Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has his own way of doing things and this is a constant source of controversy. Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator and Central Review Committee member Chen Hung-chang (陳宏昌) set off more controversy recently when he asked why the KMT “has appointed someone who plays mahjong, eats, drinks and plays around, chasing women all day long” as its presidential candidate.
Chen was quickly expelled from the party and Han’s staff said that unless an apology was forthcoming in the next three days, they would file a lawsuit.
Chen insisted that he had not said anything that was not accurate and that Han is leading a life of debauchery.
Chen added that if the KMT wanted to take him to court, he would be happy to oblige, making it clear that he did not fear either party discipline or a lawsuit.
The president is the nation’s leader, and the nation’s citizens must be able to examine presidential candidates and their overall policy direction, national vision and executive abilities. Candidates’ private life, morality and bearing, both current and past, must also be brought out into the full light of day.
If the purpose of any revelations and reports is fabrication and slander, then resorting to party disciplinary action or filing a lawsuit are reasonable ways of protecting a candidate’s rights and interests.
However, if there are revelations about preposterous activities — even if the candidate in question has admitted to these activities in the past — both that candidate and the party must admit to the mistake and offer an apology as a sign of sincere reflection.
If they do not, the public will not be understanding or forgiving, and there is no need for a pointless lawsuit that only wastes social resources.
People are not saints; everyone make mistakes. Everyone has been young and frivolous, but reflecting on past mistakes and learning from them can turn them into inspirations.
The ongoing controversy is not about minor problems with a candidate’s private morality, but about Chen fully backing a presidential candidate that would protect Taiwan’s sovereignty.
In other words, the KMT is expelling him for supporting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and denigrating the party’s own candidate.
However, the meaning behind his actions is that for the sake of the Republic of China (ROC) government — because Taiwan must not become another Hong Kong — Taiwanese must open their eyes and support Tsai, a president who protects Taiwan and its national sovereignty.
Truthfully, if Chen had simply exchanged a few polite remarks with Tsai during her visit to the Yonglian Temple (湧蓮寺) in New Taipei City’s Luzhou District (蘆洲), politely wishing her a successful campaign and voicing his dedication to his duties as temple association chairman, he would never have broached the topic of Taiwan not becoming another Hong Kong or Taiwan losing its sovereignty and so on.
This makes it clear that at the center of his remarks was the issue of which leader is capable of protecting the nation’s sovereignty, and that the remarks about Han’s personal morality only served to underscore his concern.
For this reason, he also said in an interview that Taiwanese must step forward and speak their mind for the future of the nation, that Han’s visit to the Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong surprised many Taiwanese and that Taiwan must not become a second Hong Kong.
If Han is lucky enough to win next year’s presidential election and follow this line, the ROC would disappear, and this is the public’s greatest worry.
The main theme of next year’s election will be how to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty. Chen’s comments express the views of the vast majority of people living in Taiwan, as well as the concerns of the more reasonable, rational members of the pan-blue camp: the intellectuals, those focused on the economy and the “light blues.”
The common source of these concerns is an escalating nationalism among the 1.4 billion people across the Taiwan Strait and the threat that they and Red China pose to global peace and democracy. Hong Kong and Taiwan are unfortunate enough to find themselves at the epicenter of this threat.
The nationalism across the Strait and the Chinese empire include pernicious forces that were absent from authoritarian governments of the past.
Chinese nationalism and the Chinese empire are built on a dominating power. Whether Beijing is consolidating its power domestically or fighting the Western world, economic growth and military expansion are both part of the Chinese dream bubble.
This empire, which is more aggressive than past empires, is using nationalism, patriotism and historical hatred as mobilizing forces.
China’s nationalism and patriotism are blinkered — Japan and the US are its eternal enemies — and its historical hatred of other countries is not weakened by time. Each time the Chinese Communist Party encounters domestic problems, it falls back on populist xenophobia.
Still, Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who caused the death of tens of millions of his own people, remains a hero.
Even worse, the Chinese empire is opposed to universal values such as democracy, freedom and human rights, while praising Chinese qualities. It has evolved into an autocratic dictatorship that integrates feudalism, socialist ideology and digital rule.
That is why a confrontation between the US and China is not only about trade and economics on the one hand and geopolitics on the other, but also about a systemic clash between democracy and despotism, a confrontation of values and a face-off between the unprecedented scale of their populations and economies.
As this Cold War-style confrontation heats up, there will be a global crisis.
Taiwan must reject Chinese annexation to survive and to continue to guarantee its democratic and liberal lifestyle. The danger has reached such a level that even rational pan-blue supporters understand that they must step up and take responsibility.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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