Former Toronto-based Government Information Office official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) returned to Taiwan on Tuesday amid clashes between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters and Kuo’s friends at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. This farce should stop here.
The Kuo incident is simple. He asserted in his blog entries: “Daiwan [歹丸, a mandarin homophone for the Hoklo pronunciation of “Taiwan” that means “wicked pill”] has reached a dead-end. There is no turning back and all that remains is armed liberation followed by dictatorship.”
“After securing Taiwan by force, there must be no political freedom. Many years must be spent suppressing and eliminating the opposition and ideological reform must be carried out to thoroughly remove the cancer,” he wrote.
Someone with such opinions of course is not suitable to be a civil servant, especially not in an overseas managerial position. This is also the consensus reached between the pan-green and pan-blue camps since the scandal surfaced.
With Kuo dismissed from office, he is now considered a civilian, entitled to freedom of speech and the right to appeal. Whatever he says and however arrogant he may be, there is no need to further delve into the issue.
Frankly speaking, Kuo is merely an advocate of immediate unification with China who lost his job because he was caught red-handed. He refused to reveal his online pseudonym because he knew it was inappropriate for public servants to make such statements and because he did not want to lose his high-paying government job. Now he has lost his job and become a hero for the Republic of China Patriots Association (中華愛國同心會).
However, no matter what he decides to do next, Kuo has been stripped of his civil servant status and consequentially has the right to say what he dared not say before as well as the right to advocate unification between Taiwan and China. He can even establish his own political party.
Kuo’s comments have angered pan-green supporters. Some suggested that he be arrested and some sued him for inciting rebellion and treason, while others will try to sue him for ethnic discrimination. But since Article 100 of the Criminal Code was amended so that only people attempting to overturn the government using violence and intimidation can be charged with sedition, no one has been charged for expressing their opinion.
It is even less necessary to accuse Kuo of ethnic discrimination. In Taiwan, everyone is ethnically biased to some extent. A study conducted by Academia Sinica shows that even now, many Mainlanders and ethnic Taiwanese still will not let their daughters marry Hakka because they are “stingy.” Many ethnic Taiwanese and Hakka believe Mainlander husbands are less chauvinist, and Hakka women in particular prefer marrying Mainlanders. Very few Mainlanders, ethnic Taiwanese or Hakka want their daughters to marry Aborigines.
I hope these biases will disappear forever, but the division into in-groups and out-groups is meant to strengthen self-identity and always gives rise to in-group prejudice. Even elementary school students tend to think they are better than those in other classes. If we want to keep prejudice and discrimination in check by legal punishment, we all would likely break the law unknowingly. This is why the proposed ethnic equality act must not be passed.