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May 28, 2017

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Anti-establishment rhetoric against democratic values

A group of around 1,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Zhongzheng First Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department on Friday night, protesting the department chief's decision to drive the remaining protesters out of the Legislative Yuan compound earlier that day.

The angry crowd threw ghost money, water bottles and insults at Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) and the police force amassed in front of the police precinct, calling for his apology and resignation for a "breach of trust." The resignation was rejected by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and it is clear that Taiwan doesn't need more anti-establishment activists that incite ridicule of the police and parliamentary system using rhetoric that risks belittling our democracy with oversimplified messages.

The students' answer to the malaise of today's youth is far too simple — let's do away with the ruling party's politicians or, better yet, throw away everything that smells of power, privileges and Chinese politics — and, absolutely incompatible with Taiwan democratic values, despite their hundreds of thousands of supporters on social media.

The truth is that these students derive their energy from misplaced resentment, and the real key to their success lies in the exploitation of anger — at the ruling Kuomintang, at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), at mainland China and the whole establishment in general. That is what makes their movement look great, not the appeal to reason or the love of democracy. The problem with such "zero-sum rhetoric," however, is the growing risk of driving the country to a dead-end.

The zero-sum mentality refers to a way of thinking that hinges on the notion that "there must be one winner and one loser, and for every gain there should be a loss." The term is used in its simplest form in the social sciences to describe systems in which "one of us wins while one of us loses." If we're going to share a pie though, it also means we each have to fight to get more pieces.

April 14, 2014    14juillet@
"Beppe Grillo in Italy and Marine Le Pen in France are examples of underdogs who have successfully used social media to raise issues, publicize meetings, respond to news, mobilize supporters at the grassroots level and recruit new “friends.”"

Beppe, yes. Le Pen, not more or less than other French candidate.

And even if so, what are you saying here? That these candidates are lacking legitimacy? That they would have remained "underdogs" if it had not been for social media? That's a boring truism that goes for all political leaders and hopefuls from whatever background.

If reporting in social media is the measure voters of the near future choose their future leaders, then so be it. Oh.. and after all your 'advice' to us readers, try getting with the times as a journalist here in Taiwan!
April 14, 2014    kingarthur@
@blue author: "In the real world though, politics is…"
Taiwan is not the real world according to you right now, is it? Could it possible be that such depreciating attitude will be the main factor why we finally demand change?

"This is major illusion that has found many adherents in Taiwan"
Again, belittling us Taiwanese. We are stupid green idiots too retarded to understand what real politics are all about!

"The opposition Democratic Progressive Party is siding with the students"
And now you're getting tedious. DPP's Su said today that he will not seek re-election as party chairman to avoid "damage" to the party caused by the Sunflower movement. Jeez, those Greens must be incredible morons: they are the victim of something they started and supported!

But then, I'm probably not the only one sensing that this "piece de resistance" is not meant for us, the domestic and ignorantly misguided Taiwan public.
April 14, 2014    fromTaiwanwithLove@
You show signs of acute and temporary amnesia.
It was the government's breach of its own democratic mechanism, the set of laws regulating people’s democratic right to protest, that animated young Taiwanese and brought them out on the streets. The latter protested against an undemocratic announcement by police that a protest group that has occupied the area for the past four years would no longer be allowed there. Fang was singled out by the protesters because he had directly communicated with the group a few hours before that they would not be forced out. You also seem to "forget" that Taiwan is in a process of democratization, a developing democracy. Excluding what the student movement stands for as quasi-anarchy merely shows how far you stand from reality, and how close you lean to keeping your own job and income at this paper by pleasing your superiors. And you wish to teach us something about democratic values?
April 14, 2014    johnlao@
Perhaps it is not Taiwan's 318 movement or the precinct protesters that are remarkable but those 'democracies' who are distinguished in all the worst ways by so internalizing a normative corruption of democratic ideals that its press has come to expect the police to violently suppress dissent.
April 14, 2014    hong88@
For the China Post it feels like what is most scary is that the students might effect real substantive reform and set a precedent.

Perhaps as pro-Blue journalists what is troublesome is the irksome feeling that you no longer have your finger on the pulse and can’t understand events on the ground because they don’t seem to conform to tried and tested models of political action.

”How can I stay relevant writing about politics in Taiwan if its not mostly confined to elections and political parties?” you seem to be saying.
April 14, 2014    fromdorm@
The first wave of democratic revolution in Taiwan came in the 1980s and 1990s, when Taiwan was transforming into a democratic society. This student movement represents the second episode in Taiwan’s democratic revolution, focusing on social justice and environmental issues, while critically examining and reflecting on Taiwan’s current declining democracy, clearly manifesting Taiwanese identity in strong (albeit at times overly strong) ways. The message to the establishment responsible for the democratic decline in Taiwan is straightforward: we are Taiwanese, and we don’t want to become Chinese; we feel deserted by both main parties and will, eventually, establish a new political force to be reckoned with.
April 14, 2014    iWrite@
Morality is ontologically prior to an autocracy as is today's Taiwan. So the ipso facto claim that anti-autocratic rhetoric in a regressing democracy is wrong must be dismissed.

April 18, 2014    1fatherof2@
I don't think what the students did was a crime against democracy. In fact I truly believe that they have orchestrated was a peaceful protest.

If you disagree, please look at what similar student actions or protest against trade deals in US and Europe look like. The British student protest against tuition fee raise, the Battle of Seattle, and so on. All those were hundred times more violent that the Sun Flower movement, and they happened in countries that one would called Democratized.

You can say all you want about how the student were ignorant or just hypocrites or selfish, and disregard Taiwan's development and the betterment of the rest of Taiwanese for protesting against a trade deal that looks to improve the economy.

But the fact is, this action is taken out of desperation. If the government were willing to listen to the people, such a protest would not have happened. For Taiwanese are a group of highly tolerant people, and would only have acted when pushed beyond the limit of tolerance.
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