Monday, May 31, 2010

Tsai Ing-wen: More Taiwan Independence-minded than Chen Shui-bian?

Tsai Ing-wen: More Taiwan Independence-minded than Chen Shui-bian?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 31, 2010

Tsai Ing-wen has left many people in shock. Many people assumed Tsai Ing-wen had adopted a more rational perspective on national identity and the status of the Republic of China Constitution in her "Political Platform for the Coming Decade." They assumed she was struggling to transform the DPP. But according to the latest news reports, she has openly asserted that "the Republic of China is a government in exile."
Tsai Ing-wen is Chairman of the DPP. These views are the most irrational views on Taiwan independence that any chairman of the DPP has expressed since the 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." Tsai Ing-wen is a potential candidate for President of the Republic of China in 2012. These views are the most irrational views on Taiwan independence any presidential candidate has expressed, ever. Such extraordinary comments, issuing from the lips of the ostensibly rational Tsai Ing-wen, could only leave listeners in shocked disbelief.

The "Government in Exile" theory is the most irrational Taiwan independence theory one is likely to encounter in cross-Straits debate. For example: 1. The DPP's "Taiwan Independence Party Constitution" does not repudiate the Republic of China per se. It merely asserts that the political structure of the ROC "leads to an impasse for constitutional reform." Therefore it advocates the authoring of a new constitution and the "founding of a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan" via public referendum. 2. The DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" also recognizes the "constitutionally-defined Republic of China" as a "backdoor listing" strategy, as a means of maintaining a framework by which "all residents of Taiwan can participate in a referendum." 3. The "two states theory" has never maintained that the ROC is a government in exile. 4. The "one country on each side" theory still allows room for the "two states" theory. 5. The "rectification of names" movement calls for the abolition of the Republic of China, but does not repudiate the Republic of China prior to its abolition. 6. The "Taiwan's undetermined status" theory merely asserts that Taiwan "does not necessarily" belong to the Republic of China. 7. The "Resolution for a Normal Nation" advocates the "swift rectification of names." 8. The "foreign government" theory still recognizes the Republic of China as a de facto "authority." 9. The "second republic" is merely an "extension" of the ROC.

As we can see, among the various "hard line Taiwan independence," "soft line Taiwan independence" and "quasi-Taiwan independence" theories, the "government in exile" theory is the most extreme. It asserts that the "Republic of China is on the mainland" and "not on Taiwan." Therefore it is arguably the most irrational form of Taiwan independence. 1. If the Republic of China is actually a government in exile, then the DPP's years of participation in the democratic and constitutional processes of the Republic of China are utterly meaningless. 2. It effectively contradicts the DPP's own calls for a "public referendum," and instead resorts to political rhetoric to repudiate the Republic of China, denying the public the right to its own opinions. 3. Strategically, it inevitably plays into Beijing's "united front" strategy. In their rush to repudiate the Republic of China, its advocates effectively end up as "Communist fellow travelers."

Tsai Ing-wen is both DPP party chairman and a potential ROC presidential candidate. Given her position of responsibility, her "government in exile" stance is even more irrationally independence-minded than those of Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui. The 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" paved the way for Chen Shui-bian's bid for the presidency. The "Five Noes" eased cross-Strait tensions. Chen Shui-bian cozied up to Taiwan independence only after he found himself in hot water over corruption, and after leaving office. As for Lee Teng-hui, during the 1996 direct elections, his political platform included the "National Unification Guidelines." Even his "two states theory," launched in 1999, merely attempted to attract Pale Green voters in order to boost Lien Chan's election prospects in 2000. He did not assert that "the Republic of China no longer exists." He said that only after leaving office. But Tsai Ing-wen was perceived as a party chairman committed to transforming the DPP, and a likely 2012 ROC presidential candidate. Yet at the same point in her career, she has adopted an even more irrationally independence-minded stance than either Lee Teng-hui or Chen Shui-bian. What in the world inspired her to openly assert that the "Republic of China is a government in exile?"

Many people are waiting to see what positions Tsai Ing-wen will adopt on national identity and the status of the ROC Constitution in her "Political Platform for the Coming Decade." But over the past month, she has spoken repeatedly of "abolishing ECFA upon assuming power." She has spoken of having "no intention of abolishing the Taiwan Independence Party Constitution," and she has characterized the ROC as a "government in exile." She has even said we must "repudiate our economics above all priorities, and export-oriented tendencies." She has no qualms about ruling out her own transformation or the transformation of the DPP. Her behavior is incomprehensible. Since she asserts that the "Republic of China is a government in exile," how can she possibly lead the DPP to a victory in 2012?

What's even more remarkable, is that Tsai Ing-wen's assertions were hardly a slip of the tongue. The words "government in exile" appeared in black ink on white paper. Since Tsai Ing-wen is advocating Taiwan independence, why is she behaving in such a superficial manner? If Tsai Ing-wen is merely indulging in political power plays, why is she behaving in such a ridiculous manner?

Tsai Ing-wen's "two states theory" brought down the Lee Teng-hui regime. Her stubborn opposition to the 1992 Consensus brought down the Chen Shui-bian regime. Now she is apparently using "government in exile" rhetoric to prevent the DPP from undergoing transformation and taking the high road. Is this still the rational Tsai Ing-wen moderate voters believed her to be?

The phrase "government in exile," printed in black ink on white paper, is a serious matter. Can Tsai Ing-wen cavalierly dismiss public concerns merely by saying that she "has no time for political mudslinging?"

2010.05.31 01:30 am


蔡英文是民進黨主席,這樣的言論,是一九九九年《台灣前途決議文》以來,歷任民進黨主席所發表的最獨與最不理性的兩岸論述;同時,由於蔡英文也可能是二○ 一二中華民國總統候選人,這樣的言論,亦是歷來總統候選人所宣示的最獨且最不理性的兩岸政策。這般奇異的論述,出自被視為理性清新的蔡英文之口,豈能不跌破許多人的眼鏡?








Thursday, May 27, 2010

TSU Referendum on ECFA Seriously Flawed

TSU Referendum on ECFA Seriously Flawed
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 27, 2010

Perhaps no one has noticed. But the Taiwan Solidarity Union has proposed a referendum on ECFA that is currently under review by the Referendum Commission. The referendum asks "Do you agree with the government's plan to sign a "Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement" with the mainland? The sponsor of the referendum has characterized it as a major policy issue. The Referendum Commission meanwhile, must review this referendum proposal to determine whether it meets the requirements of the law, and therefore whether it should be approved or struck down.

Ever since the Republic of China introduced its "Referendum Law," referenda that could serve as case studies have been rare. There are many reasons for this, including at least two major problems. One problem is that the provisions of the Referendum Law are not sufficiently stringent. On the one hand, the law includes difficult to surmount ballot proposition thresholds and procedural red tape. On the other hand, the classification scheme for referendum proposals is inadequate, and can easily lead to voter confusion. Voters often find it impossible to understand the content of referendum proposals. As a result interest is not high. Voters are also likely to misunderstand the content and potential impact of the referendum proposals, leaving them adrift.

Another problem is that past referendum proposals often showed clear markings of electioneering strategy. The taint of political manipulation overwhelmed the possibility that its sponsors were promoting deliberative democracy. This made it impossible for the public to resolve public policy disputes by engaging in rational debate. The result was a decline in the credibility of the referendum process. Although referendum proposals are not uncommon, it is increasingly difficult to rally public attention or interest. The TSU proposal for a referendum on ECFA is no exception.

Leave aside the question of whether the current proposal for a referendum on ECFA advances democracy. The proposal itself is riddled with flaws. This is enough to conclude that the positive impact of the current referendum proposal will be limited. It will not help resolve the social divisions that have arisen over whether to sign ECFA.

The Referendum Law basically divides ballot proposals on major national policy issues into two categories: initiatives and referenda. Initiatives set forth important policy proposals that do not already exist. If an initiative passes a public vote, the government must attempt to incorporate it into government policy. A referendum addresses an existing government policy. The purpose of a referendum is to repudiate an existing government policy. If the referendum passes, the government must abandon its policy. The current proposal for a referendum on ECFA can be considered a major policy issue. Its sponsor hopes to prevent the government from signing an ECFA agreement. But this apparently simple proposal contains a number of serious flaws.

