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May 19, 2009

The case the DPP is having trouble making

Really, Tsai Ing-wen said it best herself in her recent speech at George Washington, but the truth is that a lot of people were confused about what the DPP was actually protesting on Sunday.

Looking at Kaohsiung, you'd have to say the same thing the marchers have been calling for for decades now -- independence from China.

But the short term focuses were diverse and some of them were decidedly off message.

Take the WHA situation, for example. The best formed opposition objections to the current arrangement have to do with the secrecy and lack of transparency in negotiations (government officials could not agree on who negotiated with who and whether or not China had an MOU with the WHO on this issue). Other louder objections -- that really do simply sound whiny to the electorate -- were complaining about the title Chinese Taipei. Unsurprisingly, whiny voices won out on media coverage. Go figure.

Or let's look at the ECFA. Again, Tsai Ing-wen and other cool headed people object to the fact that nobody is likely to have any idea what the ECFA entails until it's virtually signed -- no public oversight, no (public) industry reactions, no idea what industries are likely to come out winners and which losers, and no understanding of whether or not ECFA is sort of a stepping stone to more FTAs with all of Asia or simply a one time "lock in" deal with China. Those things matter, and Tsai is right to suggest an agreement that appears likely to use the Hong Kong-China agreement as a model would do well to pass referendum level scrutiny by the Taiwanese public.

But louder voices on the ECFA are rejecting it out of contempt for any closer relations with China. not surprisingly, these people are getting the better part of media attention well.

So I dunno, right now I think the DPP is sounding a bit shrill to most people, but I think it's because of the information most people are seeing in the news.

1 comment:

Gilman Grundy said...

I was thinking the same thing. Asides from general lack of satisfaction and fear about reunification moves, it was impossible to see what they were protesting about. The effect was somewhat similar to the recent Tea Parties in the US and G20 protests here in the UK. In the absence of coherence, those who shout the loudest and longest are heard the most.

All I can go on is what I read on the internet - that many of the protesters suspected a secret deal between the KMT and the CCP, that Ma is a front for KMT hardliners, that the KMT will use the mainland to crush their domestic political opponents etc.. What they lack is a shred of solid evidence for any of these things.