recent KMT Party Congress (from left) Vincent Siew, VP candidate,
Lien Chan, presidential candidate, and John Chang, Party Secretary
share this photo op.
who has ever been "arrested" and handcuffed at a surprise
birthday party by a stripper masquerading as a uniformed cop knows
exactly how Lien felt.
Lee's extravagantly funded but ultimately shabby little burlesque
impressed the voting public, only not the way Mr. Democracy had
in mind. Lee shot his heir apparent in the metaphorical foot. Like
Marie Antoinette's ingenuous suggestion "Let them eat cake,"
Lee's amateurish high school skit betrayed just how clueless Mr.
Democracy was about anything resembling genuine democracy.
AND DPP NATIONAL ASSEMBLYMEN CROWN THEMSELVES LITTLE EMPERORS
Mr. Democracy Lee Teng-hui is a real
piece of work. But Kuomintang (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party
(DPP) members of the ROC National Assembly one-upped even him. Too
impatient to wait around for someone else to crown them Little Emperors,
these highly-motivated public servants donned imperial yellow robes
on their own. They "voted democratically" to increase
their own elective four year terms of office by an additional two
Under what system of genuine representative government can elected
officials, without consulting the voters, simply go ahead and lengthen
their own terms? Not for future officeholders mind you, but their
own, current terms ?
How, but more importantly, why the KMT and DPP delivered
this slap to the face of Government of the People, by the People,
and for the People, is one for the books.
Make no mistake. KMT and DPP Assemblymen knew what they were doing
was unconstitutional. KMT and DPP Assemblymen knew what they were
doing was undemocratic. KMT and DPP Assemblymen knew what they were
doing would not go over well with the public.
That's why they hid their faces from reformist New Party (NP) protesters
holding an all-night vigil outside the National Assembly main gate.
That's why they tried to slink into the Assembly Hall unnoticed
through the side entrance. That's why when caught in the act they
covered their nametags with the palms of their hands and refused
to identify themselves.
THE LOYAL OPPOSITION
Inside the National Assembly, New Party
Assemblymen reminded their honorable KMT and DPP colleagues of something
which apparently slipped their minds: National Assemblymen had no
legal authority to vote on such a matter in the first place. Their
authority was delegated, by the people. Their terms of office were
defined, by the people. The people decide how long they serve. Assemblymen
don't get to make that call. If the people authorized them to serve
four years, then they serve four years. Not six years. Not four
years and one day, but four years.
New Party Assemblymen, all 39 of them, unable to disabuse themselves
of the notion that the Constitution of a constitutional republic
is sacrosanct, resorted to various tactics to prevent the "term
extension" from being brought to a vote. They repeatedly exited
the proceedings en masse just prior to key votes in order to leave
the Assembly without a quorum.
But National Assembly Speaker Su Nan-cheng (KMT) was under secret,
"plausibly deniable" orders from KMT Party Chairman Lee
Teng-hui to ram this unconstitutional measure through the National
Assembly or else commit seppuku. DPP Assemblymen were under
similar orders from DDP National Assemblyman and Party Whip Law
Not that most KMT and DPP Assemblymen needed much arm-twisting.
Their greed , ambition and pragmatism meshed perfectly with the
greed, ambition and separatist zealotry of Lee and Law, the string-pullers
behind this anti- democratic puppet show.
What was so important to Mr. Democracy
that such heavy-handed authoritarian tactics had to be brought to
bear on the National Assembly?
The real reason was not perks and pork for the Assemblymen. The
real reason was to ensure that the composition of the National Assembly
would not be reconfigured by anything so pesky as a regularly scheduled
election during Lee's remaining eight months as president and remaining
two years as KMT Party Chairman. Lee was desperate to ensure that
the current KMT and DPP Assemblymen were not voted out of office
before they voted "democratically" to enshrine Lee's "two
states" theory into law.
