Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Mayor Ko’s democratic urging to China gone

By Chen Kuan-fu 陳冠甫

The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on Tuesday last week brought to mind the incident, but also reminded people that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) used to say that he wanted to “send democracy to China.”

Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe’s (魏鳳和) remarks in Singapore on June 2 that the Chinese government’s massacre was “a correct policy” sparked a public outcry, but Ko said: “As I see it, we’d be better off ignoring him.”

Ko responded similarly to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) stance toward China. Asked how Tsai should respond to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “one country, two systems” unification formula for Taiwan without provoking Beijing, Ko, who claims to be well-versed in Sun Tzu’s (孫子) The Art of War, said: “It would be best to not say anything.”

Dozens of civic groups held an event to commemorate the massacre and invited people of all stripes to sign a statement denouncing the military crackdown, demanding that the truth about the massacre be released and pledging to promote democratic reform in China.

According to media reports, some politicians who strongly supported the movement in the past, such as former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Ko, did not attend or sign the statement.

Most were not surprised at Ma’s change of attitude, but some of Ko’s supporters do not want to believe that he has become a politician who bows to China — nor do they want to be connected with such a stance.

Many Ko supporters still remember his Facebook post on June 4, 2014, which quoted Chinese democracy advocate Chen Guangcheng’s (陳光誠) admonition: “If Taiwan fails to send democracy to China, China will send authoritarianism to Taiwan.”

It was the 25th anniversary of the massacre and a pivotal year for Ko, who entered politics in his first mayoral run.

Ko added in the post that Chen’s warning “is worthy of reflection and provides food for thought for us in Taiwan.”

“Apart from caring about the current democracy and human rights situation in Hong Kong, Macau and inside China, and in addition to voicing our support, it is even more important that Taiwan be more persistent in following the path of democracy and human rights to deepen and enhance the quality of democracy,” he wrote.

It is unclear when Ko’s attitude and approach toward China began to change. Over the past few years, he has been evasive when the China issue is raised. On occasion, he has expressed less-common viewpoints, even defending China.

Ko’s opinions have been permeated with the feeling that “it would be better to just surrender,” especially when it comes to national sovereignty.

He once said that “politics is not a difficult affair — all you need to do is follow your conscience.” It now appears necessary to admonish Ko in kind: It is not difficult to insist on democracy, freedom and sovereignty — all you need to do is follow your conscience.

Chen Kuan-fu is a graduate law student at National Taipei University.

Translated by Chang Ho-ming

This story has been viewed 2449 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top