Thu, Oct 02, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: The KMT's questionable allegiance

Yesterday was the 54th National Day of the PRC. So far, media reports have shown no prominent Taiwanese businesspeople showing up at the celebrations, but there is no knowing whether they attended the events but kept a low profile or whether Chinese officialdom barred the media from reporting on the activities of any Taiwanese delegations.

In previous years pan-blue politicians and businesspeople went to China for the Oct. 1 festivities in droves, as if they were attending a temple fair for Matsu (媽祖). The Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing used to be brimming with Taiwanese politicians and businesspeople around Oct. 1. China would highlight their presence in its domestic propaganda, saying the two sides of the Taiwan Strait shared the joy of the National Day and that both sides had the "motherland" in their hearts.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) last week banned its politicians from attending Beijing's celebrations because it feared providing more ammunition for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and others who say the KMT's heart is in China. The KMT appears to have struck a tacit agreement with Beijing regarding the dispatch of delegations to the National Day celebrations.

Given the joint KMT-People First Party (PFP) presidential ticket and the spiritual alliance between those parties and the remnants of the New Party, all pan-blue politicians will naturally cooperate with the KMT's election strategy. Apparently no pan-blue politician will show up at a high-profile event on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

This travel restriction stands in sharp contrast to the behavior of pan-blue politicians when there isn't an upcoming election -- then they are joining tour groups to China and visiting Chinese officials at the drop of a hat.

Political commentators have often noted that in the three years since the KMT lost power, many of the politicians who in the past had attended the Republic of China's (ROC) National Day celebrations in Taipei showed up in Beijing for the PRC's National Day celebrations instead. Ironically, it is Chen and the DPP that have held on to the empty shell of the ROC. Since 2000, come Double Ten Day, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) have scrambled out into the mountains for a hike. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) gets busy jogging. No one in the pan-blue camp appears to care about the ROC anymore.

What's was even more ludicrous was that Ma prohibited the organizers of an international women's soccer tournament from flying the ROC flag during the games on grounds that the International Olympic Committee would not approve. Outraged pan-green camp supporters delighted in bringing small ROC flags in the games and waving them.

Now comes election time and the pan-blue camp are once again talking loudly about the ROC, while criticizing former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for pushing for a name change and lashing out at Chen for calling for a new Constitution. The pan-blue camp cynicism regarding national identity is unparalleled.

Nevertheless, the KMT's travel ban indicates the party is well aware of China's unpopularity among the people of Taiwan -- if not outright loathing for the Beijing government. The KMT has been cozying up to Beijing for several years in the hope of using China's influence to shackle the DPP government and increase its own influence. Its willingness to cavort and conspire with Beijing shows how little it cares about Taiwan. All it cares about is regaining power and enriching its members.

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