Chateau Fire Exposes More of Ma's Corruption
|Grass Mountain Chateau|
The current political environment in Taiwan is filled with the calls of "de-Chiang-ization" (去蔣化), which is a movement to eradicate the God-like figure of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) that was painted by the authoritarian KMT government over the past 60 plus years. The movement includes renaming of many state-owned organizations, removal of numerous Chiang's status all over Taiwan, etc.
Naturally, elites of the old authoritarian KMT and their successors fought back furiously. Under this intense political spot light, up goes Chiang's first lodge in a blaze. In no time has it sparked a huge intensification of the current political conflict. Especially, pan-blue politicians are wasting no time looking for evidence to blame this fire on the anti-Chiang movement.
They conveniently forgot what the history should have taught them again and again: whatever conspiracy theories they cook up against the pan-greens, it always backfires and hurts them seriously. Rising from the ashes of the conspiracy theory about "burning GMC as part of anti-Chiang movement" is the discovery that Ma, during his term as Taipei Mayor, violated rules and ignored laws via a contract between GMC management contract winner and the Taipei City Government to benefit his Taipei City Government employee.
Grass Mountain Chateau
|Map of northern Taiwan showing the location of Grass Mountain Chateau|
The chateau, located in Yangmingshan National Park, was built in 1920 as a vacation home for Japan's Prince Hirohito and later became a summer retreat for dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) after he retreated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to Taiwan in 1949.Here is another description:
The Taipei City Government took over the administration of the chateau after Chiang died in 1975, registering the building as a monument because of its historical significance. In 2002, it was turned into an arts salon and a museum.
Ma's GMC-related corruption
Remember that Ma Ying-Jeou was elected as Taipei Mayor in 1998.
The Chateau, as a national monument, is protected by law. The local government in whose jurisdiction a national monument resides is responsible for contracting the maintenance and preservation of the national monument to an outside party.
The contract winner of GMC management was the Humanities and Social Sciences of Fo Guang College (佛光人文社會學院). Kung Peng-Cheng (龔鵬程), who represented Fo Guang to sign the contract with Taipei City Government, is a senior consultant employed by Taipei City Government. To state it more clearly, Ma's Taipei City Government gave the contract of managing GMC to his own employee. Legally, this might not be a problem, if no rules were bent.
According to the law, whoever gets the management contract of a national monument should pay monthly management fee to the local government --- in this case, Taipe City.
|Taipei City Councilwoman Jian Yu-Yen 台北市議員簡余晏|
|Taipei City Councilman Lee Ching-feng 台北市議員李慶鋒|
The corruption of Ma's government doesn't stop here. Upon the expiration of the contract, the Taipei City Government allowed Fo Guang to continue receiving all the illegal benefits --- free land, free Chateau, free utilities, illegal subsidies, and all the illegal earnings --- without signing a new contract or even an extension of the old one.
It's hard to believe that the Taipei City Government - under the administration of Ma Ying-Jeou - can't even manage a simple historical monument legally. The entire process is marked by a series of steps revealing corruption. Like many other previous cases, Ma might, as usual, claim that it's all his subordinates' fault so he doesn't need to shoulder any of the responsibility for this.
|The Red Army leader Shih Ming-Teh (施明德) wearing an "anti corruption" shirt|
"We came out to protest the corruption of a President. Now you expect people to vote a corrupt politician into the Office? Should Taiwan be called 'State of Corruption'? "That's the real question that all blue and red supporters need to ask and answer. As the Presidential election comes closer and closer, I am sure that more and more Ma's corrupt activities will be exposed.
Note: Thanks to Tim Maddog for proofreading