Rolling Back Democracy

This may well have been discussed before, and if so I’m sorry for wasting valuable cyberspace with a new topic heading.

However, it occured to me today that if the KMT were to get back into power, which seems likely, they will be hell bent on rolling back democracy on Taiwan. My sense is that they have probably had about enough of it by now. It was after all Lee Teng Hui who masterfully bought about democracy to Taiwan, and as he is seen as such a social cur by the KMT for what he distilled here, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that once the KMT got back into power they started to dismantle democray here or at the very least reduce its functionality.

I think we begin to see this with Sung’s positioning on the the legality of the referendum. He doesn’t want to be beholding to those issues once he’s in power. Yet, it’s these issues which will form the catylst for the role back. My guess is the next big issue will be the delaying of the next presidential elections.

I doubt it. Democracy in Taiwan has been a spectacular success, in that it is extremely popular. If the KMT returns to the Executive branch, my gues is they will want to trumpet their win in a pure democratic vote… chosen by the people…

LDH was at the right place at the right time, historically speaking. If he could steer Taiwan his way, he would quickly forsake democracy. Democracy was useful to him. If democracy proved a hinderance to his goals, he would have been happy to discard democracy. Look at how the DPP democratically decided to amend their party guidelines when they selected CSB to be the DPP candidate… and contrast that with LDH’s refusal to democratically select the last KMT candidate. LDH knew that Lien hadn’t a chance 4 years ago so LDH insisted that Lien be the KMT candidate then.

Whether the referendum is legal or not is a legal matter… questioning the legality of such is not necessarily indicitive of a lack of support for democracy.


LDH masterfully bought democracy to Taiwan. There have been very few true rises of democray in the world, and the rise of Taiwan’s democracy would never have occured as smoothly with as little blood let or such minimal distrubance to the economy in almost any other country in the world. Most of the credit for this lays squarely on LDH shoulders.

I have no doubt if, and when the KMT win they will trumpet their success as being trully elected by the people, but to what mandate. If they think it’s in the overall interests of themselves first and Taiwan second to start interfering with the functioning of democracy to help maintain their power into the future, I think it likely that they will do so. It’s only a personal opinion.

With regards to Sung’s positioning on the referendum, I can see that if the KMT rises to power, and as a result of Sung questioning the legality of the referendum and directing PFP supporters to boycott it. He will be in a position to question the validity of its outcome, by saying a large percentage of voters obstained so we cannot guage the true proportion of the population who supported it. It’s a way of undermining its credibility, so as not having to follow through on it. Of course it is an example of a strategy used to roll back democracy.

I doubt CSB introduced the referendum for the purpose rolling democracy forward - it’s all about winning votes.
If the legality of the referendum is questionable, it isn’t fair to put the voters in that position (esp. when the topics of the referendum are so pointless).

Sorry this isn’t related to the topic…
What does Wangyou mean?

agree with tigerman. LDH just happened to be at the right place and time. he made some deals with the devil too to get this democracy. but does he really believe in it? or would he rather run taiwan like singapore? hmmm.

[quote=“Jack Burton”]agree with tigerman. LDH just happened to be at the right place and time. he made some deals with the devil too to get this democracy. but does he really believe in it? or would he rather run Taiwan like Singapore? hmmm.[/quote]Did Lee Deng-Wee believe in what he said he believed in 5 years ago, does he believe in what he says he believes in now. Can we believe him ?

Bitch to your hearts are content about how dastardly LDH is. The facts remain that LDH was able to see democracy through from woe to go in Taiwan. It is pure conjecture to say he was in the right place at the right time. The same could be said of any political leader of any pursuasian at anytime. It is a meaningless statement and suggests LDH had nothing to do with the rise of democracy in Taiwan except as a figure head of a crumbling regime. If you believe that you have little or no idea on the formation of democracy here.

As for the statement that a plebocite is an example of political brinkmanship well good luck to you in political science 101. When you have done your time on Green Island (not as the planned casino when KMT return) then maybe such a statement would hold water. That’s not to say that it isn’t a good political strategy as well as an attempt to improve security on Taiwan. It’s not likely that Chen will be returned in my book, so he ought attempt to set the political agenda going forward. It’s pure pragmatism. And what’s more “It’s all about winning votes.” Hello! It’s a democray.

[quote=“Fox”]Bitch to your hearts are content about how dastardly LDH is.

what does this sentence mean? bitch to your hearts are content???

Bitch until… sorry! I can see your getting right into the spirit of it there.

oh i think i get it. oops. monday morning, and i’m a bit slow. not being a grammar nazi. i just tried reading it 3 or 4x and nothing clicked.

back to the subject, is it or is it not true that LDW made quite a few deals with gangsters to help get votes. i dunno much about this stuff, but it’s what ive heard. the whole black/gold problem (which im not saying he created, but just used to get where he wanted perhaps)

Fox, you’re setting up a straw man. I never stated that LDH had “nothing to do with” the rise of democracy in Taiwan. I said that he used the rise of democracy to advance his goal… which in fact, goes against what most Taiwanese people say they desire. If democracy would have proved an hinderance to LDH’s goal of declaring TI, I am certain (IMO) that LDH would have forsaken democracy.

