President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) served two terms as mayor of Taipei, from 1998 to 2006. In February 2007, he was charged with corruption in relation to a discretionary fund that he had at his disposal as Taipei mayor.
In response to the charges, Ma wrote: “Taiwan’s democracy has now entered a cold winter night. Good citizens are at their wits’ end as crooks and ruffians hoot and howl like owls and wolves in a dark forest. Now that justice has been usurped by politics, fury has become the last resort for what remains of our dignity. If we are to stop the wicked from having their way and salvage Taiwan’s last glimmer of hope, we have no other option than to boldly stand up and say ‘no’ to them.”
Who are the owls and wolves now? To whom should we be boldly saying no?
The storm over Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) involvement in TaiMed Biologics Co — the Yu Chang case — has been raging for a few days.
The most unbelievable thing about the Yu Chang controversy is that a government that is always claiming to uphold democracy and human rights could alter or fabricate official documents as a means of attacking those whose standpoints and opinions differ from its own.
In other words, this government is not safeguarding the public’s freedom and property. On the contrary, Ma’s administration is not averse to using the machinery of state and the nation’s resources to try and attack those who threaten its political interests, and it will not stop at using fake official documents to level false criminal charges against them, vilify their moral integrity and assassinate their character.
It is the same kind of logic and the same kind of manipulation that ended the bright young life of air force serviceman Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶), who was wrongfully executed in 1997 after military investigators framed him for murder.
If even Tsai, as chairperson of the nation’s main opposition party, cannot escape this pervasive repression and vilification, what is there to keep the government’s claws off ordinary citizens who have no such status?
We no longer have a democratic government that sees the public as its masters, but a tyrannical one that has nothing but contempt for the nation’s citizens.
If such a thing were to happen in any Western country, it would be a huge political scandal, but up to now nobody from Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has come forward to apologize. On the contrary, they are trying to blame their own mix-up on the former DPP government.
In today’s Taiwan, if you have produced a document that the government cannot understand or figure out, the fault is yours, not the government’s.
If you should ever be perceived as a threat to the government’s grip on power, do not expect the government to feel that it has a duty to help you recover your good and honest reputation.
You will have to fight back against the government and you will have no one but yourself to help you do it.
Taiwanese judicial authorities these days work like remote-control toys. They are at the government’s beck and call to take on the opposition parties for any flaw they might have, even if the issue has been cooked up by the government.
This government is using our tax dollars to try to brainwash us.
It is not enough for Ma’s government to shut you up; they have to frame you too.
What can you call Ma’s government if not an authoritarian regime that tramples citizens’ rights underfoot?
Wu Shuh-min is president of the Taiwan Society.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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