Lee Teng-hui Misruled the Nation, Shredded Its Constitution, Left Behind Chaos
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 31, 2013
Summary: Lee Teng-hui, who left office long ago, has authored yet another book.
He has followed up on his previous book, published a decade ago,
entitled, "Taiwan's National Goals for the 21st Century." His new book
is entitled "Whither 21st Century Taiwan?" It drew immediate media
attention as soon as its publication was announced. We beseech Lee Teng-hui. Cease inflicting any further pain upon the ROC.
Full Text below:
Lee Teng-hui, who left office long ago, has authored yet another book. He has followed up on his previous book, published a decade ago, entitled, "Taiwan's National Goals for the 21st Century." His new book is entitled "Whither 21st Century Taiwan?" It drew immediate media attention as soon as its publication was announced.
The book's starting point is a question posed by Lee Teng-hui: "Who am I?" Lee Teng-hui argues that this "identity crisis" is the "most difficult fundamental problem Taiwanese face in the 21st century." Needless to say, in Lee Teng-hui's heart of hearts, the answer to the question "Who am I?" is, "I am Taiwanese, not Chinese." This question obsessed Lee Teng-hui during his 12 years in power. It was his underlying motivation for splitting the KMT, dividing Taiwan society, and subverting the Constitution of the Republic of China.
Lee Teng-hui has longed to found a "Republic of Taiwan." But despite two decades of Pan Green ideological indoctrination, he has concluded that "although substantively [Taiwan] has long been an independent and sovereign state, legally it still faces problems." In other words, "Taiwan's de facto status situation cannot be manifested in de jure terms." What is the solution to this "(Taiwan) nation which cannot become a nation" problem? Why it is what he proposed a decade ago: "Author a new constitution, and found a nation that Taiwanese can identify with." In other words, Lee Teng-hui personally undermined the constitutional framework of the Republic of China. He created a situation in which the "(Republic of China) nation was no longer a nation." He now advocates yet another step: Nullify the Republic of China Constitution, and begin anew by authoring a "Nation of Taiwan" constitution.
When Lee Teng-hui came to power, he and the DPP conspired to push for "constitutional reform." The means he adopted violated every principle of constitutional rule. Lee Teng-hui is the culprit responsible for the current constitutional chaos in the Republic of China. He and the DPP conspired to throttle the Republic of China, until it was on the brink of death. Now he hopes to deliver the coup de gras, and totally nullify the ROC as a legal entity.
Lee pushed for what he called, "constitutional reform." His goal was to transform a figurehead president into the actual wielder of political power. This would enable him to abuse the power to promote Taiwan independence. Toward this end, he usurped powers related to national defense, foreign diplomacy, and Mainland policy. He left only those domestic powers with no direct relationship to the promotion of Taiwan independence in the handss of the Premier. This reduced the Premier's powers to almost nothing. It infringed upon the oversight powers of the Legislative Yuan. It fundamentally perverted the cabinet system specified in the ROC Constitution. Lee's "constitutional reform" did not explicitly confer powers related to national defense, foreign diplomacy, and Mainland policy upon the President. It did not even touch upon Article 53, the key, which stipulates that "the Executive Yuan is the nation's highest administrative body," or Article 57, which stipulates that "the Executive Yuan must answer to the Legislative Yuan." Instead, it simply stipuated a directly-elected president and abolished the Legislative Yuan's right of approval for Presidential appointments of the Premier. It conferred the right to hold a no-confidence vote upon the Legislative Yuan. The result was a giant constitutional loophole. Lee then abused his "popular mandate" to incite hatred, to exploit loopholes in the Constitution, and undermine the workings of the Constitution. He reduced the Executive Yuan, "the nation's highest administrative body," into a body answerable to him and him alone. He not only usurped powers that did not belong to the president, he seized all real executive powers. He no longer needed to answer to the Legislative Yuan, in total violation of the constitutional principle that powers must match responsibilities. Now the only remaining legal constraint on the president was his periodic need for re-election. The "vestigial" Premier was reduced to the status of the president's "chief of staff." He was reduced to being the whipping boy for the President in the Legislative Yuan. The Legislative Yuan was deprived of the authority to challenge the President's unconstitutional usurpation of power. It was reduced to quarreling with the Executive Yuan. The constitutional chaos we see today is played out mostly in the Legislative Yuan. But behind the constitutional chaos, is a president with an unconstitutional monopoly on power, answerable to no one.
Lee Teng-hui rationalized away the political sleight of hand by which he violated the Constitution and the principle of constitutional rule. He openly incited "ethnic" (communal group) antagonism, euphemistically spinning it as "democratic civil war." On October 22 of last year, this newspaper published an essay entitled, "Taiwanese Style Democracy?" We pointed out how Lee Teng-hui characterized the political conflict on Taiwan as a "civil war" with "clashes between us and the enemy." Since it was a war, then one must battle to the death. Since it was a war, then "all is fair" in love and war. This is the source of the Taiwan independence-oriented political parties' election fraud, unconstitutional conduct, illegal conduct, double standards, shameless hypocrisy, coarse braggadocio, and rhetoric of violence. In his new book, Lee reaffirms his views on "democratic civil war." He clearly believes that "Until the Republic of China is dead, civil war on Taiwan cannot end." Lee Teng-hui sees the very nation he inhabits and the people who inhabit it as his enemy. On three occasions he flagrantly violated Article 48 of the Constitution of the Republic of China, namely, the presidential inauguration oath. Even more than Chen Shui-bian, he ought to face "severe legal sanctions."
In his new book Lee says, "Taiwan's past national leadership style emphasized Asian values. In other words, it implemented an imperial style of leadership." Lee concluded that this approach was not suitable as a model for Taiwan. But looking back at the "constitutional reform achievements" of Lee Teng-hui, at his abuses and usurpations of power during his terms as President, what difference was there between it and absolute monarchy? Lee Teng-hui said he admired France's Fifth Republic Constitution. He said he admired the founder of the Fifth Republic, President Charles de Gaulle. But once Charles de Gaulle left office, he desisted from meddling in the affairs of state. Lee Teng-hui, by contrast, seems determined to direct the affairs of the Republic of China from behind the scenes. He shows no signs of withdrawing from the political stage. Is this part of his "imperial overlord style of leadership"?
We beseech Lee Teng-hui. Cease inflicting any further pain upon the ROC.