Tue, May 26, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Ma’s promises nothing but jokes

By Huang Kuo-chang 黃國昌

“The establishment of a democratic system is only the first step toward human rights guarantees. A popularly elected government that is not monitored and does not follow the law, but continues to violate the law and abuse its power, will create discrimination and opposition. If we want to build a normal democratic society, it will be necessary to actively improve Taiwan’s political, economic and social human rights. If we do not, Taiwanese democracy will become but an empty shell. The government’s legal violations and abuse of power and social injustice will not disappear simply as a result of democracy’s good name,” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in 2008 in A Declaration of Human Rights for Taiwan in the New Century.

There is no way of knowing how many of the 7.65 million people who voted for Ma in the March 2008 presidential election did so because they were moved by and believed in his declaration. However, one could imagine that if they were to reread this declaration today, a majority would not only feel that it is both absurd and ironic, but also tragic and painful. If people agree that the purpose of the state is to see to it that everyone has a fair opportunity to pursue their own goals and realize their individual values by implementing human rights, then there is no doubt that over the past seven years, Ma has not only failed to bring Taiwan closer toward this goal, but instead has led the nation further from it.

Many pundits have said that Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) lost the 2012 presidential election because she did not have the strength to make it to the finish line, but there are in fact different interpretations as to whether that assessment is correct.

In contrast, it is clear that if society had not been aroused, Ma’s presidency would have caused overall national development to regress significantly. Over and again, Ma’s actions have made it clear that he is an inept helmsman that has brought Taiwan off course. He is a stubborn head of state who consistently insists on running contrary to public opinion.

When it comes to political human rights, Ma has declared that the government may not break the law and abuse its power, that all political wiretapping is prohibited and that a simple registration system should be applied for assembly and demonstrations so that the streets can be returned to the public.

However, from the violence that occurred in 2008 when then-Chinese Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan to the bloody suppression of the occupation of the Executive Yuan by student protesters in March last year, the public have seen firsthand how the Ma government arbitrarily resorts to violence and breathes new life in the ghost of martial law.

In particular, Ma used wiretaps illegally provided to him by the prosecutor-general to launch an open attack on the legislative speaker, thus interfering directly with the legislature in an attempt to eliminate the speaker and thoroughly paralyze the legislature’s function of overseeing the Cabinet. In doing so, he did not think twice about overstepping the boundaries of constitutional democracy, and he used the respected presidential position to direct the destruction of constitutional order and the political situation, and bring the whole country into a state of chaos, almost destroying the fruits of the Taiwanese public’s struggles and sacrifices overnight.

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