Friday, October 31, 2008

The Democratic Progressive Party's Befuddlement over "Friendship" and Cross-Strait Relations

The Democratic Progressive Party's Befuddlement over "Friendship" and Cross-Strait Relations
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 31, 2008

The Democratic Progressive Party recently held a protest march. Its banners read "No to Tainted Products! Defend Taiwan!" and "No to China! Down with Ma!" But on the columns to which these banners were fastened, one sign read "Defend Chen Complex," and the other "Anti-Communist Thought." The Democratic Progressive Party believes it has demonstrated its ability to mobilize supporters. In fact it has revealed its blind spots.

Chen Shui-bian is a scandal-ridden former head of state. Yet he was he invited to march in the front ranks of the October 25 protest. Key DPP members and grassroots supporters fell over each other fighting for the chance to be photographed with him. To the vast majority on Taiwan, the images were chock full of irony. For standing beneath banners reading "No to Tainted Products!" was none other than the most "Tainted Product" of all. Lacking either the will or the way to engage in desperately needed soul-searching, the DPP could only rail hysterically against sundry tainted products from across the Strait. The DPP not only took the easy way out, it also put the cart before the horse.

The march highlighted Chen Shui-bian's return to power. It also marked the Democratic Progressive Party's return to violence. Wang Ting-yu's attack against Zhang Mingqing at the Confucian Temple and Kuan Pi-ling's attack against Hung Hsiu-chu in the legislature show that the DPP has already veered back towards demagoguery and violence. This can hardly be considered a positive development, either inside or outside the party. Particularly noteworthy is how the Democratic Progressive Party seized on the contaminated milk powder issue in its anti-China campaign. It made no effort to discuss the issues. Apart from trying to cut itself off from the Mainland and instilling hatred against our compatriots, the Democratic Progressive Party offers no viable long term alternative for cross-strait relations.

The DPP is unable to make a clean break with Ah-Bian. Chen's supporters say they are upholding high-minded principles. They say they value "friendship." This is truly mind-boggling. If a modern day political party can't even distinguish between what is public and private, how can it preside over what is public and private? No matter how many people within the party were Chen Shui-bian's beneficiaries, these are private matters. In the face of the nation and society, political parties must uphold higher principles of justice. If they disregard right and wrong and talk only of "friendship," then the Democratic Progressive Party has been reduced to an Ah-Bian Fan Club.

Chen's supporters probably do not constitute a majority. So why is the DPP so easily dominated by such a minority? The main reason is the Democratic Progressive Party has been unable to alter its radical nature. As an opposition party the Democratic Progressive Party often had to resort to radical means to cope with the ruling KMT. It eventually won victory after victory. Unfortunately it was unable to change even after becoming the ruling party. It long ago succumbed to extreme views within the party. This led to the party line diverging significantly from mainstream public opinion. This eventually led to a loss of power and the loss of years of accumulated political assets. Yet the DPP remains under the sway of a small number of people on the radical fringe, who have taken the entire party hostage.

Just look at the Democratic Progressive Party's "anti-China" strategy. After eight years of being played for all it is worth, its policy has run into a brick wall. Logically speaking it ought to adjust its strategy. Unfortunately, no new thinking is allowed within the DPP. All anyone hears is the same tired "Green Camp Anti-Communist Thought." Early day anti-communist thought on Taiwan was based on the global backdrop of the Cold War. The KMT stood head to head with the CCP on the front lines, firing real bullets. But the Cold War is over. Millions of people travel back and forth across the Strait each year. Even the United States has said that in the wake of the global financial crisis the engine of the global economy will be Mainland China. Yet the Democratic Progressive Party is still shouting "Hate China!" slogans. Even more ridiculous is how the Democratic Progressive Party's anti-China strategy is being used not against the Chinese Communist Party, but against Ma Ying-jeou, to divide Taiwan. During the Red Shirt Army protests Shih Ming-teh was denounced as a "Chi-Com fellow traveler." Today Ma Ying-jeou is being denounced as a "traitor to Taiwan." The DPP's "anti-China" policy is apparently purely for domestic consumption.

How exactly does the Democratic Progressive Party want to relate to Mainland China? Is it rejecting any and all cross-Strait exchanges? If so, to what extent? The Chiang/Chen Meeting has proposed four major policy changes relating to direct shipping and direct flights. Why hasn't the Democratic Progressive Party uttered one word of criticism? When something like the contaminated powdered milk incident occurs, how exactly are consumers and manufacturers on Taiwan supposed to fight for their rights and their interests without negotiating with the other side?

The Ma administration's cross-Strait policy needs oversight of course. Mainland threats against Taiwan must be countered. But these require careful handling. If the DPP invokes its "Nation of Taiwan" merely to avoid dealing with cross-Strait issues; if it shouts "Arrest Communist Bandit Chen Yunlin!" merely to threaten the Chiang/Chen Meeting, will that offer Taiwan a way out? The chairmen of the seven major industrial and commercial organizations support of cross-Strait exchanges. They support the Chiang/Chen Meeting. If the Democratic Progressive Party stubbornly insists that their support is merely a "false impression," which side of history is it standing on?

