Friday, July 31, 2015

Hung Campaign Blues + Links

A roadside shrine.

The campaign of Hung Hsiu-chu found a campaign manager this week (KMT news organ):
KMT Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱)’s campaign headquarters have begun to gear up. According to informed sources, Yiin Chii-ming, a former Economics Minister and president of National Policy Foundation, the KMT think tank, would be Hung’s campaign manager. Hung’s campaign office has also announced new spokespersons this morning.

Yesterday, Yu Tzu-hsiang (游梓翔), Hung's campaign office spokesperson, said that Yiin had participated in discussions of Hung’s policy planks. As Hung has been visiting Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung recently, Yu added, the Hung office would announce the lineup of her cadres in her campaign team when she came back to Taipei.

Yu plans to resign as Hung’s spokesperson in August and return to his teaching position. The Hung campaign office announced two new spokespersons to replace him today. They are Chen Yu-mei (陳玉梅), a former Taipei City Councilwoman and former Deputy Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, and Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), Tainan City Councilman and head of the KMT Tainan chapter.
The National Policy Foundation is the KMT's internal think tank. Yiin has had several posts in government economics positions (English Wiki). He was educated at Chiaotung U and ChengChih U. He's 63, married, and ideologically reliable. He'd make an ideal veep candidate for Hung.

And... wait for it... it appears he's never run in an election (University CV is here). That's right, Hung's campaign is being managed by a man with little electoral experience (Yin was interviewed here several years ago on economic issues).

Because this is out of the National Policy Foundation, this looks like the actual "management" of Hung's campaign is going to be... keeping Hung under control.
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Hegemonic Warfare Watch: Fun Fun Fun over the Senkakus

A lonely road somewhere in Chiayi.

A piece in The Diplomat observes that China's bogus ADIZ over the East China Sea was used to turn back a Lao Airlines flight...
A little-noticed report published earlier this week in Air Transport World showcases one such case. Although considerably ambiguity continues to surround this incident, according to that report, a Lao Airlines flight flying from South Korea’s Gimehae International Airport to Laos was asked to turn back by Chinese air traffic controllers and complied. The report notes that the Chinese air traffic controllers told the aircraft that it did not have adequate approval to pass through China’s airspace. According to the report, the flight (No. QV916), an Airbus A320, was an hour into its scheduled flight path, “which would have put the aircraft over disputed areas of the China Sea,” before it turned back. Starting last year, Chinese air traffic authorities began to require that all civilian flights flying through the East China Sea ADIZ file pre-flight plans, transponder details, and other technical details ahead of their flights, according to the Air Transport World report. The incident involving QV916 is the first instance of a commercial flight being turned back due to a failure to comply with Chinese air traffic authority requirements, but at least 55 airlines worldwide are complying with the terms of China’s ADIZ.
Laos is very tight with China economically, so they didn't complain. I had been wondering if Beijing had arranged with Laos to do this to increase the legitimacy of their ADIZ, but that's because I am paranoid.

Over at Thinking-Taiwan, J Michael Cole observed that the KMT was far more interested in the ROC claim to the Senkakus than the public at large:
Perhaps even more importantly, though far less acknowledged, is the fact that unlike Chinese and Japanese nationalists, most Taiwanese couldn’t care less about the islets. Segments of the Taiwanese public paid attention when the dispute with Japan prevented Taiwanese fishermen from making a living, but the fisheries agreementsigned in April 2013 by Taipei and Tokyo, after 16 long years of stalled efforts, resolved that matter. In other words, whatever interest most Taiwanese paid to the issue stemmed from practical rather than ideological considerations.

But this is not the picture you will get if you listen to the official rhetoric in Taipei or to members of President Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), both of which emphasize Taiwan’s (or the Republic of China’s) sovereignty claims over the islets. A most recent example of this was the Presidential Office’s reaction to remarks made by former president Lee Teng-hui during a visit to Tokyo, in which he stated that, in his view, the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islets are part of Japanese territory. Although Mr. Lee had made similar comments in the past, this time around the response was much more indignant.
In a way, in the die-hard KMT mind, the ROC exists because it makes claims. In the Ma Administration's practical foreign policy, whose goal is to isolate Taiwan from its neighbors, the Senkakus are a useful issue for irritating relations with Japan.
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Taitung: Miramar Expanding Ring of Destruction Halted

Location of the Miramar (lower left) and new development (center to right)(from Taitung Protest)

The Miramar hotel development (background) has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with development on the east coast, which is rapidly being wrecked by developers. Today Taitung Protest posted on Facebook:
You’ve heard about Mei Li Wan, now they are trying to build Mei Li Two (then 3, 4, and so on, ‘until there’s no more room up there’) in the foothills of Dulan Mountain, just 100 metres north of Miramar.

A delegation of local environmental activists, led by leaders of the aboriginal communities surrounding the proposed development site for Shanyuan Palms Holiday Villas, protested on the steps of the EPA offices ahead of a meeting set for July 29.

The good news is that the EPA meeting ruled that all development must cease pending the institution of the new Coastal Protection Law!

That's great. And so it bloody well should.

If you thought Mei Li Wan (Miramar) was big, then get a load of this new monstrosity.
550 rooms – that’s up to 1000 people a day! Or 365 000 tour bus tourists per year (and their turds)

It will cover a total of 26 hectares! That’s roughly the size of 26 football fields and more than four times bigger than Miramar.

But get this; it’s proposed to be built on a hill known to be prone to landslides! It’s a disaster so obviously waiting to happen that it would border on wilful negligence if it was passed by the authorities.

So why the unseemly rush by the local Taidong council to do so? Coz a new, central government coastal protection law is on the books and set to be passed this year. This law overrides grubby local council deals and will flat-out prohibit such enormous, ecologically destructive developments.

And now, this July 29 EPA Ruling, which stops Shanyuan Palms Holiday Villas from proceeding, is, to my very pleasant surprise, a common sense decision that looks like it’s gonna nip this idiotic development in the bud.

Is the wheel finally turning?
Let's hope so. A pile of new hotels have been approved, and if you've been in downtown Taitung city, they sprout like mushrooms.
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Student history curriculum protester commits suicide

Taiwan was rocked yesterday with the news that a student protester, facing likely prosecution, committed suicide, allegedly after an abusive, pressuring visit from the principal of his school and zero support for his actions from his parents. In traditional style, he killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning by burning charcoal, a favorite suicide method in Asia since it does not mar the body and is supposed to be painless (2007 post). Just the souls of those who learn of these senseless tragedies.

