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Jul 6, 2007

KMT sold property to cover Lee's bad bills?

Pro-blue United Daily News reports an unnamed "high KMT official" today that the main reason Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) assets went from the Feb. 1987 level of NT$ 91.8 billion (US$2.79 billion) to the mere NT$31.1 billion (US$948 million) of the Ma Ying-jeou era is due to -- you guessed it -- former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

The unnamed official, described as a "core individual" or key player (核心人士), explains that the main reason the property had to be sold was that Lee Teng-hui had left the party with about NT$40 billion in questionable accounts (壞帳), about half of the KMT's total assets at that time.

The source further expresses his believe that Lee Teng-hui had personally planned to pulverize the party property. (Alliteration, here I am!) He gives examples of these questionable accounts, including debts from contracts that went over budget in previous infastructure construction. He also admited other causes for the loss of property, including the losses (not revenue) of most remaining property and the costs of an increasing number of retired party workers, which has cost NT$10 billion alone in recent years.

Update: Whoah, looks like it could be more serious than that -- KMT lawyers will discuss if Lee Teng-hui should be sued over this, but so far they do not plan to press ahead with a lawsuit immediately. Wang Jin-pyng had the best remark, asking if the KMT actually intends to "sue Lee" or "respect Lee," the policy presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou announced this week (but, to be fair, the media coined the "respect Lee" phrase themselves).


I'd like to stake out my position. Teng-hui was a crook as clever and conniving as the best of them. He does whatever he wants when he wants, and thankfully that benefited democratic change. I also happen to believe his leaving Lian Chan in charge -- but not his break with James Soong -- was planned and meant to hurt the KMT for the long run. And I think Wang Jin-pyng is his remaining agent, whose goal is to finish what Lee started and have the KMT become a truly nativized party by adopting the principal of Taiwanese self-determination.

I also can accept the credibilty of the sources charge. If I were Lee and wanted to "right a few wrongs" while I was in charge, this would certainly be one way to handle the party property issue. Another way would be to sell off vast amounts of questionably acquired property before anyone could stop it, so that the party comes away with at least some cash on hand, which Lee, Lian and Ma all did.

But I also am shocked by the total lack of self-reflection by the party on this issue, its total unwillingness to accept the illegitimacy of how it acquired and maintained its assets. And I am wondering, at what point will the KMT be able to blame themselves for their problems, instead of Lee and Chen?

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