Taiwan’s Pseudo-Democracy

Taiwan’s Pseudo-Democracy
Bevin Chu
March 2, 2000

The Dump Save Effect

A term constantly bandied about in Taiwan political debate is “qi bao xiao ying,” or the “Dump Save Effect.” The Dump Save Effect is related to the “xi gua xiao ying,” or the “Watermelon Effect.”

The Watermelon Effect refers to the expression “The watermelon tilts toward the big end.” The Dump Save Effect refers to the way Lee Teng-hui’s KMT political machine exploits the Watermelon Effect in three way races, by splitting the opposition vote, and dumping one candidate to save another.

During the 1994 Taipei mayoral election, Lee Teng-hui ordered incumbent KMT Mayor Huang Ta-chou to run for reelection, against his will. Huang was reluctant because he knew he didn’t stand a chance. KMT Party Chairman forced Huang to run anyway. “Mr. Democracy” was determined to split the pro-reunification vote and ensure that the front-runner, the pro-reunification New Party’s Chao Shao-kang (he spells it Jaw Shao-kang) would lose, and the pro-separatist DPP’s Chen Shui-bian, whom Lee finds simpatico, would win.

During the 1996 presidential election, “Mr. Democracy” again exploited the Dump Save Effect, this time for his own “democratic” reelection. Even Lee’s supporters suspect he ordered the KMT, the wealthiest political party in the world, to covertly subsidize the hopeless and quixotic campaign of Chen Li-an. This had the predictable effect of splitting off enough of the reformist vote from the pro-reunification “native Taiwanese” Lin Yang-kang to ensure his defeat.

Lee Teng-hui, by exploiting the Dump Save Effect, has succeeded in undermining free and fair elections in the ROC twice during his 12 year authoritarian regime, and probably intends to do it a third time on March 18, 2000. Speculation is rampant that despite Lee’s outward show of support for Lien, Lee actually intends to “dump Lien, to save Bian.” In return, “Mr. Democracy” is counting on the “opposition” Chen Shui-bian to spare Lee from the same fate as corrupt South Korean former dictators Chun Doo-hwan and Roe Tae-woo.

Moses and Joshua

Several years ago, Lee Teng-hui boasted to visiting Japanese journalist Ryotaro Shiba, in Lee’s characteristically megalomanical fashion, that he saw himself as Moses, leading his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. What the Japanophile Quisling Lee meant was that he was leading the Chinese province of Taiwan away from China and toward Japan.

Later, in a meeting with Chen Shui-bian, he urged Chen to look up the relevant passage in the Bible, with the understanding that Lee, i.e., Moses, considered Chen, i.e., Joshua, the DPP’s rabidly separatist politician, his intellectual heir.

I’m no biblical scholar, but the Joshua of biblical lore, if I am not mistaken, blew his trumpet and the Walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Not Taiwan’s Joshua.

Mr. Chen, Tear down this Wall!

The KMT’s Party Headquarters building was erected in flagrant violation of Taipei’s municipal building codes.

During the Taipei mayoral election of 1994, Chen Shui-bian sold himself as a reform candidate. If elected, Chen declared, he would raze KMT Party Headquarters to the ground. This was touted as evidence of Chen’s Solomonic impartiality, his “tough love.”

As everyone knows, Chen won in ’94. Yet rhe granite monstrosity that is KMT Party Headquarters stands, intact, near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where my father used to work, blighting an already blighted Taipei skyline.

So what the hell happened? Simple. Lee scratched Chen’s back, and Chen scratched Lee’s. Lee Teng-hui “dumped Huang, saved Bian.” Once Chen became mayor he immediately issued a Certificate of Occupancy for Lee’s precious party headquarters building, granting it what’s known as “jeou di he fa,” or “On the Spot Legalization.”

Obviously, the Rule of Law remains a foreign concept in Taiwan’s “vibrant democracy.” Instead, the Golden Rule prevails, as in “He who has the gold, makes the rules.”

From Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves

The political evolution of the Republic of China, typically but erroneously referred to as “Taiwan,” has essentially gone through three phases.