Chen Shui-bian is the DPP's standard-bearer. Wangding Yu is the DPP's hero, the man who pushed Zhang Mingqing to the ground. The DPP opposes the Chiang/Chen Meeting. The DPP opposes Taiwan's industrial and commercial organizations. The DPP holds high the banner of the "Nation of Taiwan." Are we to understand that this is the DPP's cross-Strait policy?

2008.10.31 03:11 am


作 為貪腐弊案纏身的卸任元首,陳水扁在一○二五率眾走在第一大隊,受到黨內要角及基層群眾的爭相簇擁;這個場面,看在多數國人眼裡,其實充滿反諷意味。因 為,站在「反黑心商品」大字底下的,不正是飽受議論的「政治黑心商品」嗎?無力對內部政治道德作深刻反省,卻只能隔海借偶發的黑心商品議題叫囂,這不僅顯 得避重就輕,也簡直是本末倒置。

這場遊行所凸顯的,不僅是陳水扁的復辟,還有民進黨重新走回街頭路線與暴力路線。王定宇在孔廟對張銘清施 暴,管碧玲在國會對洪秀柱動粗,都顯示民進黨已向激情暴力轉進。就黨內外看,這都不是積極正面的發展。更值得注意的是,民進黨這一波反中訴求雖抓住毒奶粉 的議題,但在論述上卻毫無開展,除了企圖拉出一個隔絕、仇恨的海峽,人們看不出民進黨對兩岸關係的前景有何長遠可行的瞻矚。

民進黨無法與 扁切割,挺扁派力守的一個大道理說是基於「情義」,這實是不可思議的事。作為一個現代政黨,若連最基本的公、私分際都無法辨別,如何主持公是公非?不管黨 內多少人受過陳水扁提拔或其他好處,那皆是個人「私情」;但面對國家社會,政黨有更高的「公義」原則必須護持。放著大是大非不顧,卻只談沾親帶故,民進黨 已形同扁友會了。

整體觀察,挺扁派在黨內其實未必居於多數,但為何民進黨最後仍輕易被少數派把持?主要原因,恐與民進黨長期以來無法自我 調整的激進本質有關。民進黨過去在野時經常採取激烈手段以小搏大,每每得逞;可惜它執政後仍不知調整,一直屈從黨內偏激意見,導致黨的路線大幅偏離民意主 流,終致失去政權及長年累積的政治資產。然而,民進黨少數人至今仍對激進搏命遊戲樂此不疲,並用以挾持全黨。

再看民進黨的「反中」戰略, 經過陳水扁八年的消耗已然推車撞壁,照理說應調整策略再戰;可惜,人們看不到民進黨的新思考架構,卻只聽到滿嘴的「綠色反共八股」。早年台灣反共,不僅基 於全球冷戰的大背景,國民黨也必須真槍實彈在各個陣線與中共交手。但冷戰情勢早已解除,每年兩岸有數百萬人次的交流,連美國都說金融海嘯後的全球經濟有待 中國作為引擎,民進黨卻還在高喊仇中口號。更可笑的是,民進黨的反中戰略其實不是用來對付中共,而是用來打馬及撕裂台灣;紅衫軍時把施明德說成「中共同路 人」,如今又把馬英九說成「賣台」。這樣的「反中」策略,其實只是專搞「內銷」的政治生意吧?


馬 政府的兩岸政策當然需要監督,中共對台的威脅也不能不加防範;但這需要細緻的經營與對應。民進黨若以「台灣國」的邏輯來處理兩岸問題,用「把陳雲林共匪抓 起來」的思維來騷擾「江陳會」,能給台灣帶來什麼出路?民進黨若將七大工商團體理事長支持兩岸交流以及江陳會視為「假象」,會不會使自己站到歷史的對立 面?


1 comment:

Taikor said...

I watched the DPP's protest on TVBS channel here in Malaysia and I want to comment about it.

It bewilders me that up to this day, none of those DPP fanatics have given any significant reason and justification for their behaviour.

They protested against the agreements that President Ma is going to commit with the mainland but some of these plans were also broached by the DPP before and after they got elected into power. So what is the problem now? When they make the suggestion of direct link it's called "benefit Taiwan" (li tai) but when KMT does it, it's called "sell out Taiwan" (mai tai). The DPP cannot make such a contradictory stance.

A Singapore DJ commented that he could not understand what's the fuss about because what the Ma-administration is currently doing is benefitting Taiwan's economy. Don't the DPP wants to Taiwan to prosper?? I fully agree!

The DPP has degenerated Taiwan's economy in the last 8 years and even squandered the nation's wealth in corruption. What is even more "sell out" than this?!

What I hope to see, as a Chinese as well as a Southeast Asian, is peace, stability and better still, prosperity in the Taiwan strait. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Taiwan will benefit Southeast Asia too because we benefitted a lot from investments by Taiwan businessmen (tai shang). Imagine how much more can we benefit if Taiwan is even more prosperous and even more businessmen venturing out to Southeast Asia? A chaotic, weak and poor Taiwan does not benefit anyone.