Tuesday, August 10, 2010

=UPDATED= Yang Chiu-hsing formally announces independent run

First the report:
Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) yesterday officially launched his election bid for Greater Kaohsiung mayor, a move seen as intensifying a crisis for the opposition party in a traditionally pan-green stronghold.

Yang, who lost the DPP primary in May, launched his campaign in the afternoon, telling dozens of supporters it was his “duty and responsibility” to run as an independent for mayor of Greater Kaohsiung.

“It's a very conflicting decision for me, but now I have made up my mind,” he said. “I have been asked to run by business and religious figures as well as local residents who worry about Kaohsiung falling behind. I have the determination and will to make this city a better place.”

However, more than a dozen consultants with the Kaohsiung County Government resigned in protest upon learning of Yang's decision, saying they could no longer support Yang because the move went against Taiwan's interests and popular opinion.

“How could Yang make this decision when Taiwan's fate hangs in this critical [election],” said a statement signed by 13 senior consultants, including doctors, pro-­independence stalwarts, a university president, a company chief executive and a radio producer.

All 13 had been handpicked by Yang, sources close to the county government said. Representatives from the group said more resignations were expected.
I like to ride a century ride -- 100 miles -- each month. I was so peeved at missing a century on Saturday that today I rode from my house up to Toufen and back, 161 kms, 100 miles. This gave me a lot of time to think. I also had a chance to gather up opinions from lots of smart people who share a common love of The Beautiful Island.

First, Yang quits, and what do we see? Mass resignations among his advisers and appointees. Withdrawals of support from DPP councilpersons in Kaohsiung. Ok, so Yang is a problem -- but his entry into the race was met with a strong show of DPP strength and unity. That should also put the fear of god into others who might want to split from the DPP and go it independent.

What are his chances of winning? He has to know: apparently nil. A DPP poll released the other day said:
If the elections were held tomorrow, the DPP’s candidate, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), would win by a more than 30 percent margin, with 53.7 percent of the vote, against 22.6 percent for Yang and 15.3 percent for Huang.

While Huang would still obtain 38.5 percent support among pan-blue voters, Yang would follow a close second with 34.2 percent. On the other hand, the county commissioner would only receive 15.8 percent support from pan-green voters against 80.8 percent for Chen.
An Apple Daily poll similarly said:
A survey conducted on Aug. 3 by the Apple Daily showed that 43.7 percent of the respondents in Kaohsiung favored Chen, while only 27.18 percent and 20.49 percent would vote for Yang and Huang respectively.
Another way to look at it is to note that in the last election held at the county-wide level, the DPP challenger, Yang himself, won by over 100,000 votes. On the other hand, in the last legislative election in 2008, the KMT outpolled the DPP by 30,000 votes. However, much of the anger at Chen Shui-bian that helped fuel the 2008 results has dissipated over time (thank you, once again, KMT, for locking him up so that Tsai could repair the DPP). Also, it was a different level of election. It is hard to see anything other than Chen Chu cruising to victory at this point. Back in May a UDN survey ranked her as the most popular mayor in Taiwan.

What else is going on? Yang has gathered support from Master Hsing Yun, the head of Fuoguangshan, a former KMT central standing committee member, solidly pro-China. In addition, bosses of several large firms have allegedly backed him, including Terry Gou, head of Foxconn/Hon Hai, according to TV reports. These firms expect to benefit from ECFA. It is interesting that when Yang left the DPP, he immediately began spewing KMT talking points, as reported by the KMT news organ:
During yesterday’s interview, Yang said, “The rising of Mainland China’s economy is a fact. Therefore, it is necessary for the DPP to readjust itself. The DPP should not think that both sides of the Strait are still in a state of hostilities and object to everything for the sake of objection merely based on twenty-odd-year-old ideas.”

