Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 8 News List

There's little idealism in the drive to oust Chen

By Cao Changqing 曹長青

Recently a group of pro-green academics launched a signature drive demanding President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) resignation. Although their move has come in for a great deal of criticism, many have used a polite euphemism, calling their act a display of "idealism," since their intent is to enhance the quality of Taiwan's democracy. My observation as an outsider is that these people are simply attempting to recall a democratically elected president by instigating a public movement. This is not a display of idealism, and leaves the impression that the group is simply venting their anger.

The unambiguous truth of the matter is that what truly threatens Taiwan's democracy is not the corruption scandals surrounding the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which also occur in many other countries and should simply be dealt with in accordance with the law. Rather, the danger is from a scheme orchestrated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to dissolve the pan-green camp and foment chaos in Taiwan in order to destroy the democratic regime led by the DPP.

Democracy means that people have the right to choose. Today, China is using its missiles to prevent the Taiwanese people from choosing their national title, flag and anthem. The KMT uses its massive party assets, the media advantage remaining from the KMT-led dictatorship and its camp's majority in the legislature to do exactly what the CCP is doing -- which is making sure that Taiwan doesn't change its national title or write a new Constitution.

A true idealist works for the public's right to free choice and protects the rule of law and democratic procedure. A true idealist does not take advantage of a political storm to vent his or her individual anger over unevenly divided political spoils.

Over the past few years, the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) have taken it on themselves to decide that the assassination attempt against Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on the eve of the 2004 presidential election was staged by Chen. They have rendered the legislature ineffective, made pilgrimages to Beijing to join hands with the CCP and blocked the passage of the arms procurement budget. What's more, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has even told the CCP that Taiwan independence is the primary enemy. But have we heard any of these "idealists" protesting those actions, which seriously damage the nation's democratic system?

Using a signature drive to express a political opinion is acceptable, but these so-called academics are asking that a democratically elected president step down. This reveals a lack of basic political common sense.

Not only that, their behavior also runs counter to the norms of democratic nations. In fact, this pretentious signature drive is taking place on the Internet, so there is no way to verify how many people have actually joined. Isn't it preposterous to think that a popularly elected president would step down as a result of such a signature drive? What is the fundamental difference between these academics, who have launched a public campaign to oust the president, and the pan-blue camp -- which tried and failed to recall the president?

Some of those who initiated the signature drive opposed the KMT in the past, but that does not mean that they truly understand democracy. After all, the CCP also opposed the KMT. Those who have been persecuted are not necessarily more right than those who once persecuted them. In his book The Farewell Party, Milan Kundera says that the saddest discovery of his life was that those who have been persecuted are no better than their persecutors, and that he could easily imagine them changing roles.

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