Chinese exiled scholar slams Tsai Ing-wen as 'gutless for change'

Tsai’s status quo in cross-strait relations blasted by Yuan Hongbing

Yuan Hongbing (Photo courtesy of

Taipei (Taiwan News) - Yuan Hongbing, renowned author and exiled Chinese scholar, published an article on the first anniversary of Tsai Ing-wen's victory in Taiwan's presidential election. On the one hand, he poignantly criticized Tsai administration's absence of deliberate planning and daring to carry out reforms, and on the other hand, lambasted her lack of the courage to challenge the status quo and to normalize the island country's political situation.

Known as a writer and democracy activist, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center Editor in Chief, Yuan taught law at China's leading school Peking University in the late 1980s and was suspended from duty and investigated for supporting the pro-democracy student protests that ended in bloodshed at China's Tiananmen Square. Yuan was jailed for sabotage in 1994 and applied for political asylum in Australia in 2004.

In his more than ten thousand word op-ed dated January 15, Yuan bluntly urged Tsai to be determined to carry out reforms, to normalize the country and to stop adopting the Republic of China flag and anthem that symbolizes the dregs of a one-party state and dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek. He even compared Tsai to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, saying Tsai's performance is eclipsed by Trump's passion and determination "to make America great again."

Yuan had particularly harsh words for Tsai's status quo stance on cross-strait relations that is at odds with voter's wishes in his eyes. Yuan said that Tsai is "naïve" to think that maintaining the status quo can subdue the other side's ambition to acquire the island country without seeing that this position will only diminish Taiwan's role on the world stage. On the other hand, Yuan believes that Trump can make the U.S. great again and regain the country's leadership in the world through his strong determination.

Yuan reminded Tsai not to overlook the communist regime's nature of bullying the weak but to focus on reinvigorating the country's economy and promoting transitional justice and social reform. He believes that Taiwan will win support from her international allies and friends.

At the end of his critique, Yuan offered five suggestions to Tsai to recover from the abyss: first, to announce plans to normalize the country; second, to reshuffle the cabinet to build up a new team to beef up reform and terminate the policies that cause a growing gap between rich and poor; third, to open investigations into the Nationalist Party's crimes against humanity during Chiang Kai-shek's dictatorship; fourth, to set up a specially-authorized and independent investigation commission to openly conduct investigations into cases surrounding politicians like former DPP President Chen Shui-bian; last, to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty and human rights.