Taiwan Green Party logo
I often feel somewhat vexed by the fact that the DPP has used the color green to represent itself and that Taiwan-centric political parties in Taiwan are referred to as the Pan-Green Coalition. While there may be no doubt about what these parties stand for in Taiwan, they in fact share little in common with international Green politics.
Green parties are usually associated with the environment movement. Actually they usually have broader based policies based on the four pillars of the Greens. These are ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence.
While the DPP stood for many of these ideals when it was initially founded, since coming to power it has proven to be a party that serves the interests of big business and has little regard for environmental issues.
I was glad to read in the Taipei Times today that the Taiwan Green Party has announced some of its candidates for the January 2008 elections for the Legislative Yuan. The Taipei Times reports that Green Party Secretary-General Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲)
…added that the party wants to push for government funding for minority representatives and for limits on campaign spending so that "the Legislative Yuan isn't dominated by well-connected and well-funded people."
Pan said the GPT has three priorities: "To change the structure of Taiwan's economy and promote a low-carbon economy, to vote against the construction of the Suhua Freeway and to build a second forest park instead of a second dome complex on the site of the old Songshan Tobacco Factory."
While Taiwanese politics is dominated by the blue-green divide a lot of important issues don't attract the level of public debate and attention they deserve. In particular, climate change barely rates a blip on the political radar even though it is a crucial issue that will change the world enormously in the next few decades.
While the Green Party faces an uphill battle to get representation in Taiwan's parliament it at least creates a genuine political alternative. I hope that future electoral and constitutional reforms ensure that the Greens and other minor parties can become a fixture in Taiwan's political landscape and allow a broader range of political issues to be debated.