Showing posts with label ma_yingjiu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ma_yingjiu. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tsai (or Han's) popularity is not a measure of support for unification

Screen Shot 2019-09-19 at 6.07.13 PM


Of course it's silly to say that the events in Hong Kong haven't played any role in Tsai's popularity resurgence. They've obviously had an effect, though I'd still disagree that they are "singlehandedly" responsible for reasons I discussed on Sunday. Tsai's improved marketing, Lai's primary loss, Han acting like more and more of a racist idiot who doesn't do his job, the passage of same-sex marriage and other domestic events have also played a role.

The bigger point is this, however. Election results in Taiwan aren't the best way to measure how open Taiwan is to unification. Polls of Tsai or Han's popularity aren't either. 

Despite this, people looking for some sort of 'in' to say that China is 'hurting its chances' of winning over Taiwan, which implies China had a chance to begin with, tend to look at electoral politics to support their arguments. That's exactly what happened in the Bloomberg piece that annoyed me so much on Sunday.

The way to measure whether China has a chance of 'convincing' Taiwan is to look at more stable long-term data regarding how Taiwanese view themselves and their country.

That is, Taiwanese identity and Taiwanese independence (de facto or status quo, regardless of name). Regardless of who they vote for, if a sense of Taiwanese identity and nationhood is strong, you can be sure that China could hire all the free candy vans in the world, and Taiwan would not budge.


And that's exactly what we've seen. Sure, pro-unification half-burnt department store mannequin former president Ma Ying-jeou won in 2008 and 2012, but Taiwanese identity only grew, and attempts at pushing Taiwan closer to China were met with massive protests that destroyed his legacy. Even when Taiwanese are open to closer economic cooperation, thinking it's not a big threat, they're still not interested in unification.

Similarly, Tsai's popularity could be in the gutter and it wouldn't change the fact that Taiwanese identity recovered quickly from its hiccup, starting in around 2018. Even when that number began to dip, it never came close to being overtaken by "Chinese" (or even "both Taiwanese and Chinese"). 

In fact, Han could win in 2020, and it still wouldn't change that. It makes the landscape more dangerous, as he and his CCP/KMT handlers would probably take that as a mandate to head in that direction. But there's no reason to believe that Taiwanese identity will take a hit any more than it did either time Ma won, which means there's no reason to believe that China's 'chances' of convincing Taiwan to move toward unification will improve either.

It's just deeply simplistic to think of Taiwanese politics as two boxes voters can tick: "the KMT/unification/Chinese identity" on one side, and "the DPP/independence/Taiwanese identity" on the other. There are strong correlations, with China being the biggest cleavage (heheh, cleavage), but to assume that a vote for the DPP is a vote for independence and a vote for the KMT is a vote for unification is such a jejune way of looking at it. 


So why do people believe otherwise? I have no idea, but I suspect they think it just makes for a clickable lede.

Anyway, there are lots of reasons why who wins in 2020 isn't a good measure of support for independence or unification, so please allow me to opinionate in your general direction about them. 

The first is that not every independence supporter sees China as the biggest threat to Taiwan's sovereignty, as Frozen Garlic so insightfully pointed out. I won't summarize his post as it's not that long - go read it. I'd characterize the voters I'm about to describe a little differently, though. While his 'fundamentalists' might feel angry at the DPP for promising nationhood and failing to deliver, there's a subset that is willing to vote for the KMT if they are convinced unification is off the table. During the Ma years, I knew a few of these: generally green, had voted for and grown disappointed with Chen, and then voted for Ma to 'punish' the DPP while at the same time assuming that, as Ma was the US's preferred candidate, that the US would have Taiwan's back.

And yet, these voters clearly don't see the KMT or the ROC military as potent symbols of the old regime, being more like the pragmatists Frozen Garlic describes. A part of why they were willing to vote for Ma was that they saw the KMT as a viable political party that had evolved with democratization. 

I am hopeful, at least, that most of this "I'm green but Ma is acceptable" crowd is not going to vote for Han this time around.

Then there are the true fundamentalists - the "Never Tsai" people who do see the KMT and the ROC colonial structure as the biggest threats to Taiwanese statehood and would never vote for them - these are the folks drawn in by people like Annette Lu (so that's like, four people) or William Lai, who don't like Tsai's lack of nationalist hot air. Their refusal to vote (or voting for some last-minute third party candidate - I think James Soong is running for the 456th time) is also a factor.

But then there's another group, the ones who could potentially swing the election to Han, if it can be swung. Those are the born-and-raised deep blues who still think that Taiwan is not a part of China, or at least not the PRC. The old-school KMTers before the KMT turned red, and those who are smart enough to see Taiwan's reality clearly, but not willing to break from the party identity they inherited from their parents.

Don't laugh. I know one of these guys. The older son of a father born in China, he grew up in a military village in Taiwan. He was raised with an "ROC" identity and a sense that the KMT was an above-board political party, but his observations of life in Taiwan made him realize that Taiwan was truly a different place from China. He calls himself Taiwanese. He thinks "retaking the Mainland" is a pipe dream, and supports independence. Although he's 華獨 (a supporter of independence keeping the Republic of China framework), if a peaceful de jure independence were offered with the condition that Taiwan must be "Taiwan" rather than the "Republic of China", he would consider it "a difficult decision" but indicates a willingness to sincerely consider it as a far lesser evil than unifying with the PRC. He supports marriage equality and somewhat begrudgingly concedes that Tsai is handling China well - in fact, he has plenty of views more at home with the DPP than the KMT. He hated Chen's overt Hoklo nationalism.

And yet he intends to vote for Han. Identity is a powerful thing. 

The point is, people like him may vote as though they're pro-China, but they're not. They're anti-unification and anti-PRC (as opposed to "pro-Taiwan"), with views often constructed during their formative years in which the KMT was emphatically not "the natural ally of Beijing" (as Richard McGregor put it in Bloomberg) the way it is today.

In other words, the sort of people who can swing an election in Taiwan and put a KMT president in power are not necessarily people who will support steps toward unification.

Looking at it that way, there is no meaningful support for unification in Taiwan and there hasn't been in some decades, regardless of who wins elections. If that's the case, then events in Hong Kong have not, in fact, "ruined China's chances" with Taiwan, because those chances never existed in the first place. 


To finish this off, that's why things like this piss me off so hard: 


What if Han wins the general election and calls for “peaceful reunification” of the two Chinas [sic sic sic], based on “one country, two systems”?  Solve for the equilibrium!  I see the following options: 
1. They go ahead with the deal, and voila, one China! 
2. The system as a whole knows in advance if this is going to happen, and if it will another candidate runs in the general election, splitting the KMT-friendly vote, and Han never wins. 
2b. Han just doesn’t win anyway, even though his margin in the primary was considerable and larger than expected. 
3. The current president Tsai Ing-wen learns from Taiwanese intelligence that there are Chinese agents in the KMT and she suspends the general election and calls a kind of lukewarm martial law. 
4. Han calls for reunification [sic] and is deposed by his own military, or a civil war within the government ensues. 
5. Han foresees 2-4 and never calls for reunification [sic] in the first place.

