A maturing democracy
Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) is right: Democratization does not just mean changing the accent of the rulers (“No normality without left and right,” Jan. 23, page 8).
A normal democracy should know its left from its right, but why stop there?
A multiparty democracy should offer voters real choices in each policy area. At least there should be a spectrum of social policies (liberal versus conservative) and another dimension for economic (competitive versus redistributive), in addition to the national-identity question. How about adding productionist versus ecologist to the mix?
The recent elections were the first where a full palette of parties worthy of a mature democracy was on offer to the electorate. In addition to the ubiquitous nationalist and communitarian factions, three parties in Taiwan are members of political internationals: Green Party Taiwan in the Global Greens, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the International Democrat Union, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Liberal International.
As the KMT continues its atrophy, social democrats in the DPP might finally feel confident enough to peel off and align with “third force” elements, to form a grouping suitable for membership in the Socialist International or the newfangled Progressive Alliance.
For another example, the Faith and Hope League would not find it hard to stand alongside old-school Christian Democrats in the tradition of Dutch-style testimonial parties.
Perhaps after a few more election cycles, “hung parliament” might even enter the glossary of the Taiwanese legislature, and coalitions have to be formed in order to govern.
It is a serious constitutional problem whether only 113 legislative seats — elected mostly by first-past-the-post — do justice to so many voices and ideas natural to a medium-sized democracy of more than 23 million people.
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
In 1955, US general Benjamin Davis Jr, then-commander of the US’ 13th Air Force, drew a maritime demarcation line in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line. Under pressure from the US, Taiwan and China entered into a tacit agreement not to cross the line. On July 9, 1999, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) described cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state” relationship. In response, Beijing dispatched People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into the Taiwan Strait, crossing the median line for the first time since 1955. The PLA has begun to regularly traverse the line. On Sept. 18 and 19, it
Midday in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 16, was sunny and mild. Even with the pandemic’s “social distancing” it was a perfect day for “al fresco” dining with linen tablecloths and sidewalk potted palms outside one of New York City’s elegant restaurants. Two members of the press, outfitted with digital SLR cameras and voice recorders, were dispatched by The Associated Press to cover a rare outdoor diplomatic meeting on one of these New York streets. American diplomat Kelly Craft, Chief of the United States Mission to the United Nations, lunched in the open air with Taiwan’s ambassador-ranked representative in New York, James