Taiwan’s political landscape is set to witness a momentous event on July 16th as opposition parties come together in a protest march titled ‘Saving Taiwan with Fairness and Justice,’ marking a pivotal preview of their organizational mobilization ahead of the highly anticipated 2024 presidential election. This protest march initiated by former legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) from the “New Power Party” and internet celebrity “Gym Bro” (館長), Chen Chi-han. Hou Yu-yi (侯友宜) from Kuomintang, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) from the Taiwan People’s Party, and actively presidential campaigning Terry Gou (郭台銘), have all expressed their willingness to participate. Various political parties are also mobilizing their supporters to join the protest march, turning it into a carnival-like event organized for the opposition party presidential candidates.
The objective of this protest march stems from a statement made by then Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen(蔡英文) during a press conference in August 2011, which highlighted that “the greatest divide in Taiwanese society today is not about the pro-independence or pro-unification stance, or the differences between the blue and green political parties, but the inability of the people to achieve social fairness and justice. Back then, the Taiwanese people granted the Democratic Progressive Party the chance to champion reforms, but now they feel disappointed once again. The organizers of the march point out the soaring housing prices and the opaque rental market, which have turned the basic right to housing in Taiwan into a luxury. Rampant fraud and the close connection between politicians and black money, coupled with a judiciary that has become merely symbolic, hinder the achievement of true fairness and justice.
This protest march reflects the concerns of a portion of the population regarding issues such as rising housing prices, opacity in the rental market, and the judicial system. The protest provides a platform for supporters to come together and express their demands, helping to consolidate public opinion and urging the government to address these issues. However, it is worth noting that the participants and supporters of the protest come from diverse social backgrounds, including different social classes and family backgrounds. This diversity also reflects the universality and impact of issues related to fairness and justice. As an election observer emphasize the importance of the protest march in establishing a dominant position for the opposition party and challenging the ruling party. This is an integral part of political competition and democratic functioning.
Ko Wen-je has promised to participate in this protest march, using his actions to express the importance he places on the issue of fairness and justice and to demonstrate his determination regarding reform and social issues. This event will ignite enthusiasm among his supporters and bolster his influence within the Taiwan People’s Party. Furthermore, participating in this march aligns with Ko Wen-je’s consistent political image and style, as he is renowned for his independent thinking and being unbound by traditional political frameworks. Additionally, considering election strategy, Ko Wen-je currently maintains a leading position in the polls among opposition party candidates. His participation in this event will help expand his foundation of support in the polls, especially by attracting voters concerned about fairness and justice, ultimately aiding his chances in the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election.
The involvement of Terry Gou has also drawn attention and raised questions about his motives and true intentions. Currently without party affiliation, Terry Gou is actively organizing campaign-related affairs for his presidential bid. His involvement in this march showcases his dedication to addressing issues of fairness and justice. Previously, Terry Gou was known for his social care and charitable endeavors. By participating in this march, Terry Gou showcases his commitment to addressing these issues and communicates to voters his willingness to actively contribute to their resolution. His participation can help expand his political base, particularly in the context of seeking a presidential candidate nomination. This march is seen as an important opportunity for opposition parties to demonstrate their strength and unity, and Terry Gou’s involvement can attract more supporters and enhance his image and competitiveness among voters.
The demands of this protest march are directed at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s governance. Hou Yu-yi’s participation in the march, as a member of the Kuomintang, may be interpreted by the public as dissatisfaction or criticism of the ruling party’s performance. Some may question the genuineness of his participation, wondering whether it truly reflects his concern for fairness and justice or if it is merely a political move. Currently, Hou Yu-yi has the lowest ratings in the polls, and his participation in this march may be one of his pre-election strategies.
This protest march is seen as an opportunity to bring together supporters of all opposition parties. The Kuomintang hopes to expand its voter base by participating in this march, particularly by attracting voters concerned about fairness and justice. Hou Yu-yi may hope to express his emphasis on the issue of fairness and justice by participating and demonstrate his concern for social issues. This move also showcases his inclusive and open-minded leadership style, aiming to attract a broader range of supporters.
