Monday, March 31, 2008

Prudence and Patience to Reestablish Cross-strait Dialogue

Prudence and Patience to Reestablish Cross-strait Dialogue
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 31, 2008

The Republic of China Presidential Election has attracted the attention of the international media. Without exception, they have focused on cross-strait relations. Post-election indicators suggest fresh new prospects for cross-strait relations. First, George W. Bush and Hu Jintao declared, for the very first time, a shared commitment to the 1992 Consensus, entailing One China, Different Expressions. During an exclusive interview, Ma Ying-jeou followed suit, stressing that the common denominator between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei is "One China, Different Expressions." These post-election pronouncements tell us that the future of cross-strait relations will be quite different from the stagnation and recession of the past eight years.

Most intriguing of all is the 1992 consensus. The DPP originally dismissed it as "non-existent." Yet today Taipei, Beijing, and Washington all accept its language. The reason the 1992 consensus has roared back to life is quite simple. We have endured eight years of confrontation and deadlock. If that isn't enough to teach people the advantages of pragmatism, what is? Is the One China Principle a "prerequisite for discussions," or merely a possible "topic of discussion?" Are cross-strait relations "domestic relations," or "international relations?" If the two sides continue going back and forth on this issue and refuse to move on, then the only alternative is "perpetual confrontation." But the confrontation has already gone on for eight years. Does anyone really want this stalemate to continue?

After being abandoned by the DPP for eight years, the 1992 consensus and One China, Different Expressions have resurfaced. This amounts to a recognition of reality, to a pragmatic recognition of the status quo. Whoever wants insoluble issues of sovereignty to prevent the solution of other problems, basically has no desire to solve the problem of cross-strait relations. If the "Different Expressions" provision allows us to shelve the dispute over sovereignty, won't that allow everyone to breath a tremendous sigh of relief? Next up are direct flights, currency exchanges, investment protection, and tourism. As long as the underlying principle remains the same, and both sides use their heads, there should be no insoluble problems.

Of course there are also hidden concerns. Cross-strait relations cannot ignore international constraints. It also strikes a sensitive nerve in the island's politics. There is no denying that eight years under Democratic Progressive Party rule has led to irreversible changes. It is impossible to return entirely to a pre-2008 scenario. Even after Ma Ying-jeou is augurated and adopts a more pragmatic and flexible stance, it will not be possible to ignore opposition Green Camp pressure. Therefore Beijing's attitude will be crucial. If Beijing reintroduces the issue of sovereignty and subjects Taipei to humiliations, then Ma Ying-jeou may be forced to adopt a hard-line.

Beijing must understand that under Ma Ying-jeou the ROC government will no longer resort to provocations for political advantage in cross-strait issues. In other words, for the next four years at least, the ROC government will not exploit issues such as "Authoring a New Constitution," "Rectification of Names," or "Plebiscites on Joining the UN" to make trouble for Beijing. The ROC government will not deliberately raise regional tensions. But even a more pragmatic Ma Ying-jeou cannot turn a blind eye to the hundreds of missiles the mainland has aimed at Taiwan. Nor can he do nothing about the ROC's long-term exclusion from international organizations. And of course he cannot remain silent about the mainland's human rights policies.

If Beijing hopes for a breakthrough in cross-strait relations, it cannot offer merely pro forma expressions of goodwill during talks between leaders. If the mainland military insists on increasing the number of missiles targeting Taiwan, if it continues conducting military exercises directed against the ROC, if it continues undermining Tapei's diplomatic relations, if it continues obstructing Taipei's membership in the international community, it will be impossible for Ma Ying-jeou to throw open the doors of cross-strait policy.

Of course, June 20 is still a ways off. Although the DPP has already begun making pragmatic concessions in its cross-strait economic and trade policies, the two sides have been mired in a standoff for eight long years. During the past eight years significant changes have occurred. The parties who participated in the original cross-strait dialogue are long gone. Wang Daohan and Koo Cheng-fu are no longer among us. Their cross-strait dialogue and consultation framework may be difficult to reconstruct. Rebuilding a platform for cross-strait talks will require adjustments. To successfully negotiate this transition we will need not just goodwill, but patience, patience, and more patience.

Eight years of painful memories should have taught the KMT an important lesson. The smooth handling of cross-strait affairs will require the participation of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. A cross-strait policy that excludes the DPP will be a source of ruling vs. opposition party conflict. By the same token, the DPP must modify its posture. It must awaken as soon as possible from its ideological stupor. It must actively participate in cross-strait affairs. It must accumulate practical experience. It cannot forever cling to its Closed Door Policies.

People on both sides of the strait hold high hopes for the future. Therefore the initial steps towards dialogue and consultation require even greater prudence and patience, even greater good will and wisdom.

中國時報  2008.03.31










Friday, March 28, 2008

One China, Different Expressions and the Cross-Strait Tango

One China, Different Expressions and the Cross-Strait Tango
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 28, 2008

Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew have won the election. If the international media is in agreement about anything, it is that cross-strait relations will improve.

Actually this is merely a gut feeling, merely a hope, an attempt to turn desire into reality. Authorities on both sides have a lot of work to do. After all, it takes two to tango.

First, an equitable framework must be established. The mutually acceptable basis is the 1992 Consensus that entails One China, Different Expressions. Taipei has been saying One China, Different Expressions. Beijing has been saying Different Expressions of One China. But at least Beijing does not feel compelled to openly repudiate Taipei's One China, Different Expressions. It might be best to use the term 1992 Consensus as an umbrella for One China, Different Expressions and Different Expressions of One China. Each side can then have its own version as long as they do not openly disagree.

On this matter, Beijing must adopt a more tolerant policy. Cross-strait relations have been based on maintaining the status quo. Even Beijing's anti-secession law merely opposes de jure Taiwan independence. It cannot deny the existence of the Republic of China. After 20 years of cross-strait struggle, Beijing must admit that without the Republic of China there is no status quo. To maintain the status quo, one must maintain the existence of the Republic of China.

In the past, audiences at international matches held by the Republic of China were not allowed to wave ROC flags. This prohibition has been nullified by the practical impossibility of enforcement. Subtle developments such as these are beneficial to the development of One China, Different Expressions, and conducive to maintaining the status quo. Ma Ying-jeou has called for a diplomatic truce. Beijing's response will be an indicator of its willingness to respect the Republic of China's diplomatic space. If Beijing wants to maintain the status quo, it must not push Taipei too far.

Beijing's must relate to Taipei on the basis of One China, Different Expressions. If it fails to do so, Ma Ying-jeou will be unable to improve cross-strait relations. Once Ma Ying-jeou becomes president, he will have to consider three points. First, he must not casually propose arrangements such as his Cross-Strait Common Market. Instead he should first create an improved framework for interaction by opening up Three Links and Direct Flights. Lee Teng-hui trotted out his National Unification Guidelines years ago. The embarrassing result was a one man show. He could neither go forward or go back. Second, Ma must continue enhancing Taiwan's international trade role. He must help transform Taiwan into an Asia-Pacific Operational Center. Improved cross-strait relations will facilitate this goal. Cross-strait relations will then have a more solid foundation. Third, once Ma Ying-jeou becomes president, he must use "language appropriate to one's position" when making cross-strait comments.

Toward the end of his election campaign, Ma Ying-jeou issued a statement on Tibet. In terms of election strategy it was perhaps unavoidable. But calling Beijing "arrogant and stupid" was excessive. Stopping at "brutal and irrational" would have been more appropriate. Once Ma Ying-jeou becomes president, he must exercise discretion when referring to the Tiananmen Incident, Falun Gong protests, and Tibetan independence. After all, authorities on both sides must maintain a "hands off" policy regarding the others' "internal affairs." Neither side must allow the other to use its remarks for "internal consumption." Both must use "language appropriate to one's position." Otherwise, we are in no position to criticize Lee Teng-hui's remark that "No matter how big the Chinese Communists are, they can't be any bigger than my ****."

It takes two to Tango. if Beijing is unwilling to see a resurgence of pro-Taiwan independence sentiment, it must maintain a "Republic of China status quo." If Taipei hopes that cross-strait interaction will improve Taiwan's political and economic situation, it must not cling to the notion that "The mainland owes Taiwan." This is an opportunity for the two sides to improve relations. Authorities on both sides should avoid pointless controversy over political symbolism. First open up Three Links and Direct Flights. Establish a bridge. After all, the bridge is more important than its name.

Taiwan lifted martial law 20 years ago. In response to democracy, the mainland has undergone 30 years of liberalization and reform. It has returned to the grass roots. Authorities on both sides must recognize their responsibility to the people, the masters of the Chinese nation. If both sides fail to maintain the status quo, they will suffer the consequences. The music is playing. The world is watching. Let the cross-strait Tango begin.

2008.03.28 02:37 am










Thursday, March 27, 2008

Has the Outgoing Democratic Progressive Party Learned Its Lesson?

