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Taiwan: Democracy And The Threats It Faces

Re "Showdown in Taiwan" (Asian Edition Cover Story, Apr. 5): First, President Chen Shui-bian's percentage of victory is 0.228%, not the number you cited [0.02%]. Second, the report was suspiciously slanted in favor of Kuomintang, notorious for being the richest party and a political dinosaur. BusinessWeek focused on the protesters who thought the election was unfair without citing any clear evidence. There are more than 6.47 million people expressing support of President Chen, and we are the majority. The reason we have kept silent is for Taiwan's solidarity. Our tolerance should not be misinterpreted. BusinessWeek chose to totally ignore our silent but majority power. Moreover, the people you interviewed made the report one-sided.

Karen Cheng


I would like to point out that the protesters were not necessarily Lien Chan's supporters. Many, still protesting until today, are rational, peaceful middle-class people (that's why the protest "felt more like a pep rally than a revolution") and are simply calling for truth. They doubted Chen's integrity and couldn't tolerate his manipulating this election to continue his corrupt authority for the next four years.

The Western press tends to favor Chen's party because of the supreme value of democracy and independence. Of course, I also worship those values. However, tricky politicians use those slogans to further their self-interest. The corruption and incapacity of the authorities is the evidence.

Daphne Huang


Taiwan's Nationalist Party rejected the result of the Mar. 20 presidential election, claiming the winner cheated based on its own past doings when it was in power. Their true motive is their wish to keep power by casting suspicion on the election results, calling tens of hundreds of its supporters to illegally occupy the plaza in front of the Presidential Palace for more than a week, and ultimately, attracting the attention of Beijing.

The Taiwanese people hate to accept China's boasted "One country, two systems." People can observe very clearly whether Hong Kong has become more or less free since the 1997 handover. The evidence [of the recent election] shows that capitalism is more accepted than communism worldwide. For the U.S., some things may deserve to be debated or challenged, but we as a whole believe the U.S. is the most trusted ally and friend in the free world.

Yea Shin Lin


I found it disappointing that your article focused on the possible positive business outcomes that would follow a KMT party victory in the Taiwanese presidential elections. "Taiwan watchers from Beijing to Washington are quietly rooting for a Lien victory" is misleading, since there are plenty of people (i.e., supporters of incumbent Chen) who realize this election has more to do with the self-determination of a group of peoples than cross-strait trade or appeasing China.

Perhaps these Lien supporters in Washington should review U.S. President George W. Bush's policy of "promoting and protecting democracy worldwide." I find it interesting that Washington was quick to "promote democracy" in Iraq yet willingly kowtows to China's oppressive demands to subjugate Taiwan. Taiwan is one of the few nations in the world that willingly and independently replaced martial law and single-party politics with a fledgling and vibrant democracy. Surely this is what needs to be highlighted rather than the "billions of dollars" at stake for businesses investing in China.

Mike Sheu

Arlington, Va. There can be no doubt that the biggest threat to the world today is religious fundamentalism, and your article was right in its analysis of the steps required to counter that threat ("Fighting a new Cold War," European Edition Cover Story, Mar. 29). Yet there is no hope of success in that undertaking unless it is led by people capable of defusing the crisis created by religious confrontation.

President Bush, speaking just a few days ago in the context of combating Islamic fundamentalism, used the expression, "There can be no neutral between good and evil." Such comments and their constant repetition demonstrate that Bush sees the world as "your culture against mine, your God against mine." In other words, he is a barely closeted religious fundamentalist. Therefore, as long as Bush and his fundamentalist cronies control the world's only superpower and retain a significant body of support, America must expect that many people, not only in Europe but throughout the world, will view both them and their country as the second-biggest threat to world peace and survival after al Qaeda.

Martin D. Fairbairn

Hong Kong Europe and the U.S. are not in the same boat in the war on terror. On September 11, 2001, the U.S. was attacked, and on Mar. 11, an ally of the U.S. was attacked. September 11 and Mar. 11 were not acts of terror. They were acts of anti-terror. The original terror has been visited upon the Palestinians for the past 50 years, with the financing and veto support of the U.N., by all U.S. Administrations. If the U.S. wants to stop the anti-terror terror, it has to stop the Israeli terror first. Then its fight against the anti-terror terror will win the sympathy of the rest of the world and have a chance to succeed.

Rudolf Beer

Gerlafingen, Switzerland

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