Taiwan at the Crossroads – Postscript
Important Developments on Taiwan in 2004
written by Huang Chi-hsien
translated by Bevin Chu
April 15, 2005
Introduction: The following is the Postscript to a landmark book entitled “Taiwan at the Crossroads,” an eye-opening expose of the Taiwan independence movement. The author, Ms. Huang Chi-hsien, a reform-minded, anti-authoritarian scholar who did her post-graduate studies in England, rips the “democratic” and “progressive” mask from the face of Taiwan independence and reveals it for what it is, an authoritarian fascist political movement motivated by primitive ethnic hatred. Last year, at the behest of the author, “Taiwan at the Crossroads” was translated into English by Bevin Chu, author of the Strait Scoop and editor of The China Desk. I have posted it here for two reasons. One, it provides valuable insights into recent developments on Taiwan. Two, it provides an advance preview of what is contained in the English language version of Ms. Huang’s ground-breaking work.
After July 2004, following the Taiwan publication of “Taiwan at The Crossroads,” several important developments occured:
The Election Lawsuits
Two election lawsuits challenging the results of the 2004 presidential election filed by the opposition parties were successively rejected by the courts.
The reason the lawsuits were rejected was the courts never had the slightest intention of investigating the case according to the requirements of the law, and actually demanded that the opposition party attorneys provide all the evidence. And even though the administrative branch of the government was itself the object of the investigation, the courts treated every one of its declarations as the living gospel.
The courts were unwilling to carry out any one of the many investigative procedures proposed by the opposition parties.
Despite this, witnesses who were subpoenaed and who testified in court contradicted each other to a degree bordering on the absurd. Furthermore, the courts’ flagrant bias, in which it openly abetted Chen Shui-bian’s conduct, amounted in itself to another kind of damning evidence.
The court has never understood that the victim of the 319 Shooting Incident and subsequent election fraud, was not merely the Kuomintang’s presidential candidate Lien Chan, but also the foundation of Taiwan’s democracy, and that the law provided the courts the opportunity to participate in the investigation in order to engage in the pursuit of justice.
Instead, the judges insisted, from beginning to end, on defining these two election lawsuits as nothing more than simple civil actions, and demanded that attorneys working on behalf of the Kuomintang provide 100% of the evidence. The court was unwilling to accept even the most basic investigation methods the opposition party proposed.
For instance, the courts flatly refused to conduct a comprehensive examination of the polling station voter registries. The courts also flatly refused to accept motions for the discovery of material from the military in order to determine whether the government abused its power by forbidding hundreds of thousands of military and police personnel from going to the polls.
During the entire process, the judges applied unrelenting pressure on the opposition party’s attorneys, forbidding them to have any contact with the media. Furthermore, the judges continually hinted that the more low key the opposition party remained, the more it refrained from mass resistance, the greater chance it would obtain fair treatment from the courts.
If the media reported even the slightest detail about these two lawsuits, including evidence provided by opposition party attorneys, the judges would immediately humiliate the opposition party attorneys in the courtroom.
The purpose of doing this was of course to erode public concern and support for the election lawsuits, to make sure that the media could not see the damning evidence held by Lien/Soong’s attorneys, to make sure the media could not see how unfair the court was being in its procedures, to make society accept Chen Shui-bian’s media spin control: “Lien/Soong have no evidence, they are nothing more than sore losers.”
The Pan Blues Win a Majority in the Legislature
Nine months after the presidential election, Taiwan held a legislative election.
Chen Shui-bian exploited every last administrative resource at his disposal campaigning for the Democratic Progressive Party, appealing to the voters to give the Pan Greens a majority in the legislature. Instead, amidst dark clouds of despair, the Pan Blues successfully appealed to the people to use their ballots to return the Pan Blues some small measure of justice.
Most election observers thought that the Democratic Progressive Party monopolized all administrative and judicial resources, and Chen Shui-bian desperately needed a majority in the legislature to prove that his presidency did not depend upon the 319 “assassination attempt” and 320 election fraud. All objective factors were unfavorable to the Pan Blues, and for the Pan Greens to win a majority was not seen as a problem.
