Lu betrays her factionalism
In a press conference on Tuesday, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), said that pursuit of a “generational change” within the leadership had caused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to lose by 800,000 votes in last month’s presidential election. To rectify the error, she proposed a “lineage perpetuation” (薪火相傳) approach instead.
“Lineage perpetuation” is a traditional biological “seeding” expression that is also associated in Taiwan with the continuation of a family clan. In the context of Lu’s statement it has a double meaning. It suggests, on the one hand, that the old revolutionaries, herself being one of them, had been sidestepped.
On the other hand, it suggests that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is an upstart, who was expediently grafted onto the party not too long ago, and is short on legitimacy to represent the DPP. Hence the loss.
We lament the fact that the DPP lost its presidential bid, because we had hoped that it would win. However, to blame the loss on the generational shift within the party is an insidious oversimplification. If we are to find the causes, we can find a million of them, from ballot fixing to high-stakes underground betting, from vote buying to the intervention of the US and China, or even the will of heaven. The range is as wide and as mind-boggling as the great variety of idols housed in the countless temples throughout the country.
At her press conference, Lu also stressed that what the DPP needs is a leader with a strong personality, capable of dealing with problems courageously and decisively.
The underlying message was to challenge and to discredit the outgoing chairperson’s leadership.
Lu acknowledged the problem of factionalism within the DPP. Unfortunately, her very own words betray the factional spirit she hopes to address.
Do not play by KMT rules
Recently, former DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) suggested that the party should review its China policy and move toward the center to reduce the unease of swing voters and woo their votes. Hearing this from someone of Hsieh’s caliber, one can only shake one’s head.
What makes the DPP different from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is the DPP’s insistence on Taiwan’s sovereignty, dignity, freedom and democracy when it comes to dealing with China. These differences are quintessential DPP values.
Yes, China is a rising power in terms of its economy, military strength and diplomacy. As the nation is so close to China geographically, Taiwan should take the chance to be a strategic partner of China.
However, it should not put all its eggs in one basket. After all, China is ruled by a single-party authoritarian system and has explicit territorial ambitions toward Taiwan. Relying too much and too deeply on China, the country will fall into China’s trap and the results will write off all of the nation’s achievements.
In addition, the so-called centrists in Taiwan are people who have no strong political ideology. Like most people, they want prosperity and to live with security and stability, but they don’t care who is their master, or if they live in a one-China cage or if they possess other noble, intangible values. No — most of them are ignorant of Taiwanese history and politics. These ignorant people are people the DPP should try to educate and convert, not the other way around.