Cross-Strait Policy Discourse the Focus in KMT Chairmanship Debate
The Kuomintang (KMT) held a televised platforms presentation, and each candidate put forward his position on issues like cross-strait and U.S.-Taiwan relations.
Candidates for KMT Chairman Emphasize Cross-Strait Relations
China Times, September 5, 2021
The only televised debate for the Kuomintang (KMT) chairpersonship election was held on September 4. Part of the debate focused on how to resist the pressure of being discredited as communist fellow and to restart cross-strait exchanges. Eric Chu, former chairman and former New Taipei mayor, stated that in a bid to gradually build up goodwill, he would promote cross-strait exchanges of social forces, depoliticize bilateral cooperation, and set up a KMT service office in mainland China. Incumbent Chairman Johnny Chiang said that regarding the future development of cross-strait relations, whether it be unification with mainland China, Taiwan independence, or some other option, there is room for further imagination, but the prerequisite is to deepen mutual trust so that it is possible to address political issues.
All four candidates vying for the position of KMT chairman affirm the "1992 Consensus" under the former administration of President Ma Ying-jeou. When asked if each candidate had the courage to resist the pressure of being discredited as Communist fellow, restart cross-strait exchanges, resume the KMT-Communist Party forum, or even to head a team to pay an call on mainland Chinse leaders, Chu replied the reality is that as the opposition party, the KMT’s current objective is to promote cross-strait peace and to restore the channels of exchanges. In addition, the spirit of seeking common ground while “shelving” controversies of the 1992 Consensus should morph into “respecting differences” in the future.
The chairmanship election of the Kuomintang (KMT) will be held in late September. The media held the first televised debate yesterday in order for party members with voting rights to understand the ideals and ambitions of the four candidates. Since this tenure of the party chairman will overlap with the local elections at the end of 2022 as well as the presidential election in 2024, the chairmanship election has attracted particular attention from all sides.
According to the KMT’s party charter, the chairman is directly elected by party members, and it is estimated that there are 390,000 qualified party members. Since the voting rate has been around 50 percent in the past, any candidate who receives 80,000 votes should easily win. The problem is, most party members come from military, education and government backgrounds and their opinions tend to be far from mainstream. As a result, the candidates face a dilemma at the debate: if they deliberately cater to the likings of party members, future voters who are not party members might find the candidates dull and old-fashioned. This will reinforce voters’ stereotypical idea of the KMT, which would not be beneficial to future elections. In addition, ever since the 2000s, it has gradually become a custom for the chairperson to take responsibility for the party’s defeat and resign from office. Therefore, if a candidate yields excessively to the interests of party members, he would be a short-lived chairman even if he wins. But if a candidate chooses to focus on the bigger picture, it might cause party members to feel that the candidate does not have enough of the party’s spirit and end up as a succès d’estime.
In an online lecture held by the Fair Winds Foundation, Academician Wu Yu-shan of the Academia Sinica stated that trends in the U.S.-China power struggle will make Xi Jinping's power more concentrated, but Xi's strong rule may increase the risk that no one will dare to correct his mistakes.
Xi Pushes "ReMaoization" by Concentrating Power in His Hands
United Daily News, September 4, 2021
As part of a lecture series discussing the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, Academician Wu Yu-shan of the Academia Sinica indicated that since Xi Jinping became leader, the power is highly centralized and the term limit of chairmanship has been lifted. In addition, the institutionalization established by former leader Deng Xiaoping was weakened, and societal control has deepened. This is very different from the direction of development under Deng’s rule. Wu called this trend of restoring Maoism "ReMaoization."
The third part of the lecture series on the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, co-organized by the Fair Winds Foundation, Reflexion magazine, Linking Publishing, and the Storm Media, was held online today. Wu lectured on the continuity and development of China's party state system.
Accidents continue to happen with Han Kuang Exercise rehearsals. An Air Force F-16 fighter plane lost control and slipped out of the end of a runway during a low-altitude landing.