First of all, initiatives create new policy. The language of an initiative should read: "approve of the policy." Those who approve of the policy, cast votes in favor of the initiative. Those who disapprove of the policy, cast votes opposing the initiative. A referendum, on the other hand, expresses disapproval of the government's existing policy. The language of a referendum should read: "disapprove of the policy." Those who support the referendum cast votes opposing the government's policy. Those who oppose the referendum cast votes supporting the government's policy. The TSU says it opposes an ECFA agreement. Yet the wording of its proposal is a question. It asks voters "Do you approve of or disapprove of" an ECFA agreement? It is impossible to tell from the language alone whether the sponsors of the referendum approve of or disapprove of an ECFA agreement. Such language could deceive supporters of ECFA into unwittingly casting votes against an ECFA agreement. It could easily create voter confusion. Superficially the sponsors of the referendum could look more like supporters of ECFA, rather than opponents of ECFA. Clearly the sponsor's language for the referendum is at odds with the sponsor's intentions. The language of the referendum is more like the language of an initiative, and not a referendum. It is seriously flawed.

Another problem is that the referendum process applies only to policies whose content is already clear, and not to policies whose content have yet to be determined. ECFA is an agreement whose contents are still uncertain. Before the contents of ECFA have been agreed upon, it is not considered settled. Therefore it does not even warrant a referendum. To propose a referendum over a policy whose content has yet to be settled, is pointless. A majority of voters support referenda. But because the content of ECFA remains undetermined, the government could sign an agreement under a different name, and would no longer be constrained by the result of the referendum. If the purpose of the referendum is to pass final judgment on ECFA, it must be conducted after it is signed, not before. If it is, then the government will be constrained by the results, and must comply. If it is, then the referendum will not be in vain and meaningless.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union has proposed a referendum on ECFA. This is something that should have been subjected to rational debate by a deliberative democracy. Now however, it is merely a proposal whose language is unclear, whose justifications are self-contradictory, and which has been trotted out too early. The results of a referendum whose meaning is unclear will be meaningless. Referendum Commission Members should rule the proposed referendum in violation of the Referendum Law, and strike it down. Only this is consistent with the essence of the referendum law.

台聯ECFA公投提案 存在嚴重瑕疵









Just What is Tsai Ing-wen's "Alternative?"

Just What is Tsai Ing-wen's "Alternative?"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 27, 2010

Party politics means that the opposition party opposes the ruling party and proposes "alternatives." Tsai Ing-wen opposes ECFA, and has proposed an "alternative." Her "alternative" is her "Political Platform for the Decade," currently under construction, which may be regarded as a sweeping alternative for the nation's political and economic future.

The alternative Tsai has proposed for ECFA is "move closer to the world before moving closer to [mainland] China." She proposes "allowing industries with particularly high tariffs to invest on the mainland." But if one wishes to "move closer to the world before moving closer to [mainland] China," one must first "enable the world to move closer to Taiwan." Without signing ECFA, how can one provide the world an incentive to move closer to Taiwan? What about her proposal "allowing industries with particularly high tariffs to invest on the mainland?" What is this path but "moving closer to [mainland] China before moving closer to the world," which Tsai Ing-wen herself firmly opposes? Or worse, "forcing Taiwan businesses to flee to [mainland] China?" Such an "alternative" is not merely self-contradictory, it is suicidal.

Leave ECFA aside for the moment. Tsai Ing-wen's "Political Platform for the Decade" also seeks a political and economic "alternative" for the nation's future. She said that Taipei must rethink its "economics above all else path." She said that "Economic development has led to 'generational injustice,"' and asked "Is economic growth our only goal?"

She mentioned this during the Two Yings Debate. She said that "Over the past several decades Taiwan's economy had exports as its priority. The public on Taiwan paid a heavy price. For example, the destruction of national lands, the destruction of the local landscape, a growing gap between the cities and the countryside, and alternating floods and droughts."

Tsai Ing-wen's claim is questionable. Economic growth may not be one's only goal. But for the people of any nation it is invariably their most important goal. Therefore political rhetoric denouncing "economics above all else" hardly negates the necessity and importance of economic growth. Economic development can damage the environment. It can lead to calls for the "redistribution of wealth." But the resources generated by economic development can also heal the environment. Tax policies can also equalize inequities in wealth. Tsai Ing-wen said the public on Taiwan paid a "very heavy price" for an export-oriented economy. But her assertion hardly negates the fact that 70% of our GDP comes from exports. Exports have long been the bedrock of Taiwan's economic survival and prosperity. Given Taiwan's current economic difficulties, is Tsai Ing-wen's "alternative," the repudiation of economic growth and the questioning of export-orientation the least bit convincing?

Tsai Ing-wen's "Political Platform for the Decade" has yet to offer an "alternative" for the status of our constitution and our national identity. But her current obsession with "economic alternatives" is clearly politically-motivated. It is obviously a Procrustean Bed into which economics must be force-fitted into a preconceived political framework. For example, the main reason she opposes ECFA is her desire to avoid "East Asia becoming a Sinocentric East Asia." She also wants to avoid "weakening and marginalizing the United States." Perhaps her politically-motivated thinking has convinced her to question our "economics above all path" and our "export-orientation." Perhaps it has convinced her to reduce our cross-Strait economic and trade dependency, in order to avoid mainland China's political threat.

Such a policy proposal is even more bizarre than Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake!" It is precisely concerns about cross-Strait political crises that necessitate strengthening Taiwan's economic structure and export trade. Otherwise, if Taiwan's economy becomes increasingly depressed, the magnetic attraction mainland China exerts on Taiwan's economy will be even more serious. The political threat will be even more difficult to control, leading to a vicious circle. Is Tsai Ing-wen's "alternative" to "rethink our economics above all else path and export-orientation" in order to "reduce cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges?" If so, she needs to realize that such an "alternative" cannot possibly "cool down the economy" and "resolve political problems." It can only lead to an irreparable economic chill and political disaster. Is Tsai Chi really this obtuse, or is she merely feigning ignorance?

The world has changed radically. Whether we are talking about short term or long term benefits, Taipei must base its political strategy on its economic strategy. Over the past decade or so, the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian regimes were utterly incapable of suppressing booming cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. Instead they seriously undermined our chances of becoming an Asian-Pacific Operations Center. Whether we are talking about short term or long term profits, whether we are talking about economics or politics, the harm inflicted upon Taiwan will be difficult to remedy.

The Democratic Progressive Party's path is to force economic strategy into the Procrustean Bed of political strategy. The result is bizarre "alternatives" such as "rethinking our economics above all path and our export-orientation in order to reduce cross-Strait exchanges." We would like to ask Tsai Ing-wen what are the short term and long term benefits of her "economic cool down" and "questioning of exports?"

Tsai Ing-wen's "Political Platform for the Decade" is still tinkering at the margins. The public still does not understand what her "alternative" is for the status of our constitution and our national identity. Does she intend to "jettison our economics above all path and question our export-orientation?" Does she intend to propose an "alternative" to what she dismisses as the "Republic of China government in exile?"

2010.05.27 03:24 am











Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Taiwan: Too Much Sniping, Too Little Joy

Taiwan: Too Much Sniping, Too Little Joy
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 26, 2010

Recently the public on Taiwan received a string of positive economic reports. During the first quarter economic growth exceeded 13 %, a 31 year high. Private investment growth this year will reach 37%, a 35 year high. Exports grew at an estimated rate of 24% this year, a 23 year high. Per capita GDP this year will reach an historic high of 18,000 USD.

But the happiness experienced upon receiving this good news lasted less than a day. Soon afterwards, the public was once again neck deep in anxiety. The main reason was the Taiwan stock market was sharply impacted for several days in a row by the European credit crisis and the political clash between North and South Korea. Cries of anguish filled the market. Even non-investors were on tenterhooks. Worse, the good news of first quarter economic growth was dismissed as a calculated effort to release profit reports close to May 20. Private investment growth had cold water splashed on them by reports that "unemployment remains high." The export boom was read as "excessive dependence on mainland China," an even more heinous crime. The increase in GDP meanwhile, became just another cue to mock President Ma Ying-jeou's "633" slogan.

Society on Taiwan has a particularly intense sense of crisis. People worry about their plight as members of a "small nation." They pay close attention to signs of trouble between the ruling and opposition parties. They closely monitor the pulse of the outside world to remain in synch with the international situation. Peoples' sensitivity to their environment and anxiety over change, coupled with an opposition party hovering like vultures, and endless sniping by talking heads, makes it almost impossible for them to experience happy times.

