Posts tagged ‘Chen Shui-bian’

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 Headlines (3) – Tsai Ing-wen’s Presidency after the November Municipal Elections

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) aired interviews with two political scientists on December 21, Lin Chong-pin (林中斌) of Tamkang University and Yu Chin-hsin (or Yu Ching-hsin, 游清鑫?) of National Chengchi University, discuss Taiwan’s November municipal elections and Tsai’s chances to get re-elected as president early in 2021, and the future of Tsai’s mainland policies.

Lin Chong-bin discussing Trump Kim meeting, South China Sea, on July 1, on VoA Haixia Luntan (click picture for video)

Lin Chong-bin discussing Trump Kim meeting, South China Sea,
on July 1, on VoA Haixia Luntan (click picture for video)

Born in 1942, Lin Chong-pin is a rather familiar face in Taiwanese and North American media. According to Wikipedia, he became a geologist around 1970, after studies at National Taiwan University and Bowling Green State University, and started political studies in 1978, at Georgetown University.

He served as an assistant to then US ambassador to the UN, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and returned to Taiwan in 1995. He became a member of the Mainland Affairs Council in 1996, served as an advising member of the National Security Council from 2002, and as deputy defense minister from 2003 to 2004.

The Wiki entry also contains a list of books he authored, in English and in Chinese, and a gist of his views and assessment records of international politics.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Taiwan Election Data, the Changes, and the ROC Convergence

Wrote a bio of sorts in a German blogpost about president-elect Tsai Ing-wen last Saturday, as it seems to me that in the English-language press, there’s lots of coverage about the Taiwan elections, sometimes beyond the mere “conflict with China” issues. In most of Germany’s media, Taiwan would hardly emerge even on election days, if it wasn’t for China’s “claims” on the island.

What looks notable to me is the voter turnout in the January 16 elections: 66.27 per cent, compared with 76.04 percent in 1996, 82.7 percent in 2000, 80.28 percent in 2004, 76.33 percent in 2008, and 74.38 percent in 2012, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC), quoted by CNA. Also notable: the general trends in the pan-blue and pan-green shares in the presidential elections.

 

Taiwan's presidential elections, from 1996 to 2016

Taiwan’s presidential elections, from 1996 to 2016. The 1996 numbers for the pan-blue camp include the two independent candidates’ shares. Both of them were close to the KMT, but critical of then president Lee Teng-hui‘s China policies. Numbers taken from Wikipedia.

 

Taiwan presidential elections chart, 1996 - 2016

Usually, I’m surprised to find out how time flies. But in this case, it strikes me as odd how big change can be within “only” two decades, from 1996 to 2016. Also, no DPP candidate has ever drawn as many votes – inabsolute numbers – as Tsai Ing-wen has last Saturday. This would seem to suggest that some of the reasons for the record-low in turnout could lie in the KMT’s performance during the election campaigns. An uncertain number of people who’d normally support the KMT may have seen no sense in voting for Eric Chu, or any KMT candidate, for that matter.

Frozen Garlic, a blogger in Taiwan who has been doing a lot of number crunching during the past week, probed district-level turnout data in “blue” and “green” districts this week, and found some clues there that would support this guess.

There were, however, nearly 1.6 million voters who chose James Soong who is more China-leaning than the average KMT candidate. Soong only fared better in 2000, under what might be carefully described as exceptional circumstances.

Another notable first – in the parliamentary elections, that is – is the emergence of the “New-Power Party” – they’ve actually overtaken James Soong’s People-First Party there  (seats: 5 – 3; votes: 6.1 percent – 5.5 percent).

What does this tell about the KMT? The party remains a force to be reckoned with, for – reportedly – being one of the world’s richest political parties, and for its connections within Taiwan’s elites and civil society, big business, as well as for connections to China, and to America. But how “Chinese” can the KMT remain if it wants to remain competitive? Probably not as Chinese as incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou.

