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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Taiwan Elections

America’s current policy on democracy is at best unpredictable, and at worst, hypocritical. Our current President invaded Iraq in the name of weapons of mass destruction. None has yet to be found, and the prospect of any discovery is bleak. Weapons experts from the U.N. and from the Republican government have said there is little to no probability of any being discovered. And so our case of going to war magically morphed from getting rid of the threat WMDs posed to the U.S., to liberating the Iraqi people. Our government then argued that it was our moral responsibility to spread and protect democracy. Look no further for hypocrisy than the government’s position on Taiwan elections.

Taiwan President, Chen Shui-Bian, won approval despite significant opposition from his own government to submit two referendum questions for vote during Presidential elections. The first question asks Taiwanese citizens if China should remove the nearly 500 missiles aimed at Taiwan, and whether Taiwan should purchase anti-missiles for self-defense. The second question asks whether its citizens would agree to peaceful negotiations with China to stabilize relationships between the two countries (for those who do not agree with my two countries designation, you may consider that one country, and one R.O.C.).

How has our government responded? You only need to search “Taiwan referendums” to see the answers. The New York Times report President Bush opposes Taiwan’s referendum questions on the basis that it upsets the status quo. Furthermore, President Bush specifically opposes unilateral decisions made by either country to change the status quo. Must we remind our own President the unilateral decisions he took in Iraq?

Instead of promoting and advocating for democracy in Taiwan, our government has shunned it in favor of economic and military relationships with China. Where we liberate Iraqis and open up free-market democracy in the Middle East, we support Communist government in Asia. It saddens and astonishes me how our own President can talk and negotiate with a government that imprisons, beats, and tortures its own citizens – in effect, a sad brutual history of humane treatment.

Taiwan’s yearning for democracy is clear: over 80% participate in Presidential elections. The U.S. can only claim less than 50%. President Chen Shui-Bian was re-elected on March 20, 2004 by a narrow margin, but won nonetheless. His referendum questions lost because only 45% of 50% required participated in its voting. Yet of those voted, 91% voted for China to stop aiming its missiles at Taiwan and for peaceful negotiations between the two governments. President Bush called China a “great civilization, a great power and a great nation.”

Although I can see nothing great about beating and torturing your own people, I do see this as America’s new opportunity to rise up to “national dignity.” President Bush should support the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan.

Tuan Pham