Interestingly enough, when Lausanne Switzerland announced its global competitiveness rankings, the Republic of China's ranking lept from 15th to 8th. Yet apparently no one considered this anything worth celebrating. On the same day, Headlines in South Korea's major media read, "South Korea's competitiveness exceeds Japan's for the first time," and "Korea achieves its best ranking ever." In fact South Korea's "best ranking ever" meant it merely squeezed into 23rd place. Both Korea and the Republic of China are part of East Asia's Confucian cultural sphere. Why the diametrically opposed responses within the two countries?

The collective anxiety felt on Taiwan has three main sources. One. Democracy has brought with it liberation of speech and thought. But it has yet to upgrade the content and quality of political thought. Instead, a social consensus has become even more difficult to reach. This deepens people's feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty. Two. The Republic of China's political development has reached a bottleneck. The mere transfer of power between the two parties has not allowed the ruling and opposition parties to cease hating each other. People in northern and southern Taiwan are unhappy with each other. These factors even intrude upon and oppress the economy, the culture, and other realms. Three. The public has less and less patience with Blue vs. Green political infighting. But society has yet to discover a new force able to break this deadlock. Under the circumstances, the more confrontational the commentaries, the more they nullify each other, and the more confusing they are to the public.

Society on Taiwan has long lacked a sense of joy. It has long been troubled by insoluble domestic uncertainties and foreign threats. Peoples' instinct to express and and enjoy themselves have increasingly been suppressed. When Ma Ying-jeou offered his "Golden Years" proposal, the Green Camp immediately mocked it as a "Golden Turd." Forget the soon to be signed ECFA. The opposition DPP is bad-mouthing it every chance it gets as "selling out Taiwan." It is using the differences in benefits received from the "Early Harvest List" to incite rivalries among different industries. How can the public not be apprehensive about where the country is headed?

The opposition DPP has chosen to equate democratic checks and balances with "endless sniping." That is bad enough. The opposition DPP and opposition pundits seem to be afflicted with "obsessive-compulsive criticism disorder." The ruling party meanwhile, has never outgrown its unrelievedly naive "Peter Pan Syndrome." It seldom responds to issues with maturity, in accordance with public expectations. Take for example the plan for a biotech park on the site of Ordnance Plant Number 202. Had the government stood firm on matters of environmental impact and urban planning, the development of environmentally friendly biotech industries on the site of an old ordnance plant was entirely feasible. What need was there to call a screeching emergency halt to a major national plan merely because of a peition submitted by one writer? The government's reaction to external criticism is passivity and timidity. This merely intensifies public anxiety.

Let us attempt to recall the last time the public on Taiwan experienced even a tiny bit of shared joy. When was it? Was it when Wang Chien-ming pitched a winning game in the Major Leagues? Was it when Ang Lee received an Oscar? Was it when Chen Shu-chu accepted a humanitarian award in New York? Was it "none of the above?" The issue is not whether the government is or is not doing a good job. The issue is not whether the Republic of China has received sufficient international recognition. The issue is not whether critics are malicious and irrational. The issue is whether this society still has confidence in itself and the capacity for joy.

2010.05.26 02:21 am









Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Can the DPP Win in 2012?

Can the DPP Win in 2012?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 25, 2010

"Without a victory in the five mayoral elections, there can be no victory in 2012." This is the DPP's strategic perspective. Today Tsai Ing-wen is personally participating in the five mayoral elections, turning it into a showdown. But whether the DPP will win in 2012 is another story.
If the Democratic Progressive Party wants to win the 2012 presidential election, it must pass three tests. It must also deal successfully with Beijing.

Let us first address the three tests it must pass. One. This amounts to a showdown over the nation's political and economic path. Tsai Ing-wen has said that if the Democratic Progressive Party assumes power, it will hold a referendum to abolish ECFA. She also said that "[the DPP] has no intention of removing the Taiwan independence clause from its party constitution." In other words, it has no intention of transforming the party with regards national identity and cross-Strait policy. But the question is, will the public on Taiwan allow a Democratic Progressive Party that holds such views to control the levers of the nation? Two. The DPP may take advantage of the five mayoral elections to revise its political and economic path in accordance with Tsai Ing-wen's "Political Platform for the Coming Decade." But does the public on Taiwan believe a DPP subject to being hijacked from within offer the possibility of genuine reform? Three. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are enacting out the "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." If Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen win the Taipei City and Xinbei City mayoral elections, they will of course take advantage of the victory to run for president in 2012. If they lose they will have no choice but to enter the presidential race. In other words, Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen's entry into the five mayoral races merely confirm that for the Democratic Progressive Party the five mayoral elections are merely a springboard for the presidential election. But will the public on Taiwan condone the Democratic Progressive Party's manipulation of the elections in such a manner?

Now let us talk about how the DPP will tackle Beijing. The DPP has yet to effectively transform itself from within. Now suddenly it wants to participate in a higher level political battle for control of the ROC government. It has already complicated cross-Strait relations. Signs suggest the Democratic Progressive Party may return to power. Will Beijing continue to adopt liberal policies toward Taipei? Or will it adopt more stringent policies? The hour of decision approaches. Opposition to ECFA will be perceived as a "hate [mainland] China" stance. If the DPP persists in its "hate [mainland] China" stance, Beijing will of course retaliate against it. Such pressures will naturally be felt by a large part of the political and economic spectrum on Taiwan. This will land the DPP in a dilemma. If it fails to incite hatred of mainland China, it will forfeit it election theme. If it incites hatred of mainland China, It will find it difficult to deal with the repercussions.

If Tsai Ing-wen had not entered the mayoral race, she might have had a buffering effect. But now that Tsai has entered the race, the Blue and Green camps on Taiwan will have to lay their cards on the table in advance. The DPP will also have to have a showdown with Beijing ahead of schedule. The two years leading up to 2012 will probably be filled with of tension, internally and across the Taiwan Strait. Will the so-called "cross-Strait opportunity" be aborted? Will the "Window of opportunity" be closed? The answer requires close observation.

The DPP has taken a final stand. It has painted itself into a corner. Its back is against the wall. It has also painted everyone else on Taiwan into the same corner. As mentioned earlier, the Democratic Progressive Party has yet to alter its policies regarding national identity and cross-Strait relations. It has adopted an anti-ECFA election theme shot through with hatred for mainland China. It has In effect, decided to have a showdown with both the public on Taiwan and the authorities in Beijing. It has effectively painted itself and the public on Taiwan into a corner. Furthermore, Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen have entered the five mayoral races. They stand shoulder to shoulder. They have made clear that win or lose, the two will help each other out in the 2012 presidential race. This too has effectively painted them and the public on Taiwan into the same corner.

For the DPP, the five mayoral elections will be a battle rife with contradictions. On the one hand, it must keep hatred of mainland China and ECFA at a boil. On the other hand it must peddle a credible political and economic vision to the voters. What is this, if not a self-contradiction? What is this, if not flagrant deceit? On the one hand it must attempt to win all five cities. On the other hand, Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen intend to run in the 2012 presidential election whether they win or lose. Their political and economic path is self-contradictory. It is flagrantly deceitful. It will grossly distort the five mayoral races and their aftermath. They will subject Taiwan to internal divisions. Upsets in the cross-Strait situation will be unavoidable.

The KMT must treat the five mayoral races as a battle to retain political power in 2012. One might say the only way the KMT can win is to persuade the public to see ECFA as a symbol of the nation's political and economic path. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are reasonably well-respected by the public on Taiwan. If the KMT cannot win the hearts and minds of the public on the basis of its political and economic path, it may well lose the election. Practically speaking, the KMT cannot afford to bungle the ECFA signing in June. It cannot afford to give the DPP any openings.

The DPP has a chance to win the 2012 presidential election. After all, the Democratic Progressive Party is a political party that won in 2000 and 2004. It lost power because it brought disaster upon the nation, and caused the entire nation to turn against it. It has now painted itself into a corner. For the moment it should not ask whether it will win in 2012. Instead, it should ask itself whether a victory for the DPP in 2012 would be a blessing or a curse? Would it be a way out, or a dead end?

