Where Do We Stand? Excerpts from Dr. Lien Chan's Speech at the National Press Club, October 21, 2003
Five months from now, on March 20, 2004, to be exact, we will hold another presidential election in the Republic of China. In 2000, the Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, squeezed through to win just over 39 percent of the vote. The principal reason Mr. Chen Shui-bian became president was that the Kuomintang, or KMT, had split into two groups with myself heading the KMT ticket, and Dr. James Soong, a former KMT secretary-general and governor of Taiwan, running as an independent.
As the old saying goes, "a house divided against itself cannot stand". We both lost, even though the two of us pulled a total of 60 percent of all votes cast.
We learned our lesson the hard way. The net result of the 2000 election was that the fortunes of the Republic of China took a nosedive in three and a half years of DPP rule. Unemployment topped 5.21 percent, unheard of in Taiwan before. Citizens have taken to the streets, to protest against the government's mishandling of issues that affect their lives specifically.
Most important of all, people become alarmed by the seemingly inexorable trend of animosity between both sides of the 90-mile wide Strait. They fear that the DPP's hidden agenda, moving in piecemeal fashion towards independence for Taiwan, would lead our country eventually to clash with the Chinese Communist regime, and worse still, drag the United States into the melee.
I am perfectly aware that, those of you who have had any contact with officials from Taiwan or DPP lawmakers in the last few years have had an earful, or several earfuls, of the cardinal sins of KMT and PFP. When repeated enough, lies have a curious way of hypnotizing otherwise normal persons. Among them, and foremost goes as this: because the Pan-blue is pro-China, the pan-Blue victory in the 2004 elections would be detrimental to the national interest of the United States!
Nothing can be farther from the truth. Our position regarding cross-Strait relations is as follows. First, we will not fall prey to Beijing's enticements, nor yield to its threats of armed invasion. We will insist on our independent status as a separate political entity. We firmly reject the "one China, two systems" offer, because it gives us nothing that we do not enjoy already. What do the people of Taiwan enjoy at present? We enjoy individual freedoms, human rights, a free and vigorous press, a democratic system of government, and a free market economy. We have no intention to trade in any of these for a pie in the sky.