As campaign fever for tomorrow’s local elections turns white hot, supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been going head to head on social media. The latest row was triggered by a Facebook post on Nov. 13 by songwriter and KMT supporter Liu Chia-chang (劉家昌), who rebuked United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠) for advocating independence.
“Although you regained your ROC [Republic of China] citizenship after returning from Singapore, you continue to help the green independents by guarding their flank,” Liu wrote, adding that it was an “insult to the nation.”
“When [KMT Taipei mayoral candidate] Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) is elected, you people will know the power of ROC citizens,” Liu wrote.
Tsao said Liu’s rant has revealed the mentality embedded in the KMT camp. He wrote that Liu believes that only those who show allegiance to the KMT are ROC citizens, whereas the DPP supporters are not.
“Using political affiliation as the determining factor is an argument that harks back to the US south’s Ku Klux Klan [KKK], made up of white people who could not stand seeing black people — their former slaves and inferiors — acquire political power,” Tsao wrote.
When the KMT was in power in Taiwan, it acted similarly, he wrote, citing its treatment of independence advocates before Taiwan became a democracy.
Tsao’s post hit the nail on the head with his insight into the mindset of the KMT’s deep-blue faction and its supporters. Although the KMT has been established for more than a century, power and leadership have rarely fallen out of the hands of the deep-blue faction, a group consisting of generations of waishengren (外省人) — those who fled China with the KMT after 1949 and were given important positions, privilege and power by former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Used to holding authority, the deep-blue faction has always viewed benshengren (本省人) — people who came to Taiwan in the centuries preceding World War II — with suspicion and contempt, more so when they remember former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), a KMT benshengren who turned out to be an independence supporter and curtailed the KMT’s monopoly on power.
This is most obvious with the KMT’s treatment of former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), both benshengren party members. Despite their broad appeal over the political divide, they have both been pressured not to run for the presidency, because they are not “blue-blooded” enough to garner support from deep-blue voters.
The deep-blue faction’s obsession with “blood” and traditional racial order is also reflected in the way children of prominent deep-blue members enjoy elite status and access to public positions. This can be seen in the way Chiang Wan-an rose to power and acquired rock-star status simply because he is a grandson of Chiang Ching-kuo.
This is also why during his campaign Chiang Wan-an proclaimed himself as a candidate nominated by the KMT, a “legitimate blue” who stands for the ROC. Under this banner, he has appealed to deep-blue voters as the one who would fight to “reclaim” their entitlements, as well as restore their lost “aristocracy” and right to discourse.
Tsao’s comparison of the deep-blue faction to the KKK has laid bare its sense of superiority and entitlement and a wish to return to the good old days. Liu and other deep-blue voters seem to have forgotten that Taiwan is now a democratic society. As the US has closed its page on the KKK, it is also time for Taiwan to put an end to any deep-blue mentality, and acknowledge that the benshengren who are akin to “slaves” and “commoners” in the past are also masters of this nation.
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