Last Wednesday we were treated to the less than edifying spectacle of President Chen Shui-bian (
The occasion of this electioneering was the festival of the birthday of Matsu, the Taoist goddess of the sea. The eight days either side of the festival saw the annual 322km pilgrimage of a palanquin bearing a statue of the sea goddess from the Chenlan Temple (
The Matsu pilgrimage is one of Taiwan's highest profile religious events and there is no reason why the president shouldn't show up to court the central Taiwan Taoist vote -- if there is such a thing. The problem is that the whole Chenlan temple show is arranged by the ex-KMT, now independent, lawmaker Yen Ching-piao (
Yen has always been cultivated by the blue camp which has never seen any problem with gang bosses being politicians. And in fact only a few days before Chen's visit to the pilgrimage, PFP Chairman James Soong (
When campaigning for the 2000 election Chen attacked Soong over his connection with Yen claiming this showed that Soong was soft on corruption. And yet now we see Chen doing much the same thing. Once again we are bitterly disappointed. Once again we have to ask how many more of the DPP's supposedly core principles Chen is going to trash.
We expect better. The fact is that we hold the DPP to a higher standard of behavior than the blue camp. We all know that the KMT is monstrously corrupt; in fact it is probably more accurate to describe it as a criminal racket than a political party. We also know that Soong belongs in jail. But the DPP has always tried to portray itself as the party of honest government. Sometimes this has only been honored in the breach. After all, after 50 years of KMT corruption, Taiwan's politics is not going to suddenly achieve the squeaky cleanness of Sweden. But by and large if Taiwan's politics is ever to be cleaned up it will have to be done by the DPP. Which is why Chen's willingness to associate with trash like Yen is so bitterly disappointing.
It may be immoral but, even worse in the lexicon of political expediency, it may also be a mistake. For Chen is slowly whittling away almost everything distinctive about the DPP. But then voters have to ask what the DPP actually stands for anymore. What we have seen over the past three years is a KMT government run by the DPP. We have seen no radical change and are losing sight even of the concept. The DPP used to want to make a difference. Now it simply wants to beat the KMT -- at any price. But that is no reason to vote for it.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has a good reason to avoid a split vote against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next month’s presidential election. It has been here before and last time things did not go well. Taiwan had its second direct presidential election in 2000 and the nation’s first ever transition of political power, with the KMT in opposition for the first time. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was ushered in with less than 40 percent of the vote, only marginally ahead of James Soong (宋楚瑜), the candidate of the then-newly formed People First Party (PFP), who got almost 37
The three teams running in January’s presidential election were finally settled on Friday last week, but as the official race started, the vice-presidential candidates of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) have attracted more of the spotlight than the presidential candidates in the first week. After the two parties’ anticipated “blue-white alliance” dramatically broke up on the eve of the registration deadline, the KMT’s candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the next day announced Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as his running mate, while TPP Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s TAIEX stock index peaked at 17,360 points and closed at 17,341 points, surpassing Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which fell to 17,303 points and closed at 17,541 points. A few years ago, the gap between the Taiwanese and Hong Kong stock indices was more than 20,000 points, but this was before the 2019 anti-extradition protests. Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial centers, but many Chinese Internet users joke that it is only a ruin today. When asked by a legislative councilor whether he would communicate with social media platforms in the mainland to request
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has called on his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, William Lai (賴清德), to abandon his party’s Taiwanese independence platform. Hou’s remarks follow an article published in the Nov. 30 issue of Foreign Affairs by three US-China relations academics: Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss and Thomas Christensen. They suggested that the US emphasize opposition to any unilateral changes in the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, and that if Lai wins the election, he should consider freezing the Taiwanese independence clause. The concept of de jure independence was first