According to the Ministry of the Interior, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) made almost NT$2.9 billion (US$100.3 million) in stock dividends last year. That this accounted for more than four-fifths of total earnings reported by the KMT has been a topic of much recent public debate.
Another issue that has once again come into public focus is the question of how much capital the party really controls. Despite the Far Eastern Economic Review in August 1994 calling it the richest political party in the world, the KMT claims that its financial situation is strained because of its huge expenditure on party affairs.
Discussion of the KMT’s party assets seems to have deteriorated into a war of words based on opinions instead of fact. However, between 2001 and 2008, the Control Yuan requested that the Cabinet check the “special national assets” transferred to the party, cinemas taken from the former Japanese colonial rulers, and land and buildings donated to it. These checks and a series of follow-up investigations imply that the NT$2.9 billion currently being discussed could be insignificant when compared with its total assets.
For example, in terms of the real-estate investigation, Ministry of Finance data compiled in October 2006 showed that the total area of such properties was as large as 147 hectares, representing a market value of NT$24.3 billion.
Using all this information, the Cabinet set up a Web site on the KMT’s ill-gotten party assets to publish the results of its investigations and other academic studies.
Unfortunately, the Web site was quietly removed on May 19, 2008, the day before the KMT took office. The move called to mind the way a criminal would destroy incriminating evidence.
If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government is truly as innocent and upright as it claims to be, there would be no reason for it not to re-establish the Web site immediately to help the public understand the issue so that people can discuss it based on concrete facts and figures. If there are any misunderstandings or misconceptions, this is the chance for the KMT to set us right again.
Lo Cheng-chung is an assistant professor in the Department of Financial and Economic Law at the Chungyu Institute of Technology.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG