Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Pan-blue cuts show a tilt to China

By the Liberty Times editorial

On Nov. 16, pan-blue camp legislators cut over NT$500 million (US$14.87 million) from the Mainland Affairs Council's (MAC) budget for next year, leaving only NT$268 million for personnel costs.

They also set five conditions for reinstating the budget: the implementation of direct cross-strait transport links; removing all restrictions on the small three links; making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan; charter flight services over the Lunar New Year holiday; and direct flight services between Hong Kong and Macau, and Taipei's Sungshan Airport, Kaohsiung's Hsiaokang International Airport and Taichung's Chingchuankang Airport.

MAC Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a former MAC vice chairman, to explain whether he thought it was patriotic of the blue camp to cut the council's budget simply to obtain two pandas and a visit by the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

The blue camp has cut the council's budget in an act of vengeance because the government has taken a strict approach to Chen's application to participate in a KMT-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Forum next month.

The government has demanded that China agree to negotiate the application with Taiwan.

When the pan-blue camp was first threatening to slash the MAC's budget, it faced criticism from the public, with many people wondering which country's legislature the pan-blue legislators belonged to and why they were using Taiwanese taxpayers' money to do work for China.

When the pan-blues unexpectedly disregarded this criticism and went ahead and with wanton deep cuts to the MAC's budget, they showed they had lost all judgement.

The action revealed two frightening attitudes. First, the blue camp's budget review was devoid of professional standards.

They disregarded the well-being of the public and national development needs, they abandoned the principle of social justice and they let political beliefs and ideology decide the budget's fate.

In the current atmosphere of a mutual lack of trust and a stand-off between the government and opposition, government budgets have often encountered unreasonable problems and obstruction.

In cutting the council's budget, pan-blue camp legislators have simply found another way to vent their anger over a strict review of broadcasting license extensions by the Government Information Office (GIO) that raised suspicions that TVBS was funded by Hong Kong and Macau investors.

In addition, the pan-blue camp's refusal to review the eight-year, NT$80 billion flood control and the arms procurement bills shows that they only care about their own partisan interests, and ignore the public's interests.

Second, the pan-blues are also opposing the MAC for the sake of opposition. It seems that these pan-blue legislators are only willing to submit themselves to Beijing, and only consider the benefits for China's leadership when reviewing the MAC's budget.

In the past, the pan-blue camp did not dare to openly collude with Beijing, although it never denied possessing a "greater China complex."

However, since being defeated in last year's presidential elections, the pan-blues have ceased to conceal their pro-China stance.

Furthermore, pan-blue political has-beens such as former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) have found great solace in Beijing's use of its "united front" strategy after their first-ever visits to China this spring. Other pan-blue politicians have followed suit, jumping on the "China fever" bandwagon.

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