China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 5, 2016
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen must be careful. Do those who surround her consider Taiwan independence nothing more than an investment? If so, when their business is done, nothing will remain. No ideals, only opportunism. Their unfounded allegations are as changeable as the wind. They can turn on one in the blink of an eye. They can live high on the hog, with their nonsense treated as profundities. But allow them to become Taiwan independence icons, allow them to act as ideological police, or spokesmen for deep green orthodoxy, and the road ahead for the DPP government will be a rocky one indeed.
Full Text Below:
DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen told party members she intends to "strenuously resist China [sic]”. Since then, Chen era political rhetoric has experienced something of a revival. People who were once objective and rational have suddenly changed their tune and become overnight converts to Taiwan independence. May are afraid they will not be perceived as sufficient pro-Taiwan independence, hence condemned as as “Com symps”. Former academic turned talking head Peng Wen-chen is a good example. A fellow pundit has described Peng's pro-Taiwan independence rants as "good business".
So “Taiwan independence is good business”, is it? That is truly ironic. Taiwan independence was once a political movement, an ideology. Alas, in 2005, then President Chen Shui-bian publicly conceded that changing the name of the nation to the “Republic of Taiwan” was impossible. "We cannot kid ourselves. We cannot kid others" he said, “Impossible means impossible”. From that moment on, “Taiwan independence” was demoted to a symbol, a tool, and an ornament. It became nothing more than a litmus test of one's loyalty to the green camp. This was especially true following the change in ruling parties. Overnight, many became Taiwan independence champions. Fearful of being insufficiently "green", they rushed to prove their allegiance to Taiwan independence. Many reaped generous benefits from their newfound loyalty. For them, Taiwan independence was indeed good business, and a profitable investment.
The biggest benefits were low overhead, large profits, and low risk. For example, one need no loner brave Military Police truncheons and tear gas. One need no longer lie down in the streets, or sit alone in prison cells. Some even opposed Taiwan independence in the past. But none of that matters now. One need only shout Taiwan independence more loudly, act more ruthlessly, and behave more boldly than the next person. One need only seize the nearst bully pulpit, and instantly acquire countless followers. Whatever nonsense one spouts will be applauded. Whatever lies one utters will be given unwarranted credibility. So it was during the Chen Shui-bian years, when many suddenly discovered a newfound “love for Taiwan". They never spoke of Taiwan independence in the past. But suddenly they find themselves shouting it louder than anyone around them. They even put others under the microscope, to see if their commitment to Taiwan independence measures up to their own.
The Taiwan independence business is so good, someone is always ready to do it. Most of those who choose to engage in it are high profile green camp talking heads. The overwhelming majority of them have contributed nothing to Taiwan independence. More than a few hail from the blue camp. They have shifted with the political winds and suddenly turned green. Even a casual search will reveal many who are "suddenly blue, then suddenly green". They adopt certain media channels as a their base of operations. They hold forth on any and all topics. They rely on “advertising fees” to survive. Their annual salaries approach 10 million NTD. They criticize the blue camp, and make excuses for the ruling green camp. They act as go betweens for certain factions. During elections they appear at all the rallies. Ruling green camp freshmen must kowtow before them. They reap an embarrassment of riches. How is this not good business?
Take Peng Wen-cheng for example, who has recently exploded on the scene. He was never considered pro-Taiwan independence in the past. Now however he is "planting the seedlings of genuine independence". His profile is higher than that of anyone around him. His high profit investment enables him to get away with much. For example, he can get away with fabricating falsehoods, including falsehood relating to the Mega Financial Services controversy. From start to finish, he leveled hurled wild accusations against Chou Mei-ching, King Pu-tsung, and Ma Ying-jeou. All of his allegations were eventually proved false. Yet he offered no apology. It is hard to believe he taught journalism in school. For example, he can also get away with McCarthyite character assassination, accusing some journalists of being "Chinese media", or "pro-Chinese media". He has regurgitated these tired green media tropes verbatim.
He can get away with all manner of wrongdoing. He violated legal ethics when he hosted a long running TV program. He coerced NTU into endorsing him, thereby undermining the school's public image. Under pressure from public opinion he was eventually forced to resign. Was he motivated by a desire for revenge? In any event, he directly intervened in NCC personnel appointments, and put the DPP government on the spot.
Tsai Ing-wen must be careful. Do those who surround her consider Taiwan independence nothing more than an investment? If so, when their business is done, nothing will remain. No ideals, only opportunism. Their unfounded allegations are as changeable as the wind. They can turn on one in the blink of an eye. They can live high on the hog, with their nonsense treated as profundities. But allow them to become Taiwan independence icons, allow them to act as ideological police, or spokesmen for deep green orthodoxy, and the road ahead for the DPP government will be a rocky one indeed.