Six Preconditions for Political Transparency
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 26, 2008
On March 23, the day after election day, this newspaper expressed the hope that Ma Ying-jeou would strive for both "political transparency and economic prosperity." Yesterday's editorial expressed the hope that Ma Ying-jeou would be a president who is both "a man of virtue and a man of ability."
Ma Ying-jeou must maintain his image as a man of virtue. His credentials as a political reformer depend on it. As Ma Ying-jeou attempts to establish an administration with ability, his image as a man of virtue will be the engine that makes political transparency and economic prosperity possible.
Eight years of turmoil have left Taiwan on its last legs. What follows are six preconditions for achieving political transparency and economic prosperity:
One. Clean Government: Ma Ying-jeou's greatest political asset is his integrity. Although he found himself mired in the discretionary fund controversy, people still believed in him. Ma Ying-jeou must safeguard his image as "Mr. Clean" in order to realize his dream of clean government. A president must not fabricate non-existent "Southern Fronts." The First Family must not include the likes of Wu Shu-chen, Chao Chien-ming, and Chao Yu-chu. The president's advisors must not include the likes of Chen Che-nan. Only if the president himself is above reproach, will he have the moral authority to demand that everyone in his administration follow suit.
Two. National Identity: Taiwan is already badly divided. Those who reject the Republic of China and demand the "Rectification of Names" concoct artificial distinctions between "alien regimes" and "native regimes," between "Taiwanese" and "non-Taiwanese." Ma Ying-jeou's resounding victory, in the face of efforts to stigmatize him as a "second-generation mainlander," as an "agent of an alien regime," has rescued Taiwan from its national and ethnic identity crisis. Ma Ying-jeou must persuade the public to reaffirm our national identity and mend society's divisions.
Three. Cross-strait Relations: The Republic of China's political and economic structure, constitutional foundations, and trade prospects are closely related to cross-strait relations. In order to reestablish healthy cross-strait relations, Ma Ying-jeou must "minimize risk and maximize opportunity." He must mobilize technological resources and human resources, internally and externally. He must seize the initiative. He must neither resign himself to fate, nor engage in wishful thinking.
Four. Economic Development: During the election Ma Ying-jeou's economic development proposals were seen as cross-strait / production / government-driven. They need to be globally / distribution / commerce-driven. The short and mid-term economic picture can be summed up as follows: A. Cross-strait trade relations must not entail unilateral hemorrhaging on the Taiwan side. The economic lifeblood must circulate. B. Taiwan must take into account distribution as well as production. It must not allow society to become even more "M-shaped."
Five. Educational Reform: Today's educational problems are not exclusively systemic. The "single syllabus, multiple texts" problem was caused by high-ranking educational officials. These officials are anything but models of emulation for teachers and students. Lee Yuan-tseh and Tu Cheng-sheng are the principle culprits behind the "educational reform" fiasco. They are to blame for the most outrageous debacle in Taiwan's educational history. The devastation these two have inflicted upon the educational sector is inestimable. For years, they rammed "constructive mathematics" down the throats of students. Teachers, students, and parents could only swallow their anger. Was this any way for professional educators to behave? Educators must be able to distinguish between right and wrong. Future educational reform must include systemic reforms. Professional educators must reclaim their spirit of self-introspection and self-betterment.
Six. Social Justice: The DPP has destroyed virtually every institution responsible for ensuring social justice, including the prosecutorial system, the Central Election Commission, the Control Yuan, the Council of Grand Justices, and the National Communications Commission. The DPP has manipulated the nation's banks, public utilities, and major media. It has "package-dealed" plebiscites with elections, undermining the spirit of the constitution, including provisions for free and fair elections and secret ballots. It has hijacked the machinery of state, including the Central Election Commission, turning it into a tool for political control. It has shamelessly subverted the justice system. Ma Ying-jeou must refrain from manipulating the machinery of state. He must guard against political influence. If the judiciary prosecutes government corruption, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must welcome such prosecutions. If the media investigates government malfeasance, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must welcome such investigations, and engage in reform. This is how a nation provides checks and balances against One Party Rule.
Eight years of turmoil have left Taiwan hanging by a thread. For all intents and purposes, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must bring Taiwan back from the dead. They must transform a corrupt government into clean government. They must transform "ethnic divisions" into social harmony. They must transform cross-strait hatred into cross-strait synergy. They must transform economic decline into economic renewal. They must transform "educational reform" into educational revitalization. They must transform miscarriages of justice into expressions of justice. What is this, if not reviving the dead?
Ma Ying-jeou does not have any magic pills. The KMT does not have any magic wands. The thrill of victory will not help them govern the country. Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must find within themselves the determination to solve the Republic of China's problems, one problem at a time.
2008.03.26 03:34 am