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Taiwan is NOT happy with new President

17/07/2008
 

 

After 22 March, when the Pro-China candidate of KMT, Mr. Ma, Ying-jeou won the election in Taiwan, the Taiwanese government and the ruling party have taken steps to ‘improve relations with China’. Various official and high profile unofficial talks between Taiwan and China have been highly publicised. On the surface, it appears that Taiwanese people elected Mr. Ma to do just that. However, this is untrue. While Taiwanese people would not mind improving the relation with China, most people expect him to improve the economy and if he manages to improve the Taiwan-China relation, they expect him to do so without compromising the national sovereignty and security.

 

Indeed, during his campaign, he ran on the platform of improving the Taiwanese economy. His campaign slogans include 633 (6% yearly economic growth, GDP at US$30,000 and less than 3% unemployment rate), promised that he would defend the Taiwanese sovereignty, keep the status quo and ‘put Taiwan first’. He also promised that any future decisions on sovereignty have to be made by the Taiwanese.

 

On the election day, 58% of voters believed his campaign slogans and voted for him. After less than 2 months in office, a number of opinion polls show that the majority of Taiwanese are not satisfied with his performance. His approval rating has dropped from approximately 70% to 35% in 50 days and his dissatisfaction ratings are about 50%. [1][2]

 

The causes of such dissatisfaction may be the following:

 

1) Not only was he unable to improve the economy, he insisted on implementing policies that worsen the economy.

 

With the slowdown of the global economy, Taiwan is also struggling with the increasing oil prices and heightened inflation. However, Ma’s government insisted on increasing government spending on building infrastructure and re-construction/refurbishing projects that people don’t need. This guarantees further increases in inflation rates with no support packages for people hit the hardest in place. Support strategies they introduced have been ad hoc and far from practical. The opposition party, DPP, have proposed a tax refund and support bill to alleviate pressure on those households with low income and boost consumer spending.

 

Despite huge public pressure on Ma’s administration and the ruling party, they passed the increase in public spending in the Parliament (Legislative Yuan). Kick backs for support from local organisations during election campaigns are suspected[3] but it is hard to prove and with their strong majority in the Parliament, not much can be done about it.

 

2) Taiwanese people are very angry with the way Ma’s government is throwing away our sovereignty and kowtowing to China.

 

As of now, 70% of Taiwanese consider themselves as Taiwanese[4], NOT Chinese, and 63-76% of Taiwanese consider Taiwan an independent and sovereign nation[5][6]. No matter what China says, Taiwan and China have been operating under two different governments for a very long time. We Taiwanese have our own military, education and taxation systems etc. Taiwan is not part of China and has never been ruled by People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has been on its own and is trying to prevent from being invaded by China. While some would not mind the relation between Taiwan and China improving, the majority (68%) would like to do it with dignity[7] and certainly don’t want to become part of China, a country with no democracy and poor human rights records. In fact, the approximately 62% of people do not believe that leaning towards China is a viable economic[8].

 

However, Ma’s government does not listen and has been very insistent on their pro-China policies. What worries the Taiwanese the most is that a lot of the deals negotiated so far have not gone through the official channel and therefore are not transparent to the Taiwanese Parliament and the people. The Taiwanese are extremely concerned about possible under table agreements made between the Chinese government and KMT.

 

When the West seems to be excited about the ‘warming’ relation between Taiwan and China, a lot of worrying signs have emerged. It may promote a false sense of ‘peace’ but that peace may be short lived and certainly at Taiwan’s and subsequently, the region’s expense.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[2] http://www.rti.org.tw/News/NewsContentHome.aspx?NewsID=117619&t=1

[3] http://www.idn.com.tw/news/news_content.php?catid=5&catsid=6&catdid=0&artid=20080610abcd012

[4] http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2007/new/mar/14/today-p5.htm

[5] http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/30169/taiwanese_see_nation_as_sovereign_independenthttp://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2007/new/mar/14/today-p5.htm

[6] http://ny.libertytimes.com/2007/New/Dec/19/today-c6.htm

[7] http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/jun/11/today-fo3-3.htm

[8] http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/jun/11/today-fo3-3.htm

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