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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Airing the KMT’s dirty laundry

Airing the KMT’s dirty laundry

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The nation has transformed itself from an authoritarian state into a democracy, and Taiwanese are now hoping to throw off the one-party state past with the implementation of long overdue transitional justice reforms. However, judging by remarks by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and her predecessors, the KMT remains stuck in its “party-state” days.

Hung met on Friday with four of her predecessors to discuss the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例).

In an apparent attempt to dispel criticism over the KMT’s stolen assets, Hung spoke about the party’s contributions to Taiwan’s development, saying that most of the National Palace Museum’s collections as well as the gold used to fund the nation’s development were brought from China by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) — in a decision he made in his capacity as KMT chairman, not as the Republic of China (ROC) president.

Attending the New Party’s 23th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Hung went further, saying that in the party-state days, even the Bureau of Investigation could be considered a KMT-affiliated organization, so the public should not scrutinize the KMT’s historical actions through contemporary lenses.

If the nation wants to make a reckoning, the KMT would do exactly that, adding: “Let us see whether the ROC owes the KMT more, or vice versa.”

It seems the KMT has become so desperate to guard its assets that Hung was forced to acknowledge that the party and Chiang never saw the need to separate the party from the state and stole assets from the government.

Her remarks only prove that the KMT amassed its wealth through ill-gotten means by mixing state assets with party assets and siphoning wealth from government coffers during its decades of authoritarian rule.

The remarks also suggest that the KMT taking over assets from the Japanese colonial government after World War II, and confiscating private property, are but a few examples of its long litany of misappropriating property belonging to the government and individuals.

Even more disturbing was the matter-of-fact way in which Hung made these statements, as if the KMT still thinks it owns this nation.

Hung — and others in the party — still appear unable to distinguish between the party and the government, or to understand that the people, not the KMT, are the masters of the nation.

Equally laughable is the suggestion from former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a former KMT chairman, that the party could appeal to international media over the party asset issue and passage of the “controversial” act passed by the Democratic Progressive Party-controlled legislature.

Taiwanese do not mind if the KMT wants to air its dirty laundry on the global stage.

However, Ma’s words come as a timely reminder: The government should also ask the KMT if it has hidden any of its ill-gotten assets overseas.

Even KMT Culture and Communications Committee Director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) said the issue is a “complex mix of history and politics.”

However, just as Taiwan has been transformed from an authoritarian state into a democracy, the KMT and its leaders must realize that times have changed and they must keep pace.

The more the KMT tries to cling to its stolen assets, the more it loses the public’s trust and the further it falls in public approval ratings.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2016/08/23

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Taiwan should change its military thinking and figure out how to make sure it has the ability to safeguard continued peace and stability both across the Taiwan Strait and within the Indo-Pacific region, a US official said on Tuesday.

David Helvey, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, made the remarks at the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Annapolis, Maryland.