History Will Remember How the DPP Dealt with the Chen Scandal
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 16, 2008
Even at this late date, the Democratic Progressive Party persists in defending Chen Shui-bian, by shifting attention from Chen Shui-bian's crimes to due process and civil rights. It has reaffirmed the importance of the party's commitment to "clean government." But otherwise it has remained utterly silent on the issue of Ah-Bian and Ah-Cheng's rampant corruption. It has openly declared that it is putting friendship before justice. In an even more classic equivocation, the DPP has declared that Chen Shui-bian is "part of the Democratic Progressive Party's history," therefore "there is simply no question of disowning him." With this declaration, the DPP has effectively linked its fate to Chen Shui-bian's. Every scandal the Chen family has ever been involved in, will from this moment forward, become an integral part of the Democratic Progressive Party's political legacy.
The term "party assets" has a familar ring to it. For the past decade, they have been the Kuomintang's cross to bear. The KMT has been excoriated by the Democratic Progressive Party over "party assets," to where it could no longer lift its head. For quite some time, scholars have castigated the KMT's "Ruling Party State Capitalism." The KMT is able to defend itself against many charges. But just mention party assets, and it immediately backs down. The only explanation it has been able to offer, is that they were a "vestige of history." The party has been unwilling to deal with them by making a clean break with its past. For years they have been a thorn in the KMT's side. They even became an ATM machine for the Democratic Progressive Party come election time. But now the Democratic Progressive Party has declared that Chen Shui-bian is an "integral part of the DPP's history." We regret to inform the DPP that for the forseeable future, this "integral part of the DPP's history" will be a thorn in the Democratic Progressive Party's side, and leave the DPP unable to lift its head.
The Democratic Progressive Party has put "friendship" ahead of right and wrong. It has effectively drawn a line between itself and mainstream society. Just look at the poll results. A 3000 NT consumer voucher has people salivating. How can they possibly be expected to tolerate the Chen family's embezzlement of hundreds of millions, then squirreling the sum away in overseas accounts? Over half of the public opposes Chen's release without bail. Yet the DPP's response was "We are pleased." The DPP has given the public the impression that the DPP has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to every bit of eyewitness testimony and every piece of material evidence the Special investigation Unit made available.
From beginning to end, the Democratic Progressive Party's sole concern has been Ah-Bian's civil rights. Ah-Bian's accomplices have had to post astronomical sums to obtain release pending trial. Ah-Bian was able to obtain release without posting one thin dime in bail. The Democratic Progressive Party's response was "We are pleased." We suggest they conduct their own poll, and determine for themselves what the public thinks.
The Democratic Progressive Party's declaration has a ring to it. It sounds as if the DPP is "refusing to shirk responsibility," and is "willing to take responsibility." But what precisely is "taking responsibility?" Is the DPP going to repay the State Affairs Funds Ah-Bian embezzled? Is the DPP going to repay the political contributions the Chen family embezzled? Let's not forget that the Chen family even used the DPP as the head of a Chen family dummy account. Ah-Bian has cavalierly trampled over the DPP. Yet the DPP persists in defending him. Is this what they mean by "taking responsibility?" The Chen family scandals have exacted immense social and legal costs upon Taiwan. The Chen family scandals have destroyed Taiwan's international image. Has the DPP offered a single apology? No it has not. That being the case, what exactly does the DPP mean by "taking responsibility?" Does Taiwan owe the DPP an apology? Or perhaps Taiwan owes the Chen family an apology?
Do not underestimate the damage inflicted upon Taiwan by the Chen family's corruption scandals. They have destroyed the alleged core values of Chen's own Democratic Progressive Party. They have destroyed a decades long democracy movement, nurtured by an entire generation. They have destroyed the political platform erected by the DPP over many long years. Why not examine the matter calmly. How many of the DPP's political planks has Ah-Bian reduced to jokes? For example, who will ever dare to claim he is raising money for a "Nation-Building Fund?" Who will ever dare compare himself to Mahatma Gandhi? Who will ever have the nerve to conduct a hunger strike? Who will ever dare to write poetry or letters while in detention? Every one of these gestures has been reduced to a joke. Every gesture capable of affecting peoples' hearts, has been exploited by Ah-Bian and left devalued and worthless.
Chairman Tsai Ing-wen needs to be clear on one thing. The responsibility the Democratic Progressive Party needs to take is not to provide solace for comrades within the party, or to salvage the party's rapidly deteriorating political image. The responsibility the DPP needs to take is to own up to the harm inflicted upon Taiwan by the Chen family scandals. This harm is already past remedy. Think back to the promises made to the public during the first change in ruling parties. Reflect upon the core values you trumpeted in the past, such as "clean government." Compare them to the prosecution's bill of indictment against Chen Shui-bian. Read the testimony of Chen Cheng-hui, Koo Chung-liang, and Ma Yung-cheng. Read Wu Ching-mao's confession. Are Chen Shui-bian's civil rights really the DPP's sole concern?
