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Jun 15, 2009


An opinion piece I wrote for the Liberty Times was published in full today (Sunday). The article was composed in Chinese, but I will provide an English translation below. It represents the bulk of my national policy advise to the DPP; it does not touch upon my advice on other strategic matters, such as contesting local lizhang and city council level elections more vigorously.

I am from Texas. Beginning in 1998, my second year of high school, I began to study Mandarin and pay more attention to articles and books about Taiwan. Before long I had a deeper understanding of the Taiwanese struggle for freedom and self-determination. Since that time, over a ten year period, i have constantly upheld the basic principle that Taiwanese people have a right to determine their own future. Whether in Taiwan or the United States, I have demonstrated through action my commitment to the importance and legitimacy of Taiwanese self-determination.

The collapse of the DPP over the last year has been heart wrenching. This setback is not a result of the DPP's core values, but rather of how it promotes its political goals.

At the present, the DPP legislative caucus resorts to daily press conferences in order to thrash KMT policies using less than civil language. Although the party is also pressing ahead with good policies, the populace does not see them. Too many people believe the DPP is only capable of opposing every single KMT policy. This phenomenon has resulted in an inability of the party to attract swing voters. The DPP must on a daily basis promote a reasonable and constructive platform, as it did in the past.I suggest something along the lines of the following:

Deepening Democracy: Amend the Assembly and Parade Law and referendum law; promote "sunshine bills;" reform the single member district, two vote leglislative election system to create a legislature where party affiliations more closely reflect the percentage breakdown of votes (the German system would be a good model).

Economic progress: Support the signing of free trade agreements with the US, Japan, Singapore, and Korea; call for transparency of the ECFA negotiation process; encourage a high-tech shift in all economic sectors; promote continuing and adult education; improve water quality in all areas; strengthening environmental laws.

Protecting sovereignty: Express willingness to enter into negotiations with China with no preconditions; affirm the reality of "one side, one country;" support the right of the Taiwanese people to decide their future by referendum.

The above platform is largely in line with principles championed by the DPP. But the party must consolidate constructive and attractive concrete policies and present them to the people on a daily basis in order to convince swing voters that the DPP is worthy of their support.

Cross posted to Taiwan Matters!


David said...

I think there are many in the DPP who share a similar view. The real question is why is it that the more radical voices are the loudest.

I think the answer lies in three points: (1) the dysfunctionality of the Legislative Yuan, (2) extreme polarisation of the media and (3) the DPP appealing first to its base rather than the middle ground.

I think Tsai Ing-wen is doing a good job so far. There was a time last year when I thought she might be pushed out, but the 517 rally showed that she is not doing too badly. She still has difficulty restraining some of the more radical elements in the party. It is not surprising as she is a relative newcomer to the DPP compared to many others with power in the party who have been there forever.

I think that if the DPP wins back the Presidency in 2012 it will be a result of KMT failure rather than DPP success. Even for a fully united DPP with policies that have broad appeal, the challenges in an election against the KMT are formidable.

Dixteel said...

Hmm...I agree. Those are very concise and organized proposals , and DPP needs to emphasize those type of things much more.

But sometimes "what not to do" is as important as "what to do."

Right now a lot of Ma's policy are basically the exact opposite of what he said during election...a lot of his policy people do not like. Therefore, to oppose those policy is as important as proposing other policies I think.

Of course the opposition has to be done with rational reasons behind it and with strong public support.

Sometimes in some situation doing nothing is better than doing something. For example, sitting in my car doing nothing is better than reversing my car right off a cliff. And one important thing DPP needs to do now is to stop Ma from driving Taiwan off the cliff.

China Debunked said...

I agree that the DPP must present alternatives. Otherwise it will just be the party that shouts.

Although we knew it was bulls***, Ma made promises of 6-3-3 and "fruitful engagement with China" which people thought was a viable and more appealing alternative.

Taiwan Echo said...

Nice article, a-gu. I would add an aspect that I think is among the most critical issues: law-binding and justice.

A lawless society is a place that boosts unfairness, creates polarization, and results in conflicts. IMO, without the laws and law-binding citizens, there will never be a solid democracy.

Unfortunately, DPP is on the same as KMT in this regard.

I believe that one of the key reasons DPP grow in the past is that they cast a dream to the people, a dream that the unfairness KMT imposed onto Taiwanese will be lifted.

I also believe that DPP's failure on fulfilling this dream is one of the reasons she is getting less and less support from the people.



Nice article, i Saw it in the Lib times on sunday. Can you tell me offline how your submit such articles to the LT, who do you adress them too, and is there a word limit. was that a letter to the editor or an oped article. email me at danbloom gmail com -- thanks

I want to submit a similar opinion piece to the L T in Chinese. do you have a contact there? thamks

well done, sir

Dixteel said...

Well said, Echo.

I usually avoid being too harsh on DPP, because a lot of people already bashing it to death , and I don't see me bashing it would help much, but you are absolutely right.

This type of things might take a lot of effort and time though, even if DPP is more able. The disease of Taiwan is there for 50 years. It has a deep root, and anyone who says they can fix it fast is probably being unrealistic. Just look at how many Taiwanese are still mindless pawns controlled by KMT, even during CSB's time.

I am optimistic...actions need to be taken on reforming Justice system of Taiwan, but we probably have to be very patient about this...

Gilman Grundy said...

Have to agree with Taiwan Echo here, the shrill note that the DPP has struck of late renders any effort to capture swing voters ineffective.