So Saturday we had legislative elections here in Taiwan, and the Chinese Nationalist Party, aka the Kuomintang (KMT), won by a landslide.
I have mixed feelings. I've grown increasingly disgusted with Chen Shuibian's administration over the last eight years. He has proved himself to be just as corrupt and ineffectual as any KMT president. The insider trading scandal involving his family members was also shameful, and he never properly acknowledged that betrayal, I feel. His cabinet was also a joke. He went through premiers faster than he went through clean socks, his Ministry of Education and the Government Information Office both became weekly, if not daily subjects of scorn and ridicule in the public eye thanks to the words and actions of their chiefs.
Still, I expect the media to interpret this election entirely incorrectly. Already I'm reading that this is a move towards China, i.e. unification, but I don't think that's correct. I don't believe that there are any significant numbers of people in Taiwan that want political unification with China, but I also don't believe most people are in favor of the cultural de-sinification that's become an important part of the DPP's bentuhua or localization policy.
I believe this election was a vote against localization, a vote against Chen Shuibian's administration, and a vote for change, although frankly, I think people are being a little naive in putting so much faith in Ma Yingjiu, the leader of the KMT and their candidate for the presidential election in two months. I haven't seen anything from him that suggests he has real leadership qualities. And I've heard nothing at all from him about his long-term vision for Taiwan. The KMT stresses that now is not the right time for unification, but of course the underlying message is that at some point it will be the right time for unification, which is something to which I'm deeply opposed. Taiwan's politics might be silly, but China's politics are dark, twisted, and evil. I wouldn't want my daughter growing up under such a horrible regime. The DPP, for all of its other mistakes has always gotten the long-term vision thing right: Taiwan is independent of China, and should remain so, and all countries that support freedom and democracy should recognize Taiwan's right to choose its own path, without threats of missile attacks, invasion
From the New York Times:
President Chen Shuibian resigned as chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party immediately after the extent of the defeat became clear.
''I should shoulder all responsibilities,'' Chen said. ''I feel really apologetic and shamed.''