Thursday, January 12, 2012

Longtime Blue on why he's supporting Tsai

SY, the longtime commenter here, left this useful translation in the comments of the post below. It is worthy of its own post. Enjoy.


Nan-fang-suo (pen name of Mr. Wang Hsing-ching 王杏慶, born in China in 1946) is a veteran political columnist. His stand for a "unification" of Taiwan with China is well known. Under the rule of the Chiang family (before 1988), he was a mild proponent for the democratization of Taiwan. After the formation of DPP, he started to drift away from the opposition due to his opposition of Taiwan's independence.

In 2008, he actively supported Ma Ying-jeou's bid for the presidency. Ma has publicly named him one of his two "big brother - mentors". Due to his long-term media contact and connections with the Ma "inner circle", he knows very well how the inner and outer circles of Ma (and King Pu-tsung) operate.

Today (Jan 12, 2012), the Journalist published an article of him in which he declares his support for Tsai as next president. The article was already circulated yesterday (Jan 11, 2012) on the net.

I find his note on the so-called "1992 consensus" very telling. He wrote that " is very unethical [or "immoral"] and wrong for Ma to use [the so-called] "1992 consensus" to threaten the Taiwanese people."

I thought the article is an interesting read. So, I did a quick (and probably "dirty", i.e. not proof-read and spell-checked) translation below. Texts in square quotes are mine.

Note that Nan-fang-suo's writing style commonly applies ambiguously structured sentences and not well defined phrases [easily done/coined by freely combining Chinese characters]. It makes the translation difficult. At times, I "best-guessed" to give a level of precision to what he wrote in order to properly rephrase the text in English. Overall, I've tried to be true to what he meant to say as much as I could.

Why I support Tsai, instead of Ma, in this election
Nan-fang-suo (Wang Hsingching)

For a long time, my political conviction has always been one of a pro-blue reformist.

But, after four years of KMT rule [in Taiwan], my disappointment [in KMT] has been growing by the day; therefore, I am supporting Tsai [Ing-wen] in this election, instead of Ma [Ying-Jeou]. Before doing so, I have gone through a process of conversion that might be of referential use to other intellectuals in Taiwan.

I am convinced that four more years of Ma's presidency won't beget a more stable relationship between the two sides [of Taiwan Strait]; rather, it will only drag the Taiwan society into a much worse shape.

Four years ago, the Taiwanese voters granted Ma the presidency by a landslide margin of 16.9% percentage points. With such a mandate and having the control of more than three quarters of the parliamentary seats, he would absolutely have been able to bring about a new era by carrying out political reform and economic development, had he had a solid political conviction and the personality [of a true leader].

This is especially true at this particular time of the 21st century when the whole world understands the importance of transformation. Taiwan would have been set to going through a great enterprise of transformation [, had Ma been up to the job.]

A leader without core values

The problem lies in the fact that Ma is a plain power-player type of politician who does not have real care about the society and does not have any interest in broadening his views and perspectives. He only enjoys engaging in petty political power trickery by taking advantage of the loopholes within the existing political power structure. He lacks the ability to own a political conviction which is of core importance to a political leader. Thus, we are witnessing the trapping of a leader [in a block hole] without core value.

Without a core value, he consequently cannot discern political matters by his own measures. In the past four years, from his so-called "laissez-faire presidency" in his early presidency, to the absolutely impotent response to the Morakot Typhoon disaster, to the policy failure regarding the Kuokuang Petrochemical development project, to nominating a controversial judge for Grand Judge candidacy, to his flip-flop in Farmer's annuity pay by greatly topping it up after vehemently opposing any increase, his lack of a core value and his weather-vane personality were fully on display. The accusation of him governing by reading newspapers is not at all unjust. I've written to criticize his habit of taking "public perception" to heart. Without one's own perception and conscientious guidance and with the sole focus on how the mass media opine, how can one lead the country properly?

In recent years, I haven't agreed with many key policies [of Ma]

Take "1992 consensus" as example: Everyone knows that, by it, Beijing means something totally different from what the Ma administration claims. Therefore, it is very unethical [or "immoral"] and wrong for Ma to use [the so-called] "1992 consensus" to threaten the Taiwanese people. The Ma government applies a trick well. It is using Chinese Communists to threaten the Taiwanese and using Taiwan Independence to threaten Beijing; somewhere in-between he finds his pork chops.

As far as I know, Beijing has become aware of it. If Tsai Ing-wen wins the election, will Beijing really do anything to Taiwan? I would say that Beijing will get a headache for a while but won't do anything particular. Beijing is in fact prepared to deal with a DPP government, in order to win the heart of the Taiwanese people anew. That Ma administration uses Beijing to threaten the Taiwanese is an attempt to create a currently non-existent hatred between Beijing and the Taiwanese. I don't buy [the threat], neither do the Taiwanese.