China’s accusation until December (by quoting the KMT, that is) that Tsai Ing-wen rejects the 1992 Consensus has become old news. Literally, she said in an interview with the Liberty Times on Thursday that

In 1992, the two parties [the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits] from the two sides communicated and negotiated through an approach of mutual understanding and “seeking common ground while shelving differences,” and I understand and respect this historical fact. [The interview in English, Taipei Times]

在一九九二年,兩岸兩會秉持相互諒解、求同存異的政治思維進行溝通協商,達成了若干的共同認知與諒解,我理解和尊重這個歷史事實。[The interview in Chinese, Liberty Times]

Thinking about it, while there have been big changes during the past twenty years, there’s been a remarkable convergence toward what Taiwan and the outside world commonly refer to as the “status quo” – the KMT and the DPP used to be further apart in the past, not only in terms of public support or votes, but in terms of their respective international concepts, too.

One day after Tsai’s election, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office had announced that it would continue to use the 1992 Consensus and oppose any Taiwan independence activities in cross-strait relations, as quoted by Radio Taiwan International (RTI). And on Monday, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, during his stay in Taiwan, met with incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou, the defeated KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu, and Tsai Ing-wen, who reportedly said that [t]he U.S. anticipates seeing a successful political transition.

There is continuity in Taiwan’s foreign policy: Cindy Sui, the BBC‘s (occasional) Taiwan correspondent pointed out on election day that it was Tsai who, in 2003 and in her capacity as the Mainland Affairs Council chairperson during president Chen Shui-bian‘s presidency, made a case for further legalizing trade and communications links with China.

Tsai, as opposition leader, also took a fairly public measure on Taiwan’s (or the Republic of China’s) national day on October 10, 2011, saying that the vast majority of Taiwanese today could acknowledge that “Taiwan simply is the Republic of China”, as the two have merged, for a new life in Taiwan.

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Related Tag: Taiwan Consensus

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

This Week (2): If you are Chinese today, can you become Taiwan’s President?

Probably not. But then, especially in Taiwanese politics, everything depends on definitions. If you think – and publicly state – that there is one China with different interpretations (一中各表), and if you add that this means that China is in fact the Republic of China (RoC), and that the constitution doesn’t permit a concept of two Chinas, that might work for a president, or for a presidential candidate, especially when your opponents are in disarray. That was the case with the (governing) DPP when Ma Ying-jeou himself was elected RoC president, in 2008. Back then, and in an article that didn’t necessarily describe Taiwan’s legal status accurately, the Washington Post referred to the president-elect as a smooth Harvard law graduate.

There’s a problem with Chineseness in Taiwan however when your opponents are well-organized and pretty much in tune with the majority of the country. And there’s a problem when you, as a candidate, are anything but smooth. Her Hong Hsiu-chu‘s political career was, but apparently, she owed that to herself, friends, and her wider family, rather than to her party, the KMT. And she is said to be very outspoken – that makes for a difficult relationship with a party that is hardly known for non-conformism.

There’s also a problem with Chineseness in Taiwan when you create the impression that you can’t wait for Taiwan’s “reunification with the mainland”, with mottos like one China, one interpretation (一中同表). Yes, you can afford some non-starters when there is no real opponent, as was the case for Ma Ying-jeou from about 2005 to 2010. All the same, telling an international audience via CNN that Taiwan would never ask the American to fight for Taiwan was too smooth to become acceptable.

Tsai Ing-wen, the oppositional Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nominee, has managed to convince much of the centrist political spectrum in Taiwan that she is not, like former president Chen Shui-bian, a “troublemaker”. In 2011, during her first candidacy for presidency, then against incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, she acknowledged the Republic of China’s significance for Taiwan, even if Taiwan had its own history. That was on October 10, Taiwan’s national day. This year, she agreed to an invitation by legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng to attend the official “double-ten” celebrations.

In this context, Hung Hsiu-hong became the actual “radical” in the election campaigns, and her apparent closeness to China only helped Tsai.

Just how much the KMT is in disarray can be seen from this well-meant, but delirious advice as from the KMT-leaning China Post in summer this year:

The Taiwanization faction is wrong. Hung’s China policy can be a weapon with which she can fight Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the DPP who bears its standard. Tsai is far outdistancing Hung, according to polls conducted by pro-Taiwan independence think tanks. Instead of attempting to copy the DPP’s pro-Taiwanization stance, Hung can try to narrow Tsai’s lead by telling eligible voters that her policy is to build a roadmap to eventual Chinese unification. She has to only explain it is a Chinese version of the Commonwealth that is an evolutionary outgrowth of the British Empire and that relations between the Republic of China in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China would be like those between the United Kingdom and Canada or Australia or New Zealand.

This read as if Kang Youwei had been at work again.

To cut a long, miserable story short: yes, you can (become Taiwan’s President if you are Chinese today). But not if you are too Chinese.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No “Troublemaker”: Ma meets Búcaro, advocates Conflict Resolution

Leonel Búcaro, president of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), met with Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday. Radio Taiwan International (RTI) quotes Ma as saying that he had always advocated peaceful resolution of international conflicts, no matter if cross-strait relations (i. e. relations with China), or a fisheries agreement with Japan, was the issue. He would continue to promote international peace and cooperation under the the premise of putting aside disagreements and creating mutual benefit (擱置爭議、共創雙贏).  It had been this attitude which had turned the Taiwan Strait, once a point of conflict, into a road of peace and prosperity, and a place very different from the Korean peninsula’s current status, Ma said.

President Ma also referred to a proposal he said he had issued last year in August, suggesting that mainland China, Japan and Taiwan could have separate bilateral consultations to lower tensions and promote common development of resources in the East China Sea. Ma cited the Japanese-Taiwanese fisheries agreement of earlier this month as an example of how to make sure that fishing vessels from both sides wouldn’t interfere with each other, without affacting either side’s sovereignty.

He also expressed great gratitude and admiration (非常感佩) for the Central American Parliament’s support for his East China Sea initiative (a resolution passed in February), and support for Taiwanese participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (a resolution passed in March), in activities of the UN United Nations Framework Convention on Climate, and Taiwanese participation in international affairs in general.

Búcaro and his delegation arrived in Taiwan on April 28 for a six-day visit, according to Taiwan’s state newsagency CNA. He is a member of El Salvadors left-wing FMLN party and was elected last October for a one-year term. The Central American Parliament was established in Guatemala-City in 1991. According to Parlacen, its twenty direct representatives are directly elected from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic, and the former presidents and vice presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic are also members. It is yet to achieve the goals it would take to make it a real parliament; its objective is to realize the integration of the Central American countries. […] The parliamentary groups reflect the ideological lines of the members of the Central American Parliament and are organized according to the political orientation of their parties.

Búcaro’s delegation includes members from all six Parlacen member states. They were also scheduled to meet Taiwanese foreign ministry officials including deputy foreign minister Simon Ko (柯森耀), legislative-yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), environmental protection officials, and other officials.

El Salvador is one of currently 22 UN member states (plus the Vatican state) who maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan, along with Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, is an observation state to Parlacen.

Taiwan’s military academy (Republic of China Military Academy, ROCMA) trains military from diplomatic allies. In 2010, this included trainees from El SalvadorSuch exchange programs play a contributing role in cementing diplomatic ties with our allies, Taiwan Today, a ministry of foreign affairs magazine, quoted then ROCMA superintendent Chuan Tzu-jui (全子瑞) in October 2010. Michael E. Allison, a researcher of Central American affairs, didn’t come across much about the Salvadorian-Taiwanese military relationship at the time, but noticed that [i]t doesn’t appear that El Salvador’s relationship with Taiwan (rather than China) has caused any trouble within the FMLN (i. e. Búcaro’s party), which has been in government in El Salvador since 2009.

Not much can be found online about Taiwan’s role in El Salvador’s civil war either, but if Taipei clearly took sides at the time (which doesn’t seem unlikely),  even at home, the incumbent president reportedly disavowed any plans to judge his party’s enemies from the country’s civil war. Either way, political allegiance at home doesn’t seem to define dedication to foreign allies. When Ma Ying-jeou visited El Salvador in summer 2009 to attend the FMLN president-elect Mauricio Funes‘ inauguration, he also met with outgoing president Antonio Saca who is a member of the ARENA party, a party founded by a death-squad leader, Roberto d’Aubuisson. Saca was reportedly late for his meeting with Ma, and cut the scheduled meeting short. According to the Taipei Times, Saca had been close to former president Chen Shui-bian.

On Monday, president Ma, at an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the “Wang-Koo summit”, vowed [..] that his government would not seek or promote independence from the mainland, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“We will not push for ‘two Chinas, one China, one Taiwan’, or Taiwan’s independence, within or outside” Taiwan, he said at an event in Taipei marking the 20th anniversary of the “Wang-Koo summit”.

