Links of the day, July 15, 2007
Down with martial law
Today is the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in Taiwan. That 38-year-long era was like a knife plunged into the hearts of the Taiwanese. And current members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have the nerve to call the removal of this knife a "gift to the Taiwanese."
WTF? That's almost like saying that their own raping of Taiwan prevented China from doing so. Oh, wait...
Today's Taipei Times brings us a bunch of good info. Here are the links along with some samples:
* A brief history of the martial law era
1980* Taiwanese society under martial law remembered
Kaohsiung Incident leader Lin I-hsiung's mother and his twin daughters were brutally murdered on Feb. 28, while the elder daughter was seriously injured. The identity of the murderer remains unknown. [Maddog: Unknown to anyone outside of the KMT (whose secret police had the house under 24-hour surveillance), that is.]
Carnegie University professor and supporter of Taiwan's democracy movement Chen Wen-cheng (陳文成) was found dead a day after he returned to Taiwan for a visit and was taken from his residence by agents from the Taiwan Garrison Command, a secret police and state security body.
Chiang Nan (江南), a Taiwanese author writing a biography on Chiang Ching-kuo, was killed on Oct. 16 at his house in San Francisco by a Taiwanese gangster commissioned by the Military Intelligence Bureau. Chiang Ching-kuo started the second term of his presidency.
While celebrating the anniversary of the lifting of martial law in 1987, it is easy to forget what life was like at a time when many aspects of society -- including books, music and TV and radio programs -- were heavily censored and under the tight control of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.* Chen, DPP re-enact martial law rally
Dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) declared martial law on May 19, 1949, after his KMT troops lost the Chinese civil war to Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) Communist Party and withdrew to Taiwan.
Martial law was not lifted until July 15, 1987.
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has attributed the lifting of martial law to the social forces that came into effect following the Kaohsiung Incident, with the immediate cause being the founding of the DPP.
The December 1979 Kaohsiung Incident occurred when the KMT authorities broke up an anti-government rally organized by Formosa magazine.
Ten days after the DPP was founded, then president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) announced he would lift martial law and allow the formation of opposition parties.
"We can forgive a 'caretaker' who harmed our people, raped our daughters and stole our property, but we can never allow him to be the caretaker again," he [DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷)] said. "It is not a matter of right and wrong. It is a matter of defending the character of Taiwanese people."* Nation vulnerable to 'three wars' plan: panel
The "three wars" strategy refers to Beijing's plan to threaten Taiwanese psychologically, block Taiwan's participation in international organizations and "brainwash" Taiwan and its allies through "united front" (統戰) propaganda aimed at extending its influence in Taiwan.Despite all the informative articles above, the same edition of the same paper sows seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt when they should be promoting bravery, dedication, and clarity instead. There's a really bad editorial today (Could Antonio Chiang [江春男, AKA 司馬文武] be the "concern troll" writing this garbage?) equating two things which are actually quite different:
"The end goal of the Chinese government's 'three wars' is to make Taiwanese believe that Taiwan is part of China," said Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志), president of the Taiwan New Century Foundation think tank, which hosted the forum.
"Strengthening Taiwanese people's sense of national identification is the best defense against the threats post by China's 'three wars,'" Chen said.
* Editorial: Two fumbling political parties
With the public spotlight on the end of the martial law era, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) finds itself in an awkward position, being the sole political party responsible for subjecting Taiwan to 38 years of martial law that brought the violence of the White Terror and other tragedies.I guess the writer of that piece forgot that the KMT controls a big chunk of the legislature to this very day. There's nothing at all disingenuous or unseemly about the DPP's use of the topic to gain the votes it needs in order to get things done. The editorial's comparison about "laurels" earned by the DPP now versus the leaps made 20 years ago reminds me of the inaccurate comparison made between the steady progress of Taiwan's well-developed economy and China's burgeoning economy. The Frank Hsieh quote from above bears repeating: "We can forgive a 'caretaker' who harmed our people, raped our daughters and stole our property, but we can never allow him to be the caretaker again."
The KMT's quandry [sic] lies partly in the fact that the victims of the dictatorship are still around to recount their stories. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the party's heavyweights today also played important party roles during the latter part of the martial law era. They were part of and upheld an oppressive system. They were silent on the issue of oppression then, but present themselves as champions of democracy now.
But the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) may not be in a position to boast either. Although it deserves praise for the actions of its members at crucial points in the past -- the Kaohsiung Incident and the struggle for democracy, for example -- the DPP should not, twenty years after martial law has ended, still be relying on Taiwan's collective memory of dark and painful days to win votes.
The DPP should be concerned that it's [sic] biggest contribution continues to be achievements from two decades ago. During the seven years of its administration, the DPP has made little progress in switching from an opposition party mentality to that of a governing party. Unfortunately, the DPP has far fewer laurels to show for its time in the presidential office than it gathered on the road to democracy.
Fellow Taiwan Matters blogger Michael Turton was up early on this Sunday morning publishing some goodies of his own over at The View from Taiwan -- including something which may further elucidate my comment about the economy just above:
* Taiwan's Economy: What's Going On?
Taiwan's "problems" are the problems of any advanced economy, complicated by the political threats from China, and perceived through the strong cultural belief here that life is a zero-sum game and if you're not at the top of the heap, you must be at the bottom. Most nations would take joy in Taiwan's 4% annual growth rate and strong electronics sector. Instead, we have angst. Some of it is justified, given the decline in purchasing power faced by the middle and working classes, but it is also true that the public in Taiwan could stand a little education in the problems of growth when your economy is already quite wealthy.* Revolting Story of EU Kow-tow to China
So what is Beijing up to? They know from their pals in the KMT that the UN referendum is an election year ploy that will have no real effect on anything. So this isn't about "Taiwan independence" really. It's about stopping or defusing an election year ploy, on behalf of its allies, the KMT. It is also part of its long-term policy of making Chen Shui-bian look like a "radical."A Maddog or a stray dog?
"And where have you been for the past couple of months, Maddog?" you may ask. Some of that time has been taken up tracking some of the anti-Taiwan memes in the Western media which fly in the face of reality. Here are the pages I've posted so far:
* Memes: Taiwan provoke China
* Memes: Taiwan "renegade province"
* Memes: [Taiwan and China] "split in 1949"
Due to the sheer volume of these memes, it's difficult for me to keep those pages completely up-to-date, but I'll do my best. Referring to them from time to time should be a real eye-opener, and I hope you will pass the information on to others in order to counter the effect of the memes.
During my time away from this blog, I've been active in other prominent places. At Jerome Keating's request, I did some graphics to accompany his piece called The KMT and Their Flag: Is Puyi Power Better than None? Fellow Taiwan Matters bloggers Michael Turton and Feiren joined me in smacking down Beijing correspondent Richard Spencer of Telegraph.co.uk for publishing a big, stinking pile of lies about Taiwan. Last weekend, I wrote to the people at LiveEarth.org to demand that they change their listing of Taiwan on their pledge page as being a "Province Of China." (Some of you should write to them, too.) And I have been going over lots of declassified documents from the CIA's archives.
I hope all you readers have been active, too, even if it's behind the scenes.
Bullet points: Taiwan, 台灣, Republic of China, 中華民國, ROC, Chiang Kai-shek, 蔣介石, martial law, 戒嚴, democracy, 民主, memes, 大腦模仿病毒
Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!