Just how long can we afford to let Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Last year we saw Ma, preparing for a re-election campaign of quite extraordinary dishonesty, postpone elections for borough wardens which should have taken place in June until January this year. The laughable reason Ma gave for this tampering was that Taipei City was redistricting its boroughs and had to postpone the election until the redistricting was complete.
As we pointed out at the time, this was a first class example of the mendacity that characterizes almost everything that Ma does. The reason for postponing the election was to make sure that it happened after the mayoral election last December and the reason for this bit of legerdemain was to ensure that Ma's trusty vote captains would be kept in place during the election campaign period.
Ma had no right to reset a nationally-fixed election date for his personal convenience and should have been impeached for it, as in fact a considerable number of borough wardens campaigned for. That he hasn't been impeached shows what shallow roots the rule of law still has in Taiwan.
And now we see that contempt for legal niceties shown once again, as Ma sends his goons out to confiscate copies of the Special Report VCD. The VCD has caused a furor over its merciless lampooning of a number of pan-blue figures, especially People First Party Chairman James Soong (
But Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Tai-san (
What we are seeing here is the wrong law applied to the wrong object for the wrong reasons. Contemporary Monthly editor in chief Chin Heng-wei (
Ma might say in his defense that the central government deemed the VCD illegal because its producers had not obtained a circulation license. Even if this was necessary, it is also true to say that the same applies to most of the VCDs on sale in any nightmarket in Taipei. But Ma's censors haven't been bothered about them. The fact is that the Taipei City Government, in an attempt to suppress something the only fault of which was to dent James Soong's conceit, has made a mockery of the law and shown utter contempt for the constitutional right of free speech. Ma rewrites the rule book for himself and his cronies again.