In an interview with the BBC‘s Rachel Harvey, in 2011, Ma said that we do not want to be a troublemaker. We want to be an enabler of peace. It seems that this has remained his constant tune in meetings with foreigners, officials or not.
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Related

» Advocate medical parole for Chen Shui-bian, Carribean News Now, April 30, 2013
» 萨尔瓦多外交部竟三次称“台湾共和国”, Huanqiu Shibao, June 2, 2009

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Even if Peace isn’t Peace, “Taiwan must try to Conclude a Peace Accord with the PRC”

Now that President Ma Ying-jeou has been re-elected, Taiwan must try to conclude a peace accord with the People’s Republic of China, writes Joe Hung, in an article for the (pan-blue) China Post. Hung blames former president Chen Shui-bian (DPP) for China’s “anti-secession law”, and basically credits Lien Chan, the then-chairman of the Kuomintang, with having made a journey of peace to declare together with Chinese Communist Party Secretary-General Hu Jintao in Beijing to work toward a peace accord across the Taiwan Strait.

A peace accord would have nothing to do with Chinese unification, Hung adds. Rather, the pact is one to end formally the long Chinese civil war, which started or resumed right after World War II. Lee Teng-hui’s administration had put an end to Chiang Kai-shek’s civil war, but Beijing has never accepted Taipei’s claim that the war is over.

Hung argues that the Chinese civil war hadn’t begun as a war between two sovereign states, but international law applied now, because the People’s Republic exists side by side with the Republic of China in Taiwan:

The difficulty facing Beijing and Taipei is that of the rectification of names. Taiwan has to negotiate with China as an independent, sovereign state named the Republic of China while the People’s Republic, with the endorsement of the United Nations, regards it as one of its provinces. But there is a modus operandi. There exist the “private-profit organizations” of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taipei and its Chinese counterpart Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). They have concluded 19 agreements in line with the modus vivendi of the “1992 Consensus,” a tacit pact under which both Taipei and Beijing are agreed that there is but one China whose connotations can be orally and separately enunciated.

Which makes me wonder what there would be to be gained for Taiwan, by a peace accord with China.  Hung himself points out how Taiwan would be in a much weaker position in such negotiations than China. What’s the use of a peace treaty or accord, if it isn’t sanctioned by the United Nations, and if any future Chinese aggression can still come in the name of “unification” – justified by a need to stop “secession”, or a need to establish any other kind of “order”  in the “province” of Taiwan, in accordance with the Chinese leaders’ wishes?

If the recommended path was taken, Hung writes,

Ma must initiate a referendum, which certainly will be adopted. The SEF and the ARATS can do the rest of the work. The new Legislative Yuan will ratify it to usher in a lasting peace across the Strait.

But it’s hard to see how “lasting peace” should be more likely with, than without an accord.

A-Gu suggests that

From Beijing’s perspective, the best course of action is to lock Taiwan in to some sort of political framework before anyone else can win or lose. From the KMT’s perspective, this is also beneficial, as it gives them the option of painting any non-’92 policy the DPP may advocate as “dangerous,” as they’ve just done, but perhaps with a stronger effect. Indeed, both the KMT and CCP hope that they can ultimately force the DPP to adopt the ’92 consensus and eventually the “inevitability” of political integration.

Certainly, the idea of a “peace accord” sounds nice. “Peace” usually does. And as they once said at a conference organized by the UNESCO, “peace is a journey – a never-ending process”. That’s what many Taiwanese citizens could certainly live with.

But  the UNESCO had the role of religion on its mind, not negotiations between two sovereign states. If it is up to Beijing, there is a defined destination point for the journey Lien Chan – in Joe Hung’s view, anyway – started in April, 2005.

The two parties hope that the results of this visit and talks will help to increase the happiness of the compatriots on both sides of the strait, open up new prospects in cross-strait ties, and create the future for the Chinese nation,

the KMT-CPP agreement of April 29, 2005 said.

Peace isn’t necessarily war. But as long as China can only listen to its own narrative about Taiwan, and as long as Beijing remains committed to annex the country either by means of peace or war, peace isn’t really peace, either. The best result of the recommended negotiations would be the status quo – exactly what Taiwan has today. When there is nothing to gain, but a lot to lose, why should Taiwan’s government seek “peace talks”?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Soong Chu-yu’s BBC Interview: Can the Moor go Now?

