The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is in disarray. No other word can describe an organization that allowed Vice President Annette Lu (
But Lu's pilgrimage was innocuous compared with the release of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (
The use of this tactic by Chen and other senior DPP figures points to the desperation of people who have run out of ideas and given up trying to inspire Taiwanese to build a better country.
The DPP has also failed to learn the lesson of the previous legislative contest: Local elections, though not without cross-strait significance, are fought and won on domestic issues and local connections. Instead, voters have been treated to the same tired spectacle of senior DPP politicians parachuting into local constituencies and warning of a cross-strait apocalypse if the pan-blue camp wins. Such tactics will be rewarded with a lower voter turnout.
The sobering reality is that the DPP holds less than 10 percent of all township-level administrations and less than 20 percent of city and county council seats. In these contests, the DPP was always going to "lose" the election in the face of an enduring Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presence and local clan and other non-aligned interests; what was important for the DPP was to make inroads, yet there has been little apparent enthusiasm for taking up this essential task.
The KMT has a chance of gaining county-level governments in Taipei and Ilan counties and Chiayi City. The DPP's grim challenge is to retain these seats, though Miaoli County offers a freak opportunity. The DPP's biggest concern should be failing to place its young guns into the next level of administrative influence and losing a new generation of capable national leaders. A balance of losses in Taipei County, Taichung City, Nantou County and Pingtung County would be disastrous for morale and trigger party bloodletting.
The KMT and Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
The People First Party could suffer losses in council seats, echoing its steep decline in the legislative elections. The Taiwan Solidarity Union may stand to gain council seats over disaffection with the DPP, but this will be little other than symbolic.
The result of this sad state of affairs will be the KMT claiming a new mandate for its agenda of legislative obstruction all the way up to the next presidential election. Such is Taiwanese democracy: The price of punishing the slothful is empowering the vandal.
Taking advantage of my Taipei Times editors’ forbearance, I thought I would go with a change of pace by offering a few observations on an interesting nature topic, the many varieties of snakes in Taiwan. I will be drawing on my experiences living in Taiwan five times, from my teenage years in Kaohsiung back in the early sixties, to my last assignment as American Institute in Taiwan Director in 2006-9. Taiwan, with its semitropical climate, is a perfect setting for serpents. Indeed, one might say serpents are an integral part of the island’s ecosystem. Taiwan is warm, humid, with lots of
China constantly seeks out ways to complain about perceived slights and provocations as pretexts for its own aggressive behavior. It is both victimization paranoia and a form of information warfare that keeps the West on the defensive. True to form, China objected even to the innocuous reference to Taiwan at April 16’s summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Neither leader’s prepared remarks even mentioned Taiwan, out of deference to the Japanese side. Biden’s opening statement was modest: “Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for US-Japanese alliance and for our shared security.
Determined to keep a permanent grip on power, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has abandoned former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) dogma of “hiding our capacities and biding our time” along with the “peaceful development” line that prevailed under former Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). Instead, he is treading a “wolf warrior” path of diplomacy that resorts to coercion, debt entrapment and hostage-taking. Externally, Xi’s China has claimed that it would never seek hegemony, yet it challenges the free, rules-based international order wherever it can. While insisting that it will not export its ideology, it has
As the US’ mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues at a record pace, one question under debate is what the administration of US President Joe Biden should do with its extra doses — and especially where to send them. One country that should be at the top of a donation list is Taiwan, in recognition of the help that it provided to the US at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. After weeks of pressure, the Biden administration announced that it is now “looking at options to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses.” By summer, it is clear that anyone in the