Mon, Oct 25, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP taking KMT to task on ill-gotten assets issue

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Last week, the entire Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), including party heavyweights and local candidates, intensified their attacks against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for its assets looted from the state coffers. The DPP clearly plans to utilize this issue in order to put the KMT on the defensive, analysts say, and thereby help ensure that the pan-green camp wins a legislative majority in December.

"Although we are confident about our stand on other issues, including the arms procurement bill and the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真調會條例), we find that people care a lot about the KMT's ill-gotten assets," said DPP Information and Culture Department Director Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦).

Cheng said that DPP polls showed that voters regarded the first two issues as wars of words between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, from which they feel distant. But the KMT assets issue hits a raw nerve, because the party has never tried to correct their past mistakes and has instead kept trying to cover them up, Cheng said.

"We found that voters were generally repulsed by the KMT's dishonesty," Cheng said. "Therefore, demanding that the KMT disgorge its ill-gotten gains will become our main campaign theme, and will also highlight the DPP's determination for reform."

Some high-level DPP campaign aides jokingly compared the KMT assets issue to a debit card and ATM machine it can use to steal votes from the pan-blue camp.

"If the KMT still brazenly holds on to the money and properties it stole from the country and refuses to return them, this issue will continue to be an ATM machine for the DPP to withdraw votes from the KMT," said DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯).

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said whenever elections came around, high-ranking KMT officials always vow that they will deal with the party assets issue, yet they never seem to get around to doing that after they're elected.

"It was the KMT who gave the DPP the pin number of this `debit card' and it was the KMT who broke its promises," Chung said. "The KMT has disarmed itself in these elections because of its dishonesty and greed."

In fact, long before Taiwan's first "rotation of political parties" in 2000, the KMT violated social justice, Chung said. However, compared with other newly democratic countries that passed power from authoritarian regimes to democratic government, Taiwan is one of the few countries that did not undergo the course of "transitional justice," said Peter Huang (黃文雄), an advisor to the president and former president of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

"The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial still stands there. Many people still worship Chiang's family and feel deep emotions whenever they recall them," Huang said.

According to the UN definition, transitional justice considers both judicial and nonjudicial responses to human rights crimes, which might include prosecuting individual perpetrators, offering reparations to victims of state-sponsored violence, establishing truth-seeking initiatives about past abuse and reforming institutions like the police and the courts.

"The KMT assets issue is also included in the concept of transitional justice," Chung said. The fact that Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) enthroned the Chiangs as the key promoters of Taiwan's democracy and said that the DPP raised the issue of the KMT's assets in order to sabotage the ethnic harmony were examples of how Taiwan has lacked transitional justice.

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