Sun, Jul 25, 2004 - Page 8 News List

'Bulletgate' harms our democracy

By the Liberty Times editorial

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Washington office has recently distributed a propaganda pamphlet entitled Bulletgate to many US congresspeople and officials. In the 20-page pamphlet, the KMT and the PFP make accusations about the March 19 shooting incident, the launching of the national security mechanism, and the number of invalid ballots, and then question the legitimacy of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election. According to the pan-blues, the pamphlet will be constantly updated and distributed to Taiwan's "foreign friends" if new information is discovered.

In response to the propaganda, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to launch a counter attack. Some even suggested that the ruling party should sue the blue camp for distributing the pamphlet in the US. The dispute over the presidential election has already entered the judicial process and the two camps should operate within this framework. However, the KMT and the PFP are obviously unwilling to be restricted by the legal process, and they want to continue the dispute politically. To be honest, the outside world can not tell the blue camp what to do to protect their interests, as long as their actions are in accordance with the law. Nevertheless, by washing one's dirty linen abroad and seeking external help during the prosecution of the legal case, the blue camp has departed from judicial norms. On the other hand, if the DPP sues the blue camp in the US, it will create trouble for itself and worsen the impact of Bulletgate on Taiwan.

As the dispute over the election continues, the power struggle among Taiwan's major political parties also continues. Taiwan's domestic affairs should be resolved domestically, without the involvement of foreign forces. Local politicians should set a good example and put their trust in the judicial system. This is the most basic respect for Taiwan's democratic rule of law. Not to mention that the people of Taiwan do not have to worry about the judicial system being manipulated by politics anymore. Even if a judicial ruling is different from what one expects, a person should not keep fighting the result. If this situation really occurs, the best way is perhaps to appeal to the voters, letting them make a fair judgement through the electoral process.

The pan-blues used the suppression of rebellion as an excuse to oppress democracy during the authoritarian era. Many democracy activists were mistreated during this period, especially in the aftermath of the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident. The government manipulated the judicial system to ensure conviction and punishment for these people. Faced with this injustice, the victims could only bear their pain and waste their youth languishing in jail.

Their sustaining of judicial unfairness, however, has finally been compensated by the voters. The victims operated through their relatives to seek public office, and they often won by a large margin. These incidents are a good example of how democracy can redress judicial injustice.

Since the March 20 presidential election, the KMT and PFP have held several mass protests and complained non-stop about the controversy of the presidential election, especially when there were foreign guests visiting Taiwan. If they really had reasonable grounds to protest, they would have received public support. But in fact, the opposite has occurred. Ever since Chen agreed to an immediate recount to show his good will, and Henry Lee's (李昌鈺) verdict that the shooting could not have been orchestrated by Chen, the majority of Taiwanese have not believed the pan-blue's accusations of electoral corruption. There have even been quite a few pan-blue voters who have advised the KMT-PFP alliance to come out from the shadow of the March 19 shooting and not live in a dream of the election result being overturned.

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