Wed, Jun 29, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT set to expel former spokesman

DEEPER BLUE?New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming said the decision to axe Yang Wei-chung shows that the KMT has become intolerant to any differing opinions

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Yang Wei-chung smiles in a photograph taken on June 10.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision yesterday to axe the party’s outspoken former spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) has drawn ire, with some interpreting the move as the beginning of the party’s shift toward a deep-blue ideology.

At its second meeting held to deliberate Yang’s case, the KMT’s Evaluation and Discipline Committee reached a consensus yesterday morning to accept a suggestion submitted by the local branch in Chiayi County to expel Yang from the party.

The decision is set to be referred to the KMT’s Central Standing Committee for final approval today.

Due to the political sensitivity of the case, the disciplinary committee decided to convene a second meeting after spending two-and-a-half hours discussing whether Yang should be expelled over his frequent critical remarks about the KMT during its first meeting on Friday last week.

Yang was initially invited by the disciplinary committee to defend himself in person at the second meeting, but he was unable to attend due to a prearranged plan to participate in summer camps held by the Taiwanese Association in the US. He is scheduled to return to Taiwan on July 11.

“Members of the Evaluation and Discipline Committee made the decision by a consensus vote,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) said.

Chow said the committee members deemed Yang to be in violation of Article 35 of the KMT charter for damaging the party’s reputation and infringing upon its interests through malicious attacks. They subsequently moved to expel him based on Article 36 of the party’s charter.

KMT regulations state that party members who are expelled or have their membership revoked cannot return to the party until a statutory period of six years or three years has elapsed respectively.

Yang, whose party membership was registered under the KMT’s Chiayi branch, resigned as party spokesman on Jan. 16 when the party lost the presidential and legislative elections.

Since his resignation, Yang has been forthright in his criticism of the party, such as over its controversial assets.

After learning of the disciplinary committee’s decision, Yang took to Facebook yesterday.

“I should engage in some self-reflection for my lack of effort to carry out the goals I set for myself when I first joined the KMT, which was to promote diversity and progress,” Yang wrote, pledging to continue to push for transitional justice, as well as political and social reforms.

However, Yang’s expulsion met with strong criticism from both inside and outside the KMT.

Former KMT Youth League secretary-general Lee Zheng-hao (李正皓) said on Facebook yesterday that while it appears that KMT headquarters have succeeded in expelling a “dissident,” the move would only end up turning the party into a “dissident” in the eyes of most Taiwanese.

“[Yang’s expulsion] serves as an official confirmation that under the leadership of KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) the party is destined to become deep blue or ultra-deep blue,” Lee said, adding that the key to the KMT’s attempts to regain the confidence of the public lay in it tolerating different opinions.

New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said the KMT’s decision to expel Yang indicates that due to Hung’s “new direction,” the party has become extremely intolerant to any differing opinions and is on a mission to launch a purge.

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