A forum on China affairs organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to begin tomorrow to launch a new round of party talks on what was seen as its “Achilles’ heel” in past elections.
The “Open Studio” policy forum, titled “Facing China,” is to host symposiums for four successive weeks to increase the DPP’s understanding of China “on various fronts from an academic perspective,” DPP spokesperson Wang Ming-shen (王閔生) said.
Tomorrow’s session is to gather former officials and professors to discuss Chinese politics with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who said he would seek new approaches toward dealing with Beijing when he assumed the party helm in May.
Participating academics include former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairperson Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies president Chao Chun-shan (趙春山) and Central Police University (CPU) associate professor Tung Li-wen (董立文).
With Beijing set to move through a political leadership transition after the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which is scheduled to be held next month, the forum is to try to examine Beijing’s power transition as well as possible changes or adjustments to its Taiwan policy, Wang said.
Su recently reinstated the DPP’s Department of China Affairs and planned to establish a policy-making platform with the working title the “Chinese Affairs Committee” after assuming chairmanship in May, pledging the party would develop a new perspective toward Beijing.
However, Su recently played down a proposal by a DPP lawmaker which called for Chinese students in Taiwan to be included in the National Health Insurance scheme, a move which was interpreted as his attempt to stop the DPP’s “China Fever” which could create public confusion about how the party planned to engage China.
A former official at DPP headquarters who wished to remain anonymous said the forum was “unnecessary” because — in comparison with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — “the DPP understands China much much better.”
“I would say that the biggest problem [the DPP] has is a loss of confidence after its bitter defeat in the presidential election. We need to carefully craft and formulate our China policy, but saying that we don’t understand China well enough is untrue,” he said.