[LETTERS]

Thu, Nov 27, 2008 - Page 8

Ma follows Chiangs’ example

At the 41st annual meeting of the Chinese-Language Press Institute last Tuesday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) made a comment that to a large degree illustrates why his administration seems to have irritated, if not angered, a large section of the population, including many of those who voted for him.

The Taiwan News quotes Ma as saying that “Taiwan’s politics is an experiment in democracy for Chinese people and would be maintained in ways suitable for Chinese culture.”

This strongly suggests that China, not Taiwan, and Chinese, not Taiwanese, culture lie at the heart of the president’s self image and how he perceives the country and citizens that he leads. The president’s reinstatement of a bust of Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) in the Presidential Office building also sends a clear signal that this administration will take pride in and actively promote “Chinese” culture in an attempt to undo rising identification with brand Taiwan over the last 12 years.

Ma’s goal is to permanently reify the Republic of China (ROC) in the minds of citizens by continuing the process of Sino-enculturation started under the Chiang dictatorships. One suspects, though, that this process is not for securing the future of the ROC, but rather to ease cultural conflicts that might come as the government gradually integrates Taiwan into China, economically then politically.

Consider this: If the president had chosen to replace the word “Chinese” in his speech with “Taiwanese,” he could have gained plaudits across the political spectrum for reaching out to the majority at home who believe Taiwan to be a de facto independent country with it’s own, Taiwanese culture.

Even if it were said disingenuously, he would still have gained some political capital and room to maneuver. Instead, the president chose to continue using language that is ultimately antagonistic to most Taiwanese, yet pleasing to wistful Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)/ROC expats and China’s leaders.

Finally, when Ma said that democracy would be maintained in ways suitable for Chinese culture, one can only conclude that in having Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) and others detained without charge, Ma’s politicized judiciary must have been reading the People’s Republic of China manual on containing dissent, as opposed to the ROC Constitution, which places the burden of proof on prosecutors, rather than requiring defendants to prove their innocence.

Perhaps the popularity and success of the Wild Strawberries protest stem from the protesters’ recognition of what is happening to justice and democracy in their country.

The words of a song they sing reflect their take on the situation rather well: “I was not wrapped in cotton wool; So please save the insincere compassion; I could not understand your hypocrisy; And will always remain true to myself. We have dreams and ideals; We have a few things to say; After you have betrayed yourselves; Please do not also sell us out; As you broke all your promises; We chose to rise and join this sit-in; Silence does not represent acquiescence; Nor does peace indicate acceptance; Your arrogance has once again burned us; And this time we will no longer remain silent.”

BEN GOREN

Taichung

Protesters in revolt mode

To all those declaring that Taiwan is becoming a police state with regressing protection of human rights: You all really need to look at the facts.

Laws governing the masses have not changed, and are no different now than when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in power. There were the same barricades and police at protests when the KMT was an opposition party.

The only change is in the attitudes of the protesters. The KMT supporters in opposition protest were in reform mode and careful not to provoke. On the other hand, the DPP’s opposition protesters are in revolt mode and did all they could to provoke.

Face it, the DPP is a paradox. Here is a party that was built upon a mandate to prosecute and jail corrupt officials in government no matter who they are, including former presidents. They even went as far as proposing putting descendants of White Terror criminals on trial. Yet when one of their own gets caught red-handed, they protest in his defense and cry political persecution.

The DPP is the party that enforced an “in-your-face punishment” policy of human rights abuses for over seven years toward mainland wives of Taiwanese men. More than 200,000 wives and children were horribly denied equal rights and dignity, yet when a couple of their protesters are hurt, manhandled or arrested for throwing rocks, bombs and feces at policemen they cry human rights abuse! Taiwan reverting to a police state? Try throwing a rock at US riot police — you would be Tasered and jailed!

Rational thought tells the true story. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) broke the law by sending a massive amount of money overseas. Some evidence (which first surfaced in 2006, when the DPP was in power) shows Chen and his family cared only about lining their own pockets in a complex scheme to grab every coin he could from the 23 million folks of Taiwan.

This makes him a criminal punishable by the very laws and judiciary his party governed for eight years. The man that has destroyed his children’s lives by forcing them to help in his crimes is now trying to destroy Taiwan with a “political persecution” call for help from his faithful supporters. Face it: Chen cares about only one thing: Chen Shui-bian!

The DPP as an opposition party must stop running through the streets yelling the sky is falling, because in a time when the sky does not fall their words will forever after fall on deaf ears. The DPP owes its loyal supporters a much better deal than finger-pointing. Otherwise DPP supporters will become nothing more than the same pity actors in their swansong as Chen’s supporters are playing in his.

TRACE GOMEZ

Taipei