Lee Teng-hui and Law I-tieg plan to declare Taiwan independence,
by stealth. They would morph the Constitution of the Republic of
China into a "Taiwan Basic Law." Neither loyal citizens
of the Republic of China, nor clueless western China critics would
realize what was happening right under their noses.
When mainland China figured out this legalistic sleight of hand
amounted to defacto secession and moved to prevent it, Lee would
paint the anti- secessionist mainland as an "antidemocratic
bully intent on imposing a communist dictatorship on a democratic
Taiwan," and smear anti-secessionists on Taiwan as "Tai-jian"
("traitors to Taiwan") or "Communist agents."
New Party Assemblymen were not fooled for one minute. They knew
perfectly well what was going on. They pointed out if the KMT and
DPP insisted on going through with this unconstitutional charade
masquerading as parliamentary procedure, their "term extension"
would have no legal validity . They would not be real National Assemblymen,
but former National Assemblymen pretending to be National
Assemblymen. Any "constitutional reforms" they subsequently
went through the motions of passing would be legally null and void.
New Party Assemblymen also knew, unfortunately, they simply didn't
have enough seats by themselves to stop this infernal machinery
in its tracks. Confronted with the grim prospect that KMT and DPP
Assemblymen would get away with this pretense, the New Party decided
they had no choice but to participate in the voting. All 39 voted
When the ballots were counted, the measure was defeated! By six
votes. DPP Whip Law I-tieg mounted the podium and expressed regret
that such a "worthy" measure had been defeated.
Two hundred New Party protesters monitoring the proceedings on television
monitors in the Assembly antechamber cheered in one voice. Their
sleepless two day vigil had paid off. They had shamed just enough
non-New Party Assemblymen into honoring the Constitution they had
sworn to uphold.
The measure had been defeated, fair and square. That, under any
bona fide parliamentary democracy, should have been the end of it,
MAD TEA PARTY
Wrong. Remember, this is not "Democracy."
This is "Taiwan Democracy."
The first ballot had been open, forcing those who voted yes to identify
themselves as answerable to the voters.
KMT and DPP Assemblymen demanded a second ballot. This time, in
secret. The rationale offered was that with such a close vote, another
ballot was "reasonable." Assembly Speaker Su, after a
brief show of coy resistance, caved in and decreed that everyone
had to vote again.
and DPP party enforcers turned the screws on the handful of their
own party members who had retained a shred of conscience. Meanwhile
secret balloting would give anyone who voted no the first time around
the option of changing their vote but lying with a straight face
they were among the handful of non-New Party Assemblymen who stood
firm and voted no.
the second ballot was taken, the measure passed. By one vote. All
39 New Party Assemblymen had again voted no. To prove it, every
one of them defiantly exposed their own "secret" ballots
to public view, prompting KMT and DPP thugs to threaten them with
Did Assembly Speaker Su demand a third ballot, seeing how the vote
was now even closer? Wouldn't yet another ballot be even more "reasonable?"
Are you kidding? Now that Su had gotten Mr. Democracy Lee Teng-hui
and DPP Party Whip Law I-tieg the result they ordered, end of story.
New Party Assemblymen, seeing their heroic efforts to expose this
pseudo- democratic con job staged for the benefit of the politically
unsophisticated "silent majority" come to naught, and
confronted with ugly threats of physical assault, protested the
only way they had left, by walking out and boycotting the remainder
of the proceedings.
KMT and DPP party hacks are accustomed to getting away with murder.
Occasionally some victimized constituency will raise a ruckus, but
absent sufficient outrage in a critical mass of an ROC public too
numb to believe their wishes make the slightest difference, KMT
and DPP party hacks simply lay low until the storm blows over.
YA GONNA BELIEVE?
ME, OR YOUR LYING EYES?
This time however things looked different.
The KMT and DPP had correctly anticipated public indignation, but
they underestimated the intensity. To their consternation what they
forecast as a tropical storm shaped up as a full-fledged hurricane.
