A Taiwan Wake-up Call as Hau Pei-tsun Misses Again
Friday October 3, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.
At a recent seminar hosted by the New Party's New Chinese Children's Association, Taiwan's former premier Hau Pei-tsun once again managed to both put his foot in his mouth as well as resurrect the question of how many members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) still continue to live in the KMT's past make believe world and alternate universe?
That Hau was chosen as the best available speaker for this seminar does not reflect much on the New Party's available pickings nor does it say much as to how "new" these "new Chinese children" profess to be. Image-wise they unfortunately remain stuck in the fossilized time warp of past KMT, who cannot face up to the fact that they lost China's Civil War and became diaspora on Taiwan.
Regardless, these "new Chinese children" had gathered at this seminar to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender. Fair enough, that is something that did happen in the past, and it may help ease the KMT's pain in having later lost China. However, since all the other countries that fought Japan have moved on in life after the war, one cannot but wonder and even shudder as to what other selective points of history might be available for the KMT and the new Chinese children to celebrate. For example, would they mark a day to celebrate the KMT's being driven from China and call it the "official" losing of the Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? If so, December 7, 1949 might make a good day, as that was the day when Chiang Kai-shek officially proclaimed that Taipei and not Beijing, Nanking or any other city on the continent would be the capital of the Republic of China (ROC).
Or would they choose to reclassify history? Then, 2-28-47could be marked as the day when the KMT decided to deny the Three Principles of the People to the Taiwanese and chose to celebrate nearly forty years of upcoming KMT Martial Law?
Despite such anomalies, the 95 year-old Hau was however, on a roll. He insisted that the KMT and the ROC's real history were being lost. In this, he felt the need to insist that Taiwan, a mid-sized country with a population greater than the two-thirds of the countries in the United Nations (UN) and ranked number 17 in Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation could not practically control its own destiny. He wanted Taiwan's destiny to be decided by the people on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Now, in one sense of course Hau could claim a point; no nation great or small totally controls its own destiny nor is it complete master of its fate but similarly outsiders do not make the final decision on it either. Perhaps what brought this on for Hau was that he was ruminating on how his own political party, the KMT, had never been masters of their fate. One could ask, was it fate or corruption that caused them to lose China?
Thus, as Hau rattled on, one sensed that in the past, he believed that the KMT by imposing its one-party state and either by killing off or by imprisoning many of the Taiwanese educated elite, the KMT had brought Taiwan out of the dark ages.
Totally lost on Hau and those celebrating this surrender of Japan, was the fact that the KMT has never fully understood or put into practice the "Three Principles of the People." For ironically in the post World War II world, the alleged Japanese "militarist bandits" that Hau was denouncing had managed to implement democracy and the three democratic principles of the people decades before Taiwan. Further, Taiwan achieved democracy after Japan only when its people rose and forced the KMT diaspora to relinquish their one-party state.
This is the unfortunate reality of the make believe world of the KMT. They miss the point that the very root of the "Three Principles of the People" is self-government, which spells democracy. And democracy is what independence is all about, yet Hau choked at having to even consider such nefarious thoughts.
Instead, Hau retreated to the cyclic fantasy of Zhonghua minzu, the outdated ROC Constitution and the fabricated 1992 consensus where allegedly in party-to-party discussions the KMT and CCP agreed to allow each other's fantasy of what is one China. One would have thought that Hau in his recent trip to Beijing would have begun to recognize the growing reality of the CCP's interpretation of the war, victory over Japan and history. Hau however totally missed that wake-up call as well as the point that his presence in Beijing was being tolerated simply because he was a loser in the Civil war and therefore he and the ROC Constitution were no threat.
As for the fabricated "1992 consensus," a consensus admittedly fabricated by the KMT, it can be translated as saying to the CCP, "You won the Civil War, but let us at least believe that we won the war and then we can both live in our own fantasies of what makes up one China."
The ironies of Hau's talk continued to compound. He even attempted to raise the old "inevitability" argument, an argument that is more dangerous for Taiwan than a two-edged sword. For example, the people of Hong Kong who are already are bound up in the CCP's version of "one China" continue to demand that the CCP grant them their denied promise of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Hong Kongers have no belief in the "inevitability" of the CCP's one-party state, yet Hau in his fantasies does.
Hau's plea is in effect the loser's cry of those wishing to somehow lay claim to at least a part of history. And though the pictures of Sun Yat-sen abound in Taiwan and in China as well, the reality of practice shows that neither the KMT nor the CCP have ever had any real belief in or understanding of the Three Principles proposed by Sun Yat-sen. Sun simply remains a foil to justify those in power keeping all others in tutelage.
Now, Hau is a man way past his prime and his dated beliefs in themselves pose no immediate threat to Taiwan. Moreover, the danger for Taiwan is not in Hau, but in how many of the KMT and their descendants still live in this past fantasy world.
For example Taiwan's current president Ma Ying-jeou, depending on what audience he is talking to, will at times utter words similar to those of Hau. This is the distorted reality and history that Taiwanese need to be aware of, especially as important elections are on the horizon. ***
*** (Footnote: Hau would run to represent Keelung in the upcoming elections and would lose.)