Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ma takes it on the Chin

IMG_9374
Ants savaging a caterpillar.

Haha. For weeks many of us watching the KMT in increasing disarray have been waiting for someone to point out that Ma is still Chairman of the KMT because he can't resign. Well, it finally happened.
KMT member Chen Shu-fen (陳淑芬) said that Ma’s resignation as chairman on Dec. 3 last year and the KMT Central Standing Committee’s decision to hold a new election for the role contravene the charter, as Ma may step down only when he is no longer president or has his party membership revoked.
Could the sudden objections be arranged by Eric Chu to make room for him to run in 2016? Is Ma organizing this from behind the scenes, to enable him to remain as KMT Chair? Our operators are standing by to take your conspiracy theory now!

Fortunately KMT thinkers obviously took their training at Jesuit universities...
In response, KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) yesterday said that the party charter regulated only the automatic assumption of office as party chairman to aid party unity and political focus, adding that the charter did not include the exception of the party chairman stepping down of their own initiative.
...see? When a KMTer becomes President, he automatically becomes Chair? But he can step down... O wait, if he steps down, he's not Chair. But then he must automatically become Chair, since he's not Chair... I'm getting a headache.

When this amendment was first mooted, it was widely understood as a way to enable Ma to keep his position and his face if his party lost an election. "I can't step down, the party's charter says I can't," he could then say...

Meanwhile Ma took another beating as China announced new flight paths in the Taiwan Strait without consulting Taipei. The nation donned sackcloth and ashes as legislators urged action. J Michael Cole interpreted this as a digiticus impudicus aimed directly at Ma, because Beijing now regards him as worse than useless.
And Beijing, which had already been losing patience with Ma for the “slow” pace of progress in the Strait, knows this. Unable to deliver what Beijing wants, President Ma is no longer of utility to Chinese leaders, who consequently will not hesitate to take actions that undermine his image with the Taiwanese public. In other words, the finesse is gone: Ma, like his predecessors, is being punished — humiliated, even — for failing to fall in step to Beijing’s tune. In this context, the August 25, 2014 intrusions by Chinese surveillance aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, make a lot more “sense.” Then as now, Beijing’s disregard for Taiwanese sovereignty took precedent over all considerations intended to give President Ma “face.”
Taiwan complained to the ICAO about the new routes. Taiwan was invited as a guest in 2013 to the ICAO meeting (not as an observer or participant) and again in 2014 (see this discussion of the PRC and Taiwan's airspace with Bonnie Glaser). Beijing announced the new routes but hasn't filed them with ICAO, meaning that they could still be dropped. Perhaps when that shoe drops we'll see whether Beijing is testing Ma, the ICAO, or US resolve, since the US pushed China to drop similar routes years ago.

What if Beijing plays this like the ADIZ and simply doesn't file the routes, but begins using them?

Meanwhile, former Taichung mayor and KMT heavyweight Jason Hu had said he'd be taking a position at Fengjia University in Taichung. But Wednesday night he announced that he was instead becoming Vice Chairman of the Want Want media group. Want Want was the media group that tried to attain a near-monopoly position in the local media world a couple of years back Hu is a vice Chairman of the KMT but has indicated he will leave that position. solidarity.tw has the translation...
Hu said he’d already discussed arrangements for different teaching positions, and this looked like his best option. However, at the end of last year, “Mr. Tsai Eng-meng of the Want Want China Times Media Group sincerely invited me to come to his group to work.” Tsai told him that the position of the Want Want China Times is “true truth and true love of Taiwan” 真道理、真愛台灣. Tsai said he hopes to use the media’s influence to give Taiwan better days.
Hu is widely held to dislike Ma Ying-jeou and I expect that WantWant is going to savage the President. But more importantly, having a heavyweight like Hu in high office might help smooth things when WantWant makes another play for dominance in Taiwan's media market.
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hu mentioned in his statement something about how 'most people had wanted [him] to win the election'. Really goes to show how out of touch and entitled the KMT is - getting routed in an election obviously means most people wanted the exact opposite.

Brian Castle said...

It's nice to see some Republicans pushing within the party for better relations with Taiwan, and it fits with the general attitude of Republicans in supporting freedom against bullies, but I don't think it will make much difference. How often to presidential candidates, or any other candidates for that matter, actually feel the need to stick to what's in their party platform when they're campaigning or governing? How often does the platform make the news?