One reason that Ma Ying-jeou was able to get elected is that almost alone among the politicians of his generation he was able to clench his teeth for a short period before each election and spit out the words "I am Taiwanese." This was purely an election tactic, dispensed with as soon as he was safely in office.
So it was with great interest that I watched three leading contenders for the KMT's presidential candidacy this week aver that the citizens of Taiwan (ROC) could decide their own fate (Taipei Times), along with Ma Ying-jeou hisownself.
The Affair of Who Decides began last week when Tainan Mayor William Lai gave an interview in China in which he gave the standard DPP line that the future of Taiwan should be decided by its 23 million people, along with some other comments on Tiananmen and other topics that cause sudden changes of underwear at high levels in Beijing. Chinasmack summarized:
Several days ago, Mayor of Tainan and DPP party member William Lai said in an interview that “the future of Taiwan shall be collectively decided by the island’s 23 million citizens.” During a routine press conference of the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council this morning, spokesperson Fan Liqing responded: “Any issue touching upon Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity must by collectively decided by all Chinese people including our Taiwan compatriots.” Fan also reiterated China’s firm stance against Taiwanese independence.William Lai is looking mighty presidential with comments like this, but he needs a period of service in the north or at a higher level so he can increase his name recognition.
Meanwhile, the CCP's claim that all "Chinese" should decide Taiwan's fate was the object of much merriment on the internets, since Chinese cannot even decide their own government. Note that spokesperson gave the typical my-way-or-the-highway version of Beijing's demands: we think everyone in China should decide Taiwan's fate, so long as they don't decide to make it independent. This is simply the PRC version of Ma Ying-jeou's ROC version that the 23 million people of Taiwan should determine the island's fate so long as there is no independence. That is why, in the WantWant piece above, Ma's "no independence" position was immediately reiterated after he made the comment about who determines Taiwan's fate.
Thus, the response of the KMT hopefuls Jason Hu (Mayor of our Taichung), Eric Chu (New Taipei City) and Hau Long-bin (Taipei)....
The future of Taiwan is a decision to be made by its 23 million people, three Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayors said yesterday in response to controversial comments made by a China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesperson.Hau, interestingly, is positioning himself with the growing Taiwanese consciousness. He's slyer than I gave him credit for, or else he has really good handlers. He also took a moderate position on the Sunflowers. This group has learned from Ma's example. Chu announced he would not run for Mayor again, meaning that Hau and Chu are positioning themselves for 2016. Hu faces an uphill battle in Taichung. Just yesterday I talked with some small shop owners, and the consensus is that Hu will lose to Lin, though of course, they noted, when those resources of the KMT come into play...
Taipei City Mayor Hua Lung-bin (郝龍斌), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) were welcoming a planned visit to Taiwan by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).
This affair also shows that the independence position -- that's what determining your own fate really means -- is totally mainstream. Paul Lin commented on another aspect of it:
During his visit to China, Lai was neither haughty nor humble. When he talked about Taiwan independence, it was because a Chinese academic had raised the subject. Lai showed a lot more guts than Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) did when Wang visited Nanjing University. Nonetheless, Lai is a moderate in the DPP — about as moderate as you can get without being pro-unification.and also observed:
Meanwhile, former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and his family have followed a path of allying themselves with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to combat Taiwan independence. The reward they seek is to add even more to the Lien family’s already vast economic interests.The Lai Affair shows how out of touch Sean Lien really is.
Now the KMT has put forward Lien’s son, Sean Lien (連勝文), as its candidate for mayor of Taipei — in an attempt to use the “new generation” to cover up its true nature as a party-state vested interest group.
Another nifty facet of Lai's words is that they put the onus on China for straining relations, as one commentator argued. Meant to shore up Ma's pro-annexation policies, they actually compelled him to reiterate support for Taiwanese to decide their own future, which must have been deeply distasteful to him, and reminded Taiwanese of Beijing's hateful expansionist policies.
- Slavery in Thai prawn industry.
- Ben with great piece at CPI on KMT, Ma and Broken Promises.
- Taipei Mayor race: DPP backs independent Ko Wen-je. Not much to say about that. Crossing fingers that when the pressure gets tight in the weeks leading up to the election, Ko has learned to keep lips buttoned and smile a lot.
- King Pu-tsun, Ma's "little dagger", argues that troops should be used against protesters. The security apparatus laughs.
- William Murray argues Taiwan needs small patrol boat fleet, while J Michael contends Taiwan ought to demilitarize Taiping Island and declare it neutral. Like that would keep Beijing out.
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