Taiwan Votes 2008 (2)

Raj

Ma Ying-jeou has won the Taiwanese presidency by a significant margin. Congratulations to the victor and commiserations to the loser.

I won’t focus on what lies ahead for Taiwan in terms of domestic policy because no one can really predict what will happen – it will be a case of very certain people having enough differing views that someone will be correct. Personally I wouldn’t bet my life on any one thing happening.

I will briefly mention the losing DPP, as it now needs to rebuild and focus more on domestic bread-and-butter issues that people care about. Harping on about UN membership or a candidate’s US green card will not win an election. What the party needs is a partial purge of the traditionalists in the leadership, who have focused too much on Taiwan’s diplomatic future. Some good recommendations can be found on one of the leading political Taiwan blogs out there, though I don’t think the DPP should be too anti-China anywhere unless relations get worse or do not improve much. A weak opposition is bad for any country, so I hope that the DPP can rebuild and challenge the KMT at future elections, rather than have a return to one-party politics and the increase of corruption that would follow.

The main comment I have to make is relations with China. Ma promised, like his competitor, to improve direct links and negotiate with China – though he has said he will not meet with Hu Jintao or discuss unification. There will be a honeymoon period with China, much like the Taiwanese electorate, in which everyone thinks things can only get better. However, I do wonder whether this will be temporary. Although there is concern amongst some people in Taiwan that Ma will “sell out”, I don’t think that he will – unless one sees things very narrowly through utter and official independence for the island. He isn’t in favour of that, but he does want to preserve the island’s de-facto independence simply because neither he nor the KMT trusts the CCP. Some grand promises were made for Hong Kong’s autonomy, yet after over a decade of unification Beijing is still dragging its feet over full democracy for the territory – recent suggested timescales for reform are not certain, nor is there a fixed method for introducing them.

After a while I believe that Beijing may well get frustrated with Ma for not discussing deeper political change. It will also not appreciate continued arms purchases which will be approved more readily by the KMT-controlled legislative now that it also controls the presidency. If China continues the aggressive poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and bullying on the international stage, such as denying Taiwan direct access to the WHO without its permission, it will have no ability to blame everything on Taiwan as the most China-friendly candidate has won the election. This may help Taiwan’s standing in the international community if it is still bullied, though Ma may find he simply becomes demonised by China like many other political leaders and other countries go along with that because it’s easier.

I would be impressed if Ma can win significant diplomatic concessions from China, as at the moment Beijing is still in denial that its approach to Taiwan is the problem (just as is the case with its view on Tibet). The failure of the two UN referenda will not help his negotiating position, as China will see this as a reason not to give up much. However, Ma will have to still push for better international rights if he wants a second term at the next election – “giving in” to Chinese pressure won’t endear him to the electorate. China and Taiwan will only be able to make a long-term solution when China realises it needs to give Taiwan international space and respect its de-facto independence, even if it doesn’t recognise formal independence. Even if “unification” can occur, it will be in name-only with nothing changing in terms of actual control over the island. Taiwan will demand that China not block its attempts to make free-trade pacts with other nations and may even insist on membership of certain international bodies like the WHO and UN.

Beijing needs to tone down the rampant nationalism that permeates Chinese society and find ways to get Taiwan to trust it. The constant Chinese arms build-up will not force Taiwan to unify, and insistence on using the one country, two system method for the future will not workMa has rejected that. A new way of dealing with Taiwan is required, otherwise the chance for heading off formal independence will disappear – much as China’s ability to resolve the Tibetan problem without violence is slipping away.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 78 Comments

After reading Michael Turton’s blog, i understand why the DPP lost the elections. In his listing of DPP’s weaknesses, he NEVER list the corruption scandals which happened during President Chen Shui-Bian’s eight-year rule. He blamed everyone else except DPP’s own incompetence as the ruling party. If the DPP continues to think like Michael, they would be on a path of no return in the politics of Taiwan. The DPP thought that things such as name-rectification, historical revisionism could win elections for them. After all, it is sitting in the office and being an effective and unexciting administrator that is more important for the incumbent to win. Shouting slogans alone just doesn’t cut ice; the ballot box would soon catch up with you.

Anyway, I am quite relieved by Hsieh’s stunning defeat. The plot of destroying the Republic of China has suffered a series of serious setbacks.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

And by the way, i was rather irritated by Lee Yuan-tze’s cowardly behavior. While i respect his personal political inclination, the fact he refuses to put his money where his mouth is rather shameless. Eight years ago, he made the fateful decision to endorse Chen. But when Chen invited him to be Premier, he declined. But he carried on to endorse the Pan-Green. To me, he is completely a coward and would do good to just mind his own business and stop meddling in politics.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

By this time, the Taiwanese should realize how great the PRC political system is. DPP should have ensure that Taiwan has a DPP lead one party system, then it would have hang on to power forever. I think Chen Shui Bien should learn from Mao how to reclaim power after a defeat like that: Launch a Cultural Revolution like Mao did, and get back to power. But it is too bad that Bin would be able to do it, because the Taiwan military didn’t even swear allegiance to Bien, nor even to the ruling party. That’s crazy.

If the Taiwan military sworn allegiance to DPP, DPP can mobilize the military to secure power. Or, at least use the military support to ensure the people will demolish any hold on power by the KMT. Having military reporting directly to DPP is a key ingredient in a one party rule system, and DPP totally missed that.

Anyway, thank heaven that this won’t ever happen in China.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Comment

“To me, he is completely a coward and would do good to just mind his own business and stop meddling in politics.”

You are quite wrong. Politics is everybody’s business. It is picking your own government. It is a responsibility, not a hobby, not an occupation, not a job, and, certainly not a privilege. Everyone should do his/her duty and pay attention to who to pick as the next government. Even Lee.

It is also a right. No one should be asked not to participate in any role he/she chooses.

The only way the people of a country can be the real master of their country is by full and active participation in the political process. You should know the candidates, and discuss the policy platform of the candidates openly, from your own point of view – not what you were told to say. And that’s why there must be systems – legal and otherwise – to ensure freedom of expression.

Taiwan seems to have the right kind of system, albeit some deficiencies, to get the job done. This is the second round of rotation between two parties. Hope the people of Taiwan really knows how it should be done by now to carry on.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

DPP should have ensure that Taiwan has a DPP lead one party system, then it would have hang on to power forever.

Bien, you don’t understand Taiwan at all. To do what you suggested would have been illegal. Taiwan is a country with rule of law and a real constitution. The DPP couldn’t abolish other parties or make the military subservient to it.

Besides the DPP does believe in democracy, so would never have tried to do that.

The plot of destroying the Republic of China has suffered a series of serious setbacks.

sp, it’s time to wake up. The Republic of China has no future thanks to Beijing. Ever since the Communists took power in China the ROC was doomed. China will never tolerate a final resolution to the Taiwan problem with the Republic of China still in official existence – there cannot be two republics of China.

