Friday, August 20, 2010
Rule of Law: Neither "Green" nor "Blue"
but maybe Turquoise when you take off the rose-coloured glasses
In Taiwan's colour-coded politics, being "Blue" means being pro-Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party), defending their dictators and supporting their one-China policies.
On the other hand, being "Green" means being pro-democracy, pro-Taiwan independence and supporting the parties that have spearheaded the movement, chiefly the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Most expat businessmen I met in Taiwan supported the KMT (either implicitly or explicitly) because, basically, "they make the trains run on time."
Diplomats were divided, but I found that (privately, at least) the more they actually knew about Taiwan, the more they were pro-Taiwan and pro-Green.
Most real journalists I knew supported the goals of Taiwan Independence and democracy, even if they didn't necessarily support the DPP or its political allies.
When I worked in Taiwan, I was accused of being Green (by the aforementioned expat businessmen) - and therefore supporting the DPP - because I supported real democracy. And because I insisted that Taiwan was a real country - no matter what Beijing or Washington said.
And when I was critical of the KMT or its dictators (from Chiang Kai-shek to Ma Ying-jeou), I was told, "You are not Chinese, so you do not understand."
I confess I am no expert on Taiwan or China; merely a scribe who tries to learn and understand - and then explain to others.
But apparently, I am in good company. Professor Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of NYU School of Law’s US-Asia Law Institute and adjunct senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In an op-ed that first appeared in the South China Morning Post, Cohen argues that he is neither "Green" nor "Blue". But Cohen says he has been accused of being "Green" because does support rule of law, accountability in government and an independent judiciary that is not merely the tool of an autocratic party that hungers for the old days of martial law.
And, of course, Cohen has been told that he does not understand and appreciate the "one-China" principle because he is not Chinese.
My friend, Michael Turton, who makes no bones about being Green (pro-Taiwan, pro-democracy) responds by saying that Cohen is so busy correcting other people's colour blindness that he forgot to take off his rose-coloured glasses.