Saturday, February 15, 2014

Political Stuff: talks, Jason Hu, Bruce Jacobs

Someday it will be warm and sunny again....

J Michael Cole notes that the main gain from the "government to government" talks between the CCP of China and the KMT of Taiwan is the propaganda coup for Beijing. Nicely put. The ironic thing is while the world is atizzy at the "historic" talks between two parties that have been holding regular conversations for nearly two decades, the Taiwanese themselves are not at all excited, as Ralph Jennings documents in Christian Science Monitor.

I was talking to some bike industry people in Taichung today. They pointed out that Taichung Bike Week, supported enthusiastically by the Hu Administration here in Taichung, has grown to be one of the most important bike industry events. The format of the event is now being transferred to two other local industries, with Hu Administration support, the tool industry, and the shoe industry, each of which will have their own "week" with events at hotels around town. You may also have read that Hu is touting a genuinely ambitious plan to transform the city center, increasing public transportation and banning scooters from many areas. These are the kind of things that have made Hu popular and tough to beat. Hu is not a good campaigner, however, and has not been communicating these successes very well.

Finally, the awesome Bruce Jacobs produces an insightful piece on the conflict within the DPP. As many of us have pointed out, this is both intergenerational, with elders clinging to positions they should be easing younger people into, and between the factions, but especially Frank Hsieh. For months now, since Frank Hsieh got back from China, people have been privately criticizing his behavior. With him running for Chairman, Jacobs comments on how he has the potential to split the DPP when it has a shot at winning 3 of the 5 municipalities outright, and within sight of the presidential election in 2016. Jacobs observes of Hsieh:
Take, for example, former premier and DPP chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷). He led the DPP to a disastrous loss in the 2008 presidential election. Despite promising to leave politics, he has continued to interfere and to place his people in key party positions. His incomprehensible China policies were decisively defeated by the DPP, but he continues to mouth meaningless slogans like “one China, two cities” and “two constitutions, different interpretations.” Does not Hsieh realize that “one China” is Beijing’s policy to swallow Taiwan and that Beijing does not care about its state and party constitutions?
On his own Hsieh could never win the DPP Chairmanship, but there has been much talk that he'll make a deal with Tsai to deny it to Su.
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taipeir said...

Hu hasn't been popular for years and years, but he can get the vote out with the KMT network. That's about it. He says he wants to win the mayorship for another few years to keep the KMT in control in this area, I didn't see him talking about his policies and plans.

It would be ridiculous to credit Hu with the success of the bike industry here. Taipei has had a massive international bike week for years and years.

However if they use good policies at least that should be recognised. The lack of modern conference and exhibition facilities in Taichung is telling.

There are many simple simple things to do in Taichung..enforce parking regulations, build more sidewalks, clean up the air and water...

Jenna Cody said...

Eh, I see no reason why Taichung's city center and laughably nonexistent public transportation couldn't have been improved, oh, I dunno, a decade ago? I kno Taichung is popular with foreigners because of the good weather and the more 'local' atmosphere than Taipei, but honestly, I hate the place. You can't *go* anywhere (I WILL NOT drive), traffic's a mess, it's not comfortable to walk around in thanks to poor urban planning (well hello scary overpass that's totally unlit at night between the train station and the road with all the bus stops! How are you?) and, honestly, there's just not that much to do.

It's kind of preposterous that this is something that's being talked about seriously only now.