Tsai Ing-wen Plays the “Taiwanese Identity” Card
Taiwan, where are you?
Taiwan, what do you want?
Taiwan, where are you going?
TAIWAN NEXT 現在決定未來! / Now determines the future!
Cue cover of Iz Kamakawiwoʻole’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow”
Tsai Ing-wen (v.o.)
一九八零年代 / During the 1980s
我是在倫敦經濟學院 / I was at the London School of Economics
我的老師 / My teacher
不斷的啟發我們 / endlessly inspired us
社會中有中一條理性的道路 / Society has a rational path
有一個扛起責任的政府 / a government that bears responsibility
打造一個均富永續的國家 / that forges an equitable and enduring nation
台灣要走向世界 / Taiwan must walk toward the world
我是台灣人 / I am Taiwanese
我是蔡英文 / I am Tsai Ing-wen
TAIWAN NEXT 現在決定未來! / Now determines the future!
Tsai Ing-wen Plays the “Taiwanese Indentity” Card
by Bevin Chu
July 14, 2011
Tsai Ing-wen, DPP candidate for Republic of China President in 2012, has played the “Taiwanese Identity” card.
Watch this slickly made campaign commercial, commissioned by Tsai Ing-wen’s campaign committee. But don’t be fooled. The impeccably professional production values, replete with a cover of Iz Kamakawiwoʻole’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” mask deeply repugnant psychological attitudes.
Tsai’s concluding remarks in the commercial are: “I am Taiwanese, I am Tsai Ing-wen.”
Tsai’s opponent is incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou (KMT), who was born in Hong Kong.
Many native English speakers unfamiliar with politics on Taiwan, especially those living in the US, may not fully appreciate what Tsai is getting at. They may have difficulty discerning her subtext. They may find it hard to read between the lines.
To better understand what Tsai Ing-wen is really saying, imagine the same commercial in the US, run by white supremacist David Duke, running against a Barack Obama type “outsider,” someone cast as “not one of us.” Imagine Duke concluding with: “I am American, I am David Duke.”
No one would have the slightest difficulty understanding what Duke was getting at. Everyone would know Duke was implying that his opponent was “not an American, not a white American.”
And so it is with Tsai Ing-wen, the DPP, and the Taiwan independence movement. They remain motivated, today in 2011, as they have been for the past four decades, by atavistic identity politics and petty ethnic hatred.
The more rabidly fundamentalist supporters of Tsai Ing-wen, the DPP, and the Taiwan independence movement are unguarded in their speech. They scream about how “Taiwanese bulls” will exterminate “Chinese pigs,” at the top of their lungs.
Tsai however, gives their barnyard bigotry a kinder, gentler face, the way genteel white supremacists such as Peter Brimelow give white racism a kinder, gentler face.
The sad fact is, DPP leaders and the Taiwan independence movement are motivated at their psychological and emotional core, not by any longing for “democracy, freedom, and human rights,” but by their compulsion to craft a “Taiwanese ethnic and national identity.”
The central defect at the heart of the Taiwan independence movement is not practical. The central defect at the heart of the Taiwan independence movement is moral. The central defect at the heart of the Taiwan independence movement is its self-hating “We’re Taiwanese, not Chinese” identity politics.
As Sisy Chen, former DPP Public Relations Director noted, “The DPP is the KKK of Taiwan.” As Cheng Li-wen, former DPP National Assembly Member noted, “I never wanted to believe that the DPP was racist, but it is.”
Make no mistake. The KMT was indeed at one time guilty of gross abuses. These abuses were committed by a government against its own citizens.
They were typical of abuses committed by countless governments against their own citizens. They must be harshly condemned, and have been harshly condemned, even by KMT leaders.
Tsai, the DPP, and the Taiwan independence movement, however, knowingly and deliberately misrepresent these abuses. They misrepresent them as abuses committed by “one tribe against another, different tribe.” As abuses committed by “one people against another, different people.” As abuses committed by “mainlanders against natives.” And ultimately, as abuses committed by “Chinese against Taiwanese.”
Why do they engage in this flagrant misrepresentation of the facts?
Because they need a rationale for their ethnic identity based project of nation building, for the creation of a Hoklo Chauvinist themed “Republic of Taiwan,” and have no qualms about lying to achieve that goal.
In 2004 for example, a delegation of ministers from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, a long time abettor of Taiwan independence, paid an emergency visit to DPP elder Shen Fu-hsiung. Shen was under pressure to spill the beans, and testify that First Lady Wu Shu-cheng had accepted huge cash bribes from a prominent businessman.
What textual truth did these devout Christians share with him? They solemnly assured Shen that it was not a sin to lie as long as it was in a good cause. In other words, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, unless of course it advances Taiwan independence.”
Tsai Ing-wen has marketed herself as a reformer whose mission it is to upgrade the DPP. Sad to say, she has done no such thing. Instead, the DPP has downgraded Tsai Ing-wen, bringing her down to its level.
Assuming of course that Tsai Ing-wen was not already at their level from the beginning.
The following is a recent UDN News editorial on Tsai Ing-wen’s “I am Taiwanese, I am Tsai Ing-wen” campaign commercial.
Decoding Tsai Ing-wen’s “I am Taiwanese.”
United Daily News editorial
Translated by Bevin Chu
July 21, 2011
“I am Taiwanese, I am Tsai Ing-wen,” This declaration means that “Ma Ying-jeou is not Taiwanese.” It means also that “They are not Taiwanese.” That is, those who support Ma are “not Taiwanese.” Tsai’s declaration does not just divide Ma from Tsai. It divides society as well.