Perhaps the Democratic Progressive Party is right. Perhaps Chen Shui-bian is part and parcel of the DPP's history. Perhaps there is no possibility of disowning him. But history does not care about the Democratic Progressive Party's emotional problems. When the entire Democratic Progressive Party hierarchy is uniformly silent in the face of the Chen family's corruption scandals, history will record that fact for posterity.
即 便此刻為止，民進黨對陳水扁起訴的立場，都還鎖定在司法人權的焦點上，除了重申黨對「清廉」核心價值的重視，對扁珍涉及所有重大貪瀆指控完全不置一詞，而 且還明示將「情感」擺在「是非」的前面。更經典的論述是：宣稱陳水扁是民進黨「歷史的一部分」，所以「沒有切割的問題」；有了這句話，陳水扁等於永遠與民 進黨綁在一起了，陳水扁家族涉及的所有弊案，從此刻開始都永遠成為民進黨的黨產了。
黨產，多令人熟悉的字眼！過去十 數年，國民黨揹著這個包袱，被民進黨批的幾乎抬不起頭來；有一段不算短的時間，「黨國資本主義」一直都是學界口誅筆伐的負面概念。國民黨辯什麼都可以理直 氣壯，但一提到黨產，馬上就低頭退縮，唯一能吐出的見解，就是宣稱其是「歷史的產物」，再加上黨不願清楚切割處理，多少年來一直是國民黨揮之不去的痛，甚 至成為民進黨打選戰的提款機。如今，當民進黨宣稱陳水扁是民進黨「歷史的一部分」之後，很抱歉，在未來相當的時日裡，這也將會是民進黨揮之不去，也抬不起 頭的痛了。
換言之，當民進黨選擇將「感情」放在「是非」前頭，等於也就是選擇與主流民意切割了。看看民調的反應吧， 當人民對三千多元的消費券都那麼盼望在乎，怎麼會容忍扁家將幾億的新台幣偷運到海外洗錢？當有過半民意對扁「無條件開釋」都表達不滿之際，民進黨的反應竟 是「欣慰」；它提供給人民最直接的感覺是：特偵組所列舉的扁家種種不法之證言與事實，民進黨彷彿都視若未見，聽而未聞，從頭到尾民進黨關注的好像只有一樁 事：就是扁的司法人權。如今別人都是天價才得交保，扁一塊錢不花就開釋了，民進黨的「欣慰」表態，何妨也去做做民調，聽聽民間的觀感？
話 是說得挺動聽，民進黨必須「概括承受」所有的政治責任，問題是怎麼概括承受呢？難道說民進黨要替扁償還所有被Ａ走的國務機要費？還是要代墊扁家Ａ走的所有 政治獻金？別忘了，連民進黨自己都被扁家拿去當人頭了哪！當扁這般理所當然地糟蹋民進黨之際，民進黨卻繼續一往情深地替他背書，這就是所謂的「概括承受」 嗎？在這裡不妨問一句：迄今為止，台灣社會因為扁家弊案所耗費的社會與司法資源，台灣國際形象因為扁家弊案所蒙受的摧毀，民進黨有道過一聲歉嗎？沒有，統 統都沒有！既然如此，那麼請問到底要概括什麼？又要承受什麼呢？難道是台灣社會對不起民進黨？對不起扁家嗎？
千萬別 低估扁家弊案對台灣所烙下的傷痕，它所摧毀的不僅是民進黨自己所信守的核心價值，它其實是摧毀了十數年民主運動所孕育的一個世代，也摧毀了民進黨多年用心 打造的所有論述。何妨平心靜氣地檢視一下，如今有多少理念，被扁消費過後，已淪為笑話？譬如今後有誰還敢宣稱要募集什麼「建國基金」？有誰還敢自比甘地？ 有誰還好意思搞絕食？甚至在看守所寫詩、寫家書，都可能淪為笑料，所有曾經令人動容、令人感動的作為，被扁拿去消費過後，就全都貶值了。
蔡 英文主席必須要弄清楚的是：此刻民進黨所需要概括承受的是，並不是怎麼平復黨內同志的情緒，也不是怎麼挽救日漸滑落的政黨形象，而是怎麼坦然地面對扁家弊 案對台灣所造成的傷害，這種傷害已經是無從回復了。回顧一下當年政黨輪替之際對人民的許諾，反省一下昔日所標榜的「清廉」核心價值，再對照一下檢方起訴陳 水扁的所有內容，看看陳鎮慧、辜仲諒、馬永成等人的證詞，看看吳景茂的告白，到了這個時候，難道真的只有陳水扁的司法人權，是民進黨唯一值得關注的議題 嗎？