Monday, April 27, 2015

Things you should be reading today

A woman collects oysters in a nearly dry riverbed.

Some great stuff out this weekend from some of my favorite people in Taiwan. First, my friend Courtney Donovan Smith publishes at China Policy Institute on the Taishang and the absentee ballot: explaining why the KMT supports the youth vote:
There are a few things wrong with this picture. First, the pan-greens have gone all out to get the youth to vote. After all, they voted overwhelming in their favor in the 9-in-1 election and usually do very well in this demographic. Conversely, the KMT does poorly with the young at the best of times. So why is the KMT trying to get younger voters into the voter booths, and to help them vote from anywhere? Why is the DPP against something that is common practice in democracies around the world? Why is there no open debate on this issue?

The one plausible answer is the Taishang, or China-based Taiwanese businesspeople and workers...
Then: Solidarity rocks. Just rocks. He's become the best blog on Taiwan stuff, with great articles and insight. First, his commentary on Eric Chu's suggestion that the KMT run the widely respected Central Bank Head...
Here’s the Taipei Times summary of yesterday’s big story. Short summary, with a couple details they left out: A high-level KMT insider told UDN that Eric Chu 朱立倫 has met chief central banker Perng Fai-nan 彭淮南 several times to push him to run for president. Perng then yesterday told the press central banker will be his last job and he won’t get involved in things he doesn’t understand, like politics. Chu didn’t directly answer questions about whether the report was true, instead praising Perng, pointing out everyone respects him, he has a great international representation, and his support crosses blue and green.

If the report is true, it says a lot about both Perng’s character and Chu’s desperation. First I’ll comment, then I’ll show you Storm Media’s and UDN’s commentaries as well as blue legislators’ increasingly loud warnings to Chu...
after you read that excellent piece in its entirety, don't miss his tart comments on the suggestion that Foxconn CEO Terry Gou run for President under the KMT banner.

There's very little one can add to this. The various suggestions that an outsider run as the KMT candidate show that the insiders, as Solidarity notes, have access to internal polls which are telling them that they aren't going to win. The KMT is in desperation mode. Eventually they will dangle an offer in front of someone like James Soong, a mainlander and once a member of the ruling core. Wang Jin-pyng as candidate would split the party, but as Veep candidate he'd be a good choice. The PFP is looking to ally with a party, and its choices are robust at the moment.

Of course, don't miss his droll post on all the splittism in the KMT. Key points: the growing clout of the PFP, the emergence of a KMT-allied party in Hsinchu, and the growing acceptance of the DPP among the aborigines. Read it all.

Finally, Ben Goren deleted an excellent post from the other day about the role of the grand justices. Recall that if Ma has these four appointees confirmed, then all 15 justices will have been appointed by him. Ben found two other powers of the court: it can impeach the President, and it can dissolve political parties that violate the Constitution. Scary, eh?
Daily Links:
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!

11 comments: said...

Thank you so much for your generous praise! It's been a real pleasure writing back and forth with you and I look forward to every post of yours. As Chu said of Perng, 你亦師亦友!

TaiwanJunkie said...

Just based on the makeup of the broad Taiwanese American community we can see the danger of opening up absentee voting. Huge number of the Taiwanese American community are Former KMT or KMT offsprings whose connection to Taiwan was just a few short years back in the days the Chiangs. These folks' viewpoint regarding Taiwan and China are very much frozen in time, they and their offsprings still routinely tie Taiwanese independence to the notion that it is just a conspiracy to turn Taiwan into a Japanese vessel state.

The next question is who will be able to vote as absentee? It wouldn't just be the Tai-shangs in China. What about old KMT soldiers who gave their whole lifetime along the Thai-Burmese borderland?

This is a very dangerous Pandora's box problem. I hope the DPP will be able to hold the line on this one.

Last, regarding the Qing. The Qing was not Chinese, much like the Ottomans were not Arab! It is absolutely laughable how Chinese nationalists try so hard to claim national glory under the Qing banner when they were really just slaves to the ruling Manchus for 300 years.

Anonymous said...

That article on China's history is an excellent short read.

This is an idea I have continued to push and the amount of resistance from not only Chinese nationalist minded people, but also "westerners" is astounding.

I read a very detailed academic article from a highly regarded scholar, a man I greatly respect, that went on to slice and dice the meanings of China and Chinese.

He concluded that there is obviously a unifying Chinese culture, but never actually provided how one is to recognize it.

If we are to discuss "Chinese culture" as a definite thing that is knowable without caveat, then there should be some cohesive rubric for its identification.

Writers love to discuss "Chinese culture", but we are never sure what that actually means.

Brian Castle said...

One can certainly make a case for giving expatriots a lesser vote - perhaps based in part on how long they've been overseas. Coming up with an exact number is tough though. Should an expatriot get half a vote? 3/4 of vote? a third of a vote? There is no logical way to assign a number.

For dual citizens it is much easier. A dual citizen should get half a vote. If you are a citizen of three countries then a third of a vote, etc.

Brian Castle said...

The Qing did not start off as Chinese. However time changes everything. By the early 20th century hadn't the Qing become Chinese (and the Chinese become Qing)?

Do you believe the House of Windsor is still German rather than British?

Anonymous said...

The house of Asin Gioro maintained a sense of difference between themselves and the Han/Confucianism bureaucratic classes. They acknowledged this difference as part of their identity as Aisin Gioro. Meanwhile,, they employed a confucianist culturalization strategy to transform i.e. "tame" the newly colonized people's of the periphery.

TaiwanJunkie said...


Sorry but the first thing I tought of with the lesser vote idea was how slaves were 1/3 of a person back in the days. This should be all or nothing.

the house of Asin Gioro institutionalized an ethnic preferance system where Manchus were preferred over Han. Hans were also barred from settling in Manchuria in order to keep the land pure.

I'm not aware the house of Winsor had a preferential system in place for Germans in Great Britain, nor that there was a Germantic region within Great Britain where non-Germans were barred.

Brian Castle said...

The comparison with slaves is way off for several reasons not least of which is that they had no choice in becoming slaves. But I do agree that there is a case to be made both ways.

Dual citizens, on the other hand, get to vote in two countries making their vote worth twice as much as everyone else - making everyone else in effect 1/2 persons. It is fair then to give dual citizens half a vote in each of their countries so they get a total of one whole vote just like everyone else.

I did not know that the Qing had done that (which is why I asked a question rather than making a firm statement). I still suspect that after 300 years there was some serious assimilation even if important differences remained. Getting back to American slavery - even before segregation had ended black Americans had far more in common with white Americans than they did with black Africans. And those white Americans whose families had been in America for a long time generally had more in common with black Americans than with white Europeans. Anyway I will try to learn more. Thank you for teaching me something.

Mike Fagan said...

"One can certainly make a case for giving expatriots a lesser vote..."


If the franchise is to be restricted it must be done so to remove blatant conflicts of interest. The obvious place to start is removing the vote from everybody directly employed by State funded institutions (e.g. teachers and civil servants).

Brian Castle said...

If you're speaking from an American Constitutional standpoint you're probably right, but of course we've seen how an executive order from Obama removes the need for worrying about such mundane matters.

You're probably even right from the standpoint of avoiding willy-nilly restrictions on the franchise. If we make this change then what next?

The best thing to do would be to outlaw dual citizenship the way we outlaw bigamy (actually I think we've already outlawed both) and then enforce the law.

Anonymous said...

Never mind absentee voting, here's why Taishang shouldn't get to vote full stop, ughhhh.