Taiwan Matters! The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, and don't you forget it!

"Taiwan is not a province of China. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan."

Stick that in your clipboards and paste it, you so-called "lazy journalists"!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Resolution to Make Taiwan a Normal Country (Draft)

Update: The resolution was passed on 3o August with one minor change to the second proposal whereby the DPP resolves to use the Common Era system of dating rather than dating years from the founding of the Republic. Another amendment proposing explicitly to change the name of the country to Taiwan was rejected.

Editorial Note: The following is a translation of the DPP's Resolution to Make Taiwan a Normal Country. The Chinese original is
here. The light coverage in the international media is unfortunate, since these resolutions, despite not being binding, are important statements of DPP political thought.

For example, the insertion of 'life community" and the commitments to social justice and sustainable development are hallmarks of DPP candidate Frank Hsieh's moderately leftist thought (insofar as one can be a leftist in mainstream Taiwanese politics). Their presence, and the relative watering down of some of the identity language is also a sign of Hsieh's rising control over the party as the presidential campaign kicks into gear. At the same time, his endorsement of that language is yet more evidence that Hsieh can be understood as a moderate only in the context of established DPP positions on national identity and relations with China.

Italicized emphasis is from the original. There are a few editorial comments in square brackets []. Comments to improve the translation are welcome.


Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. Taiwan does not belong to China, nor does China belong to Taiwan. China does not govern Taiwan, nor does Taiwan govern China. But the internal challenge of Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] authoritarianism and the external challenge of Chinese hegemony have created five threats to Taiwan's ongoing normalization as a country.

  1. China's all out aggression against Taiwan's military, foreign affairs, economy, culture, and politics and its unilateral change of the status quo across the Taiwan Strait through its One China Principle and its Anti-Secession Law threaten Taiwan's national sovereignty and security and reduce Taiwan's international space, thereby creating abnormalities in international relations.

  2. Taiwan continues to use the inappropriate constitutional structure of the Republic of China, making it impossible for its democratically elected government to function normally and creating an abnormal political system.

  3. Remnants of the educations and cultural superstitions leftover from the authoritarian rule of a foreign regime [i.e. the Chinese Nationalist Party], the suppression of and prejudice against Taiwanese culture is blocking the development of the Taiwanese people's sense of national identity to create an abnormal national identity.

  4. Preferential treatment of groups with certain identities is destroying social cohesion based on citizenship to create social injustice [lit. abnormal social justice].

  5. The Chinese Nationalist Party's long term control over its enormous illegitimate party assets helps create a culture of vote buying. The unity of party and state is destroying democracy and creating abnormal competition between political parties.

Faced with these five major threats, the Democratic Progressive Party, as a progressive force that represents the people of Taiwan in ensuring our independence and autonomy and in the pursuit of democratic justice, should now make a Resolution to Make Taiwan a Normal Country on the basis of Article 1 of the DPP Charter [Establishment of a Sovereign and Independent Republic of Taiwan, 1991] and the
Resolution on the Future of Taiwan [1999] . The DPP should act to rectify names [zhengming], to institute a new constitution, to join the United Nations, to bring about transitional justice, and to build Taiwanese identity in order to make Taiwan a normal country. To these ends, we make the following proposals:

  1. Beginning with our recognition of Taiwanese identity as a life community, we shall deepen the democratic values of the Taiwanese people, strengthen Taiwanese consciousness, change the name of the country and institute a new constitution soon, and, at an appropriate time, hold a citizen referendum to make clear Taiwan's status as sovereign and independent nation.

  2. The name "Republic of China" has become very difficult to use in the international community. For this reason, we shall apply for membership in international organizations including the United Nations and the World Health Organization under the name of Taiwan, and the nation shall use Common Era year names so as to integrate more fully with international practice.

  3. The government shall promote Taiwanese national identity and identification with the land of Taiwan. It shall take steps to actively support Taiwanese culture and the native languages of Taiwan. And it shall ensure that the educational curriculum is Taiwan-centric.

  4. National security, social justice , and sustainable development shall be the preconditions for economic development to ensure that the people of Taiwan enjoy a happy and dignified life.

  5. The government shall comprehensively work to achieve transitional justice by eliminating the remaining political symbols of authoritarian rule and the inequitable distribution of resources. The government shall reform the judicial and law enforcement systems, pursue the illegitimate assets of the Chinese Nationalist Party, rehabilitate victims of political repression during the era of White Terror, and investigate the truth.

The Democratic Progressive Party believes that Taiwan must continue to progress with the times and that Taiwan must rid itself of authoritarian control and cast off the bonds of unreasonable institutions. Taiwan must work actively to change the name of the nation, institute an new constitution, join the United Nations, bring about transitional justice, and build Taiwanese identity. With unity and consistency of purpose, we can establish a great and normal democratic nation.

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Contrasting Political Parties

While the DPP grooms itself for the future, the KMT is riven by internal strife.

The China Post reported the other day that Yeh Chu-lan, the wife of dissident and activist Chen Nan-jung, is under consideration by DPP Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh for the Premiership:

After I had served as Kaohsiung mayor, Yeh Chu-lan also served as Kaohsiung mayor. As I have been premier, Yeh Chu-lan may also become premier," Hsieh told supporters at a rally in Hsinchu.

Hsieh was flanked by both his running mate Su Tseng-chang and Yeh at the rally of supporters from the Hakka community, to which the campaign manager belongs.