Phase One. Politically authoritarian but uncorrupt and economically liberal dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek, similar to that of Singapore under Lee Kuan-yew, makes possible the Republic of China’s “economic miracle” and swift rise to status as one of the four “Asian Tigers.”

Phase Two. Lifting of martial law, democratization and liberalization under Chiang Ching-kuo confirms laissez-faire capitalist observation that political liberalization tends to follow on the heels of economic liberalization.

Phase Three. Alarmingly swift descent into Ferdinand Marcos style corrupt, cronyist authoritarian dictatorship under “Mr. Democracy” Lee Teng-hui, lacking the redeeming virtue of the Generalissimo’s clean government, confirms Chinese addage “fu bu guo san dai,” or “Wealth never survives three generations,” and our own American expression “From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

The Good Guys are the Ones wearing the White Hats

China Threat theorists and Taiwan independence fellow travellers, typically one and the same, are either blithely oblivious to Phase Three, or are deliberately looking the other way. Let’s not mince words. They are either stupid, or dishonest. I’m not sure which is worse. Their motive? To promulgate their simplistic Black versus White, Good versus Evil, David versus Goliath dichotomy, and provide themselves with an excuse to “contain,” translation, “premptively squash” China.

Let’s not be naive. Whether Lee Teng-hui’s real hand-picked successor is Lien Chan, or Chen Shui-bian, aka “Joshua,” only Lee knows for sure. But when “Mr. Democracy” Lee Teng-hui “hand-picks his successor,” we’re not talking about Ronald Reagan giving his blessing to George Bush, or Bill Clinton giving his blessing to Al Gore.

Taiwan’s political system, lest we forget, like mainland China’s, is explicitly modeled on the Leninist system of parallel governmental and party hierarchies, with real political power weilded not by government officials, but by party officials, the real powers behind the throne. In Beijing, the CCP calls the shots. In Taipei, the KMT.

A Vote of Non-confidence

Taiwan has a bizzare, probably unique political polling convention, which to the best of my knowledge does not exist anywhere else in the world. Pollsters in Taiwan, after conducting their surveys, typically publish two sets of poll results.

The first is “zhi ze du” or “level of support” for the candidates. These percentage figures reflect respondents’ answers to the question, “Whom do you intend to vote for?”

Recent polls show independent presidential candidate James Soong leading with about 25% of the vote, Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian trailing slightly with about 23% of the vote, and ruling Kuomintang nominee Lien Chan trailing noticeably with about 20% of the vote.

So far so good.

Now comes the funny part. Taiwan polls also include a second set of figures, called “kan hao du” or “degree of confidence.” These percentage figures reflect the answer to the question “Whom do you think will win?”

Recent polls suggest 40% believe the KMT ticket of Lien/Siew will win, 18% believe the independent ticket of Soong/Chang will win, and 14% believe the DPP ticket of Chen/Lu will win.

How’s that again?

China-demonizers and Taiwan independence abettors like Gregory Mastel and George Will never tire of asserting that Lee Teng-hui’s Taiwan is a “lively/thriving/vibrant” democracy. Really? So why does Taiwan’s voting public, which intends to vote for James Soong by a considerable margin over Lee Teng-hui’s “hand-picked successor” Lien Chan, assume that Lien and not their own candidate will win?

The answer of course, is that the ROC voting public, in contrast to ignoramuses like Mastel and Will, know that Taiwan’s “lively/thriving/vibrant” democracy is a “farce/hoax/sham.” The ROC voting public is painfully aware of the power of the KMT political machine. The ROC voting public is resigned to the likelihood that even though they intend to vote for a pro-reunification candidate, “Mr. Democracy” will probably manipulate the system to ensure a victory for his “hand-picked” successor, whoever the hell he is.

Welcome to Taiwan’s pseudo-democracy.

I Told You So

Last week I predicted Chen Shui-bian would milk the Politically Correct, but historically fraudulent conventional reading of the notorious 2-28 Incident for all it was worth.