What bugs me about this (other than the absolute howler that is #3, lol) is that none of these options includes the most obvious one. 


It allows for government intervention, party intervention and current administration intervention (again, lol) but not the actual intervention likely to occur.

In fact, here's the most likely outcome of that scenario:

Han wins, calls for unification, and faces protests so massive that they make the Sunflowers look like a school trip to learn about government.

If Han wins and attempts #1, this is almost certainly what will happen, because a vote for Han is not a vote for unification, just as a vote for Ma wasn't one, either. Forget the legislature as the seat of all the action - entire government ministries are occupied. Traffic at a standstill. Marches every weekend. Graffiti everywhere.

And because this hypothetical President Han is Beijing's toy, and would be quite serious in his attempts to allow a "peaceful" annexation, those protests grow so massive and so angry that in order to assert control (and carry out his Chinese masters' orders) Han very well might tacitly permit more police violence than Taiwanese find palatable, which is any police violence. Remember that a whole song - the other one, not the super famous "Island Sunrise" - was inspired by a few water cannons on a single night in 2014. They fight back, as Hong Kongers have done, and bam. That tsunami I warned about in my last post? That's what it is.


I don't have a conclusion. I just want you to sit there and roll that around in your mind for a bit. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

China will never 'win over' Taiwan: an anatomical discussion of dopey ledes

Untitled


Another day, another opinion piece about whether the Chinese government's reaction to the Hong Kong protests will hurt their image in Taiwan, and therefore their chances of convincing Taiwanese that closer ties or even eventual unification. This one comes from Bloomberg, a perpetual font of bad writing about Taiwan. It's become so commonplace, though - the well-founded criticism of China, backed up with some nonsense about how the Chinese government could alienate Taiwan and sour any hopes that Taiwan might willingly "return to the fold" - itself an inaccurate description of the situation.

Or, as Richard McGregor puts it in Bloomberg: 



Without a change in its approach, the Communist Party risks making the already difficult task of winning over the self-governing island next to impossible without force.... 
Amid the Hong Kong protests, the last thing the Communist Party should want is a rebuff from voters in Taiwan. Yet Beijing has shown little interest in modifying its stance. The inevitable result is that Taiwan has become even more alienated from China.... 
A decisive victory for Tsai in January’s election might chasten Beijing and cause it to return to a more consensual strategy. But the example of Hong Kong doesn’t so far give much hope that Xi will change course. If China continues to double down, the eventual denouement for Taiwan may be far more dangerous. 

What these sorts of articles universally overlook (or intentionally ignore) is that the CCP's stance and behavior only play a small-to-moderate role in Taiwan's desire for independence and lack of enthusiasm for unification. In fact, it wouldn't matter much if the CCP adopted a more conciliatory stance on Taiwan: there is no "consensual" strategy available to China because it's quite clear that Taiwan wants independence regardless.

That's not just my opinion - it's reflected in the data as well.

Poll after poll shows that deepening Taiwanese identity, which tends to go hand-in-hand with belief that Taiwan simply is independent and should remain that way. Most strikingly, these beliefs have not only blossomed since democratization in 1996, but only grew during the Ma Ying-jeou era, when the CCP was at its most conciliatory.

According to data published here, in 2008 (when China-friendly Ma took office) 64% of poll respondents said that Taiwan, even as the 'Republic of China', was an independent country, though only 22% of people thought China would use economic tools to force political concessions. According to this more detailed account, the number of people who identified as solely Taiwanese and those who identified as both Taiwanese and Chinese were both in the mid 40% range, with solely "Chinese" identification being quite low, at 3% - about the same percentage as non-respondents. This source says the same thing.

Then what happened? It was an era that some people still label as having "warming" or "closer" relations between Taiwan and China. You'd think that it would result in Taiwanese feeling closer to China as well, right?

Wrong.

Look at that data again. Taiwanese identity only increased from 2008 to 2016 - especially after the 2014 Sunflower Movement. The sense that Taiwan/the ROC was independent increased as well. Fear of China's 'conciliatory' economic gestures being guises for political force spiked, because...duh, they were.

It didn't matter how friendly China was to Taiwan. It didn't matter that Chairman Xi and President Ma got cozy in Singapore. Taiwan wasn't having it. If anything, CCP efforts to be 'nice' only exposed the truth: that none of it was sincere, and none of it came for free. All of it created greater economic dependency that would make eventual extrication under 'colder' ties more difficult, and it didn't even benefit Taiwan that much. Economic growth under Ma was not more impressive - and in some ways it was less so - than during other less 'China-friendly' administrations.

Taiwanese identity blossomed not just in response to this realization about China, but also as a part of a natural upward trajectory. That makes sense. Before democratization, it was difficult to freely form, let alone express, a true sense of identity in Taiwan. Taiwanese history was taught as a part of Chinese history in schools and you could face repercussions for expressing a different view. It's only reasonable that once those restrictions were lifted, Taiwanese people would look back at their own history - which was by and large not as a part of China, even if their ancestors came from there - and form a stronger sense of identity, which would increase over time.

It doesn't make sense that a friendlier stance from China would stem this tide, and indeed it did not.

While some of these 'Taiwan identity' numbers dropped again after Tsai assumed office in 2016, note that none of them dropped very much and all of them are on the rise again. Dipping from around 65% in 2016 back to the mid-50th percentile, and "Taiwanese and Chinese" identity experienced a slight bump from about 32% to about 38%. At the time, people worried that the Sunflower effect might be ephemeral and numbers might dip even further, but that didn't happen. Instead, sometime around 2018-2019 numbers began to rise again. The gap between "Chinese and Taiwanese" and "Taiwanese only" identity that began in 2008 - again, during China's "friendly" years! - only widened over the next eight years never came close to closing.

The reason for the change probably has something to do with Hong Kong and China's response - it would be silly to say it's not a factor. But if these poll results were released in the summer of 2019, the actual poll was probably conducted a fair bit earlier, that is, before the protests really got underway, if not entirely so. That was also around the time that Han Kuo-yu started to gain popularity among some segments of the population, and strongly turned off others - reminding them, perhaps, that games with China cannot be won and are best not played at all.

Considering this, I'd put that 2016-2018 blip down to Taiwan's natural tendency to grow critical of its leaders. Tsai was elected, the Sunflower high wore off, and now that "our person" was in office, and it was time to start nitpicking on her inevitable flaws.

It's also worth noting that during this time, "Chinese only" identity - the one most closely tied to openness to unification - did not experience a bump. In addition, if you read that Washington Post article again, you'll see that Taiwanese youth have a huge role to play. The current generation of young adults overwhelmingly considers itself Taiwanese, and those numbers don't seem to have budged much at all. Anecdotally speaking (because I have no data!), that generation was also the most strongly critical of President Tsai during the labor law and marriage equality wars. But it was also quicker to re-embrace her when the terrifying spectre of President Han began to loom, Hong Kong started getting dicey, and marriage equality finally passed.

