Sun, Apr 03, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Self-described `pragmatic idealist' You assumes vice chairmanship at MAC

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Just months after the Mainland Affairs Council filled all of its top posts no more than five months ago, the council is again set to welcome its latest newcomer, former Ketagelan Institute Vice President You Ying-lung (游盈隆).

Officially taking up his duties at the council as its first vice chairman and spokesman this month, You, 49, will be picking up where outgoing vice chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) left off. Chiu plans to run in the year-end Taichung County commissionership election.

You is a self-described "pragmatic idealist," telling reporters that cross-strait ties are the legacy of a highly complicated history, but that a mutually acceptable resolution is "not completely impossible" with hard work and effort.

"Cross-strait ties are the result of a very complicated history, and what we want is both sides to be satisfied. This will require much work and effort, but is not completely impossible" You said.

Handling cross-strait affairs will indeed call for much hard work, as You joins the council just as cross-strait relations arrive at a particularly sensitive juncture, taking a turn towards what council chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) describes as "volatile."

Saying he is honored to assume a post at the council, You admitted that what he now has on his hands is a "Pandora's box" of challenges and problems brought on by Beijing's passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law.

"Personally, I am worried that the passage of the Anti-Secession Law has opened up Pandora's box, and future crises will be abundant," he said, citing Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) founder Hsu Wen-lung's (許文龍) open letter praising Beijing's Anti-Secession Law, published in the Economic Daily News, as an example.

You Ying-lung

* Date of birth: Nov. 23, 1956

* Place of Birth: Keelung

* Education: Ph.D in political science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Masters in political science from National Taiwan University

* Career: Vice President of the Ketagelan Institute, Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Progressive Party, Vice Chairman of the Executive Yuan's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission

* Interests and hobbies: Playing basketball, spending time with family


"China's not so easy to get along with. If you're too soft, they'll eat you alive," You said, indicating that taking a hard line with Beijing was sometimes necessary. He called for caution in dealing with China's "two-handed policies," referring to Beijing's hard line on politics and soft line on economic and cultural interactions.

But the fact that You's take on the nation's China policy is born not of actual experience but from textbooks has been cause for concern. You admits that the "closest I have been to China is Hong Kong." Aside from a trip to Hong Kong in March 1997, You has never set foot in China. This however is not for lack of effort on You's part; Beijing blocked the relevant paper work when You attempted to visit China just last year.

He speculates that previous government posts and his close ties with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are very likely the primary factors in his failed attempt.

You however is not worried that his lack of experience with China will impede his cross-strait policymaking work. "After all, [Chinese President] Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) haven't ever been in Taiwan," You said.

He also cited his extensive familiarity with Chinese history given his academic background. You received his degree in political science and went on to teach as a professor at Soochow University. As one of the foremost authorities on electoral polls and voting patterns, You also brings to the MAC his well-recognized expertise in gauging public opinion.

Despite his academic expertise, however, You himself has had little luck in getting elected. He has been defeated four times -- twice in legislative elections and twice in county commissioner elections -- in his native Hualien County since his first launched his political career in the early 1990s.

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