Ma Ying-jeou shows true colors
Taipei Times 2023.11.1
    By Paul Lin 林保華

In a meeting with Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫?) on Oct. 16, Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen said that during a visit to Taiwan in 2010, he was warned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the administration of then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) “not to criticize the Chinese Communist Party [CCP]” ahead of the Venezuelan rights advocate’s speech at a conference in Taipei.

However, Halvorssen spoke at length about the CCP’s behavior, with Ma and other officials leaving five minutes after his speech started.

After the speech, Halvorssen was told that he would have to return to his hotel in a taxi because the driver who had been designated to him had been assigned another task.

Ma Ying-jeou Foundation director Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑) said that he had not heard Ma say any such thing to any foreign guest, adding that it was obviously not the kind of thing the former president would say.

Halvorssen’s account is not the truth, Hsiao said.

How does Hsiao know the whole story when he only started as deputy secretary-general to Ma in 2013? Even if it was the ministry that made the request of Halvorssen, was it not Ma who set foreign policy?

Ma’s attitude was clear from his behavior during the speech.

Before the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997, Taiwanese officials would have notes attached to their visas in their passports instructing them not to make things difficult for Hong Kong’s government while visiting the territory, meaning they should not annoy the CCP. The Taiwanese officials of the time said that the practice was humiliating and demeaning.

The Ma government acted just as Hong Kong’s government had.

Moreover, when Ma visited China in March, he interacted with the media at a reception room of the former presidential office in Nanjing. He mentioned Sun Yat-sen’s (孫中山) induction as an interim president there and hesitantly said he began serving in “that position” in 2008.

What is “that position”? As a former president of the Republic of China (ROC), how could Ma stand in Nanjing — which according to the Constitution belongs to the ROC — but fear offending the CCP?

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Democratic Progressive Party have emphasized that “neither side of the Taiwan Strait is subordinate to the other,” but Ma has never agreed with this.

On Double Ten National Day on Oct. 10, Ma and other members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) boycotted the main celebration. Were they trying to say that the ROC belongs to the PRC?

Creating a new institution or event to replace a former one is a common tactic of the CCP. Mao Zedong (毛澤東) replaced the ROC with the PRC and also introduced the Central Cultural Revolution Group at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. The CCP arranged its own transition of political systems in Hong Kong even as Chris Patten, the territory’s final British governor, was promoting political reform at the end of 1992.

Ma attempted to fragment the ROC because the word “Taiwan” was on the invitations to the main national day event in Taipei. How much does he hate “Taiwan”?

The indigenous defense submarine program led by Admiral Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) has also been criticized. Since Ma’s time as KMT chairman, the party has repeatedly boycotted arms purchases in the legislature. Most recently, KMT Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) has been accused of divulging details of the submarine program to the South Korean Mission in Taipei.

Ma Ying-jeou, in a speech at New York University, criticized experts in the US, saying that their ideas would turn Taiwan into a battlefield. He did not blame the CCP for threatening to use force, but criticized the US and caused divisions in Taiwan-US ties.

Ma Ying-jeou at times shows how much he hates Taiwan, but at other times proclaims himself to be Taiwanese. His behavior benefits the CCP.

With a fight looming, he has shown his true colors. He is pro-China and against the US.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Chien Yan-ru


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