As expected, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has already provoked several controversies in less than two months on the job.
The retired lieutenant general’s nomination was highly questionable from the beginning, as he had sparked controversy when he attended an event in China commemorating the 150th birthday of Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) in 2016, when he sat through a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and stood for a rendition of the Chinese national anthem.
On Tuesday last week, the Ministry of National Development reported that Chinese fighter jets were spotted near Taiwan’s air defense identification zone the previous night before being driven away by Taiwanese F-16 jets. This followed a similar mission by Chinese warplanes on Feb. 28.
While most politicians would have condemned such an incident, Wu accused the ministry of misleading the public, saying there is a “huge” difference between Chinese warplanes flying around Taiwan and aircraft intruding in the nation’s airspace, adding that the former should not be deemed provocative. He further compared the situation to US aircraft flying by Taiwan, which is just ludicrous and needs no further discussion.
While Wu might be right that there is no need to panic — which simply echoed what the ministry said — it is difficult to believe that these military training missions have nothing to do with China’s territorial ambitions toward Taiwan. There is a reason countries have their own air space, and if Chinese warplanes actually cross into Taiwanese air space, it would be a direct contravention, not a “provocation.”
Wu has said before that he simply wants China and Taiwan to interact peacefully, and that each side should refrain from provoking the other, but Beijing’s actions over the past five years — especially its continued blocking of Taiwan from participating in the WHO after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — have been far from friendly.
There is no need to speculate about the purpose of these military exercises, but keeping Taiwanese informed about the actions of an often hostile neighbor does not count as fear-mongering. Similarly, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announces the nation’s number of new COVID-19 cases on a daily basis — it is scary, but nobody is calling that fear-mongering.
Even the KMT immediately distanced itself from Wu. It said that Wu’s words do not represent the party — but who does Wu represent? Who nominated him for the position? KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) on Monday said that he would have a talk with Wu, but with the party’s image at an all-time low after its crushing defeat in January’s presidential and legislative elections, how it deals with this issue is critical to its plans to reform and reinvent the party so that it can regain its competitive edge.
As last week’s Taipei Times feature on young KMT supporters indicates, the real blow to the party’s image is its conservative, out-of-touch elements — such as Wu — who pander to an authoritarian government that constantly threatens Taiwan and its democracy.
Not everyone favors Taiwanese independence, and many still believe in and identify with the Republic of China, but almost all young voters can agree on safeguarding the nation’s democracy and freedom. That is what Beijing is out to destroy, which is why Wu’s stance is so damaging to the KMT’s image.
Since COVID-19 broke out in Taiwan, there has been a fair amount of news regarding discrimination and “witch hunts” against medical personnel, people under self-quarantine and other targets, such as the students of a school where an infection was discovered. Quarantine breakers are almost certainly on the loose and it is only natural for people to be vigilant. One in Chiayi was found by accident at a traffic stop because his helmet was not fastened. However, those who follow the rules by quarantining themselves should be encouraged to keep up the good work in a difficult situation, instead of being
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has said that there is a huge difference between Chinese military aircraft circling Taiwan along the edges of its airspace and invading Taiwan’s airspace. He also said that whether it is US or Chinese aircraft flying along or encircling Taiwan’s airspace, there is no legal basis to say that such actions imply a clear provocation of Taiwan, and asked the Ministry of National Defense not to mislead the public. People who hear this might think that it is not a very Taiwanese thing to say. US military activity in the vicinity of Taiwan
As the nation welcomes home Taiwanese who had been stranded in China’s Hubei Province — arguably one of the most dangerous places on Earth since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in its capital, Wuhan, late last year — problems surrounding the “quasi-charter flights” that brought them back have been largely overlooked. The media used the term to describe the two flights dispatched by Taiwan’s state-run China Airlines because they do not count as charter flights. Taiwanese wanting to board those flights had to travel — most likely by train — more than 1,000km from Hubei to Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets. “Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19. Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US. The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist