by Linda Gail Arrigo
(Originally published March 1992)

INTRODUCTION Taiwan is awash with money. It has the highest foreign currency reserves in the world, per capita. Its GNP per capita is soaring and may soon surpass US$ 10,000; it is the Taiwan miracle, proof of the export industrialization strategy [1]. And it is a bustling, internationalized economy laid haphazardly upon the remnants of an agricultural society of personalistic loyalties. It has a Chinese-born regime, long frozen in anxious confrontation with its distant nemesis, the Peoples Republic, that has finally put down roots and begun to go native. In the words of the New York Times Magazine of February 16, 1992, it is “A Dictatorship That Grew Up … In Taiwan despotism passes posthaste into democracy.”

And yet what kind of democracy is that? The question can only now be answered with greater verisimilitude following upon the December 1991 elections for the Republic of China National Assembly, only the second time in the 45-year history of that body that it has been fully subject to election by the populace.

This was to be a seminal election, with the shape of a new constitution and presidential elections at stake. Other functions of democracy have also been revived. Martial law was repealed in 1987. Activists espousing a formal declaration of Taiwan independence are still being jailed, about a dozen a year, and statements of opposition candidates that “contravene national policy” are still censored from their printed platforms; but they are hardly deterred, and thus freedom of speech advances with a slightly hobbled gait.

The 72% popular vote victory of the ruling party, the Kuomintang, cannot be attributed to intimidation, ballot-box stuffing, or simple electronic falsification, as before — though vote-buying, now on a colossal scale, continues. But is this democracy, a measured and well-informed judgment of the populace on the choices that best safe-guard their interests and future?

The democratic process calls for an articulation and organization of contending opinions and personnel, such that the electorate is accorded substantial options. This function would seem to be provided by the Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party, at present the only major opposition party, founded on September 28, 1986 — in personnel and continuous history the carrier of the legacy of the democratic movement of 1977-79, which culminated in the 1979 Formosa Magazine (Meilidao) establishment, the Kaohsiung Incident of December 10, 1979, and the public trials the following March.

The leaders of the democratic movement have spent commonly six to ten years in incarceration. Some have suffered the murder or maiming of family members, in periods (as late as 1984-85) when security agency arrogance surpassed governmental concern for embarrassment in foreign affairs. In 1991 they are substantially the same as the leadership of the Democratic Progressive Party, both in social composition and specific personnel. It would seem that this past assures an adamant and unyielding stance of opposition.

Certainly the ruling party, for one, is happy to legitimize its democratic credentials and let foreign visitors know it faces an obstreperous if small opposition; but despite past fist fights in the legislature, the DPP could perhaps now be appropriately portrayed, as the ruling party would like, as a loyal opposition. Its social composition is still the same. But given the substitution of incorporation and cooptation for repression in the core of the regime’s policy, the social dynamics are different now. To be abrupt, if you have a lot of money, it is easier and less damaging to business-as-usual to try to buy off your opponents rather than to jail or kill them.

Has the DPP been bought off? It would be premature to answer this in the affirmative. Even in a measured affirmative, it would have to be qualified that it is no more bought off than the generally-accepted social custom; and certainly much less than the politicos of the ruling party. But all the same its bite has been blunted, its critical stance as the champion of the masses has been subtly compromised. The particulars of how this has happened will be the main content of this paper.

This involves a sketch of the composition of the party and its supporters: its factions and their related social bases and the interactions among these in the shifting currents of the popular clamor for liberalization. This is shown in the struggle among the factions in 1991, leading up to bitterly-contested intra-party elections for chairman and central committee in mid-October 1991, and thence to a poorly-coordinated bid for representation in the National Assembly two months later. Finally, the complementary processes of democratization and cooptation must be understood in the context of Taiwan’s expanding economy, and this in turn can be seen as part of the dynamics of a global shift in economic and political relations.

THE KUOMINTANG, THE OPPOSITION, AND TAIWANIZATION While obstensibly the opposition party is the amalgamation of all that is different from the ruling party, it is truer to portray it as a microcosm whose internal dynamics and factional disputes are analogous to those of the whole society, albeit played out more intensely under the prying eyes of the press. The conflicting needs for money and for popular mobilization are felt sharply, particularly at the commanding heights of the DPP central party headquarters. Money from capitalist supporters, to sustain the functions of the party apparatus. Mobilization, to cajole the government into concessions and to win elected posts. And here mobilization means acceding to the issues of the left faction of the party, or at least mouthing the aspirations of the disadvantaged.

The ruling party is secure in its power and privilege; yet it too is swept along with internal and society-wide demand for rationalization and restructuring of the polity. The tasks are reorientation to the de facto national identity — Taiwan — and balancing of the forces of an industrialized, internationalized society — political accommodation and legitimation, a.k.a. democratization. (Social balancing of course does not mean that all sectors are accorded equality, only that the clamor of workers and peasants can at least be quieted with some welfare palliatives from the full coffers of the state.) And so while the opposition party appears to be at a standstill in terms of voter response, and finds its issues repeatedly coopted by the ruling party, the overall dynamic rolls both ahead to new territory.

This is especially the case on the issue of national identity, “Taiwan Independence”. What government bureaucrats proclaim now as policy would have been tantamount to sedition a decade ago. A further sketch of the social history of the two parties may be useful to set the stage, though it may be familiar to the reader. The central government of the Republic of China, its military, and security organs fled to Taiwan in 1949; having subjugated a native Taiwanese uprising in 1947, they proceeded to rule by white terror for several decades, from the Japanese-built governor’s palace. They fed their hordes of bureaucrats and soldiers with requisitioned Taiwanese rice; handed over the Japanese monopolies to the management of Shanghai capitalists and Nanking functionaries; and set up party-owned monopolies to provide employment for retired soldiers and other minions. To many Taiwanese nationalists, the government is still the “foreign regime”, an ethnic minority of less than 15% that rules the majority. But at least by 1975, when Chiang Ching-kuo took over from his father, a new direction had been set: incorporation of the newly-expanding native Taiwanese entrepreneur and professional classes. It sought the sons of Taiwanese corporate heads to be its candidates for public office, to the extent that the second generation of Mainlanders complained of lack of opportunities for advancement. It may be speculated that the Kuomintang then proceeded to sink roots and increasingly incorporate leaders of the native population into its networks of patronage and payoff. It paid substantial bonuses to its provincial assemblymen on the occasions of important votes. It manufactured consent among trade union representatives, aborigine leaders, youth groups, etc., by means of small subsidies, feasts, and free trips. On the side of opposition to the Kuomintang, since the early days of show elections local leaders had voiced the plaints of farmers, victims of the squeeze of the agricultural sector, and found themselves jailed for sedition or, if lucky, merely framed on corruption charges. But such local leaders usually represented local clan or faction interests that could be played off against one another, or bought off. In a recurrent pattern, local notables arose and garnered a popular following through vociferous oratory damning governmental exploitation and cultural suppression of the Taiwanese; but then traded that popular support for government-appointed office, or mitigated their vituperation in the face of monetary inducement and police threat. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Taiwanese intellectuals/politicians in the capital city, many having already frustrated their efforts at reform within the Kuomintang, linked with the local opposition politicians to form the challenge of the democratic movement of 1977-79. They could be said to reflect the discontent of small Taiwanese manufacturers chaffing under monopolistic governmental regulation, and of middle-class professionals, lawyers and teachers, insulted by government censorship and propaganda; these were a large part of urban supporters [2]. That movement utilized as well the populist appeal of leftist academics and students inspired by the Chinese Cultural Revolution and American ’60s radicalism, and of young Presbyterian ministers rooted in the long native history of the church and contemporary liberation theology.

It moved forward on a groundswell of mass rallies, scenes populated with market hawkers, shopkeepers, farmers, artisans, laborers — rough hands, grimy baseball caps, broken teeth stained red-brown with betelnut. To a large degree this is still the basic equation for the composition of the opposition party; but the contradictions within this amalgamation have been played out. I believe that my article in this volume, “The Social Origins of the Taiwan Democratic Movement”, written in 1980-81 for an overseas Taiwanese audience, shows a certain prescience in this. But now Taiwan is an advanced industrialized nation virtually sinking under its own material wealth. It is a sophisticated, largely middle-class society, plus an extravagant nouveau riche segment. In the new East District of Taipei, massive art deco towers and department stores line broad boulevards choked with traffic. Japanese cuisine, ritzy disco and karaoke with private rooms are the rage. Older areas of the city are stained cement blocks of buildings, refurbished piecemeal, but are abustle with commerce. When the streetside night food vendors close at 3 am, they leave five-foot-high piles of used styrofoam dishes. Or to stave off midnight hunger you can buy microwaveable baoze, jiaoze or chongze — spongy and flavored by cellophane wrapping, but still better than American fast food — at the 24-hour OK or 7-11 store. The lanes behind the boulevards are packed solid with parked cars and nearly impassable. Given the ubiquitous automobile — generally foreign-made, often with real leather upholstery — it is not surprising that the dense population of the city is seeking fresh air and expanding the urban sprawl. The five-hour freeway stretches down the west coast, never out of sight of buildings, past factories belching noxious fumes. Luxury apartment buildings are going up in what were originally semi-rural towns, or farmers’ rice fields. And originally lush terraces lie abandoned for want of labor; or flat paddy land is dug into fish ponds. There are even pockets of foreign laborers and housekeepers kept like indentured servants, from Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, and smuggled from China in boats, to fill out the worker shortage.

The problems of Taiwan are now the problems of a modern urban industrial society, one with a legacy of particularly haphazard and cannibalistic development: disastrous environmental degradation, lack of city services and planning, capital flight and worker discontent, family instability, crime, youth alienation and drug use. The opposition party cannot address these with merely the cry of “Taiwan Independence!” or by railing against government inaction [3]. It must propose programs and solutions, and in fact is already faced with the tasks of administration in the six counties where the DPP has won the post of county executive, out of thirteen total. But the obstacles to dealing systematically with environmental and social problems lie largely in patronage and payoff; and the party demurs to take these on. It would not be fair to criticize without taking cognizance of the environment from which the DPP has grown and in which it operates. I will take a certain poetic license in the description.

PATRONAGE, PAYOFF, POLITICAL OFFICE Even decades ago Taiwanese were known to revel in culinary delights, in time-honored tradition, as far as their budgets permitted. Now, to say that Taiwan is awash in money is to say that it is awash in food, very expensive food. The pools of oil dripping from the delectables lubricate not only gullets, but the business deals that thrive in the idiom of personal relations. The American visitor to Taipei, finding prices in the range of New York City, cannot but choke in amazement at the sums splashed in restaurants even by people of ordinary means. But the standard of consumption is really set by the business of business entertainment, with exotic seafood in elegant place settings, imported XO brandy gulped for “bottoms-up”, and hostess companions. In Taiwanese dialect, kha yiu, literally “skim oil”, is to skim a profit. Such Dionysian indulgences are not merely recreation, but the process of development of a discrete understanding of political/ economic arrangements. Construction companies are particularly known for lavish entertainment, because they are involved not merely with customers, but with a myriad of subcontractors, banks, and government offices, for zoning, licensing, and inspections. According to an informed observer, the overall price of construction undertaken under government contract can be estimated at 20% drinking, eating and entertainment, 30% kickback and payoff, and 50% cost of construction.

Thus positions on the city planning commissions of large city councils are particularly remunerative. A single city council vote in favor of a particular zoning or construction — or even abstention from objection — may commonly be rewarded by $NT 20 wan (US$ 8,000) [4]. More directly, city councilmen can set up their own real estate and construction companies. A person with real clout can stage a coup by wrapping up exclusive deals with all the available sub-contractors, and monopolizing the construction market; it is not necessary to actually own equipment or be involved in construction. In the process of multiple sub-contracting the actual builders are squeezed to a low margin, and are likely to tou gong jian liao, steal labor and decrease materials, resulting in the generally-expected low quality of government construction [5].

