China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 10, 2015
Executive Summary: In recent years, people on Taiwan seem to have lost the ability to respond to crises and solve problems. They seem incapable of facing the economic rise of the Mainland, and South Korea's transformation into a scientific and technological powerhouse. The government remains crippled. Our economy remains stagnant. Our society remains wracked by internal strife. Meanwhile, we continue our downward slide. The reasons for this are numerous. Political parties remain at loggerheads. The nation has lost its sense of direction. Society has been split in two. These are the main reasons. When the energies of the government and society are squandered on internal bickering, they inevitably lose the ability to respond to external and internal crises.
Full Text Below:
In recent years, people on Taiwan seem to have lost the ability to respond to crises and solve problems. They seem incapable of facing the economic rise of the Mainland, and South Korea's transformation into a scientific and technological powerhouse. When Japan was confronted with direct challenges, Abe vigorously promoted his "three arrows" to extricate Japan from its slump. Even the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other countries have gradually caught up to Taiwan in GDP ranking. The government remains crippled. Our economy remains stagnant. Our society remains wracked by internal strife. Meanwhile, we continue our downward slide. The reasons for this are numerous. Political parties remain at loggerheads. The nation has lost its sense of direction. Society has been split in two. These are the main reasons. When the energies of the government and society are squandered on internal bickering, they inevitably lose the ability to respond to external and internal crises.
Unless this problem is resolved, who becomes president will not matter. Taiwan will only get worse, not better. Therefore, on the eve of the presidential election, the people must caution Eric Chu and Tsai Ing-wen. Do not chant empty slogans. Stop ducking the issues. Begin taking action. Let people know you have the desire and the ability to end the democratic civil war, end ruling vs. opposition party bickering, and end persistent social divisions.
Ruling vs opposition party bickering has harmed Taiwan. Consider the harm inflicted on Taiwan from two perspectives, outside and inside. Turn our eyes away from Taiwan for the moment. Take a look at the outside world. What precisely is the global picture? Now perhaps we can see how ruling vs. opposition party bickering has blinded people's vision, to the extent that we can no longer respond collective crises.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently issued a solemn warning about global "climate catastrophe", saying time is running out. Ministers who attended the climate talks in Paris last week attempted to reach an agreement among 195 countries to halt global warming. Popular Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. This sort of religious opposition reflects conflict engendered by terrorism. Religious conflicts and clashes of civilizations have erupted, leading to urgent global crises. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen, resulting in younger generation discontent. Mistrust of the system leads to clashes with the system. These have accelerated the undermining of authority and the weakening of government. Add to this an ageing population, an impotent democracy, widespread environmental pollution, and an unstable international economy.
These rapidly deteriorating man made crises are crises for Taiwan as well. Some are more urgent than crises that affect Taiwan alone. Yet the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan act as if these crises have nothing to do with them. Tsai Ing-wen, Eric Chu, and others seek the position of chief executive. But they have nothing to offer in response to these collective crises except empty slogans.
Now consider the harm inflicted from another perspective, from within. Food safety remains mired in a crisis of confidence. Air pollution alerts are issued regularly. For 10 consecutive quarters, exports have declined. Southern Taiwan has suffered an unprecedented epidemic of dengue fever. Pension funds are on the brink of disaster. Local governments face bankruptcy. Irresponsible politicians demand electricity, but refuse to build plants. Problems are ever more urgent. Crises loom ever nearer. The government remains impotent, and continues doing nothing.
The problems arrayed before Taiwan are difficult, but not insoluble. They require political elites to cooperate, without regard for ruling or opposition party affiliation. Solutions require vision, and implementation requires determination. Sad to say, most politicians and the public devote most of their energy fighting each other, blue pitted against green. Not only do they not solve problems, they continually create new ones. These external and internal problems have brought progress to a standstill. They squander Taiwan's energy. They lead to blue vs. green bickering. Tsai Ing-wen and Eric Chu are the presidential candidates for the two largest political parties. They must set aside their quest for high office and devote their energies to solving problems that trouble the common people.
Tsai Ing-wen has proposed five major reforms. The fifth was to "end political bickering". But over the past seven years, the DPP has forcibly occupied the podium in the Legislative Yuan 92 times. It has obstructed parliamentary procedure. It has prevented the implementation of Kuomintang policies. During the past six months, with victory apparently in sight, Tsai Ing-wen has toned down her rhetoric somewhat. But as soon as the Ma Xi summit adjourned, she was back to her old ways, accusing Ma of “harming Taiwan” and “boxing in Taiwan”. Her conduct cast serious doubts on her commitment to “end political bickering".
