The writing has been on the wall for KMT’s chances in the election this time around for some time. As I had discussed earlier, the battle between DPP and KMT in the 2016 election is not about independence vs. status quo as it had been 8 years back when Taiwan elected Ma Ying-jeou, or 16 years ago when Taiwan elected Chen Shui-Bian. That battle had been won long ago, with this time everyone agreeing that the status quo is the way to go. The battle this time around is about economics, about what to do with Taiwan’s stagnant wages and rising home prices.
Of course, there are plenty of symbolism that DPP – and hence Tsai – still stands for independence. DPP’s charter, for example, still officially endorses independence. Tsai has also been purposely demure and vague about her stance toward the Mainland, including her public avoidance of acknowledging the 1992 Consensus on the one-China policy.
But I think it’s possible all that is just symbolism. Given that it’s election season, and that the 1992 Consensus include details that allowed both sides to interpret things slightly differently under the broad rubric of a one China policy, I think it’s perhaps understandable Tsai want to do everything to avoid the specter of getting pinned into one specific or another interpretation.
The real reason KMT lost is because it has not properly addressed the following political trends. Continue reading DPP Wins in Taiwan
Over the weekend, the KMT nullified Hung Hsiu-chu’s nomination and selected party chairman Eric Chu to lead the ticket in the Jan. 16 election. George Koo wrote a piece about it last week.
I typically don’t comment that much on populist politics since they are fleeting, shallow, and often end up, when on look back, just dust in the wind.
Here are some of my takes: Continue reading The Ouster of Hung Hsiu-chu
The Taiwan elections last week may have many in the West – and some perhaps on the Mainland – thinking if politics in Taiwan is yet turning another corner with its independence movement mounting a comeback?
The following comment by a Taiwanese reader on guancha caught our attention.
4. 在台灣島內，多數人民的首要矛盾問題是經濟與民生問題，但這６年來國民黨在馬英九的領導下完全無能無所作為；統獨問題作為次要矛盾問題，在我的認識，許多台灣人都抱持著鴕鳥心態 — 既或是傾向獨立的綠營支持者，很多人心底也都知道或默認，統一是遲早與無法抗拒的，只能持著消極抵制心態應對。而對大陸人來說，在台灣問題上，統獨是首要矛盾問題，台灣的經濟與民生問題是次要問題。而當台灣人因為自己的首要矛盾問題票投綠營時，會讓許多大陸人認為台灣走向獨立之路，或是刻意想與大陸對抗，這是許多大陸人不了解台灣社會實際情況所產生的誤解與誤讀，希望觀察網的朋友對此點有重新的認識。
Here is my quick translation: Continue reading Taiwan’s Recent Local Elections
This is a belated post. I have been busy with a project at work the last couple of weeks… Still, I believe what I have to say is still relevant.
It appears that the student protest occupying the Legislative Yuan the last 2-3 weeks is coming to an end. Depending on which media you read, the significance of the protest meant different things.
Some think this is just a purely economical issue. The Taiwanese students are not happy with the trade agreements agreed upon but not yet signed into law between the Mainland and Taiwanese side. This is understandable. College graduates in Taiwan has had a tough time getting (good) employment this past several years (decade?). Many – unfortunately – have come to feel protectionism – legal protection from globalism – is the best way to “compete” in the global economy.
However, this is oversimplification. If you listen to the speeches and talks within the protest, you have no doubt this is about partisan politics between KMT and DPP – and also emotional politics invoked against the Mainland. As I noted earlier in a comment in another thread, the main impetus of the protest is not about economics, but about the uneasy unsettled status of Mainland-Taiwan relations. The real reason is unification/independence politics.
But if this is all there is to the protest, I’d not write this post – as there is not much for me personally to write about. It’s just about normal democratic politicking – built upon base politics, misinformation, distortion, emotional rants, hateful or divisive rhetoric, and what I might call ethno/religious/identity politicking. Continue reading Taiwan’s Student Mob?
Ma Ying Jieu has won what has been a tough and closely watched election in Taiwan. Emphasizing close relations with the mainland, Ma celebrated the victory as a victory for the people of Taiwan. The DPP, with charismatic (and “native Taiwanese”) Tsai, gave stoic (and “外省人”) Ma a much bigger challenge this time (characterization by my deep-green family-in-laws), losing to Ma by what looks like a 51.6 to 45.63 margin (compared to the 58% to 42% margin in 2008). While the issue of independence has been much toned down this time, relations with the Mainland still dominated the election, with issues of the economy also a major issue.
Continue reading Ma Ying Jiu Wins Taiwan Election