Yang went on to say, “Small countries should have wisdom in dealing with large countries. On the other hand, big countries have to treat small countries with kindheartedness and magnanimity.” Yang was paraphrasing words by ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius, which are often quoted by President Ma Ying-jeou during talks on cross-Strait relations.

......

Yang stressed yesterday that the disputes between the Blue and the Green camps had lasted for several decades and they had greatly impacted Taiwan’s economy. Yang said that he had gradually changed his mind and chosen “a third way” in the hopes that the Blue and the Green camps could reduce conflicts so that society would become more peaceful and progressive.

During the interview, Yang said that he supported the recently-signed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) on the condition the number of agricultural products imported from the Mainland not be increased and the government ban the entry of Mainland laborers. Yang said, “If we don’t support the ECFA, Taiwan will become an islolated island.”
In another strange echo of KMT ideals, he also said he wanted to make Kaohsiung like Singapore. It was all uttered as if Yang had never signed off on an anti-ECFA pledge or made other expressions of support for DPP policies. Yang's credibility with DPP voters is probably blown.

Possibilities? Perhaps the KMT will quietly make its own candidate, who can't win, disappear or drop out, thinking maybe it can get its voters to vote for Yang and gather in some DPP votes and maybe get enough votes to lever Yang into office instead of Chen Chu. Or maybe Yang is thinking he can drop out at the last minute and then ask everyone to vote for Chen Chu in exchange for some political deal for a position in the 2012 DPP administration.

Or maybe Yang is just fed up and frustrated and wants to lash out at the DPP. Rumblings of serious trouble have been ongoing. Back in March, for example, Yang accused Chen Chu of using White Terror spying and harassment tactics against him. Stories have circulated that Yang says he ran as independent because he was angry at Chen Chu's treatment of him. Yet there are many ways to respond to such problems, and he chose the worst one of all.

It's a sad loss. Yang had been a competent county magistrate who had garnered much praise from the public. He might have continued as a competent manager in some other post.

Meanwhile in Tainan Mayor Hsu continues to criticize the DPP's primary process, which has caused much division within party ranks, and talk of an independent run.

UPDATE: Yang himself had this to say about his own experience, which he dates to Morakot, according to an interview yesterday on CTI, the pro-KMT cable network:
Kaohsiung County Executive Yang Chiu-hsing yesterday granted an interview to CTI television and stated that he hoped that the DPP would reexamine the course it had chosen to chart, adding he had already done so. Yang said that he had previously been a member of the deep-Green camp, but added, “I would like to apologize to society for my past views and words.”

Moreover, Yang said that, previously, he had indeed suspected that President Ma Ying-jeou would “betray Taiwan,” however, after having spent time with President Ma in the aftermath of the 8/8 Flood, he changed his mind. Consequently, Yang said that he would be remiss if he didn’t publicly correct his past doubts about Ma’s intentions as well as apologize to society for his past ideology.

Yang added that “Taiwan is already an independent country and no one could really sell out Taiwan.”
The Liberty Times also ran a piece today saying that Yang Chiu-hsing had changed during Morakot. During the discussions about what to do with the aborigines Yang had adopted the KMT line that they should not be returned to their villages. Big money was backing that position, as I wrote at the time.

Read that second paragraph there. The entire island watched Ma Ying-jeou say one stupid, ignorant, obnoxious, arrogant, rude thing after another, and watched the indifference of himself and his government in handling that disaster. Yet Yang Chui-hsing became a Ma convert after that.

Yeah right. It had nothing to do with the Big Money that was backing the KMT's position.

But note the date -- this was August of 2009 -- at that time Yang basically says he changed his commitment. Folks, that was a year ago. This whole thing about Chen Chu being arrogant is looking like simply another way to attack and split the DPP, like his adoption of KMT talking points and repudiation of everything he has ever stood for. The litany of complaints dating back months are smoke and mirrors. It also sheds a new light on Chen Chu's behavior if indeed she was arrogant and dismissive of Yang. Perhaps she knew something other observers missed.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Yang formally announced his bid on AUGUST NINTH. One year to the date that he woke up to the blasted landscape of Morakot and KMT leaders crawling all over his turf. What a coincidence that he announced his flip-flop on the anniversary of the day he developed his man-crush on Ma Ying-jeou.

