Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yang Chiu-hsing: Forcing the DPP to Engage in Soul-Searching

Yang Chiu-hsing: Forcing the DPP to Engage in Soul-SearchingUnited Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
August 10, 2010

Yang Chiu-hsing has resigned from the Democratic Progressive Party and is running for Kaohsiung Mayor as an independent. His move has forced the DPP to engage in soul-searching. It has led to changes in the DPP's party style and party line. He said, "We have chosen the way of the majority," and "We are taking the path of moderation." What he meant was that the DPP has turned its back on the majority and gone down the wrong path. The current round of self-reflection and debate will intensify as election fever increases. These developments can be evaluated from three different perspectives.

One. Election fairness. Yang Chiu-hsing felt the party primary process was unfair. He felt wronged and unable to get fair treatment. Two. Governing ability. He said he watched as Kaohsiung declined, and that left him deeply concerned. Three. The nation's future. He expressed conditional support for ECFA. He declared that he would take the middle path.

Consider the issue of election fairness. The major dispute between Yang Chiu-hsing and Chen Chu during the party primaries was billboards. Chen Chu was unhappy with billboards criticizing high unemployment in Kaohsiung. Yang Chiu-hsing said Chen Chu blamed him for billboards attacking her posted by Li Cheng-hsien. A review of the 2006 Kaohsiung Mayoral Election may be instructive. Chen Chu's campaign committee held a "per diem press conference," which led to a narrow 1114 vote victory over Huang Chun-ying. A first instance court ruled Chen Chu's election invalid. A second instance court ruled that Chen Chu's tactics were "controversial, but not coercive" and ruled in her favor. The ruling was controversial. Many observers considered Chen Chu's campaign tactics underhanded trickery. One has to ask, was Chen Chu "fair" to Huang Chun-ying? Was Chen Chu's victory "legitimate?"

The fact is, incidents of DPP dirty tricks during election season are too numerous to list. The DPP has been a major contributor to corrupt election practices on Taiwan. The 3/19 Shooting Incident in 2004 was so outrageous it shocked the world. Had Yang Chiu-hsing not lashed back so vehemently at such "trivia," who would have known the DPP primary process had become so unfair as to be intolerable?

Consider governing ability. Compare Yang Chiu and Chen Chu. Yang is more reliable. Chen is more agile. Yang's political achievements have been lauded repeatedly. They are not a matter of luck. He has been honored as a "five star" county chief four times. That is the result of dedication. It is especially noteworthy given that Kaohsiung County has far fewer resources than Kaohsiung City. Yang's governing ability is superior to Chen Chu's in many ways. But Chen Chu hitched a ride on the World Games. She demagogued visits by the Dalai Lama and Rebiyah Kadeer. As a result, her momentum surged. Yang Chiu-hsing kept his nose to the grindstone for nine long years. How do you think he felt? Those who sponsor fireworks displays and engage in populist demagoguery win greater public approval than those who keep their noses to the grindstone. Maybe this is why Yang Chiu-hsing was so indignant. Yang Chiu-hsing served as county chief for nine years. Is he really oblivious to the distinction between governing ability and rabble-rousing? By the same token, former blacklistee Hsu Tien-tsai served nine years as Tainan City Mayor. He had to sit tightlipped while Lai Ching-teh was catapulted into the Legislative Yuan. How do you think he felt?

The DPP ruled the central government for eight years via populist demagoguery. Its ability to engage in demagoguery far exceeds its ability to govern. Yang Chiu-hsing quit the party in protest. Do voters understand the difference between holding fireworks displays and demagoguing Rebiyah Kadeer on the one hand, versus governing ability on the other?

Finally, consider the nation's future. One cannot discuss infrastructure construction in Kaohsiung without discussing the nation's future. Kaohsiung was once the engine of the Republic of China economy. But the DPP now insists that Kaohsiung is a victim of policies that "favor the north at the expense of the south." The DPP seems intent on blaming all of Kaohsiung's ills on central government indifference, rather than on catastrophically mistaken local government conceptions about the nation's future. (One has to wonder whether the DPP's blame game includes the Chen administration, which after all, was in power for eight years?) According to international rating organizations, Kaohsiung City is a city in free fall. Its ranking among the top 500 cities of the world has plummeted from 77th place to 227th place. Among cities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, its ranking has fallen from 7th place to 10th place. Kaohsiung Harbor was once the world's third largest port. It is now the 13th. Yet Chen Chu has the chutzpah to speak to Kaohsiung voters about "a sense of joy and a sense of honor." Perhaps Yang Chiu-hsing find it incomprehensible. Perhaps he would like voters to awaken from their dream. He said Kaohsiung's potential is great, and can surely become a second Singapore. He has expressed conditional support for ECFA. He has declared his intention to take the middle road, and the path of moderation. The debate over the nation's future has long been a debate between Blue and Green. Perhaps Yang Chiu-hsing's moves will inspire deep soul-searching within the Green Camp. If so, voters who take part in the five cities elections may just get their money's worth.

As the DPP considers the issue of election fairness, it should reflect on the 3/19 Shooting Incident. As the DPP considers the issue of governing ability, it should reflect on its "eight wasted years." As the DPP considers the issue of the nation's future, it should reflect on how it careened down the road from the "Five Noes" to the "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution," and finally smashed into a brick wall. When the DPP points the finger at Yang Chiu-hsing, it should remember four fingers are pointing at itself.

2010.08.10 01:55 am









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