During a visit to southern Taiwan, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) held a meeting at the City God Temple in Greater Kaohsiung’s Tsuoying District (左營) to alleviate public concerns about the recently inked cross-strait service trade agreement.
In addressing spontaneous nationwide protests against the government’s despotic house demolitions in Dapu Borough (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南), the head of the City God Temple said: “Dapu concerns Miaoli. Don’t come to protest the issue in Tsuoying or there will be trouble.”
This constitutes a threat to people expressing their opinions and is aimed at dividing the public to serve his own interests.
The meeting on the service trade deal was touted as a two-way exchange between the government and the public, but what actually happened was that attendees were only allowed to ask Jiang questions, after which he would give out prizes.
Lunchboxes and noodles were also given out. The whole thing resembled the sort of direct sales meeting for nutritional supplements aimed at cheating the elderly that are often seen, and was intended to divide people and pull the wool over their eyes.
To be allowed a chance to pose a question, I kept raising my hand and tried to make myself heard. After stewards relented and allowed me to ask a question, they kept telling me to stop and even interrupted me. After this, a few other people tried to ask questions and express their opinions, but were totally ignored. Many people would not accept this and launched into loud protests.
Then, the meeting moderator suddenly announced the meeting was over, and Jiang and his entourage quickly left the scene.
If the cross-strait service trade agreement is really as great as the government says it is, why did the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) not make any public mention of it after holding 16 rounds of private talks on economic cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?
Why did they not dare discuss it in the legislature before signing it? Why was Jiang unable to even handle a single question from the public in Tsuoying, and why was he in such a hurry to get out of there? If that is not a sign of a guilty conscience, then it is difficult to know what is.
What is the cross-strait service trade agreement?
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has said that it will help people conduct business and boost Taiwan’s competitiveness.
However, in reality it is aimed at helping a small minority of Taiwanese businesspeople and opening up Taiwan’s weak industries to Chinese investment. More Taiwanese capital and skilled workers will end up in China, while those parts of the service sector that remain will face strong competition from companies backed by the CCP, which will take Taiwan apart until it controls all of it.
At the explanatory meeting, Jiang and his entourage said that if the cross-strait service trade agreement comes into effect, Taiwanese would be able to “work hard” for Chinese businesses and that it would increase employment opportunities.
Have things really become so bad?
At a time when Taiwan’s future is on the line, we have seen many people with no political resources take a stand against what is going on.
Where are the people with a conscience in the KMT? Where are the Democratic Progressive Party’s 40 legislators? And where are the Taiwan Solidarity Union and the People First Party, who both claim to represent key minorities?
Apart from putting on an occasional show in the legislature and pretending that they care, what else have they done?
Lee Ken-cheng is director of Mercy on the Earth, Taiwan.
Translated by Drew Cameron