And if you grow up simply thinking you are Taiwanese and your country is Taiwan, and there's no reason to question that because why would there be?, the chances that China could ever "win you over" are remote indeed.

So why do people still think China has a chance?

Because they're looking at only recent data, not going back to the 1990s, or even 2008. They've also been convinced by an international media that posits every issue facing Taiwan as being related to China in some way because China gets more clicks (even when they clearly not), when in many cases the reasons behind why Taiwan feels the way it does are mostly, if not entirely, domestic.

When you look at it that way and ignore the history of Taiwanese identity, things like this sound more plausible:

Over the past year, Beijing has single-handedly revived the electoral prospects of its political adversary, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party. At the turn of the year, Tsai’s approval rating was a miserable 24%. Now polls show her with more than 53% support versus about 31% for Han, whose Kuomintang is the natural ally of Beijing. That Nationalist party retains deep ties to the mainland as the former government of China until it lost a civil war to the Communists and fled to Taiwan in 1949.

When, in fact, almost everything about it - and other opinion pieces that use this data point as evidence - is wrong.

It's true that Beijing has helped Tsai to a degree, but "single-handedly" reviving her electoral prospects? I think not. Domestic issues have played just as much of, if not a greater role.

"...the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party"? True, but misleading. It makes it sound as though being pro-independence is a platform of the party and not a common, majority belief in society. That's not the case. The will of Taiwan leans toward independence, and the DPP happens to better match it than the KMT, which often has to hide its closeness to China behind obfuscatory language. Even if Han wins in 2020 and the CCP puts its "the abuser is being charming to win you back" on again, don't expect the general pro-independence sentiment to change much.

Plus, "a miserable 24%"? Rick, do you even follow Taiwanese electoral politics? 24% is pretty normal for Taiwan, and every president who has eventually won re-election (a grand total of two people so far) experienced a huge dip in their first term approval ratings. Taiwanese love to criticize their leaders, so while that wasn't a great number, it also wasn't "miserable" or even out of the ordinary. Besides, that number seems to have come from a KMT poll - unless someone has evidence to the contrary - with another non-KMT-funded poll published around the same time, in May 2019, showing her support at 33.8%. 


Let me finish by simply re-stating the obvious: articles like these are harmful to Western perceptions of Taiwan, and to Western readers' understanding of the Taiwan-China situation in general. I mean that: a good friend emailed me recently positing that China's harshness with Hong Kong might "turn Taiwanese off" to "reunification" after reading the New York Times. (He got a kind talking-to, don't worry.)

People like Richard McGregor and media outlets like Bloomberg, then, actively peddle untruths and misleading notions. The "denouement" for Taiwan was always going to be dangerous, because China might offer some economic enticements or use friendly language, but it's never going to give up on unification/annexation. It's only possible to envision a violence-free denouement if you believe that Taiwan could possibly be persuaded to embrace unification - but that's highly unlikely.


It's clear from decades of research that the Taiwanese sense of identity and national sovereignty has deep, domestically-grown roots - history, cultural evolution, geography, democracy - that anchor it firmly as a place apart. How China approaches Taiwan is just one tiny tendril of a massive banyan that neither China, nor the international media, nor Bloomberg, nor Mr. McGregor here, seem to understand.

In fact, we've seen this play out recently. When China tried to reach out to Taiwan again in hopes of raising the prospects of its flailing puppet candidate Han Kuo-yu with its "26 measures", the reaction was one of near-universal disgust. It's clear to Taiwan that when China 'buys' you, they're not the ones paying the price.

This isn't just about China's treatment of Hong Kong in particular so much as China's vision for all territories it considers to be "Chinese" in general. The only way not to see this is to assume that China's vision is fungible, and that what it offers Taiwan and Hong Kong could ever be anything other than oppression. In events like the Hong Kong revolt, all China is really doing is showing its true face. Taiwanese people aren't dumb; they see that.

So please quit it with the fearmongering that China is "driving away" Taiwan. It's not, really. Taiwan got in the car and drove its own damn self away decades ago, and it's not coming back. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Yes, Ko is using Xi's language on "one family"

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 9.29.56 AM
from ETToday


A piece by former Sunflower leader Lin Fei-fan came out today, warning of Ko's embrace of Xi Jinping's and China's oft-repeated phrase, "the two sides of the Strait are one family", essentially calling Ko's seeming doublespeak on China a strategy out of the Ma Ying-jeou playbook: insisting he's not pro-unification and then acting the opposite.

I'm already anticipating the criticism that'll flow in over such a prominent figure in Taiwanese Third Force politics essentially taking a shot at Ko as the Taipei mayoral election nears and no better pro-Taiwan candidates are running (or arguably, none who could actually win Taipei exist).

One thing in particular I expect to hear, which I'd like to dismantle right now, is the idea that Ko's and Xi's exact wording don't match: that Xi uses "兩岸一家人" (a translation of "one family" that implies a single household or very immediate relatives) and Ko uses "兩岸一家親" which implies a more distant familial relation, like cousins: the idea being that you can share ancestors or be related, but not be under the same household.

However, CRNTT/China Review News/台灣中評, essentially Chinese state-sponsored media in Taiwan and Hong Kong, published a lengthy article on the 19th Party Congress in 2017, in which the latter phrase - the one used by Ko - is explicitly quoted as being used by Xi:

兩岸一家親”是習近平總書記積極宣導的兩岸關係和平發展新理念,這一新理念的內涵極為豐富。“兩岸一家親”的基礎是兩岸同屬一個民族和國家。“兩岸一家親”的對台政策意涵是用“一家人”的思維和邏輯,“將心比心”更加彈性地處理台灣問題、兩岸分歧和對台讓利。“兩岸一家親”理念要求兩岸同胞彼此信賴,彼此扶持,不斷擴大和密切兩岸交流交往,在融合發展中撫平歷史的傷痕,共同推進中華民族偉大復興的歷史進程。

My rough translation: "The two sides of the strait are one family" is a new concept for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations actively promoted by General Secretary Xi Jinping. This new concept is extremely rich in content. The basis of the phrase "two sides of the strait are one family" is that both sides of the strait belong to one nation. This policy towards Taiwan is to use "family" rhetoric and logic to "reconcile hearts" and deal more flexibly with the Taiwan issue, cross-strait differences, and benefit Taiwan. The "cross-strait family" concept requires compatriots on both sides of the strait to trust each other, support each other, continuously expand cross-strait exchanges, smooth the scars of history in the development of integration, and jointly advance the historic process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Barf.

Anyway, that's what Chinese media in Taiwan is saying. It's useful to get a sense of what the Chinese government thinks, and they are explicitly using the exact same phrase as Ko: not 一家人, but 一家親. Here's another source from ETToday and another from China Times (pan-blue/pro-China media in Taiwan) which contains extensive quotes from Xi. Here's an English translation of Xi's words in 2017. You have to dig, as this wasn't one of the top points of his address, but it's there.

