When Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) managed to get himself nominated as the party’s presidential candidate, he never would have imagined himself being embroiled in a political conundrum such as the one he faces.
Vying for the top office is never an easy task, especially in Taiwan, where candidates often find themselves dogged by unsubstantiated accusations, malicious mudslinging campaigns and dissenting voices from within their own parties.
However, very few presidential candidates before Chu have been besieged on almost all fronts.
First, Chu’s justification for replacing Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) has been called into question.
He had hinted more than once that Hung’s terrible ratings could jeopardize the KMT’s legislative majority and force the party to hand over the absolute control that it has enjoyed for the past seven-and-a-half years to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
An opinion poll published by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research on Thursday last week found Chu to be even more unpopular than Hung among overall respondents as well as pan-blue supporters. Chu’s support ratings are only 0.8 percentage points higher than Hung’s when she was still the KMT’s candidate early last month.
Moreover, Chu’s replacement of Hung has embroiled him in an investigation launched by the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, which is looking into allegations that he offered NT$30 million (US$916,926) to Hung in exchange for her withdrawal from the race.
Since the investigation might not be concluded any time soon, it would undoubtedly take a toll on Chu’s election prospects regardless of its outcome.
Finally, the manner in which Chu has been handling the impediments to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) potential bid for a fourth term as a legislator-at-large seems to have disgruntled the longest-serving legislative speaker and one of the most skilled masters of political maneuvering in the nation.
It seems Chu thinks that his moves to exempt Wang from the KMT’s self-imposed three-term limit on legislators-at-large who double as legislative speaker and repeatedly stress his significance to the party alone would appease the veteran politician.
It is in fact his reluctance to give what Wang wants — the top spot on the KMT’s legislator-at-large list for the Jan. 16 elections — that has infuriated the speaker.
Without Wang, Chu’s dream of bringing the party factions together to stage a show of a united KMT before the election might never come true.
Another problem for Chu is President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has become a heavy but unshakable burden on the KMT’s shoulders, much like how former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) weighed the DPP down with his corruption scandals in 2008.
Dubbed “Ma version 2.0,” Chu has sought to escape the president’s shadow by taking shots at several controversial policies implemented by Ma’s administration, including the 12-year national education program, the capital gains tax and fuel and electricity price hikes.
However, his dilemma lies in the fact that he still needs to appeal to the party’s pro-China and anti-independence supporters if he intends to secure the KMT’s voter base.
That turns him into a two-faced person who, on the one hand, slams almost all of Ma’s major policies, but on the other hand praises his cross-strait policies and adherence to the so-called “1992 consensus.”
With only 72 days left until the presidential election, people would undoubtedly be watching whether Chu can push through the walls closing in on him, or simply become yet another victim of Ma’s poor governance and the KMT’s one-party rule.
Ideas matter. They especially matter in world affairs. And in communist countries, it is communist ideas, not supreme leaders’ personality traits, that matter most. That is the reality in the People’s Republic of China. All Chinese communist leaders — from Mao Zedong (毛澤東) through Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), from Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) through to Xi Jinping (習近平) — have always held two key ideas to be sacred and self-evident: first, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is infallible, and second, that the Marxist-Leninist socialist system of governance is superior to every alternative. The ideological consistency by all CCP leaders,
Even clumsy communicators occasionally say something worth hearing. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for example. He has of late been accused of muddling his messages in support of Ukraine and much else. However, if you pay attention, he is actually trying to achieve something huge: a global — rather than “Western” — alliance of democracies against autocracies such as Russia and China. By accepting that mission, he has in effect taken the baton from US President Joe Biden, who hosted a rather underwhelming “summit for democracy” in December. That was before Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, when rallying the freedom-loving nations
In the past 30 years, globalization has given way to an international division of labor, with developing countries focusing on export manufacturing, while developed countries in Europe and the US concentrate on internationalizing service industries to drive economic growth. The competitive advantages of these countries can readily be seen in the global financial market. For example, Taiwan has attracted a lot of global interest with its technology industry. The US is the home of leading digital service companies, such as Meta Platforms (Facebook), Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft. The country holds a virtual oligopoly of the global market for consumer digital
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on Saturday expounded on her concept of replacing “unification” with China with “integration.” Lu does not she think the idea would be welcomed in its current form; rather, she wants to elicit discussion on a third way to break the current unification/independence impasse, especially given heightened concerns over China attacking Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She has apparently formulated her ideas around the number “three.” First, she envisions cross-strait relations developing in three stages: having Beijing lay to rest the idea of unification of “one China” (一個中國); next replacing this with