Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tsai: ROC = government in exile while KMT Legislator = government with guile

Tsai Ing-wen, DPP Chair and newly minted mayoral candidate for The City Formerly Known as Taipei County raised a few eyebrows across the island today when the story broke that she had said that the ROC was a government in exile. The Taipei Times reports:
Government officials and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday rushed to slam Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for calling the Republic of China (ROC) a government-in-exile while the DPP defended Tsai, saying her remark was taken out of context.

Tsai on Tuesday suggested in a speech at a book launch that from Taiwan’s perspective, the ROC government was a Chinese authoritarian government that had dominated Taiwanese politics for the last six decades. However, she also said that in the past few decades, with the rise of Taiwan’s democracy movement and replacement of Chinese interests with Taiwanese interests, the ROC government had become both legitimate and sovereign.
The article contains the usual overblown accusations from the KMT, who must have been relieved to have something else to talk about after the latest KMT corruption scandal in which a legislator used fake aides to pocket funds which he said were used for party caucuses, but I thought the KMT Minister of the Interior's remarks were the most sensible:
Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said some academics used to refer to the ROC government as a “government in exile,” but the official view is the “ROC government is the ROC government.”
It is good to have it officially confirmed that the ROC government is the ROC government, so I can refer to that in case I become confused. If you read the whole article you get a sense that Tsai was actually referring to a historical process, not the present day government. The official DPP position is laid out at the bottom of the article: Taiwan is a sovereign and democratic state (Taiwan News has a fuller picture of the DPP side). The whole thing is manufactured by Taiwan's Golden Retriever media.

What was this corruption case? A classic, offering all the components of the stereotypical case.

1. The powerful politician says go easy on him:
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday urged prosecutors to seek lighter punishment for a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator who was barred from leaving the country for allegedly pocketing salaries paid to legislative aides during his tenure.
Speaker Wang himself was recently found innocent of downloading government bucks, though some aides had to do some time. Of course, this is nothing like a situation where the little guys take the fall for the powerful untouchable politician. This was justice.

2. There are relatives involved:
Wang was commenting on prosecutors' recent decision to prohibit former KMT legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) from leaving the country after Kwan allegedly embezzled about NT$4 million (US$123,000) that should have been set aside for legislative aides. Kwan, a former legislator-at-large representing KMT overseas compatriots from 1998 to 2004, was released on NT$600,000 bail last week.

Taipei prosecutors said Kwan suspiciously used four relatives’ names to claim NT$4 million in payments for legislative aides during his two terms. He might also be accused of corruption and forgery, they said.
Bonus fact: the legislator doesn't even represent anyone in Taiwan, he represents "overseas compatriots."

3. The Taiwan defense: "everybody does it":
Kwan yesterday protested his innocence, saying this is how it works in the legislature. He said legislators-at-large are all required to financially support party caucuses by giving NT$100,000 per month and that this is how they do it.

“The legislature gives us the money and then we deal with the fund,” Kwan said. “I have my integrity. I wouldn't embezzle a penny even if the cash is given directly to me.”

Wang said all legislative caucuses had similar requirements for legislators-at-large, adding that one or two legislators also pay the fee in a similar way. He did not name them.
Some things just never change.....
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Anonymous said...

When (retired) military officers of two foes can get together for a game of golf, that is surely a good thing. I'm not sure what world it is where people could possibly see that as a negative. Well, the right wing nutjobs might think it's bad, but most people would applaud the apparent easing of tension.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan's general sense of laxness in regards to military threats makes it ripe for the picking. The island is plenty capable of defending any foe - very formidable with geographic advantages. But the people, and the will to resist........?

Michael Turton said...

Well, the right wing nutjobs might think it's bad, but most people would applaud the apparent easing of tension.

As you said, the easing of tension is only apparent.

And most people don't applaud sell outs to authoritarian gangsters with inside help, which is what that actually means.