He's been planning this for a year.

What a vicious little joke the date of the announcement is.
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30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael, are you still losing weight from the cycling? Congrats on the century ride!

Taiwan Echo said...

Some facts:

1. During the last 9 months also, Yang never won a single polls over Chen Chu. In fact, Yang lost in a land-slide in every single poll, no matter it was done by green or blue;

2. Even Yang's own team admitted that their own poll show that he was not winning;

3. The only "claim of winning poll", revealed by Yang's team, is "KMT's private poll." It is obvious that KMT and Yang have contacted, KMT told Yang you are winning, and Yang believes that single poll over all others;

4. November last year, Yang held a press conference, accusing Chen of publishing a "fake poll" showing that Chen was winning. He didn't reveal who published it, didn't reveal what the numbers were. That is, an open accusation w/o evidence, just like what the blue team has been good at.

Yang has determined to run for the Mayor. He must know that he has been losing. On that condition, the only way he could justify his action is to accuse that all the polls are wrong (including those conducted by his own team) and only KMT's private poll is correct.

From that perspective, it's more likely that the press conference on last November was nothing but the starting point of his "accusation of fake poll" scheme.

From that perspective, his act of signing an agreement prior to the primary to compete fairly was nothing but a show.

N.J said...

A Yang Chiu-hsing victory in Kaohsiung
county ( not possible? ) + not too bad defeat in Kaohsiung city will give him a fighting chance in the election.
Will KMT lose big in Kaohsiung city too? KMT never lose heavily there, think Frank Hsieh 2nd term victory was only 25K votes.

apple said...

Apart from the KMT manipulating Yang and Yang seeking personal revenge there is another factor that may influence his decision. Running an election campaign may be a way of dispersing "excess funds" he has accumulated during his two terms as Commissioner of Kaohsiung County.

Anonymous said...

However, much of the anger at Chen Shui-bian that helped fuel the 2008 results has dissipated over time (thank you, once again, KMT, for locking him up so that Tsai could repair the DPP).

The problem is, it doesn't make sense. The KMT gain nothing by having him locked up and potentially lose a lot. If there was political meddling, the KMT would have told the judge to let him out on bail. Face it, Chen is a crook and is in jail because he broke the law. No other reason.

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Hans said...

My whole family resides in Kaohsiung, my pa is a native son of an agricultural village in the Kaohsiung county. Yang was never a Yang, he has been and probably still will always be "Chiu-Hying Ah" who live next village in the plateau of boiling water (Guen-Shui Pin). Heck, his last name is one of the big 3s in Yen-Chao. He is one key reason that we can hold our head up high and call ourselves the "Kge-Yon Lang" (Kaoshiung Ren). He is the ultimate representative, of Kaohsiung County.

I always thought he was just calling his attention during the whole process of "claiming to the race." Apparently I was wrong. And since his announcement has become official, I don't believe in his statements anymore.

I definitely believe that he understands the consequences of "dropping the badge" and run as an independent; he's smarter than that. Could I say "power" has blinded his eyes? I'm not too sure about that either. Is he really blinded? My pa said he believes there are other undertable forces/causes that's driving him; I denied my pa a month ago, but now Chiu-Hying ah doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from me anymore.

His decision doesn't concern me about the election. I just feel sorry for the end of his political career, and for the loss of a quality pro-Taiwan political leader.

Dixteel said...

Unfortunately this is all part of KMT's strategy to divert DPP's effort from Taipei and dilute DPP's support in Taichung IMO.

