In a column published yesterday, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made references to former US presidential adviser Karl Rove and the Watergate scandal, saying that campaigns which malign opponents have been the norm for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in almost every election.
Chen, who is serving a jail sentence for corruption, wrote that what the KMT was doing now with regard to the Yu Chang case to discredit Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was like what former US president Richard Nixon did in the Watergate scandal to help his re-election bid and what Rove did to vilify former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis and US Senator John Kerry in the 1988 and 2004 US presidential elections respectively.
“History tells us that the KMT does not know how to run a campaign without vote-buying and smear tactics,” Chen wrote.
In particular, Chen said, the tactics have been used in every presidential election since 2000, when the KMT sued People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) for allegedly stealing its funds and hiding the money in Chung Hsing Bills Finance Co after Soong ran his own presidential campaign as an independent in the presidential election that year.
Soong lost that election and prosecutors dropped all charges against him in 2005.
Chen was in 2000 accused of accepting NT$200 million (US$6.6 million) in bribes in a lottery program and a US$5 million donation from then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) for an agreement of eventual unification. Both allegations were proven to be false.
The accusations did not stop there, Chen wrote, as similar tactics were used by the KMT in the 2004 presidential elections, when the KMT accused Chen, who was seeking re-election, of accepting illegal political donations, and in 2008, when then-DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was accused of playing a role in the Kaoshiung Mass Rapid Transit system scandal.
The way the KMT has been questioning Tsai’s integrity in the formation of a biotechnology company in the Yu Chang case is similar to how it had accused Chen of embezzlement, Chen wrote.
The cases were similar because they were labeled as corruption that involved altered documents or that crucial information was left unmentioned, while both were also collaborative efforts between the Presidential Office, the executive and judiciary branches, the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, he said.
“Only a party that lacks confidence and a candidate who will eventually lose the election would resort to negative cam