Prior to the election, the atmosphere in Taiwan society was extremely grim. The media and public resources were all in the iron grip of the Democratic Progressive Party, and were directly or indirectly helping to get the Democratic Progressive Party elected.
But when the December 11, 2004 election results came out, the Pan Blues had won 116 seats, the Pan Greens a mere 101 seats, and independents had won 10 seats (independents mostly side with the Pan Blues). The Pan Blues, to everyones’ surprise, had retained control of the legislature.
This legislative election had enormous significance. First, it clearly revealed that Taiwan’s majority public opinion opposed Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party’s Taiwan independence path. Second, because the legislative election was a multiple-seat election, election fraud was more difficult, demonstrating that under conditions in which election fraud was not a factor, Pan Blue votes far exceed Pan Green votes. The proportion of Pan Blue votes in the legislature unexpectedly tallied extremely well with opinion poll numbers just prior to the presidential election, and also with the proportion of voters who boycotted or voted “no” on the referendum. This proved that Chen Shui-bian’s second term was not achieved by legitimate means. Third, it demonstrated that the people did not trust the Chen Shui-bian government and wanted it subjected to close supervision.
This election result also motivated Chen Shui-bian to redouble his efforts to divide the Pan Blues, to control the media, and manipulate the judicial system.
The Truth Commission
On March 27, under public pressure from 500,000 demonstrators, Chen Shui-bian publicly indicated his willingness to establish a Truth Commission to investigate the facts behind the 319 Shooting Incident. But as soon as the crowd dispersed, his pledge turned hollow.
The Democratic Progressive Party resisted the passage of the 319 Truth Commission bill. The Pan Greens used procedural delays to stall passage of the bill for four months. Only then was the opposition party able to marshal all its strength, pass the law, force Chen Shui-bian to sign the bill into law, and announce its execution.
But an order come down from the presidential palace. The entire administrative branch of government would immediately respond by exercising illegal resistance to a government body legally established by the legislative branch. The administrative branch even invented a fictitious “administrative right of resistance,” something unheard of in human political history.
Legally, the Chen administration was obligated to provide funds, yet it refused to provide a single cent. All 319 Truth Commission operations met with resistance, even comparatively minor matters. When the 319 Truth Commission attempted to establish an official website, for example, it was denied its legal right to use the official government suffix, “.gov” and instead forced to use the suffix for non-governmental organizations, “.org.”
Confronted with this kind of comprehensive official resistance, the 319 Truth Commission valiantly struggled to deposition officials, obtain and examine documents, and carry out its investigation. But government officials and Democratic Progressive Party elected representatives at every level, either descended upon the Truth Commission to harass it, or resorted to populist fascist methods, leading mobs to surround, threaten, and humiliate the Truth Commission. The most unforgettable image is that of Truth Commission spokesperson Wang Ching-feng at the Tainan District Attorney’s office, surrounded by a mob led by Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Wang Hsing-nan, spitting at her and shouting obscenities.
The Truth Commission members each reached into their own pockets in order to continue pursuing the case. This was obviously unsustainable. Eventually they fell back on a charity book bazaar to raise funds. But the Truth Commission’s charity book bazaar was also something that almost none of the media dared to report on for fear of government retaliation.
Eventually, after two days of continuously broadcasting information about the Truth Commission’s charity book bazaar on Sisy Chen’s television program, “Sisy’s News,” the Truth Commission managed to raise five million Yuan in funds in two weeks.
Most significantly, the contributions received by the Truth Commission were overwhelmingly for sums ranging from 15 to 30 US dollars. These amounts let us know that the Truth Commission’s grass roots support was coming from the common people.
On January 30, 2005, the Truth Commission, in accordance with the law, ceased operations. Despite full-scale, all-out government stone-walling, it was nevertheless able to obtain considerable news and material. On January 17, after reviewing all the gathered material and face-to-face interviews with concerned parties, the document Chen Shui-bian was least willing to see, was the 150 page history-making “Truth Commission Report.”
