NEW AUTHORITARIANISM: Former president Ma Ying-jeou said he could feel a new authoritarian regime forming and urged people to protect the constitutional system
By Sean Lin / Staff reporter
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih （吳敦義） yesterday vowed to restore the nation to its former glory under late president Chiang Ching-kuo （蔣經國） by leading the KMT to victory in the local elections in November and to win back executive power in 2020.
Wu made the remarks at an event held by the KMT at the Taipei Hero House to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Chiang’s death.
The event was attended by all KMT chairpersons after former president Lee Teng-hui （李登輝） — former president Ma Ying-jeou （馬英九）, former vice president Lien Chan （連戰）, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu （朱立倫）, Wu and Hung Hsiu-chu （洪秀柱）.
“Chiang was a man with eyes like torches, a heart as big as the ocean and shoulders stronger than iron,” Wu said during his speech about his experience working under Chiang.
Chiang’s four major contributions to the nation were pushing the 10 Reforms （十項革新）, the 10 Major Construction Projects, lifting martial law and allowing veterans who had retreated from China to Taiwan with the KMT in 1949 to visit their families in China.
While carrying out the 10 Reforms Chiang led by example, adopting a frugal lifestyle, while he also punished officials found to have been involved in graft, which greatly reduced corruption in the government, Wu said.
The 10 Major Construction Projects jump-started the nation’s industries and propelled the nation to the No. 1 spot among the four “Asian tigers” in terms of economic growth, he said.
The lifting of martial law enabled people to form political parties and laid the foundation for the nation’s transformation to a free and democratic nation built upon the rule of law, while allowing veterans to visit their families in China ushered in an era of peaceful exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, he said.
“As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of Sir Chiang’s passing, we feel that the responsibility on our shoulders is more important than ever, and the fire in our hearts is burning more fiercely than ever,” Wu said.
The KMT is more steadfast than ever in its resolve to regain political power — especially when it is faced with a ruling party that deviates from the ways of the past — so that it can bring back prosperity and wealth to all people; promote harmony in the legislature; build a society where young people’s talents can be seen and where elders are treated with respect; and resume steady and peaceful cross-strait developments through the bond between Zhonghua minzu （中華民族, “Chinese ethnic group”） on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Wu said.
The party will nominate whoever has the necessary capabilities, loyalty, experience, achievements and chance of winning in the lead-up to this year’s local elections, and the 2020 presidential and legislative elections, he said.
Ma reminisced about his 76 months working as Chiang’s aide, sharing anecdotes and doing impersonations of the former president, with which he drew laughter and applause from the audience.
“When he received then-Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, and told her that he was going to lift martial law and allow people to found political parties, I translated his every word into English, while telling myself that he was creating history,” Ma said.
He lauded Chiang for bringing about peaceful cross-strait developments and criticized the Democratic Progressive Party for allowing cross-strait exchanges to cease.
“When did cross-strait relations become as icy as they were before I took office?” Ma said.
While Chiang ended the nation’s authoritarian era and laid the groundwork for Taiwan’s democracy, a new authoritarian regime has formed, waiting for its moment, Ma said, without clarifying his remarks.
“We should all be alert and not allow the hard-fought democratic and constitutional system to be destroyed,” he said.
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih, fifth left, is flanked by former chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu, second left, and former chairmen Wu Po-hisung, third left, Lien Chan, fourth left, Ma Ying-jeou, sixth left, and Eric Chu, seventh left, at a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the passing of former president Ching Ching-kuo at the Taipei Hero House in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih, third left, is flanked by former KMT chairmen Eric Chu, Ma Ying-jeou, Lien Chan, Wu Po-hisung and Hung Hsiu-chu, left to right, at a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the passing of Ching Ching-kuo at the Taipei Hero House in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times