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Jan 31, 2010

UOCN 中国泛蓝联盟

You'll be interested to know that the Union of Chinese Nationalists (中国泛蓝联盟), which is a pro-KMT outfit in China which promotes Sun Yat-sen's doctrines and hopes to use the KMT as a sort of basis for Chinese democratization, has a functional website and active forum.

A number of members of this group have been harassed and arrested over the years such as Zhang Zilin (张子霖).

The KMT makes no effort to support or even acknowledge the group. The DPP has in their past send their best wishes to the group.

Taiwan Disaster

Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰), and exiled Chinese law professor, released his new book Taiwan Disaster last November. I learned about the book at the Taiwanese Heritage Society of Houston yesterday, which displayed an ad for the book. I decided to do a little research into the book, which posits that the Chinese Communist Party plans to complete a loose unification by 2012, including full economic integration, and to form its own proxy party in Taiwan for the 2016 elections.

One of the first things I discovered is that Yuan Hongbing is apparently as crazy as the Falun Gong's Epoch Times, since he apparently believes the Chinese intend on enslaving the entire human race, starting with Taiwan. That does not exactly inspire confidence in his other findings. But let's move on.

The second thing is that Yuan Hongbing claims to be quoting a few very primary sources. The Epoch Times reports the most important as being Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's June 2008 speech at the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP. The document was apparently highly classified, and the leaking source was risking their life. The other three sources, listed in a Liberty Times article, are from that same meeting, and are three particular plans Yuan says the Central Committee passed: specifically, the Political Strategy for Resolving the Taiwan Problem, Plans for Potential Clashes with the Taiwanese Military, and Plans for Dealing with Taiwan Political Laws Post-Unification.

As Yuan outlines the plan, we see a relatively tight schedule that requires China do the following:

  1. Fully integrate Taiwan's economy into China's, turning China into the major export market of Taiwan (snatching 90% plus of exports, including agricultural ones). Given Taiwan's dependence on exports and importation of natural resources, China feels this will finish the goal of economic unification. [A-Gu: It's well-known that China is using the economic crisis and general trends to get Taiwan to agree to economic integration terms they'd otherwise deplore; the Economic Minister just admitted Taiwan will eventually have to remove all Chinese factory products from the current import ban list, and that Taiwan's just trying to get a more favorable time table for those openings. Further, China's not giving in on Taiwan's plans to block Chinese produce and labor for the ECFA.]

  2. China intends to be able to fully manipulate the Taiwan stock market through a number of well-paid Taiwan proxies, an expensive goal but one which would give the CCP huge leverage. [A-Gu: I would think so. I thought this would be an ideal investment for the CCP years ago, and I would certainly imagine they would pursue it. Why beat into submission what you can just buy?]

  3. Get KMT and DPP heaveyweights alike to profit from investments in China, starting with the KMT; threaten economic ruin for those that don't cooperate; weaken the DPP's social standing and turn the KMT into a partner of unification by 2012. [A-Gu: I think these are also rather obvious, long running strategies, but really still beyond Chinese control.]

  4. Perhaps most unbelievably, Yuan says the CPP has plans to create its own puppet "Democratic Socialist Party" in Taiwan after 2012. They intend for it to win the presidential election in 2016, and have lined up a number of high profile individuals from the media, religion, political circles, and business to back it. [A-Gu: I don't really see that happening. Too many things could go wrong to bother with this plan for it even to be seriously considered.]
It seems to me that Yuan's book reveals very little new information that is believable. We already knew China seeks economic unification as a basis for further political unification; that it openly seeks to make life easy for politically-connected investors; and that it tries to manipulate Taiwan's domestic politics when it can, but that it's given up using the ham-fist.

But forming a puppet party seems too difficult to be realistic to me, and I think the CCP would conclude the same thing. Likewise, a 2012 time table seems to be more optimistic than even most PLA hawks would hope for. I just don't believe Yuan can have authentic documents on these points, but if I'm wrong we'll know in just a few very short years.

On the other hand, I'd really like to read the book (Eslite is selling it, the LT article indicates). Has anyone read it, or do you have a more interesting review of the book handy?

Jan 30, 2010

Silly TVBS

When KMT-friendly media runs a story about how similar Ma Ying-jeou and VP Vincent Siew look to certain gods, you know the longstanding complaints about blue media's "deification" of Ma are not nonsense.

Jan 27, 2010

100th anniversary of the ROC

The coming 100th anniversary of the founding of the R.O.C. is sure to be a tremendous propaganda fest. As others have pointed out, it will be an effort to roll back the Taiwan-centric conscious that we've built up over the last couple of decades in favor of portraying Taiwan within the context of Chinese political and cultural history. The Zhonghua Minzu will feature prominently, as will early Republic (ROC) history.