Take ECFA as [another] example: I have been opposing it from the start. Some politicians [in the Ma government] and [KMT] legislators were unleashed to bark and scorn at me for that. I don't oppose any trading and economic relationship between the two sides [of Taiwan Strait], but [in the process,] Taiwan needs to have its own economic policy. South Korea, for instance, trades with Mainland [China] at US$220 billions [a year]. Had South Korea been more willing, the commerce could easily go up to US$500 billions [a year]. But, South Korea understands the importance of having its own [economic] strategy. After assuming the presidency, Lee Myung-bak undertook to upgrade South Korean industry; Samsung, Hyundai and Kia have become world class enterprises.

In contract, the Ma administration, which commenced about at the same time as Lee's, totally is incapable of any initiative in this regard. Taiwan has become too dependent on the market of Mainland [China], Taiwan's industry continues to hollow, employment conditions and opportunities deteriorate acceleratedly. The economic performance of the Ma government indeed pre-requires the loss of the
Taiwanese people's interest.

Taiwan needs economic transformation. As the Nobel laureate [in economic science] Douglass North pointed out, a transformation requires a very strong intentionality, which includes an integration of knowledge and a drive to achieve. In this regard, the Ma government has done nothing, zero. If it were to be given four more years [of governing mandate], the current situation will only continue to worsen.

Two years ago, Prof. Charles HC Kao [a pro-blue professor/businessman] wrote an article titled "Impotence is worse than corruption", it appears to have been a foresight when read today; very suiting to [the name of the magazine] "Global View" [, "Foresight" in Chinese, he publishes].

The Ma government was founded on the case against Chen Shui-bian. As soon as Ma assumed the office, he should have left Chen's case behind and moved forward. It's just that the Chen case is such a convenient [political] ATM that Ma thinks of it whenever a political crisis arises. The keynote of the Ma campaign in this election is still the Chen case. They even use the Chen case to project and shoot in all directions randomly.

The head of a country should concern himself with the [inspiration of a] vision of the country and the people. The current Ma campaign team has only the Chen case to play with, other than using Beijing to threaten the Taiwanese people. The leader [of the country] is in fact a "fear-monger" [in Chinese, it is written; thus read, as "pimp of fear"]. How can people agree [with it]?

The fear-monger lives on twisting facts.

The Western political scientists have recently identified a phenomenon. It is that elected officials, assisted by mass media, have converged to a personality which is to do nothing of foresight, to avoid troubles, to shy away from seeking accomplishment and to act to please the public. Comes election, they immediately assume the role of fear-mongers.

John Dean, who served as White House counsel [under Nixon] and played a key role in [breaking] the Watergate scandal [with his testimony], published a book "Conservatives Without Conscience" two years ago. Dean is a conservative but he insists on the Conscience of Conservatives and was an important critic of [George W.] Bush. Bush often plays fear-monger, especially when campaigning for election; spreading the fear of the Arabs. Dean thinks that fear-mongers aim at twisting facts to create fear for their own gains; in so doing, they twist the direction where the country is going. This was what he most disliked about the Bush administration.

In sum, Taiwan as a country needs a transformation and yet has not been given the chance. Four years have been wasted. The state of sitting in the mud needs to be stopped. Election is the time when a change can be initiated.
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paul said...

thats a good editorial written by Nan-fang-suo. its cool to see a pro-blue change to pro-green, at least for this election.

but i wonder why he does not think there is a legitimate threat from china against taiwan? as if china's 2000+ missiles pointing at taiwan, their rapidly modernizing military and huge and ever-increasing military budgets, and china's suppression of taiwan on the international stage and outright public threats to take taiwan back with military force isnt suffice??

Anonymous said...


Nan simply consistently supports the opposition, which happens to be green right now. he has been criticizing Ma for some time now, that is nothing new, most of the so called "pro blue" news paper and columnest / editorials have criticized the KMT government a good deal over the last few years (or even when they were the opposition) as well, unless your reading the KMT's own 中央日報 of course, but that paper has almost no market anymore.

As for China's threat, from a military POV the real threat is far less than the perception, or at least the real threat is not in what you think it is, losing American support would be the real threat, military attacks from China is much less so.

