Wed, Jul 21, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: KMT still doesn't get democracy

Back in May, the National Policy Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank, produced a 20-page pamphlet entitled Bulletgate. Recently, reports have said it was distributed to US congresspeople, think tanks and the media. Since the serious accusations in the pamphlet have had a negative impact on Taiwan's international image, the issue has immediately attracted much discussion in Taiwan.

It is hard to understand why the pan-blue camp resorted to the kind of curbside propaganda it is using regarding the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). It is also hard to understand why it has continued to use it ever since the March 20 election defeat, and has seen fit to distribute this hackneyed propaganda in US political and media circles. Are the pan-blues simply seeking revenge, or do they have some other agenda?

Using propaganda that was appropriate on the hustings as the official party platform is reckless and takes no account of unintended consequences. The sensational language employed by the pamphlet may be of use in helping the pan-blues vent their anger at losing the election, thereby maintaining a state of heightened emotions among supporters. But the tone of the booklet uses extravagant language to make a case that is based on unsubstantiated rumors. When people in the US learn for themselves that the content of the booklet is false and misleading, how can the pan-blue camp hope to win the trust of officials in the US again?

The presidential elections took place four months ago, but the pan-blues still don't understand that their best recourse is to calmly wait for the results of the official investigation and court hearings. Instead, they are constantly coming up with ill-conceived, baseless accusations that cannot stand up to even the slightest scrutiny.

This is certainly not the way to win respect and sympathy. If the US government, Congress or the media decide to take a position regarding the election-related litigation, it will only be after the judiciary has completed its investigation and released an official report on the matter.

The case brought by the pan-blue camp challenging the validity of the election is being considered by the judiciary; the results of the recount demanded by the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) will also be released soon, as will the report on the March 19 shooting by Henry Lee (李昌鈺), the forensics expert -- sanctioned by the pan-blue camp -- who was brought to Taiwan to study the case. That the KMT-PFP alliance should choose this period, prior to the release of these reports, to hype up stale, one-sided propaganda makes one suspect that they are afraid the results of the reports will not be favorable to them, and hope to muddy the waters while they can.

The US election battle in 2000 between President George W. Bush and former vice president Al Gore is still fresh in our memories. Gore's defeat, no matter how unjust he felt it was, hinged on the fact that he had no direct evidence of malfeasance in the Florida polls. He accepted his defeat and even today is still praised by some as a model of democratic grace.

But when Americans see Lien Chan (連戰), a former vice president, and James Soong (宋楚瑜), a former provincial governor, as incapable of following the example of virtuous predecessors, or even exhibiting the basic respect for democracy by waiting patiently for the results of the judicial investigation, instead spreading nonsensical rumors attacking the administration, how can they not be disgusted?

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