"Taiwan has plenty of rumors, but no evidence" is the impression of many people at present. Ever since the nation's first transfer of power took place in 2000 many people and institutions -- from party leaders and legislators to the media and academics -- have repeatedly abused their freedom of speech. Irresponsible attacks have been made in words and in writing, without any evidence to back up the accusations. As a result, the honesty, credibility and morality of Taiwan's politicians have been repeatedly questioned, while the dignity of our judicial system has also been knocked to the ground.
After the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the 2000 election, former New Party legislator Hsieh
More recent examples include: Independent Legislator Sisy Chen (
But it is not always the president who is the target of such nonsense. For example, independent Legislator Su Ying-kuei (
One thing that all these accusations have in common is that no evidence has been produced to substantiate any of the claims. Some of the people involved have already changed their stories in the face of media questions. But even when the accusers are shown to have been confused about their information, they have stoutly refused to admit to any error or to apologize to their victims.
Such accusations should not be made without a thorough investigation beforehand. It is hard to believe that politicians and academics have so little regard for the public that they expect to be able to bamboozle them for political rewards. The history of Taiwan's elections shows that voters see perfectly clearly, and that politicians and political parties that cannot be trusted will eventually be rejected by the people.
It is time to hold people accountable for what they say. When irresponsible claims are made, reporters and voters alike should be quick to demand accountability. People and institutions should not be able to hide their lies behind the protection afforded by the right of free speech. If such accountability is not forthcoming, the people should use their votes to throw out these irresponsible politicians and the candidates supported by grandstanding academics who appear to have lost any sense of moral compass.