Gore conceded graciously to Bush -- and thus averted a constitutional crisis.
The KMT displays no such concern for social stability Taiwan. They would foment riots and unrest in the streets and create deep social wounds just to get a stab at power. Democracy was fine with them so long as it was just their private puppet theatre. Behind the scenes they pulled the strings. But an election thatís real, one that actually works: they cry "Foul!"
Not surprising perhaps that after half a century of KMTís rigged elections, phony ballots, bought votes, imprisoned opponents, shut-down newspapers -- they should object to an election thatís really fair and square. What theyíre irate about is that they lost and canít continue foisting their will on the Taiwanese people while robbing the island blind.
The world should take notice. This isnít just a little Taiwanese event. We are witnessing in advance what will happen throughout China. This is the little beginning of something big, long in coming: the showdown between the old in China and the new, between power and freedom. What is unfolding before our eyes in this Taiwanese election and its aftermath is the test run. Thatís why itís so important we get it right here, now -- in Taiwan. Itís not just about this islandís future. Itís about Chinaís.
Which way is it going to go -- the dead wood or the green bud? The KMT can kick and they can scream but they canít turn back history. Neither can China.
William R. Stimson lives in Taiwan. He teaches at National Yang-Ming University in Taipei and leads workshops at Chaoyang University of Technology in Wufong.