Ko Wen-je calls for balanced view of Chiang Ching-kuo

On Wednesday Ko Wen-je expounded on his Facebook comments of a few days ago that today’s government officials should look to their counterparts from the Chiang Ching–kuo era for models of how to serve the people. Ko noted that he was simply expressing what was running through his mind at the time. He said the merits and drawbacks of historical figures are pretty much established by now, and a lot of time has passed since Chiang Ching-kuo passed away. Looking back at what Chiang accomplished as a leader, said Ko, he sees that Chiang made many outstanding contributions to the nation, particularly in his later years.

Ko noted in his Facebook posting that "The conduct of government officials and strict adherence to proper relations between government and business during the Chiang Ching-kuo era of government should serve as a model for Taiwan's politics today. They are worth learning for those in power now."

DPP legislator Hsu Shu-hua, who accompanied Ko in a tour of the old Taipei Railroad Repair Depot Wednesday morning, disagreed with Ko, saying that it is not necessary for people to lavish praise on Chiang Ching-kuo.

Hsu said there is no need to look that far afield for examples of how to govern. He said today’s government officials should rather simply examine their own policies and procedures and come up with better ideas themselves for how to be a good public servant.

Ko pointed out that when Chiang Ching-kuo was the head of government there was nothing complicated about the relationship between government and business. There was no so-called hereditary elite, said Ko, noting that Chiang himself pledged that there would be no third generation of Chiangs in the Presidential Building.. Of course some people will talk about Chiang’s era as part of an authoritarian age, he said, but much of that is “superficial.”

Asked about the Henry Liu case, which involved the murder of a journalist who had written an unauthorized biography of Chiang, Ko admitted that of course it had quite a big impact on the course of politics in Taiwan. Ko said the murder of Liu, which was eventually found to have been ordered by officials in the Chiang administration, was wrong, but insisted that the accomplishments as well as the mistakes of that era all need to be examined.

Ko said that some see the Henry Liu case as an example of collusion between the government and the underworld, but it was actually an operation that was ordered by figures in the government's intelligence organization.

Asked whether he worries whether ‘dark Green’ voters will be turned off by comments such as those he made about Chiang Ching-kuo, Ko replied, "As I’m always saying, I follow my mind, what I say comes from the heart." He explained that he has his own way of thinking and he expresses his ideas honestly.

Ko stressed that this is one thing that sets him apart from the other candidate in the mayor’s race. "I am consistent in what I say from start to finish," he said. "At least I don’t go out of my way to put on airs. I have a lot of ideas, and what I say is what I believe."