Similarly for zoning. It is said that all of the land adjacent to the cleaned-up and renovated Love River and promenade was bought up by Kaohsiung City councilmen. For a small, simple case, in January 1992 it was revealed in television reports that all the saplings of a particular kind of tree specified for a large river beautification project in Taipei had been bought out ahead of time from nurseries throughout the island. Such revelations are always followed by indignant statements by officials that they will get to the bottom of the matter and punish the culprits. But investigations are frequently stymied, and pundits quip that exposure and punishment are related to infighting of political factions or retribution by those cut out of the deal, not the frequency of malpractice. A conspicuous case of corruption in 1991 was that of Hua Lung Investment Company. An assistant to the DPP legislator Hsu Kuo-tai obtained copies of receipts that showed that the Minister of Communications was profiting from insider trading. (Like real estate and construction, astounding profits in the Taiwan stock market are generally suspected to be due to insider sources, even where no evidence is exposed.) The prosecutor, a young Taiwanese woman, refused to let go of the investigation, and circumvented some of the usual judicial conventions to indict him. The Minister was forced to resign, the prosecutor became a folk hero, and a conflict of judicial authority is still underway. [6] But another sly interpretation common to those who read the newspapers carefully is that the Hua Lung group, which supports the military-man-in-business-suit Premier Hao Bo-tsun, was given a blow by “KMT mainstream” President Lee Teng-hui, who is supported by Taiwanese capitalists such as the Evergreen group, which incidentally sponsors the Institute for International Policy Studies, a very liberal think tank espousing government adjustment to a sovereign state of Taiwan. To add to the Byzantine twists of this scene, in December 1991 the recent chairman of the DPP, Huang Hsin-chieh, brought with him to a campaign appearance the manager of Hua Lung (who perhaps had tried to redeem public relations by making a contribution to the party), leaving the observers in confusion. This account is not an effort to make sense of this case, but only serves to illustrate the flows and eddies of a social process in which the sides are not clearly white or black. It further shows the role of the opposition as a watchdog and possibly a conciliator, and this relates to the dynamics described by an opposition legislator who will remain unnamed here, as follows. Like officials of the ruling party, independent or opposition politicians can parlay popular election into bank account balances. In fact, their structural role as opposition may command even higher inducements. After this decade of overheated economic growth, both local big men and Taipei political science professionals wear three-piece suits; both may be supported by those who resent losing contracts to KMT favorites, and want to compete.

But in this role they act individualistically. The mechanisms are numerous, and range from an active search for deals, to a passive, tacit acceptance of misdoing, to a mild voicing of concerns that have no appearance of impropriety. The official may own an office machine company, and the city may place a large order for copiers. Or the legislator may act as mediator for a company which has been subject to tax audits and is under threat of being fined five times the delinquent amount. If the penalty is NT$ 2,000 wan (US$800,000), the matter may be resolved with NT$ 200 wan (US$ 80,000) to the tax auditor and NT$ 300 wan (US$ 120,000) to the legislator, dispersed through discrete channels where trust has been built up through repeated mutual enmeshment. Even a telephone call or a courtesy visit to “show concern” that a party in litigation is not mistreated may influence the outcome with no transfer of cash — but alliances are built up and expressed in campaign contributions. In such fashion the government agencies can neutralize the supposed watchdogs one by one by entangling them in questionable exchanges. It is not surprising then that businessmen cluster around certain political figures, and that the supporters’ political ideals cannot be clearly differentiated from their pecuniary purposes. For example, perhaps thirty businessmen can sustain one legislator, and they would provide about 90% of his income. According to the source, the danger of this, even without overt corruption, is that the legislator comes to see his financiers as a constituency and a sounding board for political direction, and these may also be beholden to Kuomintang-influenced interests, and/or fearful of tax audit or other retribution.

In fact the Kuomintang can act on an opposition legislator through the intermediary of these financial sources. It is only with this background that it is possible to understand the election of National Assemblymen on December 21, 1991. The results overall had little to do with nationalism, either Taiwanese or Chinese, or with the role of the National Assembly as framer of the Constitution. 225 Assemblymen were victorious out of about 470 who ran in city and county races; between 20,000 and 30,000 votes were required to win by plurality in each district. 78% of them were KMT-nominated. But as investigated and analyzed in detail by the Independence Post [7], the election was really a victory for “gold cows”, moneyed interests. The amount of money necessary for a candidate to “spread around” in handouts this year was NT$ 3-5,000 wan (US$ 1.2 – 2 million), distributed by elected neighborhood heads (overwhelmingly KMT) and by specialized intermediaries (thiau kha). A control center for handing out money in Taichung operated with a computerized database listing four thousand intermediaries. Most of over 100 reports of vote-buying detailed by the newspaper were in the range of NT$ 300-500 (US$ 12-20). We can only surmise that it is worth spending all this money because the rake-off of a public official, even in realms apparently unrelated to the office, is so great. The cartoon accompanying the newspaper report shows a character resembling President Lee Teng-hui muttering in the streets under a shower of NT$ 1,000 (US$ 40) bills fluttering down from high buildings. “Has Taiwan been declared independent? Why are the candidates throwing out currency like trash?” Only a few DPP candidates are rumored to have engaged in vote-buying. The DPP candidates generally do not have that kind of money. They must rely instead on appeals to the issues, particularly Taiwanese nationalism. Some voters take money from candidates, but still vote their consciences.

All the same, a major campaign for a DPP candidate easily costs NT$ 500 wan (US$ 200,000), requiring considerable commitment by financial backers. One of three Labor Party candidates, Wang Yao-nan, by his own account spent only NT$ 50 wan (US$ 20,000) and directed his speeches to the specifics of constitutional reform; he received precisely 1026 votes in the Kaohsiung City 2nd district race. Another 100 seats in the National Assembly were apportioned to candidates nominated by the central committee of each party according to the percent of popular votes received overall: 80 seats as if to represent some unseen Chinese population (a nod to the old National Assembly, 90% of which represented a long-gone Chinese constituency), and 20 to represent overseas Chinese. Of these the DPP was apportioned 20 and 5 seats; no third party rated representation.

This arrangement resulted from a deal drawn between the KMT and the DPP following the National Affairs Conference of July 1990. The DPP assigned at least seven of its seats to the party Chairman, General Secretary, and other functionaries in or allied with the central party headquarters, allowing them to circumvent the time and expenditure of local campaigns. This move brings us back to examine the internal politics of the party.

INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY The political scene of the opposition politicians in Taipei runs at a feverish pace, a cyclone in which it seems a race merely to catch up with the actors. The reporters, now only young men and women with considerable physical stamina and command of Taiwanese dialect as well as Mandarin, chase the press conferences and news leaks daily, pounce on the juiciest bits like flocks of birds of prey, and rush back to home offices to write and file. They must know both the history and the latest moves to interpret what is happening. It can be seen that each notable continually seeks to rally alliances and hatch crusades that will put him/her at the center of the limelight. They carry their portable telephones, and must turn them off to grab a moment of rest. Their itinerary books might read as follows: Attend weekly party committee meetings. Meet with prospective contributors. Appear at press conferences. Seek talented young assistants who will work for low wages for an unspecified length of time. Appear at benefits for auspicious social causes. Drink to feigned drunkenness with allies and supporters. Parry with the ruling party, ferret out its maneuvers from the information mongers. Organize demonstrations. Attend appreciation banquets. Banquet lunch at Hoover Hotel. Meeting at coffee shop, NT$ 150 (US$ 6) a cup. Banquet dinner at Ambassador. Appear at 9 pm at wedding in cheap hall in Panchiao, hour’s drive through gridlock traffic, toast with rice wine and shake hands with a hundred people: i.e. extend influence by lending prestige to event. 11 pm night snack, rice porridge at fancy Taiwanese food restaurant, together with confidantes and senior editorial writers. 1 am, midnight vigil outside prison for Taiwanese emigres arrested upon return, for membership in seditious Taiwan Independence organization [8]; give impromptu speech. In brief, this is an intense, grueling way of life that expands waistlines and raises blood pressure. There is hardly time to reflect in this whirlwind, and yet somehow an observer must seek analysis that is beyond the event of the week, a significance that is in social forces and not in personalities.

Any history is to some extent an abstraction, and social analysis is even more an interpretation based in repetitious experience and perception of pattern, shaped and limited by the environment of the observer. In exposition the concrete events must be laid out with considerable simplification. Here the cast of characters is real, and representative of many more. With this caveat, I will proceed to tell the tale.

Looking back over the eleven years since the Kaohsiung Incident, December 10, 1979, which is generally seen as the watershed in Taiwan’s recent political history, there are two basic changes in the wider environment that have shaped the evolution of the opposition forces. The first is a complex of changes, the upward shift of Taiwan’s position in the world economy, and a change in the ruling forces that seems to have been derived ultimately from the relative decline in U.S. power. Let us recreate the atmosphere of 1979. U.S.-supported military regimes presided in much of Latin America and East and Southeast Asia, many having taken power with bloody suppression of democratic functions. Just as the democratic movement was suppressed in Taiwan with extensive arrests and heavy sentences, December 1979 – April 1980, so in Korea the Kwangju uprising of May 1980 was crushed with much greater loss of life and U.S. complicity. Even Taiwanese activists without an anti-imperialist understanding (by far the majority) at that time saw the political question as one of armed revolution, like Iran or Nicaragua, though they were at a loss for any military capacity. For example, in response to the Kaohsiung Incident arrests on December 15, 1979 a coalition of overseas Taiwanese independence organizations headed by Hsu Hsin-liang (one of the leadership core of the democratic movement, but studying abroad since September 1979) vowed to “wipe the Kuomintang off the face of the earth”. Yet despite the despair of those dire moments, the Taiwan democratic movement did begin to revive in late 1980 with the highest-vote election success of the wives of the arrested leaders, and broad social reaction against the suppression began to be felt.

Finally, in the larger perspective a series of international events seemed to signal a new U.S. posture and the end of easy living for dictatorships. The frozen face of Latin American military regimes began to thaw; their dead victims were exhumed by human rights groups that indicted even those in power. Closer to Taiwan, Cory replaced Marcos on a wave of people power on the occasion of U.S.-forced elections. For Taiwan, the bungled assassination of Henry Liu in Daly City, California, October 1984, exposed the vicious ambitions of the heirs to the security apparatus and irritated Washington. In retrospect, the turning point probably came as early as 1983 when General Wang Sheng was removed from his position as apparent successor to President Chiang Ching-kuo and was shuffled off to Paraguay as ambassador.

Now it can be seen that military-muscle strongmen from Korea to Singapore — in the “little dragons” of export-led growth — voluntarily gave way to softer, more technocratic versions of control in the years 1988-90, following the earlier trend. In this perspective there is no reason to especially credit either Chiang Ching-kuo’s belated conversion to liberalism in the last year of his life, or even heroic struggles of a democratic movement, with being the ultimate force behind Taiwan’s relatively bloodless transition to democratic forms. [9] Given that with the establishment of a functioning opposition party and also relative prosperity and full employment a revolutionary scenario could no longer be projected, overseas revolutionary organizations began in 1985 to change their rhetoric and their strategy to civil disobedience; and in 1991 even the diehard World United Formosans for Independence dropped its call for violent overthrow of the government.

The opposition party and related organizations within the island have become the focus of activity. The second factor is more internal to Taiwan, and that is the issue of nationalism. Whereas in 1980 there could be said to still survive a genuine Chinese chauvinism within Taiwan, to thence fuel elite government ideology and suppression of Taiwanese identity as a heterodox form, by 1990 the internal issue has devolved to one of who controls the spoils of government. Since the 1987 opening of legal travel to China, the poverty of China has been seen in stark contrast to Taiwan’s wealth; and the Tien’anmen massacre of June 1989 wilted any desire for political reunification.

