The DPP is on the Wrong Track
June 6, 2005
On May 22, 2005, the Taipei Times, the quasi-official mouthpiece of the Taiwan independence movement, English Language Edition, posted an op ed piece entitled “The DPP is on the right track.” According to the Taipei Times, the DPP won the National Assembly election because of its committment to the nativized path, not because of Chen Shui-bian’s “New Centrist Path” or Frank Hsieh’s “Co-existence through Reconciliation.”
As Trong Chai, aka “Cai Gongtou” (Referendum Cai) put it:
The middle path was not the reason behind President Chen’s election win in 2000. The win was due to the fact that the race had three contenders who were close in terms of support. Those who voted for President Chen were all supporters of the nativized path. The National Assembly election win happened because people were upset about China fever. Taiwan consciousness was the main reason for the election wins of President Chen and the DPP and [we] must remain committed to it.
This of course is undiluted nonsense. For the real story behind the National Assembly Election results, see:
The National Assembly Election
The Taipei Times is wrong. The DPP is on the wrong track, both morally and practically.
Morally, the DPP is on a track toward a repugnant form of petty tribalism known as “Fulao shawenzhuyi” (Hoklo Chauvinism). DDP leaders do not refer to Hoklo Chauvinism as Hoklo Chauvinism of course. They refer to it as “localization, nativization, taking the nativist path, adopting a nativist or Taiwanese consciousness.” But as noted Taiwanese author and political reformer Huang Chi-hsien observed in her landmark book, “Taiwan at the Crossroads: The Rise of Taiwanese Fascism,” Hoklo Chauvinism is the Taiwanese counterpart to Nazi Germany’s Aryan Consciousness.
Practically, the DPP is on a track toward an economically suicidal form of isolationism known as “Sakoku” in Japanese or “Suoguo Zhengce” in Chinese. Sakoku or Suoguo Zhengce means Locked Nation Policy. Sakoku was the official policy of the Tokugawa Shogunate, imposed from the top down on the Japanese economy, and doomed Japan to two centuries of economic stagnation. DPP leaders of course do not refer to their policy as a Locked Nation Policy. They refer to it by Chen Shui-bian’s euphemism “Jiji Kaifang, Yuxiao Guanli” (Aggressive Opening, Effective Management). Chen’s “Aggressive Opening, Effective Management” was supposed to replace Lee Teng-hui’s own Locked Nation Policy, euphemistically known as “Avoid Haste, Be Patient.” It didn’t. Aggressive Opening, Effective Management offered no opening, only management. Aggressive Opening, Effective Management merely replaced one Locked Nation Policy with another Locked Nation Policy. As a current joke has it, twelve years of Avoid Haste, Be Patient plus five years of Aggressive Opening, Effective Management have changed Asia’s Four Dragons into “Three Dragons and One Worm.”
What is the right track?
The right track, morally and practically, is the New Centrist Path Chen Shui-bian promised to implement during his inaugural speech in 2000, but which he reneged upon.
The right track is the track of Co-existence through Reconciliation floated by DPP moderate Frank Hsieh but rejected by his fundamentalist comrades. Hsieh argued that if the DPP wanted to expand its political support base, it could not advance any further down the nativized path and had to become more rational, moderate, pragmatic, and stable in its policy implementation. To win over middle class voters, the DPP needed to offer substantive plans and a long term vision for national development.
The right track is the track of “Dialog, Reconciliation, and Cooperation” with the Chinese mainland advanced by KMT Chairman Lien Chan during his historic summit with CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao.
The problem on Taiwan today isn’t knowing what the right track is.
Nearly every political leader on Taiwan, Pan Blue and Pan Green alike, has known what the right track is for years.
The problem was that until recently no Pan Blue leader had the guts to publicly acknowledge what the right track was and take it — no Pan Blue leader with a sufficiently high political profile, anyway. Pan Blue political leaders were terrified of Taiwan independence Political Correctness, and behaved accordingly.
Four years ago, in 2001, a contingent of New Party leaders made their own “Journey of Peace” to the Chinese mainland. Alas their path-breaking trip received scant media attention and was soon forgotten.
