Liberty Times: Has the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) recently tried to contact you through old acquaintances?
James Soong (宋楚瑜): As a matter of fact, all sorts of people. I must say, however, that not only do President Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] and I share a common origin [the KMT], we are also from the same [ancestral] hometown. A meeting between us isn’t that difficult, but the problem is that someone is trying to make it appear that if I met with Ma, it would be about a tradeoff, and that makes me feel that there’s no need [for a meeting].
There are no personal problems between President Ma and I that would result in us bumping heads. I joined the KMT when I was 18, and it was [a conscious decision] after I had completely read through and understood what the Three Principles of the People (三民主義) entailed.
This reminds me of the 713 Penghu Incident. Dean [of the Yantai United Junior High School ] Chang Min-chih (張敏之) had been a member of the KMT since he was 17, but just because he stood up for the students who did not wish to join the military, he was labeled a communist spy and executed. It’s a very cruel thing. I joined the party when I was 18, and then I was dismissed from the party.
I don’t want you to think that my fate was the same as Chang’s. What I want to say is that I do not have any personal issues [with Ma], and that is the principle that I, and the PFP, hold to adamantly.
It is also this principle that I told honorary KMT chairman Wu [Poh-hsiung] (吳伯雄). At the time, some people wanted me to go back to the KMT and be an honorary chairman, but I said, “is being a dismissed party member honorary?” So, the first thing [for the KMT] to do is to clarify what happened back then.
We’re always criticizing the communists, but even they understand the concept of righting old wrongs. Besides, I wasn’t the only one who was expelled. Back in the old days, a lot of KMT elites, including Wu Rong-ming (吳容明) [and] Chin Ching-sheng (秦金生) [who were among the] best civil servants and party members of the KMT, had been expelled too.
If I just went back and became an honorary chairman, [it would be like] giving them the slip, their names would still be tarnished. Sorry, that just won’t do.
A lot of people have come to talk, but they aren’t talking about personal issues. The PFP holds adamantly to the ideal that “the small things of the people are the grand things of the government,” and it is the same basic ideal that is contained in the Three Principles.
The approach we are emphasizing is the closest to how Mr Chiang [Ching-kuo (蔣經國)] governed the country.
Whether or not he [Ma] meets me is not important, and that’s not the thing that’s holding things up between us; it’s the [potential] misconception of what is wanted, what is exchanged [and] what is done that crops up after the meeting which isn’t good.
LT: So you would not accept [an invitation to meet with Ma]?
Soong: For the time being, it won’t happen.
LT: You’ve recently mentioned that someone had told a KMT legislator that [someone] was recently looking into the accounts of the Public Certified Accountants Association and telling them not to act in certain ways. This is a serious issue. Is our judiciary becoming a tool? Should we look into who leaked information on national matters to people without public authority for them to use as fuel for politicking?
Soong: I don’t want to be involved in an individual case, but generally speaking, from where it stands today, Taiwan’s democracy has made us proud, but there also have been some unpleasant individual cases that hopefully will become history.
I hope that the mobilization of party, government, military and special services, as well as all the five yuan [Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Control Yuan and Examination Yuan], against me during the 2000 presidential election will never again happen in future Taiwanese elections.
To quote KMT heavyweight Chiu Chuang-huan (邱創煥), whom I respect very much, jian ting ze cong, jian shi ze ming** (兼聽則聰，兼視則明), meaning that if you keep your eyes and ears open, you will see and hear much. I just hope the word jian [meaning simultaneously] is not confused with the homonym for “eavesdropping” (jian, 監) [laughs].
We need to listen to the people more, and listen often to different opinions. Recently, every newspaper published an essay that earned full score on the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students, and there were two sentences in the essay that moved me very much.
What we really need is to listen to different opinions, but [that is not to say that] we should not hold to our own opinions.
LT: With what words would you wish to conclude this interview?
Soong: I was acquainted with former World United Formosans for Independence chairman George Chang (張燦鍙) when he was Tainan mayor, and he readily identified with one saying of mine, which is that “we may come from [a] different past, but we share a common future.”
We have different opinions, but we all love Taiwan, [and we’re] all fighting for the same land. We might have different political ideals, but we should have a common goal and that is to uphold Taiwanese values.
Because we all grew up here, we have the same friends, the same connections, the same ideals, and no matter how different our opinions are, we must admit that we only have one Taiwan, a Taiwan that we mutually share [with one another].
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER
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