Taiwan Voters Peek Behind the KMT Curtain of Corruption in Taichung

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Monday July 12, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Jason Hu was born in Beijing and grew up in the hierarchical, one-party state culture of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). As a one-party state, it was a culture of privilege, power, and entitlement. Within that culture one could easily rise if one had reasonable talent, kept one eye closed under the party mask of hierarchical respectability, and was loyal to the party regardless of its actions. It was a culture fostered by Chiang Kai-shek (CKS), a warlord among warlords and one who manipulated events so that he seemed the logical choice to bear the mantle of Sun Yat-sen. If one followed the above precepts particularly that of loyalty, one could expect to be taken care of by the benevolence of the KMT. Jason Hu did that and was rewarded by being its representative for Mayor of Taichung.

Jason Hu has been Mayor of Taichung for eight years. Those eight years have been somewhat nondescript and resemble Carl Sandburg's perception of the "Sins of Kalamazoo" which were not scarlet or crimson but a dull gray. Nothing spectacular happened; there were also no great accomplishments but also no great scandals at least until recently.

Why do we speak of KMT culture of party members keeping one eye closed? One has only to remember how Kuo Kuan-ying recently let the cat out of the bag. Kuo revealed that even low level Government Information Officers (GIO) under James Soong in the not too distant 1980s knew that the murder of Henry Liu in the USA was a KMT sanctioned hit. The shady links of the KMT to organized crime date way back beyond Taiwan to the days of CKS and the Bamboo Union/Green Gang. That takes one as far back as the 1920s in Nanking and Shanghai. Those gangster links are still there and all party members are still asked to keep one eye closed.

How does this tie in with Jason Hu? Hu has been Mayor of Taichung for eight years and once again by accident the curtain of KMT respectability has been rent with the assassination of Weng Chi-nan. Gangland killings can take place at any time, regardless of who is mayor; but what makes this murder stand out is that four of Taichung's and Jason Hu's finest; four of his police officers were present in the offices of the gangster when the shooting took place. One of them was ready to celebrate his retirement. With whom the celebration of his retirement was to be is unclear.

It does not end there; in revealed tapes, it appears that at least another ten of Jason Hu's Taichung police officers had also visited the offices of the gangster within the five days prior to the shooting. It makes one wonder; were the gangster's offices a police station? Are these offices the normal place where Taichung police hang out when on or off duty? Who has been supporting Taichung's police retirement?

Eight years is a long time for Jason Hu as Mayor of Taichung to know nothing about what goes on in his city. He appears to be a nice guy, a devoted family man, affable etc. but he is also one who for eight years seems to have kept one eye closed to this corruption and who knows to what else. Hu's eight years of keeping one eye closed in KMT fashion have clearly ended with a bang and not a whimper.

Hu now wants four or even eight more years as Mayor of Taichung Municipal County. And these same voters have to ask themselves in the coming November elections, do they really want another four years of a seemingly nice guy? The more one looks at it, it appears that the voters themselves are the ones who have kept one eye closed. Has this been standard practice and the case across Taiwan under the KMT for some time? Some Taiwanese have certainly profited by it but is it what the Taiwanese really want for their country? Perhaps the elections in November will answer that question. The Taiwanese are the voters. Do they really want to perpetuate this facade and the KMT culture of one eye closed or is it time for a change?