Thursday, October 4, 2007

The DPP: Even Its Internecine Power Struggles are a Sham

The DPP: Even Its Internecine Power Struggles are a Sham
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 04, 2007

Several of the Democratic Progressive Party's past chairmen have broken with the party. But Yu Hsi-kuen's break with the DPP is the most extraordinary.

To begin with, when Shih Ming-teh, Hsu Hsing-liang and Lin Yi-hsiung broke with the Democratic Progressive Party, they had resigned as party chairmen. Yu Hsi-kuen, by contrast, was the DPP's sitting chairman. Secondly, Shih Ming-teh and Hsu Hsing-liang resigned because they advocated more moderate Taiwan independence and cross Straits policies, and because their "Grand Conciliation Coffee" with the Pan Blues was rejected by the party hierarchy. Lin Yi-hsiung left in a huff because he was contemptuous of Chen Shui-bian's leadership style. Yu Hsi-kuen, by contrast, was A Bian's staunchest supporter during the controversy over corruption. For a high profile Taiwan independence fundamentalist to be purged was totally unexpected. Thirdly, Shih, Hsu, and Lin all resigned from the party to make a political statement. Yu Hsi-kuen may have resigned as party chairman, but he still intends to campaign "with all his might" on behalf of the DPP's legislative and presidential candidates.

Superficially the dispute in the Yu Hsi-kuen incident was over the wording of the "Resolution for a Normal Nation." In fact Chen, Hsieh, and Yu were merely fighting for their personal political survival. The fight has cast serious doubt on the DPP's allegiance to its professed values. All that remains is a naked struggle for power. Taiwan independence, democracy, and ethics have all gone out the window.

The main reason Chen Shui-bian was able to make a comeback amidst the corruption controversy was staunch support from Yu Hsi-kuen and Deep Green Taiwan independence hardliners. During the unrest, Yu Hsi-kuen used the "11 Brigands" label to silence intraparty debate over corruption, and to prevent DPP lawmakers from entering the legislature and voting during two consecutive recall attempts. But now Yu Hsi-kuen has been indicted over the Dicretionary Fund Scandal. At first no one spoke up on behalf of Yu Hsi-kuen. No one demanded that he be kept on. Everyone regarded this as the perfect opportunity to purge him. Yu Hsi-kuen's views on Taiwan independence suddenly became the basis for a charge that he was "undermining party solidarity." The vote on the resolution became a means of using "intraparty democracy" to squash Yu Hsi-kuen. Why was Chen Shui-bian able to play the Taiwan independence card despite his rampant corruption? Why, by contrast, was Yu Hsi-kuen vilified as an "Enemy of the People" for doing the same thing? Why were DPP legislators forbidden to vote on Chen Shui-bian's recall? Why, by contrast, did they use "intraparty democracy" to denounce Yu Hsi-kuen's "Resolution for a Normal Nation?" Apparently the Taiwan independence movement has two sets of standards, depending on who is charged with corruption. Apparently "intraparty democracy" has become an instrument of political struggle.

The fates Yu Hsi-kuen and Frank Hsieh have suffered are also miles apart. Take personal integrity for example. Although Yu Hsi-kuen has also been indicted, the common view is that Yu Hsi-kuen is less corrupt and more forthright than Frank Hsieh. He is also considered more self-disciplined than Chen Shui-bian. Politically Yu Hsi-kuen is more committed to independence than Frank Hsieh. Yet Hsieh has emerged triumphant, while Yu has been ostracized and humiliated. Whether one is talking about political committment or personal character, what happened to the DPP's standards for right and wrong?

Frank Hsieh is attempting to move toward the center. He has proposed allowing direct flights and mainland capital to enter. In fact he is not that different from the "11 Brigands." The party hierarchy blasted Su Tseng-chang for embarking upon a "Su Revisionst Path." Su has now turned around and made common cause with Frank Hsieh and his "Tropical Storm." As for the "11 Brigands," they have regrouped and are now trumpeting a nonsensical "Taiwan Independence plus Cross Straits Opening" thesis. On the one hand Chen Shui-bian blasted Yu's "Rectification of the Name of the Nation" campaign. On the other hand, he trumpeted his own "Rectification of Taiwan's Name" and "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" campaigns. Yu Hsi-kuen has turned the other cheek, returned to the political stage, promising to campaign "with all his might."

Why are these internecine fights going on? Who is fighting against whom? What's the difference between Su Tseng-chang's criticism that "changing the subject cannot change the facts" and his allegation that "Frank Hsieh is devious?" What's the difference between Frank Hsieh's proposal and the "11 Brigands" proposal to allow "direct air flights and the entry of mainland capital?" What's the difference between the charges against a "Su Revisionst Path" and the charges against a "pro reunificationist Frank Hsieh?" What's the difference between Chen's promise "to delegate power to lower echelons, to cease campaigning on behalf of party candidates," and his current immersion in party politics? What's the difference between the "Rectification of the Name of the Nation" and the "Rectification of Taiwan's Name?" What's the difference between "Chen Shui-bian's corruption" and "Yu Hsi-kuen's graft?" What's the difference between "intraparty democracy" that forbids DPP lawmakers to cast their ballots during a recall attempt, and an "intraparty democracy" that purges Yu Hsi-kuen during the DPP National Congress? Why are these internecine power struggles going on? Who is fighting against whom? These fights are ostensibly over Taiwan independence, democracy, and morality. In fact they are undermining Taiwan independence, democracy, and morality.

The Taiwan independence movement no long has any standards of right and wrong, for either "intraparty democracy" or for personal conduct. Everything is political intrigue and power struggles. These power struggles have destroyed any standards and principles the Taiwan independence movement ever championed. During this latest struggle Chen and Hsieh have apparently defeated Yu Hsi-kuen. But did Chen and Hsieh's brand of Taiwan independence defeat Yu's brand of Taiwan independence? No. Did Chen and Hsieh's brand of intraparty democracy defeat Yu's brand of intraparty democracy? No. Did Chen and Hsieh's political achievements defeat Yu's political achievements? No. Did Chen and Hsieh's brand of corruption defeat Yu's brand of corruption? No. This was an unprincipled power struggle without any standards of right and wrong. The victor has no standards by which to judge his victory, and the loser has no standards by which to judge his defeat.

In recent years the DPP has undergone one internecine power struggle to another. Each struggle has displayed lower moral standards than the one before. Each struggle has been less principled than the one before. Even the DPP's internecine power struggles have degenerated into a sham of "self-deception and deception of others."

2007.10.04 02:50 am










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