Monday, January 03, 2011

DPP: Tsai Ing-wen's New Years Statement

From the Chairman of the DPP, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen:


The DPP in 2011: Building a party that believes in our land and its people

The DPP is back, make no mistake about it. The results of the past two years’ elections prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt. The DPP is once again trusted and is a serious competitor to the KMT.

The DPP is the first post WWII political party to spring from this land of ours. From our first day we proclaimed our intention to stand together with the people of Taiwan. Taiwan is a land which has suffered grievously but we are never without hope and the drive to be masters of our own land. We the people of this land have a common past and also a common mission for the future. The most important thing for the DPP in 2011 is to believe in our land, believe in our people and the values we hold dear.

The DPP has always believed that our country’s roots are its land and its people. With the KMT so enthusiastically celebrating the ROC’s Centennial, we are not being cynical but simply ask the people of Taiwan to sit down and reflect. Each Taiwanese should ponder their understanding of their own country. Instead of arguing over the meaning of the " ‘92 consensus,” or the terms “one China different interpretations”, ‘different interpretations one China”, let's ask people themselves what they, in their heart of hearts, think their country is. The answer will come without hesitation: either Taiwan or the Republic of China. But behind these two answers there is a clear meaning, namely our country is this specific land; our country is different from and not part of the People's Republic of China.

So I don't understand why President Ma is insistently asking questions as if he were unsure about the present or future of our country's position. The reality is that this is our land, we are 23 million strong, we have walked a long hard road and established a vibrant democracy. For a president, your country exists here with the people who voted for you.

The biggest difference we have with the KMT is that the KMT says, "Without the ROC there is no Taiwan." We believe, "Without Taiwan there is no ROC". They worship at the altar of power and rulers. In contrast, our faith is in this land and its people. The difference is that we make Taiwan our priority and we believe we stand on the side of the majority of the people.

In 1949 the Republic of China came to Taiwan and became one part of the history of this land. We respect this historical fact, but we also believe that in the future, it is only through a democratic system can we change the structure that has existed for sixty years. But what people now need is neither the constant struggle between blue and green over national consciousness nor spending lots of money to build a sense of identity that is out of touch with reality. What the people want to see from now on is our citizens working together beyond the distinctions of blue or green and without any political confines, to freely create and choose our future.

For the majority of the Taiwanese people, 2010 was a difficult year. Yes, the GDP resumed its growth and consumption was up, but at the same time prices rose and, most importantly of all, the salaries and income of the majority of people did not rise. This shows that our economic development has entered a new pattern, where there is unequal distribution of wealth and development. While some people are quite happily enjoying the fruits of recovery, other families have endured a harsh winter with tears in their eyes. If this pattern of development continues, the wealth gap will continue to grow and disparity between urban and rural areas will get even worse.

For 2011, another mission of the DPP is to present an economic approach that is different from that of the KMT, to resist the worsening wealth gap in our society. While the KMT is complacent with the GDP growth figures, we will concern ourselves with people's lives, their employment and income. How high the numbers look is irrelevant; they are mere empty figures if the average person does not feel the growth. The DPP must feel what the people are feeling, must provide a secure future for those without economic or social capital. The DPP exists for these people and each day we must remind ourselves that if there were no DPP, who would care for the future of these people? This was the original purpose of the founding of our party, and remains the value we hold firm today and for which we will continue to fight.

2010 is past. We walked through this year full of gratitude, with appreciation for the people for their support, encouragement, tolerance, and hope. The DPP cannot keep the Taiwanese people waiting too long. We must do what must be done, we must do what touches the hearts of the people, and we will do so by going all out in this new year.
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Jade said...

It's a great speech that even the Blue camp supporters cannot disagree. The question is: "would the blue supporters follow their conscience or their ideology?" My new year wish would be for all the Taiwanese people, be they green or blue, choose to live in a independent and free country that we call Taiwan.

N.J said...

KMT and DPP are both right. "Without the ROC there is no Taiwan." and "Without Taiwan there is no ROC".

ROC and Taiwan sovereignty are tied together till today.

M. Freeman said...


KMT is wrong. ROC needed Taiwan more than Taiwan needed ROC. If Taiwan would've fallen under the PRC in 1945, it would been gone through a lot in the 1960s, but then we can only speculate how it would look like today. Probably very prosperous like HK and most of China's coast region, but people would've had less freedoms. However there would be no ROC and no KMT.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the ultimate winner is Beijing. The PRC has no innate reason to prefer the KMT over the DPP, except that the latter aggressively and continuously pushed for independence. It was the defining plank of the DPP platform for decades.

Now, the DPP is calling for no more than "reflection" on the sovereignty issue... while placing its emphasis on economic re-balancing.

Sounds good to me. It means both parties will now become equally acceptable partners for the mainland.

Anonymous said...

"The question is: "would the blue supporters follow their conscience or their ideology?" My new year wish would be for all the Taiwanese people, be they green or blue, choose to live in a independent and free country that we call Taiwan." Jade.

I will agree with Michael in that what Ma is selling to the public is an ideology. Theres no free lunch and the cost of pursuing his course of action is increased dependence to a very hostile, large and powerful neighbor. At best the policy buys time, but for how long and with what consequences are more difficult to predict. Especially if one factors in Ma's true intent is not to stall the process as long as possible (but would have made for an excellent DPP strategy IMO, at least at this time).

Im sure like myself the vast majority of people here would like nothing better than to wake up to an "independent and free country that we call Taiwan". Now, if you have any way to show how this approach to dealing with China is in the pragmatic approach department vs purely idealistic, Im all ears.


Sebastian from Sevastopol said...

Beijing hasn't won anything yet. For now it's all talk and the status quo remains. USA are the key.

SoCalExpat said...

The DPP will have a real problem as the economy gets better in 2012. They obviously recognize this problem based on this speech and LTH’s recent birthday speech telling people to ignore the overall economy and concentrate on the allegedly widening wealth gap. The problem is the electorate will not respond to the DPP’s complaints about something when the DPP offers no solution to the problem. Is the DPP going to tax the rich and give to the poor? Is the DPP going to redirect resources away from the north in favor of the south? Is the DPP going to enact protectionist trade policies that harms businesses but protects workers and farmers? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

Beijing is winning with every passing day, as long as Taiwan doesn't declare formal independence.

Let's keep things in perspective: the population of all of Taiwan is no larger than the larger mainland Chinese cities. Given sufficient time (another 30-50 years), Taiwan's international + economic + cultural influence will also be no greater than that of a first-tier mainland Chinese city.

Anonymous said...

@SoCalExpert - If the DPP gain power next year, they'll basically follow exactly the same policies as the KMT are now. There'll be a few minor differences but for the general questions of economy, China, environment, labor etc, nothing much will change.

N.J said...

< M. Freeman
KMT is wrong. ROC needed Taiwan more than Taiwan needed ROC. >

the alternatives scenario - a KMT or CCP complete military victory would mean Taiwan will remain one of many provinces of China.

It was the KMT ROC relocating to Taiwan that make the island become a de facto independent nation in 1949 with the official name ROC till today.