The Road Not Taken In China
In his famous poem “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost wrote "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
As we begin celebrating the 100th year of the Republic of China, it is important to understand just what that means, because although the People's Republic of China might also celebrate this seminal event which occurred on October 10th, 1911, the results have been significantly different.
The road to freedom is a long and difficult road, and not many nations have successfully traversed it's ragged and often challenging terrain. In postulating a China free from tyranny, Sun Yat-sen ...view middle of the document...
Truthfully, all sides were brutal, though not nearly to the same extent, and all committed atrocities against the Chinese people in the name of "a new China".
The "new China" ultimately invented by Mao (with the help of the Soviet Comintern and its directive to fashion China into a Soviet style Leninist one-party dictatorship, which Mao ultimately refashioned with uniquely “Chinese characteristics” built around his “cult”) and Mao’s legacy turned out to be the totalitarian nightmare we see today as the People's Republic of China, the only true existential threat to democracy and freedom in the world today.
The "new China" ultimately sought by Chiang Kai-shek was only based loosely on Sun's concepts, mostly because Chiang was completely unfamiliar with western notions of federalism, and was a devout believer in Chinese history and in particular nationalism, and hence strong unchallenged central power (e.g. one party). The KMT’s governance after it fled the civil war against the CCP was actually an occupation of Taiwan, and a totalitarian era of martial law during which the Chinese Nationalist Party built a base in Taiwan from which to launch its efforts to "retake" the "Mainland". These efforts were in fact designed to regain power in China, not restore freedom to the Chinese people, and the occupation in Taiwan was brutal for many who regarded, and still regard the KMT as invaders.
As I mentioned, the road to democracy is a ragged and rugged road filled with peril and turmoil. We look at the United States and its democracy as a 234 year old continuing experiment in freedom, and its history is also filled with the fits and starts of refining eternal principles which exist in truly only a few places in the world today.
If we look at the history of the "Republic of China", we can see that it too has had a rocky history, most of which involved a marked departure from the basic tenets of its foundation. In this "100 years" which is thrown around as though it were a straight and continuous line of proud history, there has been only 10 years of anything we might...