Ever since former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was recalled last year, “Han fans,” as well as the KMT hierarchy, have made pro-Taiwan lawmakers their enemy No. 1, and Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) has been on top of that list (“Recall part of ‘generational war’: expert,” Oct. 19, page 3).
Chen has always been one of Han’s harshest critics, and Han fans have vowed revenge.
Former legislators Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) and Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), being such sore losers, were not amused about losing to Chen democratically and have amassed significant resources backed by the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to remove him — a display of bad sportsmanship.
Yang Wen-yuan (楊文元) — who voted for Chen in January last year, but said he regrets doing so — initiated the recall campaign.
Yang said that Chen has neglected his constituency, behaved outrageously in the legislature and on social media, and supported the government’s decision to lift a ban on the importation of pork containing residue of the feed additive ractopamine.
The carpet-bombing smear campaign against Chen by KMT/CCP-leaning media is beyond fair and reasonable reporting. Many pro-Chen voices have been silenced by social media bans as they fight back against those who spread untruths.
If the KMT gets its way, it will inflict further unrest by stalling the legislature at the expense of taxpayers. This type of disruption has already been recognized internationally, not least by former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
The recall attempt is also an issue of national security, as Chen is a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. If he is recalled, the committee would be open to a possible KMT majority, which could then stall defense funding, diplomatic relationships, and lead to state secrets and sensitive military matters getting into the wrong hands.
The CCP has plenty to gain from ousting Chen, as it needs its cronies in pro-CCP parties to gain an upper hand by humiliating those who favor Taiwanese independence, with Chen and Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) on the top of the list.
The CCP’s media mouthpiece, China Central Television, has even broadcast current affairs programs with blatant instructions on how to remove Chen and Lim from the legislature.
The baton is now in the hands of voters in Taichung’s second electoral district. They must choose between keeping a well-intentioned, high-performing legislator in his job, or being bullied into submission to keep the old days of a corrupt establishment running their racket in “Gotham City.”
Voters need to realize that their choice might have far wider implications and consequences than living in fear of local mafia coercion. Their choice might be felt all the way to foreign relations and national security concerns, which might shape the nation’s future.
Why should people outside Taiwan be concerned with this recall vote? We should be highly concerned, as the CCP is using the same tactics worldwide to bolster its narrative as it eyes invasions and seeks to corrupt democracies.
Should the Chen recall be successful, China is likely to use the same methods on any politician it dislikes in other countries that it is trying to infiltrate, opening the Pandora’s box of invasion without a single bullet or missile fired. This is to make the international community more vulnerable to Chinese threats among nations that fear an escalation to war.
James Chen was born in Taiwan and now lives in Australia.
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