Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

To be, or not to be 2G?

Second-generation officials and second-generation rich, born into privilege and power, find it much easier to occupy high positions than the poor. So much so that “2G Official” (官二代 ) and “2G Rich” (富二代) have become widely used terms in Taiwan.

In the US, the likely presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, is well-known as the wife of former US president Bill Clinton. The father and brother of potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush are both former presidents.

In Taiwan, the famous 2G official and 2G rich man Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), won the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) nomination for the Taipei mayoral election last year, but was defeated by political newcomer Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). KMT officials have enjoyed a position of privilege since they ruled in Taiwan and accumulated huge party assets.

On Feb. 15, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) delivered a speech in Dallas, Texas, to the local Taiwanese association in which she said former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) accepted several billion New Taiwan dollars from construction magnates, and also questioned the qualifications of his son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), to be nominated by the DPP to run in the next legislative election.

Chen Chih-chung has also been labeled as a 2G official in Taiwan. His defeat in the last legislative election four years ago resulted in the DPP losing the seat. As a matter of fact, Chen Chih-chung demonstrated solid skills when he debated with then-KMT legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅). Now, he has rejoined the DPP and regained his party membership. This time, he tried to follow the DPP’s rules to campaign for nomination.

However, Hsu’s allegation stirred up something of a mess for the DPP. Chen Chih-chung dropped out of the legislative race saying, although it was a hard decision to make, he did not want to cause a rift in the party and that he had to prioritize the interests of the DPP. He was able to step back and view the bigger picture. This is in marked contrast to Sean Lien, who insisted on representing the KMT in the Taipei mayoral election and was defeated by Ko.

Ko has done a great job in cracking down on the corruption left by his predecessors, Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Recently, he called the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation’s development project in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) “very strange.” Pandora’s box has been opened for Tzu Chi, a charitable non-profit, tax-exempt organization that went into the stock market and invested in tobacco and arms dealers.

“When others starve, I starve; when others are flooded, I drown.”

Taiwanese always take care of others and donate money to those who suffer from natural disasters. On March 12, 2012, then-minister of the interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) confirmed that the Taiwan Red Cross received NT$2.5 billion (US$79.4 million) for the victims of the Japanese tsunami, but only donated NT$0.9 billion. What a shame those donations could not reach those who were in need.

To be a 2G official in itself is not a sin, but misusing one’s privilege and power like Tzu Chi and the Taiwan Red Cross is an unforgiveable crime that must stop, so it is time for us to enforce citizen oversight.

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