The most conservative, Chinese-nationalist rhetoric (that of the “non-mainstream” KMT) depicts China as a threat against the formal declaration of independence, not a beacon for cultural or other emulation. The President’s policy (“mainstream”, heavily Taiwanese KMT), labelled du tai, “Taiwan alone”, by its right-wing critics, can hardly be distinguished from the seditious tai du, “Taiwan independence”, and is thus the butt of many jokes. As for opposition forces, the pro-China and socialist-sounding Workers Party (Lao Dong Dang) with its party emblem of a red star rising over a green patch received less than a thousand votes for its candidate in 1989. [10] There were 51 candidates announced from ten small parties with “China” in their names running in 1991, but not one was elected. [11]

In sum, the DPP’s poor showing in the elections — just after its October 1991 embracing of a Republic of Taiwan plank — indicated rather that the ruling party has successfully taken over much of the territory of Taiwanese nationalism with its Taiwanese-born president [12]. There is a new cultural vibrancy on Taiwan, one that moves freely among Mandarin and native dialects, both Hokkien (usually generalized as “Taiwanese”) and Hakka. This is widely reflected in television programming, notably in advertisements, and in the new prevalence of native cuisine and nostalgically decorated tea shops [13]. The relics of the agricultural society now seem quaintly endearing — they are far enough away in time that they no longer reek of poverty and hard labor. But this cultural renaissance is also not the exclusive province of the opposition party, though most vanguard intellectuals are loosely affiliated. Now for the course of recent chronological events that are the waves above these tidal changes, we may list in brief the following events that are most significant to the opposition: May 1986, New York. Drive by overseas Taiwanese groups for opposition party formation, by supporting return of Hsu Hsin-liang to Taiwan following pattern set by Benigno Acquino and Kim Dae-jung.

Sept 28, 1986, Taipei. Establishment of Democratic Progressive Party, largely by elected wives and lawyers of those incarcerated following the Kaohsiung Incident.

July 1987 Government declaration of end of martial law, replaced by enactment of national security laws.

1986 – 88 Upsurge of social movements and street demonstrations: labor strikes, farmers’ organizations, anti-nuclear and anti-pollution community organizations, women’s protests against police-protected prostitution, aborigines’ land struggles.
May 1988 Bloody confrontation of riot police with farmers’ demonstration against unlimited imports of U.S. agricultural goods — sobering blow to social movements.
April 1989 Tseng Nan-jung, outspoken advocate of Taiwan Independence, immolates himself rather than accept arrest: most stirring sacrifice among unceasing activities of TI networks and recurrent government crackdowns. March 1990ÊMassive student movement against “old thieves” (national assemblymen elected in 1947 in mainland China) and their control of presidential selection; with sit-in of 60,000 at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. Constitutional convention demanded. May 1990 Release of remaining Formosa Magazine political prisoners, notably Shih Ming-deh and Hsu Hsin-liang, on accession of new president, Lee Teng-hui.
May 1990 Demonstrations against President Lee Teng-hui’s appointment of military strongman Hao Bo-tsun as Premier. July 1990 National Affairs Conference, convened by President Lee, calls together liberal KMT party front, DPP moderates, academics, and overseas dissidents; obstensibly a constitutional convention for national reconciliation. In following months KMT reneges on most agreements.
April 1991 March against KMT convening lame-duck session of old National Assembly to extend national security laws. Show of DPP party unity. Prestigious professors form “100 Action Association” to oppose security laws, carry on struggle independent of opposition party.
Oct 1991 Annual party delegate convention passes resolution advocating establishment of Republic of Taiwan, replacing previous self-determination plank; new element this year is support of academics. Hsu Hsin-liang elected chairman over Shih Ming-deh. Dec 1991 “Old thieves” retired. In elections for new National Assembly KMT gets 72% of votes, 78% of seats, and claims populace rejects Taiwan independence.

THE MEILIDAO FACTION AND THE HERITAGE OF FORMOSA MAGAZINE In 1991 we see the old core of the democratic movement continuing as the present leadership of the opposition, but bitterly divided. The five central figures, plus the grand old man figurehead, have been embattled in internecine struggle. The more traditional faction, which occupies the central party headquarters and has appropriated the name of the 1979 magazine organization, Meilidao, is headed by Huang Hsin-chieh, recent Chairman, Chang Chun-hong, Secretary General, and Hsu Hsin-liang, Chairman since October 1991.

In 1979 they were opposition champions as national legislator, provincial assemblyman, and executive of Taoyuan county, respectively. This faction continues the form of the Formosa (Meilidao) Magazine in that it is a coalition of Taipei intellectuals with local politicians. It is only weakly ideological in seeking democracy and national realization and is mostly oriented towards election results. The intellectuals have a genuine legacy of sacrifice in the democratic movement, Chang and Huang having each served eight years. But the faction overall has been unflatteringly described as ji de li di jie he, “a confederation of interests”. The direction of the Meilidao faction has been to seek a solid base in the middle class through moderate and rational challenge to the contradictory laws and self-defeating international policy of the ruling party. Chang Chun-hong, its most articulate spokesman, has emphasized the party’s sense of social responsibility, that it does not sow divisiveness to disturb the economy, nor will it recklessly provoke the People’s Republic of China. In this respect Meilidao is much rankled by the street fighting set off in some New Tide-sponsored actions. For Chang Chun-hong, however, a compromisist attitude toward the ruling party (such as his much-criticized decision for the party, represented by Kang Ning-Hsiang, to participate in the President’s National Reunification Committee, established under his cabinet as a sop to the KMT hard-liners following the July 1990 National Affairs Conference) is based in a sense of impotence of the popular forces, that the populace is weary of endless street marches, and such shows of reaction do not remedy the disparity of power [14].

Hsu Hsin-liang, never a good public speaker and more well known for his unchangingly optimistic countenance in evasion of knotty questions, has however articulated a direction that gives maximum leeway to Taiwan’s commercial interests. In a July 1990 public speech at the Tien Educational Center in Taipei he espoused a laissez faire attitude to investment by Taiwanese capitalists in China and abroad, dismissing the suggestion that unrestrained capital flows could damage the development of the national economy or Taiwan nationalism. In May 1991 in an internal speech to the Taiwan Democratic Movement Overseas annual meeting in Los Angeles, an organization of which he still held the chairmanship, he cautioned that labor and environmental activism could drive Taiwanese capitalists into closer alliance with Premier Hao Bo-tsun, who was attacking social movements under the guise of cleaning up gangsterism. With both Chang Chun-hong and Hsu Hsin-liang in the DPP central party headquarters — the two members of the Formosa core who emerged from among early 1970s-liberal reformers within the KMT central party headquarters, grouped around the magazine The Intellectual (Da Xue Ca Jer ) — , the earlier tendency of the Meilidao faction has been made manifest. In preparation for the National Affairs Conference, Hsu Hsin-liang forced through a DPP position paper proposing a mongrel governmental structure combining contradictory features of presidential and parliamentary-cabinet authority, supposedly the “French model”. The unstated logic for this seemed to be that it proffered a face-saving formula to President Lee Teng-hui’s continuing standoff with the Premier. Consistent with this, the DPP strategy at the National Affairs Conference, directed largely by Hsu, was to pry the “mainstream” Taiwanese-rooted KMT away from its conservative wing and into agreements for liberalization under the pressure of the public scrutiny of the event. This strategy seemed to be largely successful at the time. Chang Chun-hong, consistent with his previous statements but astonishing in timing, only a week after the embarrassing December 1991 showing stated publicly and unilaterally that if the DPP won 40% of the vote for the new Legislative Yuan in December 1992, it would be willing to enter into a coalition government with the ruling party.

Hsu Hsin-liang, pressed in private conversation, denied that this would result in a Korea-style split of the opposition party, and insisted that the KMT would split instead. Chang Chun-hong reportedly has spent considerable effort seeking the weak link in the KMT, a few tactical allies who could at least allow the DPP to sway 25% of the next National Assembly sessions in March 1992 and block the KMT from steamrolling through a one-sided constitution, but without success yet. Hsu has persistently asserted that the party must reach power soon — his famous “three years to government rule” statement of mid-1990. This can hardly be imagined attainable except by the DPP being accepted into a coalition with the “mainstream” KMT. There is great disagreement among political commentators as to whether this is probable. All the same, Hsu Hsin-liang is well known for clever strategies and startling changes of direction. While overseas, he successively joined in various united fronts: first with the politically conservative World United Formosans for Independence, attempting to seize leadership and move the organization to more open action in Taiwan’s political scene; ejected, he set up Formosa Weekly in Los Angeles in mid-1980, and then the next year allied with an old-time Marxist based in Japan, Shih Ming of the Taiwan Independence Army (which much alarmed U.S. congressional members lobbied by Taiwanese-Americans); then in 1984 he joined the Taiwan Revolutionary Party, a splinter from WUFI with a revised social democratic line. This last organization, later Taiwan Democratic Movement Overseas, renounced armed struggle and propelled Hsu in redeveloping links with the Taiwan democratic movement and attempting to re-enter Taiwan. [13] Hsu was on the wanted list for sedition, but the government, embarrassingly enough, was afraid to arrest him; he finally managed to land by boat and be arrested in 1989. His political philosophy has been disclosed in several statements quoted in the press: “Politics is like business. If you win, you have done it right.”, and “Any politician who is serious has the ambition to be president.” Hsu has been called a chameleon, but his unpredictability may in itself be a potent weapon. As for the other three core leaders of the Formosa Magazine period, Lin Yi-hsiung (formerly provincial assemblyman), Yao Chia-wen (candidate in 1978),and Shih Ming-deh (15 years imprisonment before the Kaohsiung Incident, behind-the-scenes organizer), they are alienated from the Meilidao faction, and by default have served as standard-bearers of the New Tide faction, because New Tide has stood behind whoever challenged the monopoly of the Meilidao faction. Lin Yi-hsiung has become a distant voice of moral authority and indignation, only rarely on the scene since the murder of his mother and twin daughters on February 28, 1980. Yao Chia-wen served as DPP Chairman with a strong TI stance from October 1987 to October 1988, following his January 1987 release, but then was defeated in bitter competition by Huang Hsin-chieh and Chang Chun-hong, released the following year. Yao’s wife, Chou Ching-yu, is now executive head of Changhua County, a powerful position. Huang Hsin-chieh was re-elected chairman and the term lengthened to two years. Then in late 1990 the newly-released Shih Ming-deh appeared to be the heroic heir apparent, and was much heralded by the media.

But he persisted in advocating a policy of even-handed balancing of the factions and of diversifying the sources of party funds, rather than relying on large contributors. Thence it seems that the Meilidao faction, unwilling to release its monopoly on the central apparatus, decided to jettison him. This is the story of 1991, to be recounted below. Aside from the core figures of the Formosa Magazine period, there is on the scene the next chronological echelon of leadership, the lawyers who defended them against the charges of sedition and, together with the wives of the defendants, carried forward the torch of the democratic movement in the difficult period 1980 – 87. Chiang Peng-chien served as first chairman of the DPP.

