chapter  16
7 Pages

An Overview

WithJohn Israel

One place where political and ideological pluralism has virtually exploded is Taiwan. The political focus has been shifting, at least to some extent, from an entrenched political establishment backed by military power to an open, competitive process based upon the ballot box. Opposition parties no longer have to worry about positioning themselves between two armed camps or ingratiating themselves with those in power. Rather, dozens of tiny groups find the forum of electoral politics a bully pulpit for positions not articulated by the governing Guomindang and its significant, if less than equal rival, the Democratic Progressive Party. Having reached the level of audibility after a decade of reforms, the democratic political groups on the Mainland have been unable to articulate even a last hurrah, but have been stifled in the post-June Fourth crackdown. Chinese tradition may also help us to understand opposition politicians' egregious failure to rally the military.