Lee Tunghui: Don’t invest in Chinese “Slave State”

Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, who knows a thing or two about replacing dictatorship with freedom and democracy, urged the West to be on alert as China grows in economic strength and not to tolerate its aggression and human rights abuses. He also urged the world to adhere to the feelings of the Taiwanese people and formally recognize Taiwanโ€™s de facto independence. In the most strongly worded speech on his current US tour, he also lambasted China and accused it of being:

“A slave state that uses the false promise of its booming economy to dupe the free world into appeasing its tyranny. As long as the capital from free countries continues to pour into China, China’s already oppressive practices will become more entrenched and the ensuing and ever-expanding militarism will make the likelihood of transition to a peaceful country ever more unlikely.

China is rapidly building up the economic, military, technological and diplomatic power of its slave system. Under conditions that are tantamount to enslavement by the state, business from capitalist countries are enticed by cheap, obedient labour and cheap land and facilities owned by the state. If China insists on maintaining its one-party dictatorship, if it continues to exploit and suppress its people at home and expand its military threats against its democratic neighbours, then China will retain its current status and we will continue to witness the rise of a militarist hegemony.”

In the Los Angeles speech, Lee called for capitalist nations not to invest in China. He compared the Westโ€™s attitude towards China as similar to the 1930s appeasement of Hitler and later, Stalin. He said that the West should try to force China away from its present polices of domestic repression and eventual regional domination to instead further embrace freedom, democracy and a less aggressive foreign policy.

“Free nations must develop and strengthen their global and regional cooperation in both supporting the people of China in their struggle for freedom and democracy as well as taking measures to stop Chinese acts of oppression and aggression. Only in this way will we eventually see a China that is ready to take its place among the family of free nations in Asia.”

Lee also accused the West of double-standards, saying that it willingly engages and coddles communist China whereas before it aggressively isolated the former Soviet Union โ€“ which ultimately contributed to its collapse. He stated that the West believed Soviet human rights violations and threats to neighbouring countries should be stopped but now also believe that China’s violations of human rights and threats to neighbouring countries are “special Chinese characteristics” that should be tolerated.

The Discussion: 33 Comments

Leeโ€™s speech received some support within the US. According to AFP, Dana Rohrabacher, Cal. (R) said it was time for Washington to stop walking on eggshells around Beijing, saying human rights were more important than business dollars.

“I’m not worried so much by whatever the reaction from Beijing will be but it’s time for the United States government to stop bending over backwards and trying not to make the dictators that run the government in Beijing angry because we are being too friendly with people who elect their own democratic government in Taiwan.”

October 23, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

Haha, I had to change “pu*sy”-footing around Beijing to “walking on eggshells” around Beijing – questionable content! Should have known better really.

October 23, 2005 @ 12:25 am | Comment


That almost makes sense. “Walking-on-eggshells” = “p—-y”. I just love eating eggs.

October 23, 2005 @ 4:00 am | Comment

Lee sounds like a smart guy. His remarks on our hypocrisy in tolerating repression in some places (like China) while going apoplectic about it elsewhere (like Cuba or Iraq) is totally on-target. I’m impressed.

October 23, 2005 @ 4:08 am | Comment

Lee Teng Hui is an arch-villain, Japanese rightist quisling, and a traitor actively aiming to undermine the Republic of China and all it stands for. He and his co-conspirators should all be lined up against a brick wall and gunned down without mercy. He is not without a certain base cunning, as he fully understands how to mold public opinion and the subtleties of propaganda within liberal democratic institutions. As for support for him within the US congress, I think you overestimate his boosters. The principal congressmen who harp endlessly about China come in 3 flavours: Christopher Cox, Tom Lantos, and the aforementioned Dana Rohrabacher. Those three are the primary media whores of the Congressional Taiwan caucus so if you read any article about Taiwan issues, you are almost certainly to see one of their names.