The dead student had intended his suicide to drive action, and sure enough, protesters reached new heights of fury, and they stormed the MOE last night. Cole writes:
The occupation—one of several direct actions in the past two years—occurs after months of snowballing protests over efforts by the government to make “minor” changes to curriculum guidelines. Critics say the process lacked transparency and that the new Sino-centric content imposed by the guidelines distorts history and whitewashes the authoritarian period in the nation’s history. The dissidents also maintain that members of the 10-person committee in charge of the “minor” adjustments, set up by then-minister of education Chiang Wei-ling in January 2014, are not suited to handle the matter. Chief among them is convener Wang Hsiao-po, a vice chairman of the Alliance for the Reunification of China.
Occupation is probably a good idea for now, but come the fall the students will have to stage walkouts and sit-ins, and teach-ins. Cole points out that this social activist movement, like preceding ones, is not being orchestrated by the DPP. The KMT accuses the DPP of being behind all these movements, a charge that is completely hilarious to anyone who has ever dealt with DPP Administration. It seems sometimes that they can barely orchestrate coffee for the staff, never mind a major social protest. Instead, the students use social media to organize themselves. The LINE messages of the dead student were posted online, in fact, showing not only that he likely meant to make a statement, but that LINE is a major medium for this kind of communication. Back to Cole...
Lin, who had dropped out of a trade school in June, told a TV talk show that school officials visited his home, pressured his parents, and warned him that if he didn’t cease and desist, his criminal record risked compromising his future job prospects. School officials pointed out that Lin had been a troubled student and that the visit to his home had nothing to do with his suicide.
UDN posted a video of a parent trying to take his kid home and being refused (Solidarity with the description). Such scenes were commonplace during the Sunflower movement. The generation of people in their 40s and 50s is timid and fearful, the true Strawberries of Taiwan.

Although the Ministry of Education has said the students are engaged in illegal activities, ironic since back in February the Taipei Court ruled against the changes...
The Taiwan Association for Human Rights challenged the changes in court. Although the Taipei High Administrative Court in February ruled against the ministry’s decision to implement the adjustments, the ministry went ahead with them.
To get the changes in, the Ministry has promised that questions about the material will not be on the exam, and also threatened textbook publishers, implicitly, with revocation of permits if the new material is not included.

The curriculum revisions also take place against other sources of student anger: the revised 12 year curriculum is widely despised by students... (Brookings)
Nine-year compulsory education was implemented in Taiwan in 1968. As society and the economy have changed, a 12-year compulsory curriculum was developed and in 2010 the Ministry of Education announced that its development was completed and ready to implement. In 2011, the “Project of the Implementation of 12-year Basic Education [十二年國民基本教育實施計畫]” was audited and set to commence in 2014 – though as noted above the new curriculum itself is not yet being taught. The new curriculum aims to lead instruction in schools, give directions to students, clarify values, and prescribe certain actions (馮朝霖 et al., 2011). A reform of national curriculum concerns must not only attempt to envision the future, but also involves a dialogue on varieties of educational values and the choices amongst them (范信賢, 2010). In other words, a common understanding among a wide range of stakeholders is necessary.
...and the terrible job market that students are graduating into. The history curriculum with its pro-China changes is an easily identified and obviously abusive "reform", but there's an underlying anger here that student activists could probably find a way to harness.

The KMT of course blamed the DPP for the student's death. *sigh* The KMT news organ reported on Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu's determination to amend the history curriculum once she is in power:
The controversy surrounding adjustments to the high school history textbook guidelines continues to heat up. Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Deputy Legislative Speaker and the KMT’s 2016 Presidential candidate, yesterday said on a TVBS political talkshow that if she should be elected President, she would definitely amend the textbook guidelines in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China.

Hung stressed that when the DPP came to power in 2000, the Chen Shui-bian administration had altered, to a great degree, the history textbook guidelines based on a Taiwan-independence movement perspective, and what the Education Ministry was currently doing was to re-adjust the existing history textbook guidelines to conform to the ROC Constitution.

Hung went on to remind the opposition parties that they should not incite young people to violate the law by breaking into government buildings just because the opposition had obtained political gains from last year’s student movement, during which student protesters broke into the Legislative Yuan compound to occupy the legislative chamber for nearly a month in a show of opposition to the cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement.
One of the little successes of the protesters is to compel Hung to constantly re-affirm her far-right Chineseness in public. This will be important in creating her image among local voters.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Student Invasion of the Ministry of Education becomes major political issue. Good. + Links

Where does it go? Somewhere deep into Nantou...

Noah Buchan commented in an excellent editorial in the Taipei Times:
A culture war is raging in Taiwan, and it has been going on for decades. It is a time when Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) statues still cast shadows in public parks; when denials of Han privilege course through the media; when the Ministry of Education (MOE) snubs its nose at the courts and pushes through China-centric adjustments to curriculum guidelines — ones that euphemize the Japanese colonial period; and when the nation’s largest political party believes that it still controls, or should control, land it has not controlled for close to 70 years, at the expense of land it has controlled for most of that time. From this perspective, it is hard not to imagine that a culture war is precisely what is being witnessed, even if it has not been framed as such.
The culture war is being played out in this election, with a KMT diehard running for the Presidency. The latest battleground is the updates to the high school textbooks by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which the students are rightfully protesting. Solidarity has a translation of the adjustments and changes. The Ministry has not formally released the names of those on the revisions committee, but the names leaked are mostly ultra Chinese nationalists. FocusTaiwan gives a rundown in a long article on the fracas over the textbooks:
On Friday, police detained 24 students and 33 other people, including three reporters and six members of the public, after they entered the MOE building. Nine of the 24 students were from middle schools and 15 from colleges.

Vice Education Minister Chen Te-hua (陳德華) said Sunday the MOE's decision to prosecute the law-breaking students remained unchanged, but he called on school administrators not to discipline those involved in the protests.

As to the three journalists who had been released without bail, Chen said the MOE will drop the charges against them if they could prove that they were doing their job as reporters and not leading or participating in the protest.
The awesome Mayor Ko of Taipei has already apologized for the arrests, since the journalists were merely doing their jobs. The students were arrested after the third protest at the MOE. The DPP has asked the MOE not to prosecute the students and pointed out that the curriculum changes were illegal.

KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu has seized on the affair to abuse DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen about her stance on the affair.
Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), on July 24, visited TianHou Temple (天后宮) in Changhua County and said that the students who broke into the Education Ministry building had the right to make mistakes, but they still needed to abide by the law because it was prohibited to break into the Ministry. Hung went on to say that society would collapse without the rule of law.

On July 26, Hung stated that the adjustments to the textbook guidelines were intended to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and she questioned why Tsai opposed the new textbook guidelines made to align the historical record with the Constitution of the Republic of China.

Hung pointed out that the so-called “democratic progress” meant that everyone should respect and tolerate different ideas and resolve differences in a civilized and rational manner. Hung added, “If I disagree with you, I can do whatever I want” is the meaning of democracy for the DPP, is her party qualified to be called the “Democratic Progressive Party”?
"Rule of law." Here's video of Hung Hsiu-chu attacking a policeman. Of course, this is the same Hung Hsiu-chu who publicized the home phone numbers of government officials in Nov of 2005 when the DPP gov't revealed that TVBS was 100% Chinese-owned (maddog has collection of "rule of law" KMT violence).

Hung has dismissed the changes as "minor" and challenged Tsai. Her "challenge" is sooo 1990s:
The adjustments to the textbook guidelines have caused a controversy. On July 26, Hung stated that the adjustments to the textbook guidelines were made to align the historical record with the Constitution of the Republic of China, so if Tsai disagreed with the framework of the Constitution, she asked Tsai to honestly admit that she supported Taiwan independence. Hung went on to say that if Tsai should be elected President, logically she should fight for her beliefs and author a new constitution as well as push for a plebiscite on Taiwan independence.
Hung thinks of herself as 100% ROC Chinese, the kind of mind that imagines that being pro-independence is unspeakably bad. Whereas for most people it is their position, and for the minority who are not pro-independence, they are used to it in the people they deal with. Everyone already knows Tsai is pro-independence. Hung can't win this way...

The current DPP strategy is to let Hung talk, which seems to be working well. So far, she has said very little on domestic policy, except to reiterate her support for nuclear power and accuse KMTers who have come out against it as giving in to populism.

We're waiting now for PFP leader James Soong to publicly announce whether he will run for President, thereby splitting the KMT vote. There will be no Wang-Soong ticket; all indications are that Wang Jin-pyng, rival of Ma Ying-jeou and leader of the Taiwanese KMTers, is going to remain in the KMT.

REFS: Student activist details curriculum concerns (Taipei Times)
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Hegemonic Warfare Watch: The Case of Charles Glaser Worried

Planting rice north of Taichung.
I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe; by the Which I meane, Any that can in Turne call up Somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use.
*sigh* Charles Glaser really loves to imagine himself as a Great Decider, determining the fate of millions with Grand Bargains. This latest installment of his patented point of view, "sell Taiwan to China for better relations" is A U.S.-China Grand Bargain? The Hard Choice between Military Competition and Accommodation (International Security, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Spring 2015), pp. 49–90). Glaser appears to have learned little from his Foreign Affairs disaster of several years ago.

The "analysis" concedes that it is merely an amoral, unreal fantasy right at the outset of his main argument, where he states: "Analytically, the desirability and political feasibility of U.S. security policy can often be productively separated." Actually, they can't, because politics is about values and the conduct of international affairs (i.e. human affairs) is not value-free. This pretense of value-freeness is created by Glaser here in order to legitimate selling out Taiwan as the "objective" and therefore superior choice. The subtext is: "if you can't see it my way, you're too subjective". The reality is that handing over Taiwan to China is a question of values; the reason it is politically disvalued (i.e. unfeasible) is because it is morally vile and politically stoopid.

EJInsight recently commented on China's lack of soft power. The problem with the kind of analysis that EJInsight presents is that it doesn't recognize the truly key elements of China's soft power. Living in Taiwan and watching the media for years has made many of us acutely conscious of China's actual soft power. The TIME interview with DPP Chairman and Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen shows one aspect of that soft power -- the way western commentators accept Chinese expansionist propaganda and anti-Taiwan propaganda (and propagandists) as conventional wisdom, and use it to frame their writing about China-related issues. Glaser's piece is another example of how this works: it shows the willingness of commentators in democratic countries to feed the beast. Sadly, this sort of testosterone-fueled control fantasy disguised as "analysis" has become commonplace (Hugh White, for example).

Glaser lays out his thesis on p50:
Specifically, the United States should negotiate a grand bargain that ends its commitment to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression. In return, China would peacefully resolve its maritime and land disputes in the South China and East China Seas, and officially accept the United States’ longterm military security role in East Asia.
After discussion of the international situation, he expands thusly:
The grand bargain I propose is designed to capture the benefits of U.S. accommodation with China, while reducing its risks. China’s concessions on its territorial and maritime disputes would communicate information to the United States about the limited extent of its aims, thereby reducing Washington’s concern that its own concessions would encourage China to push the United States out of East Asia. In addition, resolution of these disputes would eliminate flash points that fuel regional military competition and crises that could draw the United States into a war.
Much this paper is larded with the soft power problem I note above: presentation of pro-China propaganda frames as actual descriptions of China. Note how Glaser adopts Beijing's propaganda line to explain China's desire to annex Taiwan:
From China’s perspective, control of Taiwan is a security objective because China considers Taiwan part of its homeland.45 In contrast, given the United States’ understanding of the status quo, China’s determination to control Taiwan reflects greedy motives.
From the perspective of elites in Beijing, of course annexing Taiwan is pure expansion; the idea that Taiwan is a "lost territory" is strictly for the consumption of their own public and for foreigners who can be successfully propagandized. Like Glaser, for example.

(Of course, there is no Taiwan perspective in this paper. Taiwan doesn't get a vote, because this is a Grand Bargain, the kind Grand Men make over brandy and cigars. You peasants operating out of your own subjectivity don't get it, 'k? Now go fetch my slippers.)

Consider his process for implementing the Grand Bargain:
For example, stages could include resolution of how to divide maritime resources without resolution of the sovereignty issues; agreement to defer sovereignty issues; arms control agreements that limit China’s conventional ability to threaten Taiwan and Japan and the operation of U.S. forces near China’s shores; and the reduction and eventual termination of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Beijing will never agree to any of this in good faith (Nor does Glaser explain why Beijing should trust the US). Moreover, China is trapped; it cannot reduce its conventional forces precisely because it has so many territorial demands on its neighbors, and because it would mean compelling the People's Liberation Army to accept a reduced role in domestic politics. Good luck with that.

