Beijing won’t rely on KMT for realizing reunification with Taiwan following ‘mayor’ recall drama: analysts

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/7 23:28:40

Beijing won’t rely on KMT for realizing reunification with Taiwan: analysts

Han Kuo-yu celebrates after winning in local elections, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2018. Photo: VCG

Former Kuomintang (KMT) candidate for the 2020 Taiwan leadership election lost the unprecedented vote recalling him as "mayor" of Kaohsiung city, a southern port city of the Taiwan island as Taiwan's pro-reunification political party lost again in its political struggle against the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) with its anti-mainland and separatist stance. 

The Chinese mainland public are not paying much attention to the incident as they have become convinced in recent years that they cannot rely on the KMT for Taiwan reunification as the party increasingly wavers on reunification and fails to contain separatism on the island, said the mainland analysts, adding that with a worsening economy and deteriorating cross-Straits ties, Taiwan's tragic situation would continue, and only the strength of the mainland and the determination of whole Chinese nation could be relied on for realizing reunification. 

Han Kuo-yu, "mayor" of Kaohsiung and also KMT candidate for the island's leadership election who lost to the separatist DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen in January 2020, will be released from the office before June 12, as about 939,000 people voted in favor of the recall, according to the city's election commission, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

Li Xiaobing, a Taiwan affairs expert at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times that this was "a very strange election system" as the candidate needs to get more than 50 percent of the votes to be elected "mayor," but to recall him from office requires no more than 25 percent of the votes. 

More than 2.77 million people resided in Kaohsiung, according to the latest official data. 

The incident didn't attract too much attention from the mainland and the mainland authority in charge of Taiwan affairs made no comment as of Sunday. 

US media like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal took the ouster as a symbol that the people of the island were throwing the mainland-friendly mayor or pro-mainland mayor out of office. 

But mainland analysts said that was not the case, as the mainland didn't attach too much importance to Han and the KMT and it would not impact reunification progress at all. 

They noted that "most mainland people" were not interested in the political struggle and endless farces on the island, and although mainland people strongly support reunification, they would not be disappointed by any defeat of the KMT by the DPP as they were losing faith in the KMT from its wavering and uncertainty on reunification.

"In the past, KMT politicians only want to get benefits from the mainland by using the old key passphrase '1992 Consensus,' and the mainland also would like to offer since we still got faith on the KMT, but since the KMT has failed to contain the separatism in past decade and refuse to negotiate the reunification with mainland, many people in the mainland have found the KMT is not as valuable as before," said a Beijing-based anonymous expert on Taiwan affairs.

The mainland authorities have also realized the facts and are pushing reunification more actively now regardless, with or without cooperation from the KMT, observers believed.  

When Chiang Chi-chen was elected chairman of the KMT in March, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, did not send a congratulation letter to Chiang

This was the first time since 2005 that the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee didn't congratulate the elected KMT chairman.

The mainland experts said the reason could be the mainland has found the KMT growing more "localized and pro-US" instead of maintaining mutual trust with the Chinese mainland to promote cross-Straits exchanges and keep the region peaceful.

"According to the case studies in the history, reunifications between the mainland and Taiwan have never relied on the forces inside the island through any kind of peaceful negotiation, it was always unilaterally realized by the mainland with overwhelming strength and comprehensive advantage. So there is nothing that needs to be worried or disappointed, since they (KMT) are not reliable anymore," the Beijing-based anonymous expert said.

Many Taiwan residents who supported Han questioned the legitimacy of the recall online since they believe the ruling party DPP is inciting the anti-mainland and separatist sentiment to clean its political rivals and regain power from the city. 

And Chinese mainland experts noted there were suspicious incidents indicating that the DPP was trying hard to cover its scandals in Kaohsiung by pushing the recall, including the death of the city council speaker.

Kaohsiung City KMT Council Speaker Hsu Kun-yuan, who strongly supported Han during the mayoral election in 2018, jumped from his apartment Saturday evening two hours after Mayor Han admitted defeated in a recall election, Taiwan News reported.

The DPP has controlled the southern city of the island for decades since Taiwan started to embrace Western multi-party system in 1980s, and experts noted that Han's victory in 2018 showed that the locals were tired of DPP rule and hoped Han could bring new changes to solve long-standing problems including bringing new economic opportunities to the city as the KMT had better ties with the mainland due to its anti-separatism stance. 

However, when the KMT ruled the city, Han and other KMT officials launched investigation into many cases of the DPP which were reported by the locals and posed a "very significant threat to the DPP leaders," Li said.

"So it is totally reasonable to question ifHsu really committed suicide or if his death was connected to DPP scandals uncovered in Kaohsiung?" 

Song Luzheng, a Taiwan affairs expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, said without principle and consensus in society, the two-party or multi-party Western democratic system can only transform into endless struggles and "democracy" was just a weapon for the political parties to attack each other.

"Now in Taiwan, 'democracy' can even kill people," Song said. 

Li said if there was anything that the people from the mainland can take from the incident, that would be they were more certain that Taiwan's practice of a Western multi-party system democracy has failed and this was the tragedy of the island, as always.

Song told the Global Times Sunday that "the only way out for Taiwan to get rid of the tragedy is the reunification. In 2019, the GDP of Fujian Province has surpassed Taiwan, and the latter is getting worse and worse in terms of people's livelihood and economy.

"Due to Taiwan's political system and the worsening ties with the mainland, the reunification is the key to solving these problems," Song said. 

Newspaper headline: Mainland unfazed by 'mayor' recall

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