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China Times: Rich people vs Taiwanese people

2011/12/26 13:25:44

Tsai Ing-wen, the presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has been campaigning under a new slogan that labels entrepreneurs who have publicly thrown their support behind President Ma Ying-jeou as "rich people," while calling those who support her "people of Taiwan."

The "rich people versus Taiwanese people" designation sets up a division between capital and labor, and between the business and working classes. It is apparently an ill-willed rhetorical strategy.

Tsai has intentionally avoided calling pro-Ma businessmen "entrepreneurs," but rather has labeled them as "rich people," which implies a connection to property sharks or traders who made their fortunes as result of political patronage.

But none of the prominent business leaders who support Ma, including Hon Hai Group founder Terry Gou, Delta Electronics, Inc. founder Bruce Cheng and Yulon Motor Group CEO Kenneth Yen. Gou, fall into that category. They do not have any business connections with Ma or his family.

In comparison, Tsai made a deal with Ruentex Group Chairman Samuel Yin not long after she stepped down as a vice premier, and made a profit of over NT$10 million. Tsai herself has cultivated friendships with "rich people."

What Tsai should be thinking about is why a majority of Taiwan's prominent business leaders support Ma. It is because they worried that under her leadership cross-Taiwan Strait relations will go nowhere and they recognize that such relations are crucial to Taiwan's development, particularly in the face of the global economic volatility.

Tsai has categorically denied the existence of the "1992 consensus" -- the basis on which cross-strait relations have been built.

The business sector is worried that if Tsai wins the Jan. 14 election, the hard-earned cross-strait rapprochement and prosperity will regress, perhaps even to a point of non-existence. (Editorial abstract -- Dec. 24, 2011)

(By Deborah Kuo)
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