China 's capacity to attack Taiwan on a whim is extremly limited, most of the so called 2000 missile is not actually stationed within range on a normal basis (the tally is those that are theoretically capable of hitting some point in taiwan from some point in China within the SE theater, the onces that can launch to Taiwan on a few hours' notice (mostly the DF-15 series which is actually designed moer to be used a nukes than SRBM) is more like 1/5 of that number at best, and even then you can only launch a fraction of those at a time due to restriction of lauchers. unless they choose to use nuclear warheads (which is too crazy even for China) that is not nearly enough to cause large damage .

perhaps even more important is the simple fact that China's marine TOTAL 12,000 men, most of them are stationed in Zhejian which if they were to sail to Taiwan still would take over a day at best. and if they all sail out at the same time it would alerady ring up alarm bells from Taipei to Washington before they even left port.

It doesnt' take a military expert to realize that even if they can landing all of the marines they're not going to take over Taiwan with roughly 10,000 men, let alone do it quickly.

So what if they're going to do a D-day style landing you ask? at that point they would be able to land many more men yes, and probably relocate enough missiles to the point where they can really pose a serious threat, but the problem is that D-day took 6 month to prepare, and an full invasion of Taiwan is likely to take even longer, by then they would not only have to face a totally mobilized taiwan but the US would have more than enough time to move several more fleet and probably even put boots onto taiwan itself and/or life in a lot more additional weapons (like they did in the 823 Artillery war)

In short, from what we know of China's military setup in the region, they're hardly aligned in a fashion that suggest they want to attack Taiwan anytime soon, they are in fact aligned in a matter that is to prevent of an event where someone attack that region .

To summerize, China's actual military threat in the current phase, assuming that the USA is not going to back down from a full confrontation (which is certainly a question but not one that we can influence too much on our own) is much much less than percieved. There's a significant fear monger aspect there as well.

Anonymous said...

The threat is there no matter who the president is. Isn't is more difficult for China to threaten Taiwan if Tsai gets elected?

Anonymous said...

@ other annoymonous:

From a military POV or political POV? those are different questions though ultimately related of course, the simple answer is that for the PRC to take Taiwan, the key would be to really totally isolate Taiwan internationally, if the US openly state they'll not interfer for example. in such a situation they don't even need missile or troops, they can simply impose North Korean level sanctions on Taiwan through the UN.

From my POV anyway, at the end of the day what Taiwan needs to do is to avoid becomming such a pain in the neck that the US feel they're better off letting China slip through the first island chain than worth going to war with China over a pawn that creates more trouble than it's worth. Improving ties / trade with China doesn't change this situation a whole lot unless we actually get to the point where there are serious political unification talks, which unless the New Party somehow wins the Presidency or something isn't likely to happen within DECADES.

Michael Turton said...

""It doesnt' take a military expert to realize that even if they can landing all of the marines they're not going to take over Taiwan with roughly 10,000 men, let alone do it quickly. """"

I love this kind of [whew] calculation. Thank god we don't have to think about the myriad possible alternatives -- like following the marine bridgehead with regular Army brought in by air and sea, which is the actual practice of previous powers conducting amphibious invasions.

Of course, there are many other scenarios.


Michael Turton said...

As for Chinese amphibious forces and capabilities, there are numerous articles. Jamestown Brief:

"Amphibious training has become more prominent, larger and routine. Designated amphibious units receive priority for annual maritime training, but also conduct training for other missions. Other maneuver and support units from the Nanjing and Guangzhou MRs undertake amphibious training to a lesser extent, as do some units from the Jinan and Shenyang MRs. Over the past decade, roughly 25 infantry and armored divisions and brigades, amounting to one-quarter to one-third of the total ground force, have conducted some type of amphibious training [3]. The size and number of exercises per year varies, with a peak in 2001 when nearly 100,000 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel participated in a drill at Dongshan Island at the southern tip of Fujian province (China Daily, July 12, 2004)."

Anonymous said...

@ Michael :

Drills are announced in advance, and big onces take months to prepare, if we see them make the preparations but don't announce , it would already be a huge alarm. the reason that the 96 crisis prompted the 7th fleet to move in was percisely because the drills announced was in the danger zone of where it is at least concievablly possible to turn and just shoot for Taiwan (or at lest the out lying islands.)

The end conclusion is that , no matter how they play it , the political risk for the PRC would be massive, so unless Taiwan or the US really force their hand the odds of a rational actor (and the PRC is certaily far more rational than say.. Iran or North Korea) testing his luck is low.

Michael Turton said...

I know that, I was merely pointing out that your presentation erred on the facts. Especially when you accuse the other side of fearmongering.

Having read much history (think how many major events of the last X number of years have been completely missed by US intelligence)(think how many totally obvious and much warned events were ignored) I am less sanguine than you.