The only reason it still exists is that Beijing has maneuvered itself into a dead-end. It can’t unify and have a “Republic of China” as well as a “People’s Republic of China”, but it can’t let Taiwan change its name to “Taiwan” without a settlement in sight as that will encourage Taiwanese independence supporters. Eventually it will have to admit that the latter can happen – it’s the only way that China will be able to regard Taiwan as a province whilst people on the island can see themselves as a country.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

@Bill

Lee Yuan-tze is not just an ordinary citizen, he was a inspiring public figure and people expect his words to carry weight. I wouldn’t call him a coward if he is just a passerby on the streets expressing his support for the Greens. Notice that all he did was to endorse this person and that person. Since he was so adamant about supporting the DPP, why not become the Premier when he was invited by Chen? Once he chose to mince his words on politics as a public figure, he had already stepped into the political arena. Yet, he did not have the courage to put his money where his mouth is. And true enough, his endorsement was all but worthless in saving Hsieh because people didn’t take him seriously anymore.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

@Bill

And notice i did not criticize Lee Teng-hui. Although he is one of my least favourite homo sapiens living on this planet, at least he put his money where his mouth was. He formed the TSU and stood by his own stance. Lee yuan-tze, on the other hand, was a spineless coward, want to influence and swing political sentiments but gets cold feet when asked to take the buck.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

@Raj

The 23 million people on Taiwan can sleep in place for so long because of the title “Republic of China”. Maintaining that title means that if CCP attacks, the CCP would be the “sinner of a thousand years” in the eyes of all Chinese. The CCP wouldn’t be able to find excuses to take Taiwan if Taiwan stood by its allegiance to the ROC. The US is less likely to leave Taiwan in a lurch if it was annexed without attempts to change the status-quo. And reaffirming that status-quo means reaffirming the ROC. It may sound ridiculous but don’t you just get this equation of things across the Taiwan Straits? Even monstrous Mao had said before, the Taiwan issue can be solved over a thousand years and he made that comment on the assumption that his nemesis on the island would still be the ROC government.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

@Bien

Reading your entry, i realised that disasters such as the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, Anti-Rightist Movement and Three antis and five antis are possible because there are too many Fuhrers around like you.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

@Bien

And by the way, i was rather surprised that you did not include gulags and gas chambers in your advice to Chen and the DPP.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

@Bien

It is economy, stupid.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

@sp,

A lot of people feel relieved. At such a difficult time, China wins another 4 years of peace. One cannot wish for more right now.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

@Raj,

You have too much wishful thinking and sound clueless.

March 23, 2008 @ 12:01 am | Comment

fatbrick, a one-liner response betrays your inability to engage in meaningful debate. Either come up with some specifics or stop pretending you have anything to say worth reading.

sp, please tell me that you actually read my earlier comment. Whilst the current constitutional arrangement may be convenient, it is not sustainable. China’s objective is to achieve official unification and that cannot happen if there are two republics of China, as that would require it to admit Taiwan was de-jure independent. As I said, the ROC was doomed when the KMT lost the Chinese Civil War.

On Mao – he was a crackpot who thought the only way to power was through fear and intimidation. The Taiwan situation cannot continue unresolved for anywhere near 1,000 years. I believe that even under the most optimistic scenario China has a maximum of 40 years to achieve unification, because after that Taiwanese will not agree to any deal that makes them officially part of China. They’d push for name-change regardless of the consequences. Even if China waged war and won, they still wouldn’t put the island’s name back to the ROC.

So whatever way you look at it, the ROC is finished.

March 23, 2008 @ 12:44 am | Comment

Raj,

Let’s just say that you need to read not only their words, but also their behavior. Beijing is realistic. They will watch what Ma will do next. There are mutual understanding about what they can do and what they cannot do. It is more about economy. You msread in your analysis and put too much weight on international politics.

First, Ma should stop de-Chinese education and public policies. Then Beijing can give him some credit on that. Then we can talk about direct investment, flight and tourism. The frequent communication could gradually help both sides build a closer relationship at grass root levels.

Of course, nobody will yield their internaional territory easily. The realistic result will be an non-official understanding that both parties will stop pouring money and fighting for those tiny countries. Thus, both parties stay where they are now. There would be some pragmatic way to get around the rules to participate the international institutions. There will be some fights and bargains of course. But they all know too well that they should not make it too public to be difficult for others, if they want some progress. After all we are from the same culture and root.

Given enough time and efforts, we can make sure that nobody will cause the instability again. This is the base of the eventual unificantion. Generally speaking, time is on mainland’s side. But it is not granted and does not come naturally. It now depends on ourselves.

March 23, 2008 @ 1:40 am | Comment

I’m interested to see how the official CCTV narrative will play during the coming four years. For the past eight years we’ve had:
“We love Ma. We love the KMT. Here’s a picture of an official meeting. Here are people shaking hands. Here are official exchanges.

We’ll completely ignore the existence of Chen and the DDP, unless they do something that really annoys us, in which case we’ll grump about it a bit.”

(Subtext: The KMT believe in ONE China. YAY! The DDP don’t. BOO!)

If what you’re saying is true (and I do think you’re right) sooner or later Ma is going to start disappointing the CCP. There’s no way he can give them what they expect him to give them. And it’s going to be very interesting to see how they play that narrative out.

Also, Raj: above you asked the Mainland government to tone down the nationalism. While I do agree that would be nice, I really don’t see any possible way they could.
Nationalism is so blatantly used as a control mechanism here, and the CCP really needs its control. Ultra-nationalism is practically the only control leverage they’ve got over growing numbers of young, educated, urban dwellers.
- Are they ever going to give that up?
- Would it be possible for them to give that up, even if they wanted to?
Nah.

March 23, 2008 @ 1:41 am | Comment

@dish@Raj,

“China has a love-hate relationship with Ma ¡ª when I visited China last November, they criticized Ma a lot, and then asked me to vote for Ma,” said Yen Chen-Shen, a political scientist at National Chengchi University.

http://www.iht.com/articles/
2008/03/22/asia/22taiwan.php

——————————————–

I told you that people in Beijing have low expectation and realistic. They have several million Taiwan businessmen in China and sereral hundred people in thinktanks following Taiwan politics closely. KMT’s own thinktank has closely talked to and coordinated with China on trade and economy topic for several years. If you believe that Beijing naively believe an immediate unification or a political honeymoon, you are probably naive yourself.

A final point, the KMT’s victory is probably a proof that mainland’s Taiwan policies work pretty well.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Beijing is realistic.

Is it realistic to expect Taiwan to give up freedoms it already has just to please China?

Ma should stop de-Chinese education and public policies.

What is “de-Chinese education”? The KMT has always opposed de-Sinification to a degree. But it wouldn’t agree to teaching Chinese propaganda either.

The realistic result will be an non-official understanding that both parties will stop pouring money and fighting for those tiny countries. Thus, both parties stay where they are now.

I would like to see that happen, but I have a feeling that China will continue to poach Taiwanese allies even if Ma does not do anything especially “pro-independence”.

Generally speaking, time is on mainland’s side.

China’s weakness is that it thinks it has endless time to do everything. Unfortunately with Taiwan it has only a limited opportunity to achieve peaceful unification.

A final point, the KMT’s victory is probably a proof that mainland’s Taiwan policies work pretty well.

Not really. It has shown that Beijing understands that screaming blue murder doesn’t work, so it mostly kept quiet this time.

The reason the KMT won was that the DPP didn’t impress the voters – it wasn’t because China has won them over, as the two parties had similar policies on cross-Strait development. If voters had thought that Ma was going to surrender to China he would have been defeated quite heavily.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:08 am | Comment

@Raj,

I told you people here are pragmatic. You should look at reality and stop living in your own small world. Nobody think Ma will let Beijing control or even stop critize Beijing on several things. Expectation is that Ma will work with Beijing on detailed policies instead of sensitive issues.

“The KMT has always opposed de-Sinification to a degree. ”

Lets see what they can do to reverse that.

“but I have a feeling…”

This is the wishful thinking I talked about. Chen’s own stupid publicity angered and invited Beijing to fight with him in that area.

Regarding time, we never think time is natually on our side. Of course there should be hard working and enough change involved. Up to now both sides are effectively separated from one side. Lets see what communication can achieve. First, Ma should show that he is serious about his party’s commitment.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:39 am | Comment

@Raj

Simmer down. I did read your comment. What differ from you is that i see no reasons why the status-quo could not be sustained. The US woudn’t wanna fight the CCP so that means Taiwanese independence is out. Secondly, Taiwanese, as the electoral results have shown, are still a pragmatic alot. They know very well that they have already de facto independence under the auspices of the ROC. Unless you are prepared for utter destruction and bloodletting, you may have your name change. But are you sure the Taiwanese want to risk having over 900 missiles raining over them just for de jure independence? I don’t think you can be so certain about that. And contrary to beliefs, even though the CCP leaders are autocratic, i don’t think they are trigger-happy, i think each top leader retire with the relief that they don’t have to touch Taiwan because it is gonna be such a thorny issue. None of the CCP leaders are that stupid to want to end up like Khrushchev back in 1962.