"If I am elected president, one day a Hakka woman may also become president," Hsieh told the rally.

Observers said Hsieh's remarks were not just meant to be a gesture to attract the backing of the Hakka community.

The Central News Agency cited his close aides as commenting that it was actually an important announcement of Hsieh's that Yeh would be a potential candidate for the premier post if he was elected president.

Yeh reportedly had been Hsieh's number-one choice for running mate before the DPP standard bearer picked Su instead.

Yeh had lobbied hard for the Vice-Presidency, and the Premiership is an obvious choice for this increasingly important DPP politician, one of the many talents the DPP is bringing along for the future. Yeh is a Hakka and may help attract Hakka votes to the campaign. The Hakka ethnic group, a large minority in Taiwan -- something like 25% of the pre-1949 population was Hakka -- has traditionally been an important part of the KMT's ethnic coalition and a pillar of KMT support. The rally, as the CNA reported, was held in Hsinpu, an important Hakka community. The first of the new Hsieh-Su ticket, its kickoff in a key Hakka town was no accident:

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh wooed Hakka voters Saturday with promises to promote Hakka language and culture as well as accelerate economic development in Hakka communities if he wins the presidency.

Hsieh made the pledges while attending a rally in front of the Yiming Temple in Hsinpu, a Hakka township in the northern county of Hsinchu, in the company of his running mate Su Tseng-chang and Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan, who concurrently serves as the Hsieh campaign's top strategist.

It marked the first time that the three DPP bigwigs have attended a campaign rally together since the formation of the Hsieh-Su ticket for the 2008 presidential election earlier this month.


As Yeh is favored by many of her Hakka fellows to join Hsieh on the 2008 ticket, Hsieh deliberately chose the Hsinpu Hakka community as the place for his first campaign rally together with Su and Yeh to stage a tableau of unity and party coherence.


Since the DPP won the presidency in 2000, Hsieh said a Hakka television station has been established and Hakka language has been actively promoted. Hsieh said he himself took a Hakka proficiency test during his premiership from 2005 to early 2006.

He promised to boost ethnic harmony and glorify Hakka culture if elected the next president.

Su, who succeeded Hsieh to serve as premier, addressed the rally in fluent Hakka as he once served as magistrate of the southern county of Pingtung which has a large Hakka population.

For her part, Yeh urged her Hakka fellows and friends to support the Hsieh-Su ticket to help the homegrown DPP retain its grip on power next year.

Many Hakka heavyweights residing in Hsinchu County, including former Hsinchu Magistrate Lin Kuang-hua, also attended the rally to lend their support.

Making inroads in the Hakka communities in the north will be an important step for the DPP in winning the Presidential campaign. Note that Vice Presidential candidate Su speaks Hakka, just as his counterpart Vincent Siew for the KMT does -- both parties have signaled that the struggle for the Hakka vote will be a crucial one.

By constrast, over in the KMT the grumbling from the Taiwanese legislators serving under the Ma regime continues. On August 26th a group of southern legislators, a code phrase for largely ethnic Taiwanese legislators in the KMT, blasted the party for its treatment of Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, a Taiwanese, and the unofficial leader of the Taiwanese legislators. Party officials responded the next day by saying that the whole thing was a misunderstanding:

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday called for party unity amid harsh criticism from supporters of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Deputy Secretary-General Liao Feng-de (廖風德).

In response to a petition signed by several local-level politicians and grassroots groups in the south demanding that the party replace Wu Den-yih, who they said had damaged Wang's reputation, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday stood by the two top party officials and said the accusations against them were just a "misunderstanding."

"Wu [Den-yih] and Liao are important comrades who I rely on the most in each battle. No one knows better than me that the KMT will have to unite to win the elections," he said yesterday in Taichung City.

The petition, which was signed by Kaohsiung County Council Speaker Hsu Fu-sen (許福森), vice speaker Lu Shu-mei (陸淑美) and a number of councilors in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Hsinchu, accused Wu Den-yih and Liao of spreading rumors to tarnish Wang's name.

They threatened not to campaign for the party's candidates in next year's elections if the party did not fire both of them.

Wu Poh-hsiung said that the party supported Wang and called on the petitioners to end this "misunderstanding" and refrain from making more accusations.

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) echoed the call for party unity.

"We are only five months away from the legislative elections and seven months away from the presidential election. We should be thinking about the overall situation and not get trapped by our opponents," he said in Taipei.

Wu Den-yih is the former mayor of Kaohsiung, while Wu Poh-hsiung, a Hakka, is the Party's Chairman and widely seen as a Ma supporter. Apparently there is a whispering campaign going on to the effect that Wang will not get a seat in the new legislature. This cutthroat rivalry may well lead to problems for KMT candidates in the upcoming elections. One need only compare the Ma-Wang rivalry with the Hsieh-Su rivalry -- the DPP did everything it could to put the two rivals on the ticket, patch up differences, find a plum spot for disappointed veep possibility Yeh Chu-lan, and put together a show of unity in an important ethnic community. Those are the moves of a winning political party. The KMT, by contrast, failed to put together the obvious Ma-Wang ticket, took a giant step backward with the selection of Siew, does not appear to have a broad list of future talent moving up the ranks, and can't seem to manage a display of unity. Instead, many of its local legislators are threatening to bolt the party. Still, it remains to be seen whether these rumbles on the horizon are an approaching forest fire, or just summer thunder....