You Ching, educated in Germany, was the first opposition leader to be elected to the Control Yuan, and since 1989 has been executive head of Taipei County, in which position he is challenged with the practical tasks of traffic and trash in a huge industrialized area, and frazzled in frays with the Kuomintang-fed civil servant bureaucracy. Hsieh Chang-ting and Chen Shui-bien (whose wife has been paralyzed from the shoulders down following a traffic “accident” in 1985) serve as a rambunctious challenge to the KMT in the national legislature. They are not members of the Meilidao faction, but independent figures with their own contributors and offices. It was prematurely announced in January 1992 that these independent figures, loosely allied together in the so-called “Independence coalition” (Du Pai) with the New Tide faction and the returned-emigre World United Formosans for Independence, would formalize a third faction to assume their own autonomous power. But it seems that the opposing Meilidao and New Tide factions are the ends of a pole on which no third power can exist as an unpolarized force. As a social artifact, it may be noted that in recent years doctors, another well-respected profession in Taiwan’s society, have increasing joined in open political activity. These are, notably, Chen Yung-hsing and Tsai Sze-yuan, national assemblymen, who serve in important positions in the central party headquarters, and though functionaries for the Meilidao faction are often seen as less partisan; and the legislators Wei Yao-chien and Hong Chi-chang, both associated with New Tide. THE NEW TIDE FACTION Finally we may explore the origins and composition of the New Tide (Xin Chao Liu ) faction, named for the founding magazine. My preceding article described some incidents of tension and differing perspective between the elected officials of the democratic movement coalition in 1979 and the young intellectuals who worked for them in campaigns and on editorial staffs. At that time there was a general alignment of liberal ideology (democratic procedures, constitutionality) with Taiwanese nationalism, on one hand, and radical ideology (egalitarian ideals, social movements) with Chinese nationalism, on the other hand. The latter encompassed a small but intellectually important minority of personnel. All the same, the different groups were forced into an uneasy coalition by the overwhelming threat of the Kuomintang and its security agencies, as well as by the expediency of arousing the populace to resistance with populist slogans. The exception to this congruence was a small segment of young liberation theology ministers in the Presbyterian Church, which had called for Taiwan independence since 1971. The Presbyterian Church not only had a solid place in native Taiwanese society going back to the conversion of modernizing elites by British missionaries in the 1890s, but also many decades of missions among the exploited aboriginal people, and thus a social conscience. Despite the pattern of nationalism at that time, in 1980 I thought the logic of the situation boded the emergence of a Taiwanese nationalism with an ideology of mass mobilization. A decade later that is the new constellation, though I cannot say I precisely foresaw the sources of this development. Now it is the liberals, allied with opportunistic local politicians, who are reluctant to risk confrontation with the Kuomintang on the issue of Taiwanese nationalism; whereas the organizations with a philosophy of grass roots mobilization use “Taiwan Independence!” as a rallying cry that means uprooting the whole structure of special privileges for the ruling elite and along with it local patronage politics. Chinese nationalism now has no significant presence in mass politics: a few of the diehard professors and writers of the China Tide group, e.g. Chen Ying-chen, Wang Ching-ping, Wang Shao-po, formed the Labor Party (Gong Dang ) in 1987, and then split off into an exclusively pro-China party, the Workers Party (Lao Dong Dang ) a year later. Ms. Su Ching-li served in both as secretary general. [16] Both parties have met with pathetic voter response, but are said to have had some impact in practical work with labor. However, the Chinese nationalists of the Taiwan democratic movement can be proud that they have also played a pioneering role in China’s democratization in recent years [17]. A small number of left- and/or once-upon-a-time China-leaning intellectuals are of common Hakka background with Hsu Hsin-liang and more personalisticly tied to his past populist programs, e.g. Chang Fu-chung and Chen Chung-hsin. With Hsu’s accession to the chairmanship they have new and more central roles. Others such as Wang Tuo (China Tide background, jailed following the Kaohsiung Incident, elected national assemblyman December 1991) and Chen Chao-nan (emigre with Austrian citizenship but strong Taiwanese nationalism, worked with Hsu in Los Angeles, jailed briefly on return in June 1990) are in similar positions, professing a Marxist social vision but tied to Hsu for their present work at the central party headquarters. It remains to be seen whether Hsu Hsin-liang will choose to play populist ploys. A few other intellectuals educated abroad and with strong social convictions have taken up practical programs under DPP county executives. However, the New Tide group unambiguously weds a strong Taiwanese nationalism to the force of social movements. The New Tide group emerged from among idealistic assistants to the elected opposition figures in a gradual development in the mid-80s. They reacted against the hierarchical and particularistic structure of relations within the opposition itself, in which elected officials gained fame and fortune riding on the issues researched by their assistants. A central figure, Chiu Yi-jen, studied political science at the University of Chicago in 1978-82 and at that time seemed to discount class analysis. Wu Nai-jen did not leave Taiwan for studies but now discourses in mature Marxist terms. As editors for Hsu Jung-su (Wife of the then imprisoned Chang Chun-hong, Hsu was then an important legislator. In the mid-80s she became independently wealthy from stock market investments.) on her magazine Plow Deep (Shen Geng ), 1982-84, they found contradictions between their efforts to report on labor issues and the preferences of her financial backers, as well as resistance to their critique of opportunism within the opposition. They encountered similar problems managing Hsu Jung-su’s constituent service center in Nantou, where they set up a democratically-governed oversight committee to promote community self-rule and grassroots organization. They left and in May 1984 started a separate journal with a social democratic philosophy, a drawing point for the younger generation of activists. Ho Duan-fan, Lin Chuo-shui, Liu Shou-cheng and Hong Chi-chang were among the founders. As developed to the present, the New Tide faction is virtually a party within a party, reportedly holding a membership of about one hundred persons (not publicly identified) who are subjected to training and discipline of their ideology, activities, and financial dealings. The group has a central committee, procedures of internal democracy, and requirements for participation in interminable reports and meetings. On occasion notable public office holders have sought to join the group together with their underlings, in which case they might form a block and overshadow others; but such requests have been rebuffed. The tight egalitarian organization of New Tide seems to have developed gradually in reaction to the Meilidao, as a tactic to outflank it. New Tide has however in recent years assigned its own members to run as candidates in elections: Hong Chi-chang, legislator; the writer Lin Chuo-shui, author of the DPP’s Republic of Taiwan resolution; the wife of Tsai You-chuan (liberation theology Presbyterian minister, served second sentence for TI) Chou Hui-ying; and the pioneer in the student movement, Lee Wen-chung. It also strategically allies with or puts forward candidates that it deems will promote a strident Taiwanese independence demand or the interests of a social group that warrants protection: Ms. Yeh Chu-lan, widow of Tseng Nan-jung, now legislator; Ms. Chen Hsiu-hui, founder of the Homemakers’ Union for environmental protection, now in the national assembly. New Tide seems to have hit upon a pattern for candidates: young, educated, idealistic, personable and even physically attractive, energetic and ready to get their hands dirty in local organizing. New Tide is a formidable challenge to the Meilidao faction, which has absolutely no systemic discipline. It has a network of offices in the names of regional constituent service offices for particular office holders, e.g. for legislator Lu Hsiu-yi in Panchiao, Taipei County, entirely separate from those of the formal party command. It must have at least a dozen such offices, with a constant programming of activities, hung solid with colorful banners and slogans: “New Nation Movement”, “Build a New and Just Society”, etc. The DPP apparatus has its regional offices, and independent office holders also have theirs, but most are said to only rev up before elections. There has been recurrent struggle between the factions over control of various regional branch offices, but at present most seem to be Meilidao-controlled. The element of financial discipline is extremely significant, and unusual in the Taiwan political scene. New Tide members, if elected, are required to turn over all of their government salaries and allowances to the organization and live on salaries as service center activists. In recent elections even donations are reported and recorded for central management. Those members elected are required to keep squeaky clean in an environment where money flows easily for slight favors, and constituents expect that service means special intercession at the price of a gratuity. According to one service center manager, the New Tide public office holders he knew were so pressed for financial survival, especially with the heavy expenses incurred, that they had to start a business on the side to make ends meet, but tried to pick one that would not lead to errant suspicions. Reciprocal to this discipline, the organization must deal with the debts left over from campaigns, especially failed campaigns, and make sure its activists sustain a minimum standard of family income. Funds go to support a joint think tank to assist its legislators, as well as assistance for other organs, such as the affiliated Taiwan Association for Labour Movement, in operation seven years. According to some descriptions of the New Tide faction, its actions may be more indirect but broader in influence than apparent. For example, it claims to have initiated organization of farmers’ groups and community campaigns against polluting manufacturers, but these organizations take on a life of their own and are not directly controlled. The Urban-Rural Mission, linked with Canadian religious social activists through WUFI and also in communication with the Korean URM, has provided training for home-grown agitators; it has been a target of the KMT security agencies.

Similarly in fields of cultural development and historical studies. Quiet ties with social groups, even the newly emerging “liberation theology” schools of Buddhism that have made yellow robes a colorful presence at demonstrations against political arrest [18], have given the faction a secret potential in election campaigns. New Tide may have the possibility of maturing into a powerful election machine; but some members do not wish to be distracted from what they see as the basic goal of grass roots organizing.

At any rate, there has been a realization among members that organization must also be addressed to the middle and professional classes on issues such as environment and education, given the structure of Taiwan’s modern society. The leadership of New Tide has reached the difficult admission that, despite several years of efforts, the industrial working class is not particularly responsive except to palpable economic gains, and it frequently trusts to continuing standard of living improvements under the ruling party. Non-political social activists, such as those with the Catholic Church, have commented that the Taiwan workers do have serious grievances, but that they do not trust any of the political parties. A common comment among social activists is that there is a wide gap between the opposition party and the social movements, and the politicians rarely show evidence of any long-term concern. For example, in 1991 the government has moved to turn back several of the provisions of the labor law that are favorable to workers, but the DPP has remained silent. Most of the public does not clearly understand the existence of different groups and social directions within the DPP.

MEMBERSHIP AND OPERATIONS In contrast to the financial pooling of New Tide, prospective candidates in the Democratic Progressive Party at large are self-selecting and must pull their own financing. Therefore the process is individualistic and depends to a large degree on previous public exposure, social connections, and even whether one has a large circle of clan relatives that can be mobilized to assist. Given the effect of personal ties to office holders, as described above, it is not surprising that financiers want to give their money discretely and without public accounting directly to the candidate whom they are cultivating. (Small contributors usually want their contribution recognized on slips posted on boards at their affiliated DPP offices, but those with enterprises are wary of KMT reprisal, e.g. a tax auditor was stationed to stand right next to the cashier of the large Pirate King Restaurant, a DPP supporter). This process works overall to build up a number of “mountain tops” (shan tou ) in the party who dispense money according to their own political interests and programs, while the common coffers of the party are nearly bare and long-term programs and policy development are starved. Moreover, it generally is not appropriate to inquire as to what money a party leader has, and to which purposes it should be applied; that is considered a matter of individual discretion, and especially if powerful the person should not be questioned. The dearth of ideological unity and discipline has led over a period of time to a hidden crisis for the party: registered party members often have no political commitment, and those with political commitment, even some persons who work for the party virtually full-time as volunteers, refuse to enter membership. There are something under twenty thousand registered members in the party. That is less than one percent of the minimum number of DPP voters (about 2 million in the last poor showing). The membership does not represent the voters, and it also does not represent a trained or disciplined vanguard, though the majority are enthusiastic supporters. A party delegate can be selected by each thirty party members. However, to address the problem of the gap between membership and voting constituency, DPP elected officials are automatically accorded delegate votes. Over the long run this works to maintain the status quo of the party.

The source of the problem of party membership is, first, that in the initial rush of expansion of the party control over access to membership was lost; and second, every time an election nears those hopeful of nomination in the internal party primaries stuff the rolls with friends, relatives, and anyone they can induce to sign a party membership form. The sponsor also pays the annual dues, about $US 50 for each member, part of which is sent to the central party headquarters. Such nominal members are called “head count party members” (ren tou dang yuan ), and a cautious conjecture is that they account for 20% of the rolls overall. A more extreme artifice has now been rumored, “pocket party members”, in which a great number are all registered at one address (in Kaohsiung reportedly 200 at one address), and their signature chops kept on hand for easy voting. By now there have been cases of party dues paid to Taipei in one chunk but not remitted to the regional office, of the losing faction in a regional branch struggle withdrawing en masse, and of the central party headquarters de-recognizing a local membership in total [19]. Both Meilidao and New Tide factions have been accused of padding the rolls, but it is generally thought that New Tide cannot make the match in money. Nominal party members affect the outcome of nominations.

