Summary: Johnny Chiang buckles, the “1992 consensus” is back and the proposed party platform’s cross-strait entries are a disaster. An internal KMT poll shows some interesting results. Finally, a new Taiwan passport design intended to differentiate from China has been unveiled. But, up first, headlines:
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Taiwanese face mask manufacturer Carry Mask to halt operations after discovering that it had imported over 3 million non-medical grade masks from China in August and sold them as government-rationed face masks.
Taiwan’s manufacturing activity expanded rapidly in August as export orders continued to pick up as the COVID-19 crisis appeared to be abating, according to the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER).
A group of irrigation association members have filed an administrative lawsuit against the government’s move to nationalize 17 irrigation associations.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) is next month to inaugurate its Agency of Irrigation and Engineering.
It will govern 17 irrigation associations nationwide, which have nearly 1.5 million members.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has said that Aerkomm Inc needs to register as a telecom service provider if it wants to provide a low-Earth-orbit satellite service in Taiwan, as well as comply with national laws on applying for a frequency spectrum and managing foreign investors.
The Nevada-based company, which recently announced that it had chosen Taiwan as a research and development and service base in the Asia-Pacific region, filed an application to offer a low-Earth-orbit satellite service in Taiwan — which some call a “6G service.”
The service would transmit data faster than 5G service and greatly facilitate communication for residents of remote areas and frequent air travelers, the company said, adding that the travelers would not need international roaming services when overseas.
Local businesses seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can start applying for payroll support under the “Stimulus 3.0” program, after the previous “Stimulus 2.0” relief package ran out of funds in the middle of July, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The program is aimed at the manufacturing and exhibition sectors, as they are still badly affected by the pandemic.
The retail and restaurant sectors that previously received assistance under the Stimulus 2.0 scheme are no longer eligible, as their business has rebounded.
The military plans to purchase tactical uncrewed aerial vehicles (TUAVs) and underwater vehicles, and improve its radar surveillance and camouflage capabilities in response to the increasing military threat from China, according to a defense budget proposal it submitted to lawmakers for review.
It has also announced that it placed an additional order of 21 CM-34 “Clouded Leopard” eight-wheeled wheeled infantry fighting vehicles.
The new order comes on top of 284 CM-34 IFVs already ordered for the nation’s military.
According to the contract, mass production of the 284 combat vehicles is expected to be completed by 2023.
Japan and Taiwan have agreed to reopen their borders for newly arriving expatriates and other long-term residents from Sept. 8.
Johnny Chiang buckles, the “1992 consensus” is back
KMT chair Johnny Chiang has buckled, and the “1992 consensus” is back in the proposed party platform to be presented to the party congress that starts on the 6th.
This is a big defeat for Chiang and party reformers, who had hoped to drop it, as it is deeply unpopular with the public at large.
This is huge, and effectively makes the party unelectable in a presidential election, and will weaken them significantly in legislative elections.
It won’t have much impact on local elections, however.
So what happened?
First, the party elites came out strong and forcefully against dropping the consensus.
However, he seemed to be getting some support from some big figures in the party, mostly Taiwanese figures.
What probably finally killed off hope of escaping from the 92 consensus was that Chiang knew he would lose, and he decided to avoid another crushing defeat.
According to an internal poll, he was doomed.
Almost 82 percent of KMT members supported promoting cross-strait exchanges and dialogue on the basis of a “1992 consensus based on the Republic of China Constitution.”
Oh, and it gets worse.
Their new proposed platform has eight points in the second on relations with China, several of which seemed designed to make them even less electable.
Using a translation done by Ross Feingold, here they are.
“1. The ROC Constitution not only is the basis for Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, but also connects the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but it provides a legal basis for cross-strait relations and is the foundation of stable cross-strait relations.”
In short “One China”, and a heavy dose of unreality.
Communist China doesn’t recognize the ROC constitution, so it adds nothing to the foundation of stable cross-strait relations.
“2. Cross-strait official negotiations can only be held within the ROC constitutional framework, and cross-strait official interactions must respect the reality of the ROC’s existence and provide space for the ROC, and such is a core element of cross-strait official negotiations and interactions.”
This is pure fantasy.
There is no way Chairman Xi Jinping or the Chinese Communists will respect the reality of the ROC’s existence, and it actively wants to reduce space for the ROC.
While the KMT likes to tout so-called “improved relations” during the Ma administration, in reality the Chinese side simply slowed their activities to reduce space for Taiwan and made a few small concessions, like allowing Taiwan to join a few international meetings as an observer.
Also, note the wording, “provide space for the ROC”.
That puts China in the driver’s seat, not Taiwan.
“3. When the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was the governing party, the terms “1992 Consensus, One China Each With Its Own Interpretation” was ROC Constitution compliant and was a successful experience to provide cross-straits common ground while recognizing differences.
Based on the 1992 Consensus within the [scope of the] ROC Constitution, such can faciliate continued cross-strait interaction to seek ways to interact and keep pace with the times.”
The Chinese Communists never acknowledged the “each side with its own interpretation” and never will.