Has the Outgoing Democratic Progressive Party Learned Its Lesson?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 27, 2008

After the election debacle, Chen Shui-bian hid from public view, and the Four Princes of the DPP fell silent. The DPP has two months to luxuriate in its power. No one, it seems, is willing to urge the upper echelons of the party to reflect over its eight years of folly. It is amazing how little time it took for the DPP to fritter away the moral capital it earned during the "dang wai" (party outsider) era.

The DPP has dragged its feet on conducting an internal review for years. In 2004 Chen Shui-bian "narrowly won" amidst a mysterious shooting incident. In the four years since, the DPP has barely managed to hang on to Kaohsiung City. Its margins of victory have steadily diminished. These were warning signals, expressions of disappointment and discontent with the ruling DPP. Alas, the Democratic Progressive Party chose to rest on its laurels, by consolidating its core support. It had absolutely no intention of engaging in self-introspection.

Even now, the Green camp feels betrayed and bewildered by the electorate's "desertion." Some claim they failed to adequately "package" their political achievements. Some openly express disgust with the people of Taiwan. Some pass the buck to people who never even joined the party, such as Chuang Kuo-jung. Many more concentrate exclusively on fighting over official positions within the party hierarchy. No one engages in heartfelt introspection. The DPP was arrogant when it wielded power. It is resentful in the face of defeat and unresponsive in the face of public censure. Its behavior betrays its dictatorial mindset, and the hollowness of its progressive slogans.

Does the Democratic Progressive Party even know why it fell from grace? Does the Democratic Progressive Party know why its trump cards, its Sinopobia card, its McCarthyite smear card, its Nativist card, its "ethnicity" card all lost their magic this time? The DPP had better think through these questions before it launches a new wave of purges. Only then will it understand what role it must play in the future of Taiwan's politics.

What is the DPP's problem? One could say that it chose the wrong political path, but it would be more accurate to say that it lost touch with the people. First, Chen Shui-bian abandoned his "all people's government." He began inciting petty ethnic hatred, consciously adopting methods he knew would hurt people. He intentionally divided people on Taiwan into "us" and "them," leaving people queasy and anxious. Chen Shui-bian knew perfectly well that goals such as Taiwan independence were impossible to achieve. Yet he relentlessly demagogued the issue. He insulted the public's intelligence and feelings. A political party that plays people for fools, eventually plays itself for a fool.

Secondly, when Chen Shui-bian and other government officials were implicted time and again in corruption scandals, the DPP did not engage in self-introspection. It ignored right and wrong and backed Chen all the way. This was contrary to the people's expectations. When Green camp leaders of integrity were attacked and ostracized, the old and new "Three Stooges" suddenly became media darlings. How long did the DPP imagine the public would tolerate the DPP's decadence? The Chen regime repeatedly invoked Transitional Justice to rationalize unwarranted campaigns to "Rectify Names," to purge the legacy of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, to "de-Sinicize" Taiwan, and to engage in "historical revisionism" of public school textbooks. Such actions revealed the DPP's cold-blooded nature and affronted the public's moral sensibilities.

The ruling DPP lacked ability, but stubbornly refused to recruit from outside the party. It disrespected professionalism and abused its power by hiring political cronies and blood relatives. Bad money drove out good money, and the economy nose-dived into depression. The DPP has long boasted it had the gift of gab, and could make the people believe anything. Therefore it did not need to listen to the people. The DPP had toyed with the people's feelings for so long, and abused their trust for so long, it was only a matter of time before the people finally spurned the DPP.

For eight years, the DPP has been living in the past. On the one hand, it imagines that as long as it firmly affixes a label reading "Demon" on the KMT's forehead, it can endlessly defraud the people and win their unconditional support. On the other hand, it has retained its combative nature as an opposition party. It invests all its energies in endless struggles for power. It gives no thought to governing the nation. It remains incapable of responding to the people's desire for stability and prosperity. Living in the past has disconnected the DPP from the rest of the world, not to mention the public on Taiwan. Its "field army" governing style has caused no end of suffering and instability.

The DPP's plight is not the fault of Chen Shui-bian alone. Nor was it the fault of Chuang Kuo-jung and his ilk. It was the result of the entire party's willful self-delusion. Power corrupts. The DPP confirmed the truth of this addage by observing the KMT. Yet when the DPP acquired power, it confirmed the truth of this addage by its own actions, even more swiftly. The DPP does not need to issue solemn declarations about its reformist zeal or revolutionary courage. All it needs to do is engage in self-introspection. All it needs to do is realize how it betrayed the people, and why it has now been disowned by the people it betrayed.

The DPP, after eight years of gross misrule, will soon have to relinquish political power. Sad to say, the DPP still hasn't learned its civics lesson. What is gratifying though, is that the people are no longer willing to play the DPP's game. They are no longer willing to be True Believers in the DPP's fictitious "Future Nation of Taiwan." The people have chosen to live in the real world. To advance steadily towards the down to earth goal of peace and prosperity. It is now the Democratic Progressive Party's turn to decide what role it wants to play.

【聯合報 ╱社論】
2008.03.27 04:32 am











Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Six Preconditions for Political Transparency

Six Preconditions for Political Transparency
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 26, 2008

On March 23, the day after election day, this newspaper expressed the hope that Ma Ying-jeou would strive for both "political transparency and economic prosperity." Yesterday's editorial expressed the hope that Ma Ying-jeou would be a president who is both "a man of virtue and a man of ability."

Ma Ying-jeou must maintain his image as a man of virtue. His credentials as a political reformer depend on it. As Ma Ying-jeou attempts to establish an administration with ability, his image as a man of virtue will be the engine that makes political transparency and economic prosperity possible.

Eight years of turmoil have left Taiwan on its last legs. What follows are six preconditions for achieving political transparency and economic prosperity:

One. Clean Government: Ma Ying-jeou's greatest political asset is his integrity. Although he found himself mired in the discretionary fund controversy, people still believed in him. Ma Ying-jeou must safeguard his image as "Mr. Clean" in order to realize his dream of clean government. A president must not fabricate non-existent "Southern Fronts." The First Family must not include the likes of Wu Shu-chen, Chao Chien-ming, and Chao Yu-chu. The president's advisors must not include the likes of Chen Che-nan. Only if the president himself is above reproach, will he have the moral authority to demand that everyone in his administration follow suit.

Two. National Identity: Taiwan is already badly divided. Those who reject the Republic of China and demand the "Rectification of Names" concoct artificial distinctions between "alien regimes" and "native regimes," between "Taiwanese" and "non-Taiwanese." Ma Ying-jeou's resounding victory, in the face of efforts to stigmatize him as a "second-generation mainlander," as an "agent of an alien regime," has rescued Taiwan from its national and ethnic identity crisis. Ma Ying-jeou must persuade the public to reaffirm our national identity and mend society's divisions.

Three. Cross-strait Relations: The Republic of China's political and economic structure, constitutional foundations, and trade prospects are closely related to cross-strait relations. In order to reestablish healthy cross-strait relations, Ma Ying-jeou must "minimize risk and maximize opportunity." He must mobilize technological resources and human resources, internally and externally. He must seize the initiative. He must neither resign himself to fate, nor engage in wishful thinking.

Four. Economic Development: During the election Ma Ying-jeou's economic development proposals were seen as cross-strait / production / government-driven. They need to be globally / distribution / commerce-driven. The short and mid-term economic picture can be summed up as follows: A. Cross-strait trade relations must not entail unilateral hemorrhaging on the Taiwan side. The economic lifeblood must circulate. B. Taiwan must take into account distribution as well as production. It must not allow society to become even more "M-shaped."

Five. Educational Reform: Today's educational problems are not exclusively systemic. The "single syllabus, multiple texts" problem was caused by high-ranking educational officials. These officials are anything but models of emulation for teachers and students. Lee Yuan-tseh and Tu Cheng-sheng are the principle culprits behind the "educational reform" fiasco. They are to blame for the most outrageous debacle in Taiwan's educational history. The devastation these two have inflicted upon the educational sector is inestimable. For years, they rammed "constructive mathematics" down the throats of students. Teachers, students, and parents could only swallow their anger. Was this any way for professional educators to behave? Educators must be able to distinguish between right and wrong. Future educational reform must include systemic reforms. Professional educators must reclaim their spirit of self-introspection and self-betterment.

Six. Social Justice: The DPP has destroyed virtually every institution responsible for ensuring social justice, including the prosecutorial system, the Central Election Commission, the Control Yuan, the Council of Grand Justices, and the National Communications Commission. The DPP has manipulated the nation's banks, public utilities, and major media. It has "package-dealed" plebiscites with elections, undermining the spirit of the constitution, including provisions for free and fair elections and secret ballots. It has hijacked the machinery of state, including the Central Election Commission, turning it into a tool for political control. It has shamelessly subverted the justice system. Ma Ying-jeou must refrain from manipulating the machinery of state. He must guard against political influence. If the judiciary prosecutes government corruption, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must welcome such prosecutions. If the media investigates government malfeasance, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must welcome such investigations, and engage in reform. This is how a nation provides checks and balances against One Party Rule.

