Taiwan’s sixth communist party seeks to forge close ties with mainland China

Former Kuomintang central committee member launches alternate political party

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 10:01am

Yet another communist party was founded in Taiwan at the weekend, with the aim of forging closer business ties with mainland China and promoting a socialist economy.

Lin Te-wang, a former central committee member of the main opposition Kuomintang, formed the Taiwan People’s Communist Party at his home base in the southern city of Tainan on Saturday, becoming the sixth such party on the island.

“I decided to form this party because I am disappointed with the KMT and fed up with the policies of the Democratic Progressive Party government,” Lin said.

Lin, who withdrew from the KMT after failing to win a candidacy nomination from the party in the 2016 parliamentary election, said he saw no hope in his former party because of continued infighting despite its crushing defeat in both the parliamentary and presidential elections last year.

“Nor would I trust the DPP, whose policy of alienating the mainland would only bring economic hardship to Taiwan,” he said.

Lin said he wanted to achieve to achieve “cross-strait peace and close economic cooperation” through the establishment of the party, adding that is what Taiwan needs for its development.

He said the “southward policy” of President Tsai Ing-wen to try to cement economic ties with Southeast Asian countries and reduce Taiwan’s economic reliance on the mainland wouldn’t work, as it would take at least a decade to bear fruit and the mainland’s political influence was strong enough to discourage other countries from working closely with Taiwan.

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“Although Taiwan can use the relatively cheaper labour in Southeast Asia, its exports still focus on the United States, Europe and especially the vast mainland market,” Lin said. He added it was therefore necessary for Taiwan to maintain economic and cultural exchanges with the mainland.

Beijing has currently suspended communications and reduced exchanges with Taipei after Tsai, of the independence-leaning DPP, took office in May and has refused to publicly accept the “1992 consensus” – an understanding reached in Hong Kong in 1992 for the two sides to continue talks and exchanges as long as they agree there is only one China, although each can have their own interpretation of what that China stands for.

Lin said his party would seek to promote cross-strait peace and the consensus to improve cross-strait relations and the island’s economic growth.

“Our party also aims to promote a socialist economy in Taiwan,” Lin said, without further elaboration.

He declined to say if the new party supports Taiwan’s reunification with Beijing, saying only that it “would do all it can to promote the best interest for Taiwan and its people”.

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Lin said at least 1,000 people had expressed interest in joining the party and he hoped to increase the membership to 30,000 within a year. “Whoever supports our beliefs, including mainland-based Taiwanese businessmen, is welcome to join the party.”

Lin’s Taiwan People’s Communist Party is the sixth communist party founded since the Taiwan Communist Party was formed by Wang Lao-yang and officially registered on the island in 2008.

Taiwan’s Interior Ministry said since the island lifted restrictions on the formation of political parties in the 1990s, anyone with 30 founding members could form a political group, regardless of its nature, given that the island allows freedom of speech and political freedom.

Currently, there are 310 political groups, many of which are tiny parties formed either with the purpose of opposing the policies of the DPP, such as the China Unification Promotion Party headed by Chang An-le, a former leader of Taiwan’s Bamboo Union gang, or increasing the domestic influence of their founders.