October 23, 2005 @ 9:23 am | Comment

It is the Lee Teng hui, who destroyed the first and the best chance of Taiwan to build a mature democracy and a civilized society. He is responsible for post-KMT chaos in today’s Taiwan. He is the evil who distorted the consititution drafted by the famous elite scholar Zhang Junli and totally distorted Taiwan’s democracy into the shitty populism. By blocking the free movement of the capital and labor, he has done a severe damage to Taiwan’s economy. Without him, Taiwanese capitalists would have established several Giant enterprises like Hydundai and Samsung in Taiwan.

October 23, 2005 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

Lee’s speech seems to have hit a nerve with certain people. It must be quite galling when a marginal outpost of the Chinese empire does such a better job of managing its affairs that the rest of the country looks bad by comparison. A real loss of face for Beijing and Mainland China. No wonder the thought of an independant Taiwanese identity makes them apoplectic.

October 23, 2005 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

Lee’s speech was irrelevant, the fact that he is still alive is anaethma enough. It is not a matter of management that makes him persona non-grata on the mainland, but rather that he advocates an ethnic separatism based solely on hatred/contempt of mainland Chinese and fawning adoration of his former rightist colonial Japanese masters. In a word, a self-hating quisling.

October 23, 2005 @ 3:32 pm | Comment

No comment on Lee and his career as an activist for separatism.

But this?

Hilarious. Cjheck out the photo. Never took him to be a cosplayer, really. The guy’s a couple of margaritas short of a party, I’d say.

October 23, 2005 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

I feel sorry for those China-basher, driven by their hate and ideological zeal. They have no impact, whatsoever, on the path China is going. If they are angry about China, it is their problem.

October 23, 2005 @ 5:21 pm | Comment

I am not sure if I can say this, but Lee Teng-hui is a stupid old retard.

October 23, 2005 @ 5:50 pm | Comment

What can I say, when I read the remarks of Jing, Lin, Xing, and ZHJ, I feel I am reading the China Daily.
Their remarks are stronger than those coming out of Beijing.

I always feel that anyone who knows what buttons to push has to be doing something right. For a man in his eighties, he remains sharp.

October 23, 2005 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

Oh well Jerome, but what is wrong with reading the China Daily? Is the Taipei Times any better? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lee Teng-hui has resorted to cheap, insulting and ungrounded rhetoric and is only supported by conservative douchbags such as that Dana Rohrabachererererere….Remarkable sharp? I believe the Japwanese Lee has become senile.

October 23, 2005 @ 6:34 pm | Comment

Perhaps the people attacking Lee would like to do so on the basis on rational argument? Learn from the world’s reaction to the Yasakuni shrine … frothing at the mouth is not the best way to convince others that you’ve got a valid point. Why does the rest of the world NOT support China’s position that visits by the Japanese PM should stop? If you look at the nature of the shrine, really everyone should be on the same side as the Chinese. The reason? No one wants to be seen hanging around with irrational morons. The Chinese and the Japanese both lie about their past constantly … but the Japanese are so much better at it. The Chinese just (figuratively) jump up and down and throw tantrums every time something happens they don’t like … and then get terribly offended when people don’t agree with them.

Lesson of the day? Jing, Lin, ZHJ, Xing … you are indeed doing an excellent job of convincing a wider audience that the Chinese are indeed a dangerous threat, and there’s really got to be something to what Lee is saying. After all, if he’s got enemies like you, he can’t be all bad, can he? Actually, (especially in the case of Jing) I kind of suspect that that’s the intention … In that case, I take off my hat to you, because it’s really quite a brilliant piece.

October 23, 2005 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

And ZHJ … haven’t you heard the joke about China Daily?

They used to say that the only truth in it was in the weather section.

The punch line to the joke?

It was discovered that even the weather section lies.

What’s wrong with reading China Daily? Nothing … I go there all the time to find nice examples of irrational thought.