Eight years of turmoil have left Taiwan hanging by a thread. For all intents and purposes, Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must bring Taiwan back from the dead. They must transform a corrupt government into clean government. They must transform "ethnic divisions" into social harmony. They must transform cross-strait hatred into cross-strait synergy. They must transform economic decline into economic renewal. They must transform "educational reform" into educational revitalization. They must transform miscarriages of justice into expressions of justice. What is this, if not reviving the dead?

Ma Ying-jeou does not have any magic pills. The KMT does not have any magic wands. The thrill of victory will not help them govern the country. Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT must find within themselves the determination to solve the Republic of China's problems, one problem at a time.

2008.03.26 03:34 am












Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lessons for Ma Ying-jeou: Men of Virtue and Men of Ability

Lessons for Ma Ying-jeou: Men of Virtue and Men of Ability
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 25, 2008

"Love and trust" may have been Frank Hsieh's campaign slogan, but most voters think that given Ma Ying-jeou's character traits, it fits him better. "Reconciliation and coexistence" was another of Frank Hsieh's campaign slogans. But again, given Ma Ying-jeou's character traits, most voters think it fits him better as well.

Ma Ying-jeou's character traits were perhaps the main factor in his landslide victory. People have become aware of Ma Ying-jeou's distinctive character through contrast. They have contrasted his words and deeds with those of his political rivals -- Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, and Frank Hsieh. Many voters have little confidence in the KMT as a party, but are pinning their hopes on Ma Ying-jeou individually. Taiwan has endured 20 years of dirty politics, political decay, and power struggles. Ma Ying-jeou's personal austerity and moral rectitude have established a new political standard for the public on Taiwan.

Ma Ying-jeou has led the KMT to a great victory. We dare not say that after Ma Ying-jeou occupies the presidential office, his manner will not change. But most people chose Ma Ying-jeou because they wanted to establish a new standard for a national leader, one very different from the stereotype embodies by Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. This is what Morris Chang meant when he hoped the public would choose a president whom young people could emulate.

The presidential election boiled down to a contest of character. It was an indictment of the character of politicians over the past 20 years, and a quest for redemption. Ma Ying-jeou's moral character is not in question. What is in question is whether he is an able leader in addition to being a virtuous leader.

During his campaign, Frank Hsieh blasted Ma Ying-jeou's "executive decision making ability." That was of course campaign rhetoric. But it is also a serious issue. After all, the public surely hopes that their president, in addition to being a man of virtue, will also be a man of ability.

An ideal president would be both virtuous and able. These traits need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, for a president to be virtuous is a form of ability in itself. Chen Shui-bian lacked the ability to be virtuous. Besides, if a president is not a man of virtue, but a man of ability, what will his ability be devoted to, other than to the doing of evil? To wit, the nightmare we have endured for the past eight years.

We hope that Ma Ying-jeou will be a man of virtue as well as a man of ability. By this we mean that he will exemplify the character required to lead a nation and a society, and also the ability to govern wisely and skillfully. Ma Ying-jeou has already proven himself on the first count. We look forward to seeing Ma Ying-jeou prove himself on the second count.

Over the past year, Ma Ying-jeou has lived with ordinary folk in southern Taiwan. He has endured the Discretionary Fund witch trial. These have been character-building experiences.

He planted rice, picked fruit, caught fish, mended clothing, cleared land. He learned how hard the lives of people at the bottom of the economic ladder were. He learned how physically and psychologically oppressive the apparatus of state could be, as he faced possible prosecution. He learned how to increase the nation's prosperity in the event he was elected president. He learned how to prevent the state from perpetrating social injustice. We await the arrival of a president who is both a man of virtue and a man of ability.

A president who is both a man of virtue and a man of ability may be able to develop Taiwan's potentional and increase Taiwan's social harmony. The DPP has debased the mantra "Love for Taiwan" until it is utterly meaningless. "Love for Taiwan" has become Orwellian Newspeak. It has come to mean the incitement of "ethnic (more precisely, "provincial") hatred" and the repudiation of one's own nation. Ma Ying-jeou might consider devoting a little time each month to charitable activities, to caring for the socially disadvantaged.

That would constitute genuine "Love for Taiwan." Taiwan's potential has been stifled for over a decade. Taiwan's doors have been closed for over a decade. Ma Ying-jeou should liberate Taiwan's potentional. Taiwan's potential is the people's potential.

During the recent election the public no longer trusted the Democratic Progressive Party. The public was undecided about the KMT. Ma Ying-jeou's character inspired hope, and Taiwan society clutched at straws. Will Ma Ying-jeou's character meet society's expectations? Will Ma Ying-jeou's ability meet society's expectations? No one knows.

"Dare to hope, follow your dream" was Chen Shui-bian's campaign slogan. Today, ironically, the public has pinned its hopes and dreams on Ma Ying-jeou. Chen Shui-bian betrayed those hopes and dreams. Will we find that Ma Ying-jeou has betrayed our hopes and dreams four or eight years from today?

2008.03.25 02:19 am


馬 英九的人格特質應是他贏得壓倒性勝利的主因。例如,人們常在馬英九的政治對手身上,如李登輝、陳水扁及謝長廷的言行中,發現馬英九不同流俗的人格特質;又 如,人們或許對國民黨並無太大信任,卻將希望寄託在馬英九身上。台灣經歷了近二十年來烏煙瘴氣的政治沉淪與權謀惡鬥,馬英九的相對比較樸實、清澈的人格特 質,如今成為多數人民選擇的政治新品牌與台灣新價值。

我們不敢說,此時帶領國民黨贏得大勝的馬英九的人格特質,與坐上總統職位後的馬英九 的風格表現,會不會「一路走來,始終如一」;但可確信,多數人民選擇了馬英九作為國家元首,原因之一是希望看到馬英九能夠樹立與李登輝及陳水扁二位總統不 同典型的人格形象。張忠謀在選前說,希望選一個能做年輕人模範者當總統,也許就是此意。



在 一位理想的總統身上,「好人」與「能人」不應成為相互排斥的概念。其實,總統能做「好人」,即是一種珍貴的「能力」;如陳水扁者,就根本沒有做「好人」的 「能力」。何況,總統如果不是「好人」,卻竟然是一個「能人」,充滿著為非作歹的「能力」,那麼就回頭看看過去八年的噩夢吧!


近 年來,馬英九四處long stay,又遭遇特別費的官司,應當對其人格內涵有極大增益。他在插秧、摘果、捕魚、縫紉、拾荒等等親身體驗中,應當深感民生的艱辛;他在面對檢方起訴及 司法審判時,亦應深感國家機器對人民身心造成的巨大壓迫力。當了總統,如何為人民生計增加國家的助力,又如何為社會正義排除國家的操縱力;這些皆有待一位 「好人/能人」的合體總統。

「好人/能人」合體總統,也許應以開發「台灣的力量」與「台灣的愛」為基本職志。先說「台灣的愛」:「愛台 灣」一詞已被民進黨徹底糟蹋,竟然以挑激族群仇恨及否定國家為「愛台灣」;馬英九可考慮每月至少安排一次親身參與慈善田野活動,關懷社會弱勢,把「台灣的 愛」開發出來。至於「台灣的力量」:台灣的力量已內耗空轉了十餘年,也被鎖國政策禁錮了十餘年,馬英九應當是「台灣的力量」的解放者,而「台灣的力量」就 是「人民的力量」。



Monday, March 24, 2008

To the DPP: Come Home!

To the DPP: Come Home!
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 24, 2008

The election results have been announced, and Taiwan is off to a new start. We hope the KMT, which has regained political power, will correct the nation's forward course. Even more importantly, we hope the Democratic Progressive Party, which is again in the opposition, will correct its forward course and the direction in which it attempts to lead the masses.

The DPP's course correction may be even more important than the KMT's. Put simply, the KMT's future course should be the "Republic of China" path. Alas, the DPP persists in following its "Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution" and "Nation of Taiwan" path. The 2008 Presidential Election was a showdown between the two paths. If in the wake of the election the Democratic Progressive Party's path remains unchanged, if the struggle between the two paths continues, the only difference will be that the ruling and opposition parties will have swapped places. In that case, Taiwan will continue to be a "carriage with horses at both ends," pulling in different directions. Its chassis will be pulled apart. Its direction will remain conflicted.

In the aftermath of the election, the DPP must re-examine its future path. It must also decide its future leaders. The DPP's first priority must be to clarify its sense of national identity. Only then can it determine whom its future leaders should to be, and what path it should follow.

