Wed, Jul 29, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Ma faces criticism over exchange of letters with China

MISSING TITLES The DPP accused Ma of shying away from using his own official title, while Chiu Yi said Beijing failed to accord Ma equal status

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) criticized President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday for bowing to China by refraining from penning his official title or the name of his party in correspondence with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

“Is Ma some kind of magician? Whenever it comes to China, his title automatically disappears,” DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.

On Sunday, Ma was declared the winner in the one-man race for the KMT party chairmanship, garnering 93.87 percent of the vote, with a turnout of 57.79 percent out of 533,000 eligible voters.

On Monday, Hu, in his capacity as secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), congratulated Ma on his triumph via telegram. In his message, Hu referred to Ma as “Mr Ma” rather than using his title and expressed hope both parties would join hands in creating harmonious relations across the Taiwan Strait.

In his reply, Ma said both sides should “value reality, establish mutual confidence and shelve differences to create a win-win situation.”

Ma did not mention any title in his message.

The date on his letter also left out the national title — the Republic of China (ROC) — which , in general practice, precedes the year, month and day. Ma simply wrote “98 (2009) July 27.”

“What does '98' stand for? The unleaded percentage in gasoline?” Cheng said, adding that when it comes to China, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) did not even dare mention the ROC.

The DPP also urged the KMT to launch an investigation into allegations made by a KMT councilor in Taoyuan that the party had inflated the number of votes that Ma had received.

Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said the Presidential Office should protest to Beijing because Hu failed to accord the same respect to Ma in the exchange of greetings.

KMT Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) said Hu should send Ma another greeting after Ma assumes the chairmanship and call him “Chairman Ma.”

But KMT caucus secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) urged the public not to over-interpret how Ma addressed himself in the letter as Ma had yet to officially take up his position as the party's chairman.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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