In their much-ballyhooed dance with China, president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) can only draw strength from Taiwan’s democracy.
Ironically, it is the combination of Beijing’s awareness that Taiwan’s government will change hands periodically and the presence of millions of Taiwanese who voted for the UN-bid referendum — in spite of the KMT’s undemocratic boycott — that provides Ma with any backbone to deal with Beijing.
Ma and the KMT’s ultimate goal of uniting Taiwan with China, however, alienates the pro-sovereignty group.
Efforts such as further democratization to ensure a viable political plurality in lieu of the KMT’s penchant for one-party rule would point to Ma’s intention to strengthen his hand. So would be efforts to minimize the hostility of the pan-green camp toward the KMT.
Chief among these telltale signs would be progress on transitional justice, which the KMT is now optimally placed to implement.
Not only is the KMT highly confident, the insecurity of deep-blue voters — the main hindrance to realizing transitional justice — has all but evaporated.
Its significance would go beyond bringing long-lasting social harmony. It would also take a giant step in severing the KMT from its odious past and would have a bearing on the Ma administration’s dealings with Beijing.
It would reinforce Ma’s claim to representing a democratic sovereign state rather than an entity tracing back to the KMT of old that engaged the Chinese Communist Party in an epic struggle for control of China.
Unless there is such a break, Ma’s cross-strait policy will never escape Beijing’s characterization of cross-strait conflict as the aftermath of the Civil War. Where that would lead Taiwan is a foregone conclusion.
Besides exposing and redressing wrongs in connection with the 228 Incident and the White Terror, transitional justice also includes proper disposition of the KMT’s stolen party assets, the ridding of which is another key to the survival of Taiwan’s democracy.
So is the exercise of direct democracy, which should be made routine.
Should the bulk of these things materialize, the decision of countless Taiwanese to overlook the KMT’s transgressions and vote for Ma and his party would be vindicated.
The essence of recent elections will hopefully amount to Ma and the KMT using a rare opportunity to contribute to the nation rather than revert to base instincts that would see the resumption of the party-state.
Los Angeles, California