Blue camp campaign rallies were, as in the past, a sea of red, white, and blue Republic of China flags. At Green camp campaign rallies, on the other hand, not a single Republic of China flag can be found. Eight years ago, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in the opposition, this was understandable. But eight years later, with the DPP in office, such scenes are incomprehensible. Every morning the Chen Shui-bian presidential office raises the national flag. For the past eight years, officials of the Pan Green ruling regime have been living off the earnings of Republic of China taxpayers. Yet the DPP persists in insulting the Republic of China, repudiating the Republic of China, refusing to wave the Republic of China flag. It persists in promoting the "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution." How can a nation withstand such divisions? How can it not spin its wheels?

Yesterday's editorial noted that the Democratic Progressive Party's position on national identity is one of Taiwan's most deeply-rooted problems. During the presidential election the Hsieh camp escalated ethnic conflict (or more precisely, "social divisions") and national identity issues to new highs. Yet when the returns were in, the Hsieh/Su ticket received only 42 percent of the votes. In effect, it merely hung on to its core support. The DPP lost the election. On the other hand, fundamentalist support remains strong. In the wake of the election, the question is: Does the Democratic Progressive Party want to changes its character? Does it have the capacity to change its character? Or will retain its past character?

Eight years ago, Chen Shui-bian received 39 percent of the vote during the 2000 Presidential Election. This newspaper noted that his election would be a test of the Republic of China's tolerance and resilience. Would the Republic of China be able to tolerate the Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates Taiwan independence? Would the Republic of China be resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of a DPP ruling party?

Today, eight years later, that question can be answered. Eight years ago the Republic of China's electoral system tolerated a pro-Taiwan independence Democratic Progressive Party. Chen Shui-bian even promoted a "New Centrist Path," declaring that he would "defend the Republic of China to the death." As we can see, the ROC has enormous tolerance for dissent. Eight years later, the Republic of China's electoral system repudiated the Hsieh/Su ticket's "Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution." The Taiwan independence movement failed to undermine the Republic of China -- again. As we can see, the Republic of China is highly resilient. It is able to withstand disturbances initiated by the Taiwan independence movement.

For the past eight years, the Republic of China has tolerated the Democratic Progressive Party. It even gave the DPP eight years in which to integrate itself into the Republic of China. But the Democratic Progressive Party, after eight years in power, still refuses to recognize and integrate itself into the Republic of China. Instead, it has intensifed its efforts to "Rectify Names and Author a New Constitution" and to ram through its "Resolution for a Normal Nation." As a result, the Republic of China has, via democratic elections, voted the DPP out of office, and nullified its right to rule the nation.

The problem however, remains. Although the DPP must now step down, during the past eight years it has misused government resources to confound right and wrong and invert good and evil. It has anesthetized its supporters. It has argued that "Even if DPP officials are corrupt and incompetent, they are Taiwan's Native Sons." As a result, the DPP still receives 42 percent of the vote during a presidential election. DPP rallies, where huge crowds shed tears for the party, remain scenes in which not a single ROC flag can be seen.

Long ago, the Taiwan independence movement underwent a metamporphosis. The Taiwan independence movement once had two goals: First, overthrow the Republic of China, Second, resist the People's Republic of China. But the Taiwan independence movement has been unable to overthrow the Republic of China. It has only been able to divide the Republic of China. It has been unable to resist the People's Republic of China's political and economic pressures. It has only been able to increase cross-strait animosities. Yesterday's editorial noted that under DPP rule, Taiwan was subjected to three political curses. One. Indiscriminate "ethnic labels" (more precisely, "provincial labels"). Two. Vicious struggles over reunification vs. independence. Three. Accusations that others belong to an "alien regime." These three curses have sharply divided the Republic of China. These three curses are utterly ineffective against the People's Republic of China. The Taiwan independence movement has metamorphosed into a populist election tool. It is no longer a movement for national salvation.

Over the past two years the Taiwan independence movement has promoted some mind-boggling ideas. For example, Chen Shui-bian single-handedly promoted a massive PR campaign suggesting that the public ought to forgive DPP official corruption, merely because it champions Taiwan independence! It wants the public to believe that the DPP has an exclusive franchise on "Taiwanese values." The DPP is clearly incapable of governing the Republic of China. Yet it wants the public to believe that the problem is that "the Republic of China is not a normal country." The DPP remains mired in fantasy. It wants the public to equate Taiwan independence corruption with "Taiwanese values." Alas, a majority of voters gave the DPP an unambiguous answer during the legislative elections and the presidential election.

Even though the DPP has sunk this low, it still commands the loyalty of 40% of the public. They don't identify with this nation. They don't wave its national flag. They propose "rectifying its name." They even talk of taking to the streets in the wake of the election, of using all sorts of social movements as cover for Taiwan independence. Shouldn't the DPP forsake this mode of thinking? Doesn't it want to give up this way of thinking? Does it have the ability to forsake this mode of thinking?

This 42 percent of the public has been trained to think in these terms by the DPP. It is the DPP's most valuable political asset. But it is also the DPP's most burdensome piece of political baggage. Can the Taiwan independence overthrow the Republic of China? No, it cannot. Can a would-be "Nation of Taiwan" stand up against the People's Republic of China? No, it cannot. The Republic of China government is fully capable of defending its political sovereignty and its territorial jurisdiction over Taiwan. The Republic of China is fully capable of defending against the People's Republic of China. Besides dividing Taiwan internally, what is the Taiwan independence movement capable of? What is it good for?

If the DPP cannot redefine itself on the issue of national identity, if it remains trapped in its "Nation of Taiwan" pipe dreams, if it continues tearing the nation apart as before, then this 42% of the public on Taiwan that refuses to wave the ROC flag will decide whether Taiwan survives or perishes, rises or falls. If it refuses to consider itself Republic of China citizens, or if the Democratic Progressive Party does not allow it to recognize the Republic of China, then the Republic of China is not a country.

Over the past eight years, the Republic of China has fully accepted the Democratic Progressive Party. It has even handed the reins of government over to it. But eight years later, one will still not see a single ROC flag at DPP political rallies. The DPP continues to demand the "Rectification of Names." It continues to denounce anyone who advocates cross-strait exchanges as a "traitor to Taiwan." It is not that the Republic of China refuses to accept the Democratic Progressive Party. It is that the Democratic Progressive Party refuses to accept the Republic of China!

The Democratic Progressive Party says it loves Taiwan. If the DPP loves Taiwan, it should come home. Taiwan is home to 23 million Chinese. The name of its government is "Republic of China."

2008.03.24 02:48 am

















Thursday, March 20, 2008

Countdown to Election Day -- Going After the Critical Votes

Countdown to Election Day -- Going After the Critical Votes
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 20, 2008

The two candidates, as part of their 2008 presidential campaigns, have consolidated their core support. Frank Hsieh has sunk his teeth into the "One China Market" and Tibet issues, and is not letting go. Ma Ying-jeou is attacking the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's dismal economic record, and asking for regime change. The two camps are now engaged in bloody fighting in the trenches. Who will emerge the victor will depend on the voters.

We are now less than 48 hours from the opening of the polls. Frank Hsieh holds two aces. The "One China Market" card and the Tibet card. He also holds two hot potatoes. Chuang Kuo-jung's injudicious use of obscenities during a DPP rally, and Chiang Hsia's remark that Blue camp supporters should not even be perceived as human beings. Fears about the impact of a One China Market on mainland labour and agricultural products have undoubtedly brought many central and southern Taiwan Green camp supporters back to the fold. Chuang Kuo-jung and Chiang Hsia's verbal blunders have frightened away many women voters, civil servants, and educators. Although the Hsieh camp is engaged in crisis management, the fallout has yet to settle.

The Ma camp has the advantage of being the frontrunner. But it has lacked creativity in its choice of campaign themes. The Hsieh camp meanwhile, has adopted a "smoke and mirrors" strategy and harped on the Tibet issue. The Ma camp has responded in kind, by upping the ante. It went so far as to say it was not ruling out boycotting the Olympics. But this merely offended the sports world and sports fans, and allowed the Hsieh camp to stick it to the Ma camp, yet again. Hsieh demanded to know whether Ma supported Tibetan independence, and wondered whether any peace treaty with the mainland authorities could be trusted. The Tibet issue alone forced the Ma camp to rush about putting out fires and frantically enage in damage control.

The Ma camp began its campaign with wishful thinking. It imagined that if it muddied the Hsieh camp's proposals, it would be able to skate by until election day, that the issues wouldn't have time to take effect. It didn't realize it would end up mired in a dilemma. Strictly speaking, both camps have committed blunders and have been forced to institute damage control. In the end, the voters will decide.

During the final countdown, the Ma and Hsieh camps have both turned their attention to regions where they are relatively weak, hoping to bolster their support at the municipal and county level. The Ma camp has set its sights on central and southern region counties and municipalities. It has been sweeping the streets in solidly Green districts such as Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County and Pingtung regions. Its election eve rallies will be held in Taichung and Kaohsiung. The Hsieh camp has set its sights on the youth vote and womens' vote, with central Taiwan and Taipei County as the keys regions. Its election eve rallies will be held at these locales.

