Used to be that the KMT was the only game in town, if you wanted a piece of the pie then you sold out and signed onto the gravy train. Lot of folk still think the KMT will line their pockets if they just tow the line. Remember how the stock market used to surge before elections and CNY? KMT orchestrated paybacks to the faithful. Tax the masses to give kickbacks and pork-barrel projects to the faithful. If this doesn’t make sense, note how people here feel themselves much more likely to win in the lottery than have a traffic accident even when the statistics prove otherwise.
Not to mention that being a paid-up card-carrying party member was pretty good insurance against disappearing in the middle of the night…
If voting were essentially a contest between Taiwanese and mainlanders, the DPP would win by landslides, while the KMT and Soong would fight over 15 to 20 percent. But that’s not what’s happening. There’s a missing 30 percent supporting the KMT or Soong.
If I am a mercenary Taiwanese (non-mainlander), I can see how I might have joined the KMT. I can even see how I might vote for them and genuinely want them to prevail, if I am still on their gravy train and don’t want the DPP to upset that. But, can this motivation possibly account for 30 percent of the electorate? How much bribe-money can there possibly be?
And if this is indeed the explanation, why are so many of these people voting for Soong instead of the KMT? What can Soong do for them?
Other possible explanations for the missing 30 % KMT support:
Sheer marketing bluster (e.g. “pretty-boy Ma” campaign)
Dissatisfaction with DPP’s record
Perception of KMT as relatively pro-business
Vote-buying (which is apparently practiced honestly!)
Has mainlander spouse or relatives
Member of “third” ethnic group, such as Hakka
Personal connections with KMT politicians
Remember how the KMT pulled its capital out of the markets after A-Bian was elected? They had warned the economy would nosedive if they lost and then had to crash the stock market to prove themselves right. Yup, they took their ball home because they couldn’t win. It was a classic miscalculation that they did this just as the US was going into a downturn, and the prediction came true. Every stock market player wants a KMT government because they play the system of big hand so well. Even the greedy non-member knows this. Every campaign contribution you make gets you better stock trade tips.
If you don’t buy this theory, then look at the idiots that want to hand Taiwan off to Beijing. Are they going to profit personally from such a sell-out? I very much doubt it, but they saw that some in HK gained from towing the pro-Beijing line and they see themselves as more likely to win the lottery than get in an auto wreck… blind greed.
Then of course there’s the huge farm vote. NT$500 or 1000 was always enough to buy it, and they didn’t used to be shy about handing out the money. They can’t get away with that so easily now, but there are other incentives offered. The Hakka side more easily with the mainlanders as they just get on better. The aboriginals had fought the Fujianese for the good land and lost it, so it was pretty easy for the KMT to step in and play the good guys, buy their loyalty with some rudimentary infrastructure and a permit system to stop the usurpers from swindling them out of the mountains as well. Then there’s the military and the huge bloated civil service. Imagine how hard it was to be in either career and not carry the card?
Soong’s support comes simply from the money he doled out during his spell as Taiwan governor. The provincial government handed out countless billions in pork-barrel projects during that era and now he’s calling those favors in. The pro-Beijing business faction are counting on him to get them the best possible political mileage when they hand Taiwan over and they will share in that and either enjoy privilege in China or take the money and run to the US.
This current propaganda blitz is so transparent it’s funny. See how the media calls this a ‘wave’, ‘popular movement’ even? Funny how the only ones I see shedding a tear for Fishlips or missing him is in the same faction of pro-Beijing sycophant KMT/PFP lawmakers in and out of office. Yet, they stand up there and spout about how the whole nation misses him and those glory days. It makes me sick. Sick of politics and thoroughly sick of mass media. Ask someone who’s relative disappeared, someone who was exiled or jailed for 20 years for their political beliefs to cry for CCK and see how many will.
When I first came here this island was damn near as oppressive as China still is, people were afraid to say much if anything against the government for fear of disappearing or exile, the judicial system was a joke (look at the current Shijr trio case) and human rights weren’t even in the vocabulary. And they want us to get all misty eyed about the generalissmo’s son that allowed or encouraged the Taiwan Garrison Command to carry on like some local Gestapo?
Soong’s support comes simply from the money he doled out during his spell as Taiwan governor. The provincial government handed out countless billions in pork-barrel projects during that era and now he’s calling those favors in. [/quote]
Yup. Also, he appeals to the large numbers of middle-aged voters who understandably feel threatened by the rapid pace of change in Taiwan. He promises more of the same.
I don’t agree with this. There are historical reasons that the Hakka feel threatened by a Minnan-dominated Taiwan. It’s less that they like mainlanders and more that they fear Minnan Taiwanese.