Basically, it seems as though Xi used the old phrasing  (一家人) up through about 2013, then switched to the newer one echoed by Ko after that (一家親), while occasionally switching back to the more 'immediate family' (一家人) translation. However, both retain the same translation in English.

I am sure that China does this sort of thing intentionally - taking words that have subtle, hard to parse translations in other languages  and twisting them to suit their own ends. Because it's hard to explain these things in English, those who don't know Mandarin buy too easily into CCP-approved ways of thinking about these concepts.  Another key example is the way they allow confusion to blossom over the concept of 華人 (Chinese, as in, something from Chinese culture) and 中國人 (from the nation called 'China'): essentially trying to control the debate about what it means to be 'Chinese' by equating it linguistically with anything 'Chinese' being 'a part of China'. Both words, however, translate as 'Chinese' and it's difficult to explain the difference unless you learn the language. It's also difficult for people who don't want to be lumped in under the CCP's idea of what it means to be 'Chinese' to use these words.

"一家親" in its "extended family (not necessarily of one household)" context might have been embraced by many Taiwanese, just as having Chinese cultural heritage (華人) might have been. Now, you can't say those things - you can't express an opinion that you are proud of your Chinese ancestry but don't want to be a part of China - without sounding like a unificationist. That suits some people very well indeed.

Note, in fact, that these points on the Chinese renderings of the phrase "two sides of the strait are one family" are not included in Lin's article: there's just too much you'd have to say to make it clear, and you'd lose readers' interest. It takes up valuable digital real estate - but the fact that it is so hard to discuss in other languages is exactly the point.

Some might ask whether Ko really means to echo Xi and China in his choice of words. I don't know - he's the kind of person who would stumble into this sort of thing unintentionally, having a tendency to...um, not think too much about how he comes across when he talks. He tends to stumble around answers to questions he really should see coming and have rehearsed, polished answers to, but apparently doesn't - not that I generally find Taiwanese politics very polished, mind you.

There's also the terrifying fact that Ko's milquetoast KMT opponent Ting Shou-chung uses the old, even more pro-unification "兩岸一家人" - a sign that Ting, not Ko, is the one in China's pocket? That both are useful idiots, blathering pro-China rhetoric that may sound different to Taiwanese voters but is seen in exactly the same way as China - and that this is intentional on China's part? That Ting is using the phrase in a bid to get the KMT back into the CCP's good graces - they miss their Daddy it seems - but the CCP has decided Ko is a better bet? I don't know.

But Lin puts forward a convincing case that we should at least keep our eye on Ko, and hold him accountable for his words: that CCTV seems to endorse him, and that China certainly is looking to co-opt Third Force and third-party politicians in Taiwan as it sees its inability to push its agenda forward through the KMT, and that his city-level exchanges with Shanghai are problematic. While he doesn't say so explicitly, the CCP's use of specific terminology is very deliberate. These exact phrases - like 兩岸一家人/一家親, or 中華民族偉大復興的歷史進程 ("the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation") - are significant to them and are generally deployed using exactly the same language each time. They are signals, to some extent dog whistles to those they've co-opted. If Xi has changed his wording, Ko is using it too (and defending that use), the phrase seems to have been given prominence above the language of the so-called "1992 Consensus, and CCTV is happy about all of this, it could very well mean something.

This isn't to say that I think Ko is a unificationist. He strikes me as more of a too-smart-for-his-own-good catspaw or useful idiot. It wouldn't be the first time a seeming pan-green loyalist was manipulated into doing the CCP's bidding, but I don't know what motivates Ko. All I can do is point out that, when it comes down to the very specific terminology put out by the CCP, Ko's words do in fact match up.

I certainly don't think Taiwanese voters will embrace this "one family" doctrine either: when it comes to actual sentiments of most Taiwanese people, Ko's words are not as divisive as some may believe. Just because he's selling potentially problematic ideas doesn't mean the electorate is buying them.

Some will probably say Lin is trying to tank Ko's re-election. If you read between the lines of what Lin is saying, however, it's not that we should not elect Ko. I would bet CA$H money that he fully expects Ko to win, and that he's fully aware that Yao's a joke who doesn't stand a chance and Ting is far worse a choice than Ko. Ting's clearly anti-independence stance is a huge problem, and Yao's off partying like it's 1999, naming Chen Shui-bian (yes, that Chen Shui-bian) his "supreme advisor". LOL.

I'd bet a full case of wine that Lin's goal is to get the world to look more closely at Ko and hold him to account for his words, but not necessarily to refuse to vote for him. He's someone who pokes holes in establishment narratives and criticizes where criticism is due, regardless of the consequences. That's often (though perhaps not always) a good thing.

I am sure he doesn't believe that Taiwanese voters will suddenly go pro-China either: several times in the piece it points out that the KMT is not likely to regain its lost popularity, and that Ko's words on China do not echo the sentiments of the Taiwanese people. His concern is that the Taiwanese people are deliberately ignoring his words out of convenience, for lack of a better candidate, and that's a dangerous path to follow (see: Ma Ying-jeou).

I'm not sure this is the best way to make the case for Taiwan in English in international media, as it's really something for Taiwanese voters to think about and Taiwan gets limited screen time on any media outlet. The rest of the world is confused enough by China's consistently winning the rhetoric war on the China-Taiwan debate (though less so these days), and needs to hear a clear, clarion-bright call bringing the case for Taiwan: not muddy, difficult, unclear domestic political situations that Taiwan is trying to hash out itself. I'd like to see more 'clear cases for Taiwan' and less 'domestic Taiwanese politics' for global readers.

But that doesn't mean Lin is wrong.

And every time the 1992 Consensus is called out for the pro-China garbage it is in English-language media, the better. I am only sad that the word "fabrication" was not used, because that's what it is. More of that, please.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Guess who thinks the government is being "fascist"

The former president


Right, this guy. 

Remember him? (The one in the middle, before he started to look like a white decorative gourd).

“After the DPP gained control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, it has completely transformed into a fascist regime. As the party in power, it has been persecuting the opposition and making the public foot its bills,” Ma said.

lol*

No, like, seriously lol.

How much of a jag-off do you have to be to not see the hypocrisy of this statement?

This guy, apparently.

Yeah, this guy.

That's the one.

Uh-huh.

The one who pays tearful homages to a former dictator as though he were a great man. 

The guy who worked for actual literal no-exaggeration dictators, who now acts like they worked tirelessly in service to Taiwan, who cultivated an image of being squeaky clean while being corrupt the whole time, the one who used his tenure as president to ram all sorts of garbage through the legislature and then lose his temper like a big fat baby when the people stood up and said "enough". The one accused of working professionally to report on opponents of the Chiang dictatorship while a student at Harvard. The one who, despite knowing full well the horrors Taiwan has experienced at the hands of the KMT, talked about the "moral principles" of the party that have guided them "for the past 120 years". As though most of those years were not spent as a brutal dictatorship helmed by a murderous despot.