See:
Taiwan Independence and the 2-28 Incident

Consider this CNA article:

228 INCIDENT VICTIMS REMEMBERED Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA)
“… Chen Shui-bian, the standard-bearer of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, also visited the memorial park to pay tribute to the victims of the incident. Chen… said that if he wins the March 18 presidential election, he will push for the establishment of a national-level 228 memorial museum.”

What can I say, except “I told you so.”

What’s wrong with this Picture?

The article by the CNA, or Central News Agency, Lee Teng-hui’s official government mouthpiece, characterizes the 2-28 Incident, which occurred February 28, 1947, this way:

“The 228 Incident was triggered when an elderly Taiwanese woman selling untaxed cigarettes in Taipei was severely beaten by an inspector of the Wine and Tobacco Monopoly Bureau.”

The Taiwan Wine and Tobacco Monopoly Bureau was an oppressive statist bureaucracy imposed on the Chinese people of Taiwan by the Japanese colonial regime. There was no Chinese Wine and Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, certainly not at the time of the 2-28 Incident. Throughout several millennia of Chinese history it has been completely legal for private individuals to manufacture their own alchoholic beverages without any government interference whatosever. Note the deliberate omission of the word “Taiwan” from the name of the bureau.

“Faced by an angry mob, the inspector shot dead a bystander and fled to a nearby police station.”

The panicked inspector, surrounded by an angry mob, fired a warning shot into the air. The shot went wild, accidentally killing a curiosity-seeker emerging from a nearby building. Note the deliberate and misleading implication that the shooting was cold-blooded murder, rather than manslaughter or wrongful death.

“Faced by mass protests and rioting (emphasis added) and unable to control the situation, Taiwan Governor Chen-yi appealed for help to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in mainland China, who sent troops to the northern port city of Keelung, from where they spread out over the island, killing indiscriminately.”

So what’s wrong with this picture? Here’s a hint. Riot control troops arrived in several waves. The earliest wave reportedly arrived on 3-09.

So what happened between 2-28 and 3-09?

Blaming the Victim

The answer? Taiwan separatist Quislings and diehard Japanese fifth columnists crazed with the spirit of “Kamikaze,” spread out over the island, and in a sickening echo of the Rape of Nanking, indiscriminately slaughtered any and all mainland Chinese they encountered, women and children, young and old, then dumped their corpses into drainage ditches to float out into the Taiwan Straits.

Notice how any mention whatsoever of that abomination was completely missing from the Central News Agency “news” report. Instead the “news” report camouflages the massacre which ensued with the coy phrase, “mass protests and rioting.” This is typical of “news” reports relating to Taiwan independence. When it comes to the Big Lie, Jamie Shea and NATO have nothing on petty tribalist Taiwan independence hate-mongers.

The Taiwan independence elite are reminiscent of Japanese neofascists, who piously weep over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while suffering selective amnesia at any mention of the Rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, or Joseph Mengele-style “medical experiments” conducted on American and Chinese POWs by the Japanese Imperial Army’s notorious Unit 731.

Born a Taiwan Person, Die an American Ghost

Lu Hsiu-lien, aka Annette Lu, is the Democratic Progressive Party’s Vice-presidential candidate, Chen Shui-bian’s running mate. Antiwar.com readers may recall seeing her display her reverence for democratic governance and parliamentary procedure on CNN. She was the one standing on top of a table in the ROC Legislature, swinging a baseball bat at those who took exception to her views on Taiwan independence.

Last week Annette declared on a Vice-presidential candidate debate, televised island-wide, that “sheng wei Taiwan ren, shi wei Taiwan guai,” or “I was born a Taiwan person, and will die a Taiwan ghost.” The Taiwan independence elite, I’m sure, was moved to tears.

That was before James Soong’s campaign committee made public a fascinating little tidbit on ol’ Annette. Apparently Ms. Lu was the proud owner of a burial plot in the good ol’ US of A. Imagine that.

Now I suppose her ringing declaration of undying devotion to Taiwan will have to be amended somewhat, to “Sheng wei Taiwan ren, shi wei Mei Guo guai.” For those who don’t speak Chinese, that’s “I was born a Taiwan person, and will die an American ghost.”

So much for the Taiwan independence elite’s braggadocio about being “martyrs for their beloved Taiwan.”

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