DPP: Beware the Specter of Corruption
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
January 19, 2014
Summary: One need not talk about fairness and justice. Democratic Progressive Party comrades must first learn to confront their comrades' scandals. They must accept the same standards for criminal justice as ordinary people. Only then will they be eligible to return to power.
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Transportation Minister Kuo Yao-chi has been sentenced to eight years for corruption. Nevertheless DPP leaders spin his conviction as "political persecution." Apologists for Kuo include the "two suns" Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen, Taipei mayoral candidate Wen-Je Ko, and most members of the DPP legislative caucus. All have stood behind Kuo Yao-chi from the outset. Kuo Yao-chi may be locked up. But controversy rages on.
This scenario is nothing new. In recent years, every time a prominent DPP politician becomes mired in scandal, the DPP enacts the same charade. Yunlin County Chief Su Chih-fen and Chiayi County Chief Chang Hua-kuan are under indictment for corruption. Former TSC chairman Wu Nai-jen and former legislator Hong Chi-chang have been convicted of corruption in the TSC land purchase scandal. DPP legislative caucus leader Ker Chien-ming has been charged with influence peddling within the criminal justice system. Every time an investigation goes forward, or the court announces a verdict, the DPP dismisses the case as political persecution, and condemns it as a miscarriages of justice.
In all fairness, not all the scandals that the DPP repudiate are the same, in nature or content. Some warrant different conclusions. Others are clear cases of lawlessness. Take the TSC land purchase scandal. Legislators used "serving constituents" as a pretext to open the doors of state owned enterprises to political "sugar daddies." Take the Kuo Yao-chi bribery scandal. Read the wiretap transcripts, the perpetrators' testimony, and the minutes of internal meetings. They clearly point to government-business collusion. Take the Ker Chien-ming and Wang Jin-pyng's influence peddling within the criminal justice system. Both the Special Investigation Unit and the Prosecutorial Evaluation Committee uncovered influence peddling. Yet the DPP obdurately ignores right and wrong and backs Wang and Ker unconditionally. The Legislative Yuan Disciplinary Committee whitewashes Ker Chien-ming's crimes. It even amended the law to protect him, in flagrant disregard of public perception.
The DPP's "solidarity" in the face of such scandals is reminiscent of its attitude during the former first family scandal. Evidence of Chen family corruption was overwhelming. The DPP realized the scandal could not be covered up. Nevertheless the entire party supported Chen to the bitter end. Worst of all, idealistic party members who raised even mild objections to what the party was doing, had their loyalty questioned and were subjected to harsh discipline. This resulted in the "Eleven Brigands" incident. Until today "Save Ah-Bian!" remains one of the DPP's main themes.
The DPP's methods have led to three outcomes. One. They have confused the public. The DPP has deliberately created the impression that criminal justice discriminates on the basis of Blue or Green. This misleads the public into thinking that the KMT is still manipulating the criminal justice system. It incites hatred against the ruling KMT. Two. They have enabled the DPP to evade political responsibility. A comrade involved in corruption brings dishonor to the entire party. The DPP uses an old trick. A thief diverts attention from himself by being the first to shout "Catch the thief!" The DPP invokes a fictitious victim status to cover up its actual criminal status. Three. They have suppressed dissent within the party. They force those who know the truth, or who demand an internal review, to remain silent. They enable the party to maintain the illusion of unity.
Such practices underscore the contradiction between the DPP's words and deeds. Whenever the KMT is involved in a scandal, the DPP mounts its moral high horse. It convicts first, then asks questions later. But when one of their own is involved in corruption, they turn a blind eye to right and wrong. They rush to cover up his or her wrongdoing. Internally, this reveals the party's moral decline. Externally, this reveals the party's eagerness to subvert criminal justice and deceive the public. Such double standards are the main reason the DPP's moral image has crumbled.
Years ago the DPP collectively supported Chen Shui-bian's corruption. It paid a painfully high price. It lost a long string of local and central government level elections. Today, the DPP obstinately abets influence peddling and bribery. It thumbs its nose at voter perceptions of justice and morality. How much more moral credibility can the DPP afford to lose? Is the DPP really indifferent to renewed charges of "abetting corruption?"
The DPP repudiates the ROC Constitution. Its excuse is ideological differences. It disagrees with the political framework. But what about the rulings handed down by the criminal justice system, and ethical standards? Does the DPP imagine it can apply different standards to itself? Does it imagine it can use political ideology to render itself immune to the Republic of China's criminal justice system? If so, how many norms of the system is this arrogant political party willing to abide by?
Think about it. The Democratic Progressive Party today is merely an opposition party. When the party became involved in bribery and corruption, it rejected the rulings of the criminal justice system. It resorted to political means to whitewash its crimes. Suppose one day such a party regains political power? Suppose a variety of scandals erupt? How can the system constrain the DPP's deviant behavior?
One need not talk about fairness and justice. Democratic Progressive Party comrades must first learn to confront their comrades' scandals. They must accept the same standards for criminal justice as ordinary people. Only then will they be eligible to return to power.
2014.01.19 04:11 am