There are those within the pan-green camp who are willing to give the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) the benefit of the doubt and who refuse to buy into the belief that it is bent on selling out Taiwan to China. However, every now and then the Ma government does things that make it very difficult to remain patient with it.
The latest incident involves the return to Taiwan, after 17 years in exile, of former Bamboo Union leader Chang An-le (張安樂) on Saturday. After checking through immigration, the most-wanted criminal emerged from the airport, handcuffed and escorted by police, smirking like a conqueror.
By some inexplicable agreement or oversight, Chang — also known as the “White Wolf” — was hiding his handcuffs with a pamphlet advocating his plans for the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan and China.
Awaiting him at the airport were hundreds of thugs and the racist invertebrate Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), who surely found more reason to celebrate after Chang was released on bail later the same day.
Based on those events, it seems it is acceptable for police to rough up and deny the rights of peaceful protesters in Miaoli, or for the security apparatus to monitor and harass student leaders such as Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), but when it comes to a gangster who played a role in the 1984 murder of Henry Liu (劉宜良), a journalist in California, the justice system treats him with utmost deference.
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), jailed for corruption, was denied bail and medical parole because he purportedly constituted a flight risk, but Chang was a free man within hours, free to visit a temple the very next day and to generate more publicity for his political machinations.
It is said that Chang, who obtained two degrees while serving a 15-year jail sentence in the US on drug charges, may be the most educated of Taiwan’s gangsters, but the policies of his Unionist Party, which he founded while in China, confirm that he has not learned a thing about democracy and Taiwan.
What he advocates appeals to less than 10 percent of the overall population and he does so at a time when China under President Xi Jinping (習近平) is showing every indication that it is shifting toward a more Maoist line — the very opposite of developments that could encourage more Taiwanese to consider, at some point, some form of political settlement across the Taiwan Strait.
More likely, Chang’s return means that intimidation, if not violence, will play a greater role in politics.
We had a brief preview of the shape of things to come in 2009 when the disgraced Kuo had to be pulled back to Taiwan after it was discovered that he had used his position at the representative office in Toronto to publish hateful tracts under a pseudonym. It was Chang’s goons who turned up en masse at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to protect and whisk him away, whereupon he embarked on his own, behind-the-scenes efforts to foster unification with China.
Meanwhile, commenting on Saturday’s debacle, all that Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) could muster was the promise that the government would do better in future, which can only lead us to wonder whether the Ma administration is preparing to welcome other delinquents and miscreants back to the country.
What a bloody disgrace.
How much longer are we willing to listen to the platitudes of government officials who constantly promise to do better in future?
Heads need to roll on this one and every effort should be made to ensure that criminals such as Chang — who in fact could very well be regarded as a foreign agent by now — are locked away in a damp cell for a long time.