Taiwan’s ‘Revenge Recalls’ elicit heated debate. The string of recalls, combined with a love of popular referendums that critics say waste money and time, is causing a debate about whether Taiwan, which is seen as a bulwark of democracy against China, is too democratic for its own good.
There have been a lot of people like him: Mr. Lim is the fifth elected official in Taiwan who has been tried for re-election in the last year. Taiwanese people say that “revenge recalls” are becoming more common. If he were to be voted out on Sunday, he would become the latest victim of this trend.
A change in the law led to one of the first recalls in June 2020. A China-friendly politician was ousted as mayor of the southern port city of Kaohsiung after that.
Even tho a lot of the recent people killed were young politicians who were known for their anti-China views.
“With Taiwan going thru so much reform and change in the last few years, the new generation of politicians is the easiest to get rid of,” Mr. Lim told the crowd.
A debate about allowing U.S. pork to be imported into Taiwan has led to a lot of wacky politics in Taiwan. Lawmakers sometimes fight with their hands or throw bags of animal intestines at each other when they disagree. “Elections never end,” says Lin Jia-he, an associate law professor at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University. This is a bad thing because “elections never stop,” he says.
Before a vote in December on issues like a possible ban on U.S. pork imports and moving a liquefied natural gas terminal, the Democratic People’s Party and the opposition Nationalist Party, also known as Kuomintang (KMT), ran ads for months. The poll only got votes from about 40% of the people who could vote.
A postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Fairbank Center for China Studies, Lev Nachman, says that “there are more important issues that Taiwanese politicians should be focusing on.” These include China’s infiltration and how prepared Taiwan is for a possible Chinese invasion.
Several recalls in Taiwan have led some political scientists to compare the country to California, where there was a debate last year about whether there is such a thing as too much direct democracy, like in Taiwan.
People in Taiwan haven’t been as lucky as some people in the United States, even tho Mr. Newsom won the statewide vote.
Some 78,000 people voted to remove Chen Po-wei from office in a closely watched recall vote in October. He was a vocal supporter of Taiwan’s independence and won the 2020 election with more than 112,000 votes. Chen: “We did not break the law, and we did not betray the country.”
They say there is no evidence that Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a part of China and has said that if necessary, it will take control of the island by force. Analysts say that China still stands to gain if the gears of Taiwanese politics get clogged up, especially if pro-independence lawmakers are removed from office.
When Chu spoke, he said, “Don’t fight against China every time you speak.” Then, he predicted that Lim would be voted out of office. “These kinds of legislators and elected officials are going to be fired.”
A spokesman for the Nationalist Party said that he didn’t believe that China had anything to do with the recalls. Instead, he said that the recalls show “the deepening democratic consciousness of the Taiwan’s people.” Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office didn’t answer questions about what it was doing.
China has been very critical of Taiwan’s democracy a lot in the past. People in Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that the country’s ruling party was trying to break away from China under the cover of democracy. “Suppressing dissidents, manipulating ethnic animosity, and dividing Taiwanese society — what kind of democracy is that?” Ma said in December.
When Sun Yat-sen, China’s first republican president, spoke in 1924, he said that direct democracy was important in Taiwan because it was a way to make China the world’s most advanced country. At the time, direct democracy was not common in Western countries.
After his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, lost to Mao Zedong’s Communist Party in China’s civil war, Sun’s Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan. It brought with it the constitution of the Republic of China, which was based on Sun Yat-sen’s vision of how the country should work.
A student-led protest called the “Sunflower Movement” in 2014 was a big deal in Taiwan. It was able to stop an unpopular trade deal with China. After failing to get rid of several KMT lawmakers, supporters of the movement pushed to make it easier to get rid of them.
When President Tsai Ing-wen won her first election and the DPP took control of the legislature two years later, the effort worked. Legislators agreed to a change that would reduce the number of signatures needed to start a recall vote from 13 percent to 10 percent. They also cut the number of people who have to agree to vote in a legitimate vote in half, to 25% of registered voters in the district from 50%.
After the law was changed, Han Kuo-yu, the mayor who was friendly to China, was the highest-ranking elected official to be voted out. Supporters of Mr. Han tried to get city councilor Huang Jie, 28, out of office. He was known to fight with Mr. Han during meetings.
It was the same thing that Mr. Han’s supporters wanted to do, says Ms. Huang, who was able to overturn her recall election in February. “It’s basically a group of people who hate each other,” Huang said.
It turns out that both of them wanted to make it easier to get rid of things.
“It has a way of coming back.” The author of the book “Recalls Elections: From Alexander Hamilton to Gavin Newsom” says that you don’t get to decide how it’s going to be used.
Mr. Lim didn’t say what he thought about Taiwan’s recalls rules, but he said he wasn’t surprised that people were trying to get rid of him because he had long hair and tattoos when he first ran for office.
For the past few years, the now-short-haired Lim has been the lead singer of a rock band, and he says he’s been attacked for this. People who play heavy metal music call him Mr. Lim.
As part of a show at London’s O2 Arena in 2012, Lim took a swipe at International Olympic Committee rules, which Beijing had asked the IOC to make at its own request. The rules said that Taiwanese athletes had to compete at the Olympics under a flag called “Chinese Taipei.” The singer’s onstage rant, in which he said “Chinese f—-ing Taipei” a lot, was recently shown on John Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight” in a segment about Taiwan.