Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kuomintang wins Taiwan election

The Kuomintang party has defeated the Democratic Progressive Party, which has advocated independence for the island nation, by an unexpectedly large margin. "Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-Jeou told a victory celebration that the party had captured 81 of the 113 seats, beating predictions from analysts that it would win about 75 seats." The Kuomintang's victory apparently opens the way to more business ties with the mainland.

The Democratic Progressive Party was "unwilling to lift restrictions on certain business ties -- for example by maintaining caps on Taiwanese investments in China. Mr. Chen has also opposed allowing Chinese investment in Taiwanese companies." Now, with the Kuomintang in power, those restrictions will probably ease.

The Taipei Times claims that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) loss was the result of a structural effect in the way coalitions are formed within parliament and does mean a popular landslide against the DPP's policies. "The interesting thing is that the DPP achieved a higher proportion of the district vote (38.17 percent) than in legislative elections four years ago, when it received 35.7 percent of the vote. Its party proportional vote was also marginally higher -- at 36.91 percent. The main reasons for the KMT's landslide victory are instead the distributive nature of the new system and how it forced KMT-aligned local factions to cooperate with one another." The DPP truly lost the election, but not by as much as the margin indicated.

Elsewhere in the Taipei Times editorial writers expressed their worst fear: the idea that Taiwan would slowly become a Mainland colony under the Kuomintang management.

Yes, cross-strait tensions will lessen, but only because a Ma administration will have moved toward surrendering Taiwan's sovereignty.

Perhaps the KMT will agree to outlaw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Perhaps the KMT will use its majority to adopt China's "Anti-Secession" Law in Taiwan and use it to suppress any talk of independence. Perhaps once again talk of independence will become a crime and DPP members may become targets of arrest. Taiwan will once again become a one-party town. And it will no longer be Taiwan. It will become Chinese Taipei, an island built around a city. With the lowering of all barriers to investment in China, Taiwan will lose all of its industry to China and become the Honolulu of China, a mere tourist island, where international fame comes from its betelnut beauties. For many people, that may be the only job left, after all the high-tech jobs have fled to China.

What the recent election has revealed is that the Battle for Taiwan was really being fought in the markets as much as in the skies and water around the island. Once the DPP, which had "its roots in the liberal opposition to the Kuomintang's former one-party rule structure" had made enough political mistakes, the time was ripe for the Kuomintang, which while committed to Taiwanese independence is also wedded to the idea of "One China", to retake the wheel of state. But "One China" under the current context can only mean "One China" under Beijing, not Taipei.

Whether or not the Mainland has won a huge strategic victory is something that analysts are probably considering now.


Blogger always right said...

To win with a large margin over the recumbent party, there must be "vast" dissatisfactions among the populace.

Maybe they’ve seen some writings on the wall, i.e., Reunification with communist China, second half of this year.

This is a step to minimize real military conflict? Whether it works or not, depends on mainland China all along. If they have more and more unrest within, they may have to use Taiwan to sidetrack attention anyway. Is it worth it to start (or speed up) the inevitable conflict with the US?

1/12/2008 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

One way or the other, the people have spoken. This is why elections must be run scrupulousy fairly. So that everyone knows that the people have in fact spoken.

1/12/2008 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Kuomintang is of course Chiang Kai-Shek's old party. Dunno if it remains the "conservative" party tho -- labels being so mutable.

1/12/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

This is one of those extremely rare posts by Wretchard which leaves one puzzled about just what is the significance of the event. Usually there is some devastatingly insightful analysis. Rats.

I guess a body would have to have followed developments among Mainland China, Taiwan, and the US for a good while to know what's what.

Kuomintang is a name that reverberates with long-standing animus for the Communists, but I don't know if that fire has been kept stoked.

Anyone know more? (guess I'll have to do some danged research myself...)

1/12/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Take it from ol' bob it means no war and sooner or later Taiwan is absorbed by China peacefully. You heard it here first.

1/12/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Given the relative success of the Hong Kong experiment and the astounding economic growth of the mainland, I have wondered why the Taiwanese were not pursuing a reunification deal.

The PRC should be willing to give them good terms, maybe better terms than they gave HK. What does PRC get? They get technology, capital, a well trained work force and, what is most important to them, the honor of reuniting China.

What does Taiwan get access to? markets, labor and relief from maintaining a large military establishment, and what is going to be very important, reunification with families and ancestral homes.

The deal would be stretched out over a very long time. The first steps would be economic and military.

I would be looking for an announcement before the Olympics and a united Olympic team as the first tangible step.

1/12/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

I think the elections were a reflection of economics trumping international politics. In several key respects, the Taiwan economy has stagnated during the Chen Shui-bian administration. The KMT's victory seems like a statement by voters that the independence issue should take a back seat to economics.