Both camps have been bolstering their weak points even as they consolidate their core support. It is almost time for the final showdown. Only one candidate can be elected president. Both the Blue and Green camps have been under heavy pressure. The Green camp is determined to cling to political power. The Blue camp is determined to regain political power. Supporters' emotions in both camps have reached a high point.

No matter what, we urge everyone to treat your vote seriously. Put aside political squabbles. Show the world that you are the president's boss. Cast your vote only after you are clear in your mind. Then await the results. Regardless of the outcome, we must be willing to accept it. Only such a willingness becomes the citizens of a modern democracy. This is true for both the Ma and Hsieh camps.

今日晚報 2008.03.20
倒數翻牌時刻 關鍵搶票


距離投票不到四十八小時的緊張時刻中,謝長廷手中握有兩張牌「一中市場」和「西藏事件」和二顆小炸彈「莊國榮粗話說」、「江霞失言風波」。一中市場所延伸 的開放大陸勞工和農產品,的確讓中南部的綠軍支持回籠,並凝聚中下階層的危機意識。但莊國榮和江霞的失言風波,卻嚇走婦女票和公教票,目前這個部分,謝營 雖做緊急處理,但後續擴散效應,仍待觀察。

馬陣營在選戰議題,除了保有先前的優勢之外,在議題操作表現比較沒創意,凡是謝營提出的主張,不是採取模糊策略,就是加碼因應,就舉「西藏事件」,馬營採 取催加油門,一路踩到底,提出不排除參加奧運,卻因此得罪體育界和熱愛體育的民眾,讓謝營藉此機會見縫插針,又打馬一著,趁勢逼問馬是否支持藏獨及質疑台 灣就算和中共簽署的和平協定,能相信中共不會撕毀承諾嗎?光是西藏事件,就讓馬營提但書忙撲火,進行損害管控。


在最後倒數時刻,馬、謝兩陣營不約而同,鎖定在自己比較弱的選區,以及可以再加強的縣市顧票,馬營擇定中、南部縣市,先狂掃高高屏綠軍鐵票區,再來最後一 個晚上造勢晚會,台中、高雄也是重點之所在。而謝營鎖定繼續攻佔青年和婦女選票,同時中部及台北縣市列為選戰決戰關鍵,因此造勢晚會也則定兩地為重點。



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is Hsieh Waiting for Fortune to Smile on Him?

Is Hsieh Waiting for Fortune to Smile on Him?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 19, 2008

Election day is three days away. Will Taiwan undergo a second regime change?

Political scientist Samuel Huntington's trademark is the "Two Turnover Test." Huntington said that when a nation transitions from an "emergent democracy" to a "stable democracy," it must undergo two democratic and peaceful regime changes.

He said that after an emergent democracy's first regime change, the new regime often reverts to authoritarian rule, trampling over democratic institutions and undermining the rule of law. Therefore the nation must undergo a second regime change. Only after passing the Two Turnover Test can it move to the next stage, a stable democracy.

Huntington was a veteran political scientist whose academic research often cited the Republic of China as a real world test case. The ROC has followed the steps Huntington outlined. The ROC has gone from authoritarianism to an emergent democracy (first regime change), to betrayal by the new regime, and is currently moving toward a stable democracy (second regime change).

In 2000, Chen Shui-bian was elected president in the ROC's first regime change. The core issue in this year's Blue vs. Green Presidential showdown is whether the ROC will undergo a second regime change.

Strictly speaking, the January 12 ROC Legislative Elections already ushered in a second regime change. The KMT won over two-thirds of the seats in the Legislative Yuan. The Blue camp won over three-quarters. In other words, the Democratic Progressive Party won less than one-quarter of the seats. The election returns were a draconian verdict rendered upon the Democratic Progressive Party's political legitimacy. Realistically speaking, the voters nullified the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's political credentials on January 12. They essentially announced a second regime change.

Metaphorically speaking, a DPP presidency is akin to an appendix. The question in the upcoming presidential election is whether the new body, consisting of a Pan Blue legislature enjoying a three-fourths majority, and a KMT cabinet, has any use for a leftover DPP appendix. Wouldn't it be better off with a whole new body? Wouldn't it be better to simply perform an appendectomy?

Frank Hsieh vowed to be a "Little President" who would fulfill a "Great Mission." He promised to be a "Passive President" who would "check and balance" a KMT cabinet and a KMT legislature. In fact, such an absurd arrangement would be contrary to all political sense. In the wake of eight constitutional "amendments," better described as constitutional perversions, such an arrangement would eventually precipitate a constitutional crisis. Show us the article in the Republic of China Constitution that calls for a president to check and balance the cabinet and the legislature? Even France's Fifth Republic relies on an alternative form of executive power to restrain its two chief executives, the president and the prime minister. Our constitution, in its current form, has no such provisions. Therefore such an arrangement would be a constitutional catastrophe waiting to happen. On January 12, 2008, the ROC underwent a second regime change. Is this second regime change to be confined to the cabinet and legislature, but not the executive?

Amending the constitution has led to disaster. The voters must decide whether they are going to fall for Frank Hsieh's "Little President with a Great Mission" pitch.

Following the lifting of martial law 20 years ago, the ROC underwent the step-by-step process Huntington outlined. It underwent its first regime change. It endured a new regime that betrayed democracy, undermined the rule of law, and subverted society's values. Sure enough, it is now undergoing a second regime change. But Huntington never expected those who amended (undermined) the Republic of China Constitution to provide themselves with a huge loophole, stipulating that the legislature would undergo change, but the presidency wouldn't. That the powers and responsibilities of the president, his cabinet, and the legislature would be left undefined. What should we call the consequences of this loophole? A consolidation of democracy? Or a constitutional crisis in the making?

Chen Shui-bian once boasted: "So what if l lucked out? The fact is I was elected. So what are you going to about it?" His attitude reflected the impudence of a street thug, and the same lack of responsibility. To him the election was all about trickery, about getting lucky. He felt not one iota of concern for constitutional rule. Now Frank Hsieh is waiting for fortune to smile on him, thinking to himself, "So what are you going to do about it?"

Confronted with such an attitude, even Huntington would be left speechless.

2008.03.19 02:41 am

距投票日還有三天, 台灣會不會出現「第二次政黨輪替」?

「兩次輪替檢定說」(two-turn-over test) 是政治學大師杭廷頓的著名學說。 他說,從「民主轉型」到「民主鞏固」, 必須以「政權經過兩次民主而和平的轉移」為基本要件。

杭氏指出,許多新興民主國家, 在發生「第一次政黨輪替」後, 取代舊政權的新政權往往反而與民主化背道而馳, 違反民主精神, 破壞民主法治機制, 因此必須再有「第二次政黨輪替」。 他說,經過「第二次政黨輪替」的「檢定」後, 「民主轉型」始可望達到「民主鞏固」。

杭氏不愧為大師, 在他的學術研究中, 台灣常常成為他的舉例, 而今日台灣政治民主化的道路, 也正一步一步穿過杭廷頓的預言: 威權政治→民主轉型(第一次政黨輪替)→新政權背叛民主→會不會發生 「第二次政黨輪替」(民主鞏固)?

二○○○年, 民進黨的陳水扁當選總統, 是「第一次政黨輪替」; 今年總統大選藍綠激戰, 核心議題正是「第二次政黨輪替」。

其 實, 就政治事實而言, 台灣在今年一月十二日的立法委員選舉中, 已經完成了「第二次政黨輪替」。 國民黨贏得立院逾三分之二的席次, 若以泛藍計則逾四分之三; 民進黨僅得不及四分之一席次。 這樣的投票結果, 當然是嚴厲無比的政治懲罰, 民進黨政權的代表性、 正當性已被選民重重地否定。 所以,就政治事實而言, 或就政權的「合法正當性」(Legitimacy)而言, 民進黨政權在一月十二日已被選民否棄, 亦即在事實上, 選民已經頒布了「第二次政黨輪替」的「令狀」。

因此, 若從現今的政府解剖圖來看, 總統職位如今只是民進黨舊體制僅存的最後一根盲腸; 這次總統大選的意義, 就某種角度言, 於是就成了要不要在新的體制中 (泛藍國會四分之三/國民黨組閣) 留下一根民進黨的總統盲腸? 還是要顧全新體制的整合, 而一併割掉這根盲腸?

謝 長廷說,他要以「小總統」, 實踐「大使命」; 又說, 要以「消極總統」來「制衡」國民黨的內閣與國會。 這種災難性的場景, 恐怕有違政治生理; 但在八次修憲以致毀憲後, 若果真發生盲腸作祟為患的情事, 必會演成憲政危機。 用「總統」來「制衡」內閣及國會, 請問這是根據中華民國憲法的哪一條規定? 即使法國的「第五共和制」中, 也是以「行政權換軌制」來節制「雙首長」的界際; 但是,我們的現行憲法卻全無此類規範, 以致一場憲政災難正在眼前醞釀。 在一月十二日, 台灣已經跨入「第二次政黨輪替」的門檻, 但難道內閣及國會要「第二次政黨輪替」, 卻只有總統「不輪替」?