Sure, whatever, okay bro.

What I can't get over is that in 2012 the voters chose him for re-election over now-president Tsai. I think it might have been on account of his having a penis, but also the tendency of Taiwan to re-elect its leaders and choose the seemingly safest way forward in terms of who they put into the highest office had something to do with it.

Four years later they were all "oops sorry lol the nerdy lady was better after all" and elected her, and the guy everyone now hates for acting quite literally like a minor warlord in a feudal society is bitching about her being the problem?

And this ostensibly not-as-bad-a-guy agreed with him, for some fucking reason:

KMT Legislator and former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) read a statement with other KMT lawmakers at his side.
“It is essential for a democracy to practice the separation of powers and democratic principles. The Legislative Yuan is the Republic of China’s national assembly, not the Executive Yuan’s lawmaking bureau,” he read.

Dude. DUDE. The former president, who is in the same party as you, literally violated that exact principle vis-a-vis you by trying to oust you as speaker for being insufficiently obedient to his demands.

And he didn't even succeed because he's just that impotent.

And you are saying that Tsai is not practicing separation of powers between the legislature and executive?

I mean...

...lol?

Like, how do you not lol at that?

Anyway it's interesting that now that they are the opposition, suddenly the party of (formerly) actual literal fascism who opened new boundaries when it came to subverting democracy is whining and crying like little babies about the party the people elected to replace them being "fascists" and has suddenly cultivated a deep love and reverence for democracy, all because they're not happy that the party currently in power is acting within the law in a way they happen not to like. The same party that stole left and right from the country and is now blubbering because they've been told they have to give it all back.

All I can say is that I don't know why I still loathe Ma to such an irrational degree, even now, but it might have something to do with his continued garbaging up of Taiwanese public discourse with this trash nonsense. He just can't take a hint that everybody sees through his melty waxen face mask to the cold dead eyes inside, and knows him now for the weasel he is. 

Shut up, Ma Ying-jiu. Go home, nobody likes you and nobody wants to hear your garbage.



*unconfirmed, but who even cares

Saturday, April 1, 2017

In defense of Ma Ying-jiu

In the past few months, I've been reflecting on the legacy of Ma Ying-jiu, and have come to the realization that perhaps we've all been a little too hard on him. While not perfect, it does seem clear to me that former President Ma was not the monster or failed statesman, better suited to being the butt of a joke than leading a nation, than many people make him out to be now that we are well into the Tsai administration.

You're probably wondering why I would start thinking this way, considering the way I, too, unfairly excoriated Mr. Ma for years. So, here are a few reasons why:

First, it's unfair to say that Ma's ultimate goal and vision for Taiwan was reunification with China. It's obvious that this is not the case: at no point during his tenure as leader of Taiwan did Taiwan reunify with China. Therefore, Ma preserved Taiwanese de facto independence through responsible and staid leadership based on sound communication and negotiation strategies with the mainland.

It's also clear that Ma was a competent steward of the Taiwanese economy, by pursuing clear-cut and proven economic strategies vis-a-vis China. Reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait by not angering China was a responsible decision on Ma's part, which the current administration of Taiwan would be wise to heed. Greater economic cooperation between the two sides is, of course, beneficial for all, and the electorate's choice of Ma to lead the island shows the clear-eyed pragmatism of Taiwanese voters. Indeed, since leaving office, Ma's hard work to bolster the struggling economy have been hurt by the ending of group tours from China on the part of newly-elected opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen.

While it is true that Taiwan's economy stagnated somewhat during Ma's two terms, from an analytical perspective, it is clear that the economic damage of not engaging with China would have been far more deleterious to Taiwan's future economic and political prospects.

Ma was also a responsible steward of Taiwanese democracy, as evidenced by unequalled political stability in Taiwan, something that was in short supply in the territory through the twentieth century. During the tumultuous Sunflower occupation of the legislature, Ma's clear-eyed and peace-oriented handling of the situation meant that no violence erupted as a result. This was by far the most problematic event in Taiwan's post-war history, after decades of stable economic development that eventually led the once-authoritarian KMT to nurture democracy on the island.

Beyond that, Ma was very forward-thinking, always considering the well-being of Taiwan first. It is clear that Taiwan has neither the offensive or defensive military capabilities for any major conflict with China, and Ma wisely kept Taiwan on a conservative course by not attempting to re-take the mainland, sagely conceding that reunification would be the business of future generations of Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Ma was also the first president of the Republic of China to meet Chinese president Xi Jin-ping. Their historic and consequential meeting was of great importance for the future of cross-strait relations.

Clearly, continuing the pursuit of peace and avoiding causing trouble with the mainland is in Taiwan's best interest, as China might be angered by any moves toward formal independence by self-ruled Chinese Taipei. This has been the goal of leadership in Taiwan since 1949, when China and Taiwan split following the Nationalists' defeat in China. The autonomous region of Taiwan must consider this as it looks to the future and considers new paths of policy and negotiation.




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Black Island: A Review

So, over the course of June and July, with long breaks to research and write an article on learner autonomy through note management that will be published in September, I read J. Michael Cole's Black Island: Two Years of Activism in Taiwan. This came right on the heels of Officially Unofficial, which I appreciated for its perspectives on Taiwanese society and politics that I had also witnessed in the past ten years here.

All in all, I liked Black Island more than Officially Unofficial - first of all, it was free of the ridiculously irritating "using the third person to talk about oneself" narrative employed by its predecessor. It focused more on events in recent Taiwanese history rather than the author himself, which was a boon because, although I have nothing against J. Michael Cole, I am more interested in Taiwanese political history and current affairs than I am the personal history of a journalist I happen to have read. Being lightly annotated republishings of previous work, the present tense (employed because that's what those stories used for obvious reasons) gave the narrative a sense of urgency and contemporariness rather than feeling like "history" (and, in fact, the events documented didn't happen that long ago). The present-tense tone gives one the feeling, while reading, that these events are happening as you are reading it - it makes you want to go to Dapu and protest, rail against the destruction of the Huaguang Community or surround the Legislative Yuan yet again. Then you remember, no, this is all a few years in the past. It's 2016 now, Taiwanese society has processed these ideas and is looking to the future. You, the reader, must do the same. The interesting question that Black Island leaves open - as it must - is what happens next.

Like Officially Unofficial, Black Island was a good chance to go back and review my memories of the past few years of Taiwanese politics, and pick up on threads, ideas and smaller events I'd missed. Having, as I mentioned before, been more concerned with completing my teaching degree than being fully invested and informed of Taiwanese affairs, there are things I missed. I was more intellectually present during the actual Sunflower occupation - but I think that electrified and reawakened quite a few people; I'm not unique in that regard. I hadn't had a Delta course going on at that particular time, and I actually spent a great deal of time outside the Legislative Yuan, including heading down after work and staying until the MRT was about to close for several evenings in a row. I wasn't there to report on events, however - I was there to support the students. I enjoyed going back and reading (in some cases for the second time) actual reporting on the events of those weeks.

