PEKING has openly displayed the inefficacy of Marxian communism for solving 20th-century problems. Many Chinese communists have lost faith in the dream that communism suggested; they only pity the communist martyrs for their needless sacrifice. The alternative path chosen by the Republic of China on Taiwan has given Taiwan a respected and envied place among developed nations. In sharp contrast to its economically troubled communist counterpart on the mainland, Taiwan embodies the real spirit of the Chin ese people for its economic democracy and entrepreneurial vitality. It is through applying Dr. Sun Yat-sen's third Principle of the People's Livelihood that Taiwan has successfully provided its people the means to prosperity. Interestingly, Peking has followed Taiwan's lead and has also followed Dr. Sun's economic formula (land for the tillers and international development of industry by welcoming foreign investments and advanced technology), calling it ``building Chinese-style socialism.''
Taiwan has solved the problems indicated by Dr. Sun as the four basic needs of the People's Livelihood: clothing, food, housing, and transportation-communications. More significant, first through labor, then capital, and now technology, Taiwan -- like Japan and Canada -- has greatly increased its trade with the United States in the past 15 years. While still needing to move further with Dr. Sun Yat-sen's first two Principles of Nationalism and Democracy, Taiwan has made steady progress toward winning th e people's acceptance and confidence. One cannot, however, say the same for mainland China.
Despite this success, Taiwan has been forced to live under diplomatic discrimination and virtual isolation after the Nationalists' loss of power on the mainland in 1949.
Unfortunately, Taiwan's unique contribution has been overlooked. Nowhere else in Asia does such a solid base of resistance to communist rule exist. Therefore, it would be unjust and unwise to expect the 19 million people on Taiwan to reunify with Peking. First, let them finish carrying out Dr. Sun's Three Principles of the People.
Peter S. H. Tang is a professor of political science at Boston College.