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Apr 1, 2008

Morning round up

Check out Michael Turton's latest post on recent foreign media pieces and Taiwan Echo's on the KMT's shameless pay off to the low level officials who helped mobilize their voters.

  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has invited Taiwan to hold "big-issue" talks on establishing direct transport links and signing a peace agreement -- AFP, Xinhua, Radio Taiwan International (all English, and the RTI piece has a major error in the last paragraph).

I've been thinking that everything has been moving very fast since the KMT election victory. Here Ma isn't even in office and the CCP is ready to sit down at the table. I hope that not too much has been pre-arranged.
  • USCI's Daniel Lynch discusses Ma Ying-jeou's adoption of Taiwan-centric consciousness -- FEER, via US-China Institute
Opening paragraph:
Some observers are speculating that Ma Ying-jeou’s election as president of the Republic of China (ROC) means the end of identity politics in Taiwan and dramatically closer cross-Strait relations. Evidently, Taiwan’s voters reject the notion that their society’s future welfare is best served by baiting China and emphasizing ethnic differences among the ROC’s various communal groups (including Taiwanese, Mainlanders, Hakkas, and Aboriginals). Mr. Ma’s victory probably does signal the bankruptcy of the radical de-Sinification movement promoted by President Chen Shui-bian, which increased ethnic tensions in Taiwan while infuriating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But a deeper aspect of Taiwanese identity—Taiwan zhuti yishi (“Taiwan-centric consciousness”)—not only remains alive and well, but was even confirmed and strengthened by Mr. Ma’s victory. Once realization of this fact sinks in, CCP elites will likely begin to find fault with President Ma (or his successor) and cross-Strait tensions will resume.

It's not fair to characterize Chen's administration or the DPP as "emphasizing ethnic differences," and it's absurd to call Chen's de-Sinification or "name rectification" efforts a "radical" movement. Taking an honorary title for a dictator' off of a major tourist monument, restoring the name of Taiwan Post and changing the name of the old Chinese Petroleum Company hardly count as a "radical" campaign.

This "deeper aspect" of Taiwanese identity is a result of the sea change in education and the plain as day fact that there is not One China of which Taiwan is a part. You can't lie to the whole island about that anymore, especially not with the current education system which finally puts Taiwan at the center.

Otherwise, I liked the article.

First clips of last night's Talking Show:

and 2100:


Michael Fahey said...

Lynch's general point about Ma's accommodations to mainstream views on Taiwanese identity is well taken. But his readings of 'radical desinification' and 'Taiwanese consciousness' (Taiwan Zhuti yishi) are highly confused at best. 'Desinification' is a term used by the blue opposition. It is their name for what the greens call 'correcting names' (zhengming). The TSU and DPP did not lose the 2004 elections because they advocated 'radical desinification.' One wonders what the moderate form of desinification is that 'radical desinification' surely implies.

Lynch says that "Taiwan-centric consciousness slowly continued to strengthen during Mr. Chen’s presidency." Total nonsense. Taiwan zhuti yishi is a term that the Chen administration adopted and pushed especially in the second term. For Chen, zhengming was an entirely legitimate expression of Taiwan zhutixing as can be established easily in his speeches.

Moreover, there is little question that for better or for worse, Taiwan zhutixing, like the referendums, was a largely top-down affair orchestrated by the Chen administration and its intellectual allies from on high. To suggest, as Lynch does, that it had some kind of organic provenance from 'the people' is misleading at best.

阿牛 said...

Great comment. I'll make a note on the 正名 / 去中國化 thing.