(Photo from: China Times)
August 31: In the morning, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered remarks for the Ketagalan Forum—2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue in English. She stated that Taiwan does not seek military confrontation and hopes for peaceful, stable, and beneficial existence with its neighbors. But the official press release of the Office of the President translated "neighbors" as "neighboring countries," interpreted by the opposition Kuomintang as a reprint of the "Two-State Theory" promoting independence. Some scholars indicated that President Tsai's deliberate ball-scoring will only let cross-strait relations continue to deteriorate.
August 31: The Ministry of National Defense published a 2021 report on the mainland Chinese military, revealing for the first time that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has the ability to attack west of the first island chain with soft and hard electronic attacks, communication blocking, and obscuration. The tactics may be combined with the cyber military. Launching wired and wireless global cyber-attacks may paralyze Taiwan's air defense, sea control, and counter-warfare systems, posing a great threat to Taiwan.
August 31: Another failed Han Kuang exercise rehearsal! An Air Force F-16 fighter plane took off and landed at the Pingbei Airport at low altitude. After landing, it slid out of the end of the runway. Fortunately, there was no death or injury. According to witnesses, it is fortunate that the Mirage 2000, which was about to land, climbed urgently to avoid the danger. Accidents continue to happen at the Han Kuang Exercise No. 37. This is the fourth exercise accident in three weeks.
August 31: In order to combat smuggling pork from becoming a breach in preventing African swine fever, the use of food waste in raising pigs has been suspended for one month since September, and food waste has been banned from entering pig farms on August 31. However, on average, more than 1,200 metric tons of food waste is collected every day. Where should they be sent for disposal now? Pingtung County Executive Pan Meng-an announced that food waste from other counties and cities will be refused entry into Pingtung. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Yuan, the temporary policy change will take time to coordinate. Some of the food waste will be sent to landfills or incinerators.
September 2: Mainland China has recently strengthened various regulatory measures. Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping stressed common prosperity in August, leading companies have put forward relevant measures to respond. In addition to Tencent's investment to 50 billion yuan to support common prosperity projects, Alibaba also announced on September 2 that it would invest 100 billion yuan in response. In terms of entertainment, the government is putting an end to abnormal aesthetics such as "mother guns" in the film and television industry and is prohibiting minors from playing online games on weekdays. According to analysis of scholars, Xi used these methods before the 20th National Congress of Chinese Communist Party to announce his third-term goals and demonstrate his authority. Many departments are using this opportunity to showcase their performance.
September 2: In view of the increasing use of emerging drugs by young people and the increased severity of marijuana addictions in recent years, the Ministry of Justice formulated a new strategy to combat drugs. From now on, anyone under the age of 25 found to consume drugs will be screened for more than 600 kinds of drugs, and marijuana will be a primary policy target.
September 4: Three (3) EVA Air pilots were infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) within five days. One pilot's son who attends high school was also infected with the disease, with a cycle threshold (CT) value of 11, which is highly contagious. The high school that he attended announced an emergency closure for two weeks, after the school started classes for only two days. A total of more than 500 teachers, students, and parents were quarantined. More than 2,000 teachers and students in the school received PCR tests. The results were released on September 4, and all results were negative.
The pilot was found to be out for dinner during the autonomous health management period after returning to Taiwan from Chicago, and concealed his symptoms when he filed his health statement form. Eva Air decided to discharge the pilot on September 4 and suspend flights to Chicago. Starting September 3, all crew members must undergo quarantine for five (5) to seven (7) days when entering Taiwan. PCR tests were carried out on approximately 1,500 pilots in all fleets.
September 4: Armed Forces Day was observed on September 3. During the autumn worship ceremony conducted at the Armed Forces Martyrs' Columbarium located at Chengcing Lake in Kaohsiung, the national anthem was not sung as usual, and the ceremony ended in less than 20 minutes. The surviving family members were furious and asked for the ceremony to be held again. The ceremony was repeated, which is unprecedented, with a performance of the national anthem.
Afterwards, the military solemnly apologized, claiming that it was because the master of ceremonies had received an incorrect program schedule. Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng ordered a rigorous investigation, and more than a dozen military officers were subject to administrative sanctions.