In the wake of several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members’ withdrawals from the party, KMT leadership is reportedly planning disciplinary action against members who have spoken out against the party, sources in the KMT said.
KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) in a speech on Wednesday last week said that he had no problem with members criticizing him or any specific policy, but he added that they should not smear the KMT.
“You can jump to another ship in pursuit of individual political interest, but please, do not vilify the KMT,” Chu said.
KMT Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟), who has been openly critical of many of the party’s policies on political TV talk shows, is believed to be among the members likely to face disciplinary measures.
Chi has provoked the ire of the KMT’s upper echelons by justifying the withdrawal of some members and the dissatisfaction felt by some with the party leadership, as well as his criticism of KMT presumptive presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) China policies, sources said.
Chi said that party leaders should reflect on their administrative failures and policy mistakes that led to the KMT’s decisive rout in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 29 last year instead of “blaming people who speak the truth.”
Citing a poem by Southern Song Dynasty general Wen Tianxiang (文天祥), Chi compared himself with ancient Chinese historians who sacrificed their lives to expose the truth about regicides and murderous usurpers, saying that his criticism of the party derived from his love for the KMT, and that his personal career was nothing compared with the downfall of the century-old party.
Speaking on the potential punishment to be meted out by the party, Chi said the blame should be laid at the feet of the KMT leadership instead of members who have been unable to communicate with party leaders.
The KMT “cannot tell right from wrong” if it chooses to punish members who have spoken truthfully in public for the good of the party, he said, adding that he will not stop doing and saying what he considers to be right.
KMT Legislator Lu Chia-cheng (盧嘉辰) said that he would respect the party’s decision, but added that members should be allowed to freely express themselves, and the KMT should try to unite instead of disciplining those who disagree with leadership.
“Persuading members to stay is more meaningful than penalizing them,” Lu said.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said that, although members are free to speak against ill-advised policies, they should refrain from maligning the party.
Those who espouse different ideologies from the KMT’s should resign from the party in a peaceful manner and Chu should communicate with outgoing members to understand why they jumped ship, Lo said.
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