United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 5, 2016
Executive Summary: If the Tsai government genuinely wishes to practice “humility”, Tsai Ing-wen should reflect upon why the eight blue camp and six green camp county chiefs and city mayors are soliciting Mainland tourism. She should think about the many people trapped by her policies. If she lacks even this awareness, she is completely out of touch with the people.
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President Tsai Ying-wen has convened her first "Policy Coordination Conference". She personally stepped up to the plate to deal with disputes between the party and the government. She issued directives concerning labor laws and pension reform. She will also weigh in on the Mega Holdings case. The Executive Yuan is waiting for the signal to begin the slaughter. The Control Yuan will prosecute the six people previously responsible for financial and economic policy. Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Ding Kehua has already been asked to resign. Clearly ruling administration incompetence and party pressure have forced Tsai Ying-wen to stand on the front line.
People are out for blood. Interestingly enough, that same day in Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung, several green camp heads sat down to discuss how they could persuade Mainland tourists to visit the region. They hoped to promote tourism in southern Taiwan. They asked the central government to increase the number of Mainland tourists permitted to travel about Taiwan freely. They even asked for permission to visit the Mainland to drum up business. Yunlin and Taichung did not participate, buth they echoed the same sentiments. They want cross-regional cooperation promoting Mainland tourism to central Taiwan. Their pragmatic attitude contrasts sharply with Tsai's directive to "strenuously resist China [sic]" issued by the central government.
This is ironic. Recently the heads of eight blue camp governed counties and municipalities visited the Mainland to encourage tourism to Taiwan. Green camp politicians denounced them as "eight blue slaves". Green media conglomerates even accused them of " colluding with China [sic] to divide Taiwan", and demanded that the central government deny these counties and municipalities subsidies. Now however, the heads of six green camp governed counties and municipalities in central and southern Taiwan have also visited the Mainland to encourage tourism to Taiwan. Do green media conglomerates intend to denounce them as "six green slaves" as well? The heads of six green camp governed counties and municipalities have gone to the Mainland to solicit Mainland tourism. Have they seen through the central government's flawed cross-Strait policy? Have they come to the conclusion that it is harming people in their districts?
The heads of six green camp governed counties and municipalities are fighting for Mainland tourists. Their motivation is no different from that of blue camp governed counties and municipalities. All have felt the impact of Tsai government cross-Strait policy on their regional economies. Tourism industry earnings have been affected. The livelihood of many individuals have been affected. These problems must be resolved. Who loves Taiwan more? Those who scream "eight blue slaves"? Or those who braved accusations of "selling out Taiwan" by visiting the Mainland to solicit tourism? Who is more concerned about the people of Taiwan. Is that not abundantly clear?
To distinguish between politicians and statesmen, one must see whom they care about. Those who offer only sarcasm but no solutions, are politicians. Those who spout high-minded rhetoric, but make others pay with empty bellies, are politicians. Those who abuse their authority, who kill and take, with nary a kind word or gesture, are politicians. They feel no guilt sacrificing the public to feather their own nests. Instead, when asked to set aside their arrogance and do something for the public, they “refuse to sacrifice even a single hair to save the world".
It is not our intention to deify the eight heads of blue camp governed counties and municipalities, or the six heads of green camp governed counties and municipalities. They are merely trying to work around an irrational policy. In any case, their pragmatism shows they still have a place in their hearts for the people. It proves they are more admirable than the politicians who only wish to mock "eight blue slaves". Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy has a stranglehold on Taiwan's tourism economy and local people's livelihoods. Now however, a new alliance is possible between the eight blue camp counties and municipalities, and the six green camp counties and municipalities. Now they can lay seige to the central government. The leaders of these blue and green counties and municipalities have shown how far removed Tsai government policies are from reality and the will of the people. They may have set cross-Strait goodwill back many years. If this is not mediocrity, what is?
Tsai Ing-wen finds herself on the horns of a dilemma. She must now adopt a hardline in order to extricate herself. On the surface, the Lin cabinet's poor performance is to blame. But at a deeper level, the president's own reversal in cross-Strait policy has made peace difficult to maintain. In fact she herself bears far greater responsibility. Consider the string of fiascoes since May 20, including the WHO annual meeting, the South China Sea arbitration case, the accidental missile firing, the Mainland tourists burned to death in a tour bus, and Taiwan's exclusion from the ICAO Assembly. How many were due to tense cross-Strait relations? Were these not the result of Tsai Ing-wen's flawed judgment? The Tsai government imposed this unnecessary burden upon itself. It is the one that must remove the burden.
If the Tsai government genuinely wishes to practice “humility”, Tsai Ing-wen should reflect upon why the eight blue camp and six green camp county chiefs and city mayors are soliciting Mainland tourism. She should think about the many people trapped by her policies. If she lacks even this awareness, she is completely out of touch with the people.