Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Anti-reform demonstrators spurred by greed

By Zhang Ming-yo 張銘祐

On April 18 and 19, the so-called “800 heroes” and members of the Alliance to Supervise Pension Reform surrounded the Legislative Yuan building and physically assaulted government officials and innocent bystanders. They even broke two of Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan’s (鄭文燦) ribs and then accused him of pretending to be injured.

Of course, no one was willing to take responsibility for the action. This violates the principle of love and non-violent protest, which means demonstrators can use their bodies to promote their demands and public interests, but not harm innocent people.

While the rallies called for the supervision of reforms, they were entirely aimed at protecting the private interests of the protesters.

On April 19, lawmakers yielded and agreed to hold two more public hearings, although public hearings and preparations for the national congress on pension reform have been under way for a full year.

These people continue to cause social costs with the sole purpose of highlighting and prolonging the focus on their demands.

Moreover, the actions of the so-called “800 heroes” looked as if they were rallying in support of a certain Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson candidate.

Meanwhile, Chang An-lo (張安樂) — or the “White Wolf” (白狼) — mobilized his China Unification Promotion Party, with party member Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍) — who decapitated a bronze statue of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta in Tainan — shouting slogans on a truck: “With ‘one country, two systems’ and peaceful reunification, the pension system will not go bankrupt; with ‘one country, two systems’ and peaceful reunification, you do not have to pay for health insurance.”

Not only was there no one there to stop them, but there were also reports that former Penghu deputy chief of staff Tsai Ting-hsi (蔡丁喜) threatened President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on social media, saying that she would not be allowed to enter Penghu during the Han Kuang military exercises.

For the sake of opposing pension reform, Tsai Ting-hsi has ignored that the exercise is a simulation of war and resorted to alarmist sophistry, saying that what they are fighting for now is intended to protect the rights of future generations.

Does he not know that the purpose of pension reform is to enable military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers to have a sustainable pension system?

Taking a closer look at the protests outside the Legislative Yuan, it is clear that pension reform is no longer just about domestic politics, and that certain “red forces” are lurking in background intent on fomenting domestic opposition and division, and promoting the idea that pension reform is intended to stigmatize public servants.

National Civil Servant Association president Harry Lee (李來希), one of the protest leaders, said with tears in his eyes that a relative of a grassroots police officer was complaining that if the 18 percent preferential interest rate on savings for public servants is abolished, her husband would only have a few thousand New Taiwan dollars left.

However, what he did not say was that police officers receive the basic pension pay and that the government has set a minimum monthly payment of NT$31,280 for civil servants. That minimum for civil servants is the maximum that an ordinary private employee would receive.

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