Taiwan’s DPP refuses to learn from mistakes

By Qiu Kaiming Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/13 22:19:28

A fleet of fishing vessels arrive at Zhubi Reef of south China Sea on July 18, 2012. Photo: Xinhua

After Taiwan's nine-in-one local elections last month, there have been quite a few analyses explaining why Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered big losses. These include analyzing the crises that hit Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP besides the the island's geopolitical crisis. These analyses not only reflect the people's dissatisfaction with DPP's rule, but also delve into the reason behind them collectively exercising their rationality. 

The election, especially the victory of Kuomintang's mayoral candidate in Kaohsiung, once again underscored the opportunities before the island - if cross-Straits relations are promising, Taiwan's outlook will be promising. To realize the expectation, Taiwan authorities and citizens should be proactive in promoting cross-Straits ties as well as peaceful reunification, and show that they are capable of solving Taiwan's chronic economic and social woes. 

In more than two years during which Tsai has been in office, she has been refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Relations across the Straits have been hurt. Taiwan people can no longer enjoy the benefits that used to come with amicable cross-Straits relations. Complaints on the island are rising.

In diplomacy, Tsai's administration still depends on the US while confronting the Chinese mainland. It promotes the New Go South Policy, hoping to increase bargaining chips against the mainland. However, Washington has neither helped in Taiwan's economic development nor supported it in joining international organizations. 

Over the past few years, it only sold the island a bunch of high-priced second-hand weapons, earning billions of dollars. Washington has piled huge pressure on Taiwan, asking the latter to fulfill its promise of importing more cattle and pigs. Some Taiwan media outlets thus commented that with US President Donald Trump's "America first," there is no chance for Taiwan to share a slice of the pie and Taiwan authorities must still be grateful. 

DPP's independence demand has become hollow. Since its founding, the party has tried to drive home that it is only politically correct when Taiwan is ruled by the DPP, basing its arguments on claims that the Chinese mainland is a security threat and Kuomintang is an outside political force. 

Changes in Taiwan's social conditions and public opinion over the past 30 years show that DPP's view has distorted the island's economic and social development, making Taiwan get bogged down in the vicious cycle of political turmoil. In elections, economic strategy is clouded by political infighting, affecting economic development and people's standard of living. It was in this backdrop that the DPP was abandoned by voters in the latest election. 

Taiwan's economic policies have now become indoctrinated to serve political interests. They are used to apple-polish voters rather than being directed at the long-term development of Taiwan's economy. As a result, policies are short-sighted, fragmented, with no long-term strategic vision and are a drain on resources. Economic inefficiency has worsened the confrontation among parties, reducing trust as well as the chance to agree on policy. 

Looking back at her failure, Tsai said the public was dissatisfied with DPP's governance. She added that Taiwan is on the right path, without mentioning any change in cross-Straits policies. 

Tsai and the DPP failed to understand the public's message in the election. Many new city mayors and county magistrates have been elected, which mirrors Taiwan people's strong wish to change policies. Yet the DPP is pretending to sleep. 

A party can only enjoy support when it promotes people's livelihood. If the DPP keeps going this way, it will face a bigger crisis, making the last election pale in comparison. 

The author is director of research center of relations across the Taiwan Straits at the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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