Monday, June 1, 2009

The KMT and DPP: Racing to Beijing?

The KMT and DPP: Racing to Beijing?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
June 1, 2009

Chen Chu's visit to the Mainland has decreased tensions on both Taiwan and the Mainland. But on closer examination, it also conceals potentially chilling risks.

Chen Chu visited the Mainland during the May 17 protest march. The contrast between the two events was extreme. The march protested "Sympathy for [Mainland] China and betrayal of Taiwan." The visit to the Mainland on the other hand, "promoted Kaohsiung." The Democratic Progressive Party tried to conceal its actions. But when the show was over, it was clear that behind the scenes planning had gone on for a long time. Deep Greens were not the only ones who felt deceived. Most people were surprised by the sudden and dramatic change. Clearly the Democratic Progressive Party neither discussed nor sanctioned Chen Chu's visit. Such an earth-shaking event was decided in such a non-transparent manner, and implemented in such a deceitful fashion. Overnight, the political winds changed direction. Overnight, heaven and earth were turned upside down. Is this not terrifying? How can people not shudder?

How hypocritical are these political slogans? Yesterday they denounced "Sympathy for China and betrayal of Taiwan." Today Chen Chu toasts Mainland officials in Beijing. How capricious are these political changes? Yesterday they were diehard advocates of Taiwan independence. Today they stand on the banks of the Huangpu River and declare that "The ends of the world are right next door." They gush over Yangshan Port. They bask in their red carpet treatment. Politics means change. But such metamorphoses and mutations, out of nowhere, leave one stunned. Politics truly is incomprehensible. Politics truly is untrustworthy.

From this day forward, the public on Taiwan must have a new understanding of political change. Suppose some day the KMT and DPP fall over each other in their rush to "promote Taiwan" to Beijing. We will not only have a "KMT/CCP Forum." We will even have a "DPP/CCP Forum." Don't be surprised. Be nervous.

Chen Chu's visit to the Mainland is not an isolated case. The Democratic Progressive Party must account for its actions. If Chen Chu can affirm the Republic of China before the Beijing authorities, what reason does the Democratic Progressive Party have to demand Taiwan independence? If Chen Chu can be wined and dined by Mainland officials in Beijing and Shanghai, what reason does the Democratic Progressive Party have to beseige hotels hosting Mainland officials, and vandalize cars transporting Mainland officials?

The DPP must explain Chen Chu's visit. She cannot mysteriously go and mysteriously return. Prior to Chen Chu's visit, the DPP's official line was the "Wang Ting-yu Standard." Enmity, conflict, denunciations, violence, demands for Taiwan independence, and opposition to "sympathy for China and the betrayal of Taiwan." After Chen Chu's visit to the Mainland, the DPP apparently came up with a new set of "Chen Chu Standards." Peace, friendship, communication, exchanges, a revisionist form of Taiwan independence, and a mutually beneficial, win-win, cross-Strait relationship. This change in standards will change future dynamics within the Democratic Progressive Party. It will change the way the DPP interacts with hardline Deep Green Taiwan independence elements. It will change the way the DPP and the Pan Blue Camp grapple over the issues. It will change the way the Democratic Progressive Party negotiates with Beijing. Does the Democratic Progressive Party have the ability to undergo such a huge change? Can the "Chen Chu Standards" replace the "Wang Ting-yu Standards?" The Mainland authorities have given Chen Chu the red carpet treatment. Does the Democratic Progressive Party still intend to insult officials from Beijing? Chen Chu has proposed cooperation between Kaohsiung Port and Yangshan Port. Does the DPP still intend to boycott cross-Strait joint operation of these ports in the Legislative Yuan?

The DPP is undergoing changes. This is both heartening and worrisome. It is heartening that conflicts on Taiwan can be reduced, and that bipartisan cross-Strait policy can be improved. It is worrisome that the "good cop/bad cop" framework, in which the KMT reconciles with the CPP, while the DPP checks reconciliation with the CPP, may disintegrate. The two parties may compete with each other in their attempt to establish public or private channels with Beijing. Who knew that Chen Chu and the DPP also had "secret envoys" to Beijing, making it even easier for Beijing to manipulate the political situation on Taiwan? This situation has incalculable risks. Chen Chu successfully visited the Mainland, by means of deceitful, non-transparent means. Now that we know politicians can cavalierly betray their own May 17 protest march, what remains of public trust?

The Democratic Progressive Party applauded Chen Chu's performance on the Mainland. The Democratic Progressive Party did not explain the reasons for its change in behavior, before the fact. Nor has it accounted for the impact of its change in behavior, after the fact. The public sees only the Democratic Progressive Party, filled with vanity, competing with the KMT in front of the Mainland authorities. It denies deny betraying its own Deep Green supporters. It refuses to explain its 180 degree about face. If the Democratic Progressive Party cannot explain Chen Chu's visit to the Mainland to its Deep Green supporters and party insiders, how can it gain the trust of mainstream society?

Chen Chu's sudden visit to the Mainland gave the public a surprise. It also left them filled with suspicion and mistrust.

2009.06.01 05:49 am










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