A student-led movement has revealed the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) innate authoritarianism. President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government has offered absolutely no substantive response to the student movement’s civic demands.
The students evacuated the legislative chamber peacefully, but there is no end in sight to the score-settling that has followed; plainclothes police have waved down taxis to send students home; the Cabinet version of the act for regulating the oversight of cross-strait agreements is tantamount to no oversight at all, just as the birdcage Referendum Act (公民投票法) means no referendums; the adjustment to the high-school curriculum encouraged the publishers of certain textbooks to accuse the opposition of confusing national identity and the Ma administration is supporting this attempt at brainwashing based on the freedom of expression; last week there were reports that GRETAI Securities Market had terminated the contract for the company that handled the students’ fundraising platform ahead of time.
There are still lots of demonstrations and there have even been proposals that would restrict rights allowed under the Parade and Assembly Act (集會遊行法). On May 13, the KMT wanted to force through an amendment to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) to increase protection for pan-blue legislators who have upset the public.
All these actions make it clear that the government ignores public opinion at will and no one knows how far it is prepared to go.
The party’s behavior over the amendment to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act revealed its true colors. One of the main reasons why Ma with his infamous 9 percent approval rating wants to use the power offered by his KMT chairmanship to control the party’s legislative majority is that he does not want legislators to fear acting against their conscience — the amendment to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act being a case in point.
According to the act, those calling for the recall of a civil servant and those who sign a document to that purpose only have to provide their name, ID number and household registration address.
The amendment proposed by the KMT, however, adds requirements that those who call for the recall of a civil servant and those who sign that call must also attach an affidavit and a copy of their ID card.
The intent behind this change is to make it more difficult to recall someone. If this amendment is passed, these legislators can continue to carry out Ma’s will to the end, without having to fear being recalled while at the same time currying favor with Ma by doing his bidding, and translating that into future political rewards.
The amendment and the recent nominations of members to the Control Yuan are probably being used by the Ma administration to incite an even bigger political storm.
Most of Ma’s nominations for a seat on the Control Yuan have served him well in the past and they will now be charged with seeing to it that Ma does not become the target of score-settling.
Anyone who has the skills required for their jobs but has made Ma look bad can just pack up their things and leave.
Even worse, outgoing Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsien (王建煊) has ordered that the Control Yuan members who impeached Control Yuan Secretary-General Chen Feng-yi (陳豐義) for destroying documents in a way that violated the Archives Act (檔案法) be investigated. Ma decided on his nominations by looking at who supports him.