It has been discovered that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) — who claims to be “an everyman participating in politics” — and his wife, Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), own a luxurious “farmhouse” in Yunlin County’s Gukeng Township (古坑) that even had an indoor basketball court.
However, the basketball court was an illegal structure and after it became known, Han decided to tear it down, telling workers that they had to finish the job within a day.
It was reassuring and a relief to see Han — who rides the mighty “Han wave” — having to give in to law and order.
Many people have stressed that Taiwan’s most precious values are democracy, freedom and human rights, but they have forgotten that these values are based in law.
Democracy and freedom without a foundation built on the rule of law would be abused and benefit only those with the power to manipulate, those who would accept that which is beneficial to them and reject the rest.
This is particularly common among politicians, who often use their position and power to override the law. If the nation did not have elections, it would be difficult for people to find out what was going on, not to mention revealing it to the general public.
In 2012, when then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary-general Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) was the running mate of then-DPP presidential election candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), it was revealed that he had a luxurious farmhouse illegally built on agricultural land. Su had no choice but to tear it down.
Today, Han — who is known for blaming any mistake on others and claiming that any such accusations are a matter of political smear tactics — immediately tore down the illegal farmhouse, as he is taking part in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential primary.
This serves to highlight how common it is among politicians, regardless of political affiliation, to use their power and influence to bypass the law.
No wonder some people say the issues Taiwanese must confront are neither independence nor the political confrontation between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, as those issues are manipulated by politicians.
What Taiwanese really should do is analyze and discern between those who are honest and those who are corrupt; between those who are doing their job and those who are not.
The key to dealing with corrupt politicians is to identify illegal behavior and apply the law.
There are also those who say that the problem with Taiwanese politics is not that politicians are corrupt, but that voters accept that they are.
Citizens must make clear what is right and wrong, just and fair, and then hold politicians up to those standards, regardless of party affiliation, and deepen Taiwan’s democracy based on the rule of law.
Lin Jui-hsia is director of the Taoshan Humanity and Arts Institute in Chiayi County.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
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