October 23, 2005 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

“I feel sorry for those China-basher, driven by their hate and ideological zeal. They have no impact, whatsoever, on the path China is going.”
Sorry, most China-lovers don’t have much of an impact on the path China takes either. Ironic, huh?
However, in Taiwan, the people can have an impact on their future.
Seems like this is a touchy subject for some people, talking about lining people up and shooting them. Haha, sorry, but that seems like the classic Mainland answer.
I agree with Peter that it must be a real loss of face for Taiwan to have done so well in contrast to our buddies here, and even more embarrassing that they don’t wanna come back to the muthaland’s embrace.
And luckily, unlike Hong Kong, nobody will ever force them to do so.

October 23, 2005 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

So Lee is a “stupid old retard”. Excellent analysis. That’s why you make so many allies through your PR. Any CCP-supporters care to bother EXPLAINING exactly what part in his speech he is wrong?
Calling people names is what I expect from little children. If you want to convince people I suggest you grow up and use adult arguments.
By the way FS9- the weather section does lie, as when it underreports the temoperature by one degree to prevent workers from taking leave due to the heat, or overplaying air quality to try to meet the gov’t’s “clean air days”.

October 23, 2005 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

“Oh well Jerome, but what is wrong with reading the China Daily? Is the Taipei Times any better?”

Actually, YES! There is a big difference. Taipei Times is biased….there is no question of it. But the Taipei Times acknowledges the existence of viable alternate viewpoints…an area in which the China Daily is sorely lacking.

October 23, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

My, I had no idea this thread had taken such an interesting turn. Jing, I am really disappointed. Usually I look to your comments for some maturity and knowledge, but in this thread you could pass for a brainless Red Guard. ZHJ, Lin, Xing — really, can’t you hear yourselves? Can’t you understand how this kind of rage appears to others? Seriously, this is why the world is so afraid of China. No other major power comes across this way — as prickly, sloganeering, insult-hurling, out-of-control infants. Of all China’s challenges, maturity might be at the top of the list.

October 23, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Hmm. I guess I’m one of the very few native mainlanders who are not hostile to the idea of Taiwan independence (by which I really mean, “heck yeah, they should return to our motherland’s embrace, after all we share practically the same language and culture, so none of this ‘distinct society’ bullshit…but they should have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to or not through a national referendum, without fear of military reprisal from us.” ;))

Yeah…so I gues I’m not quite as hostile to Lee Teng-hui, stinkin’ self-hatin’ jap-luvin’ separatist quisling or not. ๐Ÿ˜› (though I do think the guy’s somewhat cracked in his senility, if he’s dressing up like Japanese anime characters to win votes.)

But back on topic:

Slave state? Hyperbole. China is no Sparta or pre-civil war confederate state. Despite all the unfreedoms, the lives of Chinese citizens are no longer indentured to the grand ol’ CCP.

As for calling the West to stop investing in China? Pipe-dream. He makes a good comparison with the former Soviet U, but that was before, this is now, and it is no longer in the interest of the West to economically isolate China. Besides, the governments in the West have little control over their capital outflows, anyway.

October 24, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

As well – yeah, cutting off FDI to China and debilitating its economy is really going to set the mood for political democratization.


By punishing China now chances are just as good that you’ll only exacerbate its oppression and its belligerence.

October 24, 2005 @ 1:00 am | Comment

To F. S. #9

I thought the only thing accurate in the paper was the date.

October 24, 2005 @ 3:14 am | Comment

but richard, don’t mess with Taiwan independence and I can be a very rational person. However, supporting Taiwan independence for a Chinese is like hanging out a red flag before a bull. Supporting Lee is not only supporting Taiwan independence, but hating China. And you should rightly be afraid then. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are not alone in this though, tell a Turkish person you support breaking up their country into a “Turkey” and “Kurdistan”. I would be very interested how you would survive that.

October 24, 2005 @ 5:19 am | Comment

ZHJ … Taiwan independence is a good thing. Taiwan is already independent. Lee is a hero.

