By labeling independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and his family “descendants of the Japanese emperor’s loyal subjects” and “traitors to the Han race,” two prominent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) veterans have infuriated many people, critics said yesterday.
Long-time political activist Shih Ming-te (施明德), a former Democratic Progressive Party chairman who left the party in 1999, and National Chengchi University Taiwanese literature professor Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明) said that the attacks by have humiliated not only Ko, but all Taiwanese.
Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) have called Ko the descendant of “the Japanese emperor’s loyal subjects” and implied that his family were traitors.
In his column yesterday for the Chinese-language Apple Daily, Shih blasted Lien Chan, Hau and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who have separately described Ko as “a bastard,” “a descendant of the Japanese emperor’s loyal subjects” and “a demon.”
“Whom God would destroy, he first makes mad,” Shih wrote.
“Though [KMT Taipei mayoral candidate] Sean Lien (連勝文) himself is gentle and polite, he would not be himself if he were elected as Taipei mayor. The party’s old factions need him to play the role of the umbilical cord and that of a locomotive to secure their hold on power. He would also be the key to whether the Lien family could continue its special relationship with Beijing,” Shih said.
It is not surprising that these KMT politicians started to go “wacky” when they realized the party might lose the Taipei race, he said.
“All of a sudden, terms like ‘demon,’ ‘emperor’s loyal subjects,’ or ‘the war for survival of the Republic of China’ sprang up. Their use shows that these speakers have taken Taiwanese to be enemies and an enemy state,” Shih said. “They have not only humiliated Ko, but all Taiwanese. The thirst for power makes people mad.”
In a Facebook posting, Chen castigated Lien Chan and Hau for what he called their “humiliation of all Taiwanese.”
“Calling Taiwanese ‘traitors of the Han race’ and ‘the Japanese emperor’s loyal subjects’ was part of the official language of the KMT regime when it first set foot on Taiwan after World War II. It was extremely demeaning and cruel, and had bloodily separated Taiwanese and the Mainlanders, as newcomers. It ignited the 228 Incident in the end,” Chen wrote.
“The historical memory has been the common nightmare of Taiwanese society and it was not until former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) apologized to the public for the KMT’s actions in the 1990s and the government started a series of measures to compensate the victims, publicize the historical documents and establish monuments that the related conflicts were allayed,” he wrote.
The wound has been reopened, he said, adding that not only did Ko face attack, the government’s official apology was also shattered.
“Taiwanese did not choose to become Japanese, but were cursorily ceded to Japan without Taiwanese consent when China was not able to protect itself,” Chen said.
He said it reminded him of Boule de Suif, a short story by French writer Guy de Maupassant, which tells of a young woman named Boule de Suif (Butterball), who is captured with others in a carriage as they flee an invaded town. Butterball is pressured to sleep with one of the captors in exchange for the group’s freedom.