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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times The irony of the KMT’s objections

The irony of the KMT’s objections

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The politics surrounding the government’s and the opposition’s referendum campaigns is throwing up supreme ironies that deserve comment, while also highlighting concerning — but entirely unsurprising — similarities between the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) tactics and the messaging of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

It is a curious thing that whenever the KMT and its representatives criticize the actions of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, it always sounds a little too much like a projection of guilt of the KMT’s authoritarian past.

On Dec. 9, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) penned an article commenting on Taiwan’s invitation to the US’ Summit for Democracy, in which he lamented that, far from representing a glowing example of democracy, Taiwan has become an “illiberal democracy” and an “elected autocracy” — concepts borrowed from US political commentator Fareed Zakaria — since Tsai took office in 2016.

In the article, Ma compared the Tsai administration to the Ming Dynasty secret police agency, the Eastern Bureau (東廠). He gave several examples to back up his argument — they are not worth going into here, save to illustrate how his ideas serve to bolster the KMT’s contention that the government and the DPP are using state resources inappropriately to urge people to vote “no” in the four referendums to be held on Saturday.

The irony of Ma’s evocation of the Eastern Bureau will not be lost on anyone aware of the conduct of the KMT’s one-party state prior to Taiwan’s democratization.

As the day of the referendum closes in, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) has been calling on his party to unite and go all out to campaign for four “yes” votes, using all the resources at its disposal, while criticizing Tsai for urging the DPP at its National Congress to be united in its campaign for four “no” votes.

Chu seems to think the government is interfering in the referendum drive, which was essentially started by the KMT, even though the government is simply defending its own policies.

However, the greater irony is how Chu has sought to characterize this as the DPP “mixing party and state.”

Again, the projection: The KMT is the only party that has conducted itself as a one-party state, and seems to still regard itself as entitled to that model.

Not only is it impossible for the DPP to act as a one-party state in a democratic Taiwan, but using state resources to implement and defend its own policies — having been elected in a landslide election — is exactly what a government is supposed to do in a democracy.

Now the KMT is proposing an amendment that would ban government agencies from promoting its own positions in referendums if the government is not the initiator of the proposal.

Chu is either incapable of thinking long term or he has convinced himself that his party is doomed to perpetual opposition. He does not seem to mind that this amendment would be to his own disadvantage if he ever makes it to the Presidential Office.

The supreme irony is that China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), when asked about the referendums in Taiwan, accused the DPP of “manipulating” the referendums, as if the totalitarian CCP had any right to talk about how Taiwan conducts its democracy.

The fact that the CCP and the KMT seem to be so close on this messaging is a cause for concern.


Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2021/12/17



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