Over the weekend, pirate radio stations in southern Taiwan reportedly aired malicious remarks aimed at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
There is no proof so far that the threatening remarks were made, with an initial report by the Cabinet-level National Communications Commission (NCC) indicating that the words "to assassinate" or "to kill" were not heard on the programs. But KMT legislators were quick to jump to their feet to lambaste the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration for "permissively allowing death threats under the pretense of freedom of expression."
The pro-China media has been eager to play up the unverified reports, running them on the hour for the past few days. The issue of Ma's safety is suddenly the nation's top concern, while callers to underground radio stations -- who are usually known for their pro-independence stance -- are in the meantime being described as "barbaric" people who "opt for the use of violence." The pan-blues are trying to paint all callers to pirate radio stations with the same brush, despite lacking any substantiated information on when the death threats were made and on what channel.
The pan-blues demanded that Premier Su Tseng-chang (
The Kaohsiung Prosecutors' office was quick to respond, launching an investigation on Tuesday into the matter. The NCC said that it would move to assist the police in investigating the alleged calls to "assassinate" Ma.
The use of violence is unacceptable. And yes, it is important to take precautions against any rhetoric that might be turned into action and endanger the security and well-being of the nation's leaders. But what about the brazen, violent rhetoric from Ma himself? Unlike the unsubstantiated rumors of threats on underground radio stations, Ma's comments were aired for all to see on the nation's TV news stations. Apparently, to the country's pro-China media and some of the nation's prosecutors, some lives are more valuable than others.
Why didn't prosecutors express concern when Ma, while noting earlier this month that the opposition would only get one shot at recalling the president, brazenly incited the public by saying: "It's time to load the gun, but not yet time to pull the trigger"? Why hasn't the media been more critical after Ma on Wednesday urged Chen to take the initiative to resign instead of being recalled, warning him that he would "die a horrible death" if he didn't do so?
And NCC members have seemingly fallen asleep and missed the far more violent words such as "execute A-bian" and "kill [former president] Lee Teng-hui (李登輝)" which are often yelled in public by pro-unification diehards, posted on the People First Party's online forum and aired on a certain TVBS talk show program.
It appears that the only relevant difference here is the color of one's political affiliation.
A day after charges were filed against him by a group of DPP Tainan City councilors for "inciting others to kill," Ma yesterday offered an apology for his violent remarks.
The nation's pro-China media will hopefully put aside their partisan sentiments and stop applying double standards to the pan-green and pan-blue camps. Ma, as leader of the nation's largest opposition party, should set a good example, instead of adding to the nation's bitter political atmosphere. What the country needs now is less hatred and more rationality.
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