With former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) no longer at the helm, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) can be divided into two main camps: those for and those against KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).
This was the source of much internal tension in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, tension that did not abate until then-KMT chairman and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) stepped in. By this time, Chu was tainted by the controversy over Hung’s removal as the party’s presidential candidate and he did not fare well at the ballot box.
Now the party is preparing to elect a chairperson and it remains split along pro-Hung and anti-Hung lines. Hung is KMT chairwoman for now, but her tenure so far has seen only division, with no evidence of unity.
The division haunts the party as it enters the election campaign for the chairperson. Hung’s supporters, chasing small victories and reluctant to see the bigger picture, are trying to shore up their base. It is not even beneath them to bring the election forward or reorganize the party to ensure their electoral advantage, throwing the party into disarray.
Senior figures in the party are not happy with Hung’s leadership style, nor with the direction in which she is taking the party. Still, the two other candidates, KMT Deputy Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), have clearly failed to learn the lessons of the presidential primary debacle and have prevaricated too long before throwing their hats into the ring.
Hau was first to reveal his intention to run. Wu chose to visit the tomb of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and, during a news conference, welled up while talking up Chiang’s achievements, playing the “Chiang Ching-kuo card.”
Wu was hoping to appeal to the veterans’ vote that Hung had sewn up long ago. His attempt will not only be in vain, it is also misguided, for that ship has long departed — it is out of touch with long-term trends in the nation with the advent of democracy, the move toward localization and the preferences of younger people.
What is more, the anti-Hung faction putting two horses in the race is dangerous, for if it cannot coordinate its efforts they will essentially be propelling Hung to the finish line.
The anti-Hung camp knows only too well the importance of unity and yet somehow it cannot avoid division. The path ahead is indeed bleak.
The KMT is pro-China, and it continues to defend the “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle in the hope of gaining the political advantage in cross-strait exchanges and trade. This unavoidably builds a barrier between the party and young people.
The KMT under former chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Ma has cozied up to Beijing and even though interpretations of the so-called “1992 consensus” can be divided into Hung’s “one China, same interpretation” and the “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” formulation favored by Hau and Wu, it all leads to the same thing: It is just a matter of how one allows unification to occur.
The KMT has found itself all at sea while in opposition. It cannot seem to find a way into the hearts and minds of Taiwanese, and it is in fact alienating itself from them.
There is no sense of unity within the party and if anything the tensions are becoming ever more fraught. Not only is the party finding it difficult to cultivate new talent, it seems to be congealing into a small group of people who control the party apparatus, a group of people who should retire rather than continuing to vie for office.
Maybe it is no coincidence that a combination of the three candidates’ names resembles the phrase “completely helpless” in Chinese.
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With
On Sept. 8, at the high-profile Ketagalan security forum, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged countries to deal with the China challenge. She said: “It is time for like-minded countries, and democratic friends in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, to discuss a framework to generate sustained and concerted efforts to maintain a strategic order that deters unilateral aggressive actions.” The “Taiwan model” to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic provides an alternative to China’s authoritarian way of handling it. Taiwan’s response to the health crisis has made it evident that countries across the world have much to learn from Taiwan’s best practices and if