Then you conclude with this:

Are you disagreeing or not?

Fox, I get the impression from your posts that you see democracy as the ultimate goal of any country, rather than a means to an end. In my opinion, democracy is but one requirement among many for building a civil society. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a civil society the long term goal? The Philipines and many countries in Africa have democracy of some sort, but have they built civil societies?

The countries that have had long term success with democracy have found the right amount of it to have in their systems. A high degree of federalism and large numbers or referendums work for the Swiss; the same system would probably lead to chaos in larger countries. The PM in Britain isn’t directly elected to his position by the masses, but it works for them. My wife is a Hong Konger, and thus duty bound to hate the damn Singaporeans, but she’ll be the first to admit that Singapore, with a single party government, has managed to build a society more civil than most in Asia (but will it last? Who knows.)

I believe that there isn’t much use in having referendums to settle political issues when democratically elected legislators can’t sort them out themselves. To me, that seems like undercutting one democratic process with another. You may say “so what, that’s democracy!” My response is to question whether it actually leads to a civil society. Aside from this new referendum nonsense, I don’t think Taiwan has too much democracy. There will be no stability or civility in society, though, until equal emphasis is put on the rule of law, equal protection under the law and clean government. Sadly, though, I don’t read much from the candidates about doing any of that. Please tell me though, what did LDH, with all the accusations of corruption against him, do to promote the rule of law and clean government in Taiwan? I don’t think Taiwan’s society is any more civil as a result of anything LDH did.

It may well be LDH’s political persuasian for Taiwan to become an independent soverign nation, so what? That might also fly in the face of public opinion on Taiwan, so what? He didn’t as far as I can recall do anything except put his political position forward and facilitate the asendency of democracy. He was certainly in the position to go further in declaring Taiwan’s independence when he held power, but he didn’t do anything more radical than state a postion on negotiating Taiwan’s soverignty with regards to his special State to State remarks. This in my view is the mark of the man. He could have abused his position, but he chose not too. He chose instead to allow democracy to function. What could be wrong with that?

Was LDH involved in black gold politics- of course. Welcome to Taiwan. Was he an advocate for black-gold politics absolutely not. For years prior to LDH’s stewardship of Taiwan we would have periodic crack downs on corruption with farcical almost comical outcomes. Under LDH and the advent of Democracy seen first by the rise of CSB to the Mayor of Taiwan, corruption was dealt its first real blows. That’s not to say it has been erradicted, but it has certainly been pursued.

Which brings me to Jive Turkey’s remarks on civil society. Do I see democracy or civil society as the ultimate goal. That’s a good question. It is often said as soon as a county uses the word democracy in its name you can be sure that’s the last place on earth democracy exists. All the same, it has certatinly improved civil society on Taiwan in the past ten years. If there could be a better example of the benefits of the rise of democracy anywhere in the world lets see it. A functioning democracy in my view holds people to account for their actions and policies. Its that simple. CSB will be held to account for his performance in March. He will likely be outed. That’s the system. He may well hold the view that Taiwan should be an independent country, as is clearly LDH’s view. Have these guys done anything other than raise the bar, I don’t think so.

IMO, his rejection of democratic process in the KMT when he was the chairman of the KMT was absolutely terrible.

He could have done as the DPP did, and democratically decided on who from within the KMT would be the best candidate to put forward against the DPP’ CSB. He should have accepted that the majority of KMT members wanted James Soong to run for president as the KMT’s candidate. I am not voicing any support for JS… I am merely pointing out that LDH is not so much a believer in or defender of democracy. He used democracy to further his goal and rejected democracy when it hindered his goal.

LDH just happened to be in the right place at the right time to use democracy and to facilitate its establishment… but he was no defender of democracy, IMO.

Respect for democracy was not the reason why LDH didn’t try to declare independence. Abuse his position? He would have had no position once if he had declared independence because his own party would have done anything to stop it, including a coup. There are three reasons why LDH (or CSB for that matter) did not try to declare independence:

  1. The mainlanders would have attacked. They probably wouldn’t have won, but they would (and still do) have felt obligated to attack. They ahve painted themselves into a corner.
  2. The U.S. would have hung LDH and Taiwan out to dry, thus increasing the likelihood that a mainland invasion would have suceeded.
  3. Lack of political consensus in Taiwan and his won party.
    Respect for democracy had nothing to do with LDH not pushing harder for independence. He knew how far he could go, and he went just that far.