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Ma's Insider Problem

For the last year I've been noting how Ma Ying-jeou has faced opposition from within his own party, by insiders who dislike him. During the Chairmanship elections last year longtime political observer and commentator Lawrence Eyton noted:
Ma was widely touted by the media as the favorite, but he was certainly a very odd favorite. When the vote took place, three quarters of the party's legislators, many high-level party officials such as central executive committee head Chang Che-shen and more than 100 retired generals - the KMT is traditionally strong in the military - had thrown their support behind Wang.
Party insiders just plain don't like Ma, despite his being the right "ethnicity." His support comes overwhelmingly from the conservative rank and file who identify strongly with China and look down on Taiwanese. The insiders preferred Speaker of the Legislature Wang Jin-pyng, longtime foe of Ma Ying-jeou, and widely regarded as the unofficial leader of the Taiwanese KMT.

Today the Liberty Times ran a piece on the relationship between Wang Jin-pyng and Hou Kuan-jen, the prosecutor in the Ma case. Hou and his fellow prosecutors are currently appealing the verdict. This case has brought to light some of the innumerable connections that weld together the island's ruling elites. Not only was Ma the Witness at Hou's wedding, Hou is related to Wang:

王 金平對黨內高層在他拒絕的次日,就拿他與侯寬仁的親戚關係放話、作文章,甚至扭曲事實,感到相當憤怒。他說,侯寬仁是馬英九任法務部長的部屬,關係不是 更親密?讓他最生氣的是,那位高層既然要在他與侯的親戚關係上作文章,卻又找人來見他,要他勸請侯寬仁放棄上訴,「這到底是什麼意思?」

The second day that Wang Jin-pyng refused to use his family relationship with Hou, high-ranking KMT officials raised a stink, even twisting the facts. Wang was quite angry about it. Hou was under Ma when Ma was Justice Minister, Wang pointed out, and wasn't that an even closer relationship? What made him most angry was that on one hand, it was said he had a relationship with Hou, while on the other, people kept coming to talk to Wang about it and have Wang get Hou to not appeal the verdict in favor of Ma. Wang said: "What the hell is that shit?"*

KMT officials were trying to prevail on Wang to have Hou stop the appeals process and end the case. Wang, Ma's longtime rival and loser in the 2005 KMT Chairmanship election, was quoted later in the article as saying that putting he and Hou together is like confusing peanuts and pressed tofu (土豆仁與土豆干). The relationship that KMT officials are trying to leverage? Hou's wife is the sister of Wang's nephew's wife. That's farther than my family relationship to Chen Shui-bian. As Wang said, who doesn't have relatives somewhere?

Had Wang chosen, he might have found a way to make the relationship yield something. Yet, he chose not to do so. How much help will Ma have come election time from key members of his own party?

*I decided to translate the thought, not the words.

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Countering the mendacious memes about Taiwan

Simpler than the back of a cereal box

Robert Maguire (AKA The Only Redhead in Taiwan), blogging on Friday ostensibly about chemical pollution originating in China, reacted to some "journalistic" pollution and hit upon two truisms about Taiwan which the English-language media rarely comes even close to getting right.

He begins with a quote from a Reuters article bearing a Paul Eckert byline before smashing it to bits with a retort that even a rock could understand:
Taiwan has been divided from mainland China since 1949, when Nationalist forces fled to the island and Mao Zedong's Communists took power in Beijing.

China says the island is a breakaway province that must accept reunification and makes Taiwan's acceptance of Beijing's "one China" policy a condition for official talks.
Reunification? For once, I would like to read an article that says, "China says the island is a breakaway province, but the PRC flag has never flown over the island." I bet we would start seeing a significant change in the way people view Taiwan if these two little paragraphs that are in nearly every article about Taiwan were more accurate. Making clear that, yes, China does claim sovereignty over Taiwan, but there's no talk of "reunification" -- only unification -- seeing as the PRC never controlled (to my knowledge) any part of Taiwan. Also, Nationalist forces fleeing to Taiwan does not divide Taiwan from "the Mainland," seeing as there were already people on Taiwan before these outside forces came to Taiwan.
Those two bits are so good, let's look at them again in isolation:

* China says the island is a breakaway province, but the PRC flag has never flown over the island.

* Nationalist forces fleeing to Taiwan does not divide Taiwan from "the Mainland," seeing as there were already people on Taiwan before these outside forces came to Taiwan.

Maguire has done the work. All that these so-called "lazy journalists" would have to do is copy and paste the correct information -- if it's actually laziness we're talking about.

I won't hold my breath, but I'd be more than happy for them to prove me wrong.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Friday, August 17, 2007


Media Round-up

Closing time at the betel nut stand.

Local commentator Michael Fahey had an article in SCMP yesterday on the Ma Ying-jeou situation with some excellent insight into the local political culture (no link, requires subscription):

His acquittal means that his formidable DPP opponent Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, another DPP lawyer, will have to win fair and square. There will be no legal knockout to ensure that an ethnic Taiwanese (Mr Ma was born in Hong Kong) will stay in power, as has been the case for the past 20 years.

Mr Ma's flagging candidacy has unquestionably been revived by the verdict. In the eyes of his supporters, who desperately want to win, he has been confirmed as a victim of DPP legal persecution. But, at the same time, his weak response to his legal crisis has left him open to growing doubts that he has the strength to lead Taiwan at a time when the island's people feel they are being pushed into a corner.

