Taiwan Independence: The Vestigial Tail on the DPP Dog
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 25, 2012
Summary: Following the presidential election, Taiwan independence elements repeatedly said, "We have not ruled founding another party, outside the DPP." But the Taiwan Independence Party has been around for years. So has the the Taiwan Solidarity Union. Clearly founding yet another party will not save the Taiwan independence movement. Therefore the DPP must confront reality. It must shed its vestigial Taiwan independence tail.
Full Text below:
During the Democratic Progressive Party's campaign for the presidency, it became abundantly clear that Taiwan independence is a vestigial tail on the Democratic Progressive Party dog.
The expression "the tail wagging the dog" denotes a subsidiary force so powerful that it influences or even dominates the main force. Taiwan independence was once a powerful tail attached to the DPP dog. It had enough energy to wag the dog. It could be viewed as a case of "the tail wagging the dog." But in recent years conditions have changed dramatically, both inside the nation and around the world. The Taiwan independence tail has atrophied and weakened. It has even become diseased. It no longer has enough energy to wag the dog. It could be viewed as a "vestigial organ." This Taiwan independence tail may not have the ability to wag the dog. Nevertheless it remains an albatross around the party's neck, one the party cannot remove, and one that is taking the party down with it.
The recent DPP party chairman election showed that Taiwan independence forces are neither able to lead the party, nor willing to obey it. For the DPP, they are a dilemma. Su Huan-chih was the first to announce his candidacy for party chairman. Next, Taiwan independence forces backed Wu Rong-i. Su Tseng-chang had yet to declare his candidacy. Taiwan independence elder Yao Chia-wen openly accused Su Tseng-chang of failing to ever mention the term "Taiwan independence." Yao said, "I do not think Su Tseng-chang is sufficiently Taiwan-centric or pro Taiwan independence." He airily branded Su Tseng-chang "Not one of us."
During past party chairman elections, Taiwan independence forces made certain moves. For example, in 2008, Taiwan independence elder Koo Kwan-min challenged Tsai Ing-wen. But he never accused Tsai Ing-wen of being "insufficiently Taiwan-centric or pro Taiwan independence." During the recent election however, Taiwan independence candidates sank to Wu Rong-i's level. If they were merely reminding voters that Taiwan independence candidates were still in the picture, that would have been understandable. But Wu Rong-i and Trong Chai, who had yet to declare his candidacy, had no chance of being elected party chairman. Yet they rudely and loudly accused Su Tseng-chang of "not being sufficiently Taiwan-centric or pro Taiwan independence." What sort of logic was that?
When Yao Chia-wen leveled his accusation, Hsu Hsin-liang had yet to make his move. Soon afterward, Hsu Hsin-liang entered the party chairmanship race. He declared he was "fighting for Tsai Ing-wen's policy path." He said he "supported a second Tsai Ing-wen presidential bid in 2016." This immediately led to the formation of two opposing factions within the DPP. One faction was represented by people such as Julian J. Kuo. Kuo said that Hsu's candidacy "set off two depth charges." One, Hsu linked the party chairmanship election to the 2016 presidential election. Two, Hsu made cross-Strait policy the issue. The other faction was represented by people such as Chin Heng-wei. Chin called Hsu Hsin-liang "dog shit." He accused Hsu of "using" Tsai Ing-wen. He accused Hsu of "using a tiger skin as a banner."
As matters stand, the DPP can expect two heavyweights to run in 2016. But both of these have been repudiated by Taiwan independence forces. Su Tseng-chang has been denounced as "not sufficiently Taiwan-centric or pro Taiwan independence." Many Taiwan independence hardliners hoped that Tsai Ing-wen would make another run at the presidency in 2016. But they see Hsu Hsin-liang using Tsai Ing-wen as his proxy. They hate Hsu Hsin-liang's cross-Strait policy leanings. Therefore they would rather withdraw their support for Tsai Ing-wen, smear Su Tseng-chang, and block Tsai Ing-wen. The Taiwan independence forces' bark is worse than its bite. Just exactly what role will it play in the party chairmanship election?
Taiwan independence is impossible. But consider the political views of the two Taiwan independence candidates for party chairman. Wu Rong-i advocates a "refounding of the party." Trong Chai advocates "redoubling efforts to lobby the U.S." and "the addition of a party vice chairman." Why don't the two candidates advocate Taiwan independence? Yao Chia-wen blasted Su Tseng-chang for failing to mention the term "Taiwan independence." But according to Yao, the party chairman has three functions: "party reform, resistance to the Ma administration's tilt toward [Mainland] China, and dealing with Ah-Bian." Lo and behold, he made no mention whatsoever of "Taiwan independence."
In the past, the DPP openly proclaimed its support for Taiwan independence. But it never bothered to consult the general public. It never resolved the problems surrounding Taiwan independence. Today, however, the problem is Taiwan independence elements who dare not declare their support for Taiwan independence. They resort to euphemisms such as "one country on each side." Or they resort to backdoor listing, such as the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." Taiwan independence elements are afraid to mention the term "Taiwan independence." This makes the problems surrounding Taiwan independence even more difficult to resolve. Taiwan independence elements accuse Su Tseng-chang of "not being sufficiently Taiwan-centric or pro Taiwan independence." But Taiwan independence candidates themselves categorically refuse to mention the term "Taiwan independence." What is this, except self-deception?
Taiwan independence elements are guilty of two blunders. One. They inextricably linked Taiwan independence to a convicted embezzler -- Chen Shui-bian. They equated "Taiwan independence" with "Save Ah-Bian." But for most people on Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian was an unending nightmare. Two. Taiwan independence elements have reached an impasse. But they refuse to allow the DPP to take an alternate path. Is Su Tseng-chang really not pro Taiwan independence? Is Tsai Ing-wen really revisionist? The two represent the DPP's only chance of survival. Yet Taiwan independence hardliners persist in smearing Su Tseng-chang and blocking Tsai Ing-wen. Are we to understand that Wu Rong-i, Trong Chai, or Su Huan-chih will save the DPP?
Following the presidential election, Taiwan independence elements repeatedly said, "We have not ruled founding another party, outside the DPP." But the Taiwan Independence Party has been around for years. So has the the Taiwan Solidarity Union. Clearly founding yet another party will not save the Taiwan independence movement. Today, Taiwan independence elements within the DPP grow weaker by the day. The stinger on a scorpion's tail may be small. But it can prevent people from becoming friendly with the scorpion. Therefore the DPP must confront reality. Washington, Beijing. and most voters on Taiwan have a problem with the stinger on the scorpion's tail. Therefore the DPP must shed its vestigial Taiwan independence tail.