Independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) attended a summit on cross-strait relations in Beijing in 2019. At the forum, she met with Wang Yang (汪洋), a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee.
The five initiatives that emerged from the forum were to further develop the “1992 consensus” and work together to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, foster national solidarity, undertake national rejuvenation, enhance cross-strait integration, improve citizens’ welfare, promote Chinese culture by maintaining close ties with “compatriots” and promote cross-strait exchanges by deepening person-to-person exchanges.
Chin has consistently pushed for unification with China and is often at odds with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This bias was evident in her accusation that the referendum questions on Dec. 18 failed due to political manipulation by the DPP.
She is eager to propagate “Chinese culture” within the context of the “1992 consensus,” but what exactly is this version of “Chinese culture”?
There does not appear to be any locally focused discourse of ethnic Taiwanese embedded in her speech, and she always deflects this concern when questioned about it, like the politician that she is.
Chin has attempted to highlight how indigenous people showed “great discretion and judgement” in the way that they cast their referendum votes, despite the DPP’s various “manipulations.” She has drawn attention to how residents of indigenous areas cast more “yes” than “no” votes — in the mountainous indigenous areas, 77 percent cast “yes” votes, while in indigenous plains areas, 66 percent voted “yes.”
There was much about the referendums that did not make sense. For example, why ban US pork containing traces of the animal feed additive ractopamine when Taiwan already imports US beef containing the additive?
In the Bible, John 8:32 says: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” It is difficult to see what Chin’s idea of “truth” is in this case.
Chin rallied indigenous people to cast “yes” votes on the question about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, but proposed no plans for complementary measures on how to deal with the added nuclear waste.
Polls have shown that no one wants nuclear waste dumped in their own backyard, so Chin’s irresponsible encouragement would only have caused further trouble. Not only would it have left the isssue of reduction and removal of nuclear waste on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) unresolved, it would only have left the question of where to place the waste unresolved as well.
In July 2012, the Ministry of Economic Affairs proposed two sites for storing nuclear waste: Kinmen County’s Wuqiu Township (烏坵) and Taitung County’s Daren Township (達仁). Which site would Chin pick?
Provocation by politicians and their biased discourse have caused alienation and rifts among ethnic groups within Taiwan’s democratic society.
By being at odds with the DPP on every issue, Chin is either seeking her own specific political interests or she is holding malevolent prejudice against the DPP.
To use Chin’s own words, she is the one, and not mainstream public opinion, who should “return to innocence.”
The abnormal distribution in indigenous areas as shown by the voting results is a clear sign of the politicization of ethnicity. While chasing political dividends, Chin has been misleading indigenous people with misinformation and tearing apart Taiwan’s democratic society.
What mainstream society needs is harmonious communication, and Chin should not be allowed to exploit indigenous people as a fig leaf to conceal her pro-China ideology.
Awhat Awenpokpok is in his second year of an Indigenous Studies in Sociology master’s program at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung.
Translated by Rita Wang
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