Opportunism is outdated
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should not have allowed former chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) to become “the least likely candidate to win the party’s presidential nomination,” as well as “the one who received the most attention when the three candidates recently presented their campaign platforms” (“Differing views show DPP maturity,” April 13, page 8)
Hsu’s advocacy of an EU-type confederation between China and Taiwan and his support for a “bravely go west” policy implies the DPP should reformulate its overall thinking about the present existence and preservation of “one China, one Taiwan,” and its “strengthen the base, bravely go west” policy.
However, in order for democratization to continue in Taiwan and for it to begin in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Hsu need to think more clearly about the political ideologies that stall progress in cross-strait relations.
Does the CCP’s insistence on the fictitious “1992 consensus” and “one China” principle as the basis of unequal cross-strait negotiations contribute the most to cross-strait hostility?
What about the KMT’s insistence on reserving its most pointed criticism for fellow compatriots within the DPP, but fawning over Beijing’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林)?
Finally, why does Hsu’s policy to “bravely go west” address only the direction Taiwan should move in?
Since cross-strait socioeconomic relations involve China and Taiwan, both states should compromise.
As the “consummate opportunist,” Hsu has consistently shown his enthusiasm for supporting whatever politics he believes will benefit him most.
In the 1970s, the dangwai — outside the party — movement gained momentum. With activists and other local politicians already agitating for democratic reform, then-KMT politician Hsu finally began to criticize his party before joining the democratization movement.
In 1990, as a member of the DPP’s Formosa faction, Hsu opposed the inclusion of Taiwan independence in the party platform. Indeed, following its increased emphasis on de jure Taiwan independence, the DPP received merely 24 percent of the vote in the 1991 National Assembly elections.
Although immediate Taiwan independence may not be viable now, the continued pan-green promotion of Taiwan consciousness will make eventual Taiwan independence possible, if not likely. If Hsu had his way, Taiwan independence would have remained the pipedream of Taiwan Independence Party supporters.
In 1999, Hsu remained unabashedly self-interested. Rather than campaign for then-DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Hsu ran as an independent.
In 2004, Hsu sought to capitalize on the uncertain electoral prospects of the DPP and overall political turmoil by supporting then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party leader James Soong (宋楚瑜) for president and vice president respectively.
Currently, Hsu draws attention to himself by basically offering United Daily News editorials as national policy.
To counter Hsu’s stunts, DPP presidential hopeful Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should harness the party’s “democratic maturity” to create clear, progressive, alternative frameworks and policies that will make apparent the anachronism that is the “1992 consensus.”
Forget pan-green, go Green
The DPP is currently conducting a series of debates to select its candidate for next year’s presidential election.
The nuclear crisis in Japan has thrust the issue of nuclear power into the spotlight. It is likely that the DPP’s candidate will promote a policy to phase out nuclear power in Taiwan. Whether they will actually be able to achieve this if they are elected to office is another question. Chen Shui-bian had promised to stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant before he was elected president in 2000. Ultimately, construction of the plant went ahead, as Chen faced intense political opposition to his plan after he was elected.
The plan for construction of the Kuokuang Petrochemical plant on reclaimed wetlands in Changhua County is also a contentious issue. The DPP’s presidential candidate is likely to oppose this plan. Whether the DPP will actually stop the project if it wins the presidency is another question.
Although the DPP has made promises on some key environmental issues, it cannot be considered a capital “G” green party despite its appropriation of the color. It is still committed to the promotion of a model of industrial development that is ultimately antithetical to protection of the environment.
I suggest that Green Party Taiwan and environmental non-governmental organizations join together to nominate their own candidate for president in the forthcoming election. While such a candidate would have no chance of winning, they would be able to act as a voice for people’s concerns about a broad range of environmental issues.
Climate change, energy policy, water resources and industrial pollution are key issues that affect the livelihood of everyone in Taiwan. These issues are complex and interrelated. They demand a bold plan rather than a piecemeal approach of opposing or stopping certain projects. A Green Party presidential candidate could help the environment movement articulate a comprehensive vision for Taiwan’s future based on a broad range of policies.
Although victory in next year’s presidential election might be elusive, a Green Party candidate could be a pioneer for the day Taiwan elects its first truly Green president.
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