Eric Chu entered the presidential race late. Perhaps that is why he has said little about how to resolve the democratic civil war. He has yet to clearly express his views, in words or deeds. On the plus side, he has not emphasized reconciliation. Perhaps because he lacks confidence in his campaign skills. On the minus side, blue vs. green confrontation is a serious problem. Eric Chu's failure to address the issue of reconciliation could be chalked up to inadequate macro-level awareness. The above sums up the failure of Tsai and Chu to end democratic civil war. Tsai lacks action. Chu lacks policy.
The presidential election looms. It reveals the inability of Tsai and Chu to solve the persistent problem of internal bickering and democratic civil war, and promote solidarity in response to looming crises. We look forward to seeing Tsai Ing-wen take action, and Eric Chu present a policy.
面對大陸經濟崛起、韓國成為科技大國，實力直接挑戰日本、 日本則推出大魄力「安倍三箭」企圖擺脫成長陷阱，甚至菲律賓、 印尼、越南等國家的GDP已漸漸追上台灣， 我們卻還陷在政府失能、經濟停滯、社會內耗的困境中， 持續向下沉淪。禍因很多，長期以來政黨相互否定，國家失去方向， 社會一分為二應是主要原因之一。 當所有國家與社會力量都用在內部攻伐，失去回應外部危機、 處理內部問題能力是必然的結果。
在總統大選的最後時刻， 人民應該以嚴肅的態度正告蔡英文與朱立倫，不要口號敷衍、 不要空心迴避，要拿出行動、拿出辦法告訴人民，他們有心、 也有能力終結民主內戰，不再朝野惡鬥、社會撕裂。
如果從外部觀察，暫時把視角抽離台灣，看一看外面的世界、 全球的局勢是怎麼一回事？也許我們會更清楚， 朝野惡鬥是如何蒙蔽政治人物的眼睛， 讓我們失去回應集體危機的能力。
所剩時間不多了。出席巴黎氣候會談的各國部長展開最後一周議程， 企圖在195國間達成協定，對全球暖化踩下煞車； 美國共和黨熱門候選人川普「呼籲禁止所有穆斯林進入美國」， 這一番上綱宗教對立的言論，反映的是恐怖主義帶來的制度衝突、 文明衝突以及宗教衝突白熱化，已形成全球另一個迫切危機； 貧富差距持續拉大，造成年輕世代的失落與憤怒，從不信任體制， 轉為衝撞體制，加速了權力的解構與政府的弱化；還有人口高齡、 民主失能、普遍性的環境汙染、起伏跌宕的國際經濟。
，甚至台灣的危機更緊迫。但弔詭的是，對台灣朝野政黨來說， 這些危機彷彿與己無關，蔡英文、 朱立倫等想角逐國家領導人之位的政治領袖，除了口號式的敷衍外， 我們看不到、聽不到他們對這些集體危機有太多的著墨、 太多的關心。
連續十黑的出口衰退、南台灣打破紀錄的登革熱疫情、 迫在眼前的年金懸崖、瀕臨破產的地方財政、 要電不要廠的能源政策空轉，問題與危機日趨緊迫， 政府卻持續失能，毫無作為。
需要不分朝野的政治菁英們齊心合力，以前膽的眼、 魄力的手去找尋對策，並以行動實踐。可嘆的是， 政治人物與台灣社會卻把大部分力量都用在藍綠對立的相互撕裂， 不要說解決問題，反而不斷的在製造問題。 面對這些從外部到內部卡住台灣進步、消耗台灣能量、 製造台灣危機的「藍綠惡鬥」， 蔡英文與朱立倫朝野二大黨的總統候選人，必須擺除「角逐大位」 的本位心情，以一個尋常百姓、普羅大眾的心情自問， 要如何根本解決？
然而從遠的論，過去7年，民進黨在立法院霸占主席台92次， 杯葛了國會議事，也癱瘓了國民黨的政績；從近的論， 這半年因為選舉勝券在握， 蔡英文確實在政治語言的攻擊性上有所收斂，但馬習會後「傷台論」 、「框台論」的對立重話又忍不住出口，這遠近的表現， 都讓蔡英文口頭宣示的「終結惡鬥」打了嚴重的折扣。
對於如何化解民主內戰這個議題著墨不多， 不管是宣示性的主張或行動性的實踐都不鮮明。從好的方面論， 不強調和解是基於沒有「惡鬥」的自信；但壞的角度言， 在藍綠惡鬥如此嚴重的台灣，缺乏「和解論述」的朱立倫， 也可以說是缺乏國家治理的宏觀意識。這剛好構成蔡、 朱兩個在如何終結民主內戰問題上的欠缺，蔡缺行動，朱缺論述。
朱有無能力解決讓台灣長期內耗的民主內戰， 團結國家力量因應內外多方危機的關鍵時刻。 我們期待很快看到蔡英文的行動，與朱立倫的決心。