Lien Chan: Mr. Chen likes to label people, saying that they are selling out Taiwan. In the national examinations, the DPP government used local dialects to discriminate against students from other ethnic groups. The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" states that people must not suffer discrimination on grounds of language or race. I believe that the criminal penalties for this kind of behavior should be strengthened. Are you willing to join with us in passing the Race Discrimination Bill before the end of February?
Chen: The Examination Yuan and its members perform their duties independently in accordance with our Constitution. The suggestion that my administrations and I had imposed our own ideology on questions in the national examinations flies in the face of the facts and is unfair to us. This type of accusation is made entirely for electoral reasons and is itself an attack which is replete with ideology. This type of behavior can do nothing to further the cause of ethnic unity.
In the end, in any case, the Examination Yuan admitted its mistake and made some remedial measures. Lots of people learnt from this and we hope that this kind of thing won't happen again.
The Cabinet is currently studying a draft bill of the language equality law (語言平等法), which we hope will eventually receive the support of the opposition parties. The Presidential Office's human rights task force is also evaluating a human rights basic law, the most important parts of which cover ethnic and linguistic equality. We cannot contemplate the mistakes of the past, because racial discrimination and linguistic suppression were things that were carried out under the leadership of the former KMT government.
How can such accusations be leveled at the current DPP government? Mr. Lien says let's not have any more labeling of people. But he is labeling me right now.
Chen: During your visit to the US [in 2002,] you claimed that you were "pure Chinese." Last June your party spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) claimed that only when you become a president could Taiwan claim it has a real Taiwanese as its president, because former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and myself, whose ancestors came from Fujian Province [in China], are considered so-called "lousy Hakka (奧客)." What does it mean? Is A-bian a "lousy Hakka"? How many among Taiwan's 23 million people are considered "pure Chinese" and how many are considered Taiwanese? (editorial note: Both Lee and Chen are of of Hakka origin, but are unable to speak the Hakka language)
Lien: Mr. Chen has skillfully shunned away from my query just now about whether he would endorse the ethnic fairness law (族群平等法).
From an ethical background, I am a Minnan person and so is Mr. Chen. Yet when it comes to election time, Mr. Chen starts speaking Hakka and singing Hakka folk songs. Does he really care about other ethnic groups?
In the formal administration during my time in office, we had about six or seven Hakka as members of our administrative team. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration now has none but for the one who's heading the Council for Hakka Affairs. This is an obvious act of prejudice.
When I speak about ethnic fairness, I don't mean just culture and language, but also the scope of participation in politics and the like. Such is the goal we need to fight for.
I take pride in being a citizen of the Republic of China (ROC) and being a Taiwanese.
Lien: I have proposed that once I am elected I will put my assets into a trust, to have them managed by an independent trust management agency, so that my family will not be in control of them. This is in order to avoid involvement in business and insider trading. We cannot tolerate our families getting involved in the stock market. Would you agree?
Chen: You don't need to wait until you're elected or take office in May. By the time of the March 20 election, my family and I will have put all our assets into trust. My family has played the stock market, but, it has categorically never engaged in insider trading or any other form of illegal or inappropriate trading.
I want to explain to the entire nation that if they had broken the law and engaged in insider trading, I couldn't possibly be standing here now. We are not like certain other people who, one day before the Public Functionary Assets Disclosure Law (公職人員財產申報法) went into effect, move their assets offshore.
Mr. Lien concealed family assets even to the extent of saying, when investigators find out, that they forgot they owned a house in Boston. Take the NT$36.28 million that Lien lent to Wu Tse-yuan (
Are you really going to apply the same standards to your own family? Why conceal your assets? To evade tax?
Chen: Mr. Lien earlier on mentioned that he would negotiate with China only after we win a "first strike." I don't understand why Mr. Lien has such a naive view. Do you really want war to break out? And then ask for peace afterwards? How can one with such a shallow and naive view be a national leader? A-bian must say that we need to shore up our defense and prevent a first strike from taking place. With regard to this point, I don't know if Mr. Lien is willing to change his earlier naive and incorrect remark on this matter?
Lien: I said what I said because we were then speaking about the overall framework of our defense. Since we were talking about defense, we should just talk about defense. We should not mean that talking about defense means going to war. There is a logical difference which Mr. Chen must understand.
Cross-strait relations should not be a military confrontation. Cross-strait relations actually are a competition of systems. We therefore think that both sides of the Strait must engage in a framework of fair and mutual benefits in order to score a win-win scenario for both sides.
So the alliance's stance is simple: We maintain that cross-strait relations should remain the same while putting Taiwan as our priority. Only under this principle can we push forward our economic development. However, to meet this goal, we must have adequate military capabilities and arms purchases. With that said, we must not get our national goals confused. People have been confused with what our goals are under the leadership of the DPP administration.
Lien: The nature of our military's preparedness for war has changed. We're following the trend of professionalism and elite troops. We propose that young people should now perform only three months of national service, and that we should change from a system of conscription to one of enlistment. In this way we will stop wasting the nation's resources. Do you still reject this proposal?
Chen: Clearly Mr. Lien doesn't understand the current situation. It is clearly understood that the reason for fighting would be to defend the Republic of China and its prosperous society.
I am someone who suffered because of the ethnic issue. Otherwise, I would have won a second term as Taipei City mayor in 1998. At the time, my approval ratings were over 76 percent, but I still lost the election. This wasn't because I hadn't done a good job. It was for other reasons, including ethnic conflict. For that reason, I am the last one to mobilize the ethnic conflicts.
