Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chen Chu Speaks Out in China

Chen Chu, the DPP mayor of Kaohsiung, is back from her trip to China:
Chen, who left for Beijing on Thursday, returned on Sunday night to cheers from her supporters and protests from a number of pro-independence groups unhappy with her trip.

The Taiwan Southern Society, the Taiwan Society Hakka and a number of pro-independence groups that had urged Chen to scrap the trip said they would boycott her re-election bid next year.

A member of “the 908 Taiwan Nation Movement” sitting in seats reserved for the public at the city council yesterday held up two posters criticizing Chen for not stating that Taiwan and China are two different countries while on her trip.

While meeting Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong (郭金龍) last week, Chen mentioned “President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] of the central government,” winning praise from politicians across party lines in Taiwan.

Asked yesterday about the resulting criticism from some civic groups, Chen said she respected their opinions because Taiwan is a democracy.

However, she added, “I’m also an independence activist. I was imprisoned for my pro-­independence beliefs,” she said.

She declined to comment on whether she thought that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should adjust any of its China policies or that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should visit China.

Independent Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源) praised Chen at yesterday’s council session and urged her to be “brave” in the face of criticism.

Meanwhile, Chen called on Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), who ­yesterday said Chen’s trip to China was a “betrayal” of Taiwan, to retract his comment.

“[Yeh’s attendance at] the Wolrd Health Assembly and my [trip to China] are completely different. He should shoulder responsibility for what happened there. I hope he will take back his criticism of me,” Chen said on the sidelines of the session.
In China Chen Chu had referred to President Ma as "President Ma", something that KMT politicians negotiating with the CCP in the PRC had conspicuously avoided. The criticism of Chen Chu by her own side is just plain bizarre, and shows how stupid and self-defeating the Greens can be. Note also that Minister Yeh, off in Geneva for the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, criticized Chen Chu for "betraying" Taiwan. Irony meters must be exploding all over the island.

Chen Chu's visit also shows that contrary to the claims of the international media, the DPP is quite willing to engage with China -- as we all knew anyway -- they just not are willing to engage at the expense of Taiwan's sovereignty, as Ma and the KMT are. Good politics and good political theatre on Chen Chu's part.

United Daily News (UDN), the reliably pro-KMT paper, offered a poll on the visit, which noted overwhelming support for Chen Chu. Polls here aren't exactly reliable.

Chen Chu is an old independence activist, one of the Kaohsiung 8 arrested after the international human rights day protest in Dec of 1979.
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Carlos said...

Even the China Post has a favorable editorial about Chen Chu. I think in this case the polls are accurate, and public opinion favors her trip. The China Post is also taking sides in the pan-green internal conflicts.


Thomas said...

Chen's trip just makes sense. She went to promote Kaohsiung and did so. She avoided too much political theatre without caving to Chinese demands. In short, she garnered media attention and improved ties without making sacrifices.

I too think that high public approval of her trip would be logical. How much lukewarm public support of actions of KMT politicians is maintained simply because Taiwanese feel that their approach is nasty but necessary? Chen has shown that there is a more favorable way to approach Beijing.

Likewise, criticism of her is plain stupid. This is the way forward for the DPP. They need to actually show that they can be effective and compromise instead of only complaining about the injustices of the KMT.

A face-saving compromise and expression of unity over the Tainan election would be a good next step...

Anonymous said...

"Ma save us! Export orders fall 20% in April, down 27.3% for first quarter year on year."Ma is pretty clueless when it comes to economics, and he is doing a poor job on the economy (Vouchers? Weren't they supposed to do something for the economy besides putting us deeply in debt?), but the figure for the exports is a sign of improvement. Exports were down over 40% YOY last December. Now they are only down 20% YOY (to be sure, this is not peak season so it's a different situation), but at the very least, our drop is not bottomless.

As the job and real estate situation in the US and worldwide continues to deteriorate + China's consumer stimulus comes to an end, I think definitely, the recovery looks very uncertain. But again, for now, the very severe situation doesn't look like it's getting worse.

Dixteel said...

I also think those harsh criticism of Chen Chu is not necessary, however I think a few of those concerns are reasonable.

I don't think Chen Chu had much choice but to go to Beijing, but she was able to turn a potential danger into a good opportunity. Chen Chu should be praised for her strong stance in Beijing. She had done something significant.

