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Jun 1, 2009

More of the same...

Update: cctang has been kind enough to provide some corrections to my rushed translation in comments.

Yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Wu Po-hsiung gave a "Taiwan as part of China" speech at Nanjing university, just days after President Ma Ying-jeou voiced support for the right of the Taiwanese to decide questions of sovereignty by referendum.

The Liberty Times captured some of the choice gems in the speech. Let's hear some soon-to-be-classic lines, Wu!

「台灣有一股逆流叫『去中國化』,去了半天不可能成功,因為生活不是意識形態所能改變的!」

"Taiwan has a non-mainstreem 'de-Sinicization' movement, but it was unable to succeed at the end of last year because ideology can't change [the facts of] life."
Taiwanese, not Chinese, identity is the mainstream position. Don't believe Wu's statement, which so closely resembles Chinese Communist propaganda. Remember, the latest statistics indicate that 65% of the population call themselves Taiwanese while only 11.5% Chinese and 18.1% claim both as identities.

Also, 'de-Sinicization' is a blue word (greens use things like "enhance native identity," "name rectification" and "locally-oriented" when discussing related topics).
「今天對我來說是一生非常難忘的時刻」,「這個榮譽應給兩岸千千萬萬有智慧的中華民族,他們覺得兩岸繼續對立、敵對、衝撞是錯誤方向,我只是代表接受。」

"I will remember [correction: receiving this honorary degree] for for the rest of my life." "This honor really belongs to the incredibly brilliant Zhonghua Minzu, who feel that continued confrontation, animosity and provocation is not the correct path for cross-strait relations. I can only accept this as their representative."
If you're like me, that made you a little sick to your stomach. But there is a reason that the term Zhonghua Minzu has been so closely embraced by both KMT and CCP while discussion of the '92 consensus or other political topics: and that is because a full 60% of people believe both sides of the strait are governments established by Zhonghua Minzu, including 45% of greens. Not too far off from saying 60% of people consider themselves to be part of the Zhonghua Minzu. Notice how that differs from the identification results if you use more phrases that are considered more political in Taiwan, like Zhongguoren and Taiwanren in your questions. Of course, as far as the Chinese are concerned Zhonghua Minzu = Zhongguoren.

So Zhonghua Minzu is the non-political tether that can hold Taiwan to China, the thing both sides can make claim to and that has majority support in Taiwan. Which is badly needed, especially since the last MAC opionion poll for how to decide Taiwan's future looked like this:
Maintain the 'status quo' forever: 27% (record high)
Maintain the ‘status quo’ and decide later: 35%
Maintain the ‘status quo’ and then become independent: 15.1%
Maintain the ‘status quo’ and then unify [with China]: 7.6%
Declare independence as soon as possible: 6.7%
Immediate unification with China: 1.2%
(No response: 7.4%)
And 82% percent of people oppose China's "one country, two systems" model.

Last quote from Wu:

提到兩岸,他指出,一年來兩岸關係發展非常關鍵,得來不易,但「想通了就通了」,有智慧就知道該怎麼走。他認為,兩岸有些問題短期內無法解決,可用智慧先擱置爭議,從異中求同,「兩岸共同基礎就是血緣、同屬炎黃子孫的民族情感,另外就是文化」。

Regarding cross-strait relations, Wu pointed out that the next last year of developing those relations was crucial and fraught with difficulty, but "As long as we want to work through it we can," and by applying wisdom both sides would know where to go.

Although there are a great many problems in the cross-strait relationship that cannot be fixed in the short term, those disputes can wisely be set aside, the two sides could find common interests despite their difficulties. "Both sides have the common affection of a people whose foundations are build on blood and common descent from the Yellow Emperor, not to mention a common culture."

I won't argue much on the cultural front (even though Wu's phrasing is just meant to fit into a political narrative), but the purely racist language used here is neither entirely accurate nor acceptable.

5 comments:

Dixteel said...

Boy...I just don't get how those KMT bigwigs think. They sound more and more ridiculous every day.

cctang said...

You need to brush up on your Chinese skills.

Also, 'de-Sinicization' is a blue word (greens use things like "enhance native identity," "name rectification" and "locally-oriented" when discussing related topics).Did you not read the article you quoted? In the last paragraph, DPP politician Zhao Tianli uses the phrase 'de-Sinicization' (qu zhongguo hua), and specifically calls for it to become mainstream ideology.

"We will remember this [trip or speech] for for the rest of our lives." "No, what Wu is saying he will remember is the honorary doctorate he was just awarded from Nanjing University.

Wu pointed out that the next year of developing those relations would be crucial and fraught with difficultyNo, again. He said the *previous* year (...yi nian lai...) has been critical, not the next year.

Translation issues aside... the fact that you call it "racist" or what just reflects your own opinion, which you're entitled to.

The key take-away here is that the KMT has consistently made its position clear, and it hasn't been (and it won't be) punished at the ballot box for them.

阿牛 said...

CCTang: I appreciate the translation correction on Wu's reference to his degree and on the (...yi nian lai...).

However, note that de-Sinicization' is in fact a blue word. Zhao Tianli was saying the term is just cover for being against a pro-Taiwan theme, which was reinforced by Tsai Ing-wen's statement today.

Finally, it's simply not true that the KMT has made their position consistently clear. Rather, the KMT has been consistently ambiguous and wishy-washy on the key issues, including this identity issue.

Take, for example, Ma himself: before the election Ma got lots of heat for things he wrote in his youth demonstrating his self-identification as a Chinese. But Ma pushed back hard, saying he had grown up in Taiwan and nobody could say he wasn't Taiwanese. At the same time, he carefully avoided either confirming or denying a 'Chinese' label for his self-identification. After the election, Zhonghua Minzu reappeared after some time in the political wilderness. So I think it's insane to argue the KMT has been consistent on this issue.

As for whether the KMT will be punished by voters on this, it's hard to say. But certainly the trends are not favoring the KMT ideology; the latest survey from the blue-leaning Global Views shows only 16.2% support for eventual unification (down from 28.7% in 2006), while 69.0% oppose (up from 54.5% in 2006). [hat tip to Maddog, and note that I copy-pasted some of the lines on this survey from an email he sent me].

Robert R. said...

A-Gu, most people may disagree with the KMT's stance on this, but people do not elect solely on their opinion of cross-strait issues.

For example, my wife's a teacher. They are concerned that the DPP would severely cut back the cushy pensions and tax breaks that they have.

It's hard to win over people like this with your good cross-strait policies if you're going to hit them in the pocketbook.

阿牛 said...

Robert, I certainly agree, and at the end of the day it doesn't even take a pension to decide to punish the ruling party for any number of mistakes they make. And the perceived state of the economy, for obvious reasons, is always a great rubric to guess how a party will fare in the next big elections.

If people were Taidu single issue voters the DPP would win every election by now.