KMT’s old habits die hard
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) ostensible ignorance of the impact of declining public opinion could stem from his confidence in being able to preempt the opposition by shutting it down before the next poll.
And if that means extinguishing Taiwan’s democracy and human rights, Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) aren’t doing anything they are not accustomed to.
Aside from unleashing a partisan judiciary on pan-green figures, Ma has resorted to a host of measures to advance his plans that could soon allow him to achieve parity with Beijing in terms of notoriousness.
Reacting to the sit-ins by the Wild Strawberry Student Movement, the Ma administration floated the idea of increasing military personnel on college campuses, possibly to clamp down on wider student unrest and nipping any anti-government sentiment in the bud before it can spread.
Answering both domestic and international concerns regarding police conduct during Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit last month, Taipei ensured that precinct captains involved in the security operation received promotions, while many of those deemed “responsible” for “attacking” police were arrested.
Preoccupied with a slumping economy, Taiwanese do not have the time or energy to worry over the possibility that Ma may be stealthily jettisoning Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Likewise, to distract people from the deals inked between the two sides during Chen’s visit, Ma fabricated political quarrels over revisions to the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法).
Ma would like Beijing to see the merits of allowing the KMT to rule Taiwan in perpetuity while resisting the urge to forcefully annex Taiwan, an act that would assuredly provoke a regional conflict.
The morphing of Taiwan into a police state is also a way for Ma to identify with Beijing in terms of values — a forerunner to China and Taiwan teaming up against the West.
To avoid this becoming a reality, Taiwanese must start by putting an end to the KMT’s old habits.
Los Angeles, California