KMT can afford to loss Kaohsiung and Tainan, but it cannot stand lossing Taipei and Taichung. With DPP politicians infighting and Yang's sudden change of position and political view point, KMT suddenly gains a lot of ammunitions to attack DPP with. For example, Yang's sudden change of view on ECFA could stregthen pan-blue support for KMT. Whether these ammunitions are effective remain to be observed.

Yang has gone from a respected DPP politician to a KMT pawn that listens to a pro-China fake monk...how fast things change.

les said...

This could be just what Chen Chu needs to get the DPP faithful out there to vote... to keep this turncoat out of office.

If there is any truth to the rumors that KMT pushed Yang to run or be hit with corruption charges, wouldn't this be a good time for DPP to smear him themselves, either directly or via well-placed leaks?

Don said...

Came across this from a review of the book Taiwan Disaster by Yuan Hongbing last year:

"Yuan explains how economic means are to be used to control the sponsors of the DPP and disintegrate its standing in society. The tactics used to disintegrate the DPP's social status also include buying fruit in large increments from Southern Taiwan to make Taiwan heavily dependent on mainland purchases..."

Dividing the DPP and detaching the party from its base support in the south is surely high on Beijing's United Front agenda. Interesting to see that Yang already has two heavyweight CCP jockstrap-warmers in his camp. I wonder whether personal economic incentives are also a factor.

Otherwise, it makes no sense to try and divide the DPP and its core support at this point in the cycle when everyone stands to gain from unity.

M said...

Unfortunately this is all part of KMT's strategy to divert DPP's effort from Taipei and dilute DPP's support in Taichung IMO.

Goodness me, even splits in the DPP are all the fault of the KMT!

Can the KMT really be blamed for the factionalism that is still rife in the DPP or Chen Chu's arrogant treatment of Yang?

The split was caused by internal contradictions within the DPP.

Jade said...

"I just feel sorry for the end of his political career, and for the loss of a quality pro-Taiwan political leader".

I can understand how you feel about the demise of a political career of someone who lives next village but to name him as a "quality pro-Taiwan political leader" does not seem appropriate when his actions are telling what he really is.

If he wants to run as independent but stick to his pro-Taiwan ideology, I would not be as disappointed. Perhaps, this is a good oppertunity for the DPP to clean up their own party and that would be good for the future.

Michael Turton said...

If he wants to run as independent but stick to his pro-Taiwan ideology, I would not be as disappointed. Perhaps, this is a good oppertunity for the DPP to clean up their own party and that would be good for the future.

That was my feeling too. I'm glad he has simply taken up KMT talking points, it means that he will not be a real rival to Chen Chu.

Running an election campaign may be a way of dispersing "excess funds" he has accumulated during his two terms as Commissioner of Kaohsiung County.

That's interesting because a story I've heard is that since the Morakot disaster Yang has been working with a few large companies. Yang seems to have had a change of heart since that time.

The split was caused by internal contradictions within the DPP.

I sure hope so.

Thomas said...

"The split was caused by internal contradictions within the DPP."

In part, yes, although I don't believe that contradictions is the right word. I would say conflict is more appropriate.

However, support from Hsing Yun, public reassurances by lower-level KMT party leaders that they would vote for Yang, Yang's sudden adoption of KMT talking points, and that internal KMT poll, all taken together, point to a much greater involvement of the KMT into this split. You would have to really be naive to not see the marks of blue fingers in the pie.

Michael Turton said...

(m), don't be fooled. Yang's complaints about the DPP are simply bullshit like his current adoption of KMT talking points -- attacks on the DPP, hoping to split it. At present my read of his discussion of his own feelings is that he was bought during Morakot. Read the update above.

Taiwan Echo said...

"But note the date -- this was August of 2009 --
...
Oh yeah, one more thing. Yang formally announced his bid on AUGUST NINTH. One year to the date that he woke up to the blasted landscape of Morakot and KMT
...
He's been planning this for a year."


