Apparently, her statement at the rally was the public announcement of her plan.
This is really strange. Tsai Ing-wen is a careful and prudent politician. She doesn’t make major policy statements in off the cuff remarks. Other politicians do that, but Tsai is extremely careful with her words. It is inconceivable that someone blurted something out and, with no advance planning, Tsai committed her party to a controversial course of action. That goes against everything we know about her.
There simply has to be more to this story.
The KMT has decided that its best penultimate closing argument is that the DPP employs online bullies. This is related to the suicide of a ROC diplomat in Japan in September 2018. The diplomat had been severely criticized for his response to a typhoon in which he supposedly did not do enough to evacuate ROC citizens. The KMT charges that a DPP-linked person bullied the diplomat to death.
I’m a little skeptical as to whether this is a great issue for the KMT. For one thing, it’s a complicated story, and I never feel like I completely understand what happened or why I’m supposed to be angry. The original story was mostly about fake news, but now its supposed to be about cyberbullying. It’s not clear to me that the person at the center of the KMT’s narrative, Yang Hui-ju, is even really a DPP lackey. (Sure, there is a picture of her in the same room as President Tsai from several years ago, but that seems a bit tenuous to me. She runs a for-profit marketing company and has worked for all kinds of causes. Wait, why am I trying to sift through all these details again?) Anyway, is cyberbullying really one of the two or three most important questions facing Taiwan today? Am I really supposed to care that much about the quality of life of civil servants? I think most people care (a lot) more about local traffic, unemployment, relations with the USA, housing prices, food safety, and the threat/opportunity from China than this story. However, the KMT is betting that I’m wrong. I guess they think this case encapsulates the way the DPP is terrorizing all its political opponents and abusing civil servants. Anyway, that’s what they want to talk about right now.
Meanwhile, the DPP wants to keep attention focused squarely on China and all the ways China threatens Taiwan’s continued existence. The country has talked exhaustively about Hong Kong, so the discussion needs to go in somewhat different directions. The KMT party list is one such direction, and the DPP is planning major events in the last two weeks calling on voters to reject KMT party list nominees. China inevitably aids the DPP’s agenda setting efforts. This week’s story is about how China is freezing out a Taiwanese internet startup just for calling Tsai Ing-wen “president.”
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