2010.05.25 02:10 am






民進黨背水一戰,已將自己逼到牆角,亦儼然使整個台灣被逼到牆角。如前所述,民進黨在國家認同與兩岸政策尚未轉型的時際,以高度仇中意識的反ECFA為選舉主軸,不啻是與台灣社會及北京當局攤牌,豈不是把自己與台灣一起逼到了牆角?再者,蘇蔡並肩投入五都選戰,且擺明了無論輸贏,二人皆將相互解套,轉戰二 ○一二,這豈不亦是將自己與台灣一起逼到了牆角?



民進黨不是沒有贏得二○一二總統大選的可能性;畢竟,民進黨是曾經贏得二○○○年及二○○四年兩次大選的政黨,只是最後在舉國咒罵中又告失去政權,且對台灣造成大災難。現在,把自己逼到牆角的民進黨,暫不要問能否贏得二○ 一二,且先自問:倘若贏了二○一二大選,將對台灣是福是禍?是活路還是死路?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Responses to External Forces, Past and Present, by Japan and China

Responses to External Forces, Past and Present, by Japan and China
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 24, 2010

The proposed signing of the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) has provoked arguments over whether the government should have an Open Door Policy or a Closed Door Policy, and over internationalization and marginalization.

The nineteenth century Meiji Restoration in Japan and the Qing dynasty Reform Movement of 1898 on the Chinese mainland have often been compared to each other. In fact, the slogans "zun wang rang yi" 尊王攘夷 (honor the emperor by resisting foreigners) and "fu qing mie yang" 扶清滅洋 (help the Qing court, exterminate the foreigners), show the difficulties both experienced resisting aggression by "foreign barbarians." Both were struggles for national salvation, but each of them led to a very different result.

In 1853 America's "black ships" knocked on Japan's door. They provoked a debate over whether Japan should adopt an Open Door Policy or a Closed Door Policy. The political slogan "zun wang rang yi" spoke of resisting the invaders. The debate was fierce, and even led to a small scale civil war. In the end however, the advocates of an Open Door Policy prevailed. Their advocacy of an Open Door Policy over a Closed Door Policy was motivated by a desire to "resist foreigners." Japan witnessed the bloody results of the Sino-British Opium War. They realized that only an Open Door Policy could save their nation.

The Meiji Restoration produced two main results. First, the Meiji Restoration's "da zheng feng huan" 大政奉還 ended the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. A constitutional monarchy helped the new government consolidate its rule. Secondly, a strategy of rapid opening up and comprehensive reform led to regime change, economic prosperity, a strengthening of the military, the transplantation of new industries, and civilizational advances. Fukuzawa Yukichi's "detachment from Asia and entry into Europe" sums up the thinking of the Meiji Restoration. It denoted total transformation. Finally, Japan's victory in the 1895 Sino-Japanese War essentially validated the Meiji Restoration.

By contrast, consider the Qing court's Self-Strengthening and Reform Movement which occurred at roughly the same time. After 30 years or so, the Self Strengthening Movement begun in 1860 ended in defeat with the Sino-Japanese War. In 1898 the Reform Movement petered out after only one hundred days. All of the Qing court's reform efforts were coopted by the Boxer Rebellion and spun as "Support the Qing, exterminate the foreigners." This led to the humiliation suffered in 1900 at the hands of the Eight Nation Alliance, and the disastrous Boxer Protocol and Boxer Indemnity. Eleven years later, Sun Yat-sen's revolution overthrew the Qing Dynasty. The two slogans "zun wang rang yi" and "fu qing mie yang" were so similar. So why did they lead to such dramatically different outcomes?

Nor was China's tragedy over. Mainland China closed its doors with an Iron Curtain. Only after Mao Zedong's death in 1976, did it introduce its policy of Reform and Liberalization. Only later, in 1992, when Deng Xiaoping gave his "Southern Tour Speech" did the mainland authorities reach a Point of No Return. The Meiji Restoration completed its reform and liberalization in just a few decades. Mainland China's Reform and Liberalization was delayed 110 to 130 years.

But once it passed the 1992 Point of No Return, the Beijing government's courage and wisdom in its Reform and Liberalization efforts have been impressive indeed. The issue of whether to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) provoked a fierce controversy within the mainland government and among the public. Zhu Rongji, its chief sponsor, was denounced as a traitor. His critics compared the acceptance of WTO provisions to Yuan Shi-kai's acceptance of Japan's 21 Demands. Opening up involves pain. One must open up the nation's doors, reduce tariffs, allow "vulnerable industries" to be impacted. But only opening up can create opportunities, and transform the economy from a stagnant pond into a living stream. Lastly, the Beijing authorities are using WTO, and external influence, to compel internal political reform and liberalization, as well as economic transformation and upgrading. As a result, mainland China has become the number one beneficiary of the WTO system, and Zhu Rongji can shrug off the label of "traitor."

Now it is Taipei's turn to choose between an Open Door Policy and a Closed Door Policy. The debate is essentially over whether to resist Beijing and globalization by opening up, or to resist Beijing and globalization by closing down. The Meiji Restoration policy of "zun wang rang yi" helped the new government consolidate its rule. It created social cohesion, enabling it to withstand external shocks. On Taiwan however, the opposition DPP wants use "resisting foreign aggression" merely as a pretext for internecine political struggle. It wants to use "love for Taiwan" merely as a populist rallying cry, and merely to incite hatred for [mainland] China. In fact it is little different from the Boxer Rebellion's "support the Qing court, exterminate the foreigners." At least the Boxer Rebellion's "zun wang rang yi" (honoring the emperor by resisting foreigners) supported the Qing court. Slogans such as "love Taiwan, hate China" on the other hand, are intended merely to force Ma Ying-jeou to step down over the "early harvest list." The "zun wang rang yi" policy of honoring the emperor by resisting foreigners and the "fu qing mie yang" policy of helping the Qing court eliminate foreign influences, advocated national unity in response to foreign aggression. Opposition DPP accusations that the Ma administration "panders to [mainland] China and is selling out Taiwan" on the other hand, deliberately distort the facts. They are clearly merely about political infighting. Pitting "vulnerable industries" against "conglomerates" meanwhile, merely replicates the internal power struggles that occurred during the Cultural Revolution, inciting the proletariat to exterminate the capitalists.

In the controversy between an Open Door Policy and a Closed Door Policy, the opposition DPP has failed to match Japan's wisdom during the Meiji Restoration, or mainland China's courage during Reform and Liberalization. Advocates of a Closed Door Policy on Taiwan have the same mindset as the Boxers. They have merely substituted "love Taiwan, hate China" for "honor the emperor, exterminate foreigners." They are merely using "vulnerable industries" as a bargaining chip during internal power struggles. They are merely parroting the "support the proletariat, exterminate the capitalists" slogans popular during the Cultural Revolution.

Zhu Rongji has finally gotten his day in court. He is finally able to shrug off the label of "traitor." How long do advocates of a Closed Door Policy on Taiwan intend to demagogue the issue of "pandering to [mainland] China and selling out Taiwan?"

尊王攘夷 扶清滅洋 傾中賣台
2010.05.24 02:36 am











Friday, May 21, 2010

Beijing Must Rethink Its Cross-Strait Relations Map

Beijing Must Rethink Its Cross-Strait Relations Map
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 21, 2010

Yesterday former premier Liu Chao-hsuan spoke at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He pointed out that cross-strait relations should contribute to human civilization. For example, England's Industrial Revolution introduced the rule of law and human rights. America's independence and founding brought about popular rule.

The last time the two sides of the Taiwan Strait clashed then merged, was during the Ming dynasty, when Koxinga and the Qing court clashed. In the end, Shi Lang resolved the issue by means of military force. The Qing dynasty, a large absolute monarchy, swallowed up the Ming dynasty Koxinga regime, a small absolute monarchy. That cross-Strait merger expanded the Qing empire's territory. But otherwise it contributed nothing to human civilization. Subsequently, in 1894, the Qing court ceded Taiwan to Japan.

Since 1949, the separation of the two sides has made a significant contribution to world civilization. On Taiwan, the Republic of China government became a model for the political and economic development of emerging nations. On the mainland meanwhile, the People's Republic of China government rose to its feet following a "Thirty Year Long Catastrophe." The world's attention is focused on the miracle of "China's Rise." Today the two sides have moved from life or death struggle to "peaceful development." This remarkable cross-Strait interaction no longer poses the question of "who will swallow up whom" faced by the Ming dynasty Koxinga regime and the Qing Court. Instead, it has the potential to make a significant contribution human civilization.

