Tue, Aug 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Soong epitomizes ‘banality of evil,’ Shih Ming-te says

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) epitomizes the “banality of evil,” veteran activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) said yesterday, criticizing the presumptive presidential candidate’s ties to the regimes of former presidents Chiang Kai-Shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

Shih criticized Soong for using “performing duties in accordance with the law” to defend his actions during the Martial Law era, adding that many of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin’s followers had used the same excuse to justify ignoring their consciences.

Soong served in a number of positions in the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government beginning in the 1970s, including heading the Government Information Office from 1979 to 1984, while Shih was imprisoned for two terms totalling more than 25 years during that period for his political activism.

“This mediocre, evil person wants to revive the old regime and become Taiwan’s president,” Shih said, using political theorist Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “banality of evil” to refer to Soong.

If Soong was elected, people would be reminded of the tragic history of colonialism and anti-colonialism, he said.

Shih, who announced his presidential bid in May, criticized Soong as well as KMT candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for failing to clearly explain the direction they would take with major policies if elected.

“The campaign is being conducted like a township and village election, with candidates hogging [newspaper] space by ‘acting cute,’” he said, criticizing his rivals for spending their time wearing bamboo hats and eating at roadside stalls.

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