Sat, Mar 16, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Betrayal comes in many guises

In the early 1980s, a famous cram-school teacher, who probably felt he had earned all the money he could ever want, decided to go over to the other side of the Taiwan Strait and embrace the communist regime. After arriving in China, he expressed his hope to make good use of his knowledge to aid the "motherland." Therefore, he was given a position at a research institute to do research on Taiwan's economy. In reality, his job was helping Beijing to cook up strategies to counter the KMT government.

After the Tiananmen Square Incident, feeling that the Beijing regime was on the verge of collapsing, the man left China and settled in San Francisco. He then began to express goodwill toward Taiwan, offering to return home and teach the government about how to deal with China.

However, his record of betrayal bankrupted his credibility. No one on either side of the Taiwan Strait is willing to believe him. So, he ekes out a living writing articles for newspapers.

There is also a very famous music composer who defected to China, only to return to Taiwan after being labeled a political dissident in his adopted homeland. Now no one wants to listen to his music -- so he works as a fortune-teller.

These sad sagas from years gone by are being re-enacted -- the stories are similar, only this time the actors are retired government officials. However, the sense of betrayal among the people of Taiwan is much greater when they hear of former officials abandoning Taiwan to work across the Strait.

Whether the conduct of these ex-officials violates the "revolving-door clause" under Taiwan's laws has yet to be determined. But the people don't have to wait to condemn such a lack of ethics.

Because these individuals held important posts and participated in the government's policy-making process, they had access to confidential information concerning Taiwan's technological development. By placing their self-interest over that of the country's, they are damaging national security just as much as the leaking of microchip wafter technology secrets concerning 12-inch fabs or the transfer of eight-inch fab technology to China.

If the Chinese economy turns sour, or the Beijing regime is severely shaken, these people will surely return to Taiwan. They should not be welcomed back with open arms, for they have lost their credibility and their moral standing.

If legal sanctions for such behavior do not yet exist, the Legislative Yuan and the media must do their part to air the people's disgust over such selfish actions.

No less threatening to national security are trips to China by former premiers under the guise of visiting relatives. Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) has already made such a trip and Lee Huan (李煥) is reportedly on the way.

If these political elders and former officials have the sense of "responsibility toward history" that they claimed to have in the past -- they must realize that they are placing Taiwan's future generations at risk -- as well as their own good names.

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