The mainland has a responsibility toward Taiwan. The mainland is big. Taiwan is small. Taiwan has a liberal democratic society. It occupies the moral and civilizational high ground. The mainland has no reason to drag Taiwan down. If in the end the matter is settled by means of military force, on the basis of "who swallows up whom," that would be intolerable to human civilization.

Fortunately, there is reason for optimism amidst pessimism. [Mainland] China's "peaceful rise" is already contributing to world civilization. Historically the "rise of great nations" has always been based on military invasions and economic exploitation. The Industrial Revolution was followed by eighteenth and nineteenth-century imperialism. The major powers used their powerful navies to aid and abet greedy and bloodthirsty capitalists in their plunder. The working classes within these major powers however, did not benefit. They too were exploited. But this time, the rise of [mainland] China is based on the exchange of meager profits between cheap labor and powerful capitalists. Sweatshop laborers have become the prime movers and first wave of beneficiaries in this rise. This is the first time in history that sweatshops instigated the rise of a great power from the bottom-up. In fact, it is the only time in history that a great nation has ever risen peacefully. During the nineteenth century, the great powers rose, then forced China to cede territory and pay reparations. Today, China has been reborn. It has become the US's largest creditor. The Beijing authorities must take pride in this example of a "peaceful rise" created by sweatshops. It must not relinquish this honor lightly.

At the macro level, this "peaceful rise" is beneficial to cross-Strait "peaceful development." It is also why the two sides have no choice but to engage in "peaceful development." Today mainland China is closely intertwined with the global economy. That is why politically it cannot afford to have its rise called into question. If the two sides of the Taiwan Strait cannot engage in "peaceful development," if Beijing hopes to swallow up Taipei by force, that would offer grounds to reject [mainland] China's rise. Beijing's situation would be far more embarrassing than Washington's during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It would surely be a disaster.

In fact, the two sides already have a basic framework for "peaceful development." That framework is the "1992 Consensus" and "One China, Different Interpretations." The Beijing authorities should rethink their cross-Strait relations road map. They must not make "who swallows up whom" the ultimate goal in cross-Strait relations. Such a goal could turn into a trap for Beijing, one from which it could not extricate itself.

Beijing has long relied on fanatical nationalism to justify its Taiwan policy. In fact this has mired the Beijing authorities in an unwanted quagmire. The public on the mainland may favor getting tough with Taipei, and this sentiment can be exploited. But if Beijing swallows up the liberal democratic Republic of China by force, it would constitute a blow to world civilization and the Chinese people that the Beijing authorities could not withstand. But if we can change course, in a positive direction, we can arrive at a consensus with the mainland that contributes to world civilization. Cross-Strait relations has enormous opportunities for positive development. Therefore, the Beijing authorities should rethink their map for cross-Strait relations. It should not paint itself into a corner with self-imposed commitments. Cross-Strait relations must be allowed greater leeway. If the two sides cannot engage in "peaceful development," then the internal and external repercussions will make it impossible for [mainland] China to continue its "peaceful rise."

In fact, [mainland] China's "peaceful rise" and cross-Strait "peaceful development" are already off to a positive start. Cross-Strait coopetition offers an opportunity to make a significant contribution to world civilization. Do not forsake this precious opportunity. Moving towards "One China, Different Interpretations" is a path Beijing should consider.

The current framework, established by Ma Ying-jeou and Hu Jintao, has already reached its profit-taking and stop-loss points. This is a one time opportunity. If we miss the peak, if Beijing fails to rethink its road map, the impact on cross-Strait "peaceful development" will be difficult to predict. The risk to [mainland] China's "peaceful rise" is sure to increase.

2010.05.21 02:21 am







其實,兩岸的「和平發展」,亦已有了基本框架,那就是「九二共識/一中各表」。北京當局應該修正兩岸關係的路徑圖,不要迫使自己以「誰吃掉誰」為兩岸的終極目標。因為,那可能使北京掉入「承諾的陷阱」(commitment trap),無以轉圜,不能自拔。




Thursday, May 20, 2010

President Ma's Second Anniversary: Unfulfilled Expectations and Their Remedies

President Ma's Second Anniversary: Unfulfilled Expectations and Their Remedies
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 20, 2010

President Ma Ying-jeou has been in office for two years. He has passed the middle of his term of office. The past two years could be considered a collision between the type of president Ma Ying-jeou wanted to be, and the type of president the public wanted him to be. The next two years will require that he bridge the gap between his expectations and those of the public. This will determine the success or failure of his four-year presidential term.
Two years ago, on May 28, the Executive Yuan made a surprise announcement. Gasoline prices would be raised. On April 25 this year, the Two Yings Debate took place. These two events can be seen as bookends. They bracket Ma Ying-jeou's two years in office. They reflect the gap in expectations, and the remedies that must be applied.

On May 20, 2008, President Ma took office. The Chen administration had frozen gasoline prices for six months. The public waited to see if the new administration would fulfill its "one time only increase" election promise. Sure enough on June 2 the Liu cabinet announced a price increase. Alas this provoked gasoline hoarding, putting the public at risk from hazard of fire. With lightning speed the Liu cabinet announced a price increase on the 29th. People responded by lining up to fill their tanks. Gas lines stretched for miles. Public discontent came to a boil. The public concluded that the Ma administration had flunked its very first test.

The Ma administration has now changed its policy to "floating prices" adjusted every week. This was the very first test for the Ma administration. For the next two years the Ma administration would repeat this same defective decision making procedure, again and again. It would find itself on the receiving end of public wrath, again and again. In terms of oil prices, the decision to "respect the market mechanism" and adopt "floating prices" is strategically correct. But to announce price increases on June 2, provoking hoarding, then making another surprise announcement, provoking gas lines, was a tactical blunder that stirred up a political storm. Public disillusionment and skepticism regarding the Ma administration's "rule of law" and "meat and potatoes economics" began to grow.

Examples such as this are too numerous to list. For example, President Ma declared that typhoon disaster relief was mainly Premier Liu Chao-hsuan's responsibility, and that the president ought to retreat to the second line. Disaster victims were both angry and suspicious. They puzzled over the reasoning behind his declaration. The 8/8 Flood was a major disaster. Yet Ma Ying-jeou failed to declare an emergency. He was characterized as "legally correct" but "politically incorrect." Another example was the recent arbitration victory in the Lafayette frigate kickback scandal. The Chen administration attempted to settle the case privately, on the pretext that "arms compensation" is not merely a means of engaging in corruption, it also impacts international and cross-Strait politics. Ma Ying-jeou however risked the uncertain outcome of arbitration, refused reconciliation, and forsook the opportunity to use "arms compensation" to manipulate international politics.

Many have blasted Ma Ying-jeou, calling him stupid. In fact they are merely saying they don't think he is sufficiently calculating, sufficiently devious, sufficiently tuned in, sufficiently Machievellian, sufficiently ruthless. For example, the public feels that Chen Tsung-ming refuses to step down because Ma Ying-jeou is "impotent" and "gutless." But one of Ma's important political convictions is non-interference in judicial affairs. Unfortunately this has led to a "gap in expectations."

The Two Yings Debate held in April of this year can be viewed as the beginning of an attempt to bridge the gap in expectations. Given Ma Ying-jeou's personality, he may have been looking forward to a calm and rational dialogue. Been circumstances forced him into a head to head debate. Ma probably knew he was at a disadvantage vis a vis debating skills. But he respects the opposition's watchdog role. He ran a major political risk. He put himself on an equal footing with Tsai Ing-wen and accepted the challenge. Fortunately Ma Ying-jeou gained the upper hand. Otherwise who knows how much worse the "gap in expectations" would have gotten?

During the Two Yings Debate public attention was focused on which of the two Yings was turning in a better public performance. But Ma Ying-jeou was probably merely hoping to gain public understanding and trust. The way Ma Ying-jeou handled himself during the debate showed he was serious, diligent, and sincere. He knew the risks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He knew the economy had to be revived. Tsai Ing-wen refrained from accusing Ma Ying-jeou of "pandering to [mainland] China and selling out Taiwan" because it was merely a Green Camp street slogan. There is no assurance it would have done the trick during the debate. In fact one of Ma Ying-jeou's most important personality traits is his loyalty to the Republic of China. That may be why his cross-Strait policy has gained the support and trust of a majority of the public. Which political leader on Taiwan besides Ma Ying-jeou exhibits these personality traits?

