Looking for the real Fan Lan-chin

By Paul Lin 林保華 Sunday, Mar 22, 2009, Page 8

‘If Fan is a Chinese living in China or somewhere else overseas, that person should step forward and save Kuo, a “Chinese compatriot.” Would the Chinese government agree and identify with Fan’s articles that are so full of ethnic hatred? The answer is yes.’

Although many facts point to Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), the information division director of Taiwan’s representative office in Toronto, as the person who wrote several online articles insulting Taiwan and ethnic Taiwanese under the alias Fan Lan-chin (范蘭欽), Kuo has not owned up to the matter. This situation recalls questions about former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee’s (李慶安) US citizenship. President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and the KMT have handled the matter in the same way — handing out protection.

We can see that Kuo’s attempt at an apology was clearly fake, because he would have no reason to apologize if he wasn’t Fan and if he does not think he is a “high-class Mainlander,” as he has said. If Kuo is not Fan, then who is Fan, and why, with things having developed to this point, hasn’t this person come forward?

When Kuo was questioned about the matter in Canada, he said Fan was a pen name shared by “a group of people.” However, he later denied this. So, who exactly is this Fan character?

 If Fan is a Chinese living in China or somewhere else overseas, that person should step forward and save Kuo, a “Chinese compatriot.” Would the Chinese government agree and identify with Fan’s articles that are so full of ethnic hatred? The answer is yes.

Chinese Internet sites are full of similar articles written by angry Chinese youth that have never been condemned or blocked by the Chinese government. As such, if Fan were to reveal himself, he would not face any danger and would even be viewed as a hero by the Chinese. In that case, why shouldn’t such a person come forward? We can therefore dismiss the possibility that Fan is a Chinese living in China or overseas.

If Fan is a Chinese living in Taiwan, he also does not need to be afraid of coming forward. Look at the members of the pro-unification Patriot Association who have said — just like Fan did in an article — that once Taiwan is annexed by China, Beijing should use the “Anti-Secession” Law to punish those who propose Taiwanese independence. It is fine for them to make such extreme comments because they are ordinary citizens and not civil servants and have the right to exercise freedom of speech. If Fan is the pen name of an ordinary citizen, the person or persons responsible should step forward to save this official.

Another possibility is that Fan is a pen name used by a group of Taiwanese civil servants who would be reprimanded if they owned up to what they have done. If this were true, it would be immoral and cowardly to hide and make Kuo the scapegoat. How could such a despicable individual or group of individuals feel they have the right to insult Taiwanese by calling them “Taiwanese rednecks” (taibazi, 台巴子)? Therefore, I do not believe that Fan is some ordinary citizen or a Taiwanese civil servant.

It would of course be a very different story if Fan or the person behind the pen name were Kuo or one of his superiors. Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) has said that Fan does have some link to Kuo. Su chose his words very carefully when he was speaking in front of this “high-class Mainlander.” What did Su mean by “link?” Did he mean that Kuo is in fact Fan or that Kuo has some other kind of connection with Fan?

It is hard to see how the term “high-class Mainlander” would be an expression of self-depreciation, as Kuo has said in his defense. Fan wrote: “My workplace was within walking distance of [Jiancheng] Circle, but I would never go there for lunch.” This shows how “high-class Mainlanders” look down on the Taiwanese food and culture that could be found at Jiancheng Circle, Taipei’s oldest food market. These racist opinions are more detrimental to Taiwan than the lack of national identity certain people show.

Simply put, “high-class Mainlanders” is just a synonym for “powerful and privileged Mainlanders.” Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), former secretary-general of the Presidential Office, said during a speech two years ago that senior leaders of the pan-blue camp can tell people who their fathers are and everyone would know them. These include the fathers of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Ma.

But who has ever heard of the fathers of pan-green leaders, whether they be the former president, vice president or premier?

“Powerful and privileged Mainlanders” are different from ordinary Mainlanders because they enjoy high positions and wealth here in Taiwan, whereas ordinary Mainlanders had to leave China for Taiwan because of their anti-communist views and fear of the Chinese Communist Party. Many were also forcefully conscripted to fight against the Communists. Their initial days in Taiwan were tough and this is a distinction that must be made.

Being a “high-class Mainlander” is not a sin, but it is unforgivable to use this “high-class” status to look down on ethnic Taiwanese and even join hands with China to suppress Taiwan. Chen’s grandfather was also a “powerful and privileged Mainlander,” but Chen has integrated well into Taiwanese society and set a good example for others to follow.

On Tuesday, Kuo suddenly left Taiwan after being referred to the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries of the Judicial Yuan for investigation. Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) was not even aware that Kuo had left Taiwan. Maybe Ma himself “took care” of the matter.

Paul Lin is a political commentator based in Taiwan.

TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON This story has been viewed 277 times.


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