Next month Taiwan will commemorate the 102nd Double Ten National Day of the Republic of China (ROC, exiled in Taiwan). For many people, it is a painful day because the nation is being forcibly herded — by a person with “middle kingdom” chauvinism — down the path to joining a tyrannical communist regime.
For more than 100 years, the ROC has been deeply mired in an intolerant dictatorship and the government has been noted for its corruption and incompetency. Former US president Harry Truman, in frustration, complained that the leaders of the ROC were thieves.
ROC (not Taiwanese) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) fumbled a golden opportunity to advance the nascent democracy and failed to demonstrate that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is capable of fulfilling the 100-year-old “Three Principles of the People.”
Instead, he has reversed the course of democracy, which was advanced by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). He has abused the judicial system with indiscriminate litigation against almost all of his political opponents, mostly with fabricated pretexts. His attempts to arbitrarily strip Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of his role reinforces his inclination toward quasi-dictatorship.
Ma’s incompetence and dishonesty have been recorded numerous times in the media. To cover up his shortcomings and undemocratic activities, he indulges in persecuting Chen, whose records as Taipei mayor and president far excelled Ma’s. He has denied Chen due process of law, insisted on his incarceration and openly humiliated him on numerous occasions.
The swift persecution of Chen was used to cover up Ma’s years of abuse of the massive stock of illegal party assets, which has been construed by the public as the worst corruption of any administration. This willful infraction of the law alone should see Ma removed from office and imprisoned immediately.
The injustice perpetrated against Chen is not an isolated example in the lawless history of the KMT. Renowned and decorated KMT general Sun Li-jen (孫立人) was falsely accused and unjustly placed under house arrest from 1955 until 1988. Many more revered intellectuals were murdered in the 228 Massacre in 1947.
The recent history of the “middle kingdom” is relevant. It was conquered by the Mongol Empire in 1271 and the Manchu Empire in 1644. In the interval, the Han people managed to establish the Ming Dynasty, which lasted 276 years.
Since the collapse of the Manchu Empire in 1912, Chinese have never had a free country. The root cause is the curse of the middle kingdom; the law never applies to the ruling class and the general public tacitly relinquishes their rights to the leadership in fear of brutal retribution. The KMT and the People’s Republic of China still practice either a quasi or outright one-party dictatorship.
Ma does not understand the fundamental tenet of a modern nation with freedom and democracy. Democracy is based on free individuals deciding the well-being of their communities. Elected federal and central government officials must honor the decisions of those communities. Ma’s regime is not only undemocratic, it has the stigma of foreign colonial occupation.
Facing people who were already accustomed to Japanese-style law and order, the KMT initially oppressed them with martial law. When that was abolished, it was replaced by deception, double standards and intimidation through abuse of the judicial system. Such tactics can not last forever, as Ma’s approval rating of 9.2 percent shows.