For someone who had already read a lot of the work published in Black Island (I experienced a distinct sense of deja vu several times not only because I had been in Taiwan when those events took place but because I had in fact already read that exact same article two to four years ago), it is a fairly strong compliment to say that it held my interest upon re-reading.

Finally, this is neither a point in favor of or against the book but, as it triggers interesting thought, I think it fits in the "good" section: Cole's work mentions more than once the idea of civic nationalism over ethnic nationalism beginning to take root in Taiwan. It can hardly do differently, not only because there are "ethnic" (if the entire concept of ethnicity means anything, and depending on where you draw the lines) differences in Taiwan itself, between waishengren and Hoklo, "Chinese" and aborigine as well as Southeast Asian immigrant, that must be overcome to realize the idea of Taiwan as a nation, but also because as much as many won't admit it, Taiwan is very ethnically similar to China (again, if ethnicity means anything at all). To differentiate itself from China Taiwan simply cannot turn to an ethnic base for their desire for self-determination as an independent nation. It must turn to a civic one; there is no other reasonable path...
...but this is not the main reason why I find discussion of that concept interesting. Instead, I am invested in it primarily as an immigrant in Taiwan. I call myself an immigrant because, while I am not a citizen and retain something of an American identity, if I had a reasonable chance at citizenship (the double standard of being forced to give up one's original citizenship to attain Taiwanese nationality, while Taiwanese are under no such edict, is simply neither reasonable nor acceptable) I would be highly likely to seek it, and because I have no real plans to return to the USA. It is true that we may leave someday for professional reasons or because we face difficulties as non-citizens, but it is unlikely that the country we'd leave for would be the one we come from.

If Taiwanese identity is one of civic rather than ethnic identity, and therefore anyone who buys into, contributes to and participates in that identity can be "Taiwanese" even if they can never be ethnically Chinese, then the next logical step is to relax immigration and naturalization laws. This affects me directly, for reasons stated above. It has the potential to change on a fundamental level how I relate myself and my past to Taiwan and life in it. To legitimize, to some extent, the contributions I want to make and the participation I would like to offer. To see Taiwan as a home that genuinely wants people like me here and feels we help rather than hinder the nation's progress.

Right now I have to admit that while I feel welcome here, it is not uncommon for events in my life to give me the feeling that Taiwan wants me to come and teach their people English and wants to give me very little in return, and certainly doesn't want me to assimilate or stay permanently or have a say in political goings-on that do affect my life. A "nation of ethnic Taiwanese" is not likely to see people like me differently. A Taiwan that values civic over ethnic nationalism, however, is one that might.

This is, again, why I am disappointed that the party of young activists, who seemed to be the most likely to welcome immigrants like me, instead want to keep us on the fringes. Yes, I will say it again and I will ever, ever, ever, ever shut up about it until things change. They are the direct results of the events described in Black Island, and so far they have not been great allies to the logical conclusion of civic vs. ethnic nationalism.

Anyway. There are some things I didn't like about Black Island, but I'd say they are considerably fewer and markedly less annoying than in Officially Unofficial.

The first is that, as this is a collection of previously published journalism, as is often the case when one journalist covers related or ongoing events, there is quite a bit of repetition. Editing some of that out would have made for a stronger narrative.

My husband pointed out, and I agree, that the little interlude of pieces focusing on the fight for marriage equality felt a bit jarring in its discontinuity. I would have rather seen either the book divided not only chronologically but also by events. What I ended up doing was skipping the middle section at first, reading straight through the student activist/Sunflower narrative, and then going back and reading about marriage equality and the outsize influence of churches with evangelical ties in Taiwan. It made for a much cleaner narrative.

I would have also liked even more detail on the actual Sunflower occupation, but I suppose I can read a history textbook for that. A bit of a deeper look into the Next Media acquisition would have also been of interest to me.

Brendan also noted that if you are looking for stories about other events of that time - such as the tussle between Ma Ying-jiu and Wang Jin-ping for power within the KMT, you won't find it here. I understand why, but I actually think the story would have been strengthened by including such seemingly unrelated events. In fact, as the Sunflowers and a few political commentators understood at the time and as most people understand now, Ma Ying-jiu having both KMT chairmanship and the presidency, and using that double-barreled power to not only twist arms to get the Legislative Yuan to rubber-stamp his increasingly autocratic-seeming demands, but for the president to try to fire the speaker of an entirely separate branch of government because he wasn't falling sufficiently in line was nothing short of a constitutional crisis.

If you think this attempted ouster of Wang and the power grab that represented was not done in part with forcing passage of the CSSTA, without proper review, in mind, perhaps you are not paying attention. I wouldn't say CSSTA was the only goal of that attempted consolidation of authority, but it was certainly one of them. One directly relates to the other. The smartest activists and commentators understand this, though they don't always elaborate on it because it feels like something of a rhetorical cul-de-sac. Pointing this out would have made the book that much stronger.

Finally, I did feel that a few asides in which Cole expressed more personal views and ideas detracted from the overall narrative. For instance, his rant about cell phones on the MRT and the feeling I get that he feels he has the right to pass judgment on how people pass their commuting time or other downtime. While I agree that using one's various electronic devices to keep abreast of current events, maintain professional and social ties and engage with the wider world is preferably to using it to playing Angry Fruit Crush or whatever, it doesn't matter. We all have our vices and our stupid things we like and it's just not a great path to go down to judge that. I'm sure Cole loves some music I hate or owns a shirt I think is stupid or has a habit I find a waste of time. So what? It's not for me to judge. Besides, while at the height of stress working toward the Delta, I played game after game of iPhone solitaire (I am nothing if not an electronic game traditionalist, also, I'm an Old). Why? It helped me de-stress, gave my mind something else to concentrate on without taxing it too much, and was almost meditative in its repetitiveness. It helped mentally. Don't judge.

The multiple references to hired thugs or other "unsavory" types as "high on betel nut" or as tattooed, smoking, beer drinking betel nut chewers were also off-putting. When talking of actual hired thugs you don't really need to treat their appearance or lowbrow habits as damning evidence - treat what they actually do as evidence. I would be willing to bet just as many tattooed betel-nut chewers showed up to support the Sunflowers. What substances they imbibe or what they choose to put on their bodies is simply not the point and reeks of condescending classism. There is just no reason to do it.

Two little extra things: I agree with Brendan about the lack of translation for quotes in Chinese. We can read them (perhaps with the help of the Chinese dictionary on my - gasp! - iPhone at times) but I would gather many can't. An editor would really help with these sorts of issues. And I really didn't need to read two or more (I didn't count) references to Cole being definitely straight and not gay at all. I literally could not care less if he prefers hot dogs or hamburgers. Doesn't matter and not relevant to the story.

