Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: KMT elders should grow up

Demos Chiang (蔣友柏), the great-grandson of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), has created quite a stir in Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) circles this week with his latest blog entry on Sunday.

Demos Chiang condemned former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) for showing poor sportsmanship following his narrow defeat in the 2004 presidential election, saying: "Mr Lien refused to concede ... defeat and led his supporters ... in clamoring nationwide for the following three months."

Several senior KMT figures such as Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and party Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) were quick to dismiss Demos Chiang's remarks as the opinion of a youngster who lacks a mature understanding of the matter. Lien's office director Ting Yuan-chao (丁遠超) called on Demos Chiang "to write about the truth rather than his own interpretation of the incident," and KMT spokesman Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) further warned Demos Chiang not to make hay at the party's expense.

Apologizing for her son's criticism of Lien, Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡) on Wednesday resigned from her post in the KMT's Central Standing Committee and from her position in the party's Huang Fu-hsing (黃復興) branch.

Is this what the KMT is about? A party that cannot tolerate dissenting opinions or listen to views voiced by young people?

Everyone in the country saw Lien's poor sportsmanship after his richly deserved defeat in the 2004 presidential election.

Demos Chiang merely wrote the truth, so why does the old guard of the KMT so quickly dismiss it as a youngster's lack of maturity and understanding?

The KMT, after losing power in Taiwan eight years ago to the Democratic Progressive Party, has since made attempts to strengthen its pro-localization stance as it tones down talk of eventual unification with China.

But winning people's hearts is more than just about adopting new party platforms. It requires a willingness to take in different opinions, especially from the younger generations.

After all, maturity does not necessarily come with age, and young people can often be critical thinkers with an acute understanding of history.

Some have questioned Demos Chiang's motives in criticizing the KMT. But whatever these are, he should be given credit for daring to challenge Lien and for speaking out in a political culture in which seniority seems to carry more weight than ideas.

If the KMT wants to look like a progressive party and leave behind its authoritarian past for a more open-minded and democratic future, it should respect new ideas from young people rather than dismissing them as "immature youth."

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