One long-term party member without direct affiliation to any candidate commented acerbically on recent nominations, “The DPP came to Kaohsiung and picked up trash”. A similar problem of the internal composition of party membership involves the class character of the supporters of the party, that compared to those of the ruling party many are the less advantaged, more marginal, some even lumpen proletariat with simultaneously politically valid and socially invalid reasons for resenting authority. Especially given the lack of enforced standards within the party, operations depend on good will and intentions. There has been some effort at regulating the quality and image of membership; in Panchiao in January 1992 the membership was reviewed, and those operating disreputable enterprises such as massage parlors and gambling halls were asked to withdraw. About 10% of the membership was challenged for various reasons. It may be obvious in this account that the factions do not seem to be treated equivalently, that there has been no extended description of the social policy of the Meilidao faction.

This unevenness quite accurately reflects the different concerns of the factions. Although Meilidao has had a public policy section, headed by the scholarly Huang Huang-hsiung, and also an organization section, it is difficult to find anyone at the central party headquarters who cares to make an extended social analysis. Actions vis-a-vis the Kuomintang, election results, financing, and personnel assignments are the major concerns. Critics of New Tide say that it allies with questionable local politicians as much as does Meilidao, and in regional branch struggles it really just comes down to a senseless competition over territory. Candidates within the party tend to try to dig into each others’ constituency (most races are a plurality, some with as many as eight seats to be assigned, so there may be candidates from both factions as well as the KMT and other local factions all running together), especially in the heat of the last days when it is easier to appeal to DPP supporters than to convert KMT loyals. Though serious, the factional disputes are not as severe or as publicly aired as two years ago, many say.

There is now a basic agreement on two matters: the Meilidao faction has accepted the explicit call for a Republic of Taiwan, and New Tide has entered the parliamentary arena. While not forsaking either grassroots organizing or demonstrations, New Tide has recognized the public backlash against street brawling with the riot police (the example of Korean students throwing Molotov cocktails was briefly emulated in May 29, 1990 demonstrations, which the government turned to its propaganda advantage), and has sought to distance itself from the rabid bands abetted by the World United Formosans for Independence, despite previous alliance. There is still no general agreement in the party on how best to deal with the issues in practice or promote them in propaganda. There are naturally differences in local conditions, e.g. rabidly Hokkien-chauvinist areas like Chiayi versus Hakka areas like Hsinchu County, that make it unwise to apply uniform literature island-wide. [20]

But the “mountain top” structure of personal relations and the factional cleavage impede the development of a coordinated strategy. The central party headquarters is weakened by lack of capacity to direct, and the regional offices are left to fend for themselves. This disunion is highlighted in the matter of financing. The central party headquarters of course runs a large literature and propaganda department which puts out a party newspaper and special election reports.

The headquarters also organizes a cast of party notables who speak at local campaign rallies. Candidates are supposed to contribute to the cost. The government reimburses campaign funds to successful candidates after the election in the amount of NT$ 30 (US$ 1.20) per vote received. Unsuccessful candidates get three-quarters of that as long as they receive a minimum of about a thousand votes. The DPP party headquarters in the past requisitioned 10% of the refund, but in 1991 demanded 50%. The New Tide is discussing whether, as policy, its candidates should hand over that amount, which could well be NT$25 wan (US$ 14,000) each. It is unlikely that either New Tide or other candidates will submit the full amount. Most scuttlebutt on the specific incidents within the party cannot be readily verified. Or the sources may be deemed knowledgeable, but different versions of the reasons and rationale, who did what to whom first, may be floated. It is not practical to try to pin down every item as a point of fact, and yet recurrent themes may be taken as indication of the actions and interactions within the party, and of the kind of information that people are reacting to. In recent interviews there has been concern voiced about the quality of some DPP members who have reached high rank within the party, and such concern, expressed among those in all parts of the party, involves a few named individuals who may be representative of a more general problem.

THE COURSE OF 1991 Huang Hsin-chieh, the DPP’s stubby, bristle-haired chairman with country-Taiwanese accents, has been overtowered by the KMT’s polished technocrat Lee Teng-hui for the last three years. Still, he has a kind of old-time-politician quality that is endearing, a straight-forward wheeling and dealing in traditional guanxi that is more appealing than the machinations of clever political scientists. He has never been the brains of the democratic movement, but he has stood with it generously and loyally, like a father to a profligate son, through eight years of prison and a few million in contributions — even when the party treasury sank to rock bottom after the spending spree engendered by vying with the KMT at the National Affairs Conference. At the end of 1990 Huang Hsin-chieh seemed outpaced by the rapid changes in political forces and discomfited by the prospect of his reign coming to a close in 1991. The party charter, recently amended, limits the chairman to two two-year terms. Huang ventured to argue that since his first term had been only one year, before the amendment, he should be eligible for another term. No one in the central party headquarters dared to gainsay him openly. As months passed and the news media played on the image of Shih Ming-deh as the heir apparent, Huang seemed alternately to acquiesce and then to cast about the names of many candidates, as if he were magnanimous to bestow the seat on others — while still not disavowing his own intentions of continuing. For perhaps six months the headquarters seemed paralyzed on the issue of succession; the credentials committee seemed to likewise lack the nerve to make a ruling based on the charter. A columnist queried sarcastically whether Huang Hsin-chieh wanted to emulate the five-term record of Chiang Kai-shek. In the meanwhile, Shih Ming-deh continued with plans to prepare for the year-end election by gathering together academics and social activists to write policy papers; and Hsu Hsin-liang set up a large office to work for island-wide organization. Both swore they would work together and with the party. Shih declined to publicly question the propriety of Huang, whom he respectfully addressed as ojisan, “old gentleman”, from the days of Formosa Magazine, in claiming another term; and Hsu claimed his target was the future election for governor of Taiwan. There was speculation that the outcome would be Shih as Chairman, Hsu as Secretary General. In 1989 and 1990, while still in prison, Shih Ming-deh had written bitter diatribes against the New Tide faction, accusing them of crassly using social mobilization issues for the purpose of a power grab.

It was anticipated that he would align with the Meilidao tradition, due to historical and personal attachments. However, soon after his release he renewed contacts with his former disciple Chiu Yi-jen and gave an exclusive interview to New Tide magazine on his first imprisonment as a military cadet [21]. He tried to maintain good relations on all sides on the basis of his personal authority and charismatic sway as a popular hero, Taiwan’s “Nelson Mandela”. On a triumphant trip to the United States, he sought to press the two contentious emigre factions, World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) and Taiwan Democratic Movement Overseas (TDMO), into joint cooperation in November 1990, but this resulted in offense to the TDMO, allied with Meilidao on Taiwan. Moving into 1991, Shih confronted some DPP office holders in Kaohsiung whom he accused of profiteering and dishonorable relations with the KMT. When the KMT announced a convening of the “old thieves” National Assembly in April 1991 and suddenly sprang a draft for continuing the functions of the security agencies spawned during martial law, the DPP was stung by the about-face on what had been thought to be the achievements of the National Affairs Convention. The New Tide faction pushed for resolute action, a mass demonstration. The Meilidao faction was reluctant, and initially let New Tide figures take the front line roles. Suddenly, New Tide felt hung out to dry. Shih Ming-deh stepped in to mediate and draw all the party leadership into an impressive display of unity in the march of April 17, 1991. At that point his accession to the chairmanship seemed unchallenged; the cover of the party charter booklet printed in sharp color soon after shows the front rank of the march with Huang Hsin-chieh, Shih Ming-deh and Chang Chun-hong lined up in center focus. In reminiscing, Shih feels that the turning point also came in April when he repeatedly refused to make an explicit agreement that if he were chairman Chang Chun-hong could continue as Secretary General. Shih had from the start insisted that he would act as chairman for the whole party and give all factions and figures a stake in participation. He did not so much object to Chang continuing as Secretary General, he says, as to appearing to “cut a deal” with one faction. At that point the Meilidao faction began to set in motion other plans for the succession, and enlisted Hsu Hsin-liang. According to a reliable leak, Hsu made secret plans to wrap up the party delegate vote before he left for a United States trip, and confirmed these island-wide plans on his return in mid-May. The DPP headquarters in June approved the establishment of an overseas party branch and in short order the TDMO transformed itself into that role with a cutoff date of July 6 to apply for DPP membership and vote for delegates. The Meilidao faction likewise stuffed the regional party branch rolls just before the cutoff. However, the crucial element in commanding the majority of delegate votes against the formidable personal aura of Shih Ming-deh was a tit-for-tat exchange with a number of local DPP politicians, the delegate votes they controlled in exchange for positions in the central party committee and the national assembly.

This is not denied by insiders of the Meilidao faction, and many also decry the deleterious effects. This is to be detailed below. A subsequent incident heralded the coming confrontation. Two members of Min Chung Daily News (a strong supporter of the DPP, a large newspaper based in Kaohsiung) known to have spent a great deal of time drinking late into the night with Shih Ming-deh, Mou Shang-sang, deputy managing editor, and Ms. Tseng Chia-lun, writer, and others, wrote a series of articles printed July 20-22. These articles sharply criticized the DPP center and Chang Chun-hong for lack of resolution and private dealings in relations with the KMT. Whereas in a famous satire of twelve years ago, a democratic movement cartoonist called the vestige parties brought from the mainland the KMT’s “flower vase in the toilet”, a token opposition, the Min Chung articles suggested the DPP might become the KMT’s “flower vase in the parlor”. They also revealed that Hsu would make a bid for the chairmanship. Both Chang and Hsu denied these allegations and reacted vigorously with a threat to picket the newspaper and push a campaign to drop subscriptions. After a week of tense standoff the publisher printed an apology and demoted the offending staff. [22] A week after this furor broke over Hsu Hsin-liang publicly announced his candidacy. However, the toll in media relations apparently continues.

In an article commenting on the upcoming party chairmanship elections, The Journalist (Xin Xin Wen ) weekly magazine ran two pictures, a broadly smiling Shih Ming-deh with his trademark Errol Flynn mustache, and the shiny back of Hsu Hsin-liang’s Franciscan-fringe pate. Even now Shih Ming-deh is featured in newspaper articles for his role as president of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights as often as is the DPP chairman. The Democratic Progressive Party is a poorly-coordinated, fractious organization that lacks the resources of even some of the new religious sects in Taiwan. And yet it is a large presence in the media and in the intellectual life of the country because it signifies and moves much more than just its own mass. It seems to some extent to set the agenda to which the ruling party and government must react. It is not surprising then that Hsu Hsin-liang and Shih Ming-deh met for a public, partly televised debate in the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial auditorium, almost as if submitting the chairmanship race to the entire population. Hsu glowed with his perpetual confidence, proclaiming that with proper organization and good candidates the party would sweep the year-end elections and move towards governing. Shih, his eyes cast upwards, pronounced in an apocryphal tone that, if he had learned anything in his 25 years of dark imprisonment, it was “it is more difficult to resist temptation than to endure suffering”; and that the party faced the temptations of power. Hsu ended with a soft statement that he never thought it necessary to flaunt the difficulties of his ten years’ exile. [23] On the first day of the DPP delegates convention, October 12-13, the vote for the central committee of eleven produced: Meilidao four, Hsu Hsin-liang, Yu Chen Yueh-ying (executive of Kaohsiung county, old Yu clan local faction), Lin Wen-lang (originally Taipei city councilman), Chu Hsing-yu (city councilman from Kaohsiung). Independent figures four, Hsieh Chang-ting, Shih Ming-deh, Yao Chia-wen, Yen Chin-fu (Taipei city councilman); last two closely allied with New Tide. New Tide members three, Chiu Yi-jen, Hong Chi-chang (legislator), Liu Shou-cheng (provincial assemblyman from Ilan). For the moment, it seemed Meilidao would lose the chairmanship and the crucial control of the party apparatus. The next morning a resolution for making the establishment of the Republic of Taiwan a goal of the party passed with a two-thirds show of hands; it had only been slightly softened, under KMT threat, with the conditionality that independence would be subject to a plebiscite. The Meilidao faction was not enthusiastic about taking on this plank explicitly, but feared it would lose the chairmanship if it abjured. [24] The difference from previous times when it had been voted down was the support of prestigious intellectuals outside the party. In the following vote for the chairmanship Hsu prevailed over Shih narrowly, 180 to 163. The two shook hands like gentlemen. The central party headquarters had been unprepared for the aftermath of the Republic of Taiwan plank. Hsu Hsin-liang left for Japan on October 15 and Chang Chun-hong shortly after, no doubt on pre-arranged business, but some of the populace felt that the leadership deserted just as the gauntlet fell. There was sparse headquarters reaction to the arrests of nine Taiwan independence activists over the next few days. [25] The response to the government’s threat to ban the party was nonchalant. It has been alleged that Meilidao supporters applied monetary inducements to a few swing delegate votes in the final showdown, in amounts of up to NT$ 30 wan (US$ 12,000), which sounds rather fantastic. This seems to have been inferred because a few delegates bargained with both sides in the chairmanship race. The counter-evidence against the possibility of vote-buying is said to be that the Meilidao faction controlled 180 or so delegate votes anyway as shown in the central committee voting, but did not have them well enough apportioned to take more central committee seats.

