The Great Silent Majority Finally Has a Voice
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
January 8, 2014
Summary: On the eve of the Control Yuan's second impeachment hearing, Academia Sinica member Hu Fo personally denounced the persecution campaign waged against Prosecutor General Huang Shi-ming. We want Hu Fo to know that he is not alone. His is not a voice in the wilderness. Taiwan society has not sunk to the level where right and wrong no longer matter. It is merely that those who spout absurdities have seized the bully pulpit. We would like to express our appreciation for Hu Fo's moral courage.
Full text below:
Yesterday the Control Yuan convened another impeachment hearing. After more than two hours of debate, the final vote was six against six. The move to impeach failed to pass. For the time being Huang Shim-ing will retain his post as Prosecutor General. Huang Shi-ming said that if the Control Yuan or a court of the first instance found him guilty, he would step down. Today, the Control Yuan failed to impeach him for the second time. According to Control Yuan provisions, the same person shall not be subject to impeachment proceedings for the same offense more than twice. This means that for the time being at least, Huang Shi-ming's job is secure.
On the eve of the Control Yuan's second impeachment hearing, Academia Sinica member Hu Fo submitted an article to the China Times. It was entitled, "In Broad daylight, Wallowing in Sin." He invoked the constitution and the rule of law. He personally denounced the persecution campaign waged against Prosecutor General Huang Shi-ming.
Hu Fo's article merits attention. He is among the few who have come forth in support of Huang Shi-ming. He has underscored the most troubling question that haunts our society. Why have the opposition party whip and the speaker of the legislature not been investigated for their crimes, while President Ma, who supported an investigation, been denounced seven ways from Sunday? Why have the two prosecutors who participated in influence peddling been repeatedly let off, scot free, while the Prosecutor General, who prosecuted influence peddling, been villified as Public Enemy Number One, as guilty of some heinous crime, and as someone who must be dismissed or even impeached to mollify public outrage?
In his article Hu Fo avoided political rhetoric. Instead he cited the constitution and the law. He offered legal interpretations of the charges against Prosecutor General Huang Shi-ming. For example, he cited the constitution's presidential powers provisions, and the Court Organization Law. He affirmed that the Prosecutor General does indeed have the duty to report to the President, especially when the case involves the Legislative Yuan, the Minister of Justice, the High Prosecutors Office, and prosecutors. The case had a bearing on the independence of the criminal justice system and on major criminal cases. The Prosecutor General reported to the President and accepted Presidential advice, entirely consistent with his duties. His conduct was fully responsible. How can anyone mischaracterize this as "leaking secrets" to the President?
Well said, indeed. Over the past several months a witch hunt against "leaking secrets" has eclipsed the prosecution of influence peddling. Many commentators have been either vague or evasive about influence peddling. But when dealing with "leaking secrets," they have held up a magnifying glass and gone over the issue with a fine tooth comb. To paraphrase President Ma's much derided remark: "If this is not a double standard, what is a double standard?"
If President Ma and Prosecutor General Huang did nothing illegal, why have they been treated like "Enemies of the People" over the past several months? Why, on the other hand, have the politicians and prosecutors who participated in influence peddling been treated as if they were egregiously wronged innocent victims? Taiwan has beein inculcating the rule of law and moral education for many years. The public ought to have a better understanding of due process and right and wrong than this. So why have right and wrong so outrageously inverted? How exactly did this come about?
Hu Fo concluded his article with the following lament. "The current political situation in Taiwan involves social polarization, plutarchy, factional struggle, and Blue vs. Green populist demagoguery. Society is indifferent to right and wrong. It substitutes falsehood for reality. It lacks values and direction. People have lost faith in democracy and the rule of law." Hu Fo sighed in frustration. He was in essence sighing for everyone on Taiwan.
Consider the current atmosphere on Taiwan. It is either Blue vs. Green opposition or factional interests uber alles. We can almost predict what the response will be to Hu Fo's article. His arguments about the rule of law may be irrefutable. But it will not matter. His arguments about right and wrong my be clear. But it will not matter. Many in the Green Camp and many who are unhappy with the Ma government, will insist that speaking on behalf of President Ma and Huang Shi-ming is wrong and must be denounced. Even if one is entirely right, to them it will make no difference.
One can predict that over the next few days, Hu Fo will be attacked, en masse, in a wide range of fora. All manner of ugly rhetoric will be emerge. A thousand fingers will be pointed at him. But on the other hand, Hu Fo's words will echo in our ears. Perhaps they will provoke a reaction from those concerned only about Blue or Green political coloration, and those who care nothing for right and wrong. They will make them show their hand. That might not be such a bad thing. At least it will validate Hu Fo's assessment of the current state of Taiwan .
We want Hu Fo to know that he is not alone. His is not a voice in the wilderness. Taiwan society has not sunk to the level where right and wrong no longer matter. It is merely that those who spout absurdities have seized the bully pulpit. Many members of the public have decided that they may as well remain silent. It does not mean everyone is blind to the facts. Hu Fo's article points to the many voices of the Great Silent Majority. Here we would like to express our appreciation for Hu Fo's moral courage.
中國時報 本報訊 2014年01月08日 04:09