Glaser and others who write from this bubbleverse accept the existence of these territorial disputes without inquiring into their origins. The reason they invariably refrain from doing so is because if they did, it would immediately become obvious that China is engaging in territorial expansion, since Taiwan, the South China Sea islands, and the Senkakus were never historically Chinese areas. Instead, they were claims manufactured after the fall of the Manchu Qing dynasty, when China was redefined in order to expand it out to the borders of the Qing. Hence any reading of these territorial demands as "China's need for security" or some such silliness is Beijing propaganda, plain and simple.

This is crucial because if you read Glaser's paper carefully, there is a yawning gap that totally destroys his thesis. He mentions Taiwan, of course, but he also mentions the Senkakus many times.

Yet, he never mentions that Taiwan and the Senkakus (and Okinawa) are all connected in Chinese territorial demands (the ROC fantasy here, the Xinhua rewrite of history here). Chinese claim that the Senkakus were administered from Taiwan and are part of Taiwan. They cannot be separated into unrelated dispute bubbles the way Glaser treats them.

Thus, this current paper, just like his previous one, creates a bubble world in which there is no connection between China's expansionist claims in the South and East China Seas, and Taiwan. Indeed, the only way you can make the argument that Taiwan should be kissed off is if you pretend that Taiwan is not related to any other goal of Chinese expansionism. Which is rank nonsense.

In the real world, though, Chinese expansionists having been claiming for decades that the Senkakus were administered by the Qing from Taiwan, which makes them Chinese and part of the Taiwan claim. More importantly, it means that the "dispute" over Taiwan cannot be resolved by handing Taiwan over to China because that will simply bring the war over the Senkakus (and Okinawa) that much closer. Glaser learned nothing from criticism of his 2011 piece -- my comments still apply:
Thus, Glaser's position is contradictory: he argues that the US can avoid war by handing 23 million Taiwanese to Beijing and then beefing up its remaining alliance commitments to show we're still serious -- but in the case of Japan, that alliance is committed to defending territories Beijing covets. Not much point in selling out Taiwan to avoid war if you signal you are willing to go to war over the Senkakus and then beef up your forces in order to do just that. And having burned 23 million pro-American allies along with their armed forces, who would believe you are willing to nuke Beijing for a few rocks in the ocean?
It's not just the Senkakus, though. You'd never know from reading Glaser that the ROC government on Taiwan controls Pratas and Taiping Islands in the South China Sea. The Spratlys are mentioned once -- in a footnote to emphasize how small they are (!). The ROC-held islands in the SCS are not mentioned at all.

At present, you cannot hand over Taiwan to China without disposing of these islands, yet China will never accept any disposition of those islands in which it does not get them. Moreover, once you betray the Taiwanese, in addition to betraying Tokyo, you also betray Manila: Chinese expansionists have made noises about Batan Island and Beijing recently conducted exercises in the Bashi Channel. This means that your brilliant war-avoiding strategy brings China into greater conflict with both Philippines and Japan, two nations the US is bound by treaty obligations to defend in wartime.

Oh, and you increase Chinese power in the SCS by handing over key islands to it, making things worse for Vietnam and Malaysia, increasing the chance of war and giving Beijing a better position to wage it from. Oh, and let's not forget, you invite China to think of new expansionist claims, like to Yoniguni and Ishigaki, not far from Taiwan.

And this brilliant argument -- I laugh to use this word -- is from a "realist".

Far from reducing the chance of a clash between Beijing and Washington, the sell-out crowd ensures that there will be one, with China in a far better position, having gotten Taiwan for nothing, while Washington has given up a powerful asset of 23 million people and their armed forces arrayed against Chinese expansionism, for no gain at all.

But hey, I can think of two authoritarian parties that will be happy to send Charles Glaser on junkets to the Far East, if he keeps writing like this.
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Hegemonic Warfare Watch: Potential Drilling in the Senkakus

She sits... and watches.

The Nelson Report (no link, have to subscribe) reports:
SUMMARY: the long-simmering Japan-China contest over maritime sovereignty and resources in the Senkakus (Daiyou in Beijing and Taipei) reached a new crisis point today with China denying the informally presumed "median line" and saying it had the right to go after oil and natural gas anywhere it wants.

In short, that per the controversial "9-Dash Line" declarations which are seen by much of Asia as China's way of claiming control over virtually the entire East and South China Seas resources, Beijing today seems to be claiming rights to everything up to the Okinawa Trough.

The specific cause of outrage from Tokyo, and concern in the US and elsewhere, is a Chinese oil rig under construction since 2013, but carefully placed on the "Chinese side" of the median line, presumably to align with the 2008 joint development agreement with Japan.

Unfortunately, as the Japanese are correct in pointing out, China has since then repeatedly refused to agree to implementation of the deal...this one isn't on Tokyo, experts agree.

So now the concern is that "next" will be China taking the risk of placing a drill on the "Japan side" of the line, with the customary "escort" of armed PLA Coast Guard et al, and a consequent crisis-inducing decision if Abe feels he must try and stop it.

That the PM has been worried about precisely this sort of war-risk decision is clear from his two private complaints to President Xi Jingping, last November in Beijing, and this year in Jakarta, sources note. And to emphasize Abe's concerns, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga "went public" on July 6...obviously to no avail.

Loyal Reader experts speculate that Suga was turned loose for several reasons: first, and most obviously, Japan is really angry; second, China's actions were and are seen as boosting Abe's case with the public and the Diet for amending Japan's security policy and legislation; third, possibly to deflect from the lack of an "apology" to China in the PM's upcoming WW2 70th Anniversary statement.
Anyone who imagines that China will keep a "grand bargain" under which Taiwan can be annexed to China in return for something is on crack.
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Friday, July 24, 2015

A short coast ride: so much has changed

It seemed like just another gorgeous day in Hualien. Started off the right way... click on read more to read more...

Students Invade MOE over textbooks + links

A DPP candidate in Changhua.

News from today: high school students invaded the MOE over the textbook issue. Apparently 30 were arrested and taken away for interrogation. This is unlikely to cure their militancy. The police declared the area a crime scene and then detained several journalists who attempted to enter, hauling them off for interrogation.
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*Sigh* Oh the confusion

Working in the fields.