Just exactly what is Ma Ying-jeou? According to Green Camp political logic, Ma Ying-jeou is a “mainlander.” By implication, Ma Ying-jeou is “Chinese.” By further implication, he is a “Chi-Com fellow traveler.” Context reveals meaning. Ma Ying-jeou, by implication, is “not Taiwanese.” In fact, Tsai’s declaration is merely a sanitized version of “Chinese pigs, get the hell back to China.” According to Green Camp logic, Ma Ying-jeou stands for a “foreign regime,” for “eventual reunification,” and for “pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan.” Therefore Ma Ying-jeou is “not Taiwanese,” By implication he is “Chinese,” just like “those people” on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. Therefore Green Camp political rhetoric often equates the China Nationalist Party with the Chinese Communist Party. Lashing out at the Kuomintang means lashing out at the Chinese Communists. Sometimes it even equates the Republic of China with the Peoples Republic of China. Opposition to the ROC is hence equated with opposition to the PRC.
The Republic of China government has scant wherewithal currently to represent China as a whole. This is primarily the fault of Beijing. Few people on Taiwan identify themselves as “Chinese.” This too is primarily the fault of Beijing. Therefore when Taiwan independence advocates incite “ethnic struggles,” they spin them as showdowns between “Taiwanese” on the one side, and “Chinese” on the other. On Taiwan, being labeled “Chinese” is now the equivalent of being a “Chinese” person from the other side of the Taiwan Strait. The term “Taiwanese” is no longer merely an antonym for “Mainlander.” That merely invokes the issue of “ethnicity,” or more accurately, provincial origin. Today the term “Taiwanese” has been transformed into an antonym for “Chinese.” That invokes the issue of “national identity.” According to the self-styled “Taiwanese” in today’s Democratic Progressive Party, the Republic of China is a “foreign regime.” Ma Ying-jeou is a “Territorial Governor,” and supporters of the Republic of China are “Chinese.” By implication, opposition to Taiwan independence is opposition to Taiwan. Opposition to Taiwan independence is “lack of love for Taiwan.” Opposition to Taiwan independence is proof positive that one is “not Taiwanese.” This is the clear and unambiguous subtext behind Tsai Ing-wen’s declaration, “I am Taiwanese,”
But champions of this rhetorical framework must prove that Taiwan independence is the only way to save Taiwan, and the only way to demonstrate one’s love for Taiwan. Unfortunately for them, Taiwan independence is a movement whose time has come and gone. Since martial law was lifted, Taiwan has been subjected to over 20 years of internal and external shocks. These shocks swept Taiwan independence into the dustbin of history. With their ringing declarations that “I am Taiwanese,” Tsai Ing-wen and DPP officials are encouraging Taiwan independence supporters to cling to their delusions. They are inciting social divisions. In fact, Tsai and the DPP no longer have the chutzpah to openly champion Taiwan independence. Otherwise, Tsai Ing-wen would have come right out and declared, “I am a champion of Taiwan independence. I am Tsai Ing-wen!”
This is the pathetic reality behind this political farce. Chinese from the other side of the Taiwan Strait have become “Mainland tourists.” They have become Taiwan’s “sixth ethnic group,” second only to foreign spouses. Tsai Ing-wen was encouraging delusions of Taiwan independence. Why else would she revive the long dead Taiwan independence mantra, “I am Taiwanese?” Since she insists on reviving the “I am Taiwanese” mantra, why not use the more common phrase, “My Nation of Taiwan compatriots?” Why not come right out and champion Taiwan independence?
This has long been the plight of the Democratic Progressive Party. It flirts with Taiwan independence, but does not dare openly champion Taiwan independence. Unfortunately, Tsai Ing-wen remains trapped within this dilemma of self-delusion. Tsai Ing-wen opposes the 1992 consensus. She opposes ECFA. She opposes “politically motivated procurements.” All her positions are based on Taiwan independence political and economic logic. But when all is said and done, she cannot publicly champion Taiwan independence. Tsai Ing-wen remains trapped. She can flirt with Taiwan independence, but she cannot openly promote Taiwan independence. In which case, what are we to make of her “Taiwan Next” gimmick?
Three years ago, Tsai Ing-wen became Democratic Progressive Party Chairman. She clearly hoped to shrug off this albatrosss around her neck. In March 2009, she issued a manifesto entitled, “Defend Taiwan with a New Concept of Nativism.” She said “Some people have unintentionally [sic] defined Nativism far too narrowly. They have invested it with a specific meaning. Their narrow definition of Nativism is at odds with our need to unite for our collective survival.” What does Tsai Ing-wen plan to do with her “I am Taiwanese” TV spot, which intentionally defines Nativism ar too narrowly.
DPP officials can no longer talk through their hats. They can no longer treat the term “Taiwanese” as their private property. Taiwan independence advocates can not longer treat the term “Taiwanese” as their private property, And finally, Tsai Ing-wen has no right to treat the term “Taiwanese” as her private property. Taiwan independence is an ideology that can only create chaos on Taiwan. It cannot save Taiwan. Therefore, it is not a means by which one can demonstrate “love for Taiwan.” Taiwan independence advocates must cease using the terms “Republic of China” and “Nation of Taiwan” to divide the nation, They must cease using the declaration that “I am Taiwanese (whereas you are not)” to divide Taiwan.
Some people may persist in using such terms as “love for Taiwan” and “Save Taiwan” to define who is “Taiwanese.” Perhaps we should compare Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen. Which of the two has demonstrated greater allegiance to the nation’s Constitution? Which of the two has crafted a cross-Strait policy that has benefitted the public on Taiwan? Which of the two deserves the honorific “Taiwanese” more? Perhaps we should let the public decide.
Tsai Ing-wen did not say “I am a champion of Taiwan independence, I am Tsai Ing-wen.” She was afraid even to whisper it. Why do DPP officials insist on flirting with Taiwan independence, when they are afraid to champion it?
2011.07.21 02:32 am