Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Work for change in Taiwan

As the clock is ticking toward the crucial date that will determine the future of our beloved homeland, it’s time for all patriotic Taiwanese to make concerted efforts and forge a united front to defeat the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is bent on moving Taiwan closer to the fold of China in cahoots with the chieftains in Beijing to realize their cherished dream of “reunification” for their “Great Mother China.”

We have lately seen many female leaders, in many parts of the world, emerge and change the political map of the world, and Taiwan will certainly join this trend; it is prescient and we are hopeful.

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has embodied this phenomenon: She has a combination of outstanding qualifications and unique experiences, she has dramatically reversed the tide and her campaign is gaining traction, in spite of the smear attacks and allegations by the sinister KMT regime.

It was further demonstrated by her recent visits to the US cities and Japan — big crowds of supporters, including some crossing ethnic and party lines, turned out to greet her; a rare and heartening scene after decades of divide-and-rule tactics by the KMT regime. And, intriguingly, she was invited to Capitol Hill and, later, the Pentagon, which is extraordinary for a Taiwanese political leader and carries political nuances.

However, she has to face a rival from a regime skilled in the sinister cloak-and-dagger tactics that have characterized the political culture of China for centuries, and above all, financed by a fat, illegally acquired war-chest unrivaled by any political parties in the world.

Moreover, the dire international realities are not what we want to see: the looming of a strident hegemonic power with financial and military heft that intimidates many countries in the world at a time when the democratic countries in the West are preoccupied and struggling with economic problems after the financial implosion; it would be unrealistic to expect the support of the international community. Thus, her campaign strategy needs flexibility and pragmatism; and she is walking on a tight rope and has to cast as wide a net as possible.

She is attacked for her stance on Taiwan’s sovereignty by her rival — for denying the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus” — on the one hand, and criticized for stopping short of declaring Taiwan’s full-fledged sovereign status in its true name from some Taiwan-centric groups.

To rebut the attacks and criticism, her answer is clear: flat denial of the existence of the “1992 consensus” and the proposal of a “Taiwan consensus” (which has been brewing over the last two decades among the voters) — “Taiwan is the Republic of China (ROC) and the ROC is Taiwan, and Taiwan is my country.”

Recognizing the stark realities, she succinctly stated that the party is “operating in a far more complex global environment than ever before,” and “as a responsible political party, our policy must be in line with the mainstream consensus in our society as well as international expectations … and therefore will refrain from extreme or radical approaches.”

Clearly, the most important issue is the deterioration of the economy — income disparity and lack of job opportunities; voters are more concerned with their daily life, with the economy threatening the social stability and security of Taiwan. It’s patently clear that average people are worse off since the KMT regained power, and the gap between rich and poor is obscene.

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