Social activists yesterday said they do not see where President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is taking Taiwan over the next four years, urging people to stand up and fight to make the nation a more just place and defend it against China’s ambition to take it over.
“I was expecting Ma to tell us where he plans to take the country over the next four years, what Taiwan will look like in four years, whether we will still be struggling just to survive and how he plans to achieve his policy objectives,” said Alliance for a Just and Ecological Society convener Chang Tse-chou (張則周), referring to Ma’s inauguration speech. “Regrettably, he did not say what I’d expect a president to say in his inaugural speech.”
Chang said that after nearly 20 years since the first direct presidential election in 1996 and two transfers of power, Taiwan seems to be a free democracy, but there are still many changes that need to be made.
“Politics in Taiwan is confined to political struggles between the two major political camps, and thus, we as a people must stand up for our rights, and defend our country,” Chang told a press conference. “Otherwise, in a couple of decades, the fate of Taiwan may no longer be in our hands, and we could be under the control of you-know-which-country.”
Bill Chang (張國城), a researcher at Taiwan Thinktank, warned Ma’s opponents not to be too happy about Ma’s low support rate — about 20 percent — in recent polls, because when a president has such low domestic support, “he can seek help from the outside, and that’s quite worrisome.”
Beijing wants to take over Taiwan, “but with enhanced cross-strait economic and trade ties, China has already launched its unification plan, only many Taiwanese are still unaware of that,” Bill Chang said.
Since the government can no longer be trusted to defend Taiwan against China’s attempt to achieve unification, “only the force of our civil society can do so.”
Aside from cross-strait relations, other activists who attended the news conference — such as Buddhist master Shih Chao-hui (釋昭慧) — said that what Ma said in the speech is not important, what matters is what he does.
“Ma was in power before he was sworn in today and obviously, he has not done a lot of things that he should have done, and has done many things that he should not have done,” Shih said. “We’ll have to observe his actions rather than judge him on what he says.”
Long-time environmental activist Chou Sheng-hsin (周聖心) said Ma does not have the attitude of a national leader.
“For instance, if by increasing utility prices, one of Ma’s aims had been to develop sustainable clean energy, environmental groups could have supported the policy,” Chou said.
“Unfortunately, Ma wanted to increase energy prices only because Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC Corp Taiwan (CPC) are losing money — this is how a company manager should think, not how a president should see things,” he said.