The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ruled the Republic of China (ROC) in China for about 22 years, from 1927, after the Northern Expedition provided some national unity to a China divided by warlords and revolution to the time it moved to Taiwan, after being thrown out of China by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949 at the end of the Chinese Civil War.
When it came to implementing a Leninist party-state system, the CCP learned from the expert KMT.
Even today, both parties hold to the “one China” principle. The CCP sees the elimination of the ROC as unfinished business, and the KMT — and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — claims that the territory of the ROC also includes China.
In a speech at the Double Ten National Day celebrations, Ma said that cross-strait relations are not “international relations” according to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), and the ROC’s territory includes the Chinese mainland, according to the Constitution.
The two parties are actually “predators” of political power hiding behind the cover of Chinese nationalism.
Modern China has been through tumultuous times, from abuse at the hands of foreign colonial powers and two revolutions — the Republican revolution of 1912 and the communist revolution of 1949 — but neither regime has any respect for human life.
Democracy? Freedom? They are rhetorical names for power, and nothing else.
The political turmoil that began last month exposed the ugliness of the KMT under Ma’s rule. The KMT is desperate and is resorting to its old tricks, which means people should be wary of it. The party knows nothing about power transfers, it only knows how to run away.
Eventually, the full democratization of Taiwan will mean the end of the KMT’s party-state regime, so a few KMT leaders are planning for their future once the party loses power.
In 2002, Ma criticized former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) proposal of “one country on each side” of the Taiwan Strait, calling it a rash move. However, that criticism exposed his ignorance of public opinion.
Ma also criticized former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) 1999 proposal of the “special state-to-state” model of cross-strait relations as a measure of expediency. Does Ma want to give Taiwan to China and surrender himself to the party-state regime on the other side?
After experiencing five direct presidential elections under the rule of Lee, Chen and Ma, the democratic system has given the antidemocratic Ma an opportunity to commandeer the fruits the nation’s development. Although he claims that he greatly respects former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), it seems that he wants to terminate the ROC that he inherited from them. Is this the historical legacy that he is seeking?
After relocating to Taiwan 64 years ago, the ROC has failed to complete its localization with complete democratization.
Perhaps the KMT is trying to come full circle and return to China. It seeks to unite with the CCP, which also has the word “Chinese” in the party’s name.
Although the CCP ended the KMT’s rule in China, the latter’s obsession with its former home has set it on a course back to China. Since Ma has no intention of pushing for localization, expecting a pro-Taiwan KMT is wishful thinking.
After being used by Ma, those party members he is using as his puppets will eventually be abandoned.
Lee Min-yung is a poet.
Translated by Eddy Chang