Hsiadogah’s anecdote about mainlanders cowering in fear when CCk died probably has some basis in fact. It’s a good illustration of what is called the “wai4sheng3ren2 wei2ji1 yi4shi4” (Mainlander crisis conciousness). Mainlanders, especially “pure” mainlanders (both parents are mainlanders) are have always been afraid that the Taiwanese are going to “suan4zhang4” (settle accounts). This fear has grown in inverse proportion to their declining political power. Fortunately, that fear is unfounded.
Not only did Mr. Democracy murder a former lover and others, but he refused to acknowledge, meet or support his own sons. When I criticized that recently, my gf countered that times have changed, I don’t know all the facts and under the circumstances maybe he was justified, but I disagree. There is no excuse whatsoever to completely abandon ones children. The man is (was) scum.
First off I want to make it cleat that I am not a CKS or CCK supporter. I think that they did many terrible things, but overall they also did some good things for Taiwan as well. Whenever I hear people bash CKS or CCK, I always think “yeah that’s true” but then I can also imagine that things could’ve easily been a lot worse.
At that time Taiwan had 2 choices…it was either the KMT or the Commies. Say if the KMT surrendered in China or they all died or whatever. I cannot imagine any situation in which Taiwan could’ve prevented the Commies from taking over. The locals had no military, the US would not have cared, etc. So if you look at thing from that sense, getting the KMT was a good deal since the Commies would’ve been a million time worse.
Most people, from what I remember and what I’ve heard, lived decent lives as long as they didn’t piss off the gov’t. Yes, the KMT killed a couple thousand innocent people, put tons of others in jail and that’s terrible, but remember those were chaotic times, and similar situations were happening in countries all over the world including the US. If you didn’t lay the smack down then you’re gonna have riots everyother day; the instability will cripple the nation. But most people still went about their business, going to school, making money, so on and so forth. It was not like they were living in hell or something, and definitely a much better option then the Commies.
Because people had no political freedom, they focused on working hard and improving the economy. And because Taiwan was supposed to be a military base from which CKS can re-take China, it was governed with extreme stability, which I think was also good for the economy.
yes the KMT was extremely corrupt and ripped off the locals of their hard earned money, etc, but they also brought IN a lot of money, not to mention a lot of talented people. And just because of CKS alone, Taiwan enjoyed a very high level of international influence and recognition for 30 years, which can’t be bad for a country this size.
No I am not a KMT supporter! I just think that things could’ve been a lot worse and people keep bringing up the bad things. CCK was a pretty decent president at a time like that, and lot better than his father. Stuff like corruption etc happen in every country and every political party. I’m sure the Repulican Party in the US did a lot of shady stuff, but it’s not like people think of them as devils or anything. Like I love A-bian and think he’s a great guy, but I am not impressed by the way he runs the country at all. Just trying to look at things objectively.
That said, I think it’s possible Fishlips may have admitted to himself that the ROC military was never going to take the mainland back by force, even though people who said that out loud had a habit of disappearing. Hence the sudden willingness to spend on infrastructure.
Not even that. The island’s infrastructure was so hopelessly inadequate that in the early 1970s the major international shipping and transport organizations threatened to boycott the island unless something was done. Otherwise, CCK would have done nothing at all. See the last section of Ho’s Economic Development of Taiwan 1860-1970.
3rd choice of course is that the US could have stepped in and held the island on Japan’s behalf while it’s final status was decided. I think the early days of the PRC were comparatively benign as they had a bankrupt and war-ravaged country to fix before they got into purges of KMT remnants and the really silly stuff like the great leap forward. Not to mention the fact that the commies didn’t exactly want a war with the KMT, who were responsible for the shocking state of the country in the first place.
2) Most people, from what I remember and what I’ve heard, lived decent lives as long as they didn’t piss off the gov’t. Yes, the KMT killed a couple thousand innocent people, put tons of others in jail and that’s terrible, but remember those were chaotic times, and similar situations were happening in countries all over the world including the US. If you didn’t lay the smack down then you’re gonna have riots everyother day; the instability will cripple the nation. But most people still went about their business, going to school, making money, so on and so forth. It was not like they were living in hell or something, and definitely a much better option then the Commies. [/quote]
Think again, KMT moves in land reform 1945~47 and later ‘stabilizing’ and ‘emergency measures’ in nationalizing enterprises, redistributing land etc put economic activity well down on the Japanese figures. Ask any older Taiwanese which they perferred, the Japanese or the KMT administration…
And this was largely the case while the Japanese were here, except they had a system of rule by law, and invested heavily in infrastructure, while the KMT system was one of rampant corruption, cronyism and zero investment in anything that couldn’t be carted off to China at a momen’t notice.