James Soong Chu-yu

James Soong Chu-yu, 2008 (Wikimedia Commons, click photo for source)

One thing can be said almost for sure: James Soong Chu-yu (宋楚瑜) has no plans to become Taiwan’s next president. You can’t describe both the KMT and the DPP as “unconstitutional” for not throwing themselves behind a goal of “reunification” with China, and expect to outdistance both president Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) and Tsai Ing-wen (DPP), come election day.  That more than 30 per cent of voters haven’t made up their minds yet (that’s what Soong said in his interview with the BBC‘s Chinese service,  published on Friday, GMT) doesn’t mean a lot, when assessing Soong’s prospects. Provided that the undecided are going to cast their vote at all, the  majority of them – be they 30 per cent of the electorate, or more, or less – will make a choice between incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou and opposition leader and presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen.

It’s not the first time that Soong runs for president. In the 2000 presidential elections, he split the KMT’s electoral base by running as an independent, after losing the KMT’s presidential nomination to Lien Chan. And despite being a rather pro-Chinese candidate, Soong only narrowly lost to Chen Shui-bian (the oppositional DPP’s presidential nominee, and a strong advocate of international recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty). Lien Chan, the KMT’s official candidate, came in third.

Back then, I heard many Chinese – and some Taiwanese – people speculate that all this had been a premeditated plan by outgoing president Lee Teng-hui to pave the way for Chen Shui-bian’s victory, to further the non-Chinese side of Taiwan’s identity. There are no run-off ballots in Taiwan’s presidential elections. It’s first-past-the-post.

Ma Ying-jeou certainly has better chances to get re-elected in January, than Lien Chan had to become president in 2000, if recent opinion polls are anything to go by. And one of the reasons is that Soong won’t come in second this time. He will come in third. But why then did he decide to run for Taiwan’s highest office at all?

Revenge against the KMT could be one explanation. Soong most probably knows how to cultivate old grudges. To spoil Ma Ying-jeou’s chances may mean more to him than “reunification with China”.

Another motivation may be ongoing negotiations with the KMT – they are most probably still going on. The KMT has long accused Soong of having taken NT-$ 240 million of assets from the KMT in 1999. That wasn’t necessarily unauthorized, but the way KMT wealth is allocated among its leading officials is by no means transparent, and judicial means to fight political enemies are routine tools in Taiwan. Soong may also still be seeking concessions in the campaigns for the Legislative Yuan – that KMT legislative candidates should give way for his own People-First Party’s candidates. (I’m not aware of a law or regulation that would bar candidates from throwing in the towel, even last-minute, in favor of another party’s candidate.)

But a more respectable reason shouldn’t be left out of the account either. There certainly are Taiwanese citizens who share Soong’s expressed view that China is “a member of the family”, and therefore “more than a friend”*). Soong’s candidacy will  give these citizens an opportunity to vote for a candidate who seems to be closer to their views on China (no matter if that, or something else, motivated him to join the race).

Another question seems to be if China’s leaders wanted Soong to throw his hat into the ring. If so (but that’s a big “if”, of course), this would suggest that Beijing is much less worried about Tsai Ing-wen becoming president, than what most utterances from Beijing, or their reflection in the international media, would suggest – and that Ma Ying-jeou either never was, or no longer is, quite the cornerstone in China’s Taiwan policy.

Has the Moor done his duty?

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Note

*) 一家親, BBC, November 25

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Related

“Too strong to describe it as pressure”, Taipei Times, Nov 27, 2011

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Links: When You’re not Supposed to Pull the Trigger

Hot-Air balloon, October 2011

Hot-Air balloon, October 2011

By announcing negotiations on a peace treaty with China (Beijing appeared to be unaware of any plans for such a generous offer, btw), president Ma Ying-jeou had acted recklessly, argues Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who served as Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council and as Taiwan’s unofficial ambassador to the United States under former DPP president Chen Shui-bian.

