The recent absurdities repeatedly enacted by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) cannot but remind us of Hau's father, the fierce four-star general and former premier, Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), who declared several times with great agitation in the legislature that the national army would not defend Taiwanese independence.
When former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) appointed Hau Pei-tsun premier in 1990, the move was widely questioned and led to the formation of a movement opposing political intervention by military officials. Doubts were confirmed the following year when the Investigation Bureau secretly arrested four individuals, thus setting off the ensuing Association for Taiwanese Independence (獨立台灣會) Incident. The incident incited public outrage that forced Hau Pei-tsun to release the four detainees.
The endless farces put on by Hau Lung-bin, who has aided and abetted his father, alerts Taipei citizens to the possibility of the reemergence of authoritarianism in the vein of the elder Hau's declaration that the national army would not protect Taiwanese independence. Mayor Hau's forceful opposition to the Central Election Commission's decision on one-step voting and his insistence on using two-step voting in Taipei is a blatant violation of central government policy.
The purpose of his defiance is to sabotage the referendum. Referendums are direct realizations of the public will -- don't Hau's actions stand in opposition to direct public power? Isn't the city government's repeated attempts to obstruct the Ministry of Education from removing of the dazhong zhizheng (大中至正) plaque from the gate of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall a concealed defense of the authoritarian values that the inscription, a play on Chiang Kai-shek's (
The farces have not finished yet, and Hau has already lit the fuse of another battle over further suppression of the freedom of expression in the New Year's fireworks debate. Recently, there have been reports that the Taipei 101 fireworks show, for which the Tourism Bureau has won the bid, will be displaying the message "UN For Taiwan." Hau has responded with violent opposition.
According to the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) proposal for rejoining the UN, membership under any dignified title -- including "Taiwan" -- will be supported. If this proposal is true, then what is wrong with "UN for Taiwan"? This shows the KMT's duplicitous nature.
What is meant by Hau's statement that Taipei 101 is a business and would not cause trouble for the Taipei City Government? Why does displaying "UN for Taiwan" constitute creating trouble for the Taipei City Government? Hau needs to explain to Taipei residents whether the Taipei City Government supports UN membership for Taiwan.
Allen Houng is a professor in the Institute of Neuroscience at National Yang Ming University.
Translated by Angela Hong
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