People applying for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership may be forgiven for thinking they have stumbled onto a Chinese Web site.
New KMT members are expected to play a significant role in the chairperson election on May 20, and individuals applying online for membership must fill in questions, such as their national identification number, contact information and place of birth.
However, the party’s Web site for online membership application does not include most Taiwanese counties and cities as an option for the applicant’s place of birth.
Although it lists 59 locations for applicants to choose as their place of birth, no Taiwanese administrative division is included other than Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Instead of the four other special municipalities or cities and counties in Taiwan, the options provided are mostly Chinese cities and provinces, such as Qingdao, Tianjin, Chongqing and Dalian.
It also includes administrative divisions and places that no longer exist or have been changed or renamed in China, such as the provinces of Xikang (西康) and Nenjiang (嫩江), as well as Peiping (北平), now known as Beijing (北京).
“The party Web site should not ask for place of birth or include obsolete places. The KMT needs to keep up with the times and make some major changes to the way it does things,” KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) of Hsinchu County said when asked for comments.
It would be more appropriate to ask applicants for their registered place of residence instead of place of birth, Lin said, adding that he would ask party headquarters to make the changes.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Tang Te-ming (唐德明) on Thursday last week said that the place of birth options were designed in accordance with the territorial boundaries of the Republic of China Constitution.
Some of the names of places are different only because the Beijing government has changed them, Tang said.
In related news, former KMT vice chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢), who on Jan. 23 announced his bid for the party chairperson, panned a requirement that candidates have to collect signed support from at least 3 percent of the party’s total members.
The practice is “quite anti-democratic and ideally should be abolished,” Chan said on Wednesday last week.
He called on KMT headquarters to ensure a fair and transparent election by making party membership records available to all candidates.
Later that same day, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said at the party’s Central Standing Committee meeting that she would not rule out changing some requirements, including lowering the required percentage of signatures of support or abolishing it completely.
However, Hung said there is not enough time for the committee to make the changes before the chairperson election in May.
She added that the party is open to suggestions that could provide a “technical fix” for the issue.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦) agreed, saying there is not enough for the party to deliberate the 3 percent threshold, because party headquarters was not scheduled to discuss the election until after the Lunar New Year holiday period.
However, the party could adopt other “expedient methods” to evaluate the validity of signatures of support in a way that complies with party laws and regulations, Hu said.