Martial Law: Victim Mentality and Original Sin
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
October 25, 2013
Summary: Martial law was lifted on Taiwan 25 years ago. Nevertheless the DPP clings to its "martial law victim mentality." Meanwhile, the KMT continues agonizing over its "martial law original sin." To a considerable extent, the current political chaos reflects these two mindsets. It reflects the failure to establish a post-martial law understanding of right and wrong
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Martial law was lifted on Taiwan 25 years ago. Nevertheless the DPP clings to its "martial law victim mentality." Meanwhile, the KMT continues agonizing over its "martial law original sin." To a considerable extent, the current political chaos reflects these two mindsets. It reflects the failure to establish a post-martial law understanding of right and wrong
Martial law lasted 38 years. Many injustices occurred. They include one-party dictatorship, the "10,000 Year Legislature," bans on the formation of new political parties and press freedom, a non-independent criminal justice system, and the White Terror. The DPP has long trumpeted itself as a martial law victim dedicated to the righetous overthrow of martial law, beginning with the "dang wai (outside the KMT) era"). By assuming these roles, it won considerable public sympathy and support. The DPP did contribute to Taiwan's democratization. But once martial law was lifted, the DPP adopted its 1991 "Taiwan Independence Party Platform." It combined "support for democracy" with " Taiwan independence" in a package deal. It established a Conventional Wisdom according to which "Democracy is Taiwan independence and Taiwan independence is democracy," and to which "Taiwan independence equals justice and opposition to Taiwan independence equals injustice." The DPP appointed itself the "official spokesperson for the love of Taiwan." It turned the KMT and the Republic of China into a "foreign regime that is selling out Taiwan." From start to finish, the DPP has cast itself as martial law victims and Taiwan independence leaders. It has used this to rationalize and justify its political subversion.
Conversely, the KMT has never rid itself of martial law original sin. Toward the end of the Lee Teng-hui era, the KMT was afraid even to display the red, white, and blue ROC flag at campaign rallies. One reason was the deterrent effect of ubiquitous green and white DPP flags, and "Naiton of Taiwan " banners. In 1999, in order to enter the following year's presidential election. Chen Shui-bian recognize the Republic of China. The DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" shifted towards the political center. That same year, Lee Teng-hui proposed his "two states theory" to gain Taiwan independence votes from Chen Shui-bian. Lee waxed poetic about "the sorrow of the Taiwanese." He declared that "The Republic of China no longer exists." This reflected his ethnic Japanese nostalgia for Japanese colonial rule, coupled with feelings of guilt over martial law original sin. ROC President Lee Teng-hui demagoguing "ROC original sin" merely made Taiwan independence zealots even more arrogant.
The whole "martial law consciousness" phenomenon eventually led to a Republic of China vs. "Nation of Taiwan" struggle. The ROC was cast as the unrighteous victimizer. Taiwan independence was cast as the righteouis victims. The object was to totally discredit the Republic of China. The DPP opposes everything about the ROC, Including the ROC Constitution, Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Yat-sen, and the use of Mandarin Chinese. As a result, any struggle against the Republic of China is rationalized and justified. After all, as long as one is attempting to overthrow the Republic of China, how could anything one does be unjust?
By contrast, the political debt owned by Republic of China and the Kuomintang to the DPP dated back to the martial law era, can apparently never be paid. For example, every year on February 28, Ma Ying-jeou apologizes for the 2-28 Incident. The DPP and Taiwan independence zealots do not limit themselves to demanding reparations from the KMT. The entire society must repay this "perpetual debt." But martial law was lifted 25 years ago. During that time the DPP ruled the Republic of China for eight years. Can the DPP's martial law victimization and the KMT's martial law original sin really go on forever?
The world is changing. Cross-Strait relations are changing. Taiwan is changing. The Republic of China is changing. The DPP vs KMT struggle was a struggle between the Republic of China and Taiwan Independence. But according to the DPP's own criteria, the Republic of China has changed from Taiwan's victimizer to Taiwan's protector. Taiwan independence has changed from Taiwan's savior to Taiwan's increasingly marginalized trouble-maker. This underlying change is our cue to establish a post-martial law understanding of right and wrong. The DPP can no longer do whatever it wishes. It must base its actions on justice. The KMT must strive to rehabilitate its demonized public image. .
A post-martial law understanding of right and wrong means the DPP can no longer invoke martial law era Taiwan independence thinking to justify its political policy. It cannot argue that "Since we advocate Taiwan independence, we must destroy the Republic of China." Instead, it must avoid any irreversible actions that would harm Taiwan and subvert the ROC. The KMT should gradually let go of its guilt over martial law original sin. It must cease shrinking in stature whenever the issue of right and wrong arise. The key is the rehabilitation of the ROC's reputation for credibility. honor, and justice. The debate must no longer be about "How to subvert the Republic of China." It must be about "How to support and improve the Republic of China."
Taiwan no longer needs to subvert the Republic of China to achieve justice. Perhaps a post- martial law understanding of right and wrong can establish this principle. All that is required is a change in our thinking. Partisan struggles must not cross the red line. They must not harm Taiwan and subvert the ROC. Otherwise, the DPP and KMT will not be the only ones that suffer. Taiwan will be harmed and the ROC will be destroyed.
2013.10.25 02:44 am