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Home > East Asia > 

Lien, Soong embarrass themselves, the nation
Paul Lin
5/7/2004

After drastic swings and sways, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) defeated the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) by a tiny margin in the election, as predicted. This hard-fought election has continued down a tortuous road for the following reasons:

First, backed up by their majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan, the KMT and PFP have often deterred policies from being implemented, created commotion and thus misled the public by painting the administration as incompetent.

Second, since the DPP is in power for the first time, its administrative performance, of course, cannot meet all expectations. Some complaints are inevitable. Besides, the corruption of individual DPP politicians may arouse
discontent and mistrust.

Third, biased media influence people's opinions and obstruct grassroots identification with the government. Some sharp-tongued commentators even take delight in instigating crowds and fomenting a rebellion.

Fourth, China plays all kinds of tricks to provoke ethnic conflicts and to scheme confrontations between the government and its people. For instance, China refuses to negotiate with the Straits Exchange Foundation, plotted the "Taiwan Spy" incident, impeded the return of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople to vote and insidiously supports white-collar fugitive Chen Yu-hao's attempts to tarnish the green camp.

Fifth, China uses its diplomatic advantages to exaggerate facts or even make up a story. Beijing's diplomatic maneuver strains Taiwan's international relations and damages its reputation.

Nevertheless, it is the DPP that harvests the triumph of this election. The DPP's victory demonstrates that it is correct to use "one country on each side" as the campaign axis to resist the "one China" principle. This explains the people's grave concern for Tai-wan's sovereignty and national dignity which can not be replaced by any economic gains. In particular, former president Lee Teng-hui's far-sighted vision has pushed Taiwan to make a big stride in deepening democracy and consolidating sovereignty.

Instead of creating social and political upheaval, the assassination attempt on the president left him and and vice president with just slight injuries. This is a blessing for Taiwan. The contention over whether the assassination attempt drew more votes to the DPP's side only has a small impact on the election. It was independent Legislator Sisy Chen's baseless conspiracy theory that offsets the negative repercussions Chen Yu-hao triggered.

Unfortunately, seeing his presidential dream go up in smoke, KMT Chairman Lien Chan refuses to concede defeat. The PFP has mobilized in fear of a possible party disintegration. Led by Chairman James Soong, politicians of these two parties have inflamed their supporters and aggravated the strife. The democracy in which every Taiwanese takes prides is now endangered. These manipulative politicians must take responsibility for their words and deeds.

The DPP must also strive to ease the political fever from the campaign. It needs to soothe the seething resentment of the opposition party. Lien and Soong, however, should take take their defeat with calm rationalism. They must not instigate the public and create chaos to give China an excuse to invade Taiwan.

Lien and Soong have madly staked their political career on one last call. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (), Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and others must stop them from sinking the KMT's future and putting Taiwan on the brink of disaster. The 1996 and 2000 elections gave birth to aiwanese consciousness and paved the road for an independent Taiwan identity. The pan-blues should respect the majority's decision.


Paul Lin is a political commentator based in New York.

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