China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 22, 2015
Executive Summary: The first female vs. female presidential election shows that the Republic of China is already an advanced democracy. No matter who is elected, history has already been written. These two exceptional women stand on an historic watershed. Together they can overturn the election culture by waging fresh, clean, substantive election campaigns. They can enable Taiwan and themselves to make history.
Full Text Below:
The 2016 Republic of China presidential election has, to everyone's surprise, turned into a showdown between two women. This once dull campaign has suddenly become exciting. Actually many women on Taiwan have taken part in presidential campaigns, mostly as vice presidential candidates to appeal to women voters. This time it is different. No matter whom one votes for, the president will be a woman.
Tsai Ing-wen, upon seeing Hung Hsiu-chu become the KMT candidate, said "This is not a battle between two women. Expect the creation of a new election culture." Hung Hsiu-chu said "I look forward to this battle between two women. This will give the public a new perspective, create a true model for democracy." The two female candidates hope that as women they can change the election culture. They hope they can overturn the tradition of personal attacks, disinformation, and smears. This corrupt election culture has already undermined social harmony and mutual trust, We hope these two women can bring about change.
Unfortunately, over the past two days the media and cyber armies have launched mud-slinging campaigns against rival candidates. Their conduct is indistinguishable from campaigns of the past, perhaps even worse, and include the following dirty tricks.
Aspersions upon the candidate's family origins. The candidates kin may not be running for office, but unfortunately they are collateral damage. The corpses of the candidates' ancestors may even be "exhumed for whipping". The Tsai family's wealth has been exaggerated. The family has been accused of profiting from its connections with the Mainland authorities. Hung Hsiu-chu's family is a victim of the white terror. Yet her father has been accused of being a informant, a phony victim. The presidential campaign has already sunk to the level of attacking the candidates' ancestors. Can we still call ourselves a civilized society?
Red-baiting. Hung Hsiu-chu is a so-called "second-generation Mainlander" McCarthyite attacks against her are a simple matter. They are also highly effective. The green camp is attacking Hung Hsiu-chu's declaration about winning the approval of 1.3 billion Chinese. It is spinning the campaign as one between a "president of Taiwan" and an "Agent of China". The blue camp has also resorted to scare tactics. It has revealed that the Hai Pa Wang seafood restaurant chain has invested a fortune in mainland China over the past 19 years. The immensely powerful Hai Pa Wang is a Tsai family business. Tsai Ing-wen "excoriates others for pandering to China and selling out Taiwan, even as she enriches herself from business dealings with the Chinese authorities". An angry Tsai has sued for slander. Red-baiting is like the Flying Guillotine. Every election it reappears and mows down everyone in its path. Red-baiting is essentially the incitement of so-called "ethnic" hatred. If effective, Ma Ying-jeou would never have been elected even once. Yet he was elected mayor twice and president twice. Clearly Taiwan has long ago transcended "ethnic" hatred. Yet politicians who lack confidence cling to it with a death grip.
Incitement of class warfare. Last year's Taipei mayoral election was a battle between wealthy political elites on one side, and the common man on the other. As a result, Sean Lien was humiliated. Now however, we have come full circle. The blue camp has set the tone for the presidential campaign: Rich girl vs. poor girl. The wealthiest candidate in history, vs. the poorest candidate in history. The green camp is wondering how it will cope. Calls to draft miner's son Lai Ching-teh are growing louder.
This election on Taiwan is about provincial origin, gender, class, and financial status. The poorer the candidate the better. This is truly unheard of.
Scandal mongering. Both female candidates are single and never married. Needless to say, the scandal sheets and cyber armies are licking their lips and rubbing their hands. The candidates' old classmates, friends, and neighbors have all emerged from the woodwork, each with their own story to tell. The media pieces it all together. Gossip mongers on evening talk shows parade past one another, full of innuendo. If they can find nothing good to say, they make a fuss over the candidate's sexual orientation. Even Ma Ying-jeou could not escape such rumor-mongering. How can the media and the cyber armies possibly spare these two women?
With every election, the candidates invariably promise clean campaigns. But elections on Taiwan have yet to undergo the slightest change. Since both candidates have pledged to wage lady-like campaigns, they must make a sincere effort. They must restrain their supporters. They must enjoin them not to cross the above four red lines. If they do, the candidates must immediately declare "I disagree with this approach." They must reprimand their supporters and apologize. They must not do one thing in public and another thing in private. They must not "beat their dogs in public, but praise them in private". The voters will see through such ploys.