 But, these are relatively minor complaints. The overarching narrative is interesting - and perhaps would be even more interesting to someone who hadn't read these articles when they were originally published - and would be a useful addition to the research of a political science student learning about student activism in Taiwan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WILDLY SPECULATING about the lack of women in the Tsai cabinet

13237738_10154196069576202_6915251044108268176_n
Please enjoy this random photo I took that I happen to like

The difficult thing about trying to have something of a niche in the Taiwan blogging world is that sometimes you don't necessarily have a lot to say about the latest news in your niche other than "well that sucks".

I mean, I could try to salvage a bright side and note that when the highest office in the land is occupied for a woman, that's a victory no matter what, but I'm not feelin' it and you probably aren't either. We do expect more, for good reason.

It happened with Hung Hsiu-chu's short-lived candidacy and it's happening again with the Tsai administration's new "no girls allowed" cabinet, which people are pointing out mostly because, as Taiwan's first female president, they expected a little more gender equality in said cabinet because they expected an administration to be sensitive to such things (if President Ma had a cabinet with very few women, many people would probably just chalk it up to Ma being an asshat and be done with it).

Can I just note in that podcast, which starts talking about gender imbalances at about the 28-29 minute mark, I was a little annoyed by a female speaker call it the worst "Mother's Day present to women"? Not all women are mothers. What does Mother's Day have to do with women generally? Not much.

All I really have to say is "well that sucks"- and the cabinet overall, in terms of age and education, also kinda sucks.

Of course, from my memory of the Tsai campaign, although the first time around I came across stickers and other promotional materials touting her as "Taiwan's first female president" in the 2012 campaign she lost, I just don't remember seeing much about her campaigning specifically on that idea or drawing attention to her gender much at all. Certainly I don't remember her promising a gender-equitable cabinet.

Or did she, and I just missed that? Please do remember I spent a huge chunk of 2015 in the US for family reasons, and returning I was so busy I didn't have time to catch up on the political scene, so I missed a lot. If so, it's a straight-up broken promise.

But, then again, maybe I didn't miss anything. It seems to me her gender, and not her words, created that expectation and when she went and acted like any ol' politician with a penis, it was that expectation, the ones we created, that were dashed. I'm not sure she herself gave any indication that she would specifically be a force for gender equality beyond being a woman herself. The podcast says something like "we expected she could break the glass ceiling for all women", but did Tsai ever say she was going to do that, make an effort on that or focus on that?

I'm genuinely asking, because, as I said, I wasn't here for much of 2015 and paying more attention to family than Taiwan.

That's not meant as a defense - I happen to think any presidential candidate regardless of gender should have a gender equitable cabinet. Tsai is not exempt from that because or despite the fact that she's female. While I would hope a president who understands the obstacles women face just for being women would be more sensitive to the issue, I hold male politicians just as accountable.

Well, I say that, but I didn't write any of this when Ma was elected and re-elected, even though (while Tsai's cabinet has an even bigger gender imbalance) it's not like the Ma administration was this huge pro-women revolution or seemed to care much about women's representation in government. So maybe I'm a hypocrite.

I'm not sure why, and while a lot has been reported on it, nobody else seems to really know why either. I haven't heard much in the way of reasons for this, even in the podcast where there is criticism, and dismay, but almost nothing deeper, nothing in the way of analysis for how this happened - perhaps because nobody knows.

But not knowing never stopped me from shooting off my mouth before, so I'll speculate wildly and inexpertly because what the hell.

1.) Edited to add: the most obvious possibility, which I didn't really consider because (thanks to my own biases) I just sort of assumed Tsai would have a strong hand in who went into the cabinet. But, she may well have just rubber-stamped Lin Chuan's choices. I didn't really consider this one because I assumed (possibly wrongly?) that if Tsai is ultimately appoints the cabinet that the final responsibility and blame for who is in that cabinet rests with her (also I tend to ignore Lin Chuan because I feel like he's setting himself up to do a bad job...perhaps I just wish he didn't exist?). Or perhaps - despite my earlier claim to try and not have any biases and to hold male and female elected officials equally accountable for gender parity in government, in fact I did automatically lay blame on the woman rather than the (can I say kind of terrible? Is it too early for that? I really don't like him) man.

2.)As a former policy wonk without much executive experience, perhaps she just didn't think this one through. That sounds lightweight, but in fact it's pretty damning. A good leader must think these things through.

3.) As a woman fighting against an overwhelmingly pro-man, anti-woman sexist system, perhaps she has developed a mindset in which, well, she acts like the men around her. It's not that uncommon, especially for women in power, to try to secure and establish their positions by, at times subconsciously, acting and thinking more like the men around them. Not because it's particularly natural for women to follow men (it's not) but because it's natural for people to want to fit into their environs, and when the environment is such a damn sausage fest, perhaps you start to think like you have some sausage yourself.

4.) Perhaps, unlike the somewhat unconscious 'gotta fit in, gotta think like them' mentality above, this is a conscious effort to take emphasis off her gender and establish herself as an authority, to even maybe distance herself from 'women's issues'? Like "they'll all expect me to be 'women this and women that' rather than listening to me on the 1992 consensus, the Senkakus, international organization participation, the economy and more so I'll cut that off early by not showing women any special consideration." If so, it backfired spectacularly!

5.) Some combination of (4) and (5) or landing somewhere in between has led her to a slightly askance viewpoint in which insisting to the point of going beyond logic that only credentials matter and gender never does - which of course is true, or is true in a perfect world, but as this points out (in Chinese), so often 'gender doesn't matter, only credentials matter, if the most qualified people are men then the majority of the cabinet will be men' is taken as a launch point not to fight for greater equality because credentialed people exist in diverse and less-privileged populations, but to keep the patriarchy firmly in place and let the system run as usual. 

Seeing as previous cabinets (under men!) had more women than this one, clearly women with the right credentials exist. This cabinet could have been more gender-equal. Saying "well they got the most qualified people they could and they happen to be men" papers over that with, well, illogic and falsehood.

Also worth noting is that this can't possibly be the 'most qualified cabinet' to run Taiwan as it exists today: a country that is finally starting to listen to its youth. When the average age of your cabinet is closer to my father's than it is to mine (and I'm not particularly young though I like to pretend otherwise) in a country where student activists are a big effin' deal, then your cabinet is not qualified to properly represent the country.

(I'm not quite as worried about the lack of PhDs compared to previous cabinets, in part because I don't think education is necessarily the only way to become a great statesperson, in part because Taiwan already has a lot of respect, and quite a few, very highly educated people making high-level decisions - they do love their scholar-leaders - and in part because we all remember what happened when MENSA tried to run Springfield).

Though that brings me to a pretty solid silver lining that my previous contemplations failed to provide: at least the public discourse surrounding this issue is pretty solid in Taiwan. Taiwan civil society for the win! I'm not sure I'd expect discourse like this to be the rule rather than the exception in many other countries (I thought of Asia when I said that but I have to be honest - including my own. The USA is full of man-children).

