Taiwan News calls for Ma to repudiate the constant threat of violence from the Blue team. A hard-hitting piece that puts that nut who kicked Chen Shui-bian in the buttocks the other day into a much larger and more sinister perspective. After calling on the President to condemn such nonsense, the editorial observes…

This is the third time that the same person, 65-year-old Su An-sheng of the far right “Concentric Patriotism Association” has been filmed attacking prominent figures in the pan-DPP camp, including a similar kick in the back of lawyer Ku Li-hsiung in August 2007, a push at the back of former Taiwan representative to Japan Koh Se-kai on June 18 and yesterday’s kick at Chen’s buttocks outside of the Taipei District Court.

These assaults are not only an insult to Taiwan’s democracy but a threat to its continued and should not be viewed as isolated incidents.

Attacking a former president is scarcely less severe of an offense than assaulting a serving president and we hope that the Taipei City police and prosecutors treat this incident with the gravity it merits and not just release the apparent perpetrator after two days detention.

The root of these attacks lies both in the accumulated years of emotionally charged verbal attacks against the DPP politician by pan-KMT opponents, primarily because Chen’s electoral victories in March 2000 and March 2004 threatened and then realized the transfer of power from the KMT after nearly 55 years of authoritarian and one-party power.

In the wake of these victories, Chen has been incessantly criticized for countless “crimes and misdemeanors,” including unproven charges of corruption and, as in this case, “slander” for highlighting official malfeasance by formerly powerful KMT generals in the massive scandal over the massive Lafayette frigate procurement.

During the past few years, numerous pan-KMT politicians have threatened violence against Chen, even though threatening the life of the president verbally or in writing is patently illegal.

For example, former People First Party legislator Lee Tung-hau openly declared in a televised legislative committee meeting in April 2004 that “anyone who encounters Chen Shui-bian can kill him!”

Similar sentiments were widely expressed during the months of “Depose Chen” campaign in the summer and fall of 2006.

For example, during a sit-in outside the Legislative Yuan by then PFP chairman James Soong calling for Chen’s recall, slogans were pasted up on the walls of the Legislative complex by PFP supporters at demanded Chen’s “execution,” “assassination” or “liquidation” and even “Drink A-bian’s blood!”

Such sentiments were also expressed outside the courthouse yesterday morning. Even though Chen appeared to answer to slander charges, a KMT supporter brandished a placard declaring that Chen was “guilty of corruption and should be sentenced to death!”

History of violence

We should also not forget the statement made by then KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou during a meeting of his party’s Central Standing Committee on May 25, 2006 that ratified a recall vote against Chen to the effect that “the bullet is in the chamber” and “the trigger is cocked” and his declaration that Chen “will die an ugly death” if he did not resign.

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Naturally, we do not intend to overlook or excuse acts of violence or threats by pan-green supporters, but there is no record of similarly open or lurid threats against the lives of serving KMT presidents by any DPP politicians, either during the period of KMT authoritarian or one-party rule during which any such threats would have been severely punished or the present.

Moreover, we must never forget that the only party with a history of massive violence in Taiwan is precisely the KMT itself, which murdered thousands of dissidents during the four decades of “white terror” under martial law rule from the late 1940s through the early 1990s and regularly mobilized gangs to commit acts of violence against dissidents.

No less worrisome are signs that the KMT has regained its former “ownership” of the judicial branch.

Last week, prosecutors sent a signal that the personal rights of citizens, even presidential candidates, can be abrogated at will by the KMT-controlled Legislative Yuan last Friday when they indicted former DPP legislators Lee Ying-yuan and several other campaign workers for former DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh for trying to prevent four KMT legislators from leaving the Hsieh campaign headquarters after they entered the building without permission and tried to illegally force their way into Hsieh’s office.

All leaders in a democratic society have the responsibility to discipline supporters who threaten or engage in violence, but such an obligation is especially incumbent on the KMT given its legacy of state terror and the continued recourse to verbal violence by KMT politicians.

It is therefore essential for President Ma to take demonstrative action to uphold political harmony and stability by opening condemning the use of political physical or verbal violence.