After the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) bad performance in the 2014 nine-in-one and 2016 general elections, many hoped that the party had learned its lesson and would turn over a new leaf, focusing on localization to align with mainstream public opinion.
However, recent events show that the party has not changed much.
KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday led a 48-strong delegation to Xiamen, China, for the Straits Forum and possibly a meeting with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee chairman Wang Yang (汪洋).
The delegation, which includes KMT members and eight lawmakers, was the second to China in less a week, after 10 KMT lawmakers on Friday set out to meet with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一) in Beijing on the first day of legislative recess.
There is no doubt that the forum is part of China’s “united front” tactics meant to influence Taiwanese and create a false perception globally that not all Taiwanese are upset about Beijing snatching two diplomatic allies and blocking Taiwan from being invited to the World Health Assembly.
Many wonder why the KMT appears content with toeing Beijing’s line and willing to be a political tool in China’s “united front” tactics against Taiwan.
Former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on Saturday defended the KMT, saying that exchanges of views and consultations are necessary, and the delegations’ visits are aimed at maintaining stability amid elevated cross-strait tensions.
Indeed, exchanges of opinion are welcome and encouraged, but it is a different story when the so-called “exchanges” amount to no more than chiming in with China’s stance and rhetoric.
Taiwanese would surely applaud the KMT if it lodged protests against Beijing’s suppression of Taiwan’s international space with Chinese officials and affirmed its stance on the so-called “1992 consensus” that “one China” in the phrase “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” refers to the Republic of China (ROC).
However, whenever Taiwan suffers diplomatic assaults at the hands of China, the KMT criticizes the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government for not yielding to Beijing’s demand that it accept the “1992 consensus,” instead of denouncing Beijing for bullying and marginalizing Taiwan’s international breathing room.
By dancing to Beijing’s tune while China tramples on Taiwan’s sovereign dignity, the KMT is alienating itself further from the Taiwanese public.
Adopting a fictitious consensus as the basis for cross-strait relations has proved not to guarantee a Taiwan free from Chinese diplomatic obstructions, as evidenced by various incidents during the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who based his entire cross-strait policy on the fabricated consensus and ended up reducing the ROC’s international standing, while steering the nation closer to China’s “one China” framework.
In a poll on party identification and image conducted by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation in July 2016, 51 percent of respondents said that the KMT best represented the interests of Chinese, compared with 16 percent for the DPP.
Political parties’ images strongly influence voting behavior and Taiwanese have already voiced their objection to the KMT’s pro-Beijing stance in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Image is of paramount importance in politics and the KMT is regrettably bound to drift further away from the mainstream, as its latest actions suggest that the party remains eager to foster a pro-Beijing image.
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