So the conclusion is that everyone has an interest to keep the ROC going no matter how much an anomaly it maybe. Taiwan get to keep its de facto independence, the CCP leaders can sabre-rattle once in a while but they never really want to invade Taiwan unless provoked. The US, of course, doesn’t want to face the PLA on the battlefield over Taiwan.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:48 am | Comment

Well fatbrick, I agree that nobody expects Ma to bring Taiwan ‘rushing home to the arms of its motherland’. But I do think they’ll expect some sort of progress, some tentative roadmap towards talks, some symbolic gesture. Even if the central-government pragmatists are completely realistic about what they can expect, the educated urban youth won’t be. And sooner or later something will happen. I can guarantee that Ma won’t be able to please the mainland all the time. I’m just interested to see how the central-government propagandists will spin it, and if the ultra-nationalistic youth will accept that spin.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:51 am | Comment

@Raj

Lat part you said “Not really…”

Told you it is economy. DPP got no chance since they all know Beijing won’t give DPP much credits. Beijing understands well that economy is the top issue and market is the most effecitive weapon. Fighting Chen on international stage, cutting DPP’s money flow, showing good will to KMT, and preparing for the worst result, along with many others, all these policies work. The goal is pretty clear: Don’t let DPP make Beijing go into the situation that Beijing has to use the last resort. Buying time, which is precious, is the immediate achievement.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:52 am | Comment

@dish

Now you can understand why Beijing is so interested in censorship. On this issue, they can censor the educated urban youth’s opinions on Taiwan. Everybody is busy making a living. There are too many issues that the educated urban youth can fight, to name some, enviorment, healthcare, education…Few people will actually devote themselves pushing Beijing on this side. Of course Ma will have some clash with Beijing. That is for sure. The expectation is nobody will make a big deal out of it. What you have done is more important than what you have said.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Comment

sp

What differ from you is that i see no reasons why the status-quo could not be sustained.

How about China saying that it will not allow Taiwan to put off unification talks forever? That would really suggest that the status quo cannot be sustained. It knows they need to happen because otherwise Taiwanese will, eventually, want to rename their home to what it is actually called.

—-

fatbrick

You should look at reality and stop living in your own small world.

Out of all the people on this blog you are one of the most divorced from reality, so I think you’re actually talking about yourself.

Regarding time, we never think time is natually on our side.

Then why is it Chinese always try to win a discussion over an international dispute with “time is on China’s side”? I have never seen a majority of them say the reverse.

Told you it is economy.

You didn’t tell me anything – I knew the election was about the economy from day 1.

…..all these policies work

No they don’t, because Hsieh was expected to improve relations too – China wouldn’t go so far as to say it wouldn’t work with him. China just made Taiwanese feel more bitter with their bullying. Ma had to distance himself from Beijing to get elected.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:10 am | Comment

fatbrick,

The educated urban youth I know, live with, and interact with on a daily basis,
a) are pretty apathetic about the environment – they’re expecting the government to take control of that situation, and are pretty unwilling to change their lifestyles unless forced to,
b) earn enough or have enough insurance to get a reasonable level of healthcare.
c) are either too young to have kids, or have pre-school / primary-aged kids, so educational expenses are not yet paramount.

They care about making money. They care about their careers. Yes. But the only political issue I see them getting riled up about is ultra-nationalism.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:36 am | Comment

“If China continues the aggressive poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and bullying on the international stage, such as denying Taiwan direct access to the WHO without its permission, it will have no ability to blame everything on Taiwan as the most China-friendly candidate has won the election. This may help Taiwan’s standing in the international community if it is still bullied.” [Raj]

Raj, you make a really good point here. But I think your faith in Ma having the interests of Taiwan and Taiwanese is misplaced. At best, he will be an incompetent, wishy-washy leader. At worst, he will sell Taiwan out to a bloodthirsty CCP. A real tragedy this. I suggest you become a little less pollyannish in your assumptions and projections.

March 23, 2008 @ 4:28 am | Comment

At best, he will be an incompetent, wishy-washy leader. At worst, he will sell Taiwan out to a bloodthirsty CCP. – Thoth Harris

The Taiwanese have only themselves to blame if their destiny is to carve out a non-Chinese Taiwanese identity and nationhood. Ma will just do what people demand and at the end of the day the inevitable is bound to happen. The under-enrolled Taiwanese colleges will press him to open the doors for mainland students. The highest-tier mainland universities will see more Taiwanese students, who will press Ma to recognize the diplomas they earn there. The extra dollars the Chinese government does not know how to spend will pour into Taiwan to prop up the real estate market there. Mainlanders will pack every tourist sites and the local vendors and hotel owners will love it. The educated elite will continue to flock to mainland for job opportunities. The transformation of the Taiwanese economy into an integral part of China�s will be complete and irreversible. The most lethal blow to any hope of de jure Taiwanese independence will be a demographic change. Hong Kong men are marrying more women from the mainland than local women. There is no reason why this will not happen in Taiwan under Ma administration, and if it happens, it will first blast away the stronghold of the green power base, because poor Taiwanese farmers are more likely to find “cheap” mainland women to marry. Ma will in turn be pressed to ease the procedure for mainland spouses to come and work. (As a side note, the current restrictions on mainland spouses are against any decent consideration of human rights.)

Taiwan is done, not because what Ma will or will not do. Taiwan�s future is determined by two basic facts that are not within control of themselves:

1. They are culturally Chinese, and the last thing one can change is his own culture. You may argue that they have developed a separate identity during the past 100 years or so, but the fact that they can mingle very well with people from across the strait refutes any theoretical deliberation on this topic. What CSB strived to do for the past eight years was to reverse the trend and he utterly failed.

2. China is rising. Yes, if Taiwan Independence still has any hope, it will be for a calamitous-scale failure of the current economic and social revolutions that are ongoing everyday in China. But that is not something the Taiwanese will be willing or able to effect.

Like the Hong Kongers, the Taiwanese will still be on high alert in protecting their autonomy, but the window of opportunity for cultivating an exclusive Taiwanese identity is closed for now, if not for ever.

March 23, 2008 @ 10:35 am | Comment

@ Brgyags:
Hell, I hope you are wrong about your predictions.

The result is not “their fault.” It is a result of superficial and biased news media. It is also the result of KMT’s having more money. The KMT is not Taiwanese. It is Taiwan’s misfortune heaped on it (like everything else) by a group of cowards who lost their war with the Communists during the CCP.

As for your “history” it is a sham. Taiwan has only ever “belonged” to China for a total of 50 years, and as a colony, as that, just like…TIBET!!!!!!! I don’t know where the hell you get your history from.

Taiwanese have been colonized repeatedly throughout their history. In addition, Taiwan is the destination of expatriates. I pray to God that it continues that way, and not the destination of one single monoculture. I agree that more Chinese from China (C-H-I-N-A not m-a-i-n-l-a-n-d!). However, the results that are there are in place for a very good reason: to keep out spies, to preserve its identity (as any country is allowed to do – as we do in Canada or you do in the U.S., if you are American, although you could be a born and bred CCP Chinese, for all I know).

But guess what, my friend? A lot of Chinese aren’t even interested in staying in their land dominated by the CCP? They come to Canada. Yes. I have met a number of them. The most educated people are leaving. Are these intelligent traitors? No my dear Brgyags, things are just not that great for them. For an intelligent person, it is much nice to be able to speak your mind, to not use a bloody proxy every time you want to access the internet for something, and to argue with your teachers, your politicians, and even the average man on the street. …and even to blog, God forbid, because your own beloved CCP China, my dear Brgyags (I wish you would have the courage of your convictions and use your real name unlike the anonymous coward you are) is threatening bloggers from talking about the things they are most interested in talking about. (On a side note, workers are imprisoned and are forced to live in squalid conditions in their factories in your beloved CCP China, and undergo corporal punishment if they don’t follow the rules. This is the very same exploitation that South American workers undergo, under regimes sometimes supported by the United States! CCP China is not supporter of social justice. Chinese, overthrow your rulers, and replace them with a real democracy, like Taiwan has had up until…well now and the near future. I would certainly support you! Chinese workers and peasants, when the government takes your land to give to rich developers, is that social justice? Or is that exploitation? Is that providing for culture? Or is it taking it away and leaving a blighted polluted environment on the once landscape? Is this China?