Yea, it seems to get clearer when we lay out all events of the past year. He has been far behind Chen Chu in every poll. The only way for him to beat Chen is to ask help from the KMT. To get that, he has to do something for the KMT to earn what he wishes for. Or at least, to show that he is not tricking them.

Back to the press conference he held to accuse Chen Chu in November last year. It was about 2 weeks before the big "3-in-one" election. Many advised him not to, or at least, wait until the big election was over, 'cos firing at comrades in public 2 weeks before the big election is very damaging to DPP.

He refused, went ahead to hold that press conference, accusing Chen of spreading false poll without providing any evidence.

But, both he and Chen were not candidates, so it won't gain him any benefit but will hurt DPP. Why on earth did he have to do it, and have to do it not long before the election last year? It does cast some serious doubt on his motivation.

Looking back, it looks more and more like he has planned it long ago. The press conference, the pledge with DPP to admit loss when losing, etc etc, are all just a show.

Michael Turton said...

Yes. I suspect if we are patient sooner or later a confession will roll in. He will want to brag about what fools the DPP are and how he, clever Yang, fooled them.

Thomas said...

If the figures in this prediction market poll are correct, his candidacy may have already flopped big time:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2010/08/12/2003480197

His story just doesn't add up. He is unhappy with how the primary went, yet he stays silent for months. He complains about Chen Chu's arrogance, yet he later adopts the line that it is a difference in ideology. He says he wants to be on good terms with the DPP, yet he cozies up to Ma and the KMT. Could it be that voters are simply not buying any of it?

I just don't get his motivation. Even if he was bought off, he has everything to lose by this approach.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. You sift through piles of data and information and link together the relevant thread that runs through it all.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, anon! I appreciate the compliment.

Anonymous said...

Thomas said: I just don't get his motivation. Even if he was bought off, he has everything to lose by this approach.

That's why we should consider that he's been bought off not by the KMT but by Beijing just as another certain former DPP giant has apparently been.

In doing so, there might be no particular political future left, but the size of the pay out may be enough to take away the sting.

M said...

No one has actually produced any evidence that the KMT was behind the split.

The alternative explanation of why Yang has moved towards the KMT position is quite simple. He wants light blue votes. He thinks that these votes together with whatever personal vote he can get in KHH country is his only chance of winning the election. If he ran on an orthodox DPP/green platform he would be sure to garner less votes since DPP voters are generally very loyal to the party candidate.

Of course he has to give some kind of narrative to explain his sudden lurch towards the KMT. That is why he is suddenly talking about Morakat as the time when he came round to Ma's position.

Actually Yang was out of the country on some kind of "official trip" when Morakat hit.

Anyway blaming the KMT for everything is distracting from the real issue which is the deep rooted factional conflict in the DPP. Criticism of Chen Chu's behaviour is not simply a "KMT talking point" but common sentiment within the DPP. Tsai has also repeatedly acknowledged the internal problems in the party and the need for reform.

Of course the KMT may have exploited factional conflicts within the DPP for its own benefit. The DPP has certainly also used similar tactics before. They recruited people like Chen Ming-wen in Jiayi into the party, and allegedly even tried to get Chang Rong-wei in Yunlin to switch sides.

Michael Turton said...

No one has actually produced any evidence that the KMT was behind the split.

Except for Yang's own description of his change of heart, of course.

Anyway blaming the KMT for everything is distracting from the real issue which is the deep rooted factional conflict in the DPP.

Of course, we're blaming the KMT for everything. We've never ever discussed DPP factional splits and never ever think about them. We often blame the KMT for the weather and for my failure to win the lottery too.

Please stop with the absurd sweeping claims. I've discussed the situation in Tainan several times and NEVER ONCE blamed the KMT.

No doubt the KMT did take advantage of DPP factionalism. And of course the right response for Yang was to leave the Party, adopt KMT talking points, and terminate his political career while hacking on his former supporters. That was clearly the only possible and right response. Nothing else could have been done. He deserves our sympathy and support for his wise, mature decision.

