[I took the post down about Chu. Burned by a bad translation from KMT's own news organ. Many thanks to the commenter who pointed that out]
The KMT is whipping up some grand political theater apparently designed to make it possible for Chu to backtrack on his promises not to run for President. The KMT news organ reports:
The DPP’s (Democratic Progressive Party) standard bearer in the 2016 Presidential race has virtually been decided, but no one in the KMT (Kuomintang) has yet stepped forward to run for President. On March 25, Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) asked, “if no one in the KMT expresses a willingness to run in the Presidential Election, then how could I shirk the responsibility to do so?” KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) has insisted on first formulating the nomination procedures in May. Hung denounced Chu’s decision as an act of “dragging himself [Eric Chu] and the KMT into quicksand!”Dragging out the process increases the pressure and tension, which can be resolved by Eric Chu beating his breast in anguish, and reluctantly, oh so reluctantly, reaching out a hand to take the crown, forced by his supporters. Note that Chu has said the whole thing will have to wait til May, when all the backroom deals have been made and support garnered. And for mine own part, I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
The problem is New Taipei City. Turnout was low when Chu nearly lost it in the November election. If Chu goes for the presidency, there will be a by-election in New Taipei City. Chu forsaking the city after two years will further dispirit KMT voters while energizing voters who want to punish him. This poses the very real threat of the KMT exiting the 2016 elections with a DPP president and DPP mayors ensconced in every municipality. [UPDATE: This might be an error, in that the Vice Mayor will rise. But I thought there had to be a by-election... will check. Nope, not error apparently, see this 2010 piece on the 2012 election, last paragraph. Same situation holds now. I'll double check.]
With the election coming up, Reuters is positioning itself well for this blog's needs. This piece on the Sunflowers in court was rife with international media tropes. I'll point out some from different paragraphs....
(Reuters) - Anti-China [why not pro-Taiwan or democracy since that's what they were] activists told a court in Taiwan that their weeks-long protest campaign last year saved the island from further economic colonization by Beijing, in defense statements given at the start of their trial on Wednesday.
The protests, dubbed the "Sunflower Movement", marked the largest display of anti-China [not anti-China but pro-Taiwan] sentiment seen in Taiwan for years and followed nearly a decade [not nearly a decade, just six years if you count Ma only, or over twenty if you start with LTH or 15 if you count Chen] of rapprochement between the two historical foes [the foes are the CCP and the KMT, not China and Taiwan].
Opponents launched the protest movement after accusing Ma of trying to ram through legislation for a far-reaching services-trade pact without public consultation in March of last year.[the services pact was indeed rammed through without public consultation. Why not just report that, since it is true?]
Before the pact could become law hundreds of protesters led by Chen and others forced their way into Taiwan's parliament and repelled police efforts to evict them.[before the pact could become law... ROFL. the committee head attempted to proclaim that the pact was law without a vote. That's what triggered the occupation. The report makes it sound that the students were interrupting due process. Just the opposite: they were trying to re-establish it.]
Opponents say it would have accelerated political reconciliation [political reconciliation... between who and what, about who and what? The CCP and the KMT have already reconciled and are allied, the problem is the Taiwanese.], a key goal of China's foreign policy [again as always in the Establishment media we are told what China wants, but not what Taiwan wants][note that what China wants is not reconciliation but annexation.] also. Last September, China's President Xi Jinping reiterated the "One Country, Two Systems" principle for bringing Taiwan back under Chinese rule [Taiwan has never been under Chinese rule, not once, not ever] [again, as always in the Establishment, we are told what China wants. This is the ideal moment to inform readers that Taiwanese emphatically reject 1C2S in poll after poll and reject a Chinese identity and consider themselves Taiwanese. What do we get? Silence.].
The emergence of the Sunflower Movement is regarded as a turning point in Taiwan politics, as new parties and grassroots voices have begun calling for more openness in negotiations with China.[well, some points for saying the Sunflower Movement is a turning point, but then once again the issue of local identity is completely neglected.].
The protests also accelerated a steep decline in popularity for Ma and his ruling Nationalist party, as evinced by the party's drubbing in recent local elections.[note that the piece does not explain why Ma's popularity has dropped. After reproducing all the pro-China tropes at the beginning, and implying that Ma's economic agreements are beneficial -- information on their effects is omitted -- Reuters could hardly explain that Ma's closeness to China is a huge problem, along with the failure of pacts to deliver benefits, and of course, the (unmentioned) Taiwanese identity. Hence, the silence -- no explanation of Ma's slumping popularity is given, as in so many pro-China tropes in the media, it happened without involvement of human agency.]Thanks Reuters! With reporting like this, my blog will always be in demand from readers who want to know what's really going on.
UPDATE: Ben at Letters collates the Rules for Writing on Taiwan
- MUST READ: Solidarity's translation of the changes to the history curriculum
- SPECIAL: Frozen Garlic with two excellent posts on Kaohsiung local politics, one explaining why Chen Shui-bian's son dropped out of a legislative seat race, and one follow up.
- First Annual Mackay Gala Charity Ball
- This link lets you monitor Taiwan's reservoir levels.
- One of the Left's more bizarre obsessions: ignoring the massive influence of China in Washington, while complaining about Taiwan's tiny budget for lobbying: Taiwan Lobbyist writes Republican Party Resolution calling for more weapons for Taiwan. Taiwan spends $1.39 million.
- Ko Wen-je's approval at 75%
- ICRT starts new show: Taiwan this Week, in April.
- China Youth Corps, the most KMT of KMT organizations, finds 90% of youth identify as Taiwanese.
- DPP proposals to make the referendum threshold more rational blocked 128 times in legislature
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!