修憲已經誤設了災難陷阱, 無人可以補救; 現在要由手中握有選票的選民, 來決定台灣要不要跳進這個 「小總統/大制衡」的火坑?

台 灣在解嚴後的二十年來, 一步步穿過杭廷頓所預言的道路, 曾經發生了「第一次政黨輪替」, 也曾經發生了新政權全面徹底地背叛了民主法治與台灣價值, 如今果然也跨入了「第二次政黨輪替」的新境……。 然而,杭廷頓始料未及的是: 台灣的修憲者在憲政中挖了一個 「國會大輪替/總統不輪替」及 「總統/內閣/國會/權責不明」的大火坑。 這將是「鞏固民主」, 或是「憲政災難」?

陳水扁有一句政治名言: 「阿嘸就算我好運,我就是當選了,嘸你嘜安吶?」 這是賭徒的口氣, 絕無一絲一毫的責任意識; 這也是將選舉全部歸諸技巧與手氣, 而無一絲一毫的憲政關懷。 現在,謝長廷也正在等待他的「好運」, 嘸你嘜安吶?

此情此景, 杭廷頓恐亦無言以對。

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The DPP's Plight, the Fruit of DPP Obstinacy

The DPP's Plight, the Fruit of DPP Obstinacy
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 18, 2008

Over the past two or three weeks, political rallies sponsored by the Hsieh campaign have invoked the term "adversity." Two weeks ago the theme was "Marching against a Headwind [adverse wind]." Last week the theme was "Triumphing in the Face of Adversity." That the DPP has been shouting these slogans on its own initiative means the Hsieh/Su camp has indeed found itself mired in adversity. Slogans such as "Triumphing in the Face of Adversity" may indeed raise supporters' morale. But the question the DPP should be asking itself is: Why, after eight years in power, has the DPP found itself in such adverse circumstances? Are the Hsieh/Su campaign's policy prescriptions any better than the policies of the past eight years? Will the public on Taiwan be winners or losers if the DPP "triumphs in the face of adversity?"

Why have the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's election prospects taken such a downturn? In its search for the underlying cause, the media has arrived at two conclusions: One. An endless string of corruption scandals involving high officials of ruling regime have left an extremely negative impression on the public. Two. The cross-straits embargo has driven Taiwan companies from the island and left the island's economy in a deep depression. Take this newspaper's recent reports on Asian economies. Taiwan ranked next to last in average real wage growth rates last year. According to the overall economic data, Taiwan has experienced a serious shortage of domestic demand in recent years. GDP growth has been driven solely by exports. If we exclude outsourcing contracts to the Chinese mainland, the sole beneficiaries of these exports are managers of high-tech and high-end component manufacturing firms. The ruling DPP refuses to have business contacts with mainland China. The movement of passengers and freight is obstructed. Capital investment on the mainland is forbidden. The high growth, low wage market opportunities that the Chinese mainland offers have all been snatched up by others. The Green Camp may have global plans for Taiwan, but its rejection of the Chinese mainland is its biggest blind spot. This blind spot is not an opposition party invention. The American Chamber of Commerce and the European Chamber of Commerce have repeatedly made the same point to the Chen regime, to absolutely no effect.

The DPP hopes for a "Reversal of Fortune." Logically speaking it ought to reverse its strategy of ignoring the mainland Chinese market. After all, this strategy landed the island in its current economic depression and the DPP in it current political dilemma. Alas, all evidence suggests it hasn't changed its thinking one iota. Over the past two weeks, the Hsieh/Su campaign has relentlessly denounced the Ma/Siew campaign's "Cross-Strait Common Market." The Hsieh/Su campaign consistently paints any sort of cross-strait common market as the immediate exchange of labour, as immediate acceptance of professional certification, as the crowding out of local labor, as the equivalent of local unemployment. Such simplistic distortions totally ignore the reality of the European Common Market. They are part of the DPP's illiberal, anti-market, mentality. They are the reason no one can detect the slightest change in the DPP's position.

Readers who understand the EU know that the EU's employment laws and regulations are quite lenient. The free movement of labor between EU member states is subject to the consent of the respective national legislatures. In 2004 older EU member states allowed the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, to join the European Union. They arranged a seven year buffer period for the opening of labour. If at the end of that seven year period, member nations still feared disruptions to their home markets, they retained the right to postpone any opening. The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Sweden are EU member nations which imposed no conditions whatsoever upon the free movement of labour. As of 2006 these three nations' migrant worker populations were 0.4%, 4%, 1. 9%, and 1%. As we can see, it is something of a stretch to claim that open labour markets amount to local labour unemployment. Besides, even if Taiwan and the mainland were to move toward a Common Market they would still have to undergo two protracted stages: a customs union and a Free Trade Area. These would take 20 years at least. The Hsieh camp has taken a cross-straits labor crisis that might arise only 20 years later, and painted it as the greatest unemployment crisis ever to confront Taiwan. This is a gross distortion and represents the DPP's same, obdurate "Just Say No" policy of the past eight years.

Secondly, just because European universities recognize each others' academic credentials does not mean these nations are going to forsake domestic employment regulations. Czech medical school graduates might pass physician's licensing examinations in Germany, but in the end they may not go to Germany and become physicians. They must wait until Germany's employment policies are liberalized. Conversely, if in order to ensure full domestic employment, one refuses to recognize high quality academic credentials, should Singapore refuse to recognize Beijing University academic credentials? Should Hong Kong refuse to recognize the academic credentials of American universities? The Hsieh/Su camp's attitude toward mainland academic credentials is so reactionary and distorted, one really has to wonder what if anything has changed in the DPP's cross-strait policy?

Cross-strait relations is an important and sensitive subject. Politicians must not approach cross-strait relations with ideological biases or wishful thinking. Cross-strait relations and exchanges must not be defined simplistically, demonized, or turned into objects of terror. If we ignore the practical experience of Europe, if we tell people that opening cross-strait exchanges will leave barbers and other professionals unemployed, then we are treating voters like fools. To demonize business exchanges in this manner is not merely "opposition to a One-China market." It is opposition to market freedom per se.

DPP leaders often say it is acceptable for the DPP to lose, but "Taiwan must not lose." We agree one hundred and ten percent. We hope that four years from today, no matter which party is in office, it will no longer find itself in mired in similar adversity. Eight years of adversity is enough.

中時電子報 中國時報  








Monday, March 17, 2008

A Watershed Decision: Forward or Reverse?

A Watershed Decision: Forward or Reverse?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 17, 2008

This was the last weekend before election day. In a contest of popularity and momentum, the entire island was abuzz with the sights and sounds of political mobilization. One side issued a call for "A Million High Fives, a Reversal of Fortune." The other side declared "Taiwan must Move Forward," hoping to counter a potential reversal of fortune for the DPP by moving the KMT forward. Four KMT legislators miscalculated. They paid an abortive visit to Frank Hsieh's election headquarters, giving Green Camp morale a significant boost. But the controversy also heightened a sense of crisis in the Blue Camp. The public was thought to be cooler to this election than any in recent memory. But in its final stages, voter sentiment has heated up. Less than a week remains. Republic of China voters will have to choose between moving forward or going back. Everything hinges on who will be able to move ROC voters this week.

To tell the truth, this is a very ugly election. Green Card allegations and other forms of muckraking dominated the first half. A controversy over a Cross-Strait Common Market dominates the second half. On the surface it is a debate over public policy. In fact it is a battle over reunfication vs. independence, in the guise of a debate over a "One-China Market." Frank Hsieh pays lip service to "reconciliation and coexistence." But the very manner in which he wages his campaign reveals he has no intention of reconciling, and has no desire to coexist. Ma Ying-jeou wants to talk about policy, about assuming responsibility. But he can't even assume responsibility for blunders committed by four legislators within his own camp. In other words, most of the time, this is an election that has totally lost its focus. In the end, the rival platforms have been reduced to "moving forward" or a "reversal of fortune." The election long ceased to be about the future of the country, and became about feelgood slogans.

Fine. Let's talk about feelings. Why should we choose the Green Camp's "Reversal of Fortune?" Why should we believe that the Blue Camp will necessarily be able to "move [Taiwan] forward?" We hate to say it, but such feelings cannot be based on hearsay evidence about green cards, or scare tactics about a "One China Market." Still less can they be about four KMT legislators who blundered by dropping in on Hsieh's campaign headquarters. What will happen to Taiwan if the Green Camp enjoys a "reversal of fortune?" What will happen to Taiwan if the Blue Camp succeeds in "moving forward?"