What kind of president does Ma Ying-jeou want to be? He probably does not want to be a media star. Instead, he wants the nation and its government to operate in accordance with the principles of justice and the rule of law. In cross-Strait affairs, he wants to be pragmatic. He is unwilling to see cross-Strait issues exploited for populist leverage during political struggles. His political style has led to a shortfall in public expectations. How can the President stand on the "second line?" Why doesn't Chen Tsung-ming feel compelled to step down? Why is the Chen Shui-bian corruption case on hold? Why is the majority party in the Legislative Yuan doing nothing? Why doesn't he meet with the Dalai Lama? Why the string of lost elections? Why the tax cuts for the wealthy? Why will ECFA harm weak industries? Why do we all feel so ill at ease?

Ma Ying-jeou has been president for two years. The Republic of China inhabits a world in which the mainland is rising, the U.S. is declining, the Republic of China is wracked by internal divisions, government personnel are either veterans or rookies, with no one in between, justice no longer prevails, the Chen corruption case is going nowhere, the global economic crisis has slowed economic growth, the threat of ASEAN plus N has surfaced, and the threat of economic marginalization looms. This would seem to be the time for a Man on Horseback, a "Father of Democracy," or a "Son of Taiwan" to come riding to the rescue. Instead, to lead us out of our predicament, we have a political leader who studiously maintains a low political profile, who eschews populist demagoguery, but who has won the trust of leaders abroad, across the Taiwan Strait, and on Taiwan. Ma Ying-jeou apparently regard this as his historical role. Taiwan must no longer be a political stage for charismatic demagogues. Taiwan needs self-effacing political leaders who can heal cross-Strait wounds, and allow us to return to peace and reason.

But a two year "gap in expectations" has left Ma Ying-jeou scarred. The public is disappointed in him. Ma Ying-jeou now stands on the front line, and is moving closer and closer to the "politics of the man in the street." The Two Yings Debate will be viewed as an attempt to address the "gap in expectations." Ma Ying-jeou hopes to win public understanding and trust for his policies. But populism may prevail. The public may care more about who turned in a better performance during the debate.

The Republic of China is in dire straits, internally and externally. President Ma's performance will be held up to a microscope, a magnifying glass. It will even be held up before a funhouse mirror. He must watch what he says. A single remark about having "creepy feelings" can provoke public attacks. He must be careful to maintain his trusted and irreplaceable role in cross-Strait affairs. Ma Ying-jeou admittedly has many things he can be criticized for. His policy bungles have left his administration in crisis. But as we review the record of the past two years, he remains the right choice to lead the Republic of China over the next few years,

2010.05.20 01:57 am













Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The New Cabinet Heralds a Post-ECFA Era

The New Cabinet Heralds a Post-ECFA Era
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 19, 2010

It is the eve of the second anniversary of President Ma's inauguration. The cabinet is being reshuffled because Vice Premier Chu Li-lun is running for Xinbei City Mayor. So far only the chairmen of the CEPD and the FSC have been redeployed. The overall structure of the cabinet will remain the same. Three new cabinet members who were promoted however have financial and economic backgrounds. This includes Sean Chen, incoming Vice Premier. This is obviously related to ECFA, the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement that will be signed in June.

When Sean Chen was at the FSC, he was the prime mover behind the Cross-Strait Financial Supervision Memorandum of Understanding. He is familiar with cross-Strait affairs. He has now been kicked upstairs, charged with integrating and coordinating the financial and economic subcabinet. He has deft management skills and a cool head. He is bold in the face of challenges, and does not get bogged down in technicalities. The opposition DPP is boycotting ECFA with all its might, attempting to incite panic. Meanwhile Beijing is watching Taipei like a hawk. Every step is riddled with danger. If a traditional paint by the numbers bureaucrat were in charge, he would be overwhelmed. But this is precisely the kind of battlefield on which Sean Chen shines. Expect the unfavorable currents before us to subside.

The Chairman of the CEPD has been changed. The nominee announced her appointment "on her own initiative." Former Chairman Tsai Hsun-hsung is modest and austere. A sudden unprovoked "war between two women" erupted, making waves and raising eyebrows. The public knows that for the past several decades the CEPD has been responsible for planning, communications, and coordination. It truly is the heart of a financial subcabinet. If it receives recognition and full support from higher ups, its effectiveness will be unparalled. Its effectiveness however, can create problems as well as solve them. For example, when Hau Pei-tsun was premier, President Lee Teng-hui and Premier Hau trusted CEPD Chairman Kuo Wan-jung implicitly. In response to the new administration's expectations, she established a "Six-Year Economic Reconstruction Plan." The most concrete example was her heroic mobilization of national resources and use of large public construction loans. Thousands of large and small projects remain uncompleted. Her achievements cannot compare with the small scale "Ten Major Construction Projects." Squandering hard-earned tax dollars and misusing national resources left behind a bottomless well of red ink that still haunts us.

Therefore when Chairman Kuo's protege Christina Liu took over the same position 20 years later, it made for a great story. We must learn lessons from these events, and avoid making the same mistakes. Liu Yi-ju is unofficially slated to take over as Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development. She has a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. Her professionalism is probably not at issue. She has long believed in a free economy. She respects the market mechanism. She has been sharply critical of improper government intervention in the marketplace. Under her guidance the Council for Economic Planning and Development will probably have a very different face.

This does not mean that the CEPD can rule by doing nothing, allowing the market to go its own way completely. During normal times, the CEPD must anticipate economic trends, remedy market failures in a timely manner, improve the economic environment, and allow the individual full opportunity for development. Our economy is moving away from a long term Closed Door Policy and towards openness and freedom. Cross-Strait trade and economic relations, once bound hand and foot, have now had the doors thrown open. At this critical juncture, the CEPD is seeking the best way to open up our economy. It is attempting to eliminate obstacles in our way, and help the negotiating team obtain the most favorable conditions. It must seize the initiative. The two sides have yet to eliminate tariffs. Many SMEs have potential advantages. With money and talent, their core competitiveness can be given leg up, helping them to thrive and grow. By opening up in advance, the ordinary citizen can avoid being made obsolete. He can get a jump on the vast mainland hinterlands and marketplace, transforming it into a solid foundation for Taiwan's economic development. Meanwhile, by building "special economic zones" he can obtain an advance peace dividend. This will bring people from afar, accelerating the pace of economic growth, and herald the arrival of a new Post-ECFA Era.

In fact during DPP Chairman Tsai's current term, the CEPD took upon itself to formulate a strategy for a "Golden Decade." Now dynamic new advocates of such a strategy are in office. Among them is a Vice Premier even more familiar with cross-Strait affairs. Planning for a Golden Decade should be even more feasible and meet with even less resistance. This may make up for the Ma administration's failure to offer a vision when first assuming office.

The crux of the problem behind the Ma administration's disappointing performance over the past two years was not the premier. Nor was it members of the cabinet. It was President Ma's own stumbling about as he learned from his mistakes. Now it appears that considerable progress has been made. The quality of his administration's decision-making has improved. He is more professional and mature in his use of talent. As long as he shows greater respect for professionalism, delegates authority, speaks and acts with caution, we anticipate better from him.

新內閣引領「後ECFA 時代」
2010.05.19 02:40 am








Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beheading the Republic of China: Beijing Should Reconsider

Beheading the Republic of China: Beijing Should Reconsider
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 18, 2010

Zhang Nianchi of the East Asia Institute in Shanghai has posted a special article in the May edition of the China Review. The title of the webpage is: "Establish the Preconditions Necessary to Resolve the Republic of China Conundrum."
We do not know whether this article reflects the thinking of decision-making circles within the CCP. But if Beijing wants a key that can unlock cross-Strait problems, the above article should be considered a valuable draft.

Zhang Nianchi wrote that he spoke with a "member of the public on Taiwan." That member of the public told Zhang that "[Beijing's] refusal to recognize the Republic of China, is akin to chopping off our head. What good does it do to leave the four limbs and the five organs intact?" Zhang Nianchi said people who think like this do not necessarily support Taiwan independence.

