US academics over the weekend added their voices to the chorus of analyses following Saturday’s five special municipal elections, with highly laudatory remarks on the manner in which the campaigning proceeded.
While their argument that the two camps avoided highly ideological pitfalls and tried to appeal more to grassroots voters was for the most part accurate, the researchers were quoted by Central News Agency as saying that the parties had displayed “restrained reactions” to the shooting of Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), during a campaign rally for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Sinbei City councilor on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the academics, they stumbled on that one, or failed to watch the right TV channels in the aftermath of the incident.
Although it is true that on election day President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other KMT officials adopted a relatively neutral stance on the matter, on Friday night the KMT apparatus — and the pan-blue media — went into full gear insinuating that the attack was somehow related to the election and that the DPP stood for violence. They never said it directly, mind you, but when officials called for voters to “cast their ballots against violence” the following day, the implication was obvious.
The politicization of the shooting went even further when TV news reports allowed Ting Yuan-chao (丁遠超), director of the former vice president’s office, a chance to speak and hint that the incident was targeted and part of a larger campaign of violence, before a hospital spokesperson was able to provide an update on the younger Lien’s condition. Surely, given the interest in Sean Lien’s health, a status update should have preceded politics — at least if there had not been an attempt to turn the isolated, unrelated incident into a tool against the DPP.
Then again, after visiting his son in hospital, Lien Chan returned to a KMT campaign rally and heightened the rhetoric by implying that somehow the DPP was behind the assault on his son (the same Lien Chan who, back in 2004, accused the DPP of staging an attempt on president Chen Shui-bian’s [陳水扁] life).
To each his priorities, but there are very few fathers who would choose to leave their child’s hospital bed after he was shot in the head with a 9mm pistol to return to a local election event. It is also noteworthy that the following day, an otherwise magnanimous Ma did not once mention the other victim of the shooting, 29-year-old Huang Yun-sheng (黃運聖), who died of his wounds on his way to hospital. The man of politics, scion of a political family, mattered; the other, dead, didn’t.
This is not to imply that the whole incident was staged to give the KMT the edge it desperately needed in what was shaping up to be three very close races. In fact, announcing his victory by an unexpected 12 percent over his DPP opponent on Saturday night, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) admitted that his unexpected large margin of victory had received a “a great deal of help” from the shooting incident, hardly the comments of a conspirator.
However, short of fabricating the incident for political advantage, the KMT cannot be absolved of turning it into an opportunity. It did, and the US academics should take note.
That said, the impact of the shooting and the politicization that ensued are insufficient in and of themselves to account for the charismatic Su Tseng-chang ’s (蘇貞昌) loss to a less-than-impressive, scandal-plagued Hau, by such a margin, or why, despite favorable conditions, the DPP has still not found a message that appeals to a majority of the electorate in the northern cities.
An old Latin adage reads: Si vis pacem, para bellum. Translated it means: “If you wish peace, then prepare for war.” This adage has many variants and claims to authorship, but what is most important is its message for a peaceful Taiwan. Why should Taiwan prepare for war? The reasons are many and obvious. Certainly, such preparation is not because Taiwan wants war or is a warlike nation. Instead, the answer is found in its neighbor, China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a one-party state, is ambitious and troubled — and that combination makes war a viable option,
Unless Hollywood movies like Greenland, Deep Impact, and Armageddon have predictive powers and a rogue space rock is heading our way, stopping Chinese Communist Party expansionism is likely to prove the single most challenging and dangerous problem of our lifetimes. How can the United States, Taiwan, and other liberal democracies prepare for and prevent attacks from China? How can Washington bolster Taipei’s confidence when it doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a real country and, so far, lacks the political will to make major adjustments to its ossified China policy and Taiwan policy? How can Taiwan make itself heard on the world stage when
Hypersonic weapons are defined as armaments capable of traveling at speeds faster than Mach 5 and can be broadly classified into two types: hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) and hypersonic cruise missiles. The former are launched into the upper atmosphere by ballistic missiles. The vehicle is then separated from the booster to maneuver, or glide, toward its target. The latter can be launched from a jet plane or rocket to reach supersonic speed before igniting a scramjet engine to achieve hypersonic speeds. As the US engages in a great-power competition with China and Russia, all three countries are racing to field hypersonic
As a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet, I frequently get asked how quickly the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might overrun Taiwan if it invaded before 2040. My answer is that the PLA will not be able to take over Taiwan within that time frame, because the more eager the PLA is to complete the task in a short period, the more likely it would fail — and fail big. Having a slim chance of winning is what keeps the PLA from taking action. From time to time, some PLA leaders or keyboard fighters make threats — one of the