Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday nite lites

The government has made a wooden walkway in the Gaomei Wetlands. I hate it.

Construction-industrial state wins one: The new DPP mayor of Taoyuan municipality has done a 180 on the ridiculous aerotropolis project (Taipei Times)
The groups said that Cheng supporting the project made him seem “schizophrenic” toward the issue, because when he was running for mayor on the Democratic Progressive Party’s ticket, he had vowed to reconsider it.

The criticism was sparked by remarks Cheng made at a municipal meeting in Taoyuan on Wednesday, where he said he would refrain from “making any hasty modifications” to the Aerotropolis project, since the plan has already been approved and changing it would “affect land prices in the area.”

He said that the area designated for development would serve as a local commercial hub in the future, adding that the construction plans should be implemented according to the principles of democratic participation and transparency.
The Aerotropolis is the largest land expropriation in the democratic era. Cheng's turnaround, if it lasts, is likely due to central government pressure. The aerotropolis is a freeport that is a giveaway to land speculators and land developers, and with its suspension of many labor laws, is likely intended as a portal to let Chinese labor into Taiwan.

Stopping that aerotropolis is a key to the DPP's remaining a serious party in Taiwan. It can't just pretend to be the party of social justice and economic development for ordinary people. It actually has to be one. If Cheng flips on this, it will cost the DPP Taoyuan in 2018 and hurt its chances in the Presidential election.

KMT fracturing in Nantou and now Changhua: posts on the delightful KMT split in the Changhua by-election, translating some news reports:
However, there are both pro-Chuo and anti-Chuo factions within the Changhua KMT. And the anti-Chuo faction had blamed the KMT’s miserable defeat in the magistrate election on his alleged ineffective campaigning, and even support for an independent candidate. Thus, there has been a strong anti-Chuo backlash, and the faction repeatedly expressed these views to party central, but it never received a response.

The KMT had originally thought it had a chance of winning the seat in a straight blue-green battle, but before candidate registration had concluded, Hung Li-na—the party’s failed candidate for Mayor of Tianchung, and a former member of the pro-Chuo faction—consolidated the support of the anti-Chuo forces and threw her hat in the ring, guaranteeing not only a split blue camp but also infighting within the pro-Chuo camp. Thus, Chuo is entering the battlefield already wounded, and it isn’t looking good for the KMT there.
The KMT splittist put out some high minded language about the party not listening to the lower ranks etc etc, you know, the "buy me off or I'll run" kinda thing. Should be fun!

Raising red flagsLatest in the flag raising saga: Taiwan apologizes for embarrassing the US.
"This is an isolated incident. We regret that it caused the US inconvenience," Taiwan's deputy foreign minister Andrew Kao told a parliamentary session Wednesday.

"We have an understanding (with the US) and we will continue to enhance communication."

De facto ambassador Shen Lyu-shun, who made the decision to raise the flag, was subject to fierce grilling in the session but defended the move.

"There is no setback in relations," Shen said.

"The US understood that we did not notify them in advance out of goodwill... so the US wouldn't be in a difficult position if China lodged a protest."
Haha. Embarrassing the US was the whole purpose of this charade. Just another one of those little irritations that are meant to keep relations with the US unsettled.

Business as usual for the KMT: Ben Goren points out that Eric Chu, the incoming KMT Chairman, has publicly supported embattled KMT city council speaker Lee, currently under suspicion of buying the speaker election. Chu appears to be following the Ma Ying-jeou pattern: yakking about being anti-corruption but always supporting individuals and candidates who give every appearance of being thoroughly corrupt.
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Anonymous said...

I'm glad the activist groups are pressuring Cheng to keep his promises, and you're right that he'll throw away a ton of votes if he reneges, but I'm not sure he's even reneged yet. The Aerotropolis is such a massive plan that you can comfortably be against most of it but still in favor of some more construction out there, particularly growing the airport. IMHO we'll see where he really stands when the central government tries to get the land expropriations going.

Anonymous said...

And I'm certain that the central government is tying Aerotropolis support to needed infrastructure funding.