Come on come on come on. Show us what you’ve got …

October 24, 2005 @ 6:19 am | Comment

Don’t you just love the way that the worst insult the Lee-haters can come up with is that he likes Japan?

I think LTH is having the time of his life – after 60 years of not being able to say what he thinks he’s now revelling in being just about the only (politically significant) Taiwanese person who can say exactly what he thinks.

One thing to note: although what he says resonates with a large number of Taiwanese, most people are also realistic enough not to take him too seriously – his party regularly gets less than 10% in elections. “Officially change the name to Taiwan? Yeah, it’d be nice, but we’re not stupid” is mainstream view here …

October 24, 2005 @ 9:21 am | Comment

I agree with the speech, but like others whom pointed out (others I consider by their rationale to be intellectual pygmies), I don’t consider China a ‘slave state’ unless you also say that for many in the US forced to toil without access to doctors education for their children or clean water, and gerrymandered away into some constituency where their vote would be an irrelevancy, the USA is a slave state as well.

October 24, 2005 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

Ooh, man, burn. Way harsh. Pray tell me how my rationale (for what exactly?) makes me an intellectual pygmie.

October 24, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

Keir, sure you’re not a commie yourself?

October 24, 2005 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

I was glad to hear Nausicaa after stating her position still be open to letting people have choice; one note of rationality from the other side of the Strait amidst the din of many other voices.

I have spent a couple of hours talking with Lee Teng-hui and he is not senile, nor rabid or whatever else. I would consider him the consumate politician. He knows how to work a crowd; he knows the buttons to push.

I think this trip was one of letting his old opponents know that as he says, there “is still spice in the old ginger,” and he still knows the buttons to push.

Think of it, how many nations do you know that go ballistic when an eighty plus year old retired man speaks his mind (regardless of his former position) It tells you more about them than him.

And as for him taking the rap for the downfall of the KMT etc., come on guys get realistic, do some true soul searching.

October 25, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

Um… I wasn’t referring to YOU nausicaa. Just the idiots and morons who keep insulting people without justification.
Reminds me of that David Niven anecdote where he’s standing with another bloke at the base of a staircase as two ladies in evening gowns descend.
Niven says: “That’s the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.”
The other man replies: “That’s my wife.”
Niven: “I meant the other one.”
Other man: “That’s my daughter.”
Niven: “I didn’t say it.”

October 25, 2005 @ 5:39 am | Comment


I may steal that one from you sometime.

October 25, 2005 @ 8:47 am | Comment

Nothing more convincing to our Taiwanese ears, when Lee started his China slave state speech in his native Japanese tone. Next of course, points his finger and compare Chinese government to the Nazis and the Japanese imperialists in which Lee proudly supported and participated. We see this patern of betrayal and hyprocrisy in Lee’s history.According o Li Ao, he betrayed and revealed all his comrade in his communist period to be executed, so that Lee was let go.

Worse there was a diry little mutiny within the natinalists party in Taiwan in which Lee lied his way out to become the first Taiwan president. vicious circle of Lee’s behaviours of Lying, and conniving, betraying incluing betraying to his own father, Betraying his own friends. Betraying his own people. Toaster Leavins

October 25, 2005 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

Vivien, who believes Li Ao, he is our court jester who trades on insulting people; the Blues always drag up that old chestnut. Why don’t they repeat what he has said about Lien Chan and James Soong? Name any politician Blue or Green and Li Ao has thrown up dirt or insulting remarks.

And Lee was lying and deceitful??? the whole party was that way; Lee learned to swim with the sharks. To rise in that party you had to go through many examinations of past behavior and tests of loyalty. If the KMT really wanted to win in 2000, they should have kicked out Lien Chan and gone with Soong. But as they say in Watergate, follow the money, Lien Chan controlled more of it than JS.

October 26, 2005 @ 7:18 am | Comment

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