Friday night I went downtown to have dinner with an old student. She's apolitical, she said, but her face took on a fierce look as she mentioned Lien Chan's visit to China "He's... he's... betrayed us!" she cursed.
She's hardly the only one. There's a lot of that going around this week, and plenty of it is being expressed by people who ordinarily don't say much about politics. None of my circle of observing friends expected quite this level of anger -- public anger is so great that no one dare speak up in support of Lien. Indeed, the anger forced the KMT to discuss disciplining Lien...
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said that former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) attendance at a Chinese military parade would be referred to the party’s disciplinary committee “for discussion.”It was all political theatre, of course, and Lien, a KMT heavyweight and Chairman for Life etc, isn't going to be sanctioned. It was just another example of the usual KMT rules-are-for-others behavior, but this time it is in the context of national outrage. Annette Lu, Chen Shui-bian's Vice President, and the TSU, one of the pro-Taiwan parties, even brought charges against Lien. Her statement put public anger into words:
Responding to some KMT members’ call for disciplinary actions against Lien, who attended the military parade marking the end of World War II in Beijing on Thursday against the party’s wishes, Chu reiterated that the party was committed to upholding the truth about the Republic of China government’s role in the war and had instructed party officials not to attend the parade.
“At the military parade, Lien saluted and applauded the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops and their weapons, many of which are killing machines meant to be used against Taiwanese,” she said. “This is an outrage to our armed forces and Lien will be repudiated by people of all political stripes and ethnic groups here in Taiwan.”Lu asked that Lien return his pension, echoing the KMT's rhetorical moves to strip former President Lee Teng-hui of his pension after he stated historical facts a couple of weeks ago. People are so angry somebody painted a statue of Lien's grandfather red.
Lien's visit created another propaganda mess for the KMT, in September five months before the election. The public isn't going to forget this, and many are going to want to punish the party -- recall that the KMT twice put forward Lien for President, in 2000 and 2004, and remains one of the most despised major politicians in Taiwan. This is just another issue that will "highlight the weakness and division in the Blue camp" as an acquaintance put it on Facebook.
Oh, and in case you thought this might fade away, next month is Double Ten, the national holiday, with parades and public appearances by political heavyweights. Imagine what will be said if Lien is there saluting ROC troops... and parades alone will remind everyone of Lien's behavior in Beijing.
Hung Hsiu-chu, the rigid ideologue who is KMT Presidential candidate and the source of much depression amongst KMTers, was in the news for her Facebook posts in which she accused the Party of "defeatism" thus highlighting the weakness and division in the Blue camp. For the DPP, Hung is basically the gift that keeps on giving...
“It is not that the public does not see the problems, [such as] the [mess] of domestic politics and the prevailing sense of defeatism within the party, but it seems that anxiety, instead of countermeasures, is what all we have. I am deeply apprehensive about this ‘frog slowly being cooked in warm water’ situation. Bodhisattva, can you bestow on me the needed wisdom to attain peace of mind?” she wrote.....once again confirming the wisdom of DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen's low-key campaign in which she simply lets the KMT talk and demonstrate how hopelessly out of touch with the mainstream it is, while she talks about public policy.
Meanwhile, James Soong, PFP candidate, mainlander, and former KMT heavyweight, has also given his campaign a few days rest. Lots of pundits were wondering if the breaks might be related to Lien's appearance in Beijing -- they went and hid so that they wouldn't have to comment on the festivities in China.
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- Good blog post on the sacred pig festivals in Taiwan
- Eric Chu, Chairman of the KMT, is also mayor of New Taipei City. Citizens panned his performance in latest Commonwealth survey.
- Shifting perceptions of dictator Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan and China.
- Jennifer Lu of the SDP interviewed by Brian Hoie of New Bloom
- Ketagalan Media week in review
- The birth rate rose...slightly.
- Gas prices to rise next week.
- Another warning on the "red supply chain."
- There was another manifestation of the new identity this week -- in a small thing, but potent. A basketball coach criticized people hanging a pro-Taiwan banner at a basketball game this week. He was forced to apologize.
- Dengue fever on the rise. As a subtropical island whose diseases were conquered decades ago, Taiwan is on the front lines of global warming's reversal of these victories. At some point these diseases are going to reappear in the warm regions of the US. Maybe then a cure will be developed...
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