- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2001

Taiwan and the struggle for democracy

The people of Taiwan have created a democracy that respects human rights. As Commentary columnist William A. Rusher rightly notes, it provides a good model for the people of China to emulate ("Taipei's lesson for Beijing," Dec. 19).

A thorough reading of Taiwanese history of the past 50 years will show, however, that this vibrant, prosperous democracy is due to the blood, sweat and tears of many activists, not to the good will of the National Party, or Kuomintang. For almost 40 years, in fact, Kuomintang-imposed martial law forbade precisely those freedoms Americans and Taiwanese hold so dear: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and political representation.

The political "miracle" of Taiwan was achieved with the blood of many citizen patriots, from the 20,000 murdered by the Kuomintang in February 1947, to those who served time and sometimes died in the Kuomintang's notorious Green Island prison.

Likewise, the economic "miracle" of Taiwan was actually due to the hardworking small-business people of Taiwan, who had to overcome the long legacy of Kuomintang corruption, such as the taxation that fed all the bureaucrats who came with Nationalist President Chiang Kai-shek and the sweetheart deals made with Kuomintang-controlled corporations.

The people of China face an authoritarian force in the Chinese Communist Party. One-party control breeds contempt of ordinary people and their needs. I hope the people of China will take heart from the history of the Taiwanese people's struggle and build a strong democracy in their country.

The people of Taiwan stand ready to help them do so.


MING-CHI WU

President

Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Washington

Politics shouldn't bog down U.S. military

According to your Dec. 21 front-page story, "U.S. rules let al Qaeda fighters flee," the rules of engagement set forth by Army Gen. Tommy Franks allow al Qaeda to escape across the border. Was Gen. Franks playing hooky the day they covered martial law? If he wants to protect Afghan civilians, he should forbid travel at night to anyone, under pain of death. What more is required of us?

Sadly, my guess is that Gen. Franks is not the problem. Rather, the problem is more likely politicians who fear criticism that the United States is "not doing enough" to prevent civilian casualties. This raises the specter of that "other war" of some 30 years ago, where politics interfered with sound military principles.

Whatever one's view of our involvement in Vietnam, in this war the United States faces a direct threat. It is this threat that gives us the clear moral right to take whatever actions are necessary for the sake of our nation's security. To chance the escape of our enemies is a moral disgrace and an insult to both the victims of September 11 and the brave men and women of our armed services.

Americans should demand that our military be left free of politics free to defend our country and prosecute this war in full.


MARIO DIANA

Troy, N.Y.

Byrd flies with a short memory

It seems that some of our politicians have very short memories.

Just three months ago, 19 men from the Middle East hijacked four airliners and caused death and destruction of a magnitude that this country had never seen. A bill to track visa holders visiting the United States was not allowed to come to the floor of the Senate before it adjourned. It was stopped by the action of one man: Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who has long been known as "the king of pork" for providing countless jobs and financial windfalls for his constituents. Now, however, he forever will be known as "the man with the shortest memory in the Senate."


BYRON SLATER

San Diego

Accusations of Chinese-made ammunition in Afghanistan are baseless

In response to your Dec. 21 Inside the Ring column, in which it is alleged that Chinese-made ammunition has been found in Afghanistan, let me say it is well-known that the Chinese government opposes any form of terrorism. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, China has followed through on this position in both words and deeds.

China has enhanced dialogue and cooperation with the United States and the international community in the fight against terrorism, and its effort has won international acclaim as well as the praise of U.S. officials. On a recent visit to China, U.S. Ambassador-at-large Francis Taylor, President Bush's coordinator for counterterrorism activities, spoke highly of China for its cooperation in rooting out Osama bin Laden's terror network.

I have no idea on what basis the unnamed U.S. official in your article claims that Chinese-made ammunition has been found in Afghanistan. One thing is clear, however: Since the United Nations adopted resolutions on a weapons embargo against Afghanistan, China consistently has been abiding by those Security Council resolutions.

It is not the first time you have made such baseless allegations about China's support for and connection with the Taliban. Newsworthiness aside, now that the international community is uniting in the fight against terrorism, the motive behind your repeated claims is dubious.


XIE FENG

Press counselor and spokesman

Chinese Embassy

Washington

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