Four years later, fortunately, KMT Chairman Lien Chan found the courage not only to affirm what the right track was, but to act upon his knowledge. For this Lien will go down in history as a key figure in China’s reunification, and deservedly so.
Pan Green leaders, on the other hand, aren’t on the right track, for two reasons.
The first reason Pan Green leaders aren’t on the right track is that although they know Taiwan independence is an impossible pipe dream, their own supporters won’t allow them to change course.
Pan Green leaders have worked overtime for the past two decades creating Viktor Frankenstein monsters — their own hardline fundamentalist supporters. These hardline fundamentalist supporters have swallowed every lie the Pan Green leadership fed them — hook, line, and sinker. Lies such as “Taiwan was never part of China.” Lies such as “Taiwanese are not Chinese.” Lies such as “If only we have the guts to declare independence, America and Japan will come to our rescue.” Having been thoroughly indoctrinated with such lies, these hardline fundamentalist supporters can’t be deprogrammed overnight. As a result, Pan Green leaders are stuck with them, and are doing the only thing they can — stalling for time.
The second reason Pan Green leaders aren’t on the right track is that although their long-cherished dream of a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan has turned to dust, they can’t bring themselves to face the truth.
“China Fever,” or more accurately, “Mainland Fever,” is hardly a passing fad akin to a craving for Macau style egg tarts. Mainland Fever is the opening act to the unfolding drama of China’s formal reunification. The behavior of DPP Central Standing Committee members in the face of this unmistakable strategic development proves the addage: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
Ah Q is the protagonist in “The True Story of Ah Q” by modern Chinese author Lu Xun. The character has since become a synonym for individuals who rationalize real world defeats as moral or spiritual victories. Taiwan independence leaders have long ridiculed Pan Blue reverence for constitutionalism and the Rule of Law as a manifestation of the Ah Q syndrome, especially the Constitutional One China (Xianfa Yizhong) provision of the Republic of China Constitution, which stipulates that “the territory of the Republic of China includes the Chinese mainland.”
Paradoxically, the truth is just the opposite. What could be more Ah Q than the DPP’s 1999 “Resolution on Taiwan’s Future?”
Pan Blue insistence that the Chinese mainland is an integral part of the Republic of China is infinitely more realistic than Pan Green insistence that “Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country, it’s current name is the Republic of China.”
Chen Shui-bian freely admitted as much in February 2005, when he declared that continued insistence on “authoring a new constitution and changing the name of the country is both self-deception and deception of others… Lee Teng-hui couldn’t do it during his 12 years in office, and I can’t do it in mine… If it can’t be done, it can’t be done.”
The Taipei Times editorial went on to claim that:
The DPP just achieved a major success in this past National Assembly election, ranking number one in both the percentage of votes garnered and the number of seats. It would be normal for the party to bask in its victory. But instead, it has immediately launched a round of discussions and self-examination… The DPP is a political party that is very capable of engaging in self-scrutiny and criticism… Such a capacity for self-scrutiny and criticism is one reason behind the DPP’s success and its election victories. People often equate the nativized path with radicalism and extremism… Actually, the nativized path refers to identification issues. It runs counter to pro-China and greater China tendencies… Taiwan consciousness and the nativized path are the core values ensuring the nation’s survival, and represent the mainstream popular will of the country… The party therefore has an obligation to stay true to this path. The fact that the majority of DPP members agreed to stick to this path suggests that the party has found its way home after being lost for a while. This is something that the people of Taiwan are happy to see.
Have you ever read such flagrantly self-deceiving, self-serving, self-congratulatory spin-control?
What could be more Ah Q than the editors of the Taipei Times imagining that if only they could “explain” what the DPP’s nativization was all about, everything would be hunky-dory? People know that the nativized path refers to identification issues. People know that the nativized path runs counter to pro-China and greater China tendencies. They don’t need the editors of the Taipei Times to “explain” that to them.
People equate the nativized path with radicalism and extremism, because the nativized path is radical and extreme. People know the DPP’s Taiwan consciousness and nativized path will not ensure the nation’s survival.
The DPP is on the wrong track. The fact that the majority of DPP members persist in sticking to this path to nowhere suggests that the party has lost its way home, again. This is hardly something the people of Taiwan are happy to see.