By

P. Na

 

It is the second year of Taiwan’s first female president Tsai yin-wen’s Democratic Progressive party(DPP) as a ruling party. Towards mid-term of a four-year presidency, which both parliaments in control by DPP for the first time in the history, Tsai yin-wen’s supporting rate has dropped dramatically from higher than 60% in 2016 to lower than 30% now.  Following U.S. mid-term election last week, Taiwan will hold its mid-term election on 24th November, which might be a game changer for the whole Taiwan society and even to the East Asia situation.

 

A history of blue and green
Similar as in the U.S., Taiwan’s political map can be divided into blue cities/towns and green cities/towns, represent Kuomingtang(KMT) and DPP dominant respectively. The blue stands for Kuomingtang and their alliance parties which against the Taiwan independence, support the notion of the Republic of China, recognise their identities as inheritors of Chinese culture. The green stands for DPP and their alliance parties advocate the independence.

KMT is the founding party of Republic of China back in 1919, which was defeated by the Communist of Mao in the Mainland China in 1949 and has been the ruling party of Taiwan since then until their first defeat by DPP in 2000. Two terms later, KMT gained back the power in 2008 but lost it again to DPP in 2016.  Both defeats are caused by the inefficiency of the KMT party governance and its internal struggles.
According to the constitution of the Republic of China, it has the sovereignty over not only Taiwan and its surrounding islands, but also the mainland China, which created the “who represents China” issue.  The U.S government acknowledged this conflict between two sides of the strait and decided “not to challenge”[1].

DPP, on the other hand, is a young party with only 32 years of history. It is a local party founded for the idealism of democracy and constitutionalism after 38 years under the martial law, which was qualified as the longest imposition of martial law by a regime in the whole world. DPP claims in its party charter that Taiwan people enjoys sovereignty over the territory of Taiwan island and its surrounding islands only, however, under the name of the Republic of China.

Apparently, the fundamental difference between the blue and the green is their Mainland China policy (or “the Cross-Strait policy”). But where the future will be under the leadership of either party is not always clear to the voters.

 

Will KMT turn the sky into blue again?
Kaohsuing, a south Taiwan city, one of the six largest cities in Taiwan, are facing the biggest fanaticism for one KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu. Kaohsuing has been a typical “green” city which supports DPP for the past two decades, however, this trend is likely to be stopped by KMT on 24th November’s mayor election. After 20 years of governance by DPP in Kaohsuing and 2 years of central governance with absolute domain by DPP in the parliaments, KMT has left nothing but a weak and loose organisation in Kaohsuing. Han Kuo-yu, as the KMT candidate for mayor campaign, was considered to be hopeless. But he gained the attention of the voters not only in Gaohsuing but in the whole Taiwan in just a few weeks by his unconventional way of speech and identical slogan that “Gaohsuing has became a poor and old city” and “Gaohsuing people do not owe DPP” after 20 years of governance.

Indeed, once the most developed city in south Taiwan, Gaohsuing is not doing well in its economy and is facing talent loss now. It is easy to blame DPP for this for its two-decade long governance. But as the political commentators pointed out over and over again, what makes Han Guo-yu or KMT great again is poor governance of DPP especially in the central level by Tsai yin-wen for the past two years. And the fundamental reason for this failure by Tsai yin-wen is her Cross-Strait policy.

The Cross-Strait policy is always the essential debate for president election in Taiwan. Tsai yin-wen won 2016 election with a magnificent number of votes from the blue side with the claim to “maintain the current situation” in her presidency, which is a phrase used by previous KMT president, meaning no independence, no unification and no use of force during the presidential term as their position towards the Mainland China. However, after elected Tsai yin-wen refused to accept the notion of “1992 Consensus”, which was accepted by both Mainland China and Taiwan in a 1992 meeting that there is only one China, however, similar as the “who represents China” problem, here the meaning of China were understand differently by both parties. Beijing believes this is a signal for DPP to abandon the hope of a unification future, and stops the official communication to Taiwan government, narrows its international space and attracts Taiwan people to live, study and doing business for granting many preferential measures to them.

Taiwan people feel the difficulty to develop without a normalised relationship with the Mainland China, and more importantly, DPP does not act as democratic as it claimed in its party charter when it faces the challenge from the outside. Most of the policies adopted by DPP in the past two years are obvious as to reduce the influence, control or even the assets of KMT. Accountability and judicial independence are not protected under the DPP governance.

Both KMT and DPP parties have fatal problems, the people is losing faith to both parties, the current Taipei(capital) mayor is an independent candidate. However, after four year of governance, this independent mayor is being accusing of being green in substance but said a lot to please the blue voters.

There is not much choice for the Taiwan people now, the flipping over between blue and green may be the best choice they have to urge the politicians to find a neutral but not opposed way. Let’s wait and see what will happen by the end of this month.

 

[1] The Sino-US Three Communiqués: Shanghai Communiqué(1972),  Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations(1979), August 17 communiqué(1982)

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