Sunday, May 1, 2011

"But today's KMT is different!"

...yeah, like the guy who says he'll call on Tuesday and doesn't pick up the phone until two weeks later is "different". Sure.

I hear this line a lot - I generally don't bring up politics around locals I don't know well, but among friends (most of my friends either are green or lean green, but I have a few light blue buddies) we do talk about these issues. I try not to dig into them too hard, because they do have a right to their opinion and as someone who can't vote, my opinion really doesn't matter that much.

Recently, I heard it at a party, from a new acquaintance - a young Taiwanese American who leaned blue because (probably, in part) her parents did so. "But the KMT of today isn't the KMT of Chiang Kai-shek!"

Err...except it is.

How many KMT members were either alive to witness the atrocities that party brought upon Taiwan, or were involved in the party at that time, or are the sons (mostly sons, rarely daughters) of people involved in it? Granted, the party has gotten new blood - pun only semi-intended - but that doesn't mean the old crimes have been washed away. Who is Hau Lung-bin's father? Did Ma Ying-jiu not work under Chiang Ching-kuo before Taiwan democratized (granted, Chiang Ching-kuo was a much better man than his father - it's not nearly as bad as having worked for the Generalissimo himself)? Is this not the same KMT that holds onto assets taken from the Taiwanese people during Chiang Kai-shek's reign of white terror? For every previously state-owned company that has privatized, are there not properties and funds that the KMT is still using? Has this "new" KMT apologized for the 228 incident and White Terror, and has a true, in-depth and good faith effort been made to account for as many of the victims as possible? Let's take a look at museums: which party changed the 228 museum to brush a patina on history that makes its own actions look more palatable? Which party attempted to renovate the human rights museum in the old Jingmei prison to basically not be a human rights museum (I don't remember if that succeeded or not)? Is this not the same KMT who still believes that Taiwan and China are one and the same?

This "new" KMT investigates and arrests opposition party members on flimsy evidence - take the commissioner who was just released, for example - and Taiwan's freedom ratings, including freedom of the press, seems to decline whenever they're in power.

So I have to ask - how on earth is the "new" KMT any different from the old? What is this "today's KMT" business? It's the same damn KMT! Sure, the system has changed and today's KMT runs in elections (elections where it bribes and buys votes, but both sides do that), but you know quite well that just like America's Republicans, if they could rule Taiwan in a one-party system...they would (OK, that's pure conjecture but I stand by it).

Of course, bringing all of this up, and vehemently, is not always an option - sometimes I hear that line - "oh but the KMT of today is different!" - and I just inwardly roll my eyes.

The system has changed...that doesn't mean the party has.

Except for one thing - the KMT is different now from the party it used to be in one crucial way.

They used to be anti-Communist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Except for one thing - the KMT is different now from the party it used to be in one crucial way.

They used to be anti-Communist."

Only when it was convenient for Cold War purposes. There was the First United Front (1922-1927) when the KMT and CCP were allies, and the Second United Front (1937-some year in the 1940s) when the KMT and the CCP agreed to fight the Japanese instead of each other. For a while, Stalin preferred Chiang Kai-Shek over any member of the CCP as leader of China.

And I cannot think of any political party in the world which would seriously mind one-party rule if they could pull it off.