Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 8 News List


KMT continues betrayal

I finished reading George Kerr’s Formosa Betrayed a few days ago. It took me a long time to finish it because I had to pause many times to process all the complex feelings of hurt and shame. How little had I known about the nation where I had been born and raised.

In Taiwan, most people about my age grew up being taught political propaganda as if it were real history. So convinced were we that even when Formosa Betrayed was no longer banned by the government, very few people bothered to read it. We were so used to thinking that the government is always right, just as we believe that parents are always right.

Upon hearing criticism of the government, some might even say: “It is not easy to run a government,” getting slightly cross.

It is clear that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), ever since it fled China and established a government-in-exile in Taiwan in 1949, has never been on the side of the people.

Due to the prevailing fear of a communist takeover in the West at that time, the KMT’s illegal occupation of Taiwan was tolerated, if not encouraged. The tragic outcome was that Taiwan became “Free China,” and Taiwanese have been confused about their identity ever since.

In the late 1980s, Taiwan underwent a series of liberalization measures, pressed by powerful demands for political reform from within and by the international community.

The notorious Martial Law era, which lasted for 38 years, was lifted. By 1996, Taiwanese had eliminated the parliamentary seats that represented “the mainland area,” and voted directly for the first time for their own president.

However, the process of democratization was not complete because the KMT, the second-richest political party in the world, was simply too big for any rival political party in Taiwan. Even when the KMT, due to a schism within the party, reluctantly became the opposition party from 2000 to 2008, it still kept a tight grip on the judicial system, the legislature and the media. It also enjoyed the unfathomable loyalty of most military leaders.

Now that the KMT has the reins again, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is in his second term, nothing seems to be able to stop this political machine anymore.

The recent controversy over ractopamine residue in imported beef from the US is a good example. Ma, who is both the president and KMT chairman, demanded that the party caucus pass an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) to pave the way for the relaxation of the ban on imports of beef with ractopamine residue. KMT legislators were warned they would be disciplined if they did not toe the party line.

By making the US government seem a bully, Taiwanese foolish and the opposition parties irrational, Ma pretends to be the only “good guy” in the game.

We, as Taiwanese citizens, must reiterate that we never intended to ban US beef altogether. We are simply enraged by the fact that Ma has been blackmailing us into accepting policies against our will. We are against such manipulation and dishonesty. We are against his party, which defiles democratic values on a daily basis.

Wang Pei-chun, New Taipei City

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