DPP: Domestic Bullying, International Cowardice
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
April 11, 2014
Summary: Just as the student protests against the CSSTA reached he boiling point, the DPP began distributing talking points to concerned departments of the United States government. The DPP was anxious to make clear that it was not totally opposed to the CSSTA, and was willing to seek solutions to the impasse created by the student protests. Wang Jin-pyng however, beat the DPP to the punch. He took credit for ending the student protests. The DPP looked tough on the outside. But it was weak on the inside. It wore two faces. One domestic. One international. People could only shake their heads and sigh.
Full text below:
Just as the student protests against the CSSTA reached he boiling point, the DPP began distributing talking points to concerned departments of the United States government. The DPP was anxious to make clear that it was not totally opposed to the CSSTA, and was willing to seek solutions to the impasse created by the student protests. Wang Jin-pyng however, beat the DPP to the punch. He took credit for ending the student protests. The DPP looked tough on the outside. But it was weak on the inside. It wore two faces. One domestic. One international. People could only shake their heads and sigh.
Consider the DPP's domestic propaganda. Everywhere it painted the CSSTA as evil and ill-intentioned. It even accused Ma Ying-jeou of "helping the CCP infiltrate Taiwan," and of "using the CSSTA to exterminate Taiwan." In short, the CSSTA was depicted as an untouchable toxic substance. Over the past nine months, The DPP has done everything possible to delay passage of the CSSTA in the Legislative Yuan. It forcibly occupied the podium and conducted filibusters expressly to prevent passage of the CSSTA. But as soon as the US accused the DPP of illegal obstructionism, it immediately caved in and insisted that it was not opposed to the CSSTA. The DPP says one thing to foreigners, and something else altogether to citizens back home. Does it think the public on Taiwan is so stupid they can get away with this?
This is the sad reality of Taiwan politics. Politicians hurl baseless allegations all day long. But the public cannot discern the truth. Only when politicians feel the need to pander to a particular party, do they actually speak the truth. Filled with passion, the students held sit-ins. They saw themselves expressing their "love of Taiwan." They imagined themselves on a sacred mission to "defend Taiwan." Who knew they were mere extras in the DPP's political theatrics, and that the campaign had nothing to do with "love of Taiwan?"
Whenever the DPP encounters objections from Uncle Sam, it caves in. When students occupied the legislative hall, Wang Jin-pyng asked the DPP to allow him to convene the legislature. The Green Camp responded. It said the legislative hall was a "sacred space," and vehemently rejected his appeal. But as soon as the United States uttered a few harsh words, then the DPP promptly kowtowed and acquiesced. Such posturing. Such hypocrisy. If the DPP truly considers the legislative hall a "sacred space," why do DPP legislators repeatedly occupy it by force in order to obstruct legislative business? Why when the students occupied the legislative hall, did DPP legislators hold a sit-in, form a human wall, and prevent the police from carrying out their duty? The slang expression, "That's the way a slut behaves!" is apropos.
Once the student movement announced its withdrawal, uncontrolled infighting erupted within the DPP. Some said the party had been marginalized. Some said the legislative process had been bypassed. Some even said "The day when the public abandons us is not far off." The 3/18 student movement may have embarrassed the Ma administration. But the DPP reaped no windfall. Instead, it was forced to repudiate its own policy positions. Those positions are increasingly difficult to justify.
Consider the changes wrought by the protests. The DPP originally hoped to use the student movement to topple Ma and oppose the Blue Camp. It hoped to use the protests to engage in end of year electioneering. It hoped to reap a major windfall. But the student movement eventually took on an hysterical tone as it opposed the Mainland and the CSSTA. This shattered its plan. The DPP has hoped to straddle the fence and muddle its way through. But the student movement dragged the DPP down. Student leaders inspired passionate public support. This expressed itself in dissatisfaction with all political parties and their failures. The DPP assumed it was safe because it stood on the same side as the student movement. Instead it was perceived as part of a "dysfunctional system." It too became an object of condemnation.
The DPP watched as the Ma administration hemmed and hawed indecisively. Needless to say, it wallowed in Schadenfreude. But during the 3/30 protest march, DPP members were asked to put away their party flags and banners, and sit quietly in the audience. The DPP surely realized the situation had been turned on its head, and that the hosts had become the guests. One after another, U.S. officials praised Taiwan's democracy and condemned Green Camp obstructionism. The DPP found itself backed into a corner and forced to justify its behavior. Wang Jin-pyng seized the opportunity to take credit for ending the student protest. The DPP gained almost nothing out of the process. The DPP used every trick in the book. But in the end it was marginalized. Now how sad is that?
The student movement rallied public support from the Youth Corps and civic groups on the Green Camp periphery. One reason was discontent with the Ma administration. But the main reason was the DPP's practice of valuing political trickery more highly than political conviction. The DPP has long considered strategy more important than values. That is why it is often unscrupulous in its means. It is willing to occupy the legislature using brute force, to lock the legislative hall doors, to fling shoes at political opponents, and to engage in open obstructionism. This is why it invariably invokes high-minded rhetoric when justifying its actions. The Green Camp Youth Corps long ago internalized these tricks. Exploiting their status as students, they bulldozed others aside without concern, and declared themselves boss. Some even boasted about forming a student movement based political party. In such an atmosphere, the new generation may be dissatisfied with Blue vs. Green confrontation and the Ma administration. But it is also likely to spurn the DPP.
The DPP hurried explained to the United States government that it was not opposed to the CSSTA. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said, "If the procedures and provisions are legitimate, I support the CSSTA." Four Green Camp mayors chimed in. Currently only Chairman Su Tseng-chang is still demanding that negotiations be restarted from scratch. The students are withdrawing. The situation is changing. Will Green Camp legislators fall in line behind Su Tseng-chang? Will they oppose and obstruct legislative business? If they do, it will amount to domestic bullying and international cowardice. Worse, it will amount to self-deception and deception of others.
2014.04.11 03:45 am