The KMT is still a vastly corrupt organization, with single-party state leanings. However, the KMT had delivered the economic goodies. It seems that the Taiwenese voters are ready to make a deal with the devil in order to make a living.

The DPP offered cleaner government (relatively speaking) and a tough pro-Taiwan stance, but also brought incompetence (after 50+ of sole KMT rule, no DPP members could ever learn how to run a government).

So the Taiwanese have probably decided that corrupt competence is better than clean(er) incompetence.

The real wild card is the KMT's flirtation with the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. During their time in the wilderness, top KMT party members (Including Ma Ying-jiu) have develop ties and support within the CCP. Now we need to see whether the KMT decides to be fully absorbed into the mainland elite structure.

Since China has opened up, the ruling philosophies of the CCP and KMT have certainly converged - delivery of economic opportunity, in exchange for unswerving loyalty in all things. The KMT could possibly return to the bad old days of the police state, which was not unlike the current mainland.

As for making terms with mainland China, the problem for the Taiwanese people (as opposed to KMT party members) is that the CCP is notorious for ignoring their own terms once the deal is done. Hong Kong was given fair terms, which have been slowly and steadily undermined by Beijing since 1997.

1/12/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

The KMT was a Leninist party and Stalin always preferred Chiang to Mao. The dispute between the CCP and the KMT was a sibling rivalry. Almost literally so given the links through the fabulous Soong sisters. Americans bought a romantic image of Free China as our little brother. It was never true but Mao was always infinitely worse. The CCP has no legitimacy except for inertia. They hold on to power because they hold onto power. This while promising Greater Han prosperity and domination over East Asia. The role of the CCP is technically fascist. The DPP threatens China by claiming that Taiwan should be a normal nation. That means that China also would be just a normal nation with citizens who have normal rights and a government that would need to justify it's power through the consent of the governed. The KMT by persisting in the fantasy that there is one China that Taiwan is part of reduces itself to the harmless loser party in a inter-party dispute for the control of all of China. That claim does not threaten the CCP, it actually strengthens the CCP's argument for holding onto power.

1/12/2008 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

If China had attempted to conquer Taiwan militarily, we would have been bound to defend it. If the Taiwanese want to sell their sovereignity to the Chinese, I say "more power to them"!

WW IV averted?

1/12/2008 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

'Feels' like a step in the right direction, tho. The mainland is liberalizing, albeit in fits and starts. The only reason to prefer war to reunification would be if the opposite were true.

This globalization thing which seems so abstract and but one in a basket of issues, is actually the most powerful force on the planet, in the reality of a couple billion third-worlders who for the first time ever are no longer living their lives without hope of ever chasing the wolf away from the door.

1/12/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Filipino Monkey' may be behind radio threat in Gulf
Navy women — a helicopter pilot hailing a tanker, for example — who are overheard on the radio are said to suffer particularly degrading treatment.

Several Navy ship drivers interviewed by Navy Times are raising the possibility that the Monkey, or an imitator, was indeed featured in that video.

Rick Hoffman, a retired captain who commanded the cruiser Hue City and spent many of his 17 years at sea in the Gulf was subject to the renegade radio talker repeatedly, often without pause during the so-called "Tanker Wars" of the late 1980s.

"For 25 years there's been this mythical guy out there who, hour after hour, shouts obscenities and threats," he said. "He could be tied up pierside somewhere or he could be on the bridge of a merchant ship."

And the Monkey has stamina.

"He used to go all night long. The guy is crazy," he said. "But who knows how many Filipino Monkeys there are? Could it have been a spurious transmission? Absolutely."

Furthermore, Hoffman said radio signals have a way of traveling long distances in that area. "Under certain weather conditions I could hear Bahrain from the Strait of Hormuz."

1/12/2008 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But who knows how many Filipino Monkeys there are? "
is the question!

1/12/2008 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's no longer available on the Honolulu Advertiser Website:
Guess it didn't meet PC Standards for the archives.
(phone probly rang off the hook!)

1/12/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I've listened to the voice repeatedly. The first transmission "I am kaming tu yu" could conceivably be from a Filipino accented voice. The second transmission, "we will explo-wid aft fiften minits" contains several oddities of pronunciation. First of all, the "explo-wid" phrase is not the typical way a Filipino speaker would say "explode" unless he was from the Visayas or Mindanao. Even then the chances are he'd say "explud". The second oddity is that the speaker has a full "f" sound. Many Filipinos lose the "f" and replace it with a "p" or a "ph". In fact, there is no "f" in the national alphabet. Having said that, many Filipinos can actually manage an "f" sound because of the linguistic influences of Spanish and Hollywood culture.

If I were to guess, I'd rate the chances of the mystery speaker being of Filipino origin at something like fifty-fifty. If he were a Filipino, I'd look for someone who was working in exposure to British English or a Visayan, possibly a Muslim Filipino. That's where the "explo-wid" would come from.

