Thursday, November 03, 2016

Xi-Hung Meeting = Big Nada

Preparing for a neighborhood event...

Brian Hioe at New Bloom summed it up...
THE FACT THAT Hung Hsiu-Chu’s meeting with Xi Jinping in Beijing has largely been a non-event in Taiwan probably attests to its futility. Given that Hung is already known for outlandishly extreme pro-unification views, Hung’s meeting with Xi probably does not really surprise the Taiwanese public, in the way that Eric Chu’s or Ma Ying-Jeou’s meetings with Xi Jinping in 2015 provoked stronger reactions. Hence the lack of any real public response. But does the Hung-Xi meeting indicate anything new?
Brian and I had a good laugh about the Xi-Hung meeting over drinks last night. The only people who really cared about the meeting were the international media.Beijing well understands how this ritual of the Beneficent Emperor presiding over a visit from an eager vassal looks to the media, which loves a good TAIWAN IS TENZ! story. Bloomberg's hilarious headline was China’s Xi, Taiwan opposition leader voice concern over tensions. Voice concern over tensions... they themselves caused, as a friend pointed out on Twitter.

Prior to the meeting J Michael Cole had wondered aloud over at CPI what agreements Hung might make with Xi. But Xi, meeting in his capacity as Party Chairman rather than Emperor of China, was never going to make any agreements with the isolated head of a fading, split party whose members he undoubtedly plans to use and then have shot when China comes over.

The issue highlighted what many of us have said for a while now, some for over a decade now, that China has no Taiwan strategy (Cole wrote on that this week as well). It is simply following the well-worn grooves of its reflexive actions of the part, supplying ceremonies to satisfy its domestic audience. AP reported that...
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Taiwan's opposition leader Tuesday, underscoring Beijing's message to the island's independence-leaning administration that it won't have access to the mainland's highest levels of power if it doesn't accept that Taiwan is part of China.
...but it could just as well written that Xi has no access to Taiwan's highest levels of power. Xi's refusal to deal with Tsai has not painted Tsai into a corner. Instead, it has forced the CCP to court a political party whose influence is fading, limiting the CCP's ability to affect Taiwan politics. Since it won't deal with DPP politicians it can't court, influence, or subvert them. It can't makes its case to pan-Green voters. As if to underscore that, the CCP even banned reporters from pro-Green papers from covering the meeting. This strategy could hardly be more self-defeating.

Fortunately the CCP is too ideologically blind to realize that. Indeed, the KMT once again reminded voters what its values are, which won't help it at the polls -- each kow-tow to the CCP reinforces the KMT's irrelevance for Taiwanese voters. As Brian H pointed out in his piece, even Ma Ying-jeou, whose China policy was one of the chief causes of the KMT's catastrophic 2014 and 2016 election losses, realizes this.

The pro-KMT China Post reported that the chief difference between Hung's trip was that the KMT itself is split....
Lawmakers banded together and called for assurances, revealing a divide between party headquarters and the KMT rank and file. The legislators called on Hung to be sensitive to the KMT's current image problem, pleading for her to make "certain statements" at "appropriate settings."

The internal strife was clear in reports that Hung and former President Ma Ying-jeou clashed over viewpoints on the "1992 Consensus."

Ma reportedly attempted to drive home the importance of its "different interpretations of one China" clause, while Hung showed a reluctance to be boxed in.

The ensuing public spats between Central Policy Committee Director Alex Tsai and the aides of former President Ma offered few reassurances that consensus within KMT existed before Hung left for China.

It was under these two sources of pressure that Hung promised a no-frills encounter with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. A perfunctory checklist would indicate that Hung did what was advised and has managed to stay out of trouble. Barring last-minute contingencies, her trip has not derailed the KMT in any dramatic fashion.
Behind closed doors, certain media reported Xi said Taiwan independence would destroy the CCP. Thanks for supplying another incentive for Taiwan independence.

The Cross-Strait Peace Agreement that Hung keeps touting is hugely vague on the details. It will never work -- if peace is institutionalized across the Strait Taiwan will move further towards independence -- only the CCP threat to murder Taiwanese keeps the island from declaring independence. Beijing understands this, which is why Xi was cold to the idea. Institutionalized peace institutionalizes Taiwan as a de facto independent state.

Surely the KMT must realize this. The Party is not pursuing it on behalf of Taiwan, but on behalf of the ROC, a virtual state which must, whether China comes over or Taiwan becomes independent, be swallowed up by history. Institutionalized peace institutionalizes the continued existence of the ROC and the KMT's umbilical connection to it -- it institutionalizes the possibility of a continued future for the KMT.
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KMT hardliners, and perhaps the KMT in general, may to be experiencing what is known in Lacanian psychoanalysis as 'fetishistic disavowel.' This kind of disavowel occurs when we know something but act as if we don't know it. An example of fetishistic disavowel given by political philosopher Slavoj Zizek is that of a man whose wife has died. The man talks to his hamster as if it is his wife. After the hamster dies, the man is no longer able to act as if his wife is still alive. He commits suicide. Another example of fetishistic disavowel that Zizek offers is the public's response to climate change. We are aware of the disastrous consequences climate change will cause, but we go on behaving in the same environmentally destructive fashion as we did before. This is because we know about climate change but act as if we don't know.

On your blog, you have mentioned repeatedly that the KMT has been unable to alter its structure and ideology so as to appeal to a Taiwanese political landscape that is overflowing with green. For instance, the party has not been willing to give up the dominance mainlanders hold over it and allow Taiwanese members equal influence. In this post, you note the KMT's inflexibility with regard to its China policy. Thus, it seems possible that KMT hardliners like Hung, if not the KMT generally, are in a state of fetishistic disavowel. They know very well that the Republic of China has ceased to existed and only remains in spectral trappings that the DPP will dismantle, meaning that the KMT must change its image and way of thinking. However, they act as if they don't know this, which leads them to continue to lack appeal with voters. If the KMT was could be jolted out of its fetishistic disavowel (assuming this scenario is accurate), it would be forced to psychologically accept the need for change and act according.

Do you see the KMT as a party experiencing fetishistic disavowel? Or is it that the KMT is in a state of delusion and is totally unaware of the need for it to change its way of thinking? Is the situation a combination of both, with some moderates in a state of fetishistic disavowel while Hung and other Deep Blues are in their own delusional world?