Defending Taiwan’s ‘Democracy’

Executive Summary: Whenever Blue Team “China Threat” theorists need to rationalize gunboat diplomacy against China, they trot out their “Taiwan is a Democracy” thesis. “Taiwan is a lively / thriving / vibrant democracy” they declare, “therefore Americans have a moral obligation to rally to its defense.” Their syllogism is bogus in every respect. First, Taiwan is not a democracy, but a cronyist dictatorship ruled by an Asian strongman. Taiwan under Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian is akin to the Philippines under Marcos and Indonesia under Suharto. Second, Taiwan’s liberty and prosperity are under threat, not from Beijing, but from an autocratic, doctrinaire and incompetent Taiwan independence nomenklatura in Taipei. Third, the Blue Team is not defending Taiwan’s “democracy,” it is expanding America’s empire by violating China’s sovereignty. If 278 million Americans have any moral obligation, it is to prevent Blue Team China hawks from provoking yet another Asian debacle underwritten with American taxes and American blood.


“President Putin and I have just concluded two hours of straightforward and productive meetings… I looked the man in the eye… I was able to get a sense of his soul… I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I didn’t trust him. (Laughter.)"

George W. Bush, June 16, 2001

The press laughed, and so did we. How could we not? Was this actually how the frat boy in the Oval Office determined which nations were “strategic allies” and which were “strategic competitors?” Was this actually how the Best and the Brightest in the West Wing determined for whom our military machine would “do whatever it took,” even launch a nuclear first strike?

Unfortunately the answer to these disturbing questions seems to be “yes.”

Taiwan independence spokespersons have long maintained that they “share Americans’ deep and abiding respect for Freedom and Democracy.” Having taken the Taiwan Lobby’s reassuring public declarations at face value, many Americans have assumed quite naively that they understood what made Taiwan independence zealots tick.

They could not be more mistaken. As with Albania’s fascist KLA or Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, the true face of Taiwan independence has been systematically hidden from Americans by a complicit fellow traveler media establishment.


During the final years of Chiang Ching-kuo’s administration the younger Chiang rescinded martial law, legalized opposition political parties, and promoted Taiwan-born Chinese to key positions in the ROC government. Taiwan was well its way to political, in addition to economic, liberalization.

But time has not stood still. Taiwan has undergone a catastrophic regression since Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian assumed office. Taiwan today is a thoroughly corrupt “elective dictatorship” which tramples over its own national constitution and democratic majority. Its ruling DPP, having received a meager 39% plurality at the polls, doesn’t even rate the epithet “majoritarian tyranny.”

Taiwan today persecutes independent journalists and opposition parliamentarians who dare to criticize the Taiwan independence nomenklatura’s rampant corruption and cavalier Rule of Law violations. What has replaced the defunct White Terror is not Freedom and Democracy, but an increasingly ominous Taiwan independence Green Terror. This may be news to Taiwan independence sympathizers in America and Europe, but to loyal citizens of the Republic of China it is Old News. Americans and Europeans are just now getting wise to what has been common knowledge to any cab driver in Taipei.

On March 20, 2002 alas, the Taiwan independence nomenklatura’s mask slipped. Goons from the “democratically elected” Chen regime stormed the offices of Next Magazine and the private residence of one of its reporters in a chilling attempt to intimidate Taiwan’s ostensibly free media into cowed silence.

Taiwan Magazine raided as Spy Scoop prompts National Security Alert

Wednesday March 20, 2002

TAIPEI (AFP) – [A]ccusing it of attempting to endanger security by reporting on secret expense accounts used to bankroll spy operations in mainland China… investigators and police searched the offices of the Next Magazine in downtown Taipei… a printing shop outside Taipei and the home of Hsieh Chung-liang, the writer of the sensitive article. Investigators confiscated thousands of copies of the weekly that were ready to be distributed Thursday… the National Security Bureau said the search was necessary for safeguarding security and “the rights and security of foreign friends”… [and] threatened… a lawsuit against the Chinese-language China Times which carried related articles.


“This has nothing to do with freedom of the press, freedom of the press also has its limits.”

– Chen Ding-nan (DPP) Minister of Justice to Chen Shui-bian

“Reactionaries must be deprived of the right to voice their opinions; only the people have that right.”

– Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party

Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan is the Taiwanese equivalent of homegrown authoritarians Janet Reno and John Ashcroft. Chen Ding-nan’s categorical denial was a lie. The Next Magazine case has everything to do with freedom of the press. The Chen Shui-bian administration’s Gestapo raid on Taiwan’s independent media was motivated not by any alleged concern for national security, but by fear of criminal exposure. A major scandal potentially disastrous to the international image of the Taiwan independence movement, an image cultivated at great expense by the Taiwan Lobby, could not be allowed to see the light of day.

Lee Teng-hui ran for the office of President of the Republic of China. Lee Teng-hui swore a solemn Oath of Office, promising to defend the Constitution of the Republic of China. Upon being elected President of the Republic of China however, Lee Teng-hui misappropriated Republic of China taxpayer funds for the purpose of overthrowing the Republic of China and replacing it with a “Republic of Taiwan.” Lee Teng-hui subverted the democratic will of Taiwan’s pro-reunification majority. Lee Teng-hui betrayed his Oath of Office. Lee Teng-hui violated the Constitution he swore to uphold. In short, Lee Teng-hui sold out his country.

That is what this scandal is about.

To put matters in perspective, the Republic of Korea’s Chun Doo-hwan and Roe Tae-woo received Draconian sentences for crimes far less serious than Lee’s. Chun and Roe’s crimes were purely economic. Lee Teng-hui’s crimes involved not merely graft, but high treason. The question is not whether Lee is guilty of these deeds. Lee freely admits having committed them. The question is will he ever be brought to justice for having committed them.

Even the “energetically” interventionist Washington Post, Taiwan independence fellow traveler and no friend of Beijing, saw no way around the obvious:

“Taiwan under former president Lee Teng-hui established a secret $100 million fund to buy influence with foreign governments, institutions and individuals… U.S. think tanks… Washington lobbyists… people now in senior positions in the Bush administration… That Taiwan has used money to win friends and influence people has been an open secret for decades. Its lobbying machine is one of Washington’s slickest, outclassing the less practiced attempts by its Communist [sic] adversaries from [mainland] China… “

John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service


Question: “How can you tell when A-Bian is lying?”

Answer: “His lips are moving.”

According to Reuters the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists faxed a letter of protest to President Chen Shui-bian: “CPJ considers this an important press freedom issue that has serious implications for the health of Taiwanese democracy.”

The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres or “Reporters Without Borders” issued a similar statement: “The use of such practices is unworthy of a democracy [sic] like Taiwan. Invoking national security to justify this seizure is very questionable.”

Chen’s Gestapo raids were in clear and direct violation of Article 11 of the Republic of China’s Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

How did A-Bian respond to the CPJ and RSF’s strenuous objections?