1/12/2008 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The tone though, is very similar to the kind of voices one used to hear from crank callers. It's what might be described as the "Ben David" voice, after a deceased horror drama voice talent that was favored in radio dramas involving the supernatural.

1/12/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You remind me of a question:
On these Islands, it is common for young men to lift their shirt a bit and idly rub their stomachs.
Not just when no one is watching either!
Is this native to Hawaii, or did that migrate from the Philippines, also?

1/12/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

It's a class thing. The upper and upper middle classes would never lift up their shirts. However, back when, it was not uncommon for day laborer or street gang thug or those who ran with them to knot up their shirts above the solar plexus after a meal. Nobody rubbed his stomach that I can recall, unless it was in parody. The shirt-raising routine was largely related, I think, to the extreme heat of the tropics. Related subjects include wearing your shirt as a hat, tying a handkerchief around your head before engaging in a fight and smoking a cigarette when removing the trash.

1/12/2008 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'll be sure not to inadvertently tie a handkerchief around my head!

1/12/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

Buddy Larson,

The mainland is really not liberalizing. The government allows people with the right connections to make money. That's about it. There are no real rights to speak of, and everything you have can be taken away in a moment if someone with better connections decides they need something of yours.

Taiwan is truly liberalizing. Now we will see if liberalization can survive the the return to power of the KMT.

1/12/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

These Pages have a bunch of great videos by Kristof in China and Korea
He went back to see his wife's village, which now has 10 million souls!

China's Genocide Olympics

1/12/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I hear ya, Polybius -- I was just going on the explosive growth of the middle class over the last decade or three. Any 21st century system materially oppressing the merchants and professionals has certainly got a tough row to hoe in the coming years.

1/12/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I don't know about that, the Democrat Party seems to be doing pretty well.
Course, you did say 21st Century!

1/12/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Look what our old friend Crooks been up to, Buddy!

Craigslist Sex Ad Scammer Seeks to Silence Critics

Says he wants to become a real Prick of a Lawyer

Whatta Guy!

He's also got a Holocaust Denier Website!

1/12/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If there's any justice awaiting a party which lies wholesale to the people -- it WILL have a tough row to hoe in the 21st century.

1/12/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

hmm--fraid i ain't up to date on the guy -- looks like the DTMB ("don't tase me, bro!") syndrome, tho. Poor kids raised on tv -- American Idles.

1/12/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I got a Don't Tase Me T-Shirt from Dennis Miller!

1/12/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ahh, dennis miller -- fully 20% of all the brainpower in hollywood!

1/12/2008 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Several Items that have caught my attention about Mainland China were widely reported except in the U.S.:

1) About ten years ago a news article pointed out that Mainland China at that time harvested the internal organs of at least 10,000 of its citizens executed for criminal acts each year, and made them available for sale as transplant material on the world market. The wording of the article made it clear that ten thousand was the total number of those whose organs were collected, not the total of all criminals executed. That figure must be reckoned to be higher.

2) Within the last three years there have been reports that Mainland China, having realized that human skin can be processed to collect its collagens, has begun skinning the corpses of executed criminals, and selling the processed human collagens to European cosmetics manufacturers. One Chinese doctor reported that he was even forced to begin skinning one freshly shot criminal before he was dead.

3) To discourage city folk from keeping unlicensed pet dogs, Chinese authorities organize groups to locate such pets and beat them to death in front of their owners.

4) Google, having established itself as one of the premier commercial exploiters of the internet's powers, made shameful concessions to the government of China, agreeing to set up software allowing the Chinese to suppress unwanted sites, monitor suspicious sites, collect information about users, and generally use its power to prevent the internet in China becoming a vehicle for liberalization of its subjects freedoms. (I have to wonder if Google's owners are talking to the Taliban... If you ARE listening, Google, I ALWAYS LIKED YOU BEST! Really.)

Anecdotally, I have a close relative and several friends from college who have travelled inside China, and they have very sobering --- i.e., troubling --- stories about the pollution China is spewing into the atmosphere and landscape in its attempt to catch up to the West in building and operating factories for consumer goods.

I don't suppose much of that would be changed if Taiwan merges with Mainland China...

I leave it to you, gentle readers, to decide if these items are good or bad.

1/12/2008 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Here is another recent example of China's continuing liberalization.

1/12/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fiddler, know thine Enemy!

1/12/2008 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Google is now running a check on Fiddler, re:
Why Sobriety is Troubling.

1/12/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Howdy, Doug.

Before I follow your link, I have one of my own...

(Could it be the same link?)

Tonight's Drudge Report has a link to an article in the UK Telegraph, indicating that the new PM Gordon Brown is promoting rules that would permit hospitals to remove organs from patients (after death) ***WITHOUT*** prior permission.