The theme of yesterday's Green Camp march was a "Reversal of [the DPP's] Fortune." No mention was made of reconciliation and coexistence. Instead, the Green camp reverted to form, harping on reunification vs. independence. Its only answer to the issue of economics was to "Say No to a One China Market" and to reiterate its "UN for Taiwan" [sic] demand, as an expression of its "Opposition to Chinese Hegemony." This was an appeal to hardcore Deep Green supporters. If Hsieh hopes win the presidency by relying on support from this segment of the political spectrum, it is hard to imagine him opening up cross-Straits exchanges. Remember the political momentum behind Chen Shui-bian in 2000? Even he was taken hostage by the Deep Greens. If Frank Hsieh wins the presidency by relying on this segment, he will be retracing Chen Shui-bian's footsteps.

Even more bizarre is Hsieh's interpretation of "checks and balances" and "one-party dominance." These, along with his "Save Taiwan, Save Democracy," appeal, form a bizarre jigsaw puzzle. Has any political party hoping to to assume power ever wanted "checks and balances?" Yes, the KMT is dominant within the Legislative Yuan. But its dominance is not the dominance it enjoyed under martial law, when new elections were postponed indefinitely. Its dominance is the direct result of ROC voters casting their ballots and making their choices. The question the DPP should be asking itself is why ROC voters have punished it by reducing it to the minor party it is today. What right does it have to disrespect the voters' decision? What right does it have to spin its contempt for the people's decision as some sort of noble effort to "Save Democracy?"

Suppose the DPP is allowed to enjoy a "Reversal of Fortune," just so Frank Hsieh can "check and balance" so-called "one-party dominance." How will the result differ from what we have now? When the KMT had even less control over the legislature, we endured an eight year long running battle between a Chen presidency and an opposition legislature. Would a Hsieh presidency, conducting another running battle with an ostensibly more dominant KMT, really result in "checks and balances?" If the DPP is allowed to enjoy a "Reversal of Fortune," then our eight year ordeal will be extended for at least another four years. Are ROC voters really that stupid? The Hsieh camp knows how to wage an election campaign. But will a shrewd campaign really capture the hearts and minds of ROC voters?

The Blue camp's "Taiwan must move Forward" campaign is reeling from the Green camp's "One China Market" spin control. The four KMT legislators who visited Hsieh campaign headquarters also lent a superficial plausibility to allegations of "one-party dominance." As Ma Ying-jeou marches forward, he must remain vigilant.

The Green Camp's demonization of a "One China Market" consists of nothing but malicious distortions. But why are so many people so quick to believe it? The four KMT legislators' visit to Hsieh headquarters was hardly a crime. So why has it had such an impact? Why did Ma Ying-jeou feel compelled to apologize at least seven times? One must never underestimate ROC voters' concerns. Any emotions that can be manipulated must never be underestimated.

Less than a week remains. The last round of political debates have ended. Polls may no longer be published. Over the past few days the Blue and Green camps have been attempting to win the hearts of voters. Do the voters wish to go forward or go back? The hearts of the voters already contain the answer.










Thursday, March 13, 2008

Will Losing Power induce the DPP to Change?

Will Losing Power induce the DPP to Change?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 13, 2008

Which presidential candidate, if elected, would bring greater disaster upon Taiwan? This is a question Frank Hsieh posed recently.

Frank Hsieh already has his own answer. He said that Ma Ying-jeou's election would precipitate "vicious struggles between pro-Ma and anti-Ma forces," similar to the pro-Chen and anti-Chen struggles over the past eight years. Taiwan would then remain mired in chaos. How convincing is Frank Hsieh's answer? That's up to the voters to decide. What's disturbing however, is the way Hsieh framed the question.

When people elect a president, what ought to matter is who can offer a brighter future for the nation and society, who can bring the people greater happiness. Many people are suffering as a result of the DPP's past eight years in office. Frank Hsieh failed to put forth a convincing blueprint for governing the nation. Instead he resorted to intimidation. In essence he issued a veiled threat that if the DPP lost the election, it had the ability to make plenty of trouble. Frank Hsieh predicted that if Ma Ying-jeou was elected, the DPP would launch a wholesale anti-Ma struggle movement, and not give Taiwan a minute of peace.

The term "vicious struggles" aptly describes the chaos on Taiwan over the past eight years. But for Frank Hsieh to promise vicious struggles in Taiwan's future, is something the people of Taiwan may have difficulty accepting. Frank Hsieh expressed no remorse for the vicious struggles engendered by DPP minority rule over the past eight years. Instead, he predicted that if he lost the election, the DPP would take to the streets, and partisan political struggles would become even more vicious. He was not intimidating the KMT. He was intimidating the people of Taiwan. Such rhetoric is truly chilling.

Frank Hsieh's proposition is: Give me power, and I will give you peace. Deny me power, and I will turn your world upside down. The most frightening aspect of Hsieh's "vicious struggle thesis" is that Hsieh sees politics as a struggle -- a vicious struggle. He utterly ignores the fact that politics ought to be about responsible governance and constructive achievements. This is not just a problem with Frank Hsieh. This is the most frightening characteristic of the DPP. Over the past eight years, the entire DPP has become addicted to waging vicious struggles against the political opposition. It has totally forgotten its solemn obligation to serve the people.

Frank Hsieh's "prophecy of defeat" has left many voters in a quandary. If Hsieh is elected, and this "Little President" attempts to fulfill his "Great Mission," he will precipitate vicious struggles. If Hsieh is not elected, he has threatened to take to the streets. The result will again be vicious struggles. These are the horns of the voters' dilemma.

If Frank Hsieh is elected president, we can anticipate vicious struggles. First. If Frank Hsieh is elected, it will amount to an endorsement of the DPP's conduct over the past eight years. Second. The Blue camp has a majority in the Legislative Yuan. An opposition majority in the legislature will merely intensify the Blue vs. Green struggle. If Hsieh is elected, these are the conditions that will prevail. What horrifies voters is Frank Hsieh's prediction that if he loses, voters can expect vicious struggles.

From Hsieh's prophecy we can conclude that whether there will be "vicious struggles" has nothing to do with whether Hsieh loses his bid for the presidency. Chen Shui-bian won his presidential bid. He has been in power for eight years. Vicious struggles have gone on for eight years. If Frank Hsieh is elected, vicious struggles will be even harder to avoid. Hsieh predicts that if he is not elected, there will be vicious struggles. Are we to understand that as long as the Democratic Progressive Party remains in existence, the people can look forward to nothing but vicious struggles?

If Frank Hsieh is elected, the nation will face divided government and vicious struggles. If Frank Hsieh is not elected, the DPP has promised to take to the streets and engage in vicious struggles. But there are struggles and then there are struggles. Ever since the DPP assumed power, it has abused the power of the state waging vicious struggles and engaging in rampant corruption. Over the past eight years, Taiwan has been bathed in blood and drowned in tears. If the DPP loses and is relegated to the status of an opposition party, the most harm it can do is behave like a "small-scale leftist movement" (Frank Hsieh's term) and engage in "street battles." Therefore the voters have a choice between two evils: a ruling DPP abusing state power, waging vicious struggles and engaging in rampant corruption, or an opposition DPP relegated to the status of a small scale leftist movement, provoking sporadic street battles.

Hsieh served once as premier and twice as DPP chairman. Yet today he appears willing to draw a sharp line in the sand between himself and the DPP. He even referred to himself as one of the Chen Shui-bian regime's victims. Hsieh predicted that if Ma Ying-jeou was elected, there would be endless, vicious struggles. In other words, Hsieh was promising that if he wasn't elected, there would be endless vicious struggles. This is something that reasonable members of the electorate simply cannot comprehend.

Even more baffling is Hsieh's perception of elections as "da jiang shan" (conquering rivers and mountains), i.e., founding a new dynastic order. Frank Hsieh's "prophecy of vicious post-election street battles" is an open admission. If the DPP loses the election, if it loses power, it has no intention of engaging in self-introspection. Instead it intends to engage in vicious struggles to the bitter end. What is this, if not "jiang shan yi gai, ben xing nan yi?" (Rivers and mountains are easier to change than an individual's nature."

Many people are curious. They want to know whether losing the mountains and rivers (losing power) will compel the DPP to change its nature, even one iota.

2008.03.13 03:23 am













Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Little President, A Great Divide

A Little President, A Great Divide
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 12, 2008

Frank Hsieh has declared that he has a "Great Mission" to fulfill. He has also promised that if elected he will be a "Little President" or a "Passive President." Will he really?

The KMT has won over two-thirds of the seats in the Legislative Yuan. The Blue camp has won over three-quarters of the seats. This presents Frank Hsieh's presidential campaign with a dilemma. On the one hand, he must maintain a low profile, insisting that he would "relinquish executive power" and be a "Passive President." Otherwise, voters will be afraid that he will make trouble and not vote for him. On the other hand, he must maintain a high profile, stressing the "checks and balances" he would provide as a "Defender of Taiwan," as a man with a "Great Mission." He must underscore his irreconcilable differences with Ma Ying-jeou on major political issues. He must rattle the cages to win voter support.