The key to election reform on Taiwan is the media. The media has the freedom to report the facts. But it does not have the freedom to fabricate them. The media has the right to take positions. But it does not have the right to ignore the truth. To prevent he media from sowing chaos throughout the campaign, voters have two means. The most effective is to deny them one's vote. If a media organization slings mud, engages in smear campaigns, disinformation, or intimidation, then voters must reject that media organization's candidate. The second most effective means voters have is to withhold their financial support. If a media organization or political talk show crosses any of the above-mentioned four red lines, then voters must boycott products advertised in that media organization. Voters must vote with their dollars. They must let advertisers know that advertising in these media channels will be counterproductive.
The first female vs. female presidential election shows that the Republic of China is already an advanced democracy. No matter who is elected, history has already been written.
These two exceptional women stand on an historic watershed. Together they can overturn the election culture by waging fresh, clean, substantive election campaigns. They can enable Taiwan and themselves to make history.
這場原以為會非常沉悶的選戰頓時熱鬧了起來。 其實台灣女性早已多次獻身總統選戰，但多居副手地位， 擔任性別互補角色。這次不同了，不管你怎麼投， 最後必定出現一位女性總統。
這不是兩個女人的戰爭，期待共塑新的選舉文化。」洪秀柱則說：「 期盼兩個女人的選戰，能給社會大眾全新觀感， 塑造真正的民主典範。」兩位女候選人都希望以女性特質改變選風， 顛覆台灣長期謾罵造謠栽贓抹黑的選舉文化。 敗壞的選風早已深層影響台灣社會的素質與人際互信， 希望女性特質能帶來改變。
蔡英文家族投資被無限放大，誣指她家族從大陸獲取特權與暴利。 洪秀柱是白色恐怖受害者家屬，卻出現指控她父親是告密者， 是假受難者的攻訐。在台灣選個總統，從基因開始就被質疑， 我們是個有禮善良的社會嗎？
也最有殺傷力。綠軍攻擊洪秀柱言必稱13億中國人，因此， 這是一場「台灣總統」與「中國代理人」之戰； 藍軍也將帽子戲法耍得嚇嚇叫，爆料在中國大陸深耕19年， 可以呼風喚雨的海霸王，是蔡英文的家族事業，她「 嘴上罵別人傾中賣台，自己賺紅財」， 一頂小紅帽惹得蔡英文提告止謗。紅帽如同血滴子， 每逢選舉就如群魔亂舞企圖殺人於無聲無息。 拋紅帽基本上是族群動員策略，如果這招有效， 紅帽多到可以開店的馬英九應該一次都選不上， 但是他卻做了兩任市長、兩任總統， 可見台灣早已不受省籍族群的挑撥， 沒有自信的政客們卻仍死抓不放。
讓連勝文灰頭土臉，現在風水輪流轉， 藍營定調這次總統選戰是富家女vs.貧家女，史上最有錢vs.史 上最窮候選人，綠營苦思破解之道， 用礦工之子賴清德擔任副手的呼聲越來越高。
使得八卦媒體及網軍蠢蠢欲動；同學、友人、鄰居都出現了， 每人一個片段，再由媒體拼湊成故事， 晚上談話節目裡三姑六婆拉開陣仗，神祕兮兮，欲語還留； 如果實在乏善可陳，就在性向上做文章。 連馬英九都逃不了流言追殺， 媒體和網軍又怎麼會放過這兩個女人呢？
但是台灣選舉的劣根性沒有絲毫改變， 既然兩位候選人都有心做一場淑女之爭，就必須做出努力， 約束支持者及團隊，不跨越上述4條紅線，如有違反， 立即公開表明：「我不贊成這樣的做法。」並懲處道歉； 不過要提醒的是，千萬別搞「人前一套，人後一刀」「門前打狗， 門後賞狗」的伎倆，因為選民的眼睛是雪亮的。
但沒有造謠的自由；媒體可以有立場，但不能沒是非； 要防止媒體在選戰中起乩，選民的「兩票神功」最有效， 一是撤選票，只要哪家媒體潑糞栽贓，造謠恐嚇， 就用選票抵制該媒體支持的人選；二是撤鈔票， 只要哪家媒體或政論節目任意跨越上述4條紅線， 就發動拒買該媒體的廣告產品，用鈔票讓廣告主知道， 在這些媒體登廣告會有反效果。