Sun, Jul 13, 2003 - Page 1 News List

`Traitor' taunts goad PFP to action

MUZZLE?The party is trying to introduce legislation that would define what `selling out' the country is and would punish those who made accusations along similar lines

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-green attacks on the loyalty of their blue-camp rivals have incensed the PFP to the extent that the pro-unification party now plans to introduce legislation to define what kind of action constitutes "selling-out" the country, and impose legal sanctions on those who suggest without sufficient evidence that anybody has committed such actions.

The pan-blues hope to neutralize issues regarding loyalty and patriotism in next year's presidential campaign.

The PFP's proposed legislation is the latest attempt by the pan-blues to change public perceptions of their loyalties since the debacle of PFP Legislator Kao Ming-chien's (高明見) participation in the World Health Organization's (WHO) global SARS conference in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Kao's attendance sparked a furor in Taiwan since he had been invited on the recommendation of China and attended the conference -- until an outcry in Taiwan forced a change of stance -- as part of the Chinese delegation.

Kao's attendance at the conference followed a series of moves by the legislator to bolster Beijing's claims to be responsible for, and working with, Taiwan in its fight against SARS, thereby undermining Taiwan's attempt to claim observer status in the WHO as an independent entity.

Kao has been accused of betraying his country, and the PFP's initial support for his actions has resulted in the accusations being leveled at the party as a whole.

To try to change their image as stooges for China, the pan-blue camp made a 180-degree political pirouette on its referendum stance late last month when it decided to support legislation formalizing the holding of referendums, a move China is known to vehemently oppose.

The pan-blues agreed to the DPP administration's call for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, WHO entry and a reduction in the number of seats in the legislature.

But now the pan-blues want to go beyond an attempt to rebrand themselves as committed to popular democracy in Taiwan.

They want to penalize those who suggest that they might be conspiring with China against Taiwan's national interests.

In a bid to avoid being branded again as "betraying Taiwan," Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), director of the PFP's Center of Policy Research, said that his party is currently drawing up a draft bill that aims to give a clear definition of what acts would constitute "selling out Taiwan."

The bill will be presented in the next legislative session which begins on Sept. 5.

Chang said that a great deal of political debate in Taiwan focussed on the issues of "loving Taiwan" and "selling out Taiwan."

"It's the PFP's wish that, by formalizing legislation on this issue, we can reduce unnecessary wars of words," said Chang, adding that the idea has received endorsement from the KMT.

Chang added that the bill should also spell out punishments for any individual who falsely accuses others of "selling out Taiwan."

By defining, through legislation, what constituted "selling out Taiwan" and punishing those who made false accusations Chang said that the law could prevent the DPP from impugning the patriotism and loyalty of the pan-blue parties in the presidential election next March, in which KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will represent the pan-blue camp with Lien as the presidential candidate and Soong as his running mate.

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