So, I guess I'll end on that.

Come on Tsai. Do better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BARF

Everyone go ahead and read these remarks from Emperor President Ma:

The KMT is a party local to Taiwan, it is progressive and forward-looking, practical and responsible, and it is a diverse party that is willing to embrace changing times.
…people spread across Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu might have come from different places and have different histories, but the acceptance of multicultural society is what makes Taiwan precious.
The Aborigines may believe in ancestral spirits and rainbow bridges, the earlier Han immigrants remember the sadness inherent in their relocation to Taiwan, the people following the Nationalist government to Taiwan in 1949 remembered having to leave their homes and families behind, while the newer immigrants — such as foreign spouses — have the hope that over time this land will become their home. No matter who came first, no matter where we had come from, we are now all Taiwanese.
On this land, people of any culture and ethnicity are welcome to work side by side, to sweat and toil over the common goal of making Taiwan better; the embracing of multiple diverse cultures is the cornerstone of democracy.
We are the most localized of all political parties. Any supporter of the KMT would be able to walk tall and say: ‘I’m Taiwanese, I support the KMT.'
Now, remember that the KMT is in fact a party from China, and not only that, an invading force from China (although I don't hold that against the everyday folks who came over from China in the '40s, who were just looking to get out of China and stay alive, I do hold it against the political arm of the KMT - and if you don't think the KMT has any other arms, you aren't looking very hard). Remember that the KMT has annexation sorry "reunification" dreams for Taiwan and as such, does not respect Taiwanese sovereignty or identity. Remember that while they do tend to win the Hakka and aboriginal vote, as the DPP's early "we are the party of Hoklo people" strategy alienated those groups and, despite doing more for them overall, still hasn't managed to win them back, that they identify as Chinese and tend to get upset when others don't agree, and that those who actually have power in the KMT are generally not anything other than Han Chinese, who identify as Chinese over Taiwanese. Remember that they only make gestures towards being "Taiwanese" come election time. Remember that they are not progressive: you can say you're progressive all you like, but if your policies don't speak to that, it's all farty sounds as far as I can tell. They are reactionary, they are Old Order, they are the party of rich men (note as well that there are no powerful women in the KMT).
Remember the gang affiliations, even from way back in Chiang Kai-shek's time, of the KMT make them no better than a crime syndicate with really good PR.
And repeat after me:
BARF
BAAAAAAAAARRFFFF
BARF BARF BARF BARF BARF BARF BARF
BAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!RRRRFFFFFFF
B A R F B A R F B A R F B A R F B A R F B A R F 
barfybarfybarfybarfybarfybarfbarf
B. A. R. F.
BBBBBBBBBBBB
AAAAAAAAAAAA
RRRRRRRRRRR
FFFFFFFFFFFFF
barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf 
BARF.
*ahem*
...and there ya go.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Look at these violent protesters being violent

Wow, such violent protesters, talking about how revolution is their duty. So violent. photo 1900401_10152342228691202_1665541672_o.jpg

Wow, such violent protesters, talking about how revolution is their duty. So violent.


Not my style of sign but I appreciate telling Ma Ying-jiu to call 1-800-GO-FUCK-YOURSELF...hee hee photo 10012014_10152342228736202_2119223566_o.jpg

Not my style of sign but I appreciate telling Ma Ying-jiu to call 1-800-GO-FUCK-YOURSELF...hee hee

THE VIOLENCE! Such violent dangerous agitators...sitting! And talking! VIOLENCE! photo 1978420_10152342228751202_2008571705_o.jpg

THE VIOLENCE! Such violent dangerous agitators...sitting! And talking! VIOLENCE!

 photo 1939727_10152342228876202_220243782_o.jpg

I know I look a bit drunk...but this is the best photo of my little sign that there is.

Violent protesters being violent by wearing stickers photo 1780040_10152342228941202_780236220_o.jpg

Violent protesters being violent by wearing stickers

it's so violent for student activists to create and maintain walkways so people can go back and forth while supporting their cause. photo 1781602_10152342229021202_1287319058_o.jpg

It's so violent for student activists to create and maintain walkways so people can go back and forth while supporting their cause.

Violent, agitating elements doing aggressive anti-government anarchist things like talking and discussing the issues of the day. This must be stopped. photo 1655360_10152342229121202_1757580835_o.jpg

Violent, agitating elements doing aggressive anti-government anarchist things like talking and discussing the issues of the day. This must be stopped.

THOSE VIOLENT PROTESTERS GAVE ME VIOLENT CHOCOLATE photo 1495961_10152342229116202_1807626861_o.jpg

THOSE VIOLENT PROTESTERS GAVE ME VIOLENT CHOCOLATE


So dangerous. Really I just feared for my life what with all the sitting and laughing and sticker-wearing. photo 1606209_10152342229321202_1199974452_o.jpg

So dangerous. Really I just feared for my life what with all the sitting and laughing and sticker-wearing.

 photo 10003720_10152342229446202_1146908818_o.jpg


Ma Ying-jiu's last name means "horse" in Chinese, and he recently said something dumb about deer antlers being the hair inside a deer's ear...I don't really get this at all but this is a way to make fun of what an idiot he is. photo 1504346_10152342229491202_1743135531_o.jpg

Ma Ying-jiu's last name means "horse" in Chinese, and he recently said something dumb about deer antlers being the hair inside a deer's ear...I don't really get this at all but this is a way to make fun of what an idiot he is.

VIOLENT protesters telling people to please keep walking ahead...VIOLENTLY photo 10001071_10152342229561202_366299874_o.jpg

VIOLENT protesters telling people to please keep walking ahead...VIOLENTLY. Remember, violent protesters always say "please".

OH THE VIOLENCE FROM THESE DANGEROUS ELEMENTS photo 1980150_10152342229671202_1962861388_o.jpg

OH THE VIOLENCE FROM THESE DANGEROUS ELEMENTS

Watch protesters on the news violently sitting, violently holding signs and violently letting newscasters report on the protest. photo 1795940_10152342229751202_1056298106_o.jpg

Watch protesters on the news violently sitting, violently holding signs and violently letting newscasters report on the protest.

 photo 1622389_10152342229776202_582623211_o.jpg

Protesters buying snacks at 7-11, many of which are meant to be passed out and shared with the crowd...VIOLENTLY photo 1890334_10152342229861202_2000784965_o.jpg

Protesters buying snacks at 7-11, many of which are meant to be passed out and shared with the crowd...VIOLENTLY

VIOLENTLY WAITING TO AGITATE IN THE BATHROOM! Watch these anarchists STAND IN LINE like the dangerous elements they are! photo 1911000_10152342229986202_1782043806_o.jpg

VIOLENTLY WAITING TO AGITATE IN THE BATHROOM! Watch these anarchists STAND IN LINE like the dangerous elements they are!