Michael was kind enough to send me the original draft, which had some great comments on the culture of machismo in Taiwan that were excised in the SCMP version. Ma looks weak, whereas Hsieh exudes confidence, Michael noted, adding that Hsieh has already suggested that Ma lacks the spine to run the island. In any culture, a widespread perception that a candidate is a wimp is difficult to overcome.

The piece alluded to an interesting possibility created by the referendum: voters may well decide to split the difference between the two parties -- voting for Ma Ying-jeou but approving the DPP's UN referendum to send Ma a signal that he can't hand the island over to China.

Michael's essay also discussed the growing politicization of the prosecutors on the island:

For Mr Chen and the Democratic Progressive Party, Mr Ma must have been a tempting target. There is no question that Mr Ma should have never allowed public funds to slip into his personal bank accounts. The DPP leadership, made up entirely of lawyers, has run legal circles around the KMT for the past eight years – winning lawsuits and Supreme Court decisions on issues ranging from the 2004 presidential election to the constitutionality of Taiwan's National Communications Council.

At the same time, Taiwan's powerful prosecutors have become dangerously politicised – it is widely believed that two-thirds are pro-KMT and one-third is pro-DPP. Taiwan's legal system is an inquisitorial one, based on German and Japanese models. Prosecutors see themselves as avenging angels of justice and they have sweeping powers to tap phones, raid the homes of suspects and detain them for months before trial. In a telling example of prosecutorial power, just one day before the Ma verdict, media and construction tycoon Gary Wang Ling-lin was indicted on charges of massive corporate fraud after spending months incommunicado in jail. The prosecutors asked for a sentence of 28 years; the public rejoiced.

In Mr Ma's case, the prosecutors waited until the last moment to tack on the serious criminal charge of breach of trust. Fortunately, the ridiculously young panel of judges courageously recognised that Mr Ma was on trial for essentially political reasons, and found him innocent.

Yep. I think we've reached the stage where there are going to be public calls for reining in the prosecutors, first in the news media under the rubric of Are Prosecutors Too Powerful? and then from legislators supporting "reform" of the prosecutors. Everyone in power can look at the Gary Wang case and say to themselves: "There but for fortune...."

The bike path bridge over Chengde Road. Although it is supposed to only be for bicyclists, it is frequently used by motorcycles. Very annoying when taking pictures from it at night.

As lacking in insight as Michael Fahey's piece is rich in it, is Tom Plate's recent essay in the Japan Times.

Sure, its accomplishments merit admission — in fact, it used to be a member — but in 1971 it was kicked out as the mainland was installed as China's sole legitimate representative.

A dramatic reversal of fortune is not going to happen now. No matter how many times Taiwan applies, it is going to be hit on its glass jaw by China as its application will be rebuffed.

The latter regards the former as a runaway teenager that must be captured, corralled and brought back into the family, as Hong Kong was in 1997 after more than 150 years in the wilderness of British imperialism. But that's another story.

The bottom line for this story is that Taiwan has about as little chance of being admitted to the U.N. as your humble columnist has of getting a serious date with the talented actress Salma Hayek — not to mention with Zhang Ziyi, another drop-dead great. No matter how many times I ask either Salma or Ziyi, the answer is always going to be the same: NO!

So how many times am I going to knock my head against the proverbial brick wall? And if I continue to do it, at what point do I start going for therapy sessions at Masochists Anonymous?

The fact of the matter is that I know I am bound to be rejected, just as the Taiwan government of President Chen Shui-bian knows that it's not ever going to get to first base with China on the U.N. membership issue. For that matter, it can't even get to first base on a much more obvious injustice: China's brutal blocking of Taiwan's membership into the World Health Organization.

Boy, those Taiwanese sure are dumb, wanting to enter when they know they can't get in. Silly people! Why would they do that? The UN entry campaign, and the hu-ha surrounding it, are part of the DPP strategy of bringing out voters. That might have been mentioned in Plate's article, for surely Mr. Plate is aware of the campaign's domestic political ramifications. So why aren't they mentioned here? Nor does Plate discuss the ominous possibility that China might pursue a motion in the General Assembly. This essay appears to have no point, other than to make jokes about Taiwan's inability to enter the UN. A sad waste of precious space in the media.

Cheap food + cheap booze = good times. Cafes next to the Sungching supermarket just off the corner of Henan Rd and Chinghai Rd in Taichung.

William Hawkins comments in the Asia Times yesterday on the US nuke deal with India and China's attempt to suppress India's rising military power -- rising partly in response to China's deals with India's enemy, Pakistan.

India already has a small nuclear arsenal and an expanding atomic-energy program. India's nuclear test was in 1974, prompted by China's deployment of nuclear arms. India then renounced nuclear weapons, and as late as 1988 was calling for their global elimination. But the rapid rise of China, and the increased militancy of Beijing's ally Pakistan in supporting terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir, heightened tensions. India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, bringing US sanctions against both. The sanctions on New Delhi were lifted in 2001, as Bush gave priority to improving US-India relations.

India was quick to show its willingness to cooperate. When the Bush administration pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, India's reaction was to endorse part of the US missile-defense initiative. India has a similar concern about the spread of ballistic missiles in its part of the world, a region whose unstable regimes may not be contained by a posture of deterrence only. Cooperation has continued to increase. The largest joint US-India naval exercises ever conducted are set for September 4-9 in the Bay of Bengal, involving two US and one Indian aircraft carriers. Warships from Japan, Singapore and Australia will also participate as a demonstration of the "arc of democracy" along the rim of Asia.