Whether or not delegate-buying occurred in the chairmanship vote, there is a reliable report that one “mountain top” attempted to get a seat on the central committee by distributing checks for NT$ 10 wan (US$ 4,000), but was unsuccessful. For a party only recently emerged from the golden age of the democratic movement, when one risked death and destruction for the sake of freedom of speech, vote-buying seems to fall short of idealism. No one in the party has wanted to make charges openly, for fear of “scratching your own face”; but this reluctance also allows rumors to fly unrepudiated. As far as trading delegate votes for central party headquarters-supported position, there seems to be little ambiguity. Though not unique examples [26], Chu Hsing-yu’s seat on the central committee and Du Wen-ching’s assignment to a party-apportioned seat in the new National Assembly are the two most bandied about.

Du Wen-ching is a young protege of central committee member Lin Wen-lang, a financial source for the democratic movement going back to the heroic days of Formosa Magazine. Lin was originally a Taipei city councilman who was respected for refusing to join the KMT, but then he made his fortune in construction contracts, allegedly with the aid of KMT connections. Lin Wen-lang has shown considerable largess to many in the democratic movement, and also provided an apartment gratis to Shih Ming-deh soon after he was released from prison. It is said that Lin obtained a staff position for Du (one source says “Three or four years ago Du Wen-ching himself didn’t know whether he was KMT, DPP, or independent.”) at the central party headquarters two years or so ago; then Lin got Du appointed to be head of the party branch at Miaoli, where he stuffed the party rolls using Lin’s funds. Controlling a number of delegate votes, Du was then able to assure Lin a seat on the central committee. Now Du is a DPP National Assemblyman.

No other critique of him personally has been heard, except that his past contribution does not warrant the position. Chu Hsing-yu, a small man, fairly young, with a pug nose and round-cropped short hair somewhat incongruous with his usual formal black three-piece suit, is given credit for having his own popular base as a Kaohsiung city councilman. However, he is also seen as a gangsterish figure who has built up his constituent base by weeping crocodile tears at every local funeral, and taking oaths while chopping off roosters’ heads, a traditional swearing ritual that does not seem to bind him for long. He is rumored to have made his money through construction company deals of the usual suspicious sort. How much of this description, oft-repeated in party circles and now in the press [27], is accurate cannot be verified here. Chu Hsing-yu has reportedly bragged that he donated NT$ 200 wan (US$ 80,000) to Hsu Hsin-liang, and reportedly a single night’s party for Hsu and his entourage in Kaohsiung cost him another NT$ 20 wan (US$ 8,000) as well.

The issue of the chairmanship vote recently swamped over into the media eye in a way that party members must have winced to read. At the end of January 1992 the DPP held a Lunar New Year’s party at Meilihua Hotel to show its appreciation to the media and display a front of unity. Under the influence of alcohol Chu Hsing-yu began to badger Shih Ming-deh and boast of wealth, including the US$ 90,000 Swiss watch on his wrist; Shih promptly held up Chu’s wrist to photographers, to be compared with Shih’s electronic giveaway watch. The issue for tension was that both Shih and Chu may be contestants for legislator in the same Kaohsiung district in December 1992. Chu was reported in newspapers the next day to have then said, to the effect, “Don’t think you’re such a hero that you can get anything you want. You didn’t get the chairmanship because I didn’t support you. … If you run in my district, NT$ 5,000 (US$ 200) a vote says that you’ll lose to me.” Shih Ming-deh’s rejoinder was likewise intemperate. “If you win, I’ll cut my gut and die. If you lose, you can commit suicide and Chang Chun-hong and Hsu Hsin-liang can be buried with you.”

The incident was papered over later with an apology from Chu, who claimed he meant the KMT, not himself, would defeat Shih by buying votes. This makes for colorful reporting; but let us return to the moment of the DPP delegate convention, October 1991. The Meilidao faction had kept its place in the central party headquarters, but was only a minority on the central committee. The accession of the new chairman was later feted with a gala reception at the cost of nearly NT$ 100 wan (US$ 40,000). Hsu nominated Chang to continue as Secretary General, but the central committee refused to ratify the appointment; after bitter wrangling it was agreed Chang would continue until February 1992. A physical attack on Yen Chin-fu at the entrance to the building, dutifully reported by the press, further tarnished the party image.

Little time remained for adjustment of staff at the central party headquarters and preparation for the December elections. Given this and the organizational constraints, from the vantage of Taipei the party headquarters waged an uphill propaganda battle with the KMT, which had grown very slick, low-key, and sophisticated, in contrast with the heavy-handed and laughable pronouncements it produced a decade ago. The television stations were directed to broadcast the taped messages of four political parties who were allotted time proportional to their number of candidates, after they were passed by censors. The film of the KMT, 45 minutes at a cost of over NT$ 1,000 wan (US$ 400,000), took as its theme prosperity and security for future generations; proclaiming Taiwan independence would provoke the wrath of the PRC. Its emblem was a healthy baby boy frolicking on a blue cloth with white sun, the KMT party emblem. The DPP film, 21 minutes at a cost of NT$ 550 wan (US$ 220,000) sarcastically parodied this image with a long sequence of plastic baby kewpie dolls coming off an assembly line — and those not meeting the standards of uniformity thrown back into the furnace to melt down. [28] For this, campaign literature, and expenses of the central party campaign speakers group, total cost was about NT$ 2,000 wan (US$ 800,000), which led some to gasp in astonishment.

Meanwhile, Shih Ming-deh announced the New Constitution Campaign Speakers Group, a few dozen professors, editorial writers, and other well-known figures who agreed to speak in favor of the party and its issues; he raised NT$ 200 wan (US$ 80,000) to cover its operations. The effectiveness of the group was generally acknowledged, but Shih was criticized for going his own way after losing the chairmanship election. The ruling party relied almost exclusively on television broadcasting, in which it has a virtual monopoly [29], to set the agenda for the election (Chang Chun-hong’s efforts at setting up a broadcasting station have met with interdiction and confiscation). It held very few rallies or campaign speeches. While DPP candidates identified themselves clearly with the green and white party flag, KMT candidates did not fly the white sun on blue.

At most they printed the slogan “reform, prosperity, stability” on their posters. It is not known whether this lack of stated affiliation was party policy, to blur the line between independent and party candidacies, or to avoid identifying the ruling party with rampant vote buying, while allowing local interests to pursue their natural cupidity. There are laws against vote-buying, but they seemed to be in abeyance for this election. DPP members of the government’s election supervisory commission found it completely ineffectual. [30] In Taiwan the hegemonic political culture is composed of several strands that are familiar in Korea as well and other Confucian authoritarian environments: The rulers are stern but benevolent, and keep social order for the sake of all. Democracy is advancing with the development of parliamentary procedure, and all must play by the “rules of the game”, even if they may be rigged. The opposition is dangerous radicals who stir social discontent. Politics is dangerous and dirty; all politicians are more or less corrupt. Society accepts collusion, so it should not be resisted.

This myopic blend of smug idealism and cynicism is being challenged by some news commentators and academics in Taiwan, as well as by some of the younger generation of social activists. However, it is the stuff of ordinary discourse, and much of the behavior of the opposition falls into the mold. Following the relative failure of the election, there was a flurry of self-examination in all sectors of the party and some finger-pointing [31]. Substantial unity did not emerge from this. This was shown at the caucus of the DPP national assemblymen, 75 including a few remaining from previous supplemental elections, in preparation for the March 1992 session. The caucus was held January 10-11 in a chilly mountain lodge near Hsitou, Nantou County. The task was the election of a head convenor of the group and his staff, who would lead strategy in confrontation and negotiation with the ruling party. The Meilidao faction insisted on monopolizing the positions, and New Tide called for a showdown after negotiations advanced by Shih Ming-deh broke down the previous day. There were no nominations (all were eligible) and hardly any discussion in the hall, where assemblymen, reporters, and a few observers sat bundled against the cold.

The politicking had already been done within the factions, each pulling the unaffiliated votes aside. Each assemblyman (among them about ten women) mounted the stage and dropped his ballot when his name was called. Chen Bo-wen, a New Tide candidate, Presbyterian minister and representative of social rights for the handicapped, was lifted up in his wheelchair and then down. Finally as the vote was counted off the hall fell silent: Huang Hsin-chieh, the old chairman, 32, to Lin Chun-yi (Edgar), the anti-nuclear activist professor promoted by New Tide without public nomination, 30. [32] At the end of the meeting large traditional carved wooden plaques were presented to each national assemblyman in the name of Huang Hsin-chieh and Hsu Hsin-liang. According to the person delivering them, these cost NT$ 6,000 (US$ 240) each, i.e. at least NT$ 45 wan (US$ 18,000) in all. This is a standoff which the leadership of New Tide expects will continue for some time, and which, surprisingly, they do not seem overly concerned about. It is recognized in all sectors that the populace does not want to see the opposition party split, and whoever splits off bears the onus of blame. It may be projected that their strategy is to slowly organize from the bottom up, including also liberal and middle-class new social movements such as environment, women and cultural renaissance, and thus engulf the party. The Meilidao faction, with its loose organization and lack of social activism, hardly impedes this.

But the central party of course get credit in the public eye for the social concern activities of New Tide. The ruling party is sharper in preventing New Tide from monopolizing these social issues by putting forth high-profile gestures such as the appointment of Chao Shao-kang to head Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency. One issue on which New Tide may be able to capitalize is regional branch resentment of profligate spending at the headquarters. The annual budget of the party headquarters is said to be about NT$ 4,000 wan (US$ 1.6 million), but under Hsu the previously lavish socializing has been brought to new heights, “as if there were no tomorrow” in the words of one high-ranking Meilidao figure. Hsu is increasing the central party staff from about 23 to about 35, which may indicate more ambitious programs. On the other hand, program funding is much constrained, and efforts to placate the disparate interests of personal power within the faction result in inappropriate personnel assignments. The unrestrained expenditure scares some potential contributors, and it has even been reported that some capitalists with deeper political intentions are shifting their sponsorship towards New Tide figures. Such effects will probably only be apparent in an evolution over a year of so.

