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Ma not a rebel but a blackguard

Ma not a rebel but a blackguard

The claim by Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou that he was once "blacklisted" by the martial law regime of his own party ranks as one of the most outrageous attempts at deception of the current election campaign.
In an attempt to deflect renewed charges that Ma had engaged in spying on Taiwanese students when studying at Harvard University from 1976-1981, Ma claimed during a news conference for a campaign book released last Thursday that he was put on a KMT government blacklist in 1972 for participation in demonstrations against Japan with regard to the return of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islets (Tiaoyutai) to Tokyo in mid-1971 and over Tokyo's decision to break ties with the KMT regime in early 1972.
Besides relating that "many years later" the late Shen Chih-yueh, the chief of the feared Investigation Bureau in the 1970s, had told him that "we had had some misunderstandings about you," Ma stressed that, having suffered from "little reports," he would never inform on fellow students.
The KMT presidential candidate's recollection was met with incredulity and outrage from persons who had truly been on the KMT blacklist or who had been arrested, detained or imprisoned under KMT martial law.
Ma's claim to have been "blacklisted" for participating in anti-Japanese demonstrations in the early 1970s is open to question because after initial hesitation, the KMT regime permitted and even encouraged such "patriotic" student demonstrations while maintaining an iron-clad ban on rallies for democracy outside of the election campaigns, a ban that was only lifted in January 1979 by activists in the "Tangwai" grassroots movement.
Curiously, the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau, which was one of the key agencies involved in spying on dissidents during the martial law period, was unable to find any evidence that Ma had ever been blacklisted.
Last Friday, former Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan, who had to sneak back into Taiwan in late 1989 because of his long-time place on the KMT blacklist for "Taiwan independence activities," recounted that many overseas students had lost families and careers due to the ban on returning to Taiwan because of participation or alleged participation in movements to support Taiwan democracy abroad and angrily decried Ma's "lies" as "outrageous."
Ma's motivation for parading this "blue herring" is clearly to deflect, or at least discount, challenges to his character based on charges by fellow Harvard students, such as Vice President Annette Lu and Environmental Protection Administration Minister Winston Deng, that Ma had actually been a "professional student" and had informed on dissidents or democracy advocates during his five years at Harvard University from 1976-1981.
Besides claiming that Ma took photographs of Taiwanese students demonstrating for democracy in February 1978, Lu and many others maintain that Ma served as a prolific hatchetman for the authoritarian KMT regime when he edited and wrote for the Chinese language "Boston Express" (or "Free China Monthly") monthly student newsletter as well as being a well-known leader in the "Anti-Communist Patriotic Front," a KMT overseas student organization formed in late 1971 under the leadership of the KMT Cultural Work Commission to monitor dissident students and uphold the KMT dictatorship.
'Patriotic' Propagandist
Citing extensive evidence, including excerpts of articles from the "Boston Express," an article in the prestigious and far from pro-DPP "Biographical Monthly" June 2006 issue revealed that Ma received accolades from the KMT Cultural Work Commission for his efforts in "combating Taiwan independence" at Harvard, largely through using the "Boston Express" as a tool to attack the nascent "Tangwai" (non-KMT) democratic movement and defend the KMT dictatorship.
Indeed, the historical record shows that any "misunderstandings" were short-lived. Besides receiving a coveted "Sun Yat-sen Scholarship" from the KMT to pursue his doctorate, Ma was not blacklisted but rather "blue-listed" later in his career.
Immediately upon returning from Harvard to Taiwan in August 1981, Ma was given a position as deputy director in the First Directorate of the Office of the President and quickly advanced to act as the late President Chiang Ching-kuo's English-language secretary and interpreter and then received a promotion to KMT deputy secretary-general.
Such a personal trajectory was unthinkable for anyone truly "blacklisted." Most Taiwan students or citizens so honored suffered revocation of passports by KMT consulates, denial of re-entry and even arrest upon return to Taiwan as late as 1992.
For Carnegie Mellon Professor Chen Wen-cheng, a place on the KMT blacklist resulted in his murder, probably by agents of the Taiwan Garrison Command or the Investigation Bureau, when he returned to Taiwan in July 1981, only a month before Ma's return to Taiwan.
Previously, Ma adopted a stance of total denial and even replied to related questions by insulting reporters as "insane," but playing ostrich has clearly not been effective in dispelling the clouds of suspicion that the KMT presidential candidate was a "professional student" informer, a species not highly admired in Taiwanese society.
In our view, Ma's decision to shift tactics and portray himself as a "victim" is even more shameless and futile in combating voter worries that Ma may have a "weak" character unsuitable for national leadership. .
After all, if Ma genuinely possessed political courage and wisdom, he would long ago have publically explained his activity at Harvard, acknowledged that he had been wrong to defend the KMT dictatorship in its repression of the "Formosa" democratic movement in December 1979, and admitted error in his numerous stands against democratic reforms, including the institution of direct presidential elections.
In contrast to Ma, DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh was one of those who bravely stood up to the KMT dictatorship at the risk of his life and career to defend the leaders of the "Formosa" movement, who were put on trial for sedition in KMT military court in early 1980 and who played a prominent role as a DPP activist and capable administrator.
Unlike Ma, Hsieh has been scrutinized under the microscope of the news media, which has generally been antagonistic to the DPP.
As a result, citizens can be confident that, with regard to Hsieh, "what you see is what you get," but can enjoy no such confidence with Ma.
Sadly, thanks to this new public relations gaffe, Ma has fully revealed that he is truly a person who lacks true strength of character and is but a craven blackguard under his Teflon coating.


Updated : 2021-05-09 05:39 GMT+08:00