China understands the significance of the US-India deal and has been lobbying against it at the United Nations and within the NSG. It wants India barred from the group, and to sign the NPT as a non-nuclear state, meaning it would have to disarm. Beijing, of course, has no intention of curbing its growing nuclear arsenal. It has an advantage and wants to keep it. But it is not in the interests of the United States to see democratic India kept in an inferior position to the Chinese dictatorship.

Taiwan too needs to be cultivating India as a strategic counterweight to the growing power of Beijing. And as a fellow democracy -- Taiwan needs to leverage its democratic status even more.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


Miss Fu(福小姐)And Hearsay

Update (8/18/07): Tim Maddog pointed out that I associated "Miss Fu" with a wrong event. I have made some corrections. The point that I wanted to make before the correction remains. Thx a lot, Tim. I apologize for mixing up "Miss Fu" and "Little Nurse" (see below). But maybe I deserve a pardon -- pan-bluers have practiced "evidence cooking" on every chance they got. It's hard for me to keep track of their shows.

Thomas Huang, a Junior Physics & Political Science major in Iowa, posted some comments on Michael's blog article Ma: Acquitted.

In response to his comments, I have some of my own that seems to get too long for a comment. So I put them here. I'll invite Thomas over for further interactions.

Thomas: A deep-green Taiwanese poli-sci professor I knew, who was President Chen's close adviser, once said to me that Ma's case is indeed kind of a revenge from the DPP, whose President Chen was troubled by corruption charges initiated by blue politicians.

This is not a convincing way of establishing an arguments. Thomas is trying to give his arguments based on an extremely damaging hearsay that is not verifiable. It is not different from spreading a rumor.

If you watch Taiwan politics for some time, you would have found that it is the way pan-blue commonly used to launch their attacks. For example, in the infamous Ear-Licking Scandal (舔耳案,then PFP whip Diane Lee [x]Li Chin-An (李慶安) vs. the acting director-general of the Department of Health (DOH) Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲)) in 2002. Li set up a press conference to introduce a senior schoolmate of Twu's who claimed to be with Twu and witnessed Twu when the so-called sex scandal happened. It later turned out that there wasn't such a schoolmate of Twu's and the entire witness show was a setup by Li just to incriminate Twu.

Another example happened on March 19, 2004, after two bullets were fired at DPP presidential candidate pair Chen and Lu during their campaign. Sisy Chen (陳文茜, an advisor to KMT's president candidate Lien-Chan)[x]Sissy Chen (KMT's campaign manager, I believe) held a press conference, in which [x]she presented a "witness", Miss Fu (福小姐), a self-claimed nurse saying that she saw how Chen's people faked the event in the hospital where Chen was treated for his gunshot wound. Of course the nurse was "anonymous" and her face covered such that nothing of this person and her words is verifiable. After the conference she was no where to be found when the investigation started. she said (ref,ref) that an "anonymous nurse" had seen Chen's people faked the event and the doctors in the hospital tampered the medical records to conspire with Chen's story. The "anonymous nurse" never showed up, and the accusation of conspiracy was quickly dismissed by the hospital.

Not long after the "Little Nurse in Chi-Mei" show, pan-blue's legislator Chou Hsi-Wei(周錫瑋) put up another one. Another anonymous witness, Miss Fu (福小姐), with her face half-covered and unrecognizable, was introduced in Chou's press conference to claim that she has a video proving that the 319 shooting was a conspiracy. Her accusation was later dismissed by forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee(李昌鈺博士).

Since then the term "Little Nurse" (小護士) or "Little Nurse in Chi-Mei" (奇美小護士; "Chi-Mei" is the name of the hospital), as well as "Miss Fu" (福小姐) have become the symbols of pan-blue's imaginary witness or cooked up evidence.[x]Since then the term "Miss Fu" has become a symbol for describing the way pan-blue cooks up evidence. If you visit pan-green forums and mention these terms, every frequent poster knows what you are talking about.

More examples can be drawn from those so-called-scandal exposing press conferences held by pan-blue's legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅). Most of his accusations on so-called DPP scandals are base-less, unverifiable hearsay that was cooked up by you-know-whom. If there's a chance for these accusations to go to the court of law, the so-called witness or evidence will be either no where to be found or discarded by the court. I believe deep down Chu Yi knows that, and that's why he held press conferences before the investigation such that by the time the investigation starts, the public is already brainwashed by his false accusations. As I pointed out last year ([0606] Society-breaking conspiracy in Taiwan and here), this is the formula pan-blue follows to paralyze the society:

(pan-bluers)... exaggerating the suspicions, adding up all circumstantial evidences and making it look guilty. This process provokes the public. Then, a looked-guilty, people-outraged case is investigated. If it ends up with not-guilty charges, Chiu then has the outraged people to support him to ramp the court.

If he goes legal way, all those circumstantial suspicions will have no chance to be manipulated. Only by provoking public first, by which he can tag those suspicions with his own judgement, can he turn doubts into something more.

You can easily spot this pattern on almost every attempt pan-blue work their way to attack pan-green.

