2002 | V | 140-164
Article title

Droga Tajwanu do demokracji

Title variants
Taiwan’s way to democracy
Languages of publication
Guomindang regime in Taiwan, like the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, restricted political freedoms and violated human rights for decades. However, the democratic transition in Taiwan did not result immediately in an electoral success of the opposition. At the very end of the 1980's in Poland and in Taiwan one party regime of a Leninist party had been replaced by a multi party democratic system. Notwithstanding this essential similarity, there was a significant difference in the dynamics of these transformations. The Polish regime identified itself with the Left but the Taiwanese with the Right. In spite of the state control and intervention, Taiwanese economy had a market nature. Therefore the process of economic transformation was much less significant there then in Poland. The democratic transformation in Eastern Europe put an end to the Communist stagnant economy, but this resulted in a deep economic crisis, afterwards modest economic development was achieved. In Taiwan at the beginning the political transformation coincided with an intensive economic development, merely at the latest stage, when the opposition took the reign of power, the economic stagnation was seen. In Poland and in Republic of China in Taiwan many citizens perceived respectively the Communist and the Guomindang governments as an alien force. Under such circumstances, both governments undertook efforts to gain popular support, that resulted in a more or less advanced liberalisation. In Poland it was halted by a military rule, but ended with the Round Table negotiations and semi-free elections in which the Communist party lost its power, and recognised its defeat. Guomindang, on the other hand, remained in power for a decade. Its electoral successes and the defeat the Communist party in Poland, resulted from different historical circumstances and from the different system of values. In Asia (and in Taiwan) the restrictions of human rights were not perceived as very arduous. According to the Confucian traditions, the government has two essential duties: to grant well-being and education to the people. These duties were fulfilled very well by the Guomindang administration. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, restrictions of the political freedom and of civil rights were considered ignoble and of crucial importance, whereas economic development was considered too modest. Moreover, the local regimes served Moscow and this weakened their legitimacy. In Eastern Europe under such circumstances a victory of the opposition offered great hopes of radical improvement in standards of life and in political freedoms. In Taiwan, on the other hand, victory of the opposition could not bring radical improvements. Instead political instability could provoke an economic crisis. The limitation of human rights were not considered truly painful by the society and they were gradually removed under the control of ruling party. So, in Taiwan the process of transformation was gradual and slow, and Guomindang is still an important political force, whereas in Poland it was a rapid, revolutionary process, whereas the Communist party was dissolved and discredited. The author illustrates also to the Polish readers various details of distinct features of the transformation processes in Taiwan.
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