The Democratic Progressive Party does not dismiss this protest march simply because it involves opposition parties joining forces. DPP has always prioritized values such as justice, fairness, and social progress. The focus of this march is on Tsai Ing-wen’s 2011 statement, which accurately highlights the challenges facing Taiwanese society. Immediate priorities include addressing issues such as skyrocketing housing prices, an opaque rental market, and the need for a stronger and more independent judiciary.
As the ruling party, DPP should be committed to addressing people’s concerns and seeking practical solutions to create a more equitable and just society. Additionally, the Democratic Progressive Party aims to embrace the voices of those seeking genuine change and progress through this march. They hope the march will further unite and mobilize their supporters, providing an opportunity to continue pushing for policies that ensure justice, fairness, and equal opportunities for all.
The protest march’s demands primarily target the governance of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), rather than being a reaction to it. It is important to consider the diverse motivations and backgrounds of participants in this protest. While the protest aims to address the concerns related to justice and fairness within the DPP’s governance, it is noteworthy that individuals from privileged backgrounds, including Terry Gou, have shown their support. The significance of the protest lies in its potential to consolidate the support of opposition parties and position themselves as the main opposition force, enabling them to challenge the DPP’s party chairman, William Lai (賴清德). This reflects the complex dynamics and strategic considerations within the political landscape.
Although the involvement of affluent individuals in a movement advocating for fairness and justice may raise eyebrows, it is essential to acknowledge that social and political change often requires the collective efforts of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Their participation in this march highlights the widespread concern for fairness and justice in Taiwanese society and emphasizes the urgency of addressing these issues.
Despite the contradictions and criticisms surrounding the protest march, it serves as a platform for opposition parties to voice their discontent with the ruling party’s governance and to rally their supporters. By harnessing public dissatisfaction and focusing on the issues of fairness and justice, the opposition parties hope to gain traction, attract more voters, and create a unified front against the incumbent party in the upcoming presidential election.
It is worth noting that political movements are complex and multifaceted, and they often involve a diverse range of motivations, interests, and strategies. While the involvement of privileged individuals may seem contradictory, it is not uncommon for political movements to have participants from various backgrounds, including those who have personal stakes in the issues being addressed. The actual impact and effectiveness of this march will depend on the public’s response and the subsequent actions taken by the opposition parties to address the raised concerns.
It is believed that this protest march serves as a platform to amplify the voices of those striving for genuine change and progress. It also provides an opportunity to unite and mobilize supporters to drive policy changes that ensure justice, fairness, and equality for all.
Conclusion and implication
The protest march organized by Taiwan’s opposition parties has provided a powerful platform for supporters to voice their concerns about fairness and justice. It has served as a unifying force, bringing together diverse voices from different social backgrounds and highlighting the urgent need for social reforms. The participation of prominent figures, including those from privileged backgrounds, underscores the widespread recognition of the pressing issues at hand. This march not only showcases the shared aspirations for a more equitable society but also presents a significant opportunity for opposition parties to challenge the ruling party’s policies and advocate for meaningful change.
Moving forward, it is crucial for both the ruling party and opposition parties to acknowledge the genuine discontent expressed during the march and take concrete actions to address the concerns raised. The success of this protest march will ultimately be measured by the subsequent responses and actions taken. It is imperative for the ruling party to listen to the demands of the people and demonstrate a commitment to social progress and justice. Simultaneously, opposition parties must leverage the momentum gained from this march to consolidate their support, refine their policies, and present a strong alternative for the future.
The significance of this protest march extends beyond the immediate event. It serves as a catalyst for reflection on the state of fairness and justice in Taiwanese society and highlights the need for ongoing dialogue and action. As citizens, we have a shared responsibility to advocate for a more equitable and just Taiwan. By engaging in open and constructive conversations, challenging the status quo, and holding our leaders accountable, we can collectively work towards a society that embraces fairness, justice, and equal opportunities for all.
In the end, the true impact of this protest march lies not only in the unity and mobilization of opposition parties but also in the subsequent actions taken by both ruling and opposition parties to address the concerns of the people. It is through these actions that the aspirations of fairness and justice can be transformed into tangible outcomes. Let this protest march serve as a reminder of the power of collective voices and a catalyst for positive change in Taiwan’s political landscape.
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