If Yang really left the DPP to get Light Blue votes than he is a lot dumber than I had thought. He turned his back on 30 years of working for the right side so he could get a subset of his opponents votes + a subset of his party's, his own faction? I mean, it reflects much better on his judgment to say he was bought by the KMT!!! No evidence or rational chain of logic suggests that at this point he has any chance of winning. Which do you think gives him the better chance: wait a couple of years for another DPP position, or switch parties and get toasted by Chen Chu, and then dumped like yesterday's trash by the KMT once he has been properly used?

Of course the DPP has deep rooted factional conflicts and huge ego problems. What political party doesn't? Yang is just leveraging these to get your sympathy for an action which is entirely self-centered and selfish. He has been planning this since Morakot as his own words make clear. The reality is that he has betrayed his personal word, his beliefs, his party, and his nation. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

Actually Yang was out of the country on some kind of "official trip" when Morakat hit

Actually, Yang returned to Taiwan on Aug 9, a year ago to the day he announced his independent run.

Michael Turton said...

I should add that in the fracas in Tainan, no one has left the DPP and adopted KMT talking points, KMT backing, and a KMT orientation. There's a serious material difference between Yang in K-town and people like Mark Chen in Tainan that you are refusing to face, (M).

Anonymous said...

If Uncle Sam and Grandpa Ho Chi Minh
can be friends now then Yang soso and KMT yeye shaking hands is not that surprising either.

To each his own.

Taiwan Echo said...

M said...
No one has actually produced any evidence that the KMT was behind the split.

Yang and his team claimed that "KMT's internal poll" shows that he is winning, and that's what he used to accuse DPP's polls (along with all other polls by green and blue camps over a span of 9 months) are all false.

Why did Yang has that KMT internal, private poll in hand? Do you think Yang has a crystal ball? Or maybe he placed tripwires in KMT headquarter ?

M said...

Michael: I am not sure what your point is. The fact is that the split was a result of conflict within the DPP. There is no evidence that he was bought by the KMT. Even if the KMT did have a role in the split, the underlying cause is still the same.

There has been a long-standing conflict in the party between the new tide faction and opponents of the new tide. The new tide is becoming increasingly dominant. Out of the 5 candidates for the year end election, Chen and Lai are both new tide. Tsai and Su are close to the new tide. Yang's move can be read partly as a move against the new tide. Added to that is the personality clash between Chen and Yang - Chen is widely regarded in the party as having an oversize ego and has acted dismissively towards Yang.

Now of course the KMT may have taken advantage of this factional infighting within the DPP. If they knew that Yang was disgruntled in the DPP, then it would seem quite natural that they would try and entice him across to the other side. But no one actually knows what was offered to Yang, if anything. This part of the story is still speculative.

The abuse you have heaped upon Yang does not change that fact. He may have betrayed his party, but saying he "betrayed his nation" is absurd. He has every right to stand as an independent candidate for election to the Kaohsiung municipality. Falling out with the DPP is not the same as betraying the nation. The DPP a political party, it is not Taiwan!

M said...

Didn't Mark Chen withdraw from consideration for Tainan before the party had even announced its nominations? The unhappy person in Tainan is Hsu Tian-cai who has still not confirmed whether he will run as an independent or not.

M said...

Actually, Yang returned to Taiwan on Aug 9, a year ago to the day he announced his independent run.

Morakot hit on the night of Aug 8.

Taiwan Echo said...

Funny thing. Yang is making every effort repeatedly in public to re-align himself with KMT, but KMT is making every effort in public to distant him. It has turned into a dark comedy --- Yang is chasing KMT from behind and licking KMT's ass, but KMT remains course and doesn't give a damn about him.

If Yang is bought but KMT doesn't appear to be the buyer, it seems more likely as what anon said in previous comment:

That's why we should consider that he's been bought off not by the KMT but by Beijing just as another certain former DPP giant has apparently been.