Wed, Aug 24, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Does Ma know the truth?

Stating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) shares close historical links with Taiwan, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Sunday that the party would soon present a detailed position paper which will emphasize the party's bonds with Taiwan and hence dispel allegations that the KMT is an "alien regime."

Given the massive problems that the new party chairman has in revamping the 111-year-old KMT's image -- convincing people that its kleptomania has been cured, for example -- it is puzzling that he thought the best place to start was in the distortion and fabrication of history. Or, then again, perhaps not, given Ma's well-known problems with the truth.

According to Ma's remarks to the Central Review Committee -- whose membership is comprised mainly of the party old guard -- the party historically has been a friend of Taiwan because KMT founder Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) traveled to Taiwan to recruit members to join his revolution.

Actually anyone with a knowledge of the history of those times knows that it was Japan, not Taiwan, which was the main base of activity of the revolutionary movement.

It is also worth noting that when Lin Hsien-tang (林獻堂), the father of the Formosan home-rule movement, met Tai Chi-tao (戴季陶), a close associate of Sun Yat-sen, in Tokyo in 1913, Tai told him that the KMT was too busy in China to provide any assistance in Taiwan and that if the Taiwanese wanted to remedy the harshness of Japanese colonial rule they should look to Japanese liberals for help.

Taiwan was abandoned by the KMT to sort out its own problems.

In another attempt to emphasize Sun's connection with Taiwan, Ma mentioned how Sun, who then was strapped for funds under the rule of military strong-man Yuan Shih-kai (袁世凱), came to Taiwan to raise money. But then Sun went to such places as London and Hawaii for the same purpose. If Sun's cap-in-hand wanderings legitimize KMT rule then there is obviously a claim on Hawaii to be prosecuted.

And of course whatever Taiwanese sympathy there may have been for Sun at the turn of the last century, this has nothing to do with supporting the brutal instrument of Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) oppression after 1945.

Actually the link is even more tenuous. The history of the KMT can be traced back to the Society for Regenerating China (興中會) in 1894. But whether it be that, the Revolutionary Alliance or Tongmenghui (同盟會), founded in 1905, or the post-revolution reorganization of the Alliance as the KMT, all these organizations varied hugely in their membership make-up, objectives and organizational styles. And the KMT, in anything like its present form, did not emerge until after the purges of the late 1920s, which themselves happened after Sun's death. For Ma to draw an equal sign between "supporting Sun" and "supporting the KMT" is to rape the historical record.

Ma went on also to say that "the KMT is not a foreign regime and that its demand to restore Taiwan during the War of Resistance [World War II] suggests the KMT harbored a pro-localization spirit."

This remark is Ma at his most mendacious. Other than a handful of Taiwanese such as Lien Chen-tung (連震東) -- former KMT chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) father -- who affiliated themselves with the KMT, who among the KMT had set foot in Taiwan before 1945, let alone knew what Taiwanese wanted?

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