Following the gains the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made in the local government elections on Saturday, the popularity of DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has increased alongside the power she wields within the party. The results of a survey announced yesterday showed that her approval rate is now 43 percent, up from 27 percent in May, while that of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has slipped from 52 percent in May to 33 percent.
Though some interpreted Saturday’s elections as a “mid-term” exam for Ma and a gauge of the DPP’s chances in the legislative and presidential elections in 2012, the results are not, on their own, sufficiently positive to represent a shift in the fortunes of the green camp.
In fact, given the many blunders committed by the Ma administration since it came to office in May last year — from its mishandling of Typhoon Morakot to its disregard for opposing voices on its cross-strait policies — Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates did surprisingly well in distancing themselves from the increasingly toxic central government, demonstrating yet again that politics are, above all, local.
In a way, if we look at Saturday’s elections as a referendum on the KMT in general and Ma in particular, we could argue that the party passed, while Ma came close to flunking. This shows us that voters are capable of distinguishing one from the other and that Ma’s misfortunes will not inevitably drag the KMT down. As more than two years separate us from the critical elections, the KMT will have sufficient time to rebuild its image and perhaps rid itself of members who risk undermining its chances of remaining in power. This could even mean nixing a Ma candidacy.
Still, the DPP has been handed an opportunity to regain momentum and to rebuild itself after years of decline. A main component to that effort will be rebranding the party as one that is more middle-of-the-road than that which, in the public eye, had grown increasingly nationalistic and exclusionary during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) second term. This, above all, will require efforts to convince the public, investors, the business sector and the international community that it is not anti-business or, as some media continue to characterize the DPP, “anti China.”
What it must make its detractors realize is that despite its pro-independence platform, the DPP does not advocate policies that pretend that China does not exist, nor does it seek to fuel animosities in the Taiwan Strait. It is ossible to be pro-independence and to seek closer, friendlier relations with Beijing, which, for the most part, is what the DPP tried to achieve while in office. The perception of the DPP as a “radical” and “anti-China” party may be unfair, the result of a smear campaign by Beijing, the KMT and pan-blue media, but as long as that image endures, the DPP’s chances of winning enough people to its side — and this means light-blues — to stage a comeback in 2012 will be slim.
Tsai has reached a point where people are more likely to listen to her. Now’s the time for her to engage in public diplomacy to dispel the myths that have long haunted her party and to rid it of those who risk undermining its image as a responsible alternative to the KMT.
Loud and clear, she must state that the DPP is not “anti” anything — above all China — but rather that it stands “for” many things.
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering