Last week the KMT expelled the popular and widely respected, Lee Jye, currently serving in the DPP Administration under Chen Shui-bian as the defense minister. To recap, from the BBC,(Taipei Times), his membership was revoked because he had gone along with the DPP’s campaign to remove the statues of Chiang Kai-shek from military institutions across the island…


Mr Lee had complied with a government order for statues of Mr Chiang to be removed from military premises.

The ruling DPP party says that the statues represent authoritarian rule and are not in keeping with democracy.

But the KMT says the government is trying to eradicate history and cut off Taiwan’s Chinese heritage.

Yesterday the papers were reporting that sensible types within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) were objecting to the expulsion of Lee for a variety of reasons (emphasis mine).

Some opposition Kuomintang legislators yesterday expressed their opposition to the expulsion of Defense Minister Lee Jye (李傑) from the party, commenting that the decision was silly as it would not stop the removal of Chiang statues and had created a “dictatorship image” of the KMT and excuses for the Democratic Progressive Party to challenge the opposition party.

The KMT Evaluation and Discipline Committee on Friday revoked Lee’s party membership, accusing him of being an opportunist who disrespected the late KMT chairman and president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

The KMT did not fiercely respond to the DPP government when it initiated the removal Chiang statues, but instead attributed the blame to Lee, KMT Legislator Lo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄) said, adding that this would lead people to think that the KMT is reverting to its authoritarian ways.

Another KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) noted that Frank Wang (王事展) had been expelled from the KMT after he was indicted on fraud charges in the high-profile Rebar case, but said that the reasons for expelling Lee were not very convincing.

Huang suggested that the KMT should investigate whether there are other members who are also in agreement with the DPP government’s “name rectification” policies and expel them as well, as the KMT should apply the same standards to everyone.

A source from the KMT said that Lee was expelled to satisfy a few party zealots, which is less important than attracting more neutral voters. The source also said that Lee should be responsible for his own actions and should be given other penalties in addition to his expulsion, as doing otherwise would violate the Principle of Proportionality.

Ever wonder why the DPP constantly hits on the identity issue? In addition to stroking its core Green supporters, pounding on identity issues makes the KMT do stupid, self-defeating things, like expelling a respected, competent, low-key politician who was mainly interested in serving his nation. The DPP is attacking the memory of Chiang Kai-shek, a core component of the mainlander political identity, and like a bull sparring with the red cape, the KMT responds by binding itself even more tightly to the dictator, who is widely despised on the island. This is a no-win situation for the KMT, and shows, once again, its central contradiction — it is both a political party that must win elections, and the repository of a quasi-religious identity, and these two roles are often incompatible. Chalk one up for the DPP.