For the larger picture, if the Meilidao faction moves into a closer relationship with the KMT, it may be anticipated that the party will split, and the factions go their separate ways, as happened in Korea. [33] On the other hand, the government has made a limp threat to disband the DPP for advocating the establishment of the Republic of Taiwan, and some members even relish the prospect of such a government move, saying it would reunify and revitalize the party. Such moves would originate in the dynamics of the factions of the ruling party, which is outside of the purview of this article, but which can still be envisaged from tangential observations, and thence placed in a wider context. COOPTATION AND INCLUSION This article has detailed the mechanisms by which a democratic movement in strong opposition to an authoritarian state has been partly compromised and reintegrated into a role of cooperation with the state. This is a process in which vertical ties of patronage are continually respun across what would be potential rifts along the horizontal cleavage of class — alliances of workers demanding new industrial relations, or communities demanding environmental protection against the incursion of industry. Such a controlled opening to bourgeois democracy occurs in the realm of daily political relations, in the opposition party as described, and in ideology and information as well [34]. This is a democracy in which different fractions of capital jockey for position, but can reach at least a strained consensus on the direction of evolution. The direction may only be apparent after the accession of a new legislature in December 1992. However, in Control Yuan and Legislative Yuan internal votes of early 1992, after the forced retirement of the old rubber-stamp representatives, it can be seen that the Kuomintang party structure is fast losing its ability to discipline its own Taiwanese representatives of moneyed interests. [35] It may be speculated that this opening to bourgeois democracy can occur because the regime still has sufficient repressive capacity to control it in slow fall, but also sufficient economic resources to coopt it. It must occur, however, because of the internationalization of capital under export industry development, and the inability of the regime to limit capital mobility. [36] At the same time that segments of Taiwanese capital are brought into political deliberations, the original social base of the mainlander elite [37], the government-owned corporations, are privatized, and thus the fractions compete more equally while retaining control over their respective domains.

The process of democratization in Taiwan can be understood within the pattern proposed by Nigel Harris on the basis of studies of South Korea, South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia: a prolonged process of “bourgeois revolution” against the state which was in fact the midwife of the bourgeoisie as a class. However, when the State establishes a system for forced accumulation, this is not simply a set of arrangements that can be changed at will. It constitutes a social order, with a weight of inertia constituted by vested interests, the immediate beneficiaries, that inhibits the creation of any other order. What was set up to speed development becomes an inhibition to growth as capital develops, as output diversifies, as businessmen are increasingly drawn to participate in the world economy, and as the need for the psychological participation of a skilled labour force supersedes the dependence upon masses of unskilled labour: capitalism “matures”.

The old State must be reformed or overthrown, to establish the common conditions for all capital: a rule of law, accountability of public officials and expenditure, a competitive labour market and, above all, measures to ensure the common interests of capital can shape the important policies of the State.” [38] This quotation seems to contain within it many of the hints of tendencies seen in Taiwan, even aside from the incorporation of the opposition party into a bourgeois democracy as has been described in detail in this article: First, a rationalization of the bureaucratic role, gradually stripping it of its extraordinary and particularistic economic powers, as seen in pressures for prosecuting official corruption and discussions of possible disclosure of officials’ holdings and income [39]. Second, a momentous political change since 1990, a realignment of academics and intellectuals to favor Taiwan independence and substantial governmental restructuring. The interests of the mass base of the populace are not equally represented in the process of bourgeois democratization, but the benefits of patronage are indeed more widely spread than before due to competition between the ruling and opposition parties, and each internally between their factions, and in this we can acknowledge some small measure of effective economic democracy. This inclusion also affects the populist base of Taiwanese nationalism, rendering it more complacent and patient with gradualistic change. To acknowledge this cooptation is not to say, however, that social issue activism is not at the same time intensifying; to the contrary, Taiwan’s society is bubbling with new voluntarist associations that at present have little apparent role in the formal political process, including religions with social and political agendas, groups of students and intellectuals more leftist that the New Tide group, and performers and teachers reaffirming minority cultures. The past progress in inclusion, however corrupted, feeds the hopes of those who are still relatively excluded. These forces and the dynamic they exert on the ruling and the opposition parties will not go away. SOURCES This article is based largely on interviews and discussions conducted during six weeks in Taiwan, late December 1991 to early February 1992, plus newspaper and documentary sources. This article reflects much of the critical dialogue on the left within the Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party. Very little of the general content is not widely known in these circles, but the collection and synthesis of the specifics is politically sensitive. This article has not been approved or censored before publication by any authority in the DPP. Democratic Progressive Party Officers and Elected Officials Shih Ming-deh, president of Taiwan Association for Human Rights, DPP central committee. Huang Hsin-chieh, Chairman, Democratic Progressive Party 1988-91. Wei Yao-chien, National Legislator. Chen Chu (Ms.), National Assembly, director of Taiwan Association for Human Rights. Chen Hsiu-hui (Mrs. Ho Wen-chen, Mary), National Assembly, Director of Homemakers Union & Foundation. Chen Chao-nan, director of Organization Section, DPP Central Party Headquarters (emigre returned from Austria). Wu Nai-jen, New Currents founder, formerly DPP central committee. Lin Yi-cheng (Daniel), Director, DPP Taipei City Branch. Yuan Yen-yen (Theresa), administrative director, Lu Hsiu-yi and Chou Hui-ying Joint Service Center in Panchiao. Tseng Wan-hsin, former director, DPP Hsinchu City Branch. Huang Chun-cheng (Jacob), formerly director of Hong Chi-chang’s service center in Tainan, now DPP New York liaison and graduate student at Columbia University. Chou Bo-ya, Taipei city council, and wife Yeh Ch’i-lin (Inca), student activist. Chou Bo-lun, Taipei city council.

Party branch organizers and members in Hualien and Penghu Islands. Others Interviewed Chien Hsi-chieh, Taiwanese Association for Labour Movement Tseng Dze-tsai (husband of Wu Ching-kuei, National Assembly), implicated in 1971 attempted assassination of Chiang Ching-Kuo in New York, returned to Taiwan 1991. Wang Su-ying (Ms.), Director of Kaohsiung County Women, Youth and Child Welfare Service Center, Fengshan City. Lin Mei-jung (Yvonne), Grassroot Women Workers Center. Wang Yao-nan, secretary general of Labour Party, also deputy editor of Min Chung Daily in Kaohsiung. Willi Boehi, correspondent for Tages Anzeiger of Zurich and associated with Catholic workers’ organizations in Taiwan. Chan Hsi-kuei (pen name Lao Pao), editorial writer for Liberty Times. Organizations and Addresses: Democratic Progressive Party Central Party Headquarters, 115 7F Sec. 2 Chienkuo N. Rd. Taipei 10479 Tel: (02) 5051115, Fax: (02) 5055539 DPP Taipei City Branch, 96 4F Sec. 1 Roosevelt Rd. Taipei Tel: (02) 3952560, Fax: (02) 3971803 New Tide office, 25 Lane 93, Sec. 2 Kangchou S. Rd. Taipei Tel: (02) 3927236, Fax: (02) 3912285 Taiwanese Association for Human Rights 1 9F Lane 25 Sec. 3 Hsinsheng S. Rd., Taipei Tel: (02) 3639787, Fax: (02) 3636102 Taiwanese Association for Labour Movement, 234-1 3F Sec. 3 Roosevelt Rd. Taipei Tel: (02) 3654704, 3655705 Fax: (02) 3655703 Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, 12 5F-4 Lane 74 Wenchow St., Taipei Tel: (02) 3636419, Fax: (02) 3623458 Grassroot Women Workers Center, 208 4F Chienkang Rd, Taipei 10577 Tel: (02) 7621006 Formosan Association for Public Affairs 538 7th St. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 Tel: (202) 547-3686e Weekly Post (Ze Li Zhou Bao ), Overseas Edition, in Chinese. 15 Sec. 2 Chinan Rd. Taipei, Tel: (02) 3519621, Fax: (02) 3964541. Overseas: 17834 Bailey Dr., Torrance, CA 90504) 3964541. Overseas: 17834 Bailey Dr., Torrance, CA 90504 The Journalist (Xin Xin Wen ), weekly, in Chinese. Mindeh Bldg. 6F, 104 Minchuang W. Rd., Taipei. Overseas: Chang Ching Culture Co., 136 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754. Tel: (818) 281-3622. China Times Weekly (Shi Bao Zhou Kan ), Overseas Edition in Chinese, 43-27 36 St., Long Island City, NY 11101. Tel: (718) 937-6110. Taiwan Communique, bimonthly in English, c/o Asia Resource Center,. 538 7th St. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 City Paper, English weekly free in Taipei, original articles on political issues by American expatriates. No. 463-1 6F Dingchou Rd. Taipei. Tel: (02) 915-8815. Printer, Independence Evening Post. (City Paper ceased publication 1992) NOTES 1. A lively account of Taiwan’s recent economic development, and one closer to the ground than most “economic miracle” analysts, is to be found in Simon Long, Taiwan: China’s Last Frontier, pp. 75-109. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991. On several points it is relevant to the discussion in this article: “The structural problem in the credit industry is the predominance of state ownership combined with the lax enforcement of legal requirements. . . . This creates an environment where the ‘kerb’ market of illegal financing companies can flourish. . . . The commitment to privatisation (since 1989) was both a victory for the ‘liberal’ strain in the Taiwan policy debate, and an effort to add more stock to the very limited number of companies listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange (TSE). In the late 1980s, the TSE enjoyed a boom of phenomenal proportions, which saw market capitalisation reach double the size of Taiwan’s GDP, and daily trading volumes regularly surpass those on all the world’s exchanges other than Tokyo and New York. The scale of investment in the TSE owed far more to extraneous considerations than to the underlying health of the listed stocks.” (p. 107)

“The most important reason for the balloon-like expansion of stock-market capitalisation is the extraordinary degree of liquidity slopping around the financial system in 1986-88. This is a result of two of the most striking characteristics of the Taiwan economy: one is the level of current account surplus (exports over imports) achieved from 1986 on; the other is the remarkable propensity of Taiwanese residents to save.” (p. 108)

2. The comparison with Korea is very instructive for understanding the rise and form of the democratic movement in Taiwan. Almost all of Hagen Koo’s article “Middle Classes, Democratization, and Class Formation,” Theory and Society 20 (1991):485-509, can be said to apply to Taiwan. To quote from his conclusions,

“In late industrialization, as occurred in South Korea and other East Asian countries, the new middle class has emerged as a significant social class, before the capitalist class established its ideological hegemony and before industrial workers developed into an organized class. … The Korean experience also highlights the significant role of the state in class formation. The predominant role of the state in economic and social development puts it at the center of major social conflicts. . . . The role of the middle class in the South Korean democatization process has been complex and variable, in part because of its internal heterogeneity and in part because of shifting political conjunctures in the transition to democracy. . . . This analysis suggests that political behaviors of different segments of the middle class can be explained in terms of their locations within the broad spectrum of middle-class positions between capital and labor and by the changing balance of power between the two major classes.” (p. 505-6) Hagan Koo, “From Farm to Factory: Proletarianization in Korea”, American Sociological Review, 55 (1990):669-681, is also useful.

3. The same point is made in Harvey J. Feldman, “Taiwan: The Great Step Forward,” The National Interest, no. 9 (1987):88, regarding the 1986 elections.

4. The current exchange rate is very close to US$1 = New Taiwan $25, rising rapidly in value since late 1985, from the US$1 = about NT$40 maintained from 1960 to 1983. (Long, Taiwan p. 105) In this article NT$ will be quoted in wan, ten thousands, as is common in Asian usage, because of the large sums involved. NT$ 1 wan = US$400.)

5. The kickback economy in Taiwan is worthy of study by itself, especially given the scale on which it operates. Unfortunately, a common response to the revelations as given in this article is to brush them off with a comment “It happens in every society”, or “That’s Asian culture”. But such would be a very careless approach to social science. The kickback economy is a system, both social and economic, and should be examined as such. What its effect is on various social classes should also be examined, and a political or moral judgment may be argued from that knowledge.

As ubiquitous as the kickback economy is, economic anthropologists should be able to do an interesting study of at least a few industries. Many observers in Taiwan can describe its patterns and pieces, e.g.: It depends on whether the item is in a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market, as to whether the seller’s rep or the purchasing agent gets a kickback. On items subject to competition, such as automobiles, the kickback may be low, only $US 100 on a $US 15,000 car. Kickbacks can extend a long way; for example an electronics engineer who designs a product using a particular $US 3.00 circuit that has only one manufacturer may receive 20 cents from the sales rep.

