Many Taiwanese are so busy just trying to make a living that they do not care much about politics. You often hear people say that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are “both the same.”
This makes it easy for those with vested interests in the KMT to hoodwink voters who are too lazy to think for themselves. Actually, the two parties are very different.
Last month’s local government elections made the differences between the two parties more obvious than ever. The DPP is not afraid to admit its faults. Acknowledging its electoral losses, the party chairperson immediately accepted full responsibility and resigned.
In contrast, some highly vocal single-issue groups that do not think that reform offends those with vested interests actually blame the government for not reforming hard enough.
The KMT cannot be expected to reveal the main reason for its electoral victories, but it has given the game away by rewarding those who helped it win. “Rehabilitated offenders” from local factions have been floating to the surface.
When one of them was revealed to have been found criminally negligent in a traffic accident, others defended him, saying that “saints are hard to find.”
The KMT is full of corrupt elements and it has plenty of “rehabilitated offenders.” The KMT chairman has even been traveling with “rehabilitees.” It would be quite accurate to rename the KMT “the rehab party.”
Civic groups, whose focus is “reform,” are different from local gang leaders with a long criminal record of corruption. While civic groups lack local roots, local factions are deeply embedded, and they are still manipulated by the KMT.
Civic groups like to let everyone have their say. They see “unity” as a dirty word and besmirch it as “royalism.”
Professional associations and local gang leaders unite when necessary to protect their interests, but they do not boast about it.
In party politics, you cannot win elections without unity. The KMT ruled Taiwan for a long time by sowing division among Taiwanese and dangwai (outside the party, 黨外) opposition groups.
When some people who want to stand for election as party chairperson say that unity is “royalism,” they are living in cloud cuckoo land. The royalism of Qing Dynasty reformer Liang Qichao (梁啟超) was about preserving the imperial system, but in a democracy there is no imperial system to keep. Dilettantes like them should not imagine that they are revolutionaries like Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).
Talk of “radical transformation” is just that — empty talk that avoids reality.
When President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) resigned as DPP chairperson, it implied that the DPP was becoming less like the KMT and more like US parties. In the US, with its presidential system, the chairpersons of parties’ national committees are only responsible for organizing and raising funds for the electoral machine.
US presidents do not serve as the chairpersons of their parties and party chairpersons do not stand in presidential elections.
If the DPP became more like US parties, its party chairperson would devote their efforts to organizing and putting down local roots, and seeking harmony between civic groups and vocal local conservatives.
After letting people in the party have their say, the DPP must unite to fight the KMT’s corrupt local factions. If it does that, the differences between the two parties would become even more stark.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Julian Clegg
Swirling within the cybersphere’s vast ocean of reports, statistics and graphs about the international coronavirus pandemic, there is a short sentence out there in the worldwide web, which the Chinese government doesn’t want people to notice. It is on the Johns Hopkins University website “https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html” which houses the popular “live map” of Wuhan coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) data from individual countries. That sentence reads: “The map’s names of locations correspond with the official designations used by the US State Department, including for Taiwan.” Most readers may think this merely is an unremarkable footnote, akin to other source data on the site. But
On March 6, China announced through Hong Kong’s Chinese-language Ming Pao that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would visit Wuhan “soon.” On the same day, US-based Chinese-language IPK Media published an article by Chinese tycoon Ren Zhiqiang (任志強), with the headline: “An official call to arms against Xi: The clown who insists on wearing the emperor’s new clothes.” Will the truth about the struggles inside the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak finally be revealed? Ren’s article is reminiscent of Tang Dynasty poet Luo Binwang’s (駱賓王) “An official call to arms against Empress Wu Zetian (武則天)
Recent global media coverage of Taiwan has at times reduced the nation’s success in containing the spread of COVID-19 to some East Asian values such as cooperation with social control or Confucianism. An article in Wired magazine debunks this myth, crediting the nation’s success to democracy and transparency. It is appalling to learn that this misconception still exists. Here is one thing that world citizens should keep in mind: Taiwan is the first and only country in Asia that has legalized same-sex marriage. There is nothing Confucian about that. If anything, the Confucian legacy is a major obstacle that Taiwanese
The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 — or the Wuhan virus, after the Chinese city from which it emerged — could not have come at a more advantageous time for China’s communist government. Not for the Chinese people, of course, thousands of whom have perished because of Beijing’s lack of transparency, disinformation and cruel refusal to cooperate with international public health organizations. No, the advantage goes exclusively to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose deceptive practices unleashed the deadly virus to the world. To understand how Beijing benefits from the pandemic, it is necessary