Archive for September 15th, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The KMT’s last Chance: Waste Separation in Shanghai

Main Link: Anyone may criticize the KMT, but not former “honorary member” Terry Gou (王丰:谁都有资格批评国民党,但前“荣誉党员”郭台铭没有)

Wang Feng (王丰), born 1956 in Taichung, Taiwan, to a mother from Jiangsu and a father from Hubei, is president of the China Times Group. He is also an occasional interviewee of Guanchazhe, an online news and commentary portal based in Shanghai. The China Times has been owned by Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), a China-leaning businessman, since 2008. While Taiwan’s pan-green political camp detests the paper and doubts its integrity, in turn, Wang Feng, defending the paper in July this year against accusations that it had been taking “phone calls” from China’s “Taiwan Affairs Office” (TAO), criticized the accusers, saying that freedom, democracy and human rights were Taiwan’s hard-won values, and that a pluralistic and democratic society was the only thing Taiwan had over China.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) criticized the China Times Media Group for filing a lawsuit against the Financial Times’ correspondent Kathrin Hille (who had apparently reported about the alleged link to the “TAO” first), calling the legal action abusive. There doesn’t seem to be any news online about if and how the group’s legal proceedings have continued since.

That wasn’t an issue in Wang Feng’s most recent interview with Guanchazhe (published on Saturday) either. It centers around Foxconn founder Terry Gou‘s (郭台銘) withdrawal from the KMT, which had made him an honorary member only in April.

Based on opinion polling, Gou lost the KMT primaries to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) in July this year.

Han Kuo-yu is now the KMT’s nominee, and therefore the KMT’s official challenger of incumbent president Tsai Ing-wen (DPP),  in Taiwan’s presidential elections, scheduled for January 11, 2020. However, his chances to emerge as Taiwan’s next president have faltered, not least since the beginning of large-scale demonstrations in Hong Kong, against a (now apparently scrapped) extradition law draft by the special administrative zone’s government. The Hong Kong events seem to have raised the Taiwanese public’s awareness of what the “one-country-two-system” approach, advocated by China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping as a “model” for Taiwan, would mean in practice, and an apparent unpreparedness by Han Kuo-yu to criticize Beijing has added to his problems on the campaign trail.

Criticizing Beijing, of course, is nothing Wang Feng would do either, nor would it be something Guanchazhe could publish anyway. If the KMT (rather than Taiwan in general) has any advantage over China in Wang’s book, it wouldn’t be “pluralistic and democratic Society” (as stated in his announcement to sue the Financial Times and the Taiwanese media who had referred to the FT’s Coverage), but the KMT’s potential skills in managing waste separation in, say, Shanghai (比如国民党的环保能力非常强,现在上海在搞垃圾分类,国民党可以派人来当顾问,帮大陆做得更方便、更干净). In such fields, the KMT should enter a competition with the Chinese Communist Party, Wang said, not so much in terms of votes (obviously), but in helping Taiwanese compatriots to leave a favorable Impression on mainland compatriots” (争取人心,不是去争取选票,而是要争取大陆同胞对台湾同胞的好感), and in making peoples’ lives easier.

The “big picture” Wang drafts for the KMT in the interview might be summed up as think global, act in China, suggesting that solving China’s (environmental) problems would contribute to solving the world’s problems. His interview can also be seen as part of Guanchazhe’s efforts to prepare the Chinese public (or the share of it that cares) for a (no longer unlikely) re-election of Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s president.

Terry Wang, apparently a very sensitive man when his own professional integrity, or that of his paper, is called into question, doesn’t mince his words about Terry Gou. As a man who had portrayed himself as a principled man who believed in Mazu and Guan Gong, Gou hadn’t done himself a favor by withdrawing  from the KMT, “neither in terms of business nor politically” (换言之,他现今的脱党举动会在他未来不管是企业还是从政的道路上,布下一个非常不好的变数,而所谓的变数就是让人对他的诚信产生根本的否定), Wang says. He also cites Gou’s management style at Foxconn as an example as to how void his recent criticism of the KMT actually were. After all, if Gou – contrary to the KMT old guards – was indeed a modernizer, he could have democratized Foxconn (郭台铭不“迂腐陈旧”,难道鸿海敢搞企业民主、开明治理吗).

As for the state of the KMT’s unity, Wang suggests a numerical game to predict how the Party would fare:

There is a precondition for the KMT being united, and it is that their candidate must be in a safe zone of winning the elections, or moving close to losing. In such situations, there is a likelihood for unity. If Han Kuo-yu’s support rate isn’t more than 30 percent, but 20 percent or lower, the KMT may split.

国民党的团结必须有一个大前提,就是候选人是在胜选的安全区域,或接近落选的危险边缘,这样他们才有团结的可能性。如果韩国瑜今天不是30%多的支持度,而是20%多或更低,那么国民党就会是分裂的。我刚还在想,国民党的这些人跟战国七雄很相似,他们心中永远有个战国心态,就是“老子弱的时候,就臣服于强者;老子强的时候,又蠢蠢欲动想分裂”。

According to Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) German service on September 12, Gou may register as an independent candidate until September 17. He is widely expected to run for president as an independent now. That, however, could force him to state his positions, much more explicitly than up to now, reckons Frozen Garlic, a blogger who has focused on the topic of Taiwan’s elections for more than nine years. Even though Gou had mostly served platitudes during a visit to Chiayi city council earlier this month (and before withdrawing his KMT honorary Membership),

[e]very time Gou speaks, he gives Tsai [DPP] and Han [KMT] an opening to question him and force him to defend his positions and the implications of those positions.

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Related

“We uphold our principles,” Jan 2, 2019

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Updates/Related

Gou bows out, RTI, Sept 17, 2019

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