Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Taiwan’s Pan-Blue Camp is at War with Itself

The Chinese Nationalist Party is in crisis. And it has itself, not Hung Hsiu-chu, to blame 

Something rather extraordinary occurred outside the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters in Taipei on 7 October as hundreds of angry protesters gathered to vent their anger at the party. Unlike the usual protests by civic activists or pro-independence groups, this crowd was made entirely of pan-blue supporters—in other words, of people who traditionally vote for the KMT. Behind the unusual show of discontent were efforts by the party, unveiled earlier this week, to drop the unpopular Hung Hsiu-chu as its candidate in the 16 January 2016 presidential election and presumably replace her with party chairman Eric Chu. 

A defiant Hung, whose support lies in the low 20 percent against the almost 47 percent enjoyed by Tsai Ing-wen, her opponent from the Democratic Progressive Part (DPP), told a press conference on 6 October that despite the KMT shenanigans she intended to run and threatened to take the KMT to court for attempting to change the rules in order to cast her aside. Soon afterwards, a Facebook announcement called upon Hung’s followers to protest outside the KMT headquarters on 7 October. 

Despite the 2,000 or so Facebook users who indicated they would attend, about 300 did so, blocking parts of Bade Rd from around 1 pm. As dozens of police officers looked on behind the police fences and barbed wire, the enraged crowd exploded with shouts of “Hung Hsiu-chu go! go! go!” and “Eric Chu step down!” 

My article, published today on the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute Blog, continues here (photo by the author).

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