FLYING TIGERS (House of Representatives - July 21, 2015)
[Pages H5302-H5303] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [] FLYING TIGERS (Mr. CHABOT asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.) Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, as we look back some 70 years in commemoration of the end of World War II, it is a good time to reflect upon one group of unsung heroes who went above and [[Page H5303]] beyond their service to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. The Flying Tigers aircraft was easily recognizable because it had the face of a shark painted on the nose of the plane and its menacing teeth served as a warning to their enemies wherever they flew. During World War II, when Taiwan was brutally attacked by the Japanese, its leader called upon the world community for help. A group of American volunteers answered the call and joined up with Taiwan's Air Force to become one of the most important elements in the ultimate defeat of the Japanese invaders. It is fitting that we recognize the role of the Flying Tigers and Taiwan's Air Force in holding off the onslaught that U.S. military forces eventually rolled back. Mr. Speaker, the Flying Tigers held the fort until our Nation was able to gather our strength. For this, we are eternally grateful. We remember. We are grateful. We salute you.
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Xi and annexation: some interesting comments from the Nelson Report and others

Somebody got his own Arches...

These comments are from the Nelson Report...


I am a long time loyal reader [of the Nelson Report, not my blog!] who has yet to offer any comments but the subject of China's pursuit of reunification is one of considerable interest to me. Having lived and worked in China for five years and with long-standing relationships with many mainland Chinese and with Taiwanese, we frequently discuss and debate this topic.

Xi, as one would expect of any Chinese leader, would dearly love to oversee reunification but knows this is unlikely in the next few decades. His role is to be a near term tactician responsible only to help play out the party line.

If we view China's Taiwan policy through the lens of the actions they have undertaken, instead of what they say, the policy for reunification was laid out 20+ years ago and is right on target. Put simply, China knows that if enough party indoctrinated mainland Chinese gradually immigrate to Taiwan, within a few years many of them will be able to work their way into government positions, eventually being able to exercise enough influence to swing the pendulum to reunification.

Although they have been viewed differently, the efforts to increase cross-strait trade, travel and immigration, are little more than poorly disguised tactics that underlie the overall strategy. This strategy of course will take time but it assures China of an eventual peaceful reunification.

It is for this reason that no Chinese leader dares to risk their reputation on actual military confrontations. They are utterly confident that this long term strategy will pay off. In the near term, leaders such as Xi have only one responsibility...keep up the pressure and be a prominent historical figure to what is surely a winning strategy for the Mainland. Wait them out and build consensus over time with a well managed immigration policy.

Regarding your 'ask' on 'what's next?'....

I am convinced Xi will push the envelope and keep pressure on Taiwan but purely as background noise...He has three audiences and hence three messages to relay:

1.Mainland Chinese love it when their leaders sound tough re Taiwan...Xi will continue the drumbeat of reunification to portray himself as a strong leader whose goal is a One China Global Power. Historically, it is worth noting that the Cross-strait dialog inside China always heats up when China senses growing domestic issues...The talk about Taiwan is to distract from their more serious domestic issues. Recent stock market woes are what really has BJ in jitters, not Taiwan.

2. Taiwanese audience: Occasionally, Chinese leaders take the high road and issue lofty proclamations under the guise of One China Two Systems...When you hear this, it is to placate folks in Taiwan...However, this well worn tactic has lost its sheen in light of Beijing bullying of the HK 'system'.

3. The 3rd audience is the USA. Beijing is hyper-sensitive to US policy/response re Taiwan and often intentionally keeps the USA off balance and distracted with shifts in tone and intent....but (and this is an addendum that is tied to my comment above) its global Taiwan policy over the past few decades has been to strategically weaken support for an independent Taiwan by 'buying' its way through the few nations in South America and elsewhere who once had close ties to Taiwan.

By eliminating other support for Taiwan, Beijing knows that eventually there will only be one leg supporting the stool (mirage) of an independent Taiwan...That 'one leg' is the USA and BJ knows one legged stools don't stand for long. Consequently, when BJ crafts its messages for the USA audience, it implies how the global community now recognizes only One China and that Taiwan is simply an island child yet to return home.

Denny Roy, who is usually quite good, added:
Consequently, as Bonnie Glaser and Jacqueline Vitello mentioned, there is a danger Xi as well will feel pushed against the wall and forced to lash out if the PRC's Taiwan campaign appears to suffer a reversal on his watch. The predictable result of China trying to scare Taiwan back onto the PRC-desired track of eventual political unification is the opposite of what Beijing wants. Past efforts by the PRC to influence Taiwan's elections resulted in the "separatist" candidate getting additional votes.
Meanwhile Richard Bush III, the longtime US Taiwan expert, tweeted the other day:
China's military is acting to strengthen support for DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen. That will be the effect of this:[link to Chinese simulation of PLA attack on Taiwan presidential office]
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wuer Kaixi speaking on 7/24

I'm biking this week til Sunday, at least, so don't expect any blogging from me this week. But the deeply perceptive Wuer Kaixi is speaking on cross-strait relations on Friday morning, 7/24, at 10:30, at Dadun 6th Street, lane 319, number 41, the Tianxin Park Activity Center. Wuer Kaixi is running for the legislature in Taichung, knows a good deal about local and international politics, and is an excellent and entertaining speaker. Should be a good!
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Hung is now the candidate

Making hay while the sun shines.

It seems unreal to write these words, but the KMT has settled on the candidate no one foresaw back in November: Hung Hsiu-chu, the former Deputy Speaker of the Legislature, now the Party's champion.

Hung's out of control speech is now the Party's speech, her crazed coded comments the Party's opinion. The Party has already encoded the 1992 Consensus into its platform in an attempt to keep her reined in. But her colonial attitude towards the local peoples is going to continue to shine...

I watched some of the KMT Congress which was livestream, if "live" is a word that can be used to describe KMT speeches. Hung is attempting to embrace Taiwaneseness in the clumsy, condescending way we all know and despise. When they brought out the KMT legislative candidates, they screamed "dong suan" -- "win election" in Taiwanese instead of "dang xuan" in Chinese. The Taipei Times report noted it as well:
Hung switched to Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) for a few paragraphs of her speech in an attempt to portray herself as having humble origins.

“My father was unemployed for more than 40 years after he was released from the prison on Green Island, but I never harbored a grudge or allowed my heart to be filled with hatred. If I am elected, I would be a president who understands the needs of the public. I would be a president who values fairness and justice above all else,” she said.

