Thursday, December 24, 2009

To the DPP: End Your Anti-Intellectual Demagoguery

To the DPP: End Your Anti-Intellectual Demagoguery
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
December 24, 2009

As one watches the Democratic Progressive Party's protests against the Chiang/Chen Meeting and ECFA, one gradually realizes how hollow, how anti-intellectual, and how demagogic the DPP's mainland policy really is.
The Democratic Progressive Party has never opposed Mainland China spending tens of billions or even hundreds of billions procuring goods and services from Taiwan. It merely resents the images of Mainland procurement teams being given the red carpet treatment by "native Taiwanese" industrialists. What kind of head in the sand attitude is this? Does the DPP expect Mainland Chinese businesses to procure goods and services from Taiwan anonymously? DPP Secretary-General Su Chia-chuan said he did not object to Chen Yunlin coming to Taiwan for a meeting. But Chen shouldn't "flit back and forth, acting like an overlord." Does that mean if Chen Yunlin doesn't "flit back and forth, acting like an overlord," the Democratic Progressive Party will not oppose the Chiang/Chen Meeting?

Everyone is wondering just exactly what is it the Democratic Progressive Party opposes? The four Chiang/Chen Meetings have led to the signing of 12 agreements. They include direct flights, Mainland tourists coming to Taiwan, mutual legal assistance, food safety, agricultural quarantines, cooperation in labor affairs for the fishing industry, and cooperation in standards certification. One seldom hears the Democratic Progressive Party say no to these. Is the DPP not opposed to the 12 agreements reached during the Chiang/Chen Meetings? Is it opposed merely to Chen Yunlin fltting back and forth, acting like an overlord? Just exactly what is it the Democratic Progressive Party opposes?

ECFA is no different. For example, ECFA immediately benefits Taiwan businesses on the Mainland by providing them with a 6-9% reduction in tariffs. This puts them on an equal footing with the ASEAN plus Three countries. Has the DPP ever said one word against this? Besides, the Ma administration has repeatedly stressed that it will not increase imports of agricultural products or introduce mainland laborers. How has the DPP responded? On the one hand it insists it has no idea what sort of animal ECFA is, that it doesn't know whether it is round or flat. On the other hand, it is inciting farmers to oppose ECFA. But if the DPP doesn't know whether ECFA is round or flat, why is it demanding a referendum? Believe it or not, the DPP replied, We demand a referendum on ECFA precisely because we don't know whether it is round or flat! Just exactly what is it the Democratic Progressive Party opposes?

The general public may not know the content of the Chiang/Chen Meeting or ECFA. That is to be expected. But to suggest that Tsai Ing-wen and decision-makers within the DPP do not know which 12 agreements reached by the Chiang/Chen Meeting, or the pros and cons of ECFA, is simply disingenuous. It is nothing more than anti-intellectual demagoguery. Tsai Ing-wen and her fellow strategists within the DPP know perfectly well what the Chiang/Chen Meeting and ECFA were about. They have merely chosen to turn them into their political footballs. They have characterized Chen Yunlin as an "overlord." They have characterized support for ECFA as "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." This is simply disingenuous. This is nothing more than anti-intellectual demagoguery.

Why have cross-Strait relations come to this? For two reasons. First, the Taiwan independence movement has reached an impasse. It has nowhere else to go. If the Taiwan region can stand tall as the "Republic of China," then cross-Strait relations will move toward a win-win symbiosis. Secondly, globalization and regional economic organizations such as ASEAN plus Three have established a macro-level trend. Taiwan's competitiveness has been seriously tested. It faces a deadly political and economic crisis. Yet the DPP's political and economic strategy flies in the face of these factors.

First, The DPP continues to trumpet "one country on each side" and "de jure Taiwan independence." Therefore its political leaders' thinking, and its supporters' feelings, require that they reject the Republic of China. This "repudiate the Republic of China to prove one's love of Taiwan" mentality dominates the DPP's mainland policy discourse. That is why the DPP opposes the Chiang/Chen Meeting and ECFA, and is indifferent to whether they are round or flat. Secondly, cross-Strait relations are severely constrained by globalization. As the Ma administration said, the Chiang/Chen Meeting and ECFA are the first building block for Taiwan's globalization. But the DPP's strategy to advocate "ASEAN plus Four" and to sign FTAs with the United States and other countries, while refusing to sign an ECFA with Mainland China. Either that, or to demand that ECFA must be preceded by the signing of an FTA. As a result, the Democratic Progressive Party has found itself caught on the horns of a major dilemma. For the record, such an expectation is reasonable.

Signing ECFA is a way to confront the challenge of globalization. But the DPP considers ECFA a scourge. It may sign FTAs with other countries. But it refuses to sign an ECFA with Mainland China. Moreover, if the Taiwan region becomes part of ASEAN plus Four, it may find it impossible to resist the importation of Southeast Asian agricultural products and laborers. So why isn't the DPP opposed to ASEAN plus Four? Clearly the DPP's actions are actually directed at the Republic of China. That is why it opposes the Chiang/Chen Meeting and ECFA. If the DPP were to view globalization from the perspective of the Republic of China, it would not act the way it has. If the Democratic Progressive Party's cross-Strait policy superstructure is erected on a "Nation of Taiwan" political foundation and an "anti-globalization" political foundation, can it really stand?

Just what is it the Democratic Progressive Party opposes? If it wants to repudiate the Republic of China and champion a "Nation of Taiwan," it should not oppose direct flights and astronomical amounts of Mainland trade and economic procurement. If it is concerned about the plight of disadvantaged economic groups, why doesn't it oppose globalization? Why doesn't it oppose ASEAN plus Four? Just what is it the Democratic Progressive Party opposes?

The Democratic Progressive Party should immediately cease its disingenuous, anti-intellectual demagoguery.

2009.12.24 03:05 am











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