Su Tseng-chang Reaches a Dead End, Frank Hsieh Adrift at Sea
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 18, 2013
Summary: Su Tseng-chang has become a stumbling block in the way of the Democratic Progressive Party's cross-Strait policy reform. Frank Hsieh appears to be the standard bearer promoting reform. But based on their remarks, neither offers a way out for the DPP. On the matter of cross-strait policy, the DPP appears to have arrived at a dead end.
Full text below:
Su Tseng-chang has become a stumbling block in the way of the Democratic Progressive Party's cross-Strait policy reform. Frank Hsieh appears to be the standard bearer promoting reform. But based on their remarks, neither offers a way out for the DPP. On the matter of cross-strait policy, the DPP appears to have arrived at a dead end.
Su Tseng-chang established new bodies that he labeled the "China Affairs Division" and "China Affairs Committee." He sees the Chinese mainland not as "The Mainland," but as "China," as "The Other." In other words, he advocates "one country on each side." So far, the "China Affairs Committee" has remained stranded. On the surface, this is due to a power struggle within the party. But underneath, it is because the DPP cannot agree on a "China policy." Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang was supposed to lead DPP cross-Strait policy reform. Instead, he has become its biggest stumbling block.
Su Tseng-chang's reaction to the "I am a Singer" TV show left people incredulous. Anyone could see that the popularity of the show reflected a change in the two sides' perception of pop culture. Yet Su Tseng-chang simplistically characterized the show as part of a "war of reunification." He said it "used business to beseige the government." He accused the media of "flattering [Mainland] China while poor-mouthing Taiwan." His rant left people dumbfounded. Is this how an important party leader should express himself? No wonder this newspaper's editorial column "Black and White" wondered, "Su Tseng-chang, what were you thinking?"
Su Tseng-chang's mind is still in "ECFA mode." The two sides must engage in cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. Therefore they need ECFA. But the DPP is terrified of "business beseiging the government." It insists that the Mainland will "deceive, feed, capture, then kill" Taiwan. As a result it characterizes exchanges as part of a "war of reunification," and as a "Trojan horse." It insists that if Taiwan accepts concessions from the Mainland, it will be "drinking poison to quench its thirst." Therefore its organizes protests and dismisses ECFA as a "forfeiture of sovereignty and a humiliation of the nation," and as "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." DPP concerns over ECFA are not entirely unfounded. But DPP defeatism, fear, and opposition to ECFA swims against the tide and defies common sense.
Su Tseng-chang is applying the same logic to "I am a Singer" as it did to ECFA. Su Tseng-chang is right to be wary regarding cross-Strait relations. But does he really want to accuse singers who appeared on "I am a Singer" of "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan?" Does he really want to accuse singers from Taiwan of "drinking poison to quench their thirst?" Does he really want to oppose "I am a Singer" the way he opposed ECFA? Does he really want to prohibit TV channels on Taiwan from broadcasting "I am a Singer?" Su Tseng-chang may be voicing concerns shared by many on Taiwan. But he failed to demonstrate the wisdom expected of an important party leader. He treated I am a Singer" as if it were ECFA, as another straw man to attack.
Su Tseng-chang finds himself at a dead end. Does that mean Frank Hsieh is home free? Not really. Frank Hsieh said, "The DPP's old cross-Strait policy was a failure." He said, "The DPP will not be an obstacle to world peace." To this extent, he differs from Su Tseng-chang. But Frank Hsieh's solutions are no better. Frank Hsieh advocated a "Constitutional One China." He argued that Kaohsuing and Xiamen are "two cities in the same nation." But party comrades have rejected these positions. He has been forced to change his position from a "Constitutional One China (xian fa yi zhong)"to a "Constitutional One China (xian fa yi hua)." But the KMT's "Republic of China" includes the Mainland. The DPP's "Republic of China" refers only to Taiwan, and does not include the Mainland. Since "China is legally divided," the DPP has in effect reverted to "backdoor listing." Will the Mainland really accept this? If Frank Hsieh fails to revert to a "Constitutional Republic of China," then what good is his "One Constitution, Different Interpretations?" To the DPP, Frank Hsieh's path is riskier than Su Tseng-chang's. Su Tseng-chang has remained frozen in place. Frank Hsieh wants to advance, but is afraid to. If he moves in the wrong direction, he can easily be taken advantage of. One false step could lead to his fall.
Even more interesting is Hsu Hsin-liang. His "10,000 Word Proclamation" stated that, "Taiwan cannot avoid political contacts, political dialogue, and even some sort of political understanding with the other side." Hsu reproached the Ma administration. He criticized Ma Ying-jeou for failure to act. But one must ask Hsu, this is not the policy advocated or implemented by the DPP. Therefore what right do you have to criticize the KMT? Are you not a DPP member?
The DPP has reached a dead end. The signs are everywhere: Su Tseng-chang visited Japan. He advocated a "democratic alliance." Tsai Ing-wen visited Indonesia. She initiated a "New Southern Strategy." Su's "democratic alliance" proposal was blasted all around. Tsai's "New Southern Strategy" became the butt of jokes. Both were lip service passing for national policy. Both were empty rhetoric passing for political achievements. Their advocates were either madmen, or con men. When did the DPP begin making such empty promises?
Su Tseng-chang has reached a dead end. Frank Hsieh is adrift at sea. Tsai Ing-wen has her head in the clouds. If this trio cannot save the DPP, who can? And if this trio cannot save the DPP, how can they save Taiwan?
2013.04.18 03:56 am