Is this Chinese? Is this a superpower? I am all for China being a superpower, but not under the present circumstances.

And Brgyags, as to your gloating…that is a complete disgrace to the word “human being”! There are many Brgyags who emigrate to the West, too. Very selfish people who think that their own needs trump everyone else’s not matter the social justice or ethical implication that reside therein.

March 23, 2008 @ 11:16 am | Comment

Brgyags, in Atlanta, Georgia, maybe you should consider fighting for what is right for a change. Or at least speaking out for what is good? Rather than always rooting for the apparent winning side. You won’T always be on the winning side, believe me. You think you are some kind of prophet?

March 23, 2008 @ 11:34 am | Comment

@Raj

“How about China saying that it will not allow Taiwan to put off unification talks forever? That would really suggest that the status quo cannot be sustained. It knows they need to happen because otherwise Taiwanese will, eventually, want to rename their home to what it is actually called.”

Well, don’t you see that this all part of the show? The CCP leaders must not appear soft on national reunification, so that’s only rhetoric. The reality is that peaceful reunification is impossible. Yet nobody dare to say it. No matter whether it is KMT or DPP holding the presidency, neither would hand over the military and the presidency to the CCP and become a SAR like Hong Kong since it means giving up the de facto independence that they now enjoy. Yet without provocation on Taiwan’s side, it will be hard for the CCP to use brute force to conquer the island, since the US may intervene and no CCP leader would want to go down history as the person who single-handedly kill 23 million compatriots just as none of them want to the person who “lost” Taiwan. So the best situation for each side is the status quo and the impasse across the Straits. Yet for PR purpose, none of the CCP leaders can say in public that they like the status quo.

I thought you will be more sophisticated than to believe rhetorics.

March 23, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

Okay. I believe you! I am sorry for accusing you of that!
I definitely dislike you much less. I found your opinions repulsive, but not you. I am sorry for conflating you with my Anonymous Commentator.
Happy Easter!

March 23, 2008 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

In his listing of DPP’s weaknesses, he NEVER list the corruption scandals which happened during President Chen Shui-Bian’s eight-year rule.

LOL. Actually, I’ve posted extensively on that, of course, in greater depth than you will ever be able to contemplate, sp. But I am saving my analysis of the election until thursday or friday when I have more time and am in a more positive frame of mind. But any start on the discussion of corruption here has to take into account that most notable pattern of Taiwanese electioneering — that in a contest where one candidate is noticeably less corrupt than the other — as in this election, for example — the Taiwanese invariably pick the more corrupt of the two. Why this is strikes to the heart of how people think about the failures of the DPP here, and also to how westerners think about the corruption issue.

I totally agree with A-gu’s recommendations and will add many more.

Michael

March 23, 2008 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

sp

The reality is that peaceful reunification is impossible. Yet nobody dare to say it.

Maybe, but there is no guarantee that China will not be forced to push the issue. Yes, Beijing will not launch a war simply because it isn’t getting its way, but who is not to say that one day it won’t get over-confident about its military capabilities and be pushed by a surge of Chinese nationalism coupled with poor economic conditions? Autocratic regimes have launched wars to stave off popular dissent – there is no guarantee the CCP will resist the temptation if it feels threatened internally.

I thought you will be more sophisticated than to believe rhetorics.

sp, unless you have a spy camera inside the Politburo you are guessing. Just because a politician says something does not mean he/she is lying. That is often a mistake people make, in that they “refuse to believe” someone could mean something and so dismiss it as political rhetoric.

To insert something so aggressive and sabre-rattling into a piece of legislation that already was an example in brinkmanship just as “rhetoric” would be completely barmy. Either the CCP is living in its own fantasy world in not realising how much it was damaging relations with Taiwan, or it honestly meant it. Neither bodes well for the future.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

@Brgyags

They are culturally Chinese, and the last thing one can change is his own culture. You may argue that they have developed a separate identity during the past 100 years or so, but the fact that they can mingle very well with people from across the strait refutes any theoretical deliberation on this topic.

You subscribe to a 19th century idea of nationhood. Imagine that the above paragraph is dealing with an election in Austria and substitute the first sentence with “They are culturally German, and the last thing one can change is his own culture…”

March 24, 2008 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Since China theatens to use its nukes against Taiwan, Taiwan needs a nuclear capability of its own if it wants to defy China. A strong commerical nuclear industry is the next logical step. When China knows that Taiwan (like Japan now) is just one step away from a bomb, military action slips off the table. The combination of positions held by the DPP — anti-nuclear and pro-independence — strikes me as irresponsible.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:18 am | Comment

@ Peter Kauffner – The combination of positions held by the DPP — anti-nuclear and pro-independence — strikes me as irresponsible.

Peter, I am not sure if the position you prescribe is responsible, either. Ever heard of upping-the-ante? Even that kind of rhetoric that you advocate is extremist. We need show a peaceful face. Military defence is one thing, but…

Look where extremist positions (like the current one in the Middle East) have gotten the U.S..

March 24, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Comment

@Thoth:

Without nukes, China can easily absorb whatever the Taiwanese military throws at it. China must be burned to ensure Taiwan’s survival.

China does need to exist, Taiwan can carry a more pure Chinese culture into the future.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:14 am | Comment

Since China theatens to use its nukes against Taiwan, Taiwan needs a nuclear capability of its own if it wants to defy China. A strong commerical nuclear industry is the next logical step. When China knows that Taiwan (like Japan now) is just one step away from a bomb, military action slips off the table. The combination of positions held by the DPP — anti-nuclear and pro-independence — strikes me as irresponsible.

Actually China has never threaten to use nuclear weapon against Taiwan. She did threaten US though. If I remember correctly, China actually stated that using nuclear weapon on Chinese in Taiwan is not tolerable etc. However, there is no guarantee that China won’t use it, if necessary.

Btw, just barely having nuclear weapon won’t stop anyone from attacking you. How long have we been threatening Iran…??? How about Iraq…oh wait Iraq doesn’t really have one :(

Oh yea, I can’t wait for Michael’s analysis. Micheal please keeps on spinning. Now, let’s see if Chen give up power peacefully in 2 months. Remember his little speech just before the election. Something about green cards and the transfer of power. I know you will say that it is non-sense, but we will see. Now only if Taiwan’s stock market took a dive before the transfer of power that will be great…after the news (not really news if you pay attention) of the Taiwan’s oil company can no longer control the gasoline supply and price…

March 24, 2008 @ 1:44 am | Comment

@Raj

I maybe guessing about the CCP leaders but i am making an educated guess. If Deng Xiaoping and the party elders needed months to deliberate how to deal with several thousands of unarmed students on Tiananmen Square right under their nose, what makes you think striking Taiwan without provocation and risking a combined US-Japanese intervention would be a easier decision for the CCP?

In any case, even if your worst case scenario did happened, as in the CCP needed an external enemy to divert attention from its internal woes, the likely target of their wrath would be Japan rather than Taiwan. Taiwan is not a “foreign” enemy but Japan is. Japan would be a better scapegoat. After all if striking either Japan or Taiwan would risk US intervention, why not Japan then? Its not a disputed bogeyman in the mantra of Chinese nationalism.

And you yourself already said that the CCP is an autocratic regime, why then did you take legislation in an autocratic state so seriously? The NPC is a rubber-stamp parliament. If the Politburo wants to have its way, you think NPC legislation would lock them in? Its as absurd as saying that the Supreme Soviet or the Reichstag had a veto over the intentions of the General Secretary or the Fuhrer.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:54 am | Comment

@Michael

First, my condolences for you not being able to shake the hand of President Hsieh which you have confidently predicted months ago. When i told you ethnic politics and DPP’s slogan shouting can only go this far, you didn’t buy it then.

