Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 8 News List

John Kuan a commie? If not, he should sue

By Paul Lin林保華

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman John Kuan’s (關中) was recently quoted by Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper as saying that “it was the KMT’s ‘sincere hope’ that peaceful unification between the two sides would eventually come if the party stays in power for an extended time.”

Kuan denied earlier this week that he made the remarks, and it is virtually impossible for the Taiwanese public to find out the truth.

Was the report fictional, a distortion of the facts or accurate?

Taiwan’s pan-blue-camp politicians hate it when people label them as pro-communist, and they also like to solve problems through litigious means.

For instance, when former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) and Sandy Yen (莊和子) referred to China Philanthropy Justice Party Chairman Chin Nien-tzu (金念慈) as a communist, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was of the opinion that the word “communist” defamed Chin, and indicted Wang and Yen.

For this reason, I suggest that Kuan also file a lawsuit against official Chinese media outlets that published the remarks for in effect tagging him as the same.

Of those outlets, the Wen Wei Po is registered in Hong Kong, while the others are registered in China.

There is no such thing as judicial independence in China, thus it should be the Wen Wei Po that is held accountable.

Hong Kong’s legal system has already gradually Sinicized, but during a recent visit to Hong Kong, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) proposed that the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the Hong Kong government should understand and support each other.

The Hong Kong Bar Association, now chaired by a member of the Political Consultative Conference in Guangdong Province, then made it clear that the judiciary must be independent of the executive and legislative branches.

This statement resolved the concerns of some in the legal community and the general public who worried that the association would be influenced by China’s “united front” strategy.

Although Hong Kong is part of China, this move clearly shows that the people there have more moral integrity and professionalism than Taiwanese politicians who do nothing but adulate China.

Therefore, if Kuan has done nothing that China could take advantage of, he might as well sue the Wen Wei Po for libel. I would be willing to act as a middle man in contacting a Hong Kong lawyer.

However, there are other things worth considering. Kuan has also been quoted as saying that: “I always feel much more excited when I visit the Mainland than when I stay in Taiwan.”

I wonder what it is that excites Kuan so.

If it is because the party-state has disappeared in Taiwan but stubbornly remains in China, and that there is every prospect that China will continue along that road, then he would be violating what Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) described as the “vigorous current of democracy,” not to mention world trends.

If the Wen Wei Po is eventually proven to have published a report based on rumor, we should acknowledge Kuan’s innocence.

But allowing Chinese media outlets to station reporters in Taiwan will only provide them with more opportunities to spread rumors and distort the truth.

Paul Lin is a political commentator based in Taiwan.

Translated by Ted Yang

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