Ma is no longer credible
During this election year in Taiwan, there have been, as there should be, questions about a candidate’s character and credibility. I have been thinking lately of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) character and credibility.
I was in Taiwan for the last presidential campaign and at that time thought of Ma as a reasonable person whose stated goals included making Taiwan a better place for all people. After living in Taiwan the past four years, I have come to the conclusion that it is not what he says, but what he does not say that may be the most important. I have come to question his credibility.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ma pledged not to negotiate with China while there are still missiles pointed at Taiwan. There are more missiles pointed at Taiwan now than when he said this and we have the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and other agreements with Beijing.
During one of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) trips to court a man got past the security guards and managed to hit him. Did Ma say this was wrong and demeaning to the office of the president? Not in any news article I have seen. He seemed to forget that at some point he too will be a former president.
During one of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visits, the Republic of China (ROC) flags were removed from streets in Taipei. Flags were also taken from citizens who were protesting negotiations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Ma’s response was that he did not order the flags removed. He, again, did not say the removal of the flags was wrong or that the flags should be immediately put back. Just that he did not order them removed. Later in the year many of the senior policemen taking this action were given promotions.
And, recently, there have been articles about government security personnel allegedly spying on the campaign of Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) legislative candidates and its presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The security personnel would then report back to Ma’s campaign staff. Ma’s response to these charges was the now familiar, “It wasn’t me that ordered that.” He did not respond in outrage that something like spying on an opposition candidate was totally unacceptable and whoever had done such a thing would be punished.
Ma has given me the impression over the past four years of someone who expects no opposition to his ideas. He does not expect to have to explain; he expects everyone to follow without question. He appears to be someone who would be most comfortable in a one party system like the PRC.
His actions and attitude lead me to believe he has no understanding of how a democracy works. His attitude is one of an emperor, not a president.
Funeral an ugly reminder
Regarding former president Chen’s attending his mother-in-law’s funeral, many Taiwanese are surprised, disappointed and upset about his treatment by President Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.
What is new? The KMT did it then and does it again now.
In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of Taiwanese studying overseas were denied visas to return home to attend their parents’ funerals. What crimes had those talented Taiwanese committed? They did not commit any crime: They did not steal a dime from the government, burn down a house or kill a person. They only wrote articles criticizing the KMT government or engaged in activities to promote human rights, freedom and democracy in Taiwan.