Of course, you can see where this is going.

It was all described back in the 1960's by SF writer Larry Niven, God Bless'im.

1/12/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Okay, Doug.

As I type my posts, I'm sitting here immersed in a bathtub of warm gin & tonic.

Good for the skin, and wards off the effects of Malaria, too.

I'm testing my theory that osmotic transfer will keep me at a comfortable Blood Alcohol Level, replacing the ethanol at approximately the same rate as the liver metabolizes it.

Seriously, are you suggesting my posts are diagnostic of some cognitive impairment?

1/12/2008 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

By the way, Doug, thanks for the links illuminating the shenanigans of Michael Cook.

The last is to Electronic Frontiers Foundation, and indicates that Cook agreed, among other concessions, to take a course in Copyright law.

That would be a good thing for a lot of folks.

For anyone interested in learning about statutory Copyright, I recommend the book "This Business of Music." I read the first edition, volume one, almost 30 years ago when I was just getting started as a film producer. The perspective and information has helped me repeatedly, as often as not, just to make sense of my choices and how to avoid running afoul of someone else's rights.

1/12/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Why lookee here, it's this guy again, he who so loveth the people he breaketh their savings banks foreth them!

(ref my ripost above about the "lying" party)

1/12/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I just put this link
Aldous Huxley 1962 Trasnscript of Speech at Berkley
in the next thread, but you two at least, will find it interesting and relevant, I think.
Mat found it.
It's been 50 years since I read the book and some of his essays, I'd forgotten what an insightful, clear-thinking guy he was.
Wish he were here, could comment on Soros Sid Vicious and the gang.

1/13/2008 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Meanwhile, Fiddler, Calif wants to control everybody's thermostats!
Vote Democrat or Freeze!
Very effective.

1/13/2008 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In China, Growth at Whose Cost?
Nation's Poorest Seem to Be Getting Left Behind,
Raising Sticky Questions for Communist Party

1/13/2008 02:22:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

good links, doug -- but where the hell is Fiddler, California ?

1/13/2008 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Mr. Larsen, I'm no longer *IN* California, but I've lived there for significant portions of my life. I'm now on the Eastern Seaboard, but my diurnal cycle seems to be set to Pacific time. Does that count?

I have fiercely resisted --- although not always successfully --- what I regard as the self-evident, screaming, cranium-detonating nuttiness of California. Possibly this is because I have contributed my share to that nuttiness, being a shameless musician and animator. One *can* be a touchy-feely artiste and yet be able to calculate the area under a curve.

It's hard to resist the urgency of California Culture, though, since the ECONOMY of the state ranks among the top ten or so in the ENTIRE WORLD, so all the jobs I seem to be qualified for are located there...

And to remind everyone how all this personal chat connects directly back to the original thread, California's economy is tied by the wrists, ankles and several other points to that of Taiwan!!!!!!!

1/13/2008 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...

I was from Taiwan originally, even though I haven't lived there for more than 20 years. Given my background, you can be sure that I am very biased.

I'll admit that's a long time (I still have family there) to know exactly what's current in Taiwan. I still say the Taiwanese' wish of this "peaceful reunification solution" with mainland china is misguided at the very least. I am not surprised at this timing (if not now, soon). This is the last chance for the KMT "old guards" and their chinese counterparts(must be in their 80s, 90s) to see their dreams come true.

Another thing people here don't understand is what life is like to live under complete and total government control. [Forget about the looneys' screech about Bush's dictatorship.] And "what official version" is permitted to project outside.

Think about that for a moment. Nothing (absolutely nothing) is worth the price (short term gain) of signing away your basic rights and your children's, and their children's...

1/13/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

South Koreans dream of a unified Korea. Many Taiwanese are seduced by China's wealth and economic growth in the face of their own stagnant economy. Many in South America are convinced Hugo Chavez has found the key to economic prosperity, even as inflation rates top 22% annually.

A recent survey in Europe found that more than half the people view the United States as the gravest threat to world peace.

Crazy world we live in, isn't it?

1/13/2008 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The less one invests these political memes with credibility, though, the less crazy the world seems.

Totalitarian minds worldwide and top to bottom are going balls-out with "perception is reality". It's in play everywhere one looks -- except in one's own mind, where the salvation is generated.

1/13/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Origin of Fiddler CA sobriety comment:

"Anecdotally, I have a close relative and several friends from college who have travelled inside China, and they have very sobering ---
i.e., troubling --- stories

1/13/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

always right:
Be sure to check my Huxley link, complete control was his interest, and the Chi-coms merit his comments along w/Hitler.
(AND his whole danged family were Geniuses, so he brings a unique perspective!)

1/13/2008 05:56:00 PM  

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