Sun, Nov 02, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Blue camp can't accept the looting is finished

By Lee Min-yung 李敏勇

The transfer of power in 2000 in effect meant that non-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians took over the management of the Republic of China (ROC), a country brimming with muddle-headed controversy, both in theory and in practice. But the party-state structure, with its monopolizing mind-set, was obviously unable to accept the fact that power had been transferred into the hands of others. Although the new leaders and their team have declared again and again that they will perform the duties incumbent upon them to the utmost, the resistance that remains is still resistance.

From the moment former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed the torch to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), every cog of the KMT machine has treated a localized ROC as the "other." KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), leaders of an authoritarian party that split to compete against itself, have rejoined forces with the shared goal of overturning the government. The goal? To win power, nothing more, nothing less. When Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) handed power to Lee, it was proof that man cannot overcome fate. But will the KMT and the ROC now be forced to part ways?

Using the KMT and the Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款), the Chiang family monopolized and controlled Taiwan for over 40 years. Peripheral party, government, army and intelligence structures surrounding the two Chiangs have been described by political scientists as clients of an authoritarian system. Apart from sharing in the spoils of power, these clients could only act according to their will. Within these client structures, many dreamed of succession, waiting to take power following the death of the father and his son.

The final departure of Soong Mayling (宋美齡) after her defeat in the power struggle that followed the death of Chiang Ching-kuo showed that the clients of this authoritarian system shared a common ambition, but also that they were cultivating different plans. Then, the new leaders robbed the old officials. With one slap, James Soong destroyed the old officials' dreams. The split between Lien and Soong in the hunt for the presidency was an example of new-leader politics -- grab and steal. The clients then basked in their power, fearing noone, grabbing what they could.

But who could have thought that power would instead fall into the hands of someone outside the KMT? Alright, said the stunned former leaders, let's cooperate to get it back.

Now that Lien and Soong are the new lords of the manor, a new set of clients will of course gather around both of them.

And what of the illegitimate son of Chiang Ching-kuo? Who cares? The now-powerless Chiang clique barely recognizes him, so why should the new lords pay any attention to him? The chaotic political situation in Taiwan is simply a matter of an authoritarian syndrome continuing to wreak havoc.

Let Lien and Soong make their move. The people will grow tired of them after they lose once more.

Lee Min-yung is a poet and president of the Taiwan Peace Foundation.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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