Thu, May 29, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Hoisted by their own petard

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son, daughter and son-in-law have all become targets of opposition criticism recently for their action or inaction. Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) is a dentist and her husband, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), is an orthopedist. Both work at the National Taiwan University Hospital. Neither are front-line personnel in the anti-SARS campaign, but they were criticized by the opposition for not going to the front-line and for taking days off.

Shortly afterward, Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) announced a suspension of all leave for military personnel as part of the military's anti-SARS effort. Chen's son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), then came under fire for working according to his usual schedule at his office in the Navy General Headquarters, including taking his regular days off.

A pro-blue camp evening newspaper and an English-language paper published comments on how Japanese General Maresuke Nogi sent his two sons to the front line during the Russo-Japanese War, where they died in action. The comments were meant to ridicule the first family for purportedly being so fearful of death. The evening paper even eulogized Mao Zedong (毛澤東) for sending his son Mao Anying (毛岸英) to fight -- and die -- in the Korean War. Such comments by the pro-China media only reflect their subconscious hopes: "The epidemic is wreaking havoc; the country is facing a disaster; six health-care workers have died; how come Chen's children still aren't dead?"

History textbooks tell us that the Russo-Japanese War was an inevitable result of Japanese expansionism following the Meiji reforms. The immediate cause of the war was a dispute between Russia and Japan over how to divide the booty of China's Liaodong Peninsula between them. It was a battle that should be condemned by any peace-loving person.

What happened to Nogi's sons was a tragedy. For the sake of his ambitions and Japanese military expansionism, Nogi sent his sons to die on the battlefield. This only reflects an individual's ignorance caused by nationalist and militaristic brainwashing. As for Mao's merits and demerits, there is no need to say more.

The opposition camp opposes Japan and Chen because they are pro-China. Their opposition to Japan is based on historical Chinese hatred toward that nation. They oppose Chen because they don't think he is loyal to China. Ironically, to browbeat the first family, the pro-unification media has not hesitated to use a war between two countries that invaded China. This only reflects the confused values of the opposition camp in their haste to attack Chen.

SARS has killed six health-care workers in this country. These deaths are an unfortunate loss both for the families of the departed and the nation. The deaths also appear to be the result of negligence on the part of hospitals and policy-making authorities. No one wants to see a single health-care worker sacrificed, much less any health-care worker staking their lives to prove their loyalty to the country. In light of the severe strain brought by SARS on health-care personnel, we hope the hospitals can properly plan their manpower allocation so as to ensure the safety of all health-care workers and patients.

And don't forget, among the three presidential candidates who ran in 2000, Chen is the only one whose son (or sons) has ever completed full military service. KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) sons were exempted from military service, one for being overweight and the other for poor eyesight. PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) son spent only two months in the National Guard before being released on health grounds.

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