Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Waiting for Ma Dough

Xinhua reports on the upcoming verdict in the appeal of KMT Presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's acquittal for in the embezzlement case, due out the 28th of this month. Since Ma is their fair-haired boy, naturally they are anxious -- if Ma is found guilty, he can't run for president. Hasn't made much noise though... Does anyone out there actually believe the verdict will be overturned? Color me blue on that one.

While you're contemplating the possibilities for Ma Ying-jeou, you can enjoy the squabble over the remains of dictator Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, as reported in the pro-Green Taipei Times:

The fate of the mausoleums of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) descended into family squabbling yesterday after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), a son of Chiang Ching-kuo, said he did not support relocating the tombs to China.

"Those who don't understand Taiwanese politics should not get too involved in the issue. He or she should speak with caution," he said while visiting the mausoleums at Tzuhu (慈湖) and Touliao (頭寮) in Taoyuan County yesterday.

John Chiang was apparently referring to Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡), the wife of Chiang Hsiao-yung (蔣孝勇), the third son of Chiang Ching-kuo.

Chiang Fang Chih-yi said on Sunday that the family had reached a consensus on sending the remains of the two men back to their hometown in Zhejiang Province, China, consistent with Chiang Ching-kuo's wishes, rather than relocating the remains to the Wuchihshan Military Cemetery (五指山軍人公墓) in Taipei County as the family had previously requested the government do.

Despite its light-hearted moments, the tomb issue shows the way the family cult, imperial cult, and politics are intertwined in Taiwan, especially where the KMT for so many years cultivated a quasi-religious cult around Chiang Kai-shek.

Finally, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou showed a side that so many of us have trouble getting outsiders to see: the arrogant, patronizing Ma. Feiren over at Taiwan Matters has his latest bumptiousness:

The Taiwanese blogosphere and alert readers have caught Ma Ying-jeou on camera telling a community of aboriginal squatters on the Xindian River that

"I see you as humans and as citizens of this city. I'm going to educate you well and do a good job of providing you with opportunities. That's the place from which the attitude of aborigines needs to be adjusted...now that you've come here, you need to play by the rules here..." [emphasis added]

Ma's unbelievably patronizing comments were delivered on Dec. 8th when members of the community presented a petition to Ma at the appropriately named Chiang Kai-shek (Zhongzheng) Public Housing Community. You'll have to skip ahead to about 7:20 to hear Ma making these comments. Personally, I found his comments around 6:20 where he says that "it's not that their [aborigines'] genes have a problem, their opportunities have a problem" at least as offensive. Could this finally be the beginning of the end of aboriginal support for the KMT?

Aborigines are a key constituency of the ethnic coalition that the KMT has cobbled together. It's unlikely to be the end of anything, but it would be nice if it were.

UPDATE: Prosecutors questioned Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at his office this week, ahead of the Ma verdict. The special funds cases need to have a general amnesty, and an end must be made to the special funds.


Anonymous said...

Well, the bones story certainly is tantalizing! Chen taking away the guards has put the Chiang family in a quandary but they must have seen it coming. Who will pay for guards in China? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asked: Who will pay for guards in China?

It might not be so odd to consider that the Chiang remains may be more welcomed by Mainlanders than on Taiwan. I recall hearing that the Chiang statue park outside Taipei is a huge tourist attraction for Mainlanders. Chiang was a larger-than-life personnage for them.

Also, don't forget that the Generalissimo was married to a Soong, whose two sisters married Mao and Dr. Sun. I think it's important not to forget the symbolism of this intermarriage and how it informs for some the vision of One China.

(The Soong sisters: one loved money, one loved power, and one loved nation!)

Taiwan Echo said...

I believe how Chiang's remains will be treated in China depends not on how they are welcomed by Chinese, but depends on how China GOVERNMENT wants them to be treated.

Most likely, they will be used as a tool to attract the minds of pro-China Taiwanese when needed. When not needed, their role will be reduced back to "people's enemy."

Taiwan Echo said...

Michael:"Aborigines are a key constituency of the ethnic coalition that the KMT has cobbled together. It's unlikely to be the end of anything, but it would be nice if it were."

Seeing them call Ma Ying-Jeou "President Ma", it seems to me that they are all pro-Ma.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan Echo:

Well, some of them have been in the news asking for an apology from Ma.

Also the fact that it's been in the news and talked about by several political talk shows is going to change the opinions of at least some.

This was a huge news event. Ma needs to figure out a strategy for making it all go away.

Taiwan Echo said...

Yea, I was a bit surprised how big this thing went. I first saw it on some pro-green forum and thought that it would probably just circulate among pro-greeners. In two days it was all over the media.

This also raises a question: deep down, how Ma think about "Taiwanese"?

For all his life, Ma has been helping the authoritarian regime to suppress and prosecute Taiwanese. And his goal of life is to put Taiwanese under China's control with "ultimate unification". If not for the Presidential campaign he would never have mentioned anything like Taiwan first. Does he also "treat Taiwanese as human?"

Anonymous said...

Personally I doubt very much whether the High Court's verdict in the Ma case will be "unfair". If they uphold the earlier verdict it will be because the law is such a mess and it would be impractical to jail the thousands of public servants who simply took convention for meaning something was legal. It's not as if the DPP couldn't have complained about this in 2000.

Remember that it was the High Court that supported Chen Chu's victory in the mayoral election last year. If it made decisions based on which party is in court then she would have been disqualified.

Anonymous said...

Marc, none of the Soong sisters married to Mao Zedong; one married to H.H. Kung, the richest man at the time, the other married to Dr. Sun; though Soong Ching-ling supported the communist and held some nominal title, she was greatly distressed and disillusioned by the Cultural Revolution, or so our textbook (in the age of KMT) used to say. It's strange that they deify and dismiss her at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like this article is almost completely pro-green.

Anonymous said...

Is anti-blue necessary completely pro-green? Is anti-Ma necessary anti-blue?

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected on the marriage of the sisters Soong. I didn't check my facts after someone told me this.

Still, I was told that the Sun and Chiang marriages have some important symbolism for uniting the "two Chinas"