Switching back to Mandarin, Hung said there is a song that she is fond of called Beautiful Island, composed by famed Taiwanese folk singer Li Shuang-ze (李雙澤). The lyrics were written by Taiwanese poet Chen Hsiu-hsi (陳秀喜).
The cluelessness of her campaign team was once again on display. The song is "Beautiful Island", 美麗島 (mei li dao) in Chinese. My man Maddog reminded me that the song was banned by the KMT (Chinese Wiki). It should also be pointed out that Meilidao (Formosa Magazine) was the name of the famous pro-democracy magazine which lent its name to the famous December 10, 1979 Human Rights Day Incident in Kaohsiung. Chen Chu, Kaohsiung's mayor, rose to prominence because of that incident. Good choice of song.

How bad is this kind of campaign management? It's Sean Lien bad. Netizens were joking that Lien can relax now, since he is no longer the worst.

Mind you, this is only the beginning...

Her attacks on the DPP are staple Hung ideological propaganda, devoid of any connection to reality. From the Taipei Times piece above:
In her acceptance speech, Hung said: “Our nation faces various challenges: competition due to globalization, a slack economy, a widening wealth gap, the lack of justice equality and deteriorating quality of life, but the biggest threats are egregious political infighting and populism, which have stalled Taiwan’s development, incited disorder, disrupted society and left people baffled.”

“In order to safeguard [the nation’s] peace and openness, the KMT must be the winner in next year’s elections,” she said.

“We cannot leave Taiwan to be governed by lies and populism or let a party that has never repented and apologized [for what it has done] return to power and again trap Taiwan in disastrous isolationism and disorder,” Hung said.
These are all themes that hark back to her public remarks in June. Again:
  • "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!
These tropes are common in speeches from ideologically committed Deep Blues, I hear them from KMTers I talk to all the time. Basically, Hung can be summed up as: The KMT will bring order to the galaxy. Along with annexation to China...

Comically, she referred to Taiwan being a wretched colony under the Japanese, when it was far more orderly and developed than China under the KMT at the same time.

As many pointed out, the speech she gave implicitly criticized Ma Ying-jeou (who with typical Ma ineptitude said that he had nothing to apologize to Taiwan for in the last eight years) in its references to the economic situation and her comments that Taiwan will prosper if the KMT is good (read: when the Church returns to its Return to China roots). If she and her handlers were smart, she'd run as the anti-Ma candidate. But we saw from May and June that she supports the Free Economic Zones and wants nuclear power.

It was political blogger Ben Goren who summarized her best on Twitter:
Who will she pick as a running mate? My money is on an ethnically impeccable and ideologically acceptable male mainlander academic with some experience of government, like former Premier and Ma protege Jiang Yi-hua or the current Premier Mao.

Speculation has now turned to the James Soong wild card: will he run and soak up all the Light Blue votes that will refuse to vote for Hung? Possibly, because he wants to raise his party's chances of gaining seats in the legislature.

The other huge wildcard is now Wang Jin-pyng, the Speaker of the Legislature and KMT heavyweight, the informal leader of the Taiwanese faction politicians who form the local support for the KMT's colonial system of running Taiwan. Wang was the smart candidate in the event that Eric Chu, the current KMT Chairman, didn't run. According to the KMT "rules" he can't be selected as a party list legislator, having served two terms, although there is now media speculation that the KMT will change the "rules". Wang has refused to be involved in her election campaign. Is he angling to pick up the pieces of a Taiwanized KMT? Some are already speculating that the party leader in the legislature is going to be Hau Lung-bin, another mainlander and conservative, but a far more tactically flexible politician. He is currently vying in a primary in Keelung.

Recall that many now see the KMT as not winning the legislature. The real prize isn't the Presidency, but the legislature. If the DPP gets that, it can enact meaningful change.

This election is going to be media fun all the way. First, the foreign media has settled on the really important framework for this election: the candidates are female: BBC, Guardian. Hopefully they will quickly move off that.

More interestingly, we got a little taste of what is to come: the WARY trope. For mysterious reasons known only to Establishment media editors, the media can never say clearly that Taiwanese don't want to be part of China. So it uses the comical term "wary" to describe the local feelings about China, as if China were merely a strange dog seen crossing one's backyard. It is going to be fun to watch the media struggle for new ways to avoid speaking that simple truth -- today the Guardian referred to "growing uneasiness" among the people of Taiwan. WSJ said that 23% of the population supported independence, which was probably true in 1998.

It will also be interesting to watch how they struggle to frame the cross-strait trade debate. Tsai is a neoliberal, economic policy wonk, and LSE grad, hardly anti-trade. It's Hung, actually, who has no policy or educational background in this area. But just watch how the media will struggle to flip that frame -- making Tsai anti-trade and Hung pro-trade. I can't wait...

One other thing: note that the KMT Congress affirmed:
Yesterday the National Party Congress also confirmed amendments to the KMT’s party platform. The KMT’s cross-Strait policy in the platform would promote the spirit of the “Joint Five-Point Statement for the Peaceful Development of the Taiwan Strait,” insist on the Republic of China Constitution, and push for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations based on the foundation of the “1992 Consensus” and “one China, different interpretations.” The party platform also stipulated that the party should engage in cross-Strait interactions on the premise of “all for Taiwan, all for the people.”
Ben over at Letters from Taiwan pointed out months ago that Ma's insistence on the Constitution might be laying the foundations to declare any changes President Tsai makes unconstitutional, or even depose her constitutionally. It also appears aimed at attempts to dispose of the ROC's many stupid territorial issues by giving up claims, since KMTers invariably claim that the Constitution says this or that is territory of the ROC and can't be given up. Just thought I'd flag that.

Someone should ask Hung whether Mongolia is part of the ROC...

Ricky Yeh had an excellent piece at The Diplomat summarizing all the information already provided on this blog on Hung and the KMT.
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Sunday, July 19, 2015

KMTitanic officially selects Hung Hsiu-chu as its 2016 Presidential Candidate

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Friday, July 17, 2015

KMTitanic 15: waiting for the July 19th absolution

Riding north from Tainan today, I took the 163 to the HSR station in Chiayi. There was no direct connection between the 163 and the 37 to the HSR station, so I took a lonely gravel and dirt access road a couple of kilometers through the fields of sugar cane that ran parallel to the HSR line. As so often in Taiwan, I ran across a little historical treasure: the old rails from the Japanese-era sugar lines still exist all over the south, uncared for and unacknowledged.

Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby... and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come.
Well, only a few more days til Judgment Day, July 19th, when Skynet annihilates the KMT. Both current KMT Chairman Eric Chu and President Ma Ying-jeou, honorary chairman, have stated that there is no way current candidate Hung Hsiu-chu will not be confirmed as the party's nominee. So expect the carnage from this week, which saw five legislators expelled from the KMT, to continue....
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文), who withdrew from the KMT before it officially expelled him on Wednesday, along with four other party members, yesterday said that there are always signs before a political party falls apart
....J Michael Cole says he hopes more KMT members will speak their minds like the Expelled Five. It sure is fun to hear their views...