I am not saying that Thomas intended to spread cooked-up information to pollute the society like that. Obviously I have no way to determine that, for one thing the story is not verifiable. It's just that this sort of hearsay won't help on building any solid argument, and certainly will hurt your credibility seriously, especially when it becomes a routine --- in another comment on the same page, Thomas did it again:

Thomas: Earlier, a high-rank official from the Clinton administration told me that he once tried to help the two sides negotiate a treaty of "maintaining the status-quo." Contrary to public perception of greedy Communists, Beijing was very interested in the plan and agreed that Taiwan can be given more room of international visibility under the treaty (even participation in WHO and UN, etc). President Chen, on the contrary, was lukewarm about the idea. To him the NAME of independence matters more because of elections. So in some cases, the more you fight, the less you get.

The way Thomas described both stories bears the similar characteristics of 福小姐:

(1) Authority - came directly from top or whom close to the power center;
(2) Covert - secrets you can hear from nowhere but me;
(3) Damaging - so damaging such that it renders the target defenseless;
(4) Non-traceable - readers have no way to verify its credibility.

This kind of "hearsay spreading"[x]opinion expression has huge negative impact on the society. It is a fortune that most Taiwan-politics-related English blog articles are free of this sort of hearsay-spreading style talking. But if you visit some Taiwan forums (in Chinese language) long enough, you can spot these sort of hearsay frequently. People grow up in that environment would certainly pick up those "hobbies". But that doesn't justify the act. IMO, whoever intends to put up such an "unverifiable hearsay" should assume responsibility and think more on what kind of negative impact those hearsay could bring to the society.

I applaud "A Bit about My Viewpoints" on the front page of Thomas' blog:

Just like Beijing's cornering Taiwan only alienates people from their already dwindling tie with China, unfair or unfounded criticism to the PRC also helps it justify its isolation of Chinese people from outside.

My studies tell me that engagement always works more effectively than containment; peaceful penetration always works more efficiently than armed confrontation (haven't you had enough for Iraq?) - and less costly.
Listen carefully, watch thoughtfully, and speak reasonably; back up a little bit, calm down, and things will work much better...

I also welcome Thomas' attempt for interactions. Unlike most participants in the circle of Taiwan-politics-related English blogs (should we come up with a term like TPREB?), Thomas seems to represent more on the pro-china side of Taiwan political spectrum. The interactions Thomas initiated are much needed for healing and mutual understanding and will contribute significantly to the future of Taiwan. But it will achieve nothing if we turn the interactions into "hearsay competitions."

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Ma Ying-jeou acquittal documentation online

Got headache?

Via a post on SocialForce, I've turned up a link to the official acquittal document (Big-5) from the Judicial Yuan regarding their "not guilty" verdict in the special allowance case of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier today.

How can anyone believe or accept that the judge's basis for acquittal was that Ma "didn't know" that what he did was wrong? Anyone who believes Ma didn't know any better needs to watch this video (again), in which Ma told us (11 months ago) that he knew perfectly well that the special allowance was strictly to be used for public matters, not private ones like paying his daughter's credit card bills.

1:59 YouTube video: "顏聖冠質詢馬英九"
(Taipei City Councilor Yen Sheng-kuan interpellates Ma Ying-jeou)

Remembering "the gecko's tail"
We should also not forget about Ma's staffer Yu Wen (余文), who was sentenced to 14 months in jail for his role in this. If he was guilty of a crime, why isn't Ma? After all, Yu just collected the receipts.

Working hard for nihilist principles
Ma is saying that an appeal would be "pointless" (虛耗) despite his own multiple appeals of many cases against him, including one involving a SARS death, another about the Tunghsing Building (東興大摟) that fell during the 921 Earthquake of 1999, and another that has to do with his refusal as Taipei mayor to pay the city's share for health insurance fees to the National Bureau of Health Insurance. Furthermore, despite the pointless mess generated by the "redshirt" madness that occurred not only on his watch but with his assistance (and which is planning to resurrect its pointlessness in Taipei next month), he says this would be "pointless" for all of Taiwan. Yes, the man must have no mirrors.

It's also too bad for Ma that KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) made those threats of violence last week (LINKS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) in the event of a conviction against Ma, because they give his opponents yet another very good reason to dispute the neutrality of this blatantly ridiculous decision and call for an appeal.

Be sure to also read Michael Turton's earlier post on the topic.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Ma Acquitted

It was a foregone conclusion, as the System was never going to convict its own fair-haired boy, but it was formalized today as Ma was cleared today of embezzlement:

Taipei District Court today (14) announced the opposition presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), cleared from the prosecution of his embezzlement trail. Ma was chairman of the Kuomintang until he resigned following his indictment. Ma, 57, has appeared several times in court since April the prosecutors accused he diverted NT$11 million of public money into his private account while taking his position as mayor of Taipei between 1998 and 2006.

The money was in his accounts, so Ma's position was it was OK to take it because it was intended as an income subsidy for government officials. The court upheld that position in a case in Tainan a while back.

I'm curious to see what the effect of this case will be on similar cases. Such as President Chen, whom prosecutors have gone after for doing the same thing Ma did.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


Picking over the bones of the past

Both sides are crawling over past statements that Ma Ying-jeou has made on the special funds, and the DPP has come up with a doozy. Over at That's Impossible! A-gu has posted on the upcoming propaganda wave ahead of the verdict expected Tuesday in the Ma Ying-jeou corruption case:

Taipei City councilor Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) and DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) a press conference today showing old footage from city hall where Ma clearly agrees the special allowance fund is only for public expenditures, that he's never used it for private purposes. and that he'd quit politics if he was ever found to have done so. Of course, Ma's current legal argument is that he thought the money was a subsidy he could use for private expenses. This is damning footage that will very likely be made into a DPP ad if Ma is judged guilty and still wants to run.

