Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Now we know who stands for what

While the violence of the pan-blue rent-a-mob outside the Presidential Office on Saturday night and in the small hours of yesterday morning can only be deplored in the strongest terms, it might in the end have done Taiwan a favor. For it has made it absolutely plain, even to the greatest skeptic, who in Taiwan represents the stability that is necessary for Taiwan's continued prosperity and who represents mob rule, violence and gangsterism.

Of the people arrested Saturday night, half were found to have criminal records concerning involvement with Mainlander-run organized-crime gangs the Bamboo Union and Four Seas Gang. These are the kind of people that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) are relying on in their quest to overturn the election.

Perhaps we might be glad they have lowered their sights. After all, in the immediate aftermath of the election results the pan-blue leaders made a vigorous attempt to entice members of the armed forces to launch a military coup d'etat in the name of "defending democracy." To the military's credit, it no longer sees itself as the private army of the KMT and Lien and Soong were snubbed. Just as importantly, the message from Washington following the promulgation of the election result contained a stern reminder aimed at the pan-blues that any attempt to go outside the law to solve election disputes would not be tolerated. This punctured the more wildly ambitious plans of the election losers to regain power. Since then they have been confined to ruining the weekends of members of the Taipei City police force with demands that are barely coherent.

First they wanted a recount and foreign investigators brought into the inquiry into the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). The government offered them both these things but now they refuse to pick up the tab for the recount, which under Taiwan law they have to do, while they are also saying that their pet forensic scientist, when he confirmed the story that local police had already told, must have been duped by those devilishly clever pan-greens. Then on Saturday night, with Mainlander gangsters in custody in connection with the rioting, KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) tried to blame the violence on the Democratic Progressive Party, while Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), having told the Ministry of the Interior to keep out of Taipei City affairs and arrogating to himself all responsibility for policing the demonstration, spent all day yesterday trying to claim that the riot, the product of a demonstration for which his authorities had issued a permit, wasn't his responsibility after all. It was all Chen's fault -- presumably for not winning the election by enough votes. The stupidity mounts up so fast you need wings to stay above it.

One aspect of Saturday's events is easily overlooked, namely, what the protesters sought. Answer: the trashing of the Constitution. That is not what they wrote on their placards; there they demanded a legislative committee to investigate the shooting. But the shooting is a criminal case and falls under the jurisdiction of the Judicial Yuan. Now the pan-blues suggest having a referendum on the issue, despite the fact that no referendum result can be valid if it conflicts with the Constitution.

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