Donate the Balance of the Chung Hsing Bills Fund to Charity
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
May 28, 2008
No sooner had the new administration opened its doors for business, than reports emerged that the KMT hoped to reclaim the 240 million NT balance in the controversial Chung Hsing Bills Fund. In terms of both timing and procedure, this is an unwise move. To stir up dust that had long settled, for the sake of a tainted sum of money, can only damage the KMT's image.
Both the KMT and PFP are being naive. The KMT hopes to reclaim 240 million NT belonging to the party. James Soong hopes to emerge from the shadow of the Chung Hsing Bills scandal. One party hopes to receive monetary benefits. The other hopes to clear his name. Both see a win/win scenario. But they are forgetting the third keyholder in the case -- Lee Teng-hui. They are also forgetting the public on Taiwan, which has been following this case for the past eight years. Besides, even assuming the procedural knots can be untangled, this case is not as simple as "You get your money back. I get my name cleared." Public perception is a tricky matter.
The Chung Hsing Bills Case is not just an internal KMT scandal. It is also an old-fashioned backroom deal. During the 2000 Presidential Election, Lee Teng-hui fought tooth and nail with James Soong. James Soong lost because Lee Teng-hui used the Chung Hsing Bills scandal to block Soong's path to the presidency. The KMT also lost power. It was a lose/lose proposition. The public on Taiwan endured eight years of Chen regime misrule and degeneracy. Nothing good can come out of revisiting the Chung Hsing Bills scandal.
Wu Po-hsiung and James Soong appear interested in bringing closure to this affair. But if the 240 million NT is treated as a reward for making peace with Lee Teng-hui, this could make matters even worse. After so much storm and strife, the air surrounding the Chung Hsing Bills Case may never clear. All we can do is allow bygones be bygones, then donate that dirty money to charity. Only this can result in a win/win/win scenario.
Each of the parties should deal with the personal and financial issues separately. Personal issues must not be linked with financial issues. Money must not be the price of reconciliation. Only then can the Chung Hsing Bills scandal finally be resolved.
The concerned parties include Lee Teng-hui, Lien Chan, and James Soong. Much has changed since then. Lee and Lien once stood on the same side with regards the Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal. Following the debacle however, Lien and Soong ended up as running mates. Now that the political winds are blowing from Ma Ying-jeou's direction, Lee Teng-hui has once again changed course. Obviously changes in the strategic scenario influence personal attitudes. Over the past eight years, the concerned parties have formed and broken alliance after alliance. Witness the ruling Democratic Progressive Party drunk with power. Witness Taiwan's regression and the people's suffering. How can one not be chagrined?
The public on Taiwan is fed up. It has endured eight years of pain. The public on Taiwan has handed the incoming administration a new mandate for Taiwan's future. Lee Teng-hui and James Soong have receded into the shadows. That they might wish to resolve old grievances is understandable. Besides, the pain of the Chung Hsing Bills Finance case is something Lee, Lien, and Soong inflicted upon Taiwan. If those responsible for the scandal can reconcile, then they can apologize to the people. The disposal of the money however allows no room for ambiguity. According to James Soong and Wu Po-hsiung, the 240 million NT slush fund came from various secret channels. Lee Teng-hui ordered James Soong to establish the fund. The fund definitely belongs to the KMT. According to Lee Teng-hui, this is untrue. But Lee has flip-flopped on this allegation repeatedly. The two sides differ on what happened, primarily on the main reason why this fund couldn't be withdrawn. Besides caring for the Chiang family, this "Party/Government Operation Fund" includes private campaign contributions, grants, and other sources of income. funneled through private channels. Under such circumstances, can one really regard them as KMT funds, to be reclaimed by the KMT and used for other purposes?
Controversy over KMT party assets has never subsided. If the KMT attempts to reclaim these funds, whose origins remain unclear, and brings back bad memories of improper party assets, is it really worth it? Besides, 240 million NT may be tempting, but attempting to reclaim will summon the ghosts of a bygone era -- an era of palace intrigues and political infighting. The KMT barely has time to look to the future. Why let this dirty money destroy its image?
If these political elders are willing to set aside old scores, they may as well donate the money to charity. Or else simply allow the time limit to expire. The funds will automatically forfeited. They will then be returned to the state treasury, to the people. Consider the funds a contribution these political elders owe the people of Taiwan.
2008.05.28 03:06 am