Taiwan's electorate was "mad as hell and not going to take
it any more."
Caught off balance, KMT Party Chairman Lee Teng-hui and KMT Party
Secretary John Chang scuttled for cover, like cockroaches surprised
when the kitchen light is turned on. Both flatly denied all responsibility
for the measure's passage, turned on hapless KMT Assembly Speaker
Su Nan-cheng, lambasting him for "defying the will of the Party
for purely selfish motives." Poor Su. Yesterday the Good Soldier,
today the Designated Fall Guy. In a show trial worthy of Joe Stalin
or Chairman Mao, Su was stripped of his National Assembly Speakership,
his National Assemblyman seat, even his KMT Party membership. All
for carrying out Chairman Lee Teng-hui's orders to the letter. I
almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
DPP Party Whip Law I-tieg scuttled too, only in the opposite direction.
Rather than deny complicity, he admitted orchestrating the entire
charade with Mr. Democracy from behind the scenes. Instead Law spun
the DPP's power -grab as high-minded "reform." Taiwan
was holding too many elections, he averred. The Election Commission
was spending too much money holding elections. Candidates were spending
too much money running for elective offices. Term extensions were
passed "merely to synchronize Assembly elections with quadrennial
Legislative Yuan elections." Lengthened terms were evidence
of "DPP fiscal responsibility." As evidence of their "good
faith," DPP Assemblymen hastily called press conferences in
which they offered to "donate their salaries to charity."
IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.
Now here's an idea whose time has come.
Fewer elections to save taxpayers money! The separatist Democratic
Progressive Party is certainly nothing if not "democratic"
and "progressive." Now why didn't our own congressional
budget-cutters think it? Forget about term limits. GOP congressmen
who got all worked up about term limits while out of power certainly
have, now that they control congress. Why not let House members
save on biennial campaigns by voting themselves a "Taiwan term
extension" and simply serve six years like our Senators?
Hell, why stop there? Why not let Bill Clinton extend his current
four year term by two years while we're at it? In fact, why not
institute a monarchy? Bill Clinton could emulate Mr. Democracy Lee
Teng-hui by arranging to drape a yellow emperor's robe over Prince
Albert at the Democratic convention. I see a budget surplus accumulating
OF TRUTH, OR "MINITRUE"
How did newspapers and television stations
owned and operated by the KMT and DPP party machines report this
sordid affair? Realizing they couldn't get their own National Assemblymen
off scot-free by whitewashing them, they ran headlines such as "Three
Parties Share in the Spoils," smearing the idealistic, reformist
New Party, which had done everything humanly possible to prevent
this outrage from materializing, lumping them together with the
actual culprits from their own parties.
Hapless citizens of the Republic of
China, whom China Threat theorists helpfully inform us "live
in a thriving democracy, unlike Chinese on the mainland," have
watched in impotent rage as sleazy Taiwan separatist demagogues
twice trampled over their rights by "donning the Yellow Robes"
The cruel hoax they have perpetrated on the trusting citizens they
were elected to serve means nothing to Taiwan's separatist elite.
The rule of law means nothing to Taiwan's separatist elite. The
ROC Constitution they swore to uphold when they assumed the offices
they currently occupy means less than nothing to Taiwan's separatist
elite. But above all, ordinary ROC citizens' humble aspirations
for a life of peace and prosperity mean nothing to Taiwan's separatist
The Taiwan separatist elite's American passports and green cards
are all in order. They're not sweating it. They'll be lined up at
TPE boarding gates bound for LA or Tokyo faster than you can say
"Incoming!" If ordinary Chinese citizens stuck on Taiwan
die, that's too bad. What are the lives of faceless proles and plebes
compared to the Taiwan separatist elites' dream of a "Republic
of Taiwan?" Or rather, if truth in labeling applied to politics,
a "Kingdom of Taiwan?" an intolerant, petty, insular little
kingdom, with Taiwan's Little Emperors installed on the throne?
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