Actually "members of the public on Taiwan" who think like this could never be supporters of Taiwan independence. The goal of Taiwan independence is to replace the Republic of China's head. The goal of Taiwan independence is to use the Republic of China as a shell company, in order to engage in backdoor listing. The goal of Taiwan independence is to exploit the Republic of China, to assert that "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. Its current name is the Republic of China." The implication being that "Its future name will be the Republic of Taiwan." Such political sleight of hand is another matter than can be discussed some other time. The Beijing authorities must realize that the fundamental reason Taiwan independence has been able to grow is that Beijing refuses to recognize the Republic of China, and wants to chop off the Republic of China head. Beijing's desire to chop off the Republic of China head inspired the Taiwan independence movement to "replace the Republic of China head."

Beijing understands of course that preserving the Republic of China head is the best way to shrink the Taiwan independence movement's maneuvering room. But this is merely a passive means of addressing cross-Strait problems. As for active means, regardless of whether we are looking at

The future may involve the maintenance of the status quo. It may involve signing ECFA or a peace agreement. It may involve the establishment of an EU model or a confederation. It may even involve reunification. But no matter what, Taiwan must be entrusted to the Republic of China. If the Republic of China head is chopped off, what is there left to talk about?

Actually the Beijing authorities know this. They know that without the Republic of China, there can be no "peaceful development" of cross-Strait relations. But in practice Beijing remains mired in serious self-contradictions. For example, CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao said that "Although the two sides have yet to be reunified, the mainland and Taiwan have always belonged to one China. This is not merely our position. It also appears in existing regulations and documents on Taiwan." The "regulations and documents" Hu Jintao was referring to was of course the Republic of China Constitution. President Hu Jintao made these remarks following the passage of the Anti-Secession Law. He meant to say that the Republic of China Constitution is also a "One China Constitution." He asked how Taiwan independence can be tolerated, given that it is "unconstitutional?" But such an argument contains an obvious and serious contradiction. Since Beijing refuses to recognize the Republic of China, and wants to cut off the Republic of China's head, how can it demand that the public on Taiwan abide by the Republic of China Constitution and support the Republic of China?

In his article Zhang Nianchi discussed a variety of theories on cross-Strait relations. Among them was the "glass theory" proposed by the UDN News. The "glass theory" compares the Republic of China to a glass. Republic of China citizens on Taiwan are akin to the water in the glass. If cross-Strait relations dispenses with the glass, what happens to the water? Zhang Nianchi's said "the public on Taiwan is the water in the glass." This differs slightly from the UDN News understanding. As we see it, Taiwan refers not merely to the public, but also to a free and democratic politico-economic system. Given the "glass theory" metaphor, how can the Beijing authorities refuse to recognize the Republic of China Constitution on the one hand, and expect the public on Taiwan to respect its "One China Constitution?" Is this not the same reasoning as "the existence of the glass ensures the existence of the water / the breaking of the glass means the loss of the water?"

Consider the issue at a deeper level. The Republic of China is a liberal democracy that elects its own president. Unless Beijing resorts to military force, how can it avoid dealing with the Republic of China? If Beijing uses non-peaceful means to swallow up this liberal democracy, one that belongs to China and is opposed to Taiwan independence, it will be committing a grievous sin against human civilization and against Chinese culture. Today's cross-Strait conflict is no longer merely a civil war between the KMT and the CCP. It concerns global civilization and the Republic of China's liberal democracy. It concerns China's sons and daughters down through the ages, and how we should deal with this liberal democracy that belongs to China and is opposed to Taiwan independence. Isn't "chopping of its head" or "smashing the glass" incompatible with "peaceful development?"

Zhang Nianchi is political consultant to the Beijing authorities. He embraces Chinese civilization and understands Taiwan. The UDN News has advocated "process orientation" instead of "goal orientation." Zhang can be considered "process oriented." If we have correctly understood his arguments, he advocates "establishing the preconditions necessary to resolve the Republic of China Conundrum." Zhang Nianchi's article identifies the real cross-Strait "conundrum." Beijing must deal with the Republic of China. His is an innovative and practical cross-Strait policy proposal.

The Beijing authorities must recognize that Taiwan independence is largely the result of pressure from Beijing. Even Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian's moves toward independence were primarily the result of Beijing preventing them from taking the "Republic of China" path. Beijing now understands that the "One China Constitution" is the legal umbilical cord that connects the two sides. Therefore it ought to view the Republic of China from the perspective of the "glass theory." It may wish eventually to discuss the "roof theory," or a peace agreement, or a confederation, or even reunification. But if Beijing does not allow the public on Taiwan to feel that the Republic of China is part of China, then it cannot make them think of themselves as Chinese. Nor can it elevate cross-Strait relations to the level of "peaceful development." In short, in order to prevent Taiwan independence, Beijing must not chop off the Republic of China head. In order to harmonize the two sides, Beijing must not shatter the Republic of China glass. The UDN News began expressing these views on cross-Strait relations beginning with "Six New Years Day Editorials."

Zhang Nian Wang Chi was the late Wang Daohan's right hand man. In 1997 Wang Daohan proposed an "In Progress Style One China." The UDN News has made a major revision to his thinking. It has changed a "One China in which the Republic of China has been eliminated" to a "One China in which the Republic of China has been preserved." Zhang Nianchi advocates "establishing the preconditions necessary to resolve the Republic of China Conundrum." This may be seen as a variant of the "In Progress Style One China." He voices many caveats in his article. But he maintains that "issues of sovereignty are all matters of perception." His vision is bold, his courage commendable, and his words admirable.

How should we deal with the Republic of China? Our "Six New Years Day Editorials" suggest that the more we move toward the 1992 Consensus and "One China, Different Interpretations," the more cross-Strait relations will undergo "peaceful development." The more rational the cross-Strait process will become, and the clearer cross-Strait goals will be.

"Chopping off the Republic of China head" and "peaceful development" are mutually contradictory. If we uphold "One China, Different Interpretations," we already have "One China." We can already ensure against backsliding. Conditions can only improve. Why subject "One China" to the vagaries of the future?

面對中華民國 北京應檢討「砍頭論」
2010.05.18 02:39 am














Monday, May 17, 2010

Indonesian Workers Forced to Eat Pork, Mainland Students Not Allowed to Marry

Indonesian Workers Forced to Eat Pork, Mainland Students Not Allowed to Marry
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 17, 2010

A Taiwanese employer who forced Indonesian workers of the Islamic faith to eat pork, has been condemned by the international media. Indonesian labor organizations also denounced him, saying that forcing Indonesian workers to eat eat pork is forcing them to violate their religious consciences, and therefore tantamount to a crime. Yesterday a group of Indonesian workers took to the streets, protesting the brutal and ignorant attitude of Taiwanese employers toward other cultures.

Taiwan has been dependent upon foreign labor for over twenty years. Yet incidents of employers withholding foreign workers' pay, denying them holiday leave, and restricting their movements have not diminished. Many employers see foreign workers as domestic slaves. They see foreign workers as second-class workers. They exploit their bodies, then leave them isolated and without support. They force them to perform endless labor, then ignore their physical and mental fatigue, and demonstrate even less concern for their beliefs and their culture. The reason this incident broke out, was mainly because the employer withheld too much of the foreign workers' wages. In fact, during their training period, many Indonesian workers have been forced to sign consent forms stating, "I am willing to eat pork." Clearly Indonesian workers being forced to eat pork is widespread on Taiwan. It is definitely not limited to this one case.

Taiwan has long taken pride in its prosperity and democracy compared to its Asian neighbors. But as an economy dependent upon foreign workers, discrimination against foreign workers is rash, out of touch with the times, and underscores our shallowness. When discussing foreign workers, many employers think only in terms of "management" and "overhead." But were it not for the abundance of cheap labor from Southeast Asia, twenty years of economic development on Taiwan would probably have a very different face. Therefore, shouldn't we grant these foreign workers, who contributed to Taiwan's development, a little more respect?

Discrimination is a psychological paradox. Often it is a mixture of arrogance, ignorance, and fear. The employer who withheld wages and forced workers to eat pork is a typical example of arrogance and ignorance. Meanwhile, recent DPP attempts to impose layer upon layer of controls on mainland students studying on Taiwan, are the product of another kind of arrogance and fear.

The Democratic Progressive Party initially opposed allowing mainland students to study on Taiwan. The reason they gave was that mainland students would deprive local students of educational resources. But when major universities welcomed mainland students, the Democratic Progressive Party knew that argument would not hold water. Soon they demand a whole new set of barriers, the so-called "Three Limitations and Six Prohibitions." These barriers include limiting the schools mainland students may attend, limiting their numbers, limiting the regions in which they may attend. These barriers include no norm-referenced testing, no reductions in existing enrollment, no scholarships, no moonlighting, no occupational licensure, and no employment allowed. And finally, should a mainland student and a local student happen to fall in love and want to marry, the mainland student will be repatriated.