I have a feeling the whole thing will just go over most people's heads. Don't expect any major transformations in opinion to accompany the festivities.

It remains to be seen if the KMT plans to sign something with China, beyond the ECFA, before the anniversary. While the peace agreement in the works probably cannot happen by that date, it seems likely that they will push for something new to wrap up in October.

Jan 18, 2010

Like Michael Turton, I found this essay to be particularly comprehensive, outlining KMT plans to keep local officials in charge after the county mergers (largely KMT or KMT-friendly independents). The KMT claims there is precedent for this move and so it is certainly constitutional and legal.

Well, the KMT already passed the bill this afternoon, though the DPP put up a fight.

So if the DPP intends to press this bill's constitutionality or legality, they'd better get the case before a judge in a hurry. Time is a-wastin'!

Jan 12, 2010

Wait a second, what?

China claims a missle intercept test went well:

China says it has successfully carried out a test of military technology to shoot down missiles in mid-air. The news comes in the wake of tensions between Beijing and Washington because of American missile sales to Taiwan, an island China considers part of its territory.

Jiang says Monday's test of "ground-based, mid-course missile intercepting technology" had what she describes as "the expected result."

There have been few details about the test....

She emphasizes that the anti-missile test is in line with what she calls China's path of peaceful development and is not targeted at any country.
Wait until everyone gets their hands on that.

My guess? The test didn't go very well. And I believe Taiwan media will go crazy about the report, with the pro-unification media emphasizing that any test like this was aimed at the US, not Taiwan.

Jan 10, 2010

Election results

While I'm as happy as the next guy about the DPP's sweeping win in the legislative by-elections, I want to say I'm disappointed at the media's concentration on the DPP's ability to raise a motion to impeach Ma.

For one thing, Taiwan is not a parliamentary system, and impeachment is not a vote of no confidence that results in snap elections; so even if the motion were to succeed, it would not create a better political atmosphere or give the DPP a chance to make any more immediate gains.

For another, the KMT's previous unending attempts to impeach Chen Shui-bian just led to a bunch of political theater and didn't accomplish anything, even if it might have hurt Chen *somewhat* politically; but I'm not even sure there's evidence for that. So I don't see an advantage to this strategy.

Most importantly, what the DPP should be doing with their new threshold is bringing up *bills* -- sunshine bill legislation, KMT party property stuff, etc. Yes, all of this will be blocked int he procedural committee, but it's important for the DPP to focus on and promote an image of capable governance, rather than stirring up further discontent against the KMT alone.

Jan 6, 2010

"International space"

One reason the KMT has been placing such emphasis on getting Taiwan "international space," is because it is this space which will be the post-unification international space, and which if Ma is able to obtain, would make the sell for unification all that much easier. If that sounds crazy or hyped, please re-read these two posts on the long-standing PRC definitions and ideas of unification.

Jan 5, 2010

I got so riled up about the KMT party property sell-off just now, I thought I'd give you this link again: KMT party property, re-visited.

I was especially upset when reading 2007 KMT property holdings.

Ma's New Year message

Sometimes I wonder if I should repeat myself as often as I do on this blog, especially on those handful of topics that most excite me. But considering I am not yet hearing the DPP caucus responding to me in chorus, I think I'll just take a deep breath and try again ...

Ma Ying-jeou's New Year's message, aimed largely at a domestic audience but with the understanding that China would glance over it, inadvertently emphasizes the difference between the KMT's actual policy -- hidden between the lines -- and the policy they want you to think they're pushing.

As I start getting into the speech details, I'll mention the most annoying and dangerous of KMT refrains, oft repeated, is that none of the documents being signed with China mention a "One China" or the so-called 92 consensus which Taiwan pretends to define as "one China, two interpretations." Therefore, the KMT argues, the agreements are not political and do not touch on "core" issues that might attract the people's willingness to push through a referendum.

Ma makes that case here:

During the fourth round of talks held 10 days ago between Chiang Pin-kung, head of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, and Chen Yunlin, head of mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, the two sides signed three agreements. Along with the nine agreements signed previously, altogether 12 agreements have been signed over the past 19 months. These agreements have yielded considerable results, for they cover regular direct cross-strait flights; direct postal services; allowing mainland Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan; financial cooperation; food safety; cooperation on fishing crew affairs; product testing and certification; inspection and quarantine of agricultural products; and joint crime-fighting and judicial cooperation. Each agreement enhances and safeguards the rights and interests of Taiwan's people and has nothing to do with sovereignty.

In reality, each agreement is being signed on the understanding that Taiwan is adhering to the "One China" policy/fantasy. We all know the DPP supported most of the measures mentioned above and in some cases, even did the groundwork negotiating behind the scenes. But the DPP roundly rejected the notion that either Taiwan or the Republic of China were part of the same country as the People's Republic of China. So China didn't agree to anything. The new KMT administration reversed that position, claiming that Taiwan and China belong to the same country. So now the agreements can be signed faster than you can say "Pat-a-cake." Each agreement is premised on the falsehood that Taiwan is part of China and not a sovereign, independent entity.

