Friday, September 02, 2016

Still your father's KMT

Above is a poster from the Facebook of KMT Chairman Hung Hsiu-chu. She's flooded her Facebook with similar images. This one shows her as an anime character, and she's asking in Chinese: "Young people, let me ask! Why do you hate the KMT?"

The answer, of course, lies within the KMT itself. The TT reported on the continued retrograde motion of the KMT under the guidance of Chairman Hung:
Some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members yesterday voiced dissent after KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) on Tuesday said that the party leadership has drafted amendments to the party’s policy platform, which is to be discussed at the party’s national congress on Sunday, to align its efforts to strengthen the so-called “1992 consensus” and explore the potential for a “peace agreement” with Beijing.
The KMT's top down leadership style on display -- once again, no reform in sight under Hung:
“Major policy proposals should be bottom-up discussions. I do not understand why the party leadership is rushing this,” KMT Legislator Lai Shih-bao (賴士葆) told the United Daily News. “At the very least, the party’s rank-and-file members should have been consulted, and the KMT Central Standing Committee should have voted on the issue before it was submitted to the national congress.”
Remember this from 2005 if you are tempted to imagine the KMT will reform:
Members of Super KMT II, which takes its name from SKII, a kind of cosmetic which claims to help maintain an appearance of youthfulness, vowed to become key reformers in the quest to bring young people back to the KMT. Jul 8, 2005
No young people? Complaints about that for more than a decade now, though apparently the KMT has the superior infrastructure. Brian Hioe noted the other day:
However, the KMT still maintains a sizable and active youth section. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that the DPP absorbed many young people drawn from post-Sunflower civil society for the Tsai campaign, the DPP has never been able to build a comparable youth section to either the KMT or TSU.

And it is that in the KMT’s moment of crisis, young people within the KMT are calling for internal party reform in order to rescue the party—with some surprisingly sympathetic responses from post-Sunflower youth activists. The Grassroots Alliance (草協聯盟) and leading figure Hsu Hsiao-Chin (徐巧芯) have been much discussed in Taiwanese civil society as of late.
Hoie sharply notes that KMT young are much-discussed and sympathized with by outsiders, who recognize that they have grown up in what I call the Church of the KMT -- in its ideological bubble."This may be another sign that Taiwan’s current young may have moved beyond ethnic identity politics in the post-Sunflower political paradigm," he notes. But he goes on...
And it is that members of the Grassroots Alliance has been targeted most often not by their peers on the other side of the political aisle, but by older members of the KMT. The Grassroots Alliance and its key figures have been attacked from the beginning through claims that members have been brainwashed by the DPP or are “light green.” One imagines that, given the absolute loyalty of young members of the Grassroots Alliance to the party as a matter of personal identity, it is not exactly pleasant for members of the Grassroots Alliance to come under attack by the party when their calls for reform seem rather earnest in nature and done with the best interests of the KMT in mind. If this is the way the KMT treats their young, perhaps we can see why efforts at reform have been stymied, and why the KMT has such difficulty grooming young leaders and advancing them to positions in which they could take power as the next generation of the party—meaning possible extinction as a party when there is nobody left to carry on the party torch.
Indeed, in the TT article at the beginning of this piece quotes KMT Chair Hung criticizing the young:
Hung criticized Tsai’s comments about Taiwan’s “naturally independence-leaning” younger generations, saying: “It is an artificial pro-independence sentiment ... [that was] manipulated by politicians who made young people forget about the Republic of China’s history and cross-strait ties to “cut the umbilical cord” between Taiwan and China.”
When you are viewing things through the lens of ideology, opposition is always explained in terms of conspiracy...

And then there is this...
"Meetings held by the KMT Central Standing Committee consist of one person laying down the law. There's no democracy at all in the party," Yang said. March 24, 2000
Nothing has changed. The party rank and file are just cannon fodder, the real decisions are made by elites.

Moreover, the policies that Hung is advocating, especially the "peace agreement" which is a non-starter with little support outside the KMT, are old. The idea of "peace agreement" was originally proposed by then-independent and former KMT heavyweight James Soong as he ran for president in the 2000 election.... (TT, March, 2000)
"While the political dispute cannot be settled at once, I would like to use cultural and economic approaches to promote a friendly atmosphere, in the hopes of pushing through a 30- to 50-year peace accord under the auspices of international witnesses," he said.
These "peace agreements" are never concretely spelled out because the KMT likely sees them as a way to annex Taiwan to China and to neutralize Taiwan in China's favor in the ongoing hegemonic struggle between the US, Japan, and China. It's hilarious to hear Hung talking about them fifteen years of non-start later, and even more hilarious to read in the media that Tsai does not have a coherent foreign policy given the KMT's current utter lack of a concrete foreign policy (for which the party is never criticized in the foreign media).

Hung did signal that the KMT will engage in independent diplomacy with China, which will likely make Beijing laugh...

Michael Danielson had a piece in the TT today assessing the KMT's first 100 days in opposition. Observing that "the KMT lost China and now it is going to lose Taiwan", Danielson reminds us:
Finally, the KMT continues to promote the “1992 consensus” as the savior of the nation’s economy and its relationship with China. Beijing’s reaction to Tsai has been relatively modest. Retrospectively, the KMT’s obsession with the “1992 consensus” has not given Taiwan more real international space, but rather contributed to the KMT’s downfall through the Sunflower movement and Taiwanese’s negative reaction to an economic integration with China, which they fear would lead to more social inequality.
Since integration with China has driven Taiwan's social inequality, it is not surprising that the public objects to more.

Danielson correctly observes that Beijing did little for Taiwan's international space. The two, social movements and international space, are connected -- J Michael Cole cogently argued last year that China, seeing that Ma was hamstrung by the Sunflowers and domestically weak, had decided to punish Ma by implementing the new flight routes that came dangerously close to Taiwan's. People have already forgotten that the free trade agreements with other nations promised by President Ma if Taiwan signed ECFA never materialized because Beijing blocked them, as the Ma Administration complained.

The truth is that "progress" in cross-strait relations often lauded by commentators either never really existed or else actively harmed Taiwan's interests.
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TaiwanJunkie said...

The Church of KMT. That is awesome!

The religion, of course, is One China. And the high priests cast a suspicious eye onto anyone that may stray from that One China ideology.

With reality in direct conflict with the doctrine of One China, reform is thus impossible.

This is why KMT at its core is ok with diminishing international space for Taiwan, and ultimately is ok with the nation's teams competing as Chinese Taipeiers. For all of that still fits with its One China doctrine.

From that prospective, 1992 consensus is not an obsession, it is literally the New Testament for the Church of KMT.

B.BarNavi said...

That's going to be such an exploitable meme.