Taiwan voters strike blow for reunification

Proletarian writers

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Proletarian writers

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Voters in Taiwan delivered a crushing blow to the pro-imperialist forces that seek to permanently divide the island province from the People’s Republic of China in parliamentary elections held on Saturday 12 January 2008.

Taiwan is an island province off the southern coast of China to which the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) forces fled after they were defeated by the communist-led forces in the Chinese people’s revolution in 1949. Since that time, the Chinese people have waged a tenacious struggle to reunify the island with the rest of the motherland.

Following the return of Hong Kong, previously under British colonial rule, in 1997, and the return of Macao, previously ruled by the Portuguese, in 1999, the return of Taiwan is the last stage in China’s national reunification, which would bring to a victorious conclusion the Chinese people’s struggle for national liberation that began with the struggle against British invaders and opium traders in the 1840s.

Despite its reactionary and anti-communist positions, the KMT has always agreed with the Communist Party of China (CPC) on one point, namely that there is only one China and therefore reunification should eventually take place.

However, for the last eight years, Taiwan has been ruled by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has an agenda of so-called ‘Taiwan independence’, in reality a strategy of permanently dividing China in the service of US and Japanese imperialism.

In contrast, the KMT, forced into opposition, and also responding to the rise of China and the patriotic sentiments of much of its base, has developed closer and closer ties with the mainland in recent years. In April 2005, then KMT Chairman Lien Chan visited the mainland and met with CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao, the first meeting between the top leaders of the two parties since Comrade Mao Zedong met Chiang Kai Shek in Chongqing in August 1945.

Historically, the CPC and the KMT have banded together in a united front twice before – between 1924 and 1927 to fight imperialism and the warlords on the basis of the national revolutionary programme of KMT founder Dr Sun Yat Sen, and from 1937 until the end of World War Two in order to resist Japanese fascist aggression against China.

In the 12 January polls, the KMT took 81 seats and 72 percent of the vote, whilst the DPP won just 27 seats and 24 percent of the vote. The remaining five seats were won by minor parties and independents also opposing ‘Taiwan independence’ and supporting reunification.

Following the results, Taiwan’s ‘president’, Chen Shui Ban, a particularly venomous opponent of People’s China, resigned from the position of Chairman of the DPP. Media reports noted that the electorate was punishing the DPP not only for its confrontational stance towards China, but also for the corrupt behaviour of Chen’s family, a poor economic performance and worsening unemployment.

KMT leader Ma Ying Jeou is now the clear favourite to win the really important contest – the ‘presidential’ election, which will be held on 22 March. He has pledged to spur economic growth and cut unemployment by improving relations with the mainland and easing trade and investment restrictions.

The financial news agency Bloomberg quoted a bus driver in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, as saying: “What we want now is to improve the economy and have better relations with China.”