(Youtube video link)

Ma's lawyers expressed optimism for the coming verdict because, "it's clear Ma had no intention of breaking the law" when depositing the NT$11 million (US$333,000) into his personal bank account. Yeah.

Ma made the remarks in September of 2006, nearly a year ago. Seems like another age, back when Ma invited prosecutors to look into his accounts. The DPP also raised issues about his use of funds won in elections at that time as well. DPP lawmakers reminded Ma of his promises.....:

"Ma knew very well that the mayoral special allowance is a public fund and should be used only for work-related purposes," Hsu said. "But some media organizations, Ma's campaign team and his lawyers are defending Ma as `not having intended to embezzle' because he didn't know" the rules.

Hsu backed up his accusations with a video recording of a conversation between Ma and Yen during a Taipei City Council question-and-answer session when Ma was still mayor of Taipei.

In the video, Ma said "we do not use the special allowance for private expenditure," when asked by Yen if this was allowed.

When Yen asked if the special allowance fund could only be used for public purposes, Ma said "yes."

Ma states in the video that "the special allowance fund is clearly separate from my personal expenditure ... I never used the special allowance for private purposes, don't worry," and "my special allowance fund has only been used for official affairs or public welfare."

When Yen asked what Ma would do if he used the special allowance for private purposes, Ma answered: "I'll take whatever penalty if you can prove it."

"If we find out one day that you used the special allowance fund for private purposes, would you retire from politics?" Yen asked at the end of the video.

"Yes," Ma replied.

"Ma is lying to everyone," Yen told the press conference. "He should be ashamed of himself and retire from politics as promised."

Meanwhile Ma too was looking back into the past, but in a very different and more revealing way. Ma Ying-jeou finished his "long stay" in southern and central Taiwan at the end of last month. The very phrase is suggestive of how Ma views Taiwan outside of Taipei -- as a kind of hostile territory where his residence is a temporary foray necessitated by the exigencies of electoral politics, rather than a visit to a place in his own country.

In a piece I wrote a while back when Ma selected Vincent Siew as his running mate, Feiren and I both noted how Ma's economic thinking is oriented toward the glorious past, and how Siew's background is basically that of a developmentalist state technocrat. Neither seems to have a vision of the future that involves fundamental and progressive change. Or something more than large infrastructure projects.

On the new KMT news site there is a link to Ma's plan for 10 Well Being Projects for Central Taiwan (a bit of blog history: this is my first link to the new KMT English news site. Go KNN!). The news site is pretty much worthless as a news site, though that may well change, but it promises much value as a source of KMT thinking. Here are Ma's plans for 10 Well Being projects, policies aimed at getting votes in central Taiwan, a hotly contest though marginally KMT area. As you read them, keep in mind that they are "Well Being" projects:

1. Push forward with the merger of Taichung City and Taichung County.

2. Designate Taichung Ching Chuan Kang Airport as a hub for direct cross-Strait flights to expand air links between major cities in Northeast and Southeast Asia.

3. Complete the Green Line of Taichung’s Mass Rapid Transit System while planning a “Yellow” line between Feng-yuan and Ching-Shui Wu-Chih and an “Orange” line between Ching Chuan Kang Airport and the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Wurih Station to promote all-round development of local areas.

4. Rebuild Taichung and Changhua railway stations to promote the economic revival of the surrounding areas.

5. Speed up the completion of Taichung No. 2 and No. 4 roads; implement the extension of the No. 4 Expressway to Tungshih and the Wu-feng section of the No. 6 Expressway to improve local traffic; and build a cloverleaf interchange system for the existing expressways in the area

6. Add an interchange to the No. 3 Expressway linking Nantou city and Chushan in order to solve traffic congestion and promote local development.

7. Immediately repair the pavements along the Central Cross-Island Highway between Ku Kuan and Tehchi Reservoir for the convenience of local people and conveyance of agricultural products.

8. Set up a central branch of the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

9. Build a fishing port at Changhua

10. Formulate a new satellite park of the Central Taiwan Science Park to be located in Changhua.

Note first of all that each of the projects is an infrastructure project. There are no park, recreation, conservation, environmental, educational, cultural, health, or alternative energy projects -- projects many might think of when the words "well-being" are used. It's 2007, and Ma Ying-jeou is still touting the doken kokka, the construction state, of the 1970s and '80s, as the answer to Taiwan's growth questions. In Japan, as the sun set on manufacturing and the Bubble economy went ka-pow! in the early 1990s, the construction state became even more important. Here too, in Taiwan, where the local political economy is fueled by flows of cement and manufacturing is offshoring to China, it seems the KMT would have us following Japan downhill. There is nothing in any of this that says: here lies the future.

