Mon, Jul 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP failed on reforms, academics say

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite a series of activities the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government recently held to mark the end of martial law 20 years ago, it has failed to remove the legacy of the Martial Law era over the past seven years, panelists attending a forum on the impact of that time said yesterday.

At the forum hosted by Taiwan Thinktank in Taipei, experts exchanged views on what has been done by the government to deal with the legacy left by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.

Political transfer from authority to democracy was supposed to mean a "severance" from the past, but the DPP, which came to power in 2000, made it a "succession," said Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.

The fact that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won the presidency with less than 40 percent of the vote and that the legislature is dominated by the pan-blue camp and has hindered Chen's reforms cannot disguise the fact that Chen himself should take the blame, Chin said.

"For example, now that [Chen's] nomination of members of the Control Yuan has been boycotted [by the opposition], why didn't he take the chance to abolish the Control Yuan?" Chin said.

Yao Jen-to (姚人多), an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsinghua University, said that in order to meet the goal of transitional justice the government must make critiques of the preceeding regime.

As Wu Nai-te (吳乃德), a sociologist at Academia Sinica, said recently, there are tens of thousands of victims of the previous regime, but no perpetrator has been identified, Yao said.

"No one has been asked to take responsibility for what they have done in the past. It's preposterous that the KMT praised former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) for his `kindness' in lifting martial law and didn't allow criticism of Chiang Kai-shek's `despotism,'" he said.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) did not examine Chiang Ching-kuo's role in the 228 Incident, and Chen, while preaching the importance of "transitional justice," had only good words to say about Lee, Yao said.

Because the DPP over the past seven years has not recognized that it is a new democratic regime, it has failed to come up with solutions to deal with the authoritarian era's legacies, Yao said.

As a result, "judges and prosecutors who helped the autocrats make unlawful verdicts [during the Martial Law era] are still there, so are the teachers who helped the autocrats [in the past] brainwash the students," he said.

DPP ethnic affairs department chief Yang Chang-cheng (楊長鎮), said that he agreed that "the DPP wasn't brave enough to advance transitional justice."

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