6. Independence Weekly Post no. 128, November 22, 1991, p. 2-3. “A wind to support Hsu A-Kuei and oppose her impeachment sweeps all Taiwan.”, “Hua Lung’s black ploys are too many.”

7. Independence Weekly Post no. 134, December 27, 1991, p. 1-5 on election results. “The greatest winner of the National Assembly election is the ‘Gold Cow’ party”, p. 4.

8. Independence Weekly Post no. 132, December 13, 1991, p. 2. Return of Chang Tsan-Hong (George), 25-year leader of World United Formosans for Independence, and his arrest at airport, December 7. Two other emigre officers at large for several months arrested in following days.

9. The reader may note from Long, Taiwan, that there are several elements of U.S. economic coercion on Taiwan that are common to other Asian NICs: liberalization of foreign investment in export industries, 1960s (p. 83); and then in the mid-1980s several measures to help remedy American balance-of-payments problems, i.e. upward valuation of currency, enactment of Taiwan labor standards laws in 1987 under pressure of the AFL-CIO (p. 103), opening of markets in 1986-7 to U.S. agricultural products despite protests of local farmers (p. 99). These plus the common heritage of Japanese colonization and current economic links go far in explaining the parallels between Korea and Taiwan; see Bruce Cummings, “The Origins and Development of the Northeast Asian Political Economy: Industrial Sectors, Product Cycles, and Political Consequences”, International Organization 38, no. 1(1984):1-40. Long also sees an economic reason for political liberalization: “There is a convincing school of thought that what persuaded Chiang Ching-kuo to open the floodgates of political and economic reform was not so much any broad perception of historical necessity as a rather murky financial scandal (the Tenth Credit Co-operative and the Cathay Investment and Trust) that erupted in 1985, with dire consequences for the whole economy.” (p. 106)

10. The Workers’ Party candidate in 1989 was Wang Ching-ping, formerly a professor at Tamchiang University and a leading figure in the China Tide group since the late 70s. In December 1991 the Workers’ Party came close to getting a candidate elected; Luo Mei-wen, one of the few party founders with real credentials as a worker and a union activist, received 18,000 votes in Hsinchu County.

11. See table on party affiliation, Independence Weekly Post no. 130, November 29, 1991, p. 1. According to hearsay about fourteen of the 179 KMT district seats achieved were candidates who appealed to mainlander constituencies, and perhaps as many as sixty are affiliated with the “non-mainstream” conservative KMT faction.

12. Whereas the New York Times accepted the KMT’s claim that the people of Taiwan had rejected independence (“A Strong Vote for One China”, December 24 editorial, rebutted by election observer Timothy Gelatt on January 6), the Asian edition of Newsweek (January 13, 1992) more accurately reported it as “a mandate to do nothing”.

13. Far Eastern Economic Review, February 27, 1992, p. 48-49, “Nostalgia for paradise”. 14. Chang Chun-hong, presentation at Columbia University on October 17, 1990 on the National Affairs Conference. Proceedings in Constitutional Reform and the Future of the Republic of China, ed. Harvey Feldman ed., 1991. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. The New Tide faction accused Chang and the Meilidao faction of merely serving as an accessory for KMT renovation and legitimation at the NAC. See New Tide no. 14, July 1990, p. 10-17.

15. Linda Gail Arrigo unpublished ms., “The Logic of Taiwanese Nationalism and the Recent Development of the Taiwan Independence Movement Abroad, 1980-85”, October 1985. Marc Cohen’s Taiwan at the Crossroads, 1988, Asia Resource Center, devotes a whole chapter to overseas Taiwanese, and p. 291-292 mention Hsu’s role.

16. The development and activities of labour parties and unions are most thoroughly written up in English in Ho Shuet Ying, Taiwan — After a Long Silence: The Emerging New Unions of Taiwan. Asia Monitor Research Center, 444 Nathan Road 8-B, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1990.

17. Professor Chen Ku-ying (purged from National Taiwan University Philosophy Department in 1971 Diaoyutai movement, opposition candidate in 1978), Huang Hsun-hsin (long-time veteran of local political struggles in Taitung and Changhua; National Legislator) and Chang Chun-nan (candidate in 1978 and 1980, insists Taiwan nationalism must know more about China) all made their way to Beijing in the 1980s. The former was given a post at Beijing University, the latter two token Taiwan seats in government bodies. In 1986 Chen lectured on democratization in Taiwan on many college campuses, implying the same for China. According to news reports, Huang and the Hong Kong representative were the only members of the Peoples Congress to publicly oppose the Tien’anmen crackdown. After 1989 all three have sought to leave the mainland and return to Taiwan. The author met with Chen and Chang in Beijing in December 1986 and also in the U.S. since.

18. Interview on February 4, 1992 with Buddha-Intelligence-Mysterious-Gold-Spear Master (Fo Hui Jin Gang Cang Shang Shi ), head of the Ten Thousand Buddhas sect, Dragon Spring Mountain Temple (Wan Fo Hui, Long Quan Shan Si ). Address: No. 66-1 Lungchuan Road, Tsutien Village, Tucheng Hsiang, Taipei County. Tel: (02) 268-7344. The temple has large calligraphy on one of its walls, “We love Taiwan”, implying its Taiwanese nationalism. It provided its halls for meetings of a professors’ and students’ mobilization against national security laws. The Master has written a tract justifying Buddhist social activism and participation in demonstrations on the basis of Sukyamuni’s mendicant travels.

19. In July and August 1990 the author accompanied Shih Ming-deh on three trips to Chiayi to negotiate between DPP Headquarters and the party branch on the nomination of a candidate for legislator. Local party members, strong advocates of Taiwan independence, resented Huang Hsin-Chieh’s endorsement of a non-DPP local candidate in an earlier race, and his further attempt to assign a candidate from the central headquarters. Several procedural clashes ensued.

20. The Hakka minority areas commonly are not enthusiastic about Taiwan independence, because if the Hokkien majority took over fully from the mainlander Kuomintang their angle on linguistic and political alliance with the ruling minority would be lost. This can be seen in the low number of DPP votes in areas dominated by Hakka: Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli counties, outside of the cities where Hokkiens are usually the majority. The issue is aptly summarized in a New York Times report (March 31, 1992, p. A 12) on the Second National Assembly sessions: A day later, opposition members dropped Mandarin Chinese to make speeches in the native Taiwanese dialect, to emphasize their view that Taiwan has its own identity and should abandon its claim to be a part of China. Members of the ruling Nationalist Party responded with speeches in Hakka dialect and a Taiwanese aboriginal language, which no one understood but which conveyed the Nationalist viewpoint that Mandarin is essential as a unifying language.

21. New Tide (Xin Cao Liu, The Movement in English on cover), no. 14, July 1990, p. 4-9.

22. Interview with Wang Yao-nan, January 1992.

23. Democratic Progressive News, no. 76, October 1, 1991, p. 4, statement by the two candidates for chairman on the fifth anniversary of party, September 28, substantially the same as televised debate of October 5. Full debate available on VHS video, two cassettes. 24. The Journalist no. 241, October 21, 1991, p. 40-41. “For the throne of chairman, they all vie to be the ‘black face’: The background behind the DPP’s Taiwan independence resolution”. 25. The Journalist no. 241, October 21, 1991, p. 12-13, “The Bureau of Investigation starts the arrests!”, “Attacking first the periphery of the opposition”. October 17, six members of the Organization for Taiwan Nation Building were arrested, and the next day the office in Taichung was forcibly dismantled. October 18, agents arrested three leaders of an activity planned for October 20 in which a hundred people would reveal membership in the “seditious” World United Formosans for Independence and vote for Taiwan chapter officers. 26. Of forty-four DPP nominees for party-apportioned National Assembly seats, five were current and at least one a past regional branch head officer; the head officers are in a position to control new party enrollments. Democratic Progressive News no. 80, November 16, 1991, p. 4. 27. Chu Hsing-yu was featured in Independence Weekly Post no. 140 & 141 combined, February 7, 1992, p. 5. “Firebrand, much gold, where does Chu Hsing-Yu’s money come from?” Article notes, among others, that Chu was the only DPP public official to participate in the Control Yuan vote five years ago, and he bought a BMW soon after. 28. Independence Weekly Post no. 132, December 13, 1991, p. 1. “Taiwan finally enters the television election campaign era.” Article describes the process of censorship and adjustment of content. 29. Tien Hung-mao, The Great Transition: Political and Social Change in the Republic of China, p. 195-206 on mass media. Stanford, Ca.: Hoover Institution Press, 1989. 30. December 30, 1991 report by Yang Tse-chuan, professor of business administration at Cheng Kung University and member of election supervisory commission group. 31. The author was present at several election analysis sessions: Christian Social Research Office, December 30, 1991, attended by prominent academics and Presbyterian ministers. DPP Taipei City Branch Head Office, January 16, 1992. Same evening, DPP Taipei County, Panchiao Office, issues include arrest of campaign assistant. 32. The Journalist January 19-25, 1992, p. 42-49. “The old generation and the young upstarts bare their swords in the three factions’ verbal sparring at San Lin Hsi.” 33. Times Weekly August (date unknown) 1991, “The Future of Coalition Government” by Huang Chun-Cheng (Jacob). 34. Analysis due to DPP legislator Wei Yao-chien. Major newspapers supporting the DPP are Min Chung Daily in Kaohsiung, Independent News group in Taipei, Liberty Times in Taipei, and Taiwan Times in Kaohsiung. Supporting means they report fully, objectively, and generally favorably on the opposition. They criticize the KMT, but the KMT is long since inured to it. However, according to Wei they occasionally make back-handed critiques that considerably negate the support, and they are all subtly limited by majority investment from directorates that interlock with KMT interests, even security agencies. See also Tien, Great Transition. 35. Independence Weekly Post no. 138, January 24, 1992, p. 3 on election of Shen Shih-hsiung as vice-chairman of the Legislative Yuan. Editorial, “Who is paving the road for the power of money?” 36. The analysis of capital mobility and political opening for Taiwan is due to Ms. Su Ching-li, private communication 1987. Also see Long, Taiwan, “Even the (1987) removal of restrictions on the holding of foreign currency by individuals and banks had a very limited effect in reining in money supply growth. Much of the potential of this measure had been exploited by the evasion of exchange controls for many years by traders and exporters. . . . Indeed, having devoted much energy over the years to salting away their foreign currency profits overseas, Taiwan’s business community now seems to have become adept at bringing it back.” (p. 108) Also see Far Eastern Economic Review, December 12, 1991, p. 62-64 on internationalization of financial markets. 37. On the cleavage between mainlander and native Taiwanese capitalists, see Ichiro Namazaki, “Networks of Taiwanese Big Business: A Preliminary Analysis”, Modern China 12 no. 4 (1986):487-534. 38. Nigel Harris, “New Bourgeoisies?”, J. Development Studies, 24, no. 2 (1988):237-249. Quote from page 247. 39. An extraordinary current example of this is a February 29, 1992 move by over thirty members of the Provincial Assembly to impeach twelve members of the Control Yuan, with a statement that “recently, following on criticism of money entering into every aspect of Control Yuan election activities, although presently within the country every election of officials has rumors of corruption”, this should be corrected, beginning with the Control Yuan, which is supposed to be an oversight organ. Independence Weekly Post no. 144, March 6, 1992, p. 4. As of March the factions of the Kuomintang are publicly warring against each other and creating a kind of democratic opening in their solicitation of public support.


  • July 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    This shows the author’s usual powerful writing and fearless judgments. It would be interesting to update some figures in [square brackets] if possible to give perspective on what’s changed in two decades, like the per-capita income near the beginning…

    Chinese readers can look forward to a biography soon! English readers are hoping for an anthology of her wide-ranging work, but unfortunately books don’t count with academic employers — only articles in peer-reviewed journals count as “scholarly publications” these days. So thanks for publishing this.


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