Saturday, May 16, 2009

DPP Chairman Tsai's talk and fundraising activities

Here is a precis of DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's speech and Q&A and fundraising activities in the US, along with observations, from a NATPA member who was present. He has graciously consented to allowing me to put this on my blog. There's some interesting observations on the DPP and its financial circumstances.

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In her speech at San Diego Taiwan Center on May 9, Tsai discussed the 4 major tasks and goals she thinks DPP should strive to achieve during the second stage of Taiwan's democratic development. [In Houston on May 8, Tsai must have given more or less the same talk.] In the order of priority, these are: 1) prevent the Ma-proposed "Parade and Assembly Law" (hereafter PAL) from passing, 2) revise the current Referendum Law, 3) protect human/civil rights through fair judicial procedure and 4) improve the current election law. [第二階段臺灣民主運動的目標,包括(1)阻止訂定集會遊行惡法,(2)公投法的建立,(3)維護人權和正當司法程序,和(4)選舉制度的改進。]

1) Tsai said that DPP lawmakers have being doing all they can to prevent the new Parade and Assembly Law from passing. If the law is adopted, Ma's police will own the streets wherein the people, not just DPP and TIers, will have little right to collective protest. Until, the pan-Green regain power, this right to parade and assembly is of utmost importance. The planned mass protest on May 17 is to uphold the people's right to parade and assembly as freely as possible.

2) We know that it's virtually impossible in trying to initiate a referendum due to the unreasonably high standard set in the current Referendum Law. For example, ECFA is widely seen as bad for Taiwan's economy and even sovereignty. Its adoption will turn Taiwan into a Chinese Special Administration Area like Hong Kong. The current Referendum Law must be revise so that it's truly democratic.

3) Through the judicial system that he controls, Ma has been abusing A'bian. We all know that. If a former Taiwanese president can be so abused, imagine how the current system has been used to abuse ordinary citizens. This unjust judicial system/procedure must be revised and improved on.

4) The existing Election Law is unfair. It has resulted in the Legislative Assembly being dominated by the KMT since the late 2007 elections. DPP has only 27 in the 113-seats Legislature in spite of the fact that DPP candidate must have won about 40% of tatal votes cast. The Law must be revised so that the seats are proportionate to the total votes a party has won. Otherwise, the value of each vote is unequal.

The DPP needs funds for the operation of the party headquarter and its local branches. Of course, it also needs money for the elections and mass demonstrations. According to DPP Chair Tsai Ing-Wen who visited S.D. Taiwanese American Community Center to raise fund on Saturday, May 9, DPP’s annual budget is about NT$300,000,000 while that of Chinese KMT is NT$3,900,000,000, i.e. KMT has 13 times more money to spend than DPP annually.

Last year, for several months Tsai accompanied by other DPP members visited places throughout Taiwan to raise fund to pay back debts DPP had accumulated before she took the party chairpersonship on 5/20/08. She asked the supporters to donate NT$10,000 each and attend gatherings. [I wonder how many of us knew this fund-raising campaign. Frankly, I did not know much until last night. I don't believe that pro-China media, print or electronic, in Taiwan would want to report it.] In Pintung, Tsai saw 10 men whom she figured to be of working-class background. Did each of them donate NT$10,000? No, each of the 10 at a table represented 10, including himself, to donate NT$10,000 and thus was at the table. There was an over-80-years-old woman who walked right up to Tsai and put NT$2,000 into Tsai's pocket. Tsai did not say where it took place and if the old grandma was also at one of the tables. And, there was this housewife who gave Tsai NT $20,000 that she earned from dish-washing that month. The woman did not want her husband to know for she knew that he would object to her donating her hard-earned money.

Tsai pointed out that raising fund from small donors has its advantages. First, it's definitely legal. And more importantly, this is also a way of solidifying tie with DPP supporters and recruiting new members for DPP throughout the country! She said that during that fund-raising campaign enough was raised from about 15,000 donators to pay back the debts that her party had accumulated. [I supose that one can say Tsai Ing-Wen had direct contact with 15,000 loyal supporters during that fund-raising campaign.]