“But any start on the discussion of corruption here has to take into account that most notable pattern of Taiwanese electioneering — that in a contest where one candidate is noticeably less corrupt than the other — as in this election, for example — the Taiwanese invariably pick the more corrupt of the two. Why this is strikes to the heart of how people think about the failures of the DPP here, and also to how westerners think about the corruption issue.”

That’s interesting. That means in 1996, Lee Tenghui was the most corrupt, while people like Chen Li-an, Hau Pei-tsun, Lin Yangkang, the longtime servants of the authoritarian KMT party-state were even cleaner than Mr Democracy Lee Tenghui.

Then in 2000, Chen, the supposed Mr Clean, in your analysis, was even more corrupt than James Soong and Lien Chan.

So what does all this make you? A closet KMT supporter because your ridiculous analysis would arrive at the conclusion that the creatures of the KMT party-state were “clean” compare to those who were anti-KMT.

Thanks for the interesting insight. With you around, we don’t need the pro-KMT media to portray the KMT as a whiter than white party.

March 24, 2008 @ 2:27 am | Comment

sp

If Deng Xiaoping and the party elders needed months to deliberate how to deal with several thousands of unarmed students on Tiananmen Square right under their nose, what makes you think striking Taiwan without provocation and risking a combined US-Japanese intervention would be a easier decision for the CCP?

Various reasons. For example:

1. The leadership in 1989 was relatively split. Zhao Ziyang was the official leader but did not have total control. On the other hand Hu Jintao (and his successor) has far more control. Though there may be some rivalry there isn’t the division of power as there was nearly two decades ago.

2. The 1989 protests had the potential to destabilise the regime, but it was not clear which was the safest way to resolve them. Of course peaceful negotiation was tried first, so that delayed a forceful response.

On the other hand Taiwan could be used to stave off internal trouble by whipping up nationalism. China is great at making mountains out of molehills – it could pick on almost anything to justify a war. The Anti-Secession Act is so vague it allows Beijing to decide when Taiwan has crossed the “red lines” as they’re invisible. China may also issue an ultimatum to Taiwan that it knew it couldn’t meet to give another pretext.

As for the US and Japan, China may think that they wouldn’t dare get involved in a war – or that Taiwan would be crushed so fast they couldn’t do anything about it. Chinese forums are full of such bravado, as are the PLA – who is not to say a future Chinese administration would not think the same way after another decade or so of military modernisation?

After all if striking either Japan or Taiwan would risk US intervention, why not Japan then?

Because attacking Japan would guarantee a US response – it is more ambiguous as to whether Washington would get involved over Taiwan. Also Japan’s response over Taiwan may be limited. If Japanese territory was attacked then the full force of the Japanese military would be engaged.

why then did you take legislation in an autocratic state so seriously?

Because the Anti-Secession Act was the brainchild of the executive, not the legislative.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Comment

“Without nukes, China can easily absorb whatever the Taiwanese military throws at it. China must be burned to ensure Taiwan’s survival.
China does need to exist, Taiwan can carry a more pure Chinese culture into the future.” – nanheyangrouchuan

nanheyangrouchuan, we should invent a word, just for you. The opposite of rose-coloured glasses. Say, “someone who wears pin-on-contact-lenses.” Wouldn’t it be better to look at these issues with a hairbreadth of sanity in your pupae?

March 24, 2008 @ 3:22 am | Comment

“When China knows that Taiwan (like Japan now) is just one step away from a bomb, military action slips off the table.”

Hahaha, right. Have you guys heard of “Cuban missile crisis”?

I had previously thought nobody is stupid enough to believe that China will tolerate an openly hostile regime in her neighborhood to possess nukes, but it seems I gave too much credit to people’s intelligence. (Nope, India is not hostile. That’s where we get significant portion of our iron ore for our steel industry. Japan is one of our most important trading partner, besides, she is officially covered under US nuclear umbrella.)

When China knows that Taiwan (like Japan now) is just one step away from a bomb, Taiwan will reunified in less than a week FORCIBLY.

That’s one of reasons US government force Taiwan to give up its nuclear ambition in the first place.

nanheyangrouchuan,

We will not go away cuz otherwise your entire life would be pointless. Enjoy as the rise of China brings you a more purposeful existence : )

March 24, 2008 @ 6:02 am | Comment

First, my condolences for you not being able to shake the hand of President Hsieh which you have confidently predicted months ago. When i told you ethnic politics and DPP’s slogan shouting can only go this far, you didn’t buy it then.

sp, I can’t recall having any such conversation with you. Second, I did shake Hsieh’s hand.

….But Lee Teng-hui was certainly more corrupt than Peng Ming-min, his primary opponent.

Interesting election. So now the question becomes: can Ma deliver? On the economy, there’s no question that Taiwan is going to boom in the next few years. On China I’m more guarded. More on that in an upcoming post today.

Michael

March 24, 2008 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Cao Meng De,

Sounds like your looking forward to a nice bloody China/Taiwan war. Not that I worry. The more tension there is between Taiwan and China, the more money the U.S. makes selling weapons.

But frankly, I think the CCP has taken you for a ride. If the China had the capability to conquer Taiwan “in less than a week”, don’t you think they would have done it a long time ago? Taiwan wasn’t an issue in the 1980s. After Tiananmen, it suddenly became a useful way to distract the Chinese public. So the fiery rhetoric is strickly for domestic consumption.

You may not remember the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979, but for the Chinese leadership does — and they haven’t gone on any military adventures since. The army ousted Jiang Zemin as CMC chairman after the Hainan Island incident. So when even they talk big, China’s leaders have no appetite for confrontation.

IMO, the whole Taiwan issue is a big bluff. I don’t believe the Chinese leadership wants to reunify with Taiwan, not even peacefully. China has enough trouble with separatism in Tibet and Xinjiang as it is. China took Hong Kong back only because the British and the Hong Kong bankers made a big fuss about the lease expiring in 1997. The Red Guards took over Macau in 1967, but China preferred to leave Portugal in charge. Mao even turned down a formal offer by Portugal to transfer sovereignty in 1974. Taiwan has much larger population than Macau and absorbtion would be a lot tricker.

March 24, 2008 @ 10:41 am | Comment

Wow, Ma’s name appear twice in the front page of Bloomberg.com

March 24, 2008 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

@Arty:

China has mentioned neutron bombs in its invasion of Taiwan.

@Thoth
You fail to recognize the inhuman monstrosity that is China.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

China has mentioned neutron bombs in its invasion of Taiwan.

I think I have mentioned once about using neutron bombs here because I think it is the best nuclear weapon to use for hitting targets near your own country and for knocking down underground bunkers. But I could be wrong so please show me the news article. Btw, I type in “neutron against taiwan” in google, guess what’s the first article popping up.

http://tinyurl.com/yvjm33

March 24, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

@Raj

Well on the issue of whipping up nationalism in the event of regime crisis, i would still say that occupying the Diaoyutai Islands or some Spratly Islands would be a safer option if they really need it. Taiwan, like i have said , is tricky because assuming that Taipei did not provoke the CCP by making changes to the status quo, using Taiwan as a toy to defuse a regime crisis would make the CCP the sinner of the Chinese race. The Chinese Civil War was an emotional event for the Chinese nation. The common sentiment is that zhongguoren bu da zhongguoren i.e. Chinese people should not kill each other. Anyone who tries to restart the Chinese Civil War without valid reasons would go down in history as nothing less than a traitor. I doubt any Chinese leaders would resort to such a high risk option that might even led to a bigger backlash without any tangible benefits. That’s why it is important that Taipei maintains the status quo; it would deprive the CCP that kind of mad option on its table in the first place.

“Because the Anti-Secession Act was the brainchild of the executive, not the legislative.”

Precisely. The terms “executive” and “legislative” don’t make sense in a totalitarian system, except for window-dressing. The NPC can pass whatever laws it wants. But ultimately the Politburo has the final say in all matters. If the Politburo needs flexibility in policies, you really think it would allow the Anti-Secession Act to limit its range of options? Even if it was its own brainchild, the Emperor in the regime can always issue a new edict. Don’t you get Chinese politics? It’s not a democracy. The rulers won’t let anything get in their way if they want something, even if it means taking back their own words.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

@Michael

“sp, I can’t recall having any such conversation with you. Second, I did shake Hsieh’s hand.”

