To maintain clean and transparent politics, strong and powerful routines for supervision and maintaining checks and balances are needed at all times. Only a sound opposition is able to push the government to remain free of corruption.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) seems to have neglected its duty as an opposition party over the past few years. Despite being one of the players, the KMT seems baffled about a lot of things, which shows that sometimes outsiders see things more clearly than the participants themselves.
What is it that baffles the KMT? The main issue is the handling of its relationship with China. Take the party’s Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) for example: Faced with a topic unfavorable to him during the televised presidential debate, he lashed out at President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for “getting a transfusion” while Hong Kongers are “losing blood.”
Some logical analysis raises a question: Tsai does not have a monopoly on the Hong Kong issue, so why could Han not support Hong Kongers to gain political capital and offset Tsai’s gains? This is something KMT members need to consider if they want to get out of their predicament.
This generation’s KMT members have lost their subjectivity and confidence in being able to gain a foothold among voters on their own — the party’s dependence on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has increased, economically and politically.
A KMT that sticks to the purpose of the nation’s founding could certainly advocate reducing tension and hostility between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait — there is no problem with that. The problem is that the party must not sacrifice its principles and become dependent on the CCP.
The KMT claims that Hong Kong and Macau are part of the Republic of China (ROC), and that the Mainland Affairs Office is the agency in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs.
However, amid the Hong Kong protests, the party has gone from an anti-communist position to fearing the CCP, choking itself just to remain silent.
It hesitates to express strong support for Hong Kongers and is afraid to use the KMT-CCP platform to negotiate with the People’s Republic of China for partial autonomy for Hong Kong.
As the KMT paints itself into a corner, it is becoming overwhelmed by the protests in Hong Kong. When it throws democracy and freedom overboard, it is its members’ own doing — it has nothing to do with Tsai.
This is not the KMT of the past. For example, when former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who Han despises, was running for president in 2008, he at least dared to speak up against Beijing. At that time, there were serious, bloody protests in Tibet, and it was believed that they would damage the KMT’s election outlook.
To not be outdone by Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who was the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate in 2008, Ma released a statement condemning Beijing, saying that the Chinese government’s forceful crackdown on Tibet was wrong.
He even warned that if the situation continued to deteriorate, he would not rule out not sending Taiwan’s team to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
It is acceptable for the KMT today to say that Ma attacked Beijing just to attract votes, but it seems unwise for it to call him “weak” — as Han did during the debate. If that were the case, would the KMT of today not be even weaker than the “weak” Ma?
Tzou Jiing-wen is editor-in-chief of the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).
Translated by Eddy Chang
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