Following is an open letter posted on the popular Chinese BBS forum, bbs.huanqiu.com, by a member named “LTML.” The English version of it follows the Chinese in this post. It is addressed to U.S. President Obama on his decision to sell weapons to Taiwan.
President Obama has repeatedly stressed that he wants to reach the people of China. Well, based on what we’ve read in some of China’s BBS’s, we believe the sentiment expressed by LTML is widely and deeply held inside China.
We urge President Obama or his administration to take this view seriously, and to respond and change course. Sovereignty is amongst the highest of core interests of China. There is a huge gap between the Chinese and the U.S. perspective regarding the extent of Chinese sovereignty. Closing this dangerous gap will be better for the two countries and will lead to a more peaceful, stable world.
The following letter has circulated in Chinese blog-sphere for a while. A recent submission of a copy by a reader to Fool’s Mountain, our sister blog, and a call in the Chinese blog-sphere for people to help spread the word has compelled us to publishing it here.
Letter from a Chinese web user to US President Barack Obama
Dear Mr President:
I’ve heard that you care for the voices of web users. I’ve also noticed that you requested a direct dialogue with web users to answer their questions and concerns during your visit to China last November. Your attention to web users has encouraged me to write to you. I am an ordinary web user from China. What I want to talk to you about is the US’ arms sale to Taiwan, which has raised a heated discussion on the Internet in China. I sincerely hope this letter reaches you, and that you would be able to hear the voice of an ordinary Chinese web user and his wishes for reunification and peace and his nation.
In your speech to Chinese youth in Shanghai you said, “the strength of the 21st century is not a zero-sum game, the success of a country to another country should not sacrifice the cost. This is why we do not seek to contain China’s rise. On the contrary, we welcome to the international community, China, as a strong, prosperous and successful member.” You have called for “changes” during your election campaign; so I think your words on “not seek to contain China’s rise” shows your sincerity in making some “changes” in Sino-US relations. The first thing that comes to mind is that the US government under you, unlike your predecessors, will not annoy China on China’s reunification and the Taiwan Question, as the Chinese nationals really appreciate the current peaceful cross-Straits relationship.
However, two months after you left Shanghai, your promise “not seek to contain China’s rise” and “my administration fully supports a one-China policy” is weirdly mingled with your decision to sell arms to Taiwan. I am not sure if I have interpreted you wrongly. Either you have not changed, or you have changed so fast that I do not even have the time to picture what great peace and happiness your promise would bring to the people across the Taiwan Straits. Of course, I hope I am not wrong in understanding your promise, and you are not changing fast. Because a president who brings hope into the White House, is not expected to “change nothing” or “change too fast”.
I enjoyed your speech and admired your speaking skills. I really wish you could meet the Chinese youth and the Chinese web users, and explain whether your promise to them or to China has changed. But I’d like to add a note here. We do not need lame explanations like “arms sale to Taiwan is good for security across the Taiwan Straits”, because it is an insult to our intelligence if we believe in such excuses. It is a simple fact that for the separatists, the more advanced their equipments is, the more they would want to split from the nation. In the American Civil War, the southern rebels were even crazier in their fight with the Federal government under Abraham Lincoln after they received military support from Britain.
Mr President, when you first put your hands on the Bible that Abraham Lincoln once used and vowed to be the 44th president of the United States, many people called you “Lincoln the second”. There are even people in media counting the similarities between you and Lincoln: you are both from an ordinary family, and both have brilliant talent and eloquence. You also said you are a fan of Lincoln in your autobiography, The Audacity of Hope. But no matter how many similarities you and Abraham Lincoln might have, I, as an ordinary Chinese, think you have one deep-rooted difference. The difference is that President Lincoln had suffered from the splitting pains of his nation, and bore hatred for the external power that intervened to split his nation; but you did not.
Mr President, you are a knowledgeable man. You must have remembered the Trent Affair during the American Civil War, where President Lincoln bit the bullet and met the unreasonable demands of the British to release the special envoys the southern rebels sent to Britain. However, during that time, Lincoln told his people “that was a pretty bitter pill to swallow, but I contented myself with believing that England’s triumph in the matter would be short-lived, and that after ending our war successfully we could if we wished call England to account for the embarrassments she had inflicted upon us.”
Mr President, do you know that you are compelling Chinese people to swallow a bitter pill by selling arms to Taiwan and interfering in the reunification of China? Has it occurred to you that the leaders in China might have spoken the same words your idol, Abraham Lincoln once said, that “we wished (to) call America to account for the embarrassments she had inflicted upon us”?
A Chinese web user from bbs.huanqiu.com
Feb. 2, 2010