Michael, i think your memory is failing you. Remember who wrote this?

“Nevertheless, I think a properly supported Wang might do better than Ma, whereas Ma’s odds, even properly supported, aren’t good. Not only is he a mainlander, but his own party insiders despise him.

In the meantime I am anticipating shaking the hand of President Hsieh come ’08.

Michael.”

Posted at TPD at at May 25, 2007 03:07 PM

Well, you do have selective amnesia. Michael, i am afraid you are punked:)

Of course you shook Hsieh’s hands. But the key is you will not shake his hands in his capacity as PRESIDENT.

I hope that you did not place any gambling bets on Hsieh with your money. Otherwise, your brilliant predictions would have landed you in trouble by now.

“….But Lee Teng-hui was certainly more corrupt than Peng Ming-min, his primary opponent.”

I guess you must have forgotten about that fateful election. Lee was using the direct presidential elections as a final show-down with his long-time mainlander foes within the KMT and to deal the non-mainstream faction in the KMT a final death blow. His primary opponents was Lin Yangkang and Hau Pei-tsun, not Peng Ming-min. With Lee, a native Taiwanese advocating a more moderate Taiwanese identity stance using the slogan “neither independence nor reunification”, Peng’s ticket looked more like an extremist option. By the same manner, Lee was able to cast the Lin-Hau team as diehard reunificationists but his main objective was to use his win to purge his rivals out of the KMT. All along, with Lee’s moderate pro-Taiwan platform, Peng had no real chances at all, even though he may be the second runner-up.

Well, maybe you should be more objective in your analysis and be less partisan. Partisanship doesn’t give you credibility.

March 24, 2008 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

Peter Kauffner,

Nope, you are wrong. I do not look forward to a war with Taiwan. But if Taiwan goes anywhere close to nuclear, that’s what will happen.

One week figure was not from CCP but rather Taiwanese Defense department. You should’ve pay closer attention to hearings in the Taiwanese legislative Yuan.

With Ma’s election, there is no need to either.

btw I received an American education, elementary school all the way thru College, so I know not ALL Americans are as idiotic as you are.

I do look forward to the day when our children and grandchildren will kick the ass of yours with impunity.

Cheers.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

FYI

I am gonna have Nan he Yangrouchuan for lunch

March 24, 2008 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

@Cao Meng De:

I’m already in your head. And I know you enjoy the taste of my meat in your mouth. Don’t get any juice on your shirt.

March 24, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

The portion so-called meat is small, almost non-existent, I decided it’s not worth the trouble. Sorry bud.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

@sp
“Well, maybe you should be more objective in your analysis”

Sometimes there’s a thin line between crass hypocrisy and high comedy. I decided to laugh when I read this. Thank you.

March 24, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

sp

Well on the issue of whipping up nationalism in the event of regime crisis, i would still say that occupying the Diaoyutai Islands or some Spratly Islands would be a safer option if they really need it.

Actually that would be very dangerous for many reasons.

First it would damage reconciliation between China and Taiwan for years and hand support back to pro-independence politicians. That might lead to an actual declaration of independence from Taiwan that China would have to deal with. However, in the face of Chinese aggression there would be less international opposition against Taiwan’s actions and more support for it.

Second it would automatically lead to Asian nations around the South China Seas bolstering together against China, lest their claims be next. It would also push Japan further towards military normalisation and help Taiwanese demands for more advanced US weapons.

Third unless China was able to slip large concentrations of troops into the region without alerting other nations, it might actually suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Taiwanese garrisons.

Fourth there would be little actual benefit for Beijing, as Chinese don’t care nearly that much about the islands. Any surge of nationalism would be temporary and do little to quash serious unrest. Unless a push on Taiwan itself was made it would be rather pointless. Indeed there might be even more trouble for the CCP if it was seen to “bottle out” in taking Taiwan.

using Taiwan as a toy to defuse a regime crisis would make the CCP the sinner of the Chinese race

If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!

Don’t you get Chinese politics?

I do get politics, whereas I’m not sure if you do. The NPC’s laws do mean something, even if they only come about because the Executive proposes them. You talked about “decrees” as the Emperor used to make, but the Politburo isn’t an absolute monarch. The CCP might be, but the Politburo is only a part of it. Even the Politburo needs to go through the process of having laws passed.

Sure the President could still order the invasion of Taiwan on a pretext even without the Anti Secession Act, but given its existence it is a clear sign that China does reserve the right to invade whenever it thinks the time is right. That is a serious threat to peace and stability in the region.

March 24, 2008 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

@ Cao Meng De:

Nice try, I know you enjoyed it nice and slow ;-)

March 25, 2008 @ 1:07 am | Comment

I’m trying to keep everyone straight on this issue. Forgive me for any errors:

@sp seems a bit hard to please.
@bien has a great sarcastic touch.
@fatbrick is too focused on the money.
@raj missed the sarcasm, but he has some other very good points. Well done!
@Thoth Harris doubts President-elect Ma’s loyalty, without any evidence.
@Brgyags can’t see why we all aren’t desperate to be Chinese, which is sad.
@Amban understands that Taiwan today isn’t the neglected Qing Dynasty Taiwan.
@Peter Kauffner seems to think nuclear weapons are actually useful.
@nanheyangrouchuan doesn’t want anyone to live free, just to die.
@Cao Meng De (et al) needs to look at military capabilities, or read someone who has.
@Michael Thurton may be right about Taiwan’s economy, but only if the global financial system still exists in a few years (days) time.
@Arty knows China never threatened to use nuclear weapons against Taiwan (and, how to back up his arguments with sources). Well done!
@dish has a very clear view of world from China’s perspective. Well done!

Did I get that right?

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

It has always puzzled me why so few people condemn Beijing for threatening Taiwan, and then seem so willing to accept any little nugget Beijing’s tosses out, such as “if you give up your name, sovereignty, national identity and independent foreign policy we will stop threatening you.”

Whatever happened to a quid pro quo negotiation? Beijing isn’t going to get anywhere with Taiwan until and unless it has something of value to offer.

Threatening not to use non-existent military force just won’t cut the cho dofu.

And, I think we all know that China launching a war of aggression and conquest against Taiwan would be (a) unsuccessful; and (b) disastrous for all of East Asia, and most particularly for China itself.

March 25, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

“@nanheyangrouchuan doesn’t want anyone to live free, just to die.”

That is SOOOOO inaccurate.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

DOR,

China never threatened Taiwan with nukes? Are you, like, for real about this? How about this incident from 1996:

> the mainland’s top arms negotiator at the
> United Nations in Geneva, Sha Zukang…
> said the mainland’s no-first-use policy does
> not apply to Taiwan.
>
> Sha made the statement in an interview for
> the Aug. 12 edition of Newsweek, and Taipei
> authorities interpreted the remark as a
> potentially serious threat to security.
>
> Sha said: “China has committed itself
> unconditionally to a no-first-use policy
> against any state. As far as Taiwan is
> concerned, it is a province of China, not a
> state. So the policy of no first use does not > apply.”

http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=14418&CtNode=118

March 26, 2008 @ 1:26 pm | Comment

Raj, I left a more restrained prediction of the next two years for you on my blog. LOL. I think we’ll see great growth numbers and plenty of concrete splattered across the landscape like so much spackle on a cratered ceiling. It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Michael

March 26, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

JXie, that’s got nothing to do with Taiwan – stay on topic.

Nanhe your comment was deleted for the same reason.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

JXie, just because it was a “real” question doesn’t mean you can ask it whenever Hong Kong is mentioned – the entry isn’t about HK political reform since 1850.

I made a reference to HK and China’s feet-dragging on universal suffrage because that is something Taiwanese are aware of, and it causes many to question how sincere China would be in terms of guarantees made in regards to unification.

If you wish to make a point on China-Taiwan trust or the election, please do so. However, as I said, this is not a thread for discussing HK’s political history.

