Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - Page 8 News List

People can stop rise of autocracy

By Huang Kuo-chang 黃國昌

Ma promised to “govern completely, and accept complete responsibility.” From where we sit today, he has made a mockery of such a pledge. It would have been more accurate had he said that his intention is to “wield absolute power and to throw the government into total chaos.”

Taiwan is in dire straits. What is there to celebrate?

The banners hanging in front of the stage for the Double Ten National Day celebrations, speaking of ensuring stability, harmony and prosperity, read like a cruel joke: They would perhaps have been more accurate had they talked of the obliteration of constitutional order and of the abuse of the populace, or of state surveillance and the crushing of human rights, or of writer George Orwell’s image of the future: “A boot stamping on the human face — forever.”

During Thursday’s celebrations, Citizen 1985 continued its gentle yet persistent quest to awaken the public, calling on the legislature to amend the straitjacket Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the recall laws that rob the citizenry of direct democracy. On that day there were also many angry young men and women who came up to the capital from all around the nation, to descend upon Ketagalan Boulevard and vent their spleens, directly calling on Ma, Wu and Jiang to apologize and resign.

We should no longer expect that this group of incompetent, unprincipled politicians will see the error of their ways and improve, but neither should we continue to tolerate this bunch of senior officials who flout the law and do as they please.

Whether it be driven by youthful anger or the tempered resolve of the more experienced, we should all rise, for the sake of this country, and of our children and grandchildren, and demonstrate that we mean to deal with guilty politicians and save the country.

All we need do is stand together and claim this nation back for ourselves.

Huang Kuo-chang is an associate research professor at the Academia Sinica’s Institutum Iurisprudentiae.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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