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June 24, 2017

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Su's self-appointment bound to spark controversy: Chen

By Adam Tyrsett Kuo--The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) China Affairs Committee is bound to become an "anti-Chinese Communist Party Committee," said Chen Sung-shan (陳淞山), ex-director of former President Chen Shui-bian's office.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced Wednesday that he will serve as convener of the new committee, prompting political commentators to speculate that Su's move was intended to placate the party's core pro-independence supporters.

By appointing himself as convener, Su is keeping former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the sidelines, Chen added.

Initially, Hsieh, who made a landmark visit to the mainland in October, had been seen as a likely candidate for the post.

Su said that he had originally intended to appoint Hsieh but decided otherwise after careful consideration.

Younger Generation Would Like Chance to Voice Opinion: Chao

DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), a protege of Hsieh's, said yesterday that the committee needs to begin operating first before its efficacy can be determined.

Given that the committee will only include seven to nine members, only DPP heavyweights will be invited to participate, Chao said, adding that he still hopes to see a debate on cross-strait policies, so that younger members of the DPP can have a chance to voice their opinions.

"Initially, we had hoped that the committee would serve as a platform for exchange, but now that it has been defined as an integration platform for ideas, Su is without a doubt the best man for the job," Chao said. "I believe that DPP members will continue to lend their full support to the chairman."

Su's Self-Appointment Seen as Sign of Power Struggle

It appears that Su is trying to handicap Hsieh, Chen said, adding that the chairman's self-appointment as committee convener is also ostensibly a move against Tsai.

Chen speculated that given the circumstances, Tsai will not join the committee, and that Hsieh will be caught between the choices of joining Su's committee as a sign of compromise or establishing his own platform for cross-strait dialogue.

DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤) predicted that the party will gravitate further toward a power struggle between Su and Hsieh, and that a consensus on cross-strait policies will be even harder to reach.

With regard to Su's supporters, Hung said, "It's quite remarkable how they've managed to turn a friend (Hsieh) into a foe."

Chairman Has Surrendered to Fundamentalists: Hung

The DPP has lost the chance to make a transition in Su's term as chairman, Hung said, adding that the committee issue is essentially a compromise with pan-green fundamentalists.

It seems clear that the new committee will not be a platform for cross-strait dialogue, Hung added.

The party will become even more conservative, Hung said, adding that since Su has "completely surrendered" to the fundamentalists, moderates will not have the nerve to join the committee.

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