I didn't think of it before but indeed perhaps this is a bonus for DPP in international area because it shows DPP can engage China with reasons. Also it's a big blow to the KMT. But I think concerns not directing at her personally but on the general DPP China policy is reasonable...No one questions DPP's loyalty to Taiwan, but at what pace, using what strategy etc to engage China, is always a concern for a lot of pan green supporters, due to fear of DPP walking into a trap set by China.

Looking at it another way...if even China Post is praising Chen Chu's action, it might mean that pan blue or pan red really like these type of stuff, in which case DPP just has to be careful and evaluate the situation well,...doing exactly what your opponents want you to do might not be a wise choice...

Richard said...

Yeah, that's what I found most confusing in this story... each side is taking the opposite side you would think. What is going on! But the green side takes the prize for still fighting within their own party. This will become a larger problem eventually if they pan-green side cannot find a way to have a unified party/coalition.

Anonymous said...


Pan Green's double standard is sad.

It's laughable that Pan Green is talking up what Chen Chu said in Beijing, which she did not dare to repeat in Shanghai. Did she say it out loud that Ma is the President of the Republic of Taiwan? What she did is just like masturbate. She knew that Chinese media will not broadcast the part of her refering to President Ma, so she was speaking to Taiwanese media. So this whole Chen stunt is just like masturbating- it only pleased herself and DPP.
充其量是自慰而已啦 陳菊不知道被大陸媒體"消音"嗎 明明知道講了只有台灣人聽得到.
不是自慰 自己爽 是什麼? 她有膽就說馬英九是台灣國的總統啊.

"Chen Chu's visit also shows that contrary to the claims of the international media, the DPP is quite willing to engage with China -- as we all knew anyway -- they just not are willing to engage at the expense of Taiwan's sovereignty..."

The Pan Greent politicians keep telling their supporters not to engage China. Oh.. that is right, you wouldn't know, because you don't speak Taiwanese, so you have no clue what Pan Green politicians say in political rallies.

Tim Maddog said...

Michael, you wrote:
- - -
Polls here aren't exactly reliable.
- - -

I'd rephrase that as "Polls in the UDN tend to favor the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)."

Carlos, the China Pest editorial doesn't make up for their crap about Nazism. Read that one to get a clearer picture of their true face.

As for the greens who were protesting Chen Chu, I can only way "WTF?!"

Initially, I was taken aback by news that she was going to China, but her performance there erased any doubts I had.

As I understand it, Chen Chu went there as part of the responsibilities she has regarding the World Games. Furthermore, she showed infinitely more GUTS than the KMT ever will when it comes to dealing with the CCP.

I give Chen Chu a score of 100!

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

If the DPP would be smart they could continue to claim to be more pragmatic than the KMT by, while ultimately pursuing formal independence, recognizing the ROC as Taiwans current legitime governmental entity and the PRC as the legal government of China.

Not that this would be any different than their stance they had before, but it effectively would weaken the KMT's claims for "pragmatism".

Johan said...

"...the China Pest editorial doesn't make up for their crap about Nazism. Read that one to get a clearer picture of their true face."

Hear, hear!
The true face of the China Post outshines even Belgium's far-right nationalists (Vlaams Belang) in its editorial comments (in which the author is never identified).

Anonymous said...

Chen Chu for president!

Anonymous said...

Anon, you're an idiot. There is no double standard because it's not the same thing:

On the WHO/WHA websites, they still list Taiwan as China (Province of Taiwan). The counts for H1N1 from Taiwan are still listed under China. The maps of China still include Taiwan. If you think this is just politics, remember when China was still a SARS infected area and Taiwan was not, and just think about all the lost tourism revenue because people thought Taiwan was a part of China and an infected area.

If only we were truly participating as an "entity" (not even a misnamed country! and how sadly low our standards have become...), and not as a part of China. Minister Yeh even said we were previously reporting H1N1 counts to China!!!!

Taiwan's participation in the World Games and the Olympics has always been as a separate delegation as a full participant, the only curiosity being the name Chinese Taipei and a funny flag (both of which are quite silly).

Anon, tell me, is that Taiwan's situation in the WHA?

Anonymous said...

Michael, I think you're missing quite a bit of backstory here. Chen Chu is a member of the New Tide faction, which has simultaneously long supported Taiwan independence and better economic ties with China with some caveats. Chen Chu apparently is making a political statement, not just to China and the KMT, but also to the DPP. New Tide members include Lin Chuo-shui and Hong Chi-chang. Chen Chu apparently has been wanting to make this trip for awhile and this was the first excuse she found that was appropriate. (She participated in the 517 protests).