One inevitable result of a formal end of the civil war and a peace agreement would be that the foundation for such security cooperation would no longer exist, as Taiwan would have become part of China. Similarly, the foundation for the Taiwan Relations Act would no longer exist,

Wu wrote in an article for the Taipei Times, published on Saturday. Wu thus adds an international or military-alliance perspective to Ma Ying-jeou’s quick-and-messy initiative of October 17. When it comes to the fate Ma’s concept met at home, it didn’t bode well either. It kept Ma himself busy – he repeatedly added (conflicting) footnotes to his own plan within a week.

It is easy to create some stresses for oneself with a few comments on Taiwan’s status, all the same. Wu certainly understands that. In May this year, both the DPP and Wu himself felt it necessary to clarify that a statement made to a conference in the U.S. were just an expression of [Wu’s] own opinion and did not necessarily reflect the official position of the DPP.

Meantime, German police complain too much, believes a certain Rafael Behr, once an active policeman, now professor at the Hamburg Police Academy. Tai De takes issue with what Behr writes – except for the need to be prepared for armed hostilities. No, I think I got this wrong. But they seem to agree that there is a need to be prepared for some violence, anyway.

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Updates (October 31, 2011)

Another trigger-related article here:

Syria has to show some flexibility in that regard in order to help the Arab League implement its proposal.

Wu Sike, China’s special envoy for the Middle East, when asked (in Cairo) whether he believed Assad’s regime should negotiate with overseas-based dissident groups (Telegraph, October 31, 2011).

And on the same paper:

The first component of popular legitimacy is your personal life. It is very important how you live. I live a normal life. I drive my own car, we have neighbours, I take my kids to school. That’s why I am popular. It is very important to live this way – that is the Syrian style.

Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with the Telegraph‘s reporter Andrew Gilligan last week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

UDN / CNA: “Su Jia-chyuan Reminds us of Chen Shui-bian”

DPP’s vice presidential nominee Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) is accused of having declared a mansion a farmhouse, so as to use agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.

United Daily News (聯合新聞網, UDN) and the China Times (中時電子報),  both KMT-leaning, carried the story on Thursday. Excerpts from the UDN article are available in English, on the official Central News Agency‘s (CNA) website. UDN comes across as more vocal than the China Times – “Su Jia-chyuan reminds us of Chen Shui-bian”, says UDN. This appears to be over-egged when considering that many of the charges against former DPP president Chen Shui-bian after his presidency were criminal charges, while those against Su Jia-chyuan may just amount to a regulatory offense, or maybe not even that. But then, only Su’s pattern of defending himself “reminds us”, i. e. UDN, of Chen Shui-bian, anyway.

The China Times, on the other hand, compares Su with Chen Shui-bian’s predecessor, Lee Teng-hui (李登輝, KMT chairman during his presidency, and a KMT member until some time after his last term as president). Lee is praised by the China Times for his steadfastness in defending farmland against legislators who wanted restrictions on land sales to be relaxed, back in 1998. Lee had backed government offices which opposed the motion, even if with limited or without success, the China Times seems to suggest.

“Limited farmland sales” became legal “under certain conditions”, in September 1998.

Defending the liberalization measures at the time, president Lee, himself an agricultural economist and former cabinet minister without portfolio, responsible for agriculture, called for reserving the remaining arable land for agricultural development which should follow the example of the Netherlands.

Land ownership, landuse rights and land seizures have remained a controversial issues in Taiwan. Only in July this year,

Hundreds of angry Taiwanese farmers staged a protest in Taipei overnight, demanding the government abandon proposals that would make it easier for their land to be forcibly turned over to developers,

reported AFP.

In that light, the allegations  against Su Jia-chyuan must be welcome news for the KMT headquarters. If they are going to evaporate or if they will pose a threat to his popularity remains to be seen. The China Times’ headline, too, is pregnant with election campaign issues – “Su Jia-chyuan doesn’t live up to Lee Teng-hui” (苏嘉全对不起李登辉), it reads.

Lee, no longer a KMT member, but now leader of a rather pan-green (i. e. opposition) party, was charged with embezzlement in summer this year, and his trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

Meantime, Tsai Ing-wen, DPP chairwoman and her party’s presidential candidate, has returned from a visit to Japan where she was “slighted” by Taiwan’s representative in Tokyo, John Feng (馮寄台), who picked up his wife at the airport instead – reportedly thirty minutes before Tsai’s arrival there.

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Related

» If King Ma Loses…, October 4, 2011

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