March 27, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Comment

sp: Criticizing people is ok. But telling them “stop meddling in politics” is wrong, because it is their duty, responsibility and right, no matter what your opinion on him is.

I am not supporting either Li’s. Actually, I don’t much care about what these two says. But I do want people’s rights protected.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:07 am | Comment

sp: Turn on your sacarsm detector.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:10 am | Comment

I am more surprised at the fall of the DPP than the success of Ma. While KMT did more than hold its turf, the fringe green supporters either stayed home or went fishing. The deep-rooted hatred in some of the Green populace is responsible for both the rise and the fall of DPP, Clearly, from its rhetoric to policy, DPP?s vision is blinded by that part of its DNA. To pick itself up again, DPP has to convince people it has something to offer, something other than fanning the age-old hatred. Stop fighting the phantom enemy. KMT is not what it once was. So, move on.

>It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Mistaken self-deprivation as self-determination, and the governing body is not responsible?

March 27, 2008 @ 6:19 am | Comment

Ah, the first responses.

To quote,

@Thoth:
Without nukes, China can easily absorb whatever the Taiwanese military throws at it. China must be burned to ensure Taiwan’s survival.
China does need to exist, Taiwan can carry a more pure Chinese culture into the future.
Posted by: nanheyangrouchuan at March 24, 2008 01:14 AM

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

@Peter Kauffner,

[CND, 08/06/96] A Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman told Taipei’s official
Central News Agency (CNA) that the U.S. magazine Newsweek’s report on
Beijing’s top arms negotiator SHA Zukang’s remarks was inaccurate, AFP
reported. “We have not changed our policy … and what [Sha] said about
no-first-use to any area actually answered [Newsweek's] question on
Beijing’s nuclear arms policy toward Taiwan,” the spokesman was quoted as
saying.

Taipei’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reacted frostily to a Newsweek
report, calling Sha’s remarks highly “inappropriate” and “chilling.”

Last Sunday’s edition of Newsweek included the following alleged statement
by SHA Zukang: “Taiwan was a province of China, not a state. So the policy
of no-first-use (of nuclear weapons) does not apply.” (Yuan LIU, Daluo JIA)

- – -

Interesting to see that he is now United Nations Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs!

.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

>It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Mistaken self-deprivation as self-determination, and the governing body is not responsible?

Yando, the KMT IS the governing body, in the legislature, which it has controlled for the last 60 years. Although the economy has suffered from offshoring production and the transition to a knowledge economy, several years ago the KMT committed to a program of reducing infrastructure outlays. The goal was apparently to squeeze the locals, then make them blame the DPP. It was an outstanding strategy, worked to perfection. Incomes fell all over the island, whose political economy depended on flows of cash into local patronage networks. It did have some positive effects — like lower government debt and lower inflation.

You might also ask yourself why, if the economy is so awful, the KMT-controlled legislature never passed a stimulus package. The answer is simple….

I too was surprised by the magnitude of the KMT victory. I’m awaiting more detailed voting pattern breakdowns from the CEC before I figure out what happened.

Michael

March 27, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Snap poll!

A. How many believe the US accidentally sent nuclear weapons triggers to Taiwan, and no one on Taiwan even opened the box?

B. How many believe it was deliberate and yet not official US policy?

C. How many believe it was deliberate and done with full knowledge of the appropriate US policymaking level?

March 28, 2008 @ 10:02 am | Comment

A. How many believe the US accidentally sent nuclear weapons triggers to Taiwan, and no one on Taiwan even opened the box?

Me. If you knew how bad the logistics command was here, you’d consider it a miracle only 18 months passed before anyone noticed. :)

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.

Michael

March 28, 2008 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

@Raj

Honestly, your analysis is rather self-contradicting. On one hand, you said that under with internal chaos, CCP leaders would be rational in their decisions when you said, “If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!” The next moment, you talked about the possible backlash if CCP invades Spratly or Diaoyutai or strikes at Japan, as if the CCP can be irrational on Taiwan but would be rational in dealing with Japan et al. I am not convinced by your argument for you failed to establish what sort of benefits, tangible ones, that the CCP would get should it attack Taiwan without provocation.

And the idea that autocratic regimes has a likelihood to use external conflict to divert attention is a bit problematic. We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. I am no fan of totalitarian regimes, but i just find the idea that Taiwan would DEFINITELY be used in ANY EVENT as a diversion of attention is a bit too far-fetched without valid substantiation.

And what’s the difference between the CCP regime and a dynastic regime? Accept for the part where the son inherits the father’s throne, the whole political culture remains the same. It’s top-down, it doesn’t believe in checks and balances nor accountability and it centralises power in the hands of a few. Tell me if there is any significant difference between the imperial court’s powers vis-a-vis the powers of the Politburo, maybe there is a little more diffusion of power but the political process remains more or less the same. Process of law is just a merely going through motions. If the principle of communist rule is democratic centralism where once decisions are made, it must be obeyed and executed without questioning, what is the big difference between democratic centralism and an Emperor’s edicts? NPC legislative sessions are purely non-events since they only serve to rubber-stamp the Politburo’s decisions.

For me, the Anti-Secession Act is merely a gesture of the CCP leaders to show their nationalist resolve in the public limelight. They have to show it because they were afraid that Chen Shui-Bian may their One-China principle a bluff and proceed to declare de jure independence, which will corner them into a limited range of options. So to pre-empt it, they must appear tough and non-compromising. But when it comes to the real showdown, they are afraid and that’s why they need the Act to prevent the scenario where they become a victim of their own slogans.

I am not interested in voyeurism of Party meetings, but i do have a background in Chinese history to conclude why the CCP regime has little significant difference with monarchist rule.

March 28, 2008 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

@Bill

“Criticizing people is ok. But telling them “stop meddling in politics” is wrong, because it is their duty, responsibility and right, no matter what your opinion on him is.

I am not supporting either Li’s. Actually, I don’t much care about what these two says. But I do want people’s rights protected.”

I am not saying that Lee Yuan-Tze cannot be entitled to his own views or he should not have his freedom of speech. But in my personal opinion, he was a spineless coward, period. For eight years, did he say he regretted endorsing a corrupt President who only knows how to shout slogans? Moreover, if he is so supportive of the DDP administration under Chen, why did he decide to maintain a distance with Chen by refusing to become his Premier? It’s like a salesman coming to you telling you all the wonders of a product but you realise that he himself don’t even use it. How would you feel?

My point about meddling in politics is not forbidding Lee his political rights. But if he wants to use his position as an accomplished academic to sway electorate sentiments, i think he is bloody irresponsible and shameless for he himself got cold feet when Chen asked him to become Premier after the Tang Fei debacle. Of course, i would stop him from his shameless endorsements for i believe in what Chris Patten had said, “In democracy everyone has the right to be represented, even the jerks.”

March 28, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

And the idea that autocratic regimes has a likelihood to use external conflict to divert attention is a bit problematic. We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. I am no fan of totalitarian regimes, but i just find the idea that Taiwan would DEFINITELY be used in ANY EVENT as a diversion of attention is a bit too far-fetched without valid substantiation.

And for every Soviet Union we have an Argentina and the Falklands War. Don’t get me wrong – I agree with you it’s far from a certainty, but there are historical precedents for a diversionary use of force.

March 28, 2008 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

sp

On one hand, you said that under with internal chaos, CCP leaders would be rational in their decisions when you said, “If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!”

Why does that suggest the CCP would be especially rational? I was making a common-sense view that it may simply decide it had little to lose if it could see no way out that it could live with. Invading Taiwan is something I believe it could live with, whereas giving up power is not.

The next moment, you talked about the possible backlash if CCP invades Spratly or Diaoyutai or strikes at Japan, as if the CCP can be irrational on Taiwan but would be rational in dealing with Japan et al.

