Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: KMT is nothing without its assets

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) announced on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Premier Yu Shyi-kun for libel and defamation. The suit was filed after Yu repeatedly claimed during legislative question-and-answer sessions that the KMT's assets are stolen "booty," and that whoever purchases the party's assets is buying stolen property.

According to the KMT's complaint, "The KMT assets are a legacy of history and the accumulation of years of effort. They have by no means been obtained by illegal means." Obviously, the thief still does not know what he did wrong. The KMT's wealth does in fact derive from theft. The concept of "the rule of law" did not exist during Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣中正) authoritarian rule, as those in power owned almost everything at that time. Since there was no difference then between "legal" and "illegal" procurement of assets, how can such assets be called booty? No wonder the KMT dared to sue Yu.

However, the KMT is not aware that times and the political system have changed. Under the rule of law, we must review the inappropriate damage to lives and properties in the past -- such as mishandled judicial cases, including those related to the 228 Incident, and the assets robbed by the KMT.

By turning its back on authoritarianism, the KMT might have openly embraced the rule of law with the arrival of democracy, carrying out party reforms to transform itself into a real democratic party. Unfortunately, it has not changed its authoritarian attitude. Not only is it holding on to its assets, but it has also resisted various reforms, as if the party is the driving force of Taiwan's "counter-revolution."

It is no wonder that, come election time, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) takes aim at the KMT's assets -- this is campaign ammunition that is ready at hand. In past elections, the KMT has adopted the tactic of shameless denial. To every accusation, the KMT would respond with all sorts of unreasonable nonsense. And so, with each election, the KMT loses a few more votes.

The period after each election is an excellent time for the KMT to engage in self-examination about making thorough internal reforms, but because of succession struggles and the unwillingness of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and a number of other party elders to relinquish power, a complete overhaul has been repeatedly delayed. As Executive Yuan spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) pointed out on Tuesday, the KMT has already used its majority in the legislature 68 times to block the passage of bills governing the disposition of assets improperly obtained by political parties. Clearly, in filing a lawsuit against Yu, the KMT has lost all sense of shame and is simply being obstructive.

Over the years, the KMT's assets and bribery have been the two pillars of its electoral machine. It is the party's assets that allow it to buy votes. After many years of engagement with the KMT, the DPP is very aware of the KMT's tricks, and in every election Justice Minister Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) takes a tough stand on bribery. This has partially crippled the KMT. But if its assets were also to be compromised, then its campaign machine would collapse completely.

Which member of the KMT's localization faction has not joined that party with an eye to its massive resources? It's no wonder that the KMT is holding on to its assets for dear life, for without them, the party would disintegrate. The KMT's current suit against the premier is simply an expression of the dialogue between an authoritarian system and a democratic one. As there is no common ground, there is no choice but to take the matter to court. As for the people, their judgement will be expressed in the le-gislative elections next month.

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