If someone like Hsieh can be criticized, it is easy to imagine that unless there is an environment in which people feel they can debate, the Huashan meetings will become perfunctory events with no real value.
So while DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that he is willing to give everyone a stage from which they can speak freely, without clear goals or procedures for dealing with differences of opinion, no one will feel safe in expressing their opinions.
Will the Huashan meetings be capable of removing all the doubt between Taiwan and China and help the DPP decide the direction its policies should be aimed at?
The most important thing is to first clarify the exact nature of the Huashan meetings.
Will they be meetings at which senior party officials get together for a chat; will they be geared toward developing an internal consensus — one that will eventually result in the creation of an official DPP consensus; or will they be preparatory meetings for an internal debate in which main discrepancies are identified before a formal debate is held?
As long as Su does not clearly define the goals and format of the Huashan meetings, it is unlikely the next eight meetings will have any chance of providing a consensus.
Julian Kuo is a former DPP legislator.
Translated by Drew Cameron