Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 1 News List

KMT chairperson hopefuls tackle key issues at debate

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

During a debate convened by groups that aim to make the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) more appealing to young people, three of the party’s chairperson hopefuls fielded questions on key areas, such as what to do with the party’s controversial assets and what its core values are.

The debate was organized by the Grassroots Alliance, Open KMT and the Chong Shing Elites of the Kuomintang and was attended by KMT chairperson hopefuls, Acting Chairperson Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新) and Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖). Dozens of young attendees showed up for the event, which was streamed online.

The trio were asked to respond to questions in five areas: The creation of channels for the participation of young people in the party; the positioning of the Huang Fu-hsing military veterans’ branch; the handling of party assets; the cross-strait relationship and the KMT’s core values.

Lee said the party must “forcefully” replace the older elite with “middle and young-generation” members.

“It is hard to ask those comfortably occupying powerful positions to hand over power, so measures must be introduced, such as setting quotas, to encourage participation and representation of young people,” Lee said.

Huang and Chen agreed, encouraging local chapters of the party to facilitate the training of young people.

On how the Huang Fu-hsing chapter — which has been criticized as outdated and exclusive — should be repositioned within the party, the three aspirants agreed that the faction is a mainstay of the party and its history.

“We should not amputate our limbs just because those outside the party” deem the military branch obsolete,” Huang said.

“Huang Fu-hsing should not become the sacrificial offering in the chairperson election. It is a mistake to stigmatize the chapter,” Chen said, adding that the branch should be helped to undergo democratic reforms and become inclusive of members of diverse backgrounds.

Lee said the branch’s contribution to Taiwan should be recognized and the party should care for supporters’ needs.

“I suggest that the branch be merged into [respective] local chapters, in which military veteran service groups could be set up,” Lee said.

Chen said that the party should return all its “ill-gotten assets,” in accordance with the law.

“However, we should not blindly allow what some outside the party are calling for, or that the ‘party assets should be returned to nothing.’ We should, rather, uphold transparency over the party’s assets,” Chen said.

“I would not oppose legislation governing political parties and dealing with ill-gotten party gains if I am elected chairperson. And I would transform the assets into a fund that could help the needy and prohibit its use for elections,” Chen said.

Lee challenged Chen, claiming Chen advocates “the party assets being returned to nothing.”

“I would form a party asset investigation task force, inviting anyone, including those from the Democratic Progressive Party and the New Power Party, to investigate the issue together,” Lee said.

Huang said illegal gains should be returned, but added “the KMT brought a large amount of gold to Taiwan, which has grounded Taiwan’s economic development and helped it preserve Chinese culture.”

When asked which position they endorse — that the Republic of China (ROC) is “on Taiwan” or that the ROC “is Taiwan,” Lee called the question “stupid.”

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