Water Spinach? Or Hairpin Turn?
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 3, 2016
Executive Summary: De jure Taiwan independence is difficult to achieve. Using cultural Taiwan independence as a tool will only destroy both Taiwan and the Republic of China. The mild-mannered KMT may be no match for the DPP, with its ability to turn on a dime. But the DPP's flip-flopping will destroy the fundamental values that enable Taiwan to survive. Lest the DPP forget, when Taiwan is no longer susceptible to reason, but subscribes to the premise that “Might makes right”, how will Taiwan persuade the Mainland to listen to reason, and distinguish right from wrong?
Full Text Below:
Before the election, Tsai Ing-wen was widely known as "kong xin cai", because she obdurately refused to let voters know where she stood. This pun on her name compared her to water spinach, which is hollow on the inside. The implication was that she lacked substance. Following the election, Tsai Ing-wen acquired a new nickname, “fa jia wan”, or “hairpin turn”, because she made one policy reversal after another. So is Tsai Ing-wen water spinach? Or is she hairpin turn? Perhaps she is both. During election campaigns she is water spinach. Upon gaining power, she is hairpin turn. What does this mean, and how does this affect the future? The question is worth contemplating.
The water spinach label is already firmly attached to Tsai the Candidate. Nothing more needs to be said about that. The DPP has been in power only 10 days, yet its hairpin turn policy reversals are already common knowledge. The DPP long opposed US pork imports. But as Tsao Chi-hung, who was preparing to assume the position of COA chairman demurred, "We are hardly in a position to reject US pork imports”. After which Tsao quickly changed the subject. Premier Lin Chuan reneged on DPP pledges to oppose electricity rate hikes to the bitter end. He announced "gradual increases in the future". The list of such policy reversals is endless. The DPP government's “false yesterday, true today” policy flip-flops are truly too numerous to list.
If the DPP hairpin turns were confined to public policy, that would be bad enough. People could fault the new government for changing its position merely because it changed its status. They could resign themselves to the necessary evils of democracy. They could realize this fact about politicians, learn a bitter lesson, and avoid the same mistakes in the future. But the DPP's hairpin turns include matters of national identity, national orientation, and moral integrity. No matter whether the DPP's hairpin turns were a means to an end, or ends in themselves, they constitute moral degradation and foretell Taiwan's decline.
During Tsai Ing-wen's May 20 inaugural ceremony, she solemnly swore to "abide by the Constitution… If I violate my oath, I am willing to accept the nation's harshest punishments". As President of the Republic of China, she has a duty not merely to abide by its constitution, but also to defend its historical perspective. Instead, we see Tsai Ing-wen concocting a "History of Indigenous Peoples". The new government's very first move was to prevent badly needed corrections to school history texts. The DPP has long blasted the KMT for accepting the label “Chinese Taipei”. They claimed that taking part in international activities under the name "Chinese Taipei" betrayed the people of Taiwan. But recently, when the new government attended the WHA, it dared not mention the term “Taiwan”,or even ask its allies' support in using the term “Taiwan”. The DPP's hairpin turns are betrayals of the nation and its constitution.
Everyone should respect the Aboriginal historical perspective. By the same token, everyone should respect the Hakka historical perspective, or the Hoklo historical perspective. But as head of state, Tsai Ing-wen must respect and defend the Republic of China historical perspective. Tsai Ing-wen surely realizes that the history of the Republic of China includes the May Fourth Movement, unification, resistance against the Japanese, civil war, and the transfer of the nation's capital to Taiwan. All of these are part of Chinese history and Chinese territory, which include Taiwan, but are by no means confined to Taiwan. Yet upon taking office, the new government immediately changed history texts to read “Taiwan's relations with China” instead of “cross-Strait relations”, in defiance of the authority of the Control Yuan. Put simply, the new government is attempting to misrepresent history in order to sever all links between Taiwan and Chinese history, even with the Republic of China prior to 1949.
Reunification and independence are political choices. They need not be moral issues. But when a political party or an individual pretends to respect a nation's constitution, even as it undermines that constitution, when it uses the Republic of China name, even as it repudiates the Republic of China, then it becomes a moral issue. Tsai Ing-wen swore an oath as President to defend the Republic of China. But as DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen refuses to forsake the DPP's Taiwan independence party platform. What sort of political image does that convey?
The DPP considers elections everything. As long as one wins elections, one is Politically Correct. As long as one is Politically Correct, one may “interpret” the constitution and rewrite history any way one pleases. The KMT has been routed. Therefore the DPP feels no guilt or remorse for its 180 degree policy reversals. It does not care that it is undermining respect for the morality and integrity essential for a functioning society. Its rule is "Winner take all, and the devil take the hindmost". Since the DPP is the winner, it may do what others may not.
Before the new government took office, DPP legislators drafted the "Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations". They changed “two nations” to “both sides of the Taiwan Strait”. The new government was not afraid of the KMT. It was afraid it would anger the CCP. The new government's representative to the WHA dared not use the term “Taiwan”. He dared not ask allies to use the term “Taiwan”. There is only one explanation for this. The new government was afraid rule violations a PRC complaint would prevent our delegation from participating in this conference or even the next. This exemplifies the DPP's "Winner take all, and the devil take the hindmost" mentality. It understands full well the nature of political power. It knows that "when under another's roof, one has no choice but to bend". When the DPP was in the opposition, it used any argument available to discredit the ruling KMT. But now they are up at bat, and are willing to do anything to survive.
De jure Taiwan independence is difficult to achieve. Using cultural Taiwan independence as a tool will only destroy both Taiwan and the Republic of China. The mild-mannered KMT may be no match for the DPP, with its ability to turn on a dime. But the DPP's flip-flopping will destroy the fundamental values that enable Taiwan to survive. Lest the DPP forget, when Taiwan is no longer susceptible to reason, but subscribes to the premise that “Might makes right”, how will Taiwan persuade the Mainland to listen to reason, and distinguish right from wrong?
People who truly love Taiwan, hope that President Tsai, who swore allegiance to the "Republic of China Constitution", will go from Water Spinach to Hairpin Turn, and finally morph into a "loyal defender of the Constitution".
2016年06月03日 04:10 主筆室