Ah, the KMT, still the world's richest political party. Ma had promised to sell off the Party's assets and put everything in trusts. LOL.
For weeks I've been wondering when the lack of professionalism of Ko Wen-je, the pan-Green candidate for Taipei mayor, would show itself. This week it was the Ko campaign's hiring of an alternative service military conscript as the campaign office's technical advisor that gave us a double whammy -- first, hiring in-service military people for political campaigns is probably technically legal, but not a bright thing to do. The man is technically a soldier. And second -- you mean the guy is running for mayor of the nation's most important city and his tech people aren't professionals with years of experience? Oy ve.
Can't help but note that with all the out and out gangsters involved in politics all over the nation, the fact that there is a media flap over this, however tiny, is ridiculous.
The KMT news organ was saying that Shen Fu-hisung is in despair over his low polling in the Taipei mayor race and will probably drop out in August. It will be interesting to see what happens in the polls, then.
I've been wondering what the KMT was thinking with Keelung -- was the whole thing with former KMT candidate, now likely independent candidate Huang Ching-tai, a setup to distance the KMT from an allegedly corrupt candidate? Nope, it's really a screw up. The KMT removed Huang from the party candidacy but had no one waiting in the wings to take up the cudgel on the Party's behalf. Rather embarrassing, that. Now they found someone who appears to be squeaky-clean and wants to run for the Keelung mayor position. In the past they've had some trouble producing candidates with both those qualifications (remember Hsu Tai-li?). Meanwhile the spurned Huang Ching-tai says he has the signatures to run as an independent. For the first time in years the DPP may actually have a shot at the Keelung mayoralty if Huang seriously pursues his candidacy and splits the KMT vote.
More seriously, Taipei Times reports that Taiwan is being flooded with tiny pro-annexation parties that coordinate their activities.
Taiwan Thinktank councilor Tung Li-wen (董立文) said that since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) assumed office in 2008, a total of 116 new political parties have been registered, and more than 80 percent of these have a manifesto based on “promoting cross-strait exchanges and cooperation; advocating unification with China.”The gangs here are largely pro-China. But it should also be recalled that political parties are excellent frameworks for money laundering, which may be what much of this activity is. The sheer number of them make excellent camouflage for moving Chinese money into Taiwan politics. But if you are bringing in Chinese money, why put pro-China noises in the party charter and call attention to this fact? And if you are only engaged in money laundering, why put pro-China noises in the party charter? Ideology trumps common sense again? Or what?
“The Chinese government is using these small parties to infiltrate Taiwanese politics to cultivate and propagate more pro-China organizations,” Tung said.
“During last month’s visit by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), these groups were mobilized for a show of force. Plans are now underway for more ‘drill training’ at the elections later this year. Their main aim is to ‘mobilize their troops to impact on the presidential election in 2016,” Tung said.
As of May 2008, there were 138 registered political parties, according to Ministry of the Interior figures, while as of last week there were 254, an increase of 85 percent.
Note also the Chinese spouses...
“Another development is that Chinese women married to Taiwanese men have formed and registered several political parties. We estimate that by the 2016 presidential election, the Chinese spouses could have a voting bloc of between 120,000 to 240,000 ballots,” Tung said.Yep. Chinese spouses do not have to give up their Chinese citizenship, unlike the rest of us foreigners and can become citizens relatively quickly. There are well over 300,000 such spouses in Taiwan. Even a third of them might turn an election if they vote as a bloc -- recall that Chen Shui-bian's margin in 2004 was not even 30K votes.... and China's screaming and yelling across the Strait at Taipei to stop "discriminating" against Chinese spouses signals its awareness of the power of this bloc.
“China provides support to Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing parties which are also known as ‘loyalists.’ Through elections, Communist China’s political control of Hong Kong is assured. The experience there shows that it can be done. So China is copying that template and applying it for Taiwan,” he said.
This is because China has realized that by controlling only 3 to 5 percent of Taiwan’s electorate, it can sway the presidential election, and thus decide Taiwan’s future, Tung said.
- Nathan makes a video of his epic ride over Wuling. Really great.
- Rupert Hammond-Chambers: the US has frozen arms sales to Taiwan in order to get mil-mil relations with China. The stupidity of that decision is simply astounding -- once again giving up something permanent in order to get transient gains from China.
- Happy Taiwan song (Video)
- Island Sunrise: the Sunflower Movement (Video)
- As if following on to Ben's piece from yesterday, the Formosan Black Bear as a tourism mascot.
- Penghu crash from Taipei Times this morning. Investigators are looking at the weather.
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