Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The KMT isn't rocking the boat. Surprise, surprise.

It's a fixer-upper

The rains arrived today, which was a good thing as this aerial view of the Tsengwen Reservoir, dry as a bone (Facebook link), shows.

One of the major media reported this on the KMT's election-time ritual of announcing that "the time is not ripe for unification" as if this were a new thing, driven by the KMT's currently desperate straits. For example, consider this piece by Ralph Cossa from 2008 on Ma Ying-jeou's promises which nails the reasons for this ritual:
Ma's first "no" actually reads, in full, "no negotiations for unification during my presidential term[s]." This serves several important purposes. It aims first to reassure those at home who fear that if Ma were elected, he would somehow "hand over Taiwan's sovereignty" to China.

Just as it has proven impossible for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to unilaterally make Taiwan officially "independent," absent support from the people and legislature, it would be equally impossible for Ma to officially and unilaterally turn Taiwan into a province of the PRC, even if he wanted to. Nonetheless, fears and accusations persist. Hence the domestic importance of the "no unification negotiations" pledge.
So the DPP must say it isn't going to rock the boat by suddenly declaring independence, so the KMT must also make noises saying that it isn't going to deliver the island to China. For Ma this took the language of no negotiations for annexation to China, which he repeated (for example) before the disastrous 2014 election.

Nor is this new for Wu. During a trip to China last Dec...
On Dec. 23, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) gave a speech during a visit to a pro-unification cross-strait exchange association. When an association member shouted “peaceful unification”, Wu quickly told him not to bring up the issue, saying that the unification of Taiwan and China would occur naturally.

One might say that Wu is “naturally pro-unification.”

Wu later explained that the purpose of his remark was to emphasize that it is not necessary to bring up peaceful unification at the moment, but this is the kind of explanation that makes things even worse. He sounds more like his teacher, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who tried to attract votes before the presidential elections by saying that Taiwanese would be allowed to decide their future for themselves, only to actively lean toward unification with China after his election.
The Taipei Times editorial notes that Wu is more "moderate" in the sense he is not demanding UNIFICATION NOW like former KMT Chairman and spurned Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (how I pine for those days). TT links this moderation to former President Ma Ying-jeou, and indeed, Wu is Ma's man. Ma understood that the KMT has to present itself as being local for the duration of elections -- even longtime Deep Blue Mainlanders like Lien Chan and James Soong had to kiss the soil of Taiwan and proclaim themselves Taiwanese for the 2004 election.

Thus, for the KMT, it is always the time "not to talk about reunification". That is some distant time in the future... remember Soong's 50 year peace treaty from the 2000 election? The KMT simply pushes the idea into the mirky future, so nobody has to think about it.

Although KMT Chair Wu Den-yih has been publicly equivocal about attending the CCP-KMT Leninist Party Kissfest in China, the KMT news organ says it is very likely. Wonder how that will affect his party's election chances. Recall that he has to go kiss Xi's ring to get the KMT presidential candidacy, and he yearns to be President.

Say, whatever happened to Wang Jin-pyng? I'll bet everyone has forgotten all about him.

The DPP is continuing to squeeze the KMT on all fronts. This week the irrigation associations were in the news again. Recall that the irrigation associations and farmer's cooperatives have long been important sources of local KMT power and key fonts of financial and political patronage for the KMT. The DPP has decided to vest authority over the associations in the central government (where they will be under DPP control) rather than among the local farmers (where they will be under KMT control).

Because the irrigation association heads will be civil servants, they can't serve in political party positions. Thus, several central standing committee members of the KMT must give up their party positions -- it is a measure of the power of these local cooperative associations that their heads either get them as patronage rewards or derive immense influence from controlling them. No one considers control of a local irrigation association beneath the dignity of a powerful member of the KMT. In fact, one of the most influential CSC members resigned from the KMT rather than give up his local power base, the report said.

Thus the DPP strikes a blow at the KMT. I'd like to report that the DPP was eliminating the clientelist state with its patronage networks from local politics, but it looks to me like it is merely re-orienting those networks on itself.
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Anonymous said...

While it may in the short term seem like the DPP is orienting towards themselves, it is attached to the central government so if they lose political power, they will lose the irrigation associations.

In any case, those irrigation associations are disgustingly filthy. They are old school corruption organizations that have destroyed Taiwan's land and made money in all sorts of crazy corrupt ways leasing land they shouldn't have and using proceeds to enrich themselves and family and friends.

Anonymous said...

My hope is that making irrigation heads civil servants opens them up greatly to prosecution and over time reduces environmentally destruction and wealth inequity from the system

Anonymous said...

No ‘u’ in Qantas MIchael. It stands for Queensland and northern territories air services... from a Kiwi..lol