In Taiwanese politics, there is a fashionable argument: “You can never wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep” (裝睡的人叫不醒). Yet, I would further argue that, in a university, it is completely unacceptable to have a chair professor of law who is asleep.
As a student of Soochow University, I found it inconceivable when I read that our chair professor of law, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), said: “The Anti-infiltration Act (反滲透法) does not exist anywhere else in the entire universe,” and that it amounted to “a return to the political suppression of the Martial Law era and the White Terror” overseen by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Apparently, Ma chose to ignore the fact that the Australian parliament just passed the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018.
The intent of the Australian legislation is clear: China’s growing threat — business espionage and bribery to gain political influence — has undermined the foundation of democracy.
Ma’s legal opinion is what does not exist anywhere else in the entire universe.
The only explanation is that the more heated the presidential election becomes, the more “needy” (刷存在感) Ma becomes.
Here is a look at two appalling legal opinions from Ma:
First, during the 2013 “September strife,” Ma unconstitutionally worked in conjunction with then-premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to oust then-legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
In a constitutional democracy, Ma, the head of the executive branch, should have respected Wang, the head of the legislative branch. Yet, he did otherwise and claimed that Wang’s judicial lobbying case was “the most shameful day of Taiwan’s democracy and rule of law.”
As a chair professor of law, Ma should have understood the principle of the separation of powers. Ma is the real shame to the rule of law in Taiwan.
Second, during the 2014 Sunflower movement, the Ma administration insisted that the legal status of the Cross-Strait Service and Trade Agreement (CSSTA) was similar to Article 60 of the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法), the article being the review mechanism for administrative regulations.
If Ma thought, as he hypocritically claimed, that the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan, was a sovereign country, but he still considered the CSSTA to be an administrative regulation, then his legal opinion is not his only problem — it probably had something to do with his mental health.
Based on constitutional theory, one independent state must be independent from another to achieve one of the elements of sovereignty.
If Taiwan is a sovereign state, then it is independent from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, if the CSSTA was to be an agreement between two states, it should not and definitely was not on the level of an administrative regulation.
To put aside controversial issues in international law, the CSSTA should be on the level of a law, that is, under the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例). This act is a special statute, which is more overruling than a general statute, let alone an administrative regulation.
As a chair professor of law, Ma should have read the fundamental theory on hierarchical structure proposed by Austrian jurist Hans Kelsen, but he is apparently too busy with under-the-table negotiations with China.
On the one hand, Ma claims that the ROC is a sovereign state, while, on the other, he refuses to recognize two-state theory.
It is doubtful that Ma’s mental status is healthy, but, intriguingly, he wakes up when in the spotlight.
For example, in the case of Hong Konger Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳) — suspected of murdering his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), in Taiwan in 2018 — Ma faked tears to show sympathy for the victim’s family and added that he is the father of two daughters.
When Hong Kong students were beaten by barbaric police and when Taiwanese students were hit by violent police, Ma ignored the victims. Why does he not say a word on behalf of students? If they are not crocodile tears, what are they?
Ma is asleep when he has a legal opinion and only wakes up when he has media attention. He is no longer fit to be Soochow University’s chair professor of law. He should resign from the post.
Soochow University’s Law School is a prestigious school that has cultivated many young students to be judges, prosecutors and lawyers fighting for justice on the basis of a strong legal education.
With all due respect, I would like to tell the school: When you have a chair professor of law burying his head in the sand, you will have difficulty improving the university’s ranking.
Huang Yu-zhe is an undergraduate in Soochow University’s Department of Political Science and has been accepted to National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Law and Interdisciplinary Studies.
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