Curiouser and curiouser: Wang Jin-pyng, KMT heavyweight, Speaker of the Legislature, and Taiwanese faction politician from way back, blocked the southern KMT factions from circulating a petition demanding that the party withdraw Hung's nomination at the July 19th Congress.
The KMT's National Party Congress, scheduled for July 19, is going to confirm the nomination of Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-Chu (洪秀柱) as the KMT's official candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election. However, a signature drive for an open letter, trying to block Hung Hsiu-chu from running in the race, was initiated among the grassroots in Kaohsiung. According to an informed source, Legislative Speaker Wang Jyn-ping (王金平) had asked the pro-Wang faction not to join the drive, stressing "Right now what is most important for the KMT is solidarity."

According to the open letter, Hung's "One China, One Interpretation" campaign plank advocating precipitous reunification with the Mainland would seriously harm the KMT. The letter pointed out that confronting the possibility that we could be defeated handily in both the 2016 Presidential and legislative elections, the KMT party central and the party as a whole should face the reality rather than engaging in self-deception. It went on further to state, "to win is more important than to just run," so running with no hope of winning would undermine the party's future.
One of the expelled legislators criticized KMT Chairman Eric, saying that he had left the party in a pathetic state. Chu's decisions have been so uniformly bad there is a secret fantasy circulating among many of my friends that Chu is a pro-Green out to wreck the KMT. Wang Jin-pyng's decision to support Hung's nomination -- he has to know she cannot win -- has the same flavor. It looks like Wang wants her to be confirmed so she can undermine the KMT. Hung is so awful that Chu came out the other day saying that he thinks the KMT will win only 45 seats in the legislature.

UDN pointed out in an editorial that Hung has no experienced campaign manager. KMT Sec-Gen Lee Si-chuan is currently running the Hung show, but he can't juggle his KMT duties and her campaign.
The rhythm of Hung Hsiu-chu campaign looked chaotic following her breakthrough in the polls, mainly because it lacked a command and control center. As a result, it lacked the capacity of agenda setting. Hung Hsiu-chu must seek as soon as possible a “command and control center” that can integrate various campaign resources and plan campaign strategies and approaches. She must recruit someone with extensive campaign experience, as well as communication and coordination skills. That someone must communicate not just with the KMT party central, but also with the Ma administration team, with KMT legislators, and even grassroots figures. Only then can the Hung campaign get back on track in the shortest possible time and resume battle stations.
Wang Jin-pyng has said a couple of times he won't join the Hung campaign, again this week. Hung's campaign is going to be run by Deep Blue insiders completely out of touch with Taiwan outside the swank Taipei districts where they all live. Should be entertaining.

Hung's lack of campaign skills was blindingly evident this week in a fiasco involving a trip south, which Hung canceled because of "security fears":
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presumptive presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) visit to a Kaohsiung night market was canceled over concerns expressed by Kaohsiung police for her safety, the contender’s team said early yesterday, before saying later that no change was made to the agenda after Kaohsiung police denied the allegation.
For Hung to publicly state that "security" was the issue is a blunder. You obviously blame time, coordination with local administration, or something similar. You don't admit publicly that you fear for your life in the south -- I suspect that is Hung's contempt for Taiwanese at work, that reflexive revulsion at being down there among all those "low-class" Taiwanese with "market names" especially in that most Taiwanese of places, a night market. Lots of locals are going to interpret it that way. If you want to know how mainlanders in Hung's generation think, review the story of Koo Kuan-ying... can't wait for more of this to come out during the campaign.

July 19 probably won't bring changes in Hung's status. The KMT is likely to confirm her. Instead, it might raise the issue of Eric Chu's status. Hung has already said that the party's presidential nominee should be Chairman of the Party, a position that a purist and ideologue like her must dream of.  Wouldn't be surprising if she takes a shot at the Chairmanship at the Congress, most likely with some of her supporters putting it to a vote. Recall that Frozen Garlic pointed out that the delegates to the KMT party congress appear to be mostly Deep Blues who are Hung's most ardent supporters. There are two grass roots power bases struggling in the KMT -- the Taiwanese faction politicians who can clearly see that the KMT is headed for the iceberg, and the Deep Blue true believer rank and file who think of themselves as Chinese and see the KMT as having gone astray and needing to return to its Return to Zion roots.

The Party is still struggling to get Hung's weird China policy under control. The KMT news organ reported that the Party platform had been revised to include Hung's views:
In addition, revisions of the party platform were completed during yesterday’s CSC meeting. The revisions incorporated views from President Ma Ying-jeou, Chairman Eric Chu and KMT presumptive Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱). The revisions clearly incorporated into the party platform the “1992 Consensus,” “one China, different interpretations,” “maintaining the status quo of no unification, no independence, no use of force under the framework of the Republic of China Constitution.” The revisions will be referred to the National Party Congress, scheduled to be held on July 19, for deliberation and confirmation.
...except that when you read the description, it doesn't include Hung at all...

The KMT's long-term problems haven't gone away. If anything, they are getting worse. Miaoli county is an absolute disaster for Taiwan and for the party. The Taipei Times observes:
Former Miaoli County commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) is a case in point. He clearly knew the county’s treasury was running low, but he was fond of grandiose projects and used the funds of various government foundations to organize fireworks displays and international concerts and to construct buildings that are underused. As a result, his successor is complaining that the county government cannot pay staff salaries.

Despite Liu’s absurd record, the county council passed the government budget almost untouched year after year, while Liu was given a five-star rating in media polls. He was the role model for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) local rule, and was praised by the Cabinet on several occasions. Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) used to be a KMT legislator representing the county, but he never questioned local-government finances. In other words, while many people might have found the situation odd, everyone played along and in the end the bottom fell out. This is a structural problem, and while it is necessary to pursue Liu’s possible legal liabilities, he is not the only one under suspicion of wrongdoing.
The KMT-run central government and other KMT local elected officials were all complicit. What could they have been thinking? Liu is obviously unsuited for promotion to higher levels, meaning that they permitted one of their local stars to run amok, ruining his own career, and damaging KMT prospects in one of their few remaining holdings. Where can the KMT cultivate new names with local power bases?

