The absence of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from the pan-blue camp's demonstration yesterday added to the mounting buzz that the pro-localization faction within the KMT is getting tired of the recent protests, which have largely been driven by People First Party (PFP) hard-liners.
Many pan-blue supporters consider Wang, a seasoned politician from Kaohsiung County, to be the key representative of the KMT's pro-localization faction. He is largely regarded as one of the pan-blue camp's four most prominent heavyweights, along with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Wang is one of the KMT's vice chairmen, as well as the chief campaign manager of the KMT-PFP alliance's campaign headquarters.
Although Wang's reason for not attending yesterday's demonstration -- where Lien, Soong and Ma addressed the crowd at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall -- was that he had a prior commitment outside Taipei, some legislators have offered different explanations.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chin-jun (
"The pressure on Wang is understandable, given his relations with former president Lee Teng-hui (
Wang's pro-localization image stance led to him maintaining amicable relations with Lee.
"Wang also shoulders pressure from his supporters in the south, where people are known for their pro-localization support," Chen said.
Wang was not the only member of the KMT's pro-localization faction who failed to attend the demonstration. Legislators Chen Hung-chang (
While stressing their loyalty to the KMT, several members of the party's pro-localization faction have expressed disapproval over the extended demonstrations staged by the alliance.
"The demonstrations have been carrying on for more than a week. The general public should be well-informed about our appeals by now," Chen Hung-chang said. "The alliance should leave now while everything is still looking good."
The KMT-PFP alliance have been organizing demonstrations at the Presidential Office since March 21 following the narrow defeat of the joint Lien-Soong ticket.
Protesters relocated to the memorial a week ago to continue what the alliance claimed would be a "long-term protest" until their demands were met for a recount and independent investigations into the attack on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), as well as the activation of the national security mechanism following the attack.
Among the pan-blue politicians taking turns addressing the protesters, PFP legislators spent noticeably more time behind the microphone. The KMT's pro-localization members kept a relatively low profile.
"Continuing to drag out the demonstrations will have an affect on the party's outlook in the year-end legislative elections," Chen Hung-chang said.
As the presidential election is over, the KMT and PFP should go their separate ways, seeing that they have different political goals, he said.
KMT Legislator Yu Yueh-hsia (
A Chinese-language newspaper yesterday reported that the pro-localization faction within the KMT has voiced support for Wang as the party's future chairman and proposed that he and Ma run on a joint ticket in the 2008 presidential election.
PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (
"If [Chen Hung-chang] is not happy [about the cooperation between the KMT and the PFP,] he should leave the pan-blue camp, rather than staying around and making all these statements," Liu said.
PFP Legislator Lee Yong-ping (
"His remarks represent only his lack of confidence within the KMT," Lee said.
Given that high-ranking officials from both the KMT and the PFP have started making joint plans for the nomination of candidates in the year-end legislative elections, remarks from dissenting pan-blue legislators suggest that conflicts between the two parties are set to surface as the elections draw closer.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been