Thu, Jul 19, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The KMT: A party that lost its soul

By Lee Hsiao-feng 李筱峰

Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) has once again visited China to pay tribute to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

While Lien and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the trip was private and that Lien does not represent the party, it hardly makes much difference.

Since the first transition of power and the KMT’s expulsion of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), KMT members throughout the party hierarchy have scrambled to surrender to Beijing.

In the eyes of Taiwanese, who were forced to subscribe to the ideology of “eliminating the communist bandits, fighting communism and restoring the nation,” the KMT — a political group that rose to power on the back of its “anti-communism” stance — has given up all opposition and is now leading the rush to fawn on the communist regime.

This is both awkward and bizarre, and represents the least ambitious phase throughout the KMT’s transformation.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the KMT trumpeted political slogans, such as “destroy the communist bandits and expel the Russian marauders,” “retake the mainland and save our compatriots,” “take revenge and restore the nation,” “recover the nation” and “never forget the nation’s humiliation in times of peace and security.”

In the 1970s, the slogans were “no compromise with communists — freedom can only be achieved through struggle,” “patriotism means fighting communism, fighting communism requires unity” and “remain calm, self-reliant and dignified in times of adversity.”

In the 1980s, the party proclaimed that it would “unify China with the Three Principles of the People.”

Despite the modifications over the years, these slogans at least preserved the party’s integrity and underlined its political stance.

However, both have gradually subsided into oblivion with the passing of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), to whom KMT members pledge their loyalty.

All these bold and daring slogans are now gone, replaced by the so-called “1992 consensus,” “one China, different interpretations,” “one China, one interpretation,” “the two sides of the strait are one family,” and “the Republic of China Army and the People’s Liberation Army are both China’s army.”

People who once called for “keeping our secrets and watching out for spies” and said that “reporting spies is everyone’s responsibility” now behave and speak almost like the “communist spies” of yore.

People who once called Taiwanese independence advocates the “running dogs of the communist bandits” now flock to Beijing, forming an alliance with the CCP to constrain Taiwan.

The change from “eliminating the communist bandits” to the current alliance with China to constrain Taiwan poses the question of whether China has become a democracy or if Taiwan has become a totalitarian state.

Neither is the case — there is no trace of liberalization or democratization of the authoritarian regime in China, a nation that scored only 14 out of 100 in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2018 report, as the regime becomes increasingly totalitarian with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) emperor-like lifelong presidency.

While the authoritarian CCP regime is eyeing Taiwan, which scored 93 in the survey, the KMT curiously no longer takes to heart its past slogans, such as “no compromise with communists, freedom can only be achieved through struggle” or “patriotism means fighting communism, fighting communism requires unity.”

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