Perhaps Mr. Lien's son hasn't done military service, so he doesn't know what can be taught in just three months of military service. Three months of military service is in fact of less use than no military service at all, but Mr. Lien daren't say that because it touches on constitutional issues since the Constitution makes military service a duty.
At the beginning of last year we reduced the length of military service to one year and eight months, but we couldn't possibly reduce it to just three months. We cannot withdraw the much-discussed policy of conscription just because some people don't want to do military service.
The country needs the military to defend itself after all.
Without a sound military in place to defend the country, the head of state can't even begin to do such things as piece together the economy. It's very easy to talk when you're just a candidate. That's the nice thing about being just a candidate.
Chen: I'd like to ask Mr. Lien if he still supports former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "special state-to-state" (兩國論) dictum? If not, then why did you proposed the theory of cross-strait union in 2001? Have you changed your mind? Why do you still insist on the so-called ``one China'' when the whole international community generally understands that "one China" refers to the People's Republic of China (PRC) and that Taiwan is part of the PRC? What good does that do us? That's the issue here, that Taiwan today has become the orphan in the international community because the KMT kept holding on to the "one China" stance during its long-term rule in Taiwan. So we must abandon the "one China" principle. [Strait Exchange Foundation Chairman] Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) keeps telling me that there is no such thing as a 1992 Consensus. Why then do you still keep on talking about it?
Lien: First I'd like to protest that, again, Mr. Chen is distorting and making false accusations against me. Because I've never publicly nor formally claimed to have formed a cross-strait union. Of course such an idea has been discussed when chatting and exchanging views with friends from academic or diplomatic circles, but I have never formally stated that this is my view.
So Mr. Chen's remarks just now are yet again another fine example of making false charges against me.
To me, the so-called 1992 Consensus means "one China, with each side having its own interpretation" (九二共識一個中國各自表述). It has been my belief that the Republic of China (ROC) is the one China, and that is how it is stated in the Constitution.
Chen: The March 20 referendum is coming up. Will Mr. Lien go and pick up his referendum ballots? While it is a secret which way you will vote, it is not a secret whether you will vote at all. Why is it that your national campaign director-general Wang Jin-pyng (
Lien: Mr. Chen is right, we [the KMT-PFP alliance] passed the law, which otherwise would not have existed if it wasn't because of us. Yet it is rather that Mr. Chen is the first person to abuse and violate the Referendum law.
Article 17 of the Referendum Law clearly stipulates that only under two given conditions can the president initiate a defensive referendum.
Mr. Chen insisted on calling the referendum despite the absence of the two situations. This is an obvious act of illegal behavior.
The referendum also lacks properness. Is it proper to ask people to make such a big decision at a time like this where the DPP administration will be terminated in a few months? The referendum also lacks urgency and necessity. If it is really urgent, why the need to wait until March 20 to hold the vote and not before that? To purposely choose to hold the referendum on March 20 is an obvious attempt to "kidnap" the election.
Since the referendum is illegal, would I willingly violate the law and take part in this illegal referendum? While I respect other people's decision on whether they will pick up their ballots or not, I will not because the referendum is illegal.
I think that Mr. Chen should stop before it is too late. The ROC's road to democracy has been stained under your hand.
Lien: With educational reform, which is under way right now, students are unhappy, parents are ill at ease and teachers are unsupportive. Mr. Chen says that educational reform was a policy that was pushed during the KMT era. Why should the DPP continue in this direction? We are now advocating an improved national university entrance examination. Do you support that?
Chen: Mr. Lien only half understands certain things. As far as the diversified university entrance examination is concerned, 82 percent of students still enter university by taking the entrance exam. Only 18 percent enter by other means. This is what students, teachers, and families all expect. Diversified entrance was laid down during the KMT era but we endeavor to put it into practice.
As for the argument about using many different textbooks, this was an issue decided by the administration led by Mr. Lien.
We have already decided, however, to discuss with civil organizations the proposition that in the most important examinations, only one textbook should be authorized. There is room for further discussion on this.
As for the Nine-Year Educational Program (九年一貫國民教育), Mr. Lien says that he wants to abandon this. I want to ask him to reconsider and not to go back down that route. Maybe there have been problems uniting the old and the new systems, but these problems occurred mostly in 2002. There will not be so many problems this year.
Educational reform cannot be stopped. I would ask everyone to discuss this, but I would ask Mr. Lien not to oppose it.
Chen: The Referendum Law was only passed last November. A-bian then proposed the holding of a referendum according to Article 17 [of the law.] The move was made in the shortest time possible. Why didn't you pass the law sooner? I could not do it sooner because you didn't pass the law sooner. So it is not my problem but yours. I would like to ask Mr. Lien, do you agree to halving the number of legislative seats by the end of this month, or at the latest by March 20?
Lien: Halving the number of legislative seats has been my party's long-time stance, which our legislative caucus also supports. However, Mr. Chen needs to know that aside from cutting the number of legislators by half, it also needs many other supplementary measures on issues such as the distribution of seats and such, which also requires the DPP caucus to propose its version of substantial measures on this matter.
About the Referendum Law, yes, it was passed last November, but even before that we had tried to pass it last summer, but then the DPP caucus shied away.
Besides, why hasn't Mr. Chen talked about the referendum before? Why wait until March 20 to hold the referendum? What has the DPP administration been doing all this time?
Article 17 clearly states that only when national security is faced with an external threat that would interfere in the nation's sovereignty can a defensive referendum be held. What is the external threat to us now? China's missiles aimed at Taiwan? Those missiles were aimed at Taiwan when you pledged your "five noes."
The referendum is obviously illegal. I would like to again call on Mr. Chen to stop before it is too late.
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