Jeffrey LewisKMT Conspiracy Theories

My favorite Taiwan watcher, who shall remain nameless due to professional conflicts, just called me to share this little nugget: The KMT has made nine allegations of misconduct during the recent election.

Nos. 1-8 are what you might expect: Specific allegations of mundane misconduct at various polling stations along the lines of

3. At a polling station in an elementary school in Kaohsiung/’s Tsoying Township, a ballot that voted for Lien was mistakenly reported as for Chen. The mistake was corrected after objections from two local councilors.

5. At a polling station in Minhsiao Borough in Kaohsiung City/’s Chienchen District, a voter used fingerprints in lieu of a seal but the polling station administrator and ballot monitor did not sign their names

And then we reach No. 9: “The pan-blue camp claims it has heard that the President Chen, Vice President Lu and close colleagues frequently held secret meetings at a monastery in Nantou County. It also claims that followers from that monastery had told them that Chen was planning to create a shooting incident on March 19 to boost his election chances.”

Oh, that is funny.

On a more serious note, the New York Times cites Professor Yan Xuetong at Qinhua University warning that Chen, more dependent than ever on independence-minded supporters, will press for substantial, independence-oriented constitutional reform before the end of his term. I/’ve met Professor Yan – he is very skeptical of the motives of the United States and, consequently, discounts any pressure that Washington might bring to bear to avoid a military conflict over the island/’s status.

My Taiwan watcher, who is better positioned than Professor Yan to guage US pressure on Taiwan, thinks that “constitutional reform will probably proceed, but substantial sections will be walled off from changes through U.S. influence.” He thinks that the long-planned Cheney visit in April to Korea, China and Japan will make U.S. policy pretty clear.