Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was once attacked by the pan-blue media for saying “I am Taiwanese” in one of her campaign advertisements.
How ridiculous. During the presidential race in 2000, the question of whether a candidate “loved Taiwan” was the focal point of the elections. Hardly anybody nowadays would disagree that a Taiwanese candidate should be someone who identifies with and loves Taiwan. Tsai was merely stating a fact, and the pan-blue camp totally overreacted — its reaction merely highlighting its own sense of guilt.
In 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who tends to repeat uncritically what other people say, took the idea of loving Taiwan to an unprecedented level when he yelled out how he would always be Taiwanese, even when he is cremated. His contention here served no purpose whatsoever, save perhaps for angering people and making them wish that if he were considering cremation, he should just get on with it.
So, how one goes about showing one’s love for Taiwan and what sort of place one hopes Taiwan can become are the issues we should be focusing on. In the current battle for the presidency, some have expressed their concerns that Taiwan independence advocates are being marginalized. I would say they worry too much, because as long as there is justice, there is no way that people in Taiwan — a democratic nation based on the principles of popular sovereignty and safeguarding the people’s right to self-determination — could be prevented from deciding their own future.
However, over the past few years, it has often been said that there is no justice in this country.
Indeed, there have been so many injustices in recent years that it is hard to keep count of them all, cases in point being forced land expropriations, including in Dapu Township (大埔), Miaoli County, for urban or industrial development; the wrongful execution of air force serviceman Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶); the wrongful detention of death row inmate Chiu Ho-shun (邱和順); and pay increases exclusively for military personnel, government officials and teachers.
When there is no justice, people can lose the land for which they have worked hard for their whole lives. Without justice, people will not be able to have wrongs righted in courts. Without justice, freedoms of speech and academic inquiry are jeopardized. Without justice, the democratic system that is so important to us would cease to mean anything.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime has always relied on dirty tricks like lies, cheating and the abuse of power, lining the pockets of its cronies and sheltering and protecting members who have broken the law. After regaining power again in 2008, the KMT immediately returned to its old ways. Not long ago we saw the Control Yuan come down on the DPP when children donated piggy banks to Tsai’s election campaign. More recently we have seen government officials and legislators deploy forged documents to conduct an all-out war on Tsai in what has become known as the Yuchang case. It would obviously be futile to try to seek justice from these people.
We have been unfairly treated in the past, but I would like to stress that we do not have to go and vote with hate, blood and tears on our minds, afraid that our vested interests will be compromised. Instead, in the interests of securing the continued existence of Taiwanese democracy, we should put our faith in the arrival of a new era of justice and hope. With that thought in mind, we can cast our votes with smiles on our faces.