And, despite a number of prominent examples of Chinese interests eclipsing Taiwanese ones (such as shipping), each agreement is loaded with carrots to please Taiwanese interests; these same carrots will make very handy sticks when China grows tired of waiting for Taiwanese to accept political demands. I'm no tactician, but arming the enemy is generally not the way to go.

Now I'll cut back to the beginning of Ma's "cross-strait" section of the speech:
My fellow citizens, the people of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are all of Chinese ethnicity. We share a common heritage, language, history and culture. But the two sides have been separately governed for 60 years now. In that time, each side has operated under different political, economic and social systems. As our ways of life and experiences are vastly different, we require a certain period of time in which to connect and gain a better understanding of each other. At present, making political choices hastily, whether they be for immediate unification or immediate independence, would cause serious confrontation and tumult. No one would be the better-off, and neighboring nations would all be affected.
Two things to note here. First, the reference to the Chinese ethnicity, or the Zhonghua Minzu. That topic has been covered rather extensively on this blog. The Zhonghua Minzu as Taiwanese understand it (and they understand it to essentially mean Han people) is not quite nonsense, but it is not exactly a good reason to pretend to be running another country.

Second, check out the last sentence I've highlighted. It's essentially true; there is no obvious way to solve the Taiwan-China issue in a peaceful way within the foreseeable future. This is, of course, because China threatens to pummel Taiwan into dust should the Taiwanese get the crazy idea to openly declare their home an independent country, as it obviously is. Taiwan does not threaten war, only common sense.

There is more meat in Ma's next claim:

And so, for cross-strait relations, I have always called for adherence to the principle of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" under the framework of the ROC Constitution, and have sought to promote cross-strait interaction and cooperation within the parameters of the 1992 Consensus. This is not passively maintaining the status quo, but rather an active attempt to gain enough time in which to allow for the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship. This will help the people of Taiwan and mainland China better understand one another and eliminate prejudices through greater communication and cooperation in the areas of trade and culture. With Chinese culture as the foundation, we can seek pragmatic and feasible solutions to cross-strait disputes.

If Ma is saying his appropriation of Chinese terminology about "One China" is simply a stalling ploy, a "kick the can" maneuver, then he's merely repeating the KMT policy line, which has been officially aimed at stalling a "unification/independence" choice for a couple of generations ever since about 2003, when Lien Chan was running.

But remember China has given no indication that a 30-50 year time line is acceptable to them. You must also remember that the KMT aims to do stall not on the chance that China will consider the merits of Taiwanese Independence, but to intertwine Taiwan and China to the point that unification is the only feasible option.

(By chance, the best pro-KMT argument I ever heard was that Taiwan and China were already at that point, so edging in the direction of unification, as slowly as possible to ensure the most favorable terms, was the only reasonable policy).

And note the "common culture" claim that wraps up the paragraph, which is aimed domestically to re-define the Taiwan/China relationship on claims of common linguistic, cultural and ancestral heritage instead of the fact that they're two different countries. (That is why Holo Taiwanese/Southern Min will be nearly dead in Taiwan fifty years from now, even as we now promote shoddy mother language education.)

The true travesty is yet to come:
My fellow citizens, since I took office in 2008, the government has resumed cross-strait talks, insisting all the while on parity and dignity. The ROC is a sovereign, independent nation, and Taiwan long ago became a democracy in which sovereignty lies in the hands of the people. We should have full confidence that Taiwan's future is, as a matter of course, in the hands of its 23 million people. Precisely because the Republic of China is a democratic country, cross-strait policy must be subject to both supervision by the Legislature and to public opinion. As to cross-strait agreements that concern the people's welfare, the government must be responsive to public opinion and increase communication with opposition parties and the people to seek out consensus and gain support.
Ma is first saying that the ROC -- including the "mainland" and Taiwan -- is one sovereign nation. Then, he factually notes that Taiwan is a democracy. These two sentences are juxtaposed to make the Taiwanese voter think the administration is equating Taiwan to the Republic of China, which he is decidedly not. Finally, Ma claims that democracy will ensure the Taiwanese people's right to freely decide their own future.

Back here in real life, the ROC does not control or enjoy sovereignty over China. Taiwan is obviously a democracy, but we cannot ignore the KMT's anti-democratic determination to prevent any referendum related to Taiwan's future to ever occur, even in a theoretical scenario where unification and/or independence are being considered.

Finally, of course, the cross-strait agreements have not been properly supervised by the KMT-run legislature, for honestly baffling reasons. Most branches of government jump at the opportunity to expand their power.

The rest of the speech is much more boring.