“4. The Chinese Nationalist Party has, for decades, resolutely opposed Taiwan’s independence as well as the Chinese Communist Party’s One Country, Two Systems, as both will destroy the ROC’s sovereignty.”
This is actually good to see.
In effect, they’re taking President Tsai’s line that Taiwan is an independent nation with the name Republic of China, though I doubt the president “resolutely opposes Taiwan’s independence.”
It’s also good that they want to codify opposition to “One Country, Two Systems” in the party platform.
“5. The mainland should abandon the use of force against Taiwan, and the two sides of the strait should set an example of peaceful resolution of differences, achieve mutual respect and non-exclusion from the global community.
In order to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait, the best strategy is to simultaneously promote cross-strait interactions and US-Taiwan cooperation.”
Unless there is a revolution in China, there is no way they will renounce the use of force, so this is purely fantasy.
The second part seems to suggest that they are hoping for parity in the relationship with the US and the relationship with China, though that isn’t made explicit.
“6. Legislation to monitor cross-straits agreements should be completed as soon as possible, so as to continue working towards a trade in services agreement and trade in goods agreements under the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).”
Yup, you heard that correctly: This is a big, fat middle finger to the Sunflower Movement.
Kiss goodbye your efforts to attract younger voters.
“7. In order to ensure legal, reasonable and sensible cross-strait exchanges, the party will take the initiative to implement a code of conduct for party officials and elected officeholders engaging in cross-strait exchanges, and clearly stipulate the norms that party members and party officials and elected officeholders should follow when engaging in cross-straits interactions.”
This is one of the few elements of serious reform efforts to survive.
There has been a considerable outcry about so-called KMT “compradores” who have financial ties with China and are influenced or outright controlled by the Chinese United Front.
However, the crunch will be in the implementation of this.
There will be a lot of pressure and incentives for the party to make this toothless.
“8. Officials on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should facilitate non-governmental exchanges and avoid interfering in normal cross-strait exchanges.
The freedom and basic rights of persons from Taiwan who are in the mainland should be guaranteed, and, at the same time, mainland persons in Taiwan should not be discriminated against and their rights should be guaranteed.”
“Non-governmental exchanges” is a tricky one.
Sometimes these can be harmless, or even helpful–sporting events for example.
Unfortunately, often they are United Front activities intended to promote Communist propaganda and try to emphasize “One China”.
In these eight points there are some improvements–but the main changes they needed to make to appeal to mainstream Taiwanese public opinion have been gutted.
An internal KMT poll shows some interesting results
In that same internal KMT poll that showed that almost 82 percent of KMT members support promoting cross-strait exchanges and dialogue on the basis of a “1992 consensus based on the Republic of China Constitution,” there were some other interesting results.
The survey showed that 60.2 percent of KMT members support limiting the term of members of the Central Standing Committee to one consecutive term, with a maximum term of eight years.
That’s a good idea, the party has been plagued with corruption issues and an ossified power structure for a long time, though eight years is a very long term.
It also found that 82.8 percent of party members agreed that more than half of Central Committee and Central Standing Committee members should be young, female, from overseas or disadvantaged people, or elected representatives or officials.
Nearly 86 percent of KMT members support the idea of having one in every five KMT nominees for legislator-at-large seats be younger than 40 with professional knowledge.
Both of those would make the party somewhat more representative, which would be helpful in getting fresher input into the party.
However, the failure to reform their cross-strait policies significantly means these reforms are someone pointless–they’re still going to be viewed as a pro-China, out-of-touch party no matter what.
The poll also asked KMT members if they support KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang’s (江啟臣) proposition that “the core value of the KMT is the Republic of China.”
Nearly 94 percent of respondents said that they support it.
And there it is in a nutshell–you can’t reform a party to direct it towards the centre of public opinion when the membership is so far outside the mainstream.
Less than 3% of the party’s 340,000 members are under the age of 40.
New passport design released
Taiwan’s government has released a new design for the country’s passport highlighting the English word for “Taiwan” in the hope of drawing a clearer distinction between Taiwan and China.
The new cover repositions and significantly shrinks the words “Republic of China” (R.O.C.), the country’s official name, making them hard to see at first glance, while enlarging and using a bold font for “Taiwan.”
The Chinese version of “Republic of China” (中華民國) remains at the top of the cover, but the English version of the name originally positioned below the Chinese now circles the national emblem in the middle of the cover.
The passport with the new cover design is scheduled to be issued on January 2021.
People using existing passports can continue to use them until they expire.
The KMT released a statement accusing the DPP of “again playing ideological games, minimizing and nearly erasing the country’s official name, the Republic of China, in English.”
Speaking to CNA, KMT Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) argued that the changes were part of a DPP effort to erode people’s identification with the Republic of China, and suggested that the party planned to eventually remove that name from the passport entirely.
The new design visually looks pretty similar to the old one, the same colour and general look.
Many have expressed disappointment that the government didn’t consider any of the more exciting options, such as those entered into a New Power Party design competition.
I guess the government didn’t think bubble tea or bears were good motifs for Taiwan’s passport.
Image courtesy of 江啟臣’s Facebook page