On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrated its centennial.
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairs Lien Chan (連戰) and Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), as well as People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and New Party Chairman Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典), cosigned a telegram to Beijing to show support and congratulate Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and the CCP.
Lien and Hung led the KMT in the era following the death of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), and Soong has been called Chiang’s chosen heir.
Most of these politicians no longer have a political future in Taiwan, and KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who still cares about the support of Taiwanese voters, did not join them.
After fleeing China in 1949, the KMT and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) initially said that the Republic of China (ROC) was dead, but then, in the name of anti-communism, they moved on and implemented their dictatorship in Taiwan.
They said that the government would go through three stages, from military rule and political tutelage to constitutional rule, but then, as an excuse to block democratization, they implemented the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款).
The KMT left its bloody imprint on Taiwan during the White Terror era that followed the 228 Incident.
Lien largely owed his position of power to his “half mountain” background — a term that describes Taiwanese who left for China during the Japanese colonial period and returned after World War II — as well as the status of his father, Lien Chen-tung (連震東), who was accused by Taiwanese writer Wu Cho-liu (吳濁流) of cooperating with the KMT government after the war.
Lien Chan was defeated in the 2000 presidential election after Soong ran against him as an independent candidate, splitting the pan-blue camp’s vote and paving the way for the presidency of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
In 2004, Lien Chan ran again, as vice presidential candidate on a joint ticket with Soong, only to be defeated again. Thereafter, he sided with China, becoming the poster boy for China’s “united front” warfare against Taiwan.
In the contentious 2000 election, those who supported Lien Chan, saying that his nomination showed that the KMT was moving beyond its colonial mindset, were wrong about him.
To what extend is Lien Chan Taiwanese and different from Soong?
In 1964, Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), together with Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏) and Wei Ting-chao (魏廷朝), drafted A Declaration of Formosan Self-salvation.
Peng had been a UN delegate and was aware that the notion of the ROC’s continued existance was problematic.
Peng went on to advocate for Taiwanese independence from overseas, while Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) joined the KMT to fight for Taiwan at home and later became president.
Peng’s declaration is still golden advice, and Lee’s Taiwanization of the ROC was also a kind of Taiwanese self-salvation.
Former minister of foreign affairs George Yeh (葉公超) and former ambassador to the UN Chiang Ting-fu (蔣廷黻) were intellectuals with a backbone.
During the first decades of KMT rule in Taiwan, they were sincerely speaking the truth, but later sycophants gained influence.
It is perhaps not strange that the KMT no longer remembers the two Chiangs, and former party officials and military leaders turn to China to flatter its president.
During the Martial Law period, the KMT accused anyone with a dissenting opinion of being a communist. Today, KMT members are begging the CCP for help, a party that wants to see the end of Taiwan and the KMT.
From being anti-communist to surrendering to the CCP and even joining hands with Beijing, Lien Chan and Soong still hankered for the presidency so badly that they ran twice.
It is this “China disease” and the poison of power that is destroying Taiwan. Only heaven knows what the Chinese see in these rogue politicians.
Lee Min-yung is a poet.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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