Sat, Mar 16, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Wang Jin-pyng has a poor choice of quotes

By James Wang 王景弘

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), also known as Gongdaobo (公道伯, “Uncle Fair”), recently announced his bid for next year’s presidential election.

He gave a campaign speech that was decidedly odd: He clearly tried to downplay his KMT roots, as there were no KMT flags present and he never mentioned the party’s name, its “glorious party history” or any of its policies, such as the “1992 consensus” or “one China.”

Famous remarks quoted in Wang’s speech to deceive the public were taken neither from Taiwanese nor Chinese icons. Instead, they were quotes from late South African president Nelson Mandela and late US president John F. Kennedy.

Wang does have his strengths. He is good at observing and judging a situation and political maneuvering, and he keeps himself out of trouble. Although he has shown little vision, at least he is probably more honest than KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義). However, his speech writer was a poor copycat when attempting to bring novelty into the speech.


Two fundamental mistakes were made by quoting from Mandela and highlighting boldness and courage. Apart from the fact that Mandela and Wang launched their presidential bids at about the same age, their backgrounds are completely different.

Mandela opposed apartheid and spent years in prison. Wang, on the other hand, attached himself to a foreign authoritarian regime, became part of the nobility thanks to constant maneuvering and has dodged controversy throughout his life.

Wang was also wrong in quoting Mandela in a commentary on cross-strait relations.

Mandela was criticized for sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa’s last white presiden, F.W. de Klerk, in 1993, but he responded by citing their political negotiations to end racial segregation, saying: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

Mandela was referring to reconciliation with domestic political opponents, which did not involve the issue of national sovereignty.

Wang’s use of the Chinese phrase for “peaceful coexistence” in his speech was a misinterpretation, and using it in connection to cross-strait relations had nothing to do with reality. China is trying to annex Taiwan — it is not a matter of being on an equal footing and coexisting peacefully.


The Kennedy quote came from a speech drafted by a Harvard University egghead and delivered at the UN General Assembly in 1961 about the horror of nuclear weapons.

In Kennedy’s words, “Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind.”

This is indeed the case — especially in light of the nuclear confrontation between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War.

However, 58 years have passed since then and there have been many wars, such as the Vietnam War, Arab-Israeli War, Indo-Pakistani War, the First Gulf War, the Second Gulf War, and the Russian and US invasions of Afghanistan.

There has been no war in the Taiwan Strait.

As Wang did not dare echo Wu’s call for a peace agreement with China, he is deceiving voters by proposing to end the cross-strait war.

The question is, as he pledges to end war in a place where there is no war, is he inviting trouble or does he have ulterior motives?

James Wang is a senior journalist.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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