Consider the matter from an equal rights perspective. Taiwan has established a complicated and onerous threshold for mainland students studying on Taiwan almost as strict as those during martial law. The Democratic Progressive Party is rationalizing its flagrant discrimination with such mantras as "Defending the nation! Defending the people!" The KMT, bafflingly, is dancing to the DPP's tune. At a time when global educational exchanges are increasingly free and open, Taiwan sees mainland students separated by a few miles of water as implacable enemies. It sees mainland students as insidious infiltrators. It sees educational opportunities as deadly threats. Is this not laughable beyond belief?

The Democratic Progressive Party has long boasted of its goal of "founding a nation on human rights." Yet it does everything in its power to treat mainland students and mainland spouses with enmity. The discriminatory restrictions the DPP imposed upon them are utterly devoid of human feeling. They run counter to the concept of universal human rights. The DPP rose to prominence by holding high the banner of democracy and progress, and by safeguarding the interests of the disadvantaged. But somewhere along the way, its ideals of democracy and progress were buried by its "nativist" consciousness. The DPP is able to express its "anti-China" hatred only by demagoguing such low level issues as mainland students studying on Taiwan. One might say that the Green Camp's prejudices against mainland students and mainland spouses reflect a serious step backward for the DPP. Meanwhile the ruling KMT, which is far too eager to compromise, seems to have forgotten that selective discrimination against mainland students is fueling the flames of discrimination on Taiwan.

The general public's oppression of foreign workers, and its contempt for foreign workers has economic and cultural roots. But the Green Camp's antipathy toward [mainland] China and mainland students is politically motivated. Regardless, the targets of both forms of discrimination are part of the Asian community that Taiwan ought to be befriending. This is what we most need to be vigilant about. The Republic of China's diplomatic situation is precarious. Many of our foreign relations depend upon private diplomacy to establish friendship and trust. The visitors ordinary members of the public are most likely to come in contact with are foreign workers, foreign spouses, mainland tourists and mainland students. If the public on Taiwan cannot view others without hostility and prejudice, it may well breed misunderstanding of Taiwan amongst our neighbors, and we may well wind up even more isolated in the Asian community.

2010.05.17 01:38 am









Friday, May 14, 2010

DPP Forcing Tsai Ing-wen to Swear a Blood Oath

DPP Forcing Tsai Ing-wen to Swear a Blood Oath
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 14, 2010

Tsai Ing-wen's authority within the Democratic Progressive Party is under challenge. The threat to her power may be more serious than outsiders imagine. First, she failed to do as well in the Two Yings Debates as expected. In particular, Deep Green elements found her arguments distasteful. Her authority within the party has been shaken. Secondly, party elders and Taiwan independence fundamentalists are attempting to force her to run for Xinbei City Mayor. The time for a showdown is nigh.

Tsai Ing-wen used the second anniversary of Ma's inauguration to publish an open letter, mainly regarding the Two Yings Debate. This move, plus the numerous TV interviews she held in the wake of the debate, declares that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it will hold a referendum to abolish ECFA. It also declares that the DPP is now fully behind the 5/20 protest march. This move can also be seen as a means of ameliorating her current power crisis.

But the grander her gestures, the more apparent the seriousness of her power crisis. Moreover, her remedial measures merely increase the severity of her crisis. For example, she stridently proclaimed that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it will hold a referendum to abolish ECFA. For Deep Greens, this amounts to an admission that her arguments during the debate were riddled with holes. For Pale Greens and Pale Blues, this may be seen as a disillusioning revelation of her true face. In particular, this belated addendum will severely narrow the options for the DPP and herself, during the 2012 presidential election as well as for the long term. Crisis management like this amounts to adding fuel to the fire.

Tsai Ing-wen has been party chairman for two years. Yet her current power crisis is the result of her party loyalty being called into question. People are asking why she failed to denounce President Ma for "pandering to [mainland] China and selling out Taiwan?" during the debate? Why she failed to call for a referendum? Some are even saying that Tsai Ing-wen belatedly "defected" to the Democratic Progressive Party and lacks "fighting ability." They are saying that if she refuses to run for Xinbei City Mayor, what right does she have to be re-elected party chairman? Given the current atmosphere, forcing Tsai Ing-wen to run for Xinbei City Mayor amounts to pressuring her to swear a blood oath. For party elders and Taiwan independence fundamentalists, this is an issue of loyalty and not an issue of individual preference.

To what extent must Tsai Ing-wen spill her guts to Deep Green elements before she passes muster? She faces a dilemma. On the one hand she must swear a blood oath to mollify Deep Greens. On the other hand, she must not overdo any such blood oath. Otherwise she will disillusion centrist-oriented Pale Green and Pale Blue voters. Most importantly, she must not overdo any blood oath to the extent that people conclude "Tsai Ing-wen is no longer Tsai Ing-wen." Otherwise Tsai Ing-wen's day will be done.

The open letter Tsai Ing-wen published yesterday reveals her dilemma. Consider this section of her letter. "At this stage the government must ensure that exchanges with [mainland] China" must go hand in hand with "clarifications of Taiwan's image as a nation. If the latter is sacrificed to the former, it will surely have devastating consequences for Taiwan's future." This hesitant argument appears to a defense of national sovereignty in exchanges with mainland China. This of course is a public consensus. But Tsai Ing-wen has invented new jargon, "clarifications of Taiwan's image as a nation," that merely come across as mealy-mouthed. What does "clarifications of Taiwan's image as a nation" mean? Is Tsai Ing-wen advocating the use of "Republic of China" in exchanges with the mainland? The DPP was unable to do so when it was in power. All it can do is one-sidedly cling to "One China, Different Interpretations," and allow Beijing to refrain from voicing any objections. Is Tsai Ing-wen advocating the use of "Republic of Taiwan" in exchanges with the mainland? The DPP was unable to do this either when it was in power. Some in the Democratic Progressive Party have even concluded that the Taiwan independence movement is dead, that it was killed off by Chen Shui-bian during his administration. Is Tsai Ing-wen advocating the invocation of the "two states theory" in exchanges with the mainland? Tsai Ing-wen's namby-pamby formulation may come across as inauthentic to the Deep Greens. It may come across as unintelligible to Pale Greens and Pale Blues. If she herself is unable to offer a clarification of what she means, how can she possibly offer a "clarification of Taiwan's image as a nation?"

Let's take a closer look at Tsai Ing-wen's power crisis. Party elders and Taiwan independence fundamentalists may feel that Tsai Ing-wen's "interim mission" is over. Since problems have arisen surrounding her loss in the debate and her candidacy for Xinbei City Mayor, it is time for a showdown. If at this point Tsai Ing-wen fails to convince Deep Green elements of her sincerity, and enter the Xinbei City Mayoral campaign, after-effects can be expected. If she is unable to convince them of her sincerity, and refuses to run for Xinbei City Mayor, they may turn against her. Why is she dragging her feet on running for Xinbei City Mayor they ask. Party elders and Taiwan independence fundamentalists want Tsai Ing-wen to swear a blood oath.

Tsai Ing-wen has been party chairman for two years. Who thought her party loyalty would be called into question? Two years ago, Pale Greens and Pale Blues looked to a miracle -- a "DPP reformed by Tsai Ing-wen." Now alas, the reverse has happened -- "Tsai Ing-wen has found herself mired in the DPP morass."

Tsai Ing-wen's rescue awaits a show of support from reformers within the DPP. It also depends on Tsai Ing-wen's efforts on her own behalf.

2010.05.14 04:13 am



然而,她的動作越大,越暴露了權力危機的嚴重性;而且,她的補救手段,也回過頭來越加重了危機的嚴重性。例如,她加料加碼宣示民進黨若執政後將公投廢止ECFA;對深綠,形同承認了她在辯論會中的論述缺口;對淺綠淺藍,則可能被視為圖窮匕現;尤其,這畫蛇添足的一句話,也將使她自己及民進黨在未來至二○ 一二年的論述架構,喪失了彈性空間。這樣的危機處理,不啻是抱薪救火,火上加油。