Independent Taipei City mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) drew mixed reactions with his remarks that former president Chiang Ching-kuo’s (蔣經國) regime was “a model in politics” for all to learn from.
In a Facebook post, mentioning a conversation with a supporter on former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, Ko said: “I’ve always believed that during Chiang Ching-kuo’s era, there were strict regulations on government officials’ ethics, as well as on relationships between government and business — this should become a model in politics for all those in power to learn from.”
The remarks soon drew criticism from Facebook users.
“Ko should stop saying things against his own will to win support from not-so-hardcore pan-blue supporters, otherwise he may lose his own hardcore supporters,” Facebook user Jason Jiang said. “Government corruption was much worse during Chiang Ching-kuo’s time, it’s just that no [media outlet] dared to report on it.”
On the other hand, another Facebook user, Huang Ching-jen (黃敬仁), agreed with Ko, saying that his grandmother is a diehard pan-green camp supporter who never cast a vote for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but would praise the KMT’s Chiang Ching-kuo as a president who had contributed much to the nation.
“There could be bad people in a good political party, and good people in a bad political party,” he said.
However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) panned Ko over his remarks, saying that he is “a person who claims to be smart, but is now showing his stupidity.”
“Before history renders justice to the people of Taiwan, any comment that overlooks the big crimes that a dictator committed and only focuses on tiny good things he did is superficial,” Tuan said.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) also disagreed with Ko.
“Ko doesn’t need to praise Chiang Ching-kuo — this will upset pan-green supporters and prevent them from voting for him,” Hsu said. “It’s more important for him to elaborate his policy agenda to voters.”
Ko’s rival, the KMT’s mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), said Ko was only making such remarks for the election.
“Ko often says something one day, and changes his mind another,” Lien said. “This is all for the election — he’s not necessarily speaking his mind.”
Lien’s campaign office executive director Alex Tsai (蔡正元), who is also a KMT legislator, echoed Lien’s remarks, saying that Ko criticized Chiang Ching-kuo only a few months ago and is now saying he is a model politician.
“Ko is getting better and better at speaking according to his audience,” Tsai said.
Ko defended his comments by saying that, looking from a historical perspective, “Chiang Ching-kuo has brought more contributions than woes to Taiwan,” stressing that he would not worry about losing support from pan-green voters, “because history is history.”
Deh Tzu-tsai (鄭自才), one of the principal plotters in an attempt to assassinate Chiang Ching-kuo during a US visit in 1970, said Ko does not understand much about Taiwan politics.
“I urge Ko to go back and work as a doctor. He should not be involved in politics... Ko should focus on the medical field so he can contribute more to Taiwan,” Deh said during an interview with the Chinese-language Apple Daily News yesterday.
“Why would people learn from dictators? Would someone want to learn from Hitler? It is sad to hear Ko saying such things,” Deh said.
Peter Huang (黃文雄), who pulled the trigger in the failed 1970 assassination attempt, said that corruption would not have been reported on during Chiang Ching-kuo’s rule.
“What cases of corrupt government officials and their collusion with business circles went to judiciary investigation, and how many cases should have been investigated, but were not? [The investigation of cases] depended on the consideration by the one-individual dictatorship and one-party rule at the time,” Huang said.
Additional reporting by Jason Pan
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