Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Open Letter to DPP Supporters, by Tsai Ing-Wen

Here's the translated version of an open letter to the DPP supporters by the DPP Chairman, Tsai, Ing-wen. Also copied below:

By Tsai Ing-Wen 蔡英文

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008, Page 8

There is a kind of sadness so painful it cannot be soothed, and a kind of disappointment so grave it cannot be overcome. I believe this is what Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters are going through.

Since the evening of Aug. 15, when former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), withdrew from the party, many people in Taiwan have turned off their cellphones and avoided going online or watching TV because they do not know how to react to this incident. The truth is so unbearable that it has almost completely eroded the trust of the party’s supporters, who can only remain silent and hang their heads.

As a party, have we returned to square one? Have we been knocked down yet again?

Every time we struggle to pick ourselves up, we’re hit with another powerful blow. As a DPP supporter, it seems that one must always worry about the party and relinquish one’s right to happiness.

Past mistakes periodically return to haunt us at unexpected times. I know that many people would like to just turn around and leave, but the sad truth is, they do not know where to go. For a long time, the DPP has been the only choice in politics for these people, and yet the party has now made some unpardonable mistakes. All of a sudden, our supporters feel like they have fallen into the sea, unsupported and directionless.

Taiwan is in a diplomatic plight; not only is life tough for our citizens, but our national sovereignty is also being eroded. People are afraid that our beloved land can no longer uphold its dignity and beauty.

Unfortunately, at this crucial time, the DPP has once again disappointed them. To be honest, I do not know how to comfort them, but one thing I do want to say is that this is a democracy. Sometimes a democratic system can be ruthless: All the actions of the previous administration will be publicly scrutinized following the transition of power.

Through its mistakes, the DPP has demonstrated that Taiwan’s democracy is gradually heading toward maturation and completion. To our supporters, this is indeed a painful process, but I must reiterate that this is democracy. No one in a democracy can enjoy privileges. When a president steps down from office, he too must assume responsibility for his mistakes.

I had extremely mixed feelings when Chen publicly admitted his mistakes and then withdrew from the party. He will have to face the judicial system, and I hope that he can set a good example for Taiwan’s democracy during the investigations.

I also hope that the judiciary will respect his human rights by not violating the principle that “investigations shall not be public” and refraining from publicizing unverified information. This is an opportunity for the entire nation to learn about democracy and self-discipline, and everyone should remain calm and rational.

It cannot be denied that Chen put considerable effort into bringing the DPP to its height, by which we were all touched and even moved to tears. Now that he has left the party, Chen’s legacy has become a part of the party’s history and memory. I would like to call on all DPP supporters to unite closely and fearlessly at this time of crisis, and to face this collective history and memory together.

Politics cannot return to nothing and start afresh; it is continual. It is impossible to completely cut off and wipe away old ties. As DPP chairwoman, I have the responsibility to shoulder everything that the party has been through in the past eight years. I represent not only the current DPP, but also the past DPP.

I inherited the party’s history without any reservation, and, like everyone, I too feel a lot of pain from the opened wounds. However, no matter how excruciating it is, this is the real DPP.

Only by recognizing this truth and taking on these challenges can we resurrect the party. Therefore, I will definitely not shun the responsibility, nor turn a blind eye to our past mistakes. Instead, I will contemplate these mistakes more attentively than anyone else.

I am aware of my responsibilities, and I will spare no effort in helping the party rise from its wretched plight.

Tsai Ing-wen is the chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party.


Thoughtful, sincere, and honest. Probably couldn't have stated it better, this is the tough road of democracy. Ideally, we vote candidates into power because of our belief that they will carry out the policies that we believe to be in the best interest for the country, and probably for ourselves. Not because of the individual. Whether the candidate is white, black, Taiwanese, Cantonese, we support the candidate because of their platform. It is the policies and ideals we support. Therefore, to abandon Chen, Shui-bian is completely fair, but to abandon the DPP, well that's just taking the easy way out.

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