Last week the KMT announced that Hau Lung-bin, former Taipei mayor and KMT heavyweight, is running for a legislative position in Keelung. This lead to protests within the KMT, and now the party will hold a primary there to choose the legislative candidate. But it shows, once again, the contempt that the mainlander core of the party holds for its local Taiwanese faction politician base. This colonial mentality must change if the KMT wants to exist for the long-term in an increasingly Taiwan-focused society.

Also waiting on July 19th: James Soong, People First Party (PFP) leader and likely presidential candidate if Hung is nominated by the KMT. Fighting for legislative seats, the PFP is going to steal some votes from the KMT this time... but don't imagine that the PFP is going to cooperate with the DPP. That was tried before....

Recent sightings of the good ship KMTitanic
Hung: I can't say the ROC exists -- Judgment Day: July 19 --  KMTitanic 14: Heading for the July 19th iceberg -- KMTitanic 13: Hung over an Abyss -- The Latest from Hung -- KMTitanic 12: Hung can see the Statue of Liberty -- The KMT rules -- It's Hung -- The rational party is Hung -- The Comic Genius of Hung Hsiu-chu -- Eric "Hamlet" Chu suffers the insolence of office -- KMTitanic 11: The Captain is no longer aboard -- Hung? Really? -- Comedy and ethnicity in The Rational Party -- KMTitanic 10: the ship is foundering -- Wang out -- Chu goes there? -- Rounding up the KMT again -- KMTitanic 8: Chu = monkey wrench -- KMTitanic 7: Existential Crisis --  KMT Shorts -- Chu Notes -- KMTitanic 5: Struggling for the Northern Lifeboats -- Chu Political Theatre -- KMTitanic 4 -- KMTitanic 3 -- KMTitanic 2 -- KMTitanic 1 -- Chu's Revolutionary Reforms?
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Out biking links =UPDATED=

What was it?

I'm out biking this week, so enjoy a few links. I'll be back on Friday or Saturday....

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Typhoon-blown news....

A singer in a temple procession.

We are in the midst of a typhoon, and China Post has issued one of the most classic Taiwan pics evah: wedding photos in the typhoon.

Meanwhile another gale of news these last few days. First, on Wed, the pro-KMT China Post, offered the story of KMT insiders' dissatisfaction with the China policy of their presumptive presidential candidate, Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu.
According to the local United Evening News, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) has discussed Hung's proposed "one China, same interpretation" policy stance — which is seen by top officials as a deviation from party policy and popular opinion — with Ma, while key members hoped Ma would meet with Hung to discuss the matter in person. Reports say that Ma did not state whether such a meeting would take place. Instead, the president reiterated support for Hung and his belief that she did not stray from the party line on the "1992 Consensus" and "one China with different interpretations."
Recall, as I noted a couple of posts below this one, that a debate over how to frame China policy within the KMT isn't (only) a debate about China policy, but instead is a debate about the social identity of Deep Blues. More important was this bit of news/gossip hidden in the article:
Meanwhile, according to internal polls conducted by the KMT, Hung's support has fallen 5 percent, and she now trails Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by almost 15 percent (44.7 to 30 percent). Hung's sliding performance was also the subject of discussion during a press conference held by the Cross-Strait Policy Association (CSPA, 兩岸政策協會), which released the results of a public opinion poll showing Hung's support at 19.4 percent, behind both Tsai and People's First Party Chairman James Soong.
The DPP Presidential candidate and party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen crushes both Soong and Hung in the polls. On one of the discussion groups I am on, a sharp observer of local affairs noted that the large group of undecideds is predominantly light Blues or disaffected Blues. In the three-person race, the group of undecideds shrinks, and Soong's support rises to around 20%. As this fabulous piece over at Ketagalan Media observes:
The biggest shock of all for the KMT, however, has been how actively and successfully Soong is exploiting the rift between Chinese-identifying “deep blues” of the civil service and military sectors of society, and the Taiwanese-identifying “light blues” of the local factions. Ma made the situation critical by trying to purge legislative speaker and local faction godfather Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from office and allegedly suppressing his presidential campaign. Furthermore, Hung is salting the wounds by taking the most pro-China stance of any KMT candidate in the democratic era and expressing little concern at all for Wang’s political future.

In a radio interview last week, Soong warned the KMT against “excluding native Taiwanese comrades who have worked so hard for the party” and “upon whom the party has always depended,” and emphasized “it cannot deal with Wang Jin-pyng this way.” Pundits perceived this as a public declaration that he stands with the light blues and welcomes their support.
That piece reviews some of the history of Soong's party, the PFP. There's a certain enjoyable irony watching Soong exploit the ethnic cleavages in the KMT, after years of the KMT playing ethnic divide-and-rule games with Taiwan.

Speaking of the KMT, as we move toward Judgment Day on July 19, Eric Chu, the Chairman of the KMT from time to time, said that Hung must toe the KMT line on China policy, which she has agreed to do. He also stated that "every one of us knows" that Hung will get the nomination:
However, Chu's statement to the CSC on issues surrounding Hung also sought to eliminate uncertainty over her eventual nomination during the party's national congress on July 19.

"Every one of us knows that comrade Hung Hsiu-chu will be nominated by the party at the July 19 national party congress to become the party's presidential nominee," Chu said.
That means both Ma and Chu have said it. Hard to imagine that they will choose someone else. Storm Media said that after Judgment Day there will be a purge of KMTers who have left the party for greener pastures. I sure hope so... because bloodletting is a great way to ensure the health of something (HINT: it's what purity freaks engage in).

In addition to China policy, someone should get Hung talking about Taiwanese culture in an interview. Deep Blues like Hung are from the generation that considered Taiwanese low class, materialist, and utterly lacking in culture -- sort of the way the world looks at Americans --  and if one hangs around Deep Blues sooner or later this will come out.

In other news, Hau Lung-bin, the heavyweight KMTer and former mayor of Taipei is going to run for a legislative seat in Keelung. Hau has been suggested for seats in Taichung and Tainan -- interesting that the scoured Taiwan for a safe seat, but had to find one in Keelung, a usually solidly KMT city, whose KMT rule is being hollowed out by the same factors that have put Taoyuan into play: long-term incompetent, corrupt administration, along with demographic change: the Taipei housing bubble that is driving young people further and further out of Taipei (making Keelung a bedroom community), and the general pro-Taiwan shift in the public attitude.

Finally, don't miss Shirley Kan's great piece on arms sales to Taiwan under the Obama Administration.
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