Friday, June 12, 2015

The Rational Party is Hung

Lanyu. Miss it so much.

This week sole KMT presidential primary candidate, deputy speaker Hung Hsiu-chu was on display making a case for why she should have the nomination despite the fact that she most likely isn't going to win. The Taipei Times described:
Hung is to be nominated if she has 30 percent support in the polls, otherwise the party will draft another candidate, presumably Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who said he felt it incumbent upon him to run if the KMT nominates him.
WantWant and Taipei Times covered her speech to the KMT's Central Standing Committee ( has complete translation). Her speech is indicative of why she won't win, with coded attacks on democracy and little if any concrete policy ideas, illuminated by the kind of rigid KMT ideological thinking and vocabulary we've just had eight years of. Can't wait to see reporters hit her with questions about where she differs with Ma Ying-jeou, because she is selling exactly the same product...

From WantWant:
In the only campaign presentation arranged by the KMT Central Standing Committee, the only candidate qualified to run in the KMT's presidential primary also said that if elected, she would sign a cross-strait peace agreement.

If elected, Hung said, she would make the care of the underprivileged one of her main pillars. She said she would follow the "four gives" — giving people confidence, happiness, hope and convenience.
The four gives -- satirized by netizens who said that Hung was quite technology-oriented, since she offered 4G -- is a great idea, but note the paragraph in which she mentioned a "peace" agreement. After she slammed the DPP for its independence (which she calls separatist so now you know her doctrinaire views on Taiwan's status) views (Solidarity):
So, with the DPP using the false packaging of the status quo to hide Taiwanese independence consciousness, we must sign a cross-strait peace agreement to guarantee cross-strait peace, the nation’s safety, and the expansion of its international space. So at this time when the DPP is using an incorrect political orientation to bring about the closing off of our country, we should use the space brought by the peace framework we have created to win acceptance to the economic cooperation organizations that are the TPP and RCEP, and use the establishment of free economic zones and the opening of the educational marketplace to attract elites from all over the world and inject all-new vitality in our national development.
There is nothing new here. Even Ma has said that a "peace" agreement would have to wait, because the public isn't ready for it. But look at Hung. Not only is she to the right of Ma ("Peace" agreement NOW!) but she's replicating his unpopular Free Economic Zones policy, and when she talks about opening the education marketplace (note -- her description of it as a "marketplace") I'd bet money it is Chinese students she has in mind, primarily. But she goes on...(Solidarity)
We advocate amending relevant laws to align Taiwan’s systems with the rest of the world, reduce systemic barriers, and make Taiwan’s marketplace an international option again, winning international favor once again. At the same time, we must use the peace dividend created by cross-strait peace to attract international capital, allow Taiwan to fully exploit its advantageous geographical relationships, create job opportunities, and make the pie bigger. With full economic development and the nation’s wealth constantly piling up, we can take another step to truly realize distributive justice via the tax system.
It's a rosy picture, but there's a total lack of specifics. For example, does "aligning Taiwan's systems" mean that we'll get rid of the ridiculous Republic of China official year system? Or is this some rubric under which she recognizes Chinese degrees? I'm guessing the latter.

She is also pro-nuclear, and will run on that platform. Good. The public is increasingly anti-nuclear. The one thing that did make sense was her proposal to scrap carbon-emitting power systems. Vague, but I heartily approve.

Solidarity flagged some of her coded KMT lingo. Here's some that caught my eye:
  • "With the DPP using populist tricks to constantly incite social hatred" (divide and rule ethnic policies are a KMT staple, and the KMT invented a whole ethnic group, the waishenren ("outside the province", post-49 mainlanders) which it cultivates to this day. Blaming ethnic divisions on the DPP is bog-standard KMT propaganda. One only need look at the mainlander politicians who comprise Ma's cabinet and Administration to see the KMT's ethnic chauvinism at work.
  • "Many people with noble aspirations* are anxious because they have seen much disorder and chaos in Taiwanese society, and even moreso, the kitsch and populism of its political parties and politics commonly causing a lack of distinction between right and wrong and the throwing of values into chaos." It's a common KMT political propaganda claim that the nation is in chaos because of democracy -- which she reconfigures in her speech as a kind of degraded populism -- thus unconsciously revealing how she views herself as a member of an elite, an elite that is going to bring order to the galaxy. Solidarity flagged her comment about "noble aspirations" but the entire speech is redolent with her elitist view of herself, the KMT, and its mission. 
  • "But on the path of Taiwan’s democratization, our democratic values have gradually turned into a weapon to use against the 1.3 billion citizens of the mainland; no longer are they the basis for winning the hearts of those 1.3 billion." Another slam against democracy. She has to know how unpopular annexation to China is among the Taiwanese. Fundamentally, KMTers believe democracy should produce only the outcomes they want. Otherwise it is just a distortion. 
  • "With the DPP constantly creating trouble and demolishing the foundation for peace, do we, fearing ridicule" DPP victory will lead to war! is KMT slander. Note also her positioning of the KMT as the reticent victim of the nefarious DPP. Poor put-upon KMT!
As Solidarity said, this is a completely reactionary speech completely out of touch with the public. Hung can't win unless she changes her vocabulary and tone completely -- older voters have lived with coded KMT in-speech their whole lives and know it just as well.

But let's not underestimate her. She is obviously a rousing speaker, tough, stubborn, and focused. If the KMT appoints a rational campaign manager who makes her listen to the public, she could do better than everyone thinks.

In the meantime I'll be visiting the earth god temple to pray for the active health of far right former premier and vice president Hau Pei-tsun, father of Hau Lung-bin, KMT heavyweight and former Taipei Mayor, so he'll come out and support her. Often.
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les said...

A peace treaty will guarantee our safety eh? Remember the Seventeen Point Plan for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet from 1951?

Michael Turton said...

Yep. "Peace" = sellout here. T