Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: KMT is scapegoating Hung

The public has long been blaming Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) for smothering any hopes of the party moderating its cross-strait policy and eventually abandoning the so-called “1992 consensus” in the wake of its electoral defeat last year.

However, contrary to public belief, Hung is not the sole impediment to party reform.

In the immediate aftermath of the elections, a majority of voters, and the KMT itself, pointed to the unpopularity of the party’s cross-strait policy as an important reason for its defeat.

In a last-ditch effort to regain public support of their party, some KMT members called for changes to the party’s China-centric mindset.

However, hopes of change were short-lived, particularly after Hung won a party by-election in March last year and took over from New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), the party’s defeated presidential candidate.

Hung’s repeatedly stated belief that “Taipei and Beijing are brothers living under the same roof,” who should eventually reach consensus on what “China” really means, is no doubt the reason why she has worked to bring the KMT closer to Beijing.

What Hung is advocating is more drastic than the “1992 consensus,” which leaves Taipei much-needed wriggle-room when interacting with Beijing and participating in international events because it supposedly allows both sides of the Taiwan Strait to have their own interpretation of “China”: The Republic of China, or the People’s Republic of China.

However, KMT members are lying to themselves if they think replacing Hung with someone else will turn the party’s fortunes around and help it regain its popularity.

In a show of solidarity, five candidates for the party’s chairperson election next month presented their policies on Monday in a forum organized by the party’s legislative caucus.

Hung was the only candidate missing from the forum. Although her excuse was that KMT headquarters had already scheduled two similar events in the coming weeks, she probably really abstained because she would have become an easy target at the forum.

One KMT lawmaker asked the five whether, if they win the election, they would continue to adhere to the “1992 consensus,” to hold an annual cross-strait forum with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to regularly visit China.

Surprisingly, the most conservative of the five, former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), was not the only one who agreed to do all three. Even those considered moderates or “atypical” — such as KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former KMT vice chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and former Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co general manager Han Kuo-yo (韓國瑜) — appeared to firmly believe that the three traditions are vital to a friendly cross-strait relationship.

A growing share of Taiwanese question the sensibility of the “1992 consensus,” and regard the annual KMT-CCP forum and KMT leaders’ regular visits to Beijing as kowtowing to the Chinese government and a way for the KMT to monopolize dialogue with China.

However, no changes can be expected in the coming four years under the next KMT chairperson.

It is unfortunate that Hung is being sacrificed by her party for stalling reforms, while in reality, most party heavyweights have shown no interest in bringing about real change.

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