Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came in for some heavy criticism during her trip to the US over remarks she made that Taiwanese should give more “space” to the contentious idea that the Republic of China (ROC) is Taiwan, and Taiwan the ROC. However, if the past is any indication, she might be onto something.
For good reasons, the initial reaction among many Taiwanese and human rights defenders to equating their homeland with the ROC — a regime that was forced upon them after the conclusion of World War II — will be to bristle. Such reactions might even be more pronounced when a Taiwanese, who once headed the DPP and ran for high office, utters such words. Indeed Tsai became the object of rather scathing personal attacks, with some accusing her of giving up on Taiwanese independence and siding with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
However, anyone who knows Tsai will agree that selling out is the last thing on her mind. Rather, her comments, which it must be said she has made before, reflect an understanding of the parameters within which the DPP must operate if it is ever to have any hope of returning to power. The embattled Ma and his dysfunctional administration may be on the verge of splitting up, but that alone will be insufficient to provide the DPP with a good chance of scoring substantial wins in the seven-in-one elections in 2014 and the 2016 presidential election.
What the DPP needs above all is a platform that is both appealing to large numbers of voters and is also accommodating enough to allow for the creation of alliances that transcend party politics. In other words, the DPP must apply the lessons learned from an unrivaled master of Taiwanese politics, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). As he ascended the echelons of power within the KMT during the 1970s and 1980s, Lee kept his cards close to his chest. Even after he became president following Chiang Ching-kuo’s (蔣經國) death, he continued to operate within the constraints imposed by the ROC Constitution and fully understood the immense challenges he would face when confronting conservative forces within the party.
Yet, little by little, Lee whittled away at the “old thieves” in the government and gradually placed more Taiwanese in key government positions. What Lee did, therefore, was work from the inside rather than confront from the outside. In many ways, his accomplishments — and they were manifold — reflected the transformation of the KMT itself since its arrival in Taiwan, as local imperatives slowly hollowed the party out from inside by patiently gnawing away at practices and ideologies that no longer applied to a democratic Taiwan.
Such a strategy should be given careful consideration by the DPP. Only by regaining power will it ever be in a position to shape the destiny of this nation the way Lee did. Sticking to tactics of alienation and combativeness, which time and again have proved a failure, will only ensure further losses in the democratic arena. Learning from past examples of successful cooperation while reaching out to one’s opponents, as former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) did after the DPP’s defeat in the 1996 presidential election, is the surest path to success.
It is encouraging to see former premier Yu Shyi-kun echoing Tsai’s views by stating that such views need not contradict the ultimate aim of independence. Tsai’s remarks have also prompted some Taiwanese, whose initial reaction was one of anger, to reassess their views on what she meant by ROC and to assess whether it can indeed symbolize something other than a repressive, monolithic entity that has nothing to do with Taiwan.
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
The number of people emigrating from Hong Kong has been rapidly increasing, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data show, with the territory’s population dropping by 110,000 people from 2019 to this year. China’s imposition of a National Security Law has clearly triggered a massive population outflow. However, not only people but also foreign businesses are leaving Hong Kong. For example, Vanguard Group, the world’s second-largest asset management company, VF Corp and Sony Interactive Entertainment have moved their top regional management from Hong Kong to Singapore. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, has also relocated staff
Double Ten Day, Oct. 10 every year, is an important day for Taiwan, as it marks the Republic of China’s (ROC) National Day. Major holidays are usually a time for celebration and commemorative activities, but among all the clamor and excitement, Double Ten reflects one essential fact: that Taiwan is still not a normalized society. As usual, there was a large parade in front of the Presidential Office Building, displaying to the world Taiwan’s social diversity and its soft and hard power, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gave an address, relaying her message to the nation and to the world, while the