Mon, Mar 27, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Ma playing with ethnicity

By Su Yen-pin

Who is provoking ethnic division? One might reflect on the accusation of "manipulating provincialism and ethnic topics" after reading a report in the Chinese-language newspaper the Liberty Times [the Taipei Times' sister newspaper] on March 21 that one important consideration in Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) backing of Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) in the KMT primary for the Taipei mayoral election is his Taiwanese ethnicity.

For the pro-China camp, policies such as promoting Taiwanese language education, reclaiming the KMT's illegally obtained assets, investigation of political and legal responsibility for the 228 Incident, revising the preferential interest rate of 18 percent for civil servants' pensions, etc, are demonized as nothing but intentional ethnic division and manipulation of provincialism. However, it is not the Taiwanese seeking justice that destroys ethnic unity.

The main purpose of Ma highlighting Yeh's ethnicity is to emphasize differences among ethnic groups so as to strengthen the effect of "the Taiwanese vote for the Taiwanese" through the logic of "the Mainlander supports the Taiwanese to be a mayor." In the long run, linking provincialism with votes would lure more Taiwanese to vote for the Mainlander (ie, Ma) as president in 2008.

Since the chairman of the KMT is fomenting ethnic rivalry for partisan interests, why doesn't the Coalition for Equal Opportunity led by film director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) denounce Ma's act? Or is it only threats to the pro-China camp that can be condemned as provoking "ethnic division?"

Su Yen-pin

Taipei County

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