Here is the conclusion of the Truth Commission Report:
1. The Criminal Investigation Bureau hand gauze sample and bloodstain was obtained from a garbage bag, not directly from Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu in person, therefore they did not constitute evidence.
2. The National Security Bureau violated common sense in every way it handled matters. It coordinated its performance with the government.
3. During his press conference on the day of the 319 Shooting Incident, Presidential Office Secretary General Chiu Yi-ren deliberately and maliciously misled the public.
4. Chen Shui-bian’s abdominal wound was not inflicted by the lead bullet. Because the temperature of the lead bullet, its velocity, and the length of time with which it came in contact with the skin, could not have caused Chen Shui-bian’s abdominal burns, and could not have been hot enough to melt Chen Shui-bian’s jacket.
5. Based on the way Chen Shui-bian normally wore his clothing, the complete lack of bloodstains on his underwear and trousers violate the basic laws of biology, and the lack of bullet holes violate the laws of physics.
6. The possibility that whoever perpetrated the shooting incident was motivated by a desire to commit suicide, to commit murder, or suffered from mental illness should be ruled out.
7. The 319 Shooting Incident was an election ploy.
Therefore the Truth Commission Report suggests:
1. Continue to uncover the complete truth.
2. Impeach the president.
3. Refer those officials who violated the law and neglected their duties to the Control Yuan for impeachment.
4. Establish an independent counsel.
This conclusion and report was what Chen Shui-bian feared the most, and the real reason the Democratic Progressive Party stubbornly resisted the formation and activation of the Truth Commission.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau
For a full year, police personnel investigating the 319 Shooting Incident convened one press conference after another at the strangest moments. These press conferences frequently gave the ruling administration a helping hand, deftly shifting the focus of media attention, keeping any news that might have embarrassed the ruling administration out of the headlines and off the front pages.
On March 7, 2005, just before the one year anniversary of the 319 Shooting Incident, just before the opposition party rallied the public to take to the streets and protest, the Criminal Investigation Bureau, by the sheerest coincidence convened a press conference, claiming that they were “on the verge of a breakthrough” and that “significant progress” had been made on the 319 Shooting Incident. During this major press conference they announced that one Chen Yi-hsiung, a resident of Ching-hua Street in Tainan who died in late March 2004 was the perpetrator of the 319 Shooting Incident.
On what basis did Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Hou Yu-yi make such a claim? He did so on the basis of several letters that had already been burned, that had allegedly been seen only by Chen Yi-hsiung’s family members, that may never have existed at all. All of which made people question the authenticity of the deceased person’s last will and testament. Without any evidence whatsoever, Hou concluded that Chen Yi-hsiung committed suicide for fear of punishment.
After the press conference, the Criminal Investigation Bureau showed a videotape of a woman sitting in the dark, with her back to the camera, allegedly the widow of Chen Yi-hsiung, apologizing to the public for her husband’s alleged crime. By this time the Taiwan public learned that Chen Yi-hsiung’s entire family had been placed under house arrest by the Public Security Bureau and their human rights had been violated.
On 21st Century Taiwan, evidence is unnecessary, a confession is unnecessary, and officials can indict a suspect who has been dead for a year. Officials can make the facts of a case go away or come back at will. They can psychoanalyze a dead man. They can arrange for someone who has been dead for a year and unable to argue his innocence take the fall for a crime he did not commit. The person is dead. His last will and testament is nowhere to be found. His surviving family members are under house arrest.
The New York Times pointed out that such a scenario was more absurd than those found in dime novels. According to most Taiwan media opinion polls over half the people refused to swallow this official explanation.
On March 19, approximately 50,000 people participated in a parade commemorating the anniversary of the 319 Shooting Incident, demanding the truth about the case.
The protesting crowd repeatedly called Lien Chan “Mr. President.” The populace believed that the truth of the shooting incident and the rigged election would one day come to light, and that Lien Chan was in fact the candidate whom citizens of the Republic of China elected president during the 2004 presidential election. The truth, they believed, would prevail.