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Friday, December 30, 2011

Update: One Bike One: Under Pressure Ma Distances Himself From Event

Under increasing pressure to distance himself from the growing number of allegations that Ma Ying-jiu's campaign has made improper and illegal use of taxpayers money for campaign related activities, the president and the highest ranking members of his campaign decided to skip the One Bike One event, which had been hyped for over a year.

Instead, the embattled incumbent visited a convention of doctors.


Despite initial estimates of one million riders, which had been lowered to 110,000 riders. The event only managed to attract just under 73,000 participants, shy of the government's goals.

Although the event probably succeeded in providing cover for spreading largesse to vital KMT patronage networks all over Taiwan, it failed to captivate the public's imagination in the same vein as the 2004 Hand in Hand rally, which catapulted DPP candidate, Chun Shui-bian to victory on a groundswell of Taiwanese national pride against Chinese hegemony.

The failure to captivate the Taiwanese imagination with such an event, political or not, demonstrates, in part, the cleavage between Ma Ying-jiu's push for Taiwanese national ambiguity, and the Taiwanese desire for more meaningful expressions of their national and ethnic identities.

Who knew a bike rally could be so loaded... ?

Update II:

A report on how Ma used the cultural commitee for his own campaing- copying DPP's 228 牽手護台灣

Here is a report from 自由時報:


The red part says the Ma and Wu are usually very keen at joining 100 Year activities but they intentionally skipped One Bike One event, instead the activity was lauched by vice president Siew, the head of culture commitee, and the head of Physical Education, and the chairman of Giant- King Liu (劉金標). Although the cultural commitee emphasized this is not a political event, Siew (蕭) still made a "V" hand gesture ( their campaign number 2) when he was talking about "讚".

Apparently, I am not the only one who saw this as having political implications.


  1. Dude, it was just a fun cycling event. There was nothing political about it at all. There was no mention of KMT or elections or anything remotely political to be seen.

  2. There doesn't have to be anything overt. Look at my prior posts on the subject regarding mobilizing patronage networks, shifting money to localities, and waving the ROC flag. The ROC flag is sadly a partisan symbol associated with the KMT.

    The use of media outlets to appropriate images of support for the government's efforts can be used every which way.

    Moreover, the government was aware of the political potential of this event by finding parity with the Hand in Hand Rally of 2004... another politically motivated, pre-election event designed to drive the passions of the voter.

    A little critical thinking and awareness of Taiwanese politics goes a long way.

  3. Umm, the ROC flag IS the Taiwan flag. It's embraced by both sides of politics when it suits them and the display of it is not in itself political.

    Stick to cycling and leave the politics for people who've been here longer than 5 minutes.

  4. I think you are wrong on multiple counts and any long time Taiwan observer should know.

    The ROC flag incorporates the KMT party emblem and had been reluctantly used by the DPP when it was in power due to the constitutionality question raised by the KMT. There have been numerous attempts to replace the flag, but this issue concerns China, which oddly views any change in the ROC emblem as a declaration of independence.

    Many non-KMT supporters see the flag as problematic as a representation of the indivisibility of the party and the state from the days of martial law. I wouldn't say it is "embraced" by both sides. Yoi notice only KMT candidates use the flag in their campaigning... alas...

    The first Taiwan centered flag was sewn by Grace Zhou in the early 70's.

    These "national" symbols are part of Taiwan's contentious political life in Taiwan and the meanings are not lost on most Taiwanese.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  5. Furthermore, the problematic symbolism and timing of this event was also not lost on Ma Ying-jiu and his campaign... which is precisely why they avoided it. They saw what I am seeing and agreed that it would be too overt if they made an appearance and open them up to attack in a race that is already tainted with allegations of impropriety.

    Here is the link if you missed it:轉動台灣向前行-締造世界新-騎-蹟-031900055.html