I think you’ll find the money came mostly from US aid, which Soong Mei-ling and CKS had managed to scam by being in the right place at the right time.
Yes, Stalin could have been in charge.
Stuff like corruption etc happen in every country and every political party. I’m sure the Repulican Party in the US did a lot of shady stuff, but it’s not like people think of them as devils or anything. [/quote]
Speak for yourself
There were plenty of things that could’ve made the situtaion a lot better. The main point is that the Taiwanese people were not allowed to make their own choice about their own future. If the people of Taiwan were allowed to govern themselves, then there would not be any complaints about the abuses of CKS, CCK, and KMT(KMT, CNP, and PFP). But because the KMT forced their rule on Taiwan, the problems they created are their fault and no one elses.
The San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) only states that Japan gives up all rights and title to Taiwan. It didn’t name anyone as the benficiary of Taiwan.
SFPT Chapter II Article 2
(b) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.
The KMT were given trusteeship of Taiwan. They were not given the rights to make it part of China (PRC or ROC). Based on the United Nations charter, the people of Taiwan should’ve been given the choice to decide their future.
Yes there were problems due to the fear over communism but even the McCarthy trials did not have the military out killing people on the streets iwht roving trucks with machine guns. There were no mass graves of US citizens. People did not have holes drilled into their bodies, wired together to a boulder and thrown into the sea to die. You were able to speak out about the US govenrment without worrying about disappearing in the middle of the night and never heard from again. You were able to vote someone else besides the one in power. Most people in Taiwan did what they could to survive. The standards of living between in mainlanders and the Taiwanese were so far apart.
The current political fighting is going on now because it didn’t happen years ago. Most western countries had the worst of their political infighting centuries ago. There are stories of a member of congress shooting another member in the 1800’s. All thoat Taiwan is going through right now is the venting of the frustations of the Taiwanese against the years of repression and the inability to change things.
Anyone can get a lot of international recognition if they spent as much money as the KMT has done. Their budget each year to hire a lobbyist company in DC was in the millions. They brought in a lot of talented rip off artists. Why do you think Chen-yi was given the post of governor of Taiwan? He was very good at ripping off the people of Shanghai before.
[quote=“aceman”]No I am not a KMT supporter! I just think that things could’ve been a lot worse and people keep bringing up the bad things. CCK was a pretty decent president at a time like that, and lot better than his father. Stuff like corruption etc happen in every country and every political party. I’m sure the Repulican Party in the US did a lot of shady stuff, but it’s not like people think of them as devils or anything. Like I love A-bian and think he’s a great guy, but I am not impressed by the way he runs the country at all. Just trying to look at things objectively.
OK now y’all can yell at me.[/quote]
A lot of the so called good things CCK did was not motivated by any type of goodness on his part. He was just reacting to the writing on the wall. The KMT was always supported by the western world’s fear of communism and the cold war. The US was placing pressure on Taiwan to be more democratic. This US congressional push was a push by the Taiwanese Americans. The Taiwanese people also pushed for their rights in Taiwan. There have been a very coordinated effort on both sides of the pacific to help Taiwan. The lifting of the black list came as a result of pushing from the US. Guys in the CNP and PFP should be thanking the guys in the DPP because if the DPP did not push for the right to form a new political party, the CNP and PFP would not be allowed to exist today. If you want to hear about how republican are the devil and such, talk to a liberal. I personally like abien and felt that he is doing better than I expected. The reason I say that is because he is going into power where all the cards are stacked against him. He does not have the full support of the bureacrats that were placed there by the KMT. He does not control the industries and the financial institutions. The bad world economy has helped abien to stay in power and not look as bad. It is easy for the KMT to dump stocks to make the Taiwanese economy look bad if the world economy was looking good. The bad economy also devalued the holding of the KMT so that they would not damage the economy with out seriously damaging themselves in the process. Abien has a uphill battle against the decades of corruption. He has done very well against that. It would be a serious setback to the democratization of Taiwan if a KMT, CNP, or PFP member was elected as president of Taiwan in 2004. It would signal a return to the old corrupt ways.
In the last paragraph, the editors express concern for the recent CCK-revival in Taiwan. They ask if the continuing political paralysis, corruption and chaos in Taiwan have caused a collective nostalgia for the days of authoritarian rule and (supposed) efficent and orderly goverment. The editors see similarities between Taiwan today and Weimar Germany and worry that many Taiwanese are longing for a return to strongman policitcs.
Given the fragile and young history of democracy in Taiwan, I think this is a legitimate worry. It reminds me of similar developments in Russia and other former Communist countries.