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2004-02-28 14:02:00

    Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian on Saturday said that there is no difference between "new Taiwanese" and " old Taiwanese" among the 23 million people of Taiwan and that all Taiwanese are masters of the island.

    The president made the comments in a feature he wrote to mark the 57th anniversary of the tragic 2-28 Incident in which the government's suppression of Taiwanese caused a bloody conflict between native Taiwanese and local residents from mainland China.

    Noting that the 2-28 Incident is still a sensitive topic in Taiwan and that some people think it's best not to touch on the issue and to leave it behind, Chen said that as the nation's leader, he does not think this is the way to deal with the matter.

    He said that having love for Taiwan and for the people, looking at the past and at ourselves with self-examination, and having a forgiving attitude toward others is the best way to approach the sensitive topic.

    He further said that if "our hearts are filled with love, forgiveness and self-examination," then history will lead us forward, and the pursuit of democracy and justice will never falter.

    Looking back on history also helps to remind the people of Taiwan of their achievements as well as the sacrifices of their forefathers, Chen said, adding that the people should always believe that they are the masters of their own land.

    Noting that Taiwan has been a multi-ethnic society for some four hundred years, Chen said that the differences between the people and their leaders should definitely not be viewed as differences among the ethnic groups. "Descendants of the aboriginal people, the Haklo, the Hakka, mainland Chinese, as well as newcomers from other nations are all masters of the big family of Taiwan, " Chen said, adding that " in today's Taiwan, there is no difference between masters and guests, nor distinction between "minority" and "majority" since the 23 million people are all an integral part of Taiwan and share in its destiny.

    Reiterating that Taiwan belongs to the people of Taiwan and is not a vassal state of any other nation or people, the president said that the island should think about its future structure and form. He pointed out that "emphasizing Taiwan's separate identity is not tantamount to the 'de-Sinicization' of Taiwan."

    He said that Taiwan stands at the intersection of "oceanic culture and continental culture, " and that besides its multicultural assets, the island has also absorbed the essence of Chinese, Asian as well as European and American culture.

    Although Taiwan is not a part of mainland China from the standpoint of sovereignty, Chen said, "China" and "Chinese culture" are certainly a part of Taiwan from the standpoint of history, culture and blood ties.

    Saying that there is no longer any distinction between "new Taiwanese" and "old Taiwanese," the president called on the people of Taiwan to trust each other and work together as all the 23 million people of Taiwan are the masters of Taiwan's present and future.

(By P.C. Tang)


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