To speed up the passage of the cross-strait service trade agreement, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has issued all sorts of ridiculous statements. One of the most absurd was when he compared the agreement to a marriage and said that “if either of the two parties in a marriage is not happy, there is always the option of filing for divorce.” Ma’s naivety and obtuse inabillity to progress has humiliated all those who voted for him. Hong Kong and Tibet have both married China and suffered “domestic violence” at its hands, but they do not have the option of getting a divorce.
However, when it comes to the infighting in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), it is appropriate to apply the concept of divorce. Ma wants to get rid of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and is appealing a ruling from last year in favor of Wang, which allowed Wang to keep his position. However, KMT legislators have said that it is always the children who suffer the most in a divorce. These remarks are correct, as KMT legislators have been treated like Ma and Wang’s children, without the dignity we expect from politicians.
The KMT needs a divorce and not only between Ma and Wang; rather it should be a divorce to end the deformities of the KMT. This process must be carried out in the interests of democratization, duly respecting fair competition and the best interests of Taiwan.
Talking about a pro-Wang and a pro-Ma wing is a simplification of the problems that exist between different factions within the KMT. Other problems include the differences between the faction supporting centralization and those in favor of localization, the hardliners and the pragmatists, those pro-unification and those against, the elite and their lackeys and problems between local and central government. Given their mutual interests and needs, all these groups find themselves lumped together despite their different ideas.
Since Wang is unable to replace Ma and force the KMT to adopt a stance in favor of localization, he should take a step back and lead those who agree with him in a mass divorce from the KMT setting up his own party. This would help establish a more democratic system based on fair competition, a positive thing that would assure Wang a place in history.
Suggesting a divorce from the KMT is nothing new. Hu Shih (胡適), essayist, philosopher and diplomat, said long ago that the KMT’s authoritarianism and the arbitrary nature of its decisions meant that it was never challenged, which caused corruption and incompetence. He argued this was why the Chinese Communist Party overthrew it. This is why, on two occasions, Hu suggested to former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) that he emulate the revolutionary first president of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and split the KMT into two parts allowing them to compete thereby establishing a democratic system.
There is no longer a ban on political parties and there are a heap of small parties competing for votes. However, this competition is not fair, which allows an autocratic leader with no respect for democracy to gain control over ill-gotten party assets, capitalize on an unfair election system, control the KMT and use its majority in the legislature to impose authoritarian rule over Taiwan.
Hu identified the reason for the problem within the KMT a long time ago and the Sunflower movement has also identified the source. It is only the KMT itself, a bunch of lackeys overcome with greed, who keep saying that the KMT cannot afford to split. A KMT split would be a great benefit to Taiwan’s democracy and vitality. KMT, it is time to split up.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Drew Cameron
Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) hasn’t had a very good spring, either economically or politically. Not that long ago, he seemed to be riding high. The PRC economy had been on a long winning streak of more than six percent annual growth, catapulting the world’s most populous nation into the second-largest power, behind only the United States. Hundreds of millions had been brought out of poverty. Beijing’s military too had emerged as the most powerful in Asia, lagging only behind the US, the long-time leader on the global stage. One can attribute much of the recent downturn to the international economic
Asked whether he declined to impose sanctions against China, US President Donald Trump said: “Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal... [W]hen you’re in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start throwing additional sanctions on — we’ve done a lot.” It was not a proud moment for Trump or the US. Yet, just three days later, John Bolton’s replacement as director of the National Security Council, Robert O’Brien, delivered a powerful indictment of the Chinese communist government and criticized prior administrations’ “passivity” in the face of Beijing’s contraventions of international law
In an opinion piece, Chang Jui-chuan (張睿銓) suggested that Taiwan focus its efforts not on making citizens “bilingual,” but on building a robust translation industry, as Japan has done (“The social cost of English education,” June 29, page 6). Although Chang makes some good points — Taiwan could certainly improve its translation capabilities — the nation needs a different sort of pivot: from bilingualism to multilingualism. There are reasons why Japan might not be the most suitable role model for the nation’s language policy. Bluntly put, Japan’s status in the world is unquestioned. The same cannot be said of Taiwan. Many confuse