Hung getting head-over-heels over China

Hung getting head-over-heels over China

The presidential election is merely six or seven months away. So far it has been smooth-sailing for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, who just wrapped up the visit to Kaohsiung’s electoral districts last weekend. Her every move and campaign talk fall into the party’s agenda. There is nothing out of the ordinary as she seems to know how to win over the public.

On the other hand, in the past few weeks Kuomintang presidential hopeful Hung Shiu-chu has made remarks that leave a lot to be desired. And as such, observers and netizens can’t seem to make out what KMT’s intentions are. Is this part of the hinted reform the party chairman Eric Chu was spitballing about last month along with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng but failed to elaborate on?

Troubled by last year’s Sunflower Movement and the nine-in-one elections flop, the sensible move for the Nationalist Party would be to align its China policies to the center with the wishes of the electorate ahead of next January’s presidential and legislative elections. But due to Chu’s lack of leadership, Hung emerged as the party’s only hopeful. And rather than seeking to reassure voters, she seems to exude a sense of overzealousness over China.

Nicknamed “Little Pepper” for her small stature and bluntness, Hung is seemingly more “deep sea orange” owing to her pro-unification stance – one that is honed by Taiwan’s New Party. During last Friday’s high school student protest against the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) planned adjustments to the curriculum, Hung said changes made by the ministry were too minor and far from enough, claiming that there should be more China-centric material in the curriculum.

She even asked local institutions to “simply get back to the right track.” By definition, the right track means a track that is in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, a “constitution of unification,” according to Hung.

What she has failed to grasp is to move on with the times. No doubt history is important, but it’s about time to move forward. There are critics that say she should “live and breathe” more about Taiwan.

The 67-year-old KMT hopeful has also drawn criticism after her recent reaction saying Taiwanese should “stop complaining” about the 1,600 or so ballistic missiles that China is aiming at Taiwan, stressing instead that there should be more dialogue with China to resolve the matter. To add further spice, Hung also called for the end of arms procurement from the United States, whose rhetoric is a contradiction to the previous arms purchases carved out by the KMT.

On the contrary, Tsai has repeatedly called for greater cooperation with the U.S. on national defense, which would conceivably include renewed efforts to increase the national defense budget and to procure weapons from U.S. arms manufacturers.

Often referred to as being “married to the KMT,” Hung has literally stabbed herself in the foot as her leftist ideals will leave her out of favor amongst the voters. Moreover, there are already speculations that the party has grown uncomfortable with the direction she has taken with her ideology, which has very little appeal across Taiwan.

In short, even Hung’s party members can’t make out what she is trying to achieve with her pro-Beijing rhetoric. In fact, observers and netizens said they fail to see how her platform could help attract votes in January.

According to a poll conducted nationwide in February by the Taiwan Braintrust, nearly 90 percent of the population identify themselves as “Taiwanese” rather than “Chinese.”

This figure is a suggestion to Hung that she should become more Taiwan-centric to reflect the wishes of the majority.

What voters want is someone competent to run Taiwan efficiently and manage relations with the Chinese smoothly. Hence, it’s good to have China as a business partner, but we don’t have to keep scratching his back.

Updated : 2021-04-11 05:36 GMT+08:00