What exactly are you talking about? What have either of them done to promote the rule of law or to control corruption? I’d like specific examples-examples that aren’t farcical. I’m not saying that their has not been a decline in corruption or that respect for the rule of law has not been slowly growing. In my opinion, though, these changes have been slow coming and due only to increased understanding of these problems by the people rather than because of strong leadership. Beyond the rhetorical, LDH and CSB have done very little to deal with corruption or to promote the rule of law. LDH and CSB, in their own ways, are very shrewd politicians and their abilities to see the direction of the political winds is to be respected, but they are not examples of virtue or great leadership.

[quote=“Fox”] Have these guys done anything other than raise the bar, I don’t think so.[/quote]What do you mean by “raise the bar?” If you mean further implemention of democracy, then I would answer yes. I don’t necessarily agree that you should use the phrase “raise the bar,” though, because that implies that their actions have improved the overall situation in Taiwan, ie pushed Taiwan along the road of becoming a more civil society. Why press for meaningless referendums when there is a greater need for reform in the police force and courts? I don’t consider it “raising the bar” when a politician latches onto purely populist issues to try to get himself re-elected rather than actually addressing real problems. That’s not leadership, nor is it “raising the bar.” That’s just politics as usual. You seem to think these guys are leading Taiwan toward more democracy, whereas I see them as just going with the flow.

what examples are you referring to, and are they attributable to LBJ, uh i mean LDH who IMHO is a SOB from the KMT. YMMV.

[quote]“He’s a great man,” says DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung. “We see him as someone who really has democratized Taiwan,” adds Parris Chang, a senior party legislator and longtime Lee friend. “He is proud of his achievement and we also credit him for this.”[/quote] :unamused:

his 2000 speech to AmCham: excerpt

[quote]Third, establish a solid framework for liberalization. Along with the trend of globalization, only the complete implementation of liberalization will raise our competitiveness. In particular, Taiwan is expected to join the WTO in the near future. We must therefore build a framework for liberalization based upon a sound legal system and through pushing forward our policies.
Fourth, enhance corporate transparency. The trend of globalization also requires companies to increase their financial transparency. In the past, Taiwanese businesses were mostly family enterprises and suffered problems of inadequate disclosure. Starting from the amendment of laws and regulations, we will transform business structure and raise transparency to further strengthen our economy. [/quote] :unamused:
yes, let’s amend the laws and regulations, implement a sound legal system, and don’t forget about that pesky bureaucracy. where are we now?

presidential speech, 1999

right up there with transparency, social equality, and public hygiene.

sounds nice in theory.

I hope you’re not saying pure conjecture is bad, because your entire argument here is pure conjecture on your part. Nothing wrong with conjecture, of course, as long as you recognize that it’s just your opinion and not treat it as fact.

CSB as Mayor:-

Rotation of local police heads-extremely effective strategy in undermining the relationship between gangsters and area police. Most famed outcome the eventual down fall of Taipei’s then police chief, name escapes me but I’m sure somebody will know. He was exposed for one kickback in particular of a 30 million dollar property in Mucha.

Closing down of road side poker machines, once rife through out Taipei. These roadside palors had the gangsters at the end of your street in almost every neighborhood in Taipei.

The break down of the Lily Sex ring.

Actually, large scale crack downs on brothels, street peddlers, etc. was probably one of the reasons Chen lost the Mayoral Election. Whilst he appealed to the middle classes he didn’t appeal so much to Taipei’s underclasses.

Disassociation of Taipei City’s Mucha Line with it’s French constructor. That project was so rife with corruption the garbage bins cost 400,000 NT.

However, I agree with all that you said Jive Turkey, but it was only in the past ten years that there has been an increase freedom in the press, only under LDH and CSB stewardship has there been any changing sense in people on Taiwan that they have rights, that the rule of law ought be upheld and applied dispassionately. It might seem like a slow process, but in fact ten or even twenty years for a society to evolve is really quite fast, don’t you think?

Democray might have suited LDH. He likely does see its advent as a means of allowing independence sentiments to grow in Taiwan. That isn’t a crime that is a political position, and one held by many people on Taiwan. Whilst I agree he had to consider the consequences of his actions so as not to invoke a catastrophic outcome on Taiwan, he showed extremely good judgement on exactly how far he could push the envelope on this issue.

Of course LDH and CSB are not poster boys but who is? Are you Jive Turkey? I’m not. I’m the first person to agree that Taiwan has some serious problems in its police force and courts. A lot of these issues are duristrictional though.

As for the extracts from TDH’s speeches, I don’t know what your rolling your eyes at. It all sounds like fairly standard and appropriate rhetoric to me.

It’s true that LDH pulled the rug out from under the KMT, and Sung in particular. In fact he has pulled the rug out from under so many people that he is regarded as a cur. Poor old James Sung it makes my heart bleed to hear what happened to him. He’ll be back though. What you ought to be asking yourself is why Sung? What was it with regards to the advent of Taiwan’s democracy, LDH’s passion for independence and Sung?
I’m sure you know the answer to that, and doesn’t it disturb you just a smidgen?

Are you saying that Matra was at fault for the exorbitant cost associated with the Muzha line?