It is a lot more likely that the CCP/Chinese government would believe it would be able to successfully invade Taiwan (by year 20XX) than take on Japan.

you failed to establish what sort of benefits, tangible ones, that the CCP would get should it attack Taiwan without provocation

I pointed out, very clearly, that if sufficiently pressured and threatened domestically at home and over-confident of its own military prowess, China may attack Taiwan on a pretext to whip up national sentiment and thus protect its monopoly on power.

We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan

Because the rest of the world was packing nuclear weapons and the boys in Moscow were not suicidal. On the other hand Taiwan is nuke-free and has no nuclear security guarantee from the US as various nations did during the Cold War.

But when it comes to the real showdown, they are afraid and that’s why they need the Act to prevent the scenario where they become a victim of their own slogans.

But what if the Act had had the opposite effect and convinced Chen to make a UDI when he could? You don’t make such a provocative piece of legislation if you don’t mean it, because if you miscalculate you’ve backed yourself into a wall.

Chen was elected in 2000 – why did China wait until half a decade later to make this law, given he was pro-independence at the start, if it felt it needed to head-off trouble? Few (if any) credible, knowledgeable anaylsts will tell you that the law stopped Taiwan from declaring independence or otherwise moving in that direction.

March 29, 2008 @ 4:42 am | Comment

@Raj

Because the rest of the world was packing nuclear weapons and the boys in Moscow were not suicidal. On the other hand Taiwan is nuke-free and has no nuclear security guarantee from the US as various nations did during the Cold War.

Well, I don’t think the US extended the nuclear umbrella to Eastern Europe as far as i am concerned. If not, the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia would not have happened in 1956 and 1968 respectively. In 1989, Honecker and Ceausescu both proposed to Moscow about the use of force, but the Kremlin, in contrary to your theory of diversionary use of force, did not revive the Brezhnev Doctrine. Technically, the Kremlin could have taken that option given the thousands of Soviet occupation forces it still had in the area in 1989. And if the Soviets decided to repeat their feat of 1956 and 1968, not even self-proclaimed Cold War warriors like Reagan and Thatcher would dare to risk the destruction of Washington and London just to save the people of Eastern Europe.

Chen was elected in 2000 – why did China wait until half a decade later to make this law, given he was pro-independence at the start, if it felt it needed to head-off trouble? Few (if any) credible, knowledgeable anaylsts will tell you that the law stopped Taiwan from declaring independence or otherwise moving in that direction.

I think you need to recall the developments carefully without going into sweeping statements. Chen Shui-Bian was elected in 2000 and in order to placate fears that he might declare formal independence, he announced his famous but now defunct Four Noes and One Without in which he pledged not to the following in his term of office:
* declare Taiwanese independence,
* change the national title from “the Republic of China” to “the Republic of Taiwan”,
* include the doctrine of special state-to-state relations in the Constitution of the Republic of China, or
* promote a referendum on unification or independence.

Hence, the CCP regime took a “wait and see” approach initially towards President Chen. However, with a divided government and limited political capital, Chen found himself increasingly beholden to the hardline independence support base of the DPP. Thus, he began slowly to violate his own “Four Noes and One Without” such as characterizing cross straits relations as “One Country on Each Side” of the Taiwan Straits in 2002. In 2003, Chen also proposed holding a referendum in 2008 to amend the Republic of China Constitution. Then in 2004, using the fact that the PRC had missiles aiming at Taiwan, he pushed for a controversial defensive referendum which was perceived by the CCP as a dangerous prelude to an eventual referendum on sovereignty issues. In various Double-Tenth Day speeches, Chen gradually dropped any references to the Republic of China. Even Washington doubted Chen’s pledge to the Four Noes and One Without by this time that it replaced the pro-DPP AIT chairwomen Therese Shaheen in 2004. Hence by 2004, the Four Noes and One Without is effectively dead. All these moves put the CCP on the defensive and in an attempt, effective or otherwise, to stop Chen’s further offensives, the CCP decided to enact the Anti-Secession Law in 2005 to show that they aren’t “soft’ on “Taiwanese separatism”.

March 29, 2008 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

Hence, the CCP regime took a “wait and see” approach initially towards President Chen.

Your presentation is clearly deficient in two crucial regards: first, Chen had a condition for the 4 No pledge which you omitted — Beijing had to give up its aggression against the island. That point is minor but crucial.

Second, and more importantly, Beijing did not take a wait and see approach. That’s propaganda. On advice from the KMT, as a CSIS paper pointed out back in 2000, Beijing took the position that it would never negotiate with the DPP. It has held that position for 8 years. That brilliance of that position was, I think, vindicated by the fact that it is rarely mentioned in the international media, which constantly blames Chen, and adopts the Beijing line. China is getting much better at managing the international media, than it used to be, though the recent uprisings in occupied Tibet show that the PRC still has a long way to go when it can’t manage reality the way it does in the Taiwan situation.

The real issue was the Bush Administration, which decided to “outsource its foreign policy to Beijing” as Jon Manthorpe put it the other day, so it could pursue its defeats in the Middle East and to get Chinese cooperation on N Korea. Had there been no Iraq, there would have been a lot less criticism of Chen, and things would have looked very different. Instead, the Bush Administration slowly strangled relations with Taiwan to please Beijing. It is hard to find some part of US foreign or domestic policy that the Bush Administration has not completely effed up. No enemy could have hurt us more.

Michael

March 29, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

@Michael

I am glad that you are back after recovering from your selective amnesia and you would do good to answer to my earlier post addressed to you.

Your presentation is clearly deficient in two crucial regards: first, Chen had a condition for the 4 No pledge which you omitted — Beijing had to give up its aggression against the island. That point is minor but crucial.

Of course i know that condition. But you only like cherry-picking people’s comments just to make yourself look brilliant. Chen’s Four Noes and One Without is aimed to placate Washington rather than Beijing. Washington was worried that Chen would rock the boat and drag them into a new mess. True enough, Chen managed to irritate the Americans such that they snubbed him by offering him to transit at Anchorage instead. Therefore, the targeted audience for the Four Noes was the Americans and of course Washington expected Chen to keep his pledge and was annoyed when he abolished the National Unification Council and Guidelines. Hence, if you care to use some discretion and intelligence rather than your partisan lenses to see things, you would not end up reaching such unsophisticated presumptions which only Paris Hilton is capable of. Even Lee Teng-hui had said that Chen had done damage to US-Taiwan relations.

Second, and more importantly, Beijing did not take a wait and see approach. That’s propaganda. On advice from the KMT, as a CSIS paper pointed out back in 2000, Beijing took the position that it would never negotiate with the DPP. It has held that position for 8 years. That brilliance of that position was, I think, vindicated by the fact that it is rarely mentioned in the international media, which constantly blames Chen, and adopts the Beijing line.

To quote Raj, that is only certain unless you have spy camera in the CCP Politburo. Of course they wouldn’t negotiate with him since the DPP has an article in its charter which stipulated that Taiwanese independence is the eventual aim that the party should strive for. But we know that Chen, in almost all his actual initiatives, did not extend an olive branch to the CCP either becuase he could not have be conciliatory since that would incur the wrath of the die-hard independence support base within his party. That’s why he did all he could to confront the CCP so that he wouldn’t appear soft among his supporters. I am not saying that the CCP was right or Chen was wrong and i am definitely not into moral judgments, but it is apparent and fair to say that Chen maybe conciliatory in words but confrontational in deeds. I don’t think that’s a overstatement.

Moreover, it’s one thing not to negotiate but another to embark on aggressive policies such as poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and enacting the Anti-Secession Law. You have to acknowledge that Chen’s aggressive initiatives such as proposing amendment of the ROC constitution at least have a part for triggering the latter.

March 29, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

But we know that Chen, in almost all his actual initiatives, did not extend an olive branch to the CCP .

SP, Chen made numerous peace initiatives and peace offers.

You have to acknowledge that Chen’s aggressive initiatives such as proposing amendment of the ROC constitution at least have a part for triggering the latter.

The Constitution has been amended more than a dozen times in the last 15 years.

I am glad that you are back after recovering from your selective amnesia and you would do good to answer to my earlier post addressed to you.

Missed it. Mea culpa

Michael

March 31, 2008 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

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