A "Passive President" and "Aggressive Checks and Balances" are mutually contradictory, as are a "Little President" and a "Grand Mission." No matter how you look at it, if Frank Hsieh is elected he will not be either a "Little President" or a "Passive President." He will not allow the KMT to form a cabinet. He, like Chen Shui-bian before him, will insist on forming a DPP-led "minority government."

First. If Hsieh is elected, and the voter turnout is over 50%, the result will be spun as a "New Mandate." The DPP will argue that "checks and balances" are the supreme value. The DPP will argue that the public wants President Hsieh to "check and balance" the KMT's "Old Mandate" and destroy the KMT's "One Party Monopoly." Second. If Hsieh is elected, the DPP will assert that the public expects the DPP to "Defend Taiwan" and to "Rectify Names and Author a New Constitution." If President Hsieh does not wield executive power, how will he fulfill his "Grand Mission?" Third. If President Hsieh permits the KMT to form a Cabinet, that amounts to turning over the nation's political resources, including official positions and control of the state coffers, over to the KMT. How can the DPP, which demands its share of the booty, possibly tolerate or consent to this? Fourth. The Constitution stipulates that the president has the power to appoint the premier, without the consent of the legislature. If a President Hsieh were to insist that the Green Camp form a minority government, he would merely be complying with the constition. Fifth. Most important of all, Frank Hsieh is adept at political intrigue. He is highly combative. He is simply not the passive type. If over 50 per cent of the "New Mandate" makes him president, he simply will not allow the KMT to control the executive branch of government.

Frank Hsieh may promise to "relinquish executive power" and be a "Passive President" now. But once elected, he simply would not allow the KMT to form a cabinet. He simply would not be content to remain a "Little President." What Hsieh has in mind is a: Hsieh presidency + Pan Green cabinet + minority government + Kuomintang majority in the legislature + Pan Green supporters exerting political pressure by demonstrating in the streets.

The most likely political scenario at the moment is: Frank Hsieh's minority government will form a tag team with Pan Green demonstrators in the streets. Together they will conduct coordinated pincers attacks against the KMT and the Pan Blue majority legislature. They will attempt to coerce or induce a KMT/Pan Blue camp collapse. If President Hsieh permits the KMT to form a cabinet, how can he possibly "deconstruct" it?

After Frank Hsieh declared that he would be a "Passive President," he escalated his confrontation with the Blue camp. He adopted positions diametrically opposed to the Blue camp on virtually every issue. He floated a new slogan: "A Little President cannot shoulder Great Responsibilities." The prospect of Hsieh allowing the KMT to form a cabinet immediately took a major hit. After all, if Hsieh hands executive power over to the KMT, how can President Hsieh obstruct the KMT's "Twelve Pro-Taiwan Construction Projects?" How can he promote his "Prompt Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution?"

If Frank Hsieh is elected president, it won't matter whether he allows the KMT to form a cabinet. His election will inevitably lead to a "Great Schism" within the nation and society. If the KMT is allowed to form a cabinet, the result would be divided government with a Frank Hsieh presidency, a KMT Cabinet, and a KMT legislature. If the KMT is not allowed to form a cabinet, the result would be divided government with a Frank Hsieh presidency, minority government, and a KMT legislature. Hsieh's personal character and the DPP's party character mean there is no chance the Kuomintang will be allowed to form a cabinet. When the time comes, the DPP will do everything possible to destroy the three-fourths majority that the Blue camp enjoys within the legislature. It will stop at nothing to rip society apart. Taiwan will be relegated to political hell.

Frank Hsieh will not be content to remain a "Passive President." The DPP will not allow him to remain a "Little President." If Hsieh is elected, Taiwan will suffer the inevitable consequences.

A Little President? No chance. A Great Divide? Count on it.

豈有小總統? 台灣大撕裂!
2008.03.12 03:32 am











Tuesday, March 11, 2008

When You Win, Win with Grace. When You Lose, Lose with Style!

When You Win, Win with Grace. When You Lose, Lose with Style!
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 11, 2008

When you win, win with grace. When you lose, lose with style. At least one Blue camp leader and one Green camp leader have made the above point. In each case, their emphasis was on the word "lose." Just before the court handed down its ruling on the Kaohsiung Mayoral Election lawsuit, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said politicians may lose, but they must not be sore losers. Beautifully put. So beautifully put some people wondered if Chen Chu knew the court's ruling in advance. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu of the Kuomintang made the same remark when he criticized politicians for dirty tricks. He said, "When you win, win with grace. When you lose, lose with style."

During the upcoming Presidential Election, both sides are determined to win. So why has "losing" become a topic? It is not because the Blue camp has maintained its lead over the Green camp in the polls. It is because the DPP has made a series of radical policy shifts, and the Hsieh camp has resorted to a string of desperate election tactics. Some of these tactics are so underhanded they don't even deserve to be called "tactics." Not just political observers, but even the man in the street have begun to sense an atmosphere of desperation within the Green camp.

Since the odor of defeat is beginning to permeate the atmosphere, why not think about how to lose gracefully?

The notion that Hsieh may lose is not the result of any such intimations from the Blue camp. It is the result of anxiety and confusion within the Green Camp. The most recent example was Lo Wen-chia's remark: "The DPP lost [the Legislative Election] on January 12, 2000. It cannot win [the Presidential Election] on March 22. The DPP's next opportunity will be four years from now."

But Lo Wen-chia's words were the lamentations of DPP renegade. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party is preparing for battle. It is counting on its monopoly over government resources. Its behavior is so erratic, it obviously no longer cares about its image. On the one hand is frantically trading "Benefits of the Week" for votes, including amnesty for Taiwan businessmen and relaxed ceilings for mainland investments. It is even accelerating the adoption of controversial development plans. Aside from currying favor with targeted voters, the DPP can offer no logical explanation for repudiating the policies it has clung to for the past eight years. Nor can it offer any assurances that it will deliver on its promises. The DPP's behavior smacks of sheer desperation.

Serious charges have been leveled against the DPP, the most serious of which involve a string of scandals. The DPP is suspected of emptying out the nation's coffers. First, the Chen regime ordered the Ministry of Defense to invest in Taiwan Goal, a "private sector company" in which the government owns less than half the shares. Next, it allowed the Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp (SSAC) to acquire vast amounts of government assets at fire sale prices. Next, it allowed assets to be diverted from the Grand Hotel. Recently more cases have been uncovered in which certain individuals have been acting as "middlemen" for overseas investments. The specifics may differ, but all involve the transfer of wealth out of the state treasury into the pockets of shadowy figures. These companies were less than 50% government-owned. The ruling DPP relied on this loophole to fend off legislative oversight, even though the government was paying through the nose. What happened next was even more unspeakable. Witnessing the DPP's frantic efforts to empty the state coffers, one thinks of rats deserting a sinking ship, and stealing everything not bolted down in the process.

The strangest thing about all this is not the corruption. Corruption has long been a trademark of the Chen Shui-bian regime. What boggles the mind is the frantic "take the money and run" mood -- the air of impending doom. The DPP senses it will soon have to step down, and isn't bothering to pretend otherwise. The Chen Shui-bian regime isn't bothering to wage an election campaign. Instead, it is accelerating the rate at which it is emptying out the state coffers. It is, for all intents and purposes, conducting an "anti-campaign." Hsieh's campaign, meanwhile, has become more and more ridiculous. Hsieh began by advocating "reconciliation and coexistence," and by rejecting negative campaigning. But now he is attacking his opponent's daughter for attending a private school, and accusing his opponent's wife of stealing newspapers. He even trotted out fringe supporters willing to publicly slander Ma's family. These supporters included one "Professor Chang," who appeared with his face covered, and one "Mr. X," who appeared with a paper bag over his head. Even the Hsieh camp was embarrassed by such tactics. His campaign committee denied all responsibility and accused the Ma camp of authoring the tabloid smear stories and CDs on its own. The Green camp's dirty tricks have misfired badly. Could this be because the writing is already on the wall?

Hu said losers should lose gracefully. Admittedly he said this because KMT candidates were being smeared and his blood was up. Chen Chu, confident she would win the election lawsuit, held forth about "not being sore losers." Wasn't the idea to set higher standards for future elections? Wasn't everyone hoping that a mayoral candidate who won by a mere 1,000 votes would behave a little more graciously?

Political figures can't always expect to win and never lose. Naturally one celebrates when one has won. But suppose one loses? How does one lose with style? For that matter, how does one sow the seeds of a future victory? That is something worth thinking about.

If the DPP wins this battle, will it win with grace? Conversely, if it loses this battle, shouldn't the DPP give some thought to Lo Wen-chia's observation: "The DPP's next opportunity will be four years from now?"

2008.03.11 02:09 am