I don't know the exact amount that was raised yesterday at San Diego Taiwan Center. My guess is that Tsai raised over $20,000 for DPP from about 150 donors, including 20+ from L.A. and Orange Counties. That's not a lot of money, but keep in mind that Tsai also used the occasion to recruit party members. She asked last night how many DPP members were among the donators at S.D. Taiwan Center. I took a quick glance and saw hands went up from nearly 30 people, most of them came from L.A. with DPP US-West Coast Chapter Director Mr. Tsai. I felt a little embarrassed that I am only a DPP supporter. In any case, Tsai informed us that with NT$10,000 (US$300) one can become a life-time member of DPP. I understand that local chapters in the US may add a little more for local chapter’s expenses.

Oh, wanting to make the donation transparent, Ms. Bi-Khim Hsiao had asked us to write all donation checks payable to DPP. It me, it is crystal clear that Tsai I W will not be saying that its her money.
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I think it is vitally important that we start pushing out Taiwanese loved ones who are Green to actually join the DPP and donate. It takes cash to make change happen....

Marching tomorrow! I will be at the Lungshan Temple meeting area before 2 am. Hope to see all my readers out and about at the different 5/17 rally sites.

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tsai should add one more point--economic policy. Instead of continuing to be shackled by the terminology invented by Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT (opening to China versus isolating Taiwan... if those are the choices, who is gonna pick isolating???), Tsai and the DPP need to talk about the real problem.

The KMT and the CCP are jointly creating an environment of economic dependence on China in the hopes that this will promote political dependence and ultimately, unification. The DPP should come up with a detailed economic plan that includes both China-side economic activity, but also stronger economic relations with Japan, the US, the EU, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world. And they can point out that is what Ma's favorite example, Korea, has been doing ever since they got their new president. Again, don't get stuck in the terminological quagmire of Ma propaganda. You need to point out the problem is dependence and over-reliance on China.

Look at the pitiful crashes in Hong Kong and Macau--hate pointing out the obvious, but China is not a free country. They can turn on, and then turn off the flow of money and people like a water spigot. It's absolutely amazing and scary as hell.


An aside:
I don't want to shift to be too off-topic, but the fundraising is exactly how it should be done--medium-sized donations given directly to the party, not huge sums given to Chen Shui-bian or his wife.

Sure, the Chinese KMT, with their money machine and party assets is way worse. But look at how badly the DPP's reputation has been damaged by Chen Shui-bian's actions, whether in the end, judicially it is deemed bribery or not (and yes again, the judiciary has been very unfair).

David said...

This is very interesting. Regarding the fundraising I wonder if the DPP have looked at Obama's campaign as a model. Regardless there are similarities and I think it is a great way for political parties to build grassroots networks of supporters rather than whoring themselves out to big business.

Regarding the four political issues I think it is possible to have some success with (1) and (3) if there is strong support from civil society groups and attract international attention and support. On (2) and (4) there is no hope, as long as the KMT dominate the legislature they simply ain't going to give up any power easily.

Dixteel said...

"I think it is vitally important that we start pushing out Taiwanese loved ones who are Green to actually join the DPP and donate. It takes cash to make change happen...."

Yea...unfortunately I cannot be at 517 because I am currently outside of Taiwan :(, but I donated some money to the DPP. Hope it helps a little to counter the literally filthy rich KMT.

Also hope others to help out anyway they can. DPP might not be perfect, but who is? And DPP cannot fight alone in the struggle against KMT.

insectlin said...

I really really would like to go. At least, just to say my appreciation to you. But as a Taiwanese in US, I cannot go because it is too far. I would like to say thank you, an American in Taiwan (or, maybe you are more Taiwanese than I am now?), for doing so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog and writings! I will be there with Social Force, a celebrated pro-green stronghold forum, joining the NTU route. Let's all stand up for Taiwan tomorrow and let the world hear us!

Your reader,
sparkle

Carlos said...

Not be a conspiracy theorist or anything, but Google can't seem to find the DPP's website no matter what you search for (Yahoo! can).

How would donations in US$ work?

Dixteel said...

Carlos,

I used my credit card. I found the link to the donation form here:
http://www.wretch.cc/blog/ingwen831/12502968

And here is the link to the epay form I found: https://ecpay.com.tw/mc/dpp/