The very name "Ten ____ Projects," of course, recalls the Ten Great Construction Projects of the early 1970s, including the freeway and the Taoyuan airport. It is hard to overestimate how inflated a view the KMT still has of those projects. In 1989 I visited the National Palace Museum. At that time it had three walls covered with displays of images of the great achievements of human history -- the Great Wall, the Sistine Chapel, the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, Stonehenge -- at the end of this list that covered three walls full of human history, right up there next to the Parthenon and the Taj Mahal, were the Ten Great Construction Projects. Yup. The KMT thought that the Sun Yat-sen Freeway deserved a place next to the Kailasa Temple at Ellora or the Inca ruins at Cuzco. The DPP has also harked back to those massive, highly successful, desperately needed infrastructure projects with its Ten New Major Construction Projects -- but while the infrastructure is there, the DPP also envisions things like upgraded universities and expanded fiber-optic systems. Observe too that on Ma's list no project seems aimed at any particular local industry or resource -- one could change the names and these projects would happily fly in Pingtung, Tainan, or Miaoli. They are just generic infrastructure projects, just more formulaic applications of concrete to the countryside.

But it is the KMT we're talking about, so we get it coming and going. Not only are these projects not very forward looking, they are not new either. For example, upgrading Taichung to the status of a municipality has been talked about for years. The central government has been extremely reluctant to create another power center on the island by elevating the city, however. Making the airport here an international airport has long been a dream of local activists like Douglas Haebecker, the former Taichung correspondent for the old China News, who has been pushing for the issue since the Ming Dynasty, I think. Several of the projects are already ongoing, while only a lack of money has prevented implementation of others, such as repairs to the cross-island road system. It's important that good, needed, ideas get a push, but at the same time, the future has to be envisioned through creativity and imagination as well. Nothing like that is evinced here.

I especially like the fishing port idea for Changhua -- ports are highly prized pork projects used to buy local loyalties -- similar programs of infrastructure development in the Penghu have given those islands more fishing ports than the main island of Taiwan! A fishing port? How about a ferry port? A water park? A marine ecological zone? A wind farm? In a political economy where local construction and land development fund local political factions that offer support to those who hand out large sums of cash, Ma Ying-jeou is simply making a bald statement to the local factions: follow me and I will keep the money flowing down to you. What that says about Ma's views of corruption is obvious.

To a mind oriented on the future, many things suggest themselves. To a mind like Ma's that is borne unceasingly back to the past, the only solution is what worked before. Whatever you may say about the many slips twixt the DPP cup and lip, the party's localization programs, alternative energy, open government, and other policies, all convey the idea that it is the party of the future. What Siew shows about Ma, and what Ma's idea of economic development show, is the mind of a man whose solutions for 21st century problems are three decades out of date.

crossposted from The View from Taiwan

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


Indictments for Shih Ming-teh and pals

Will their red shirts be exchanged for striped ones?

Shih Ming-teh (施明德) -- the leader of last year's redshirt mobs (紅衫軍) which claimed to oppose corruption (反貪腐) and not distinguish between blue and green (不分藍綠) -- and 15 of those participating in his failed attempt to "depose" the democratically-elected president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), were indicted yesterday. Saturday's Taipei Times has the details, including this list of Shih's partners in crime:
Among those indicted with Shih were Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), People First Party Legislator Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧), former KMT legislator and Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Director Lee Yong-ping (李永萍), Taipei City Research & Development Evaluation Commission Emile Sheng (盛治仁) and New Party Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新).

Nine others were named in the indictment: Chien Hsi-chieh, Liu Kun-li (劉坤鱧), Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), Jerry Fan (范可欽), Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), former New Party legislator Cheng Lung-shui (鄭龍水), former Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), Chinese Culture University professor Yao Li-ming (姚立明) and lawyer John Wei (魏千峰).

If found guilty, the defendants could be sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment.
Why this story was on page 3 instead of Saturday's front page is anybody's guess.

The charges are related to the Double Ten "besieging" of the Presidential Office by Shih's mobs, which included the most partisan of partisans that only a fool would believe was neutral. (Cough, Emile Sheng, cough!)

Meanwhile, over NT$20,000,000 that was donated to Shih's "anti-corruption" campaign is still unaccounted for. Things that make ya go "Hmmm."

Others' takes
A-gu (阿牛) at That's Impossible makes a couple of important points:
The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office wrapped up the preliminary investigation yesterday. The Executive is not directly involved. The prosecutor in this case said Shih knew he was acting illegally and had no regrets, an important reason he pressed charges.

Meanwhile, since it was then KMT chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] who violated all precedent and allowed these people their month long, 24 hour-a-day rally in the first place, some DPP people said Ma owes an apology (to the city? to Shih? I'm not sure). Using rhetoric that you may hear on a playground, Ma's response was that A-bian should say he's sorry since the whole parade was a result of A-bian's (unproven) corruption. Ma added that the KMT had already brought a bill to alter the Assembly and Parade Law, a decision made soon after Ma became chairman.
Ah, yes! What about the already-indicted, Hong Kong-born former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman's involvement? After all, while shedding crocodile tears about the responsibility being unfairly placed on his shoulders, he was out feeding the mobs bread and soymilk paid for with KMT money and even sharing the stage with Shih.

A-gu has even more links, so be sure to click on over to read his full post.

Fellow Taiwan Matters blogger Michael Turton relates by e-mail that he hopes Shih isn't turned into a martyr because of this. I agree with his sentiments 100%, but we all know the pan-blue media will do so anyway. Michael also says he should have a post on the subject up sometime on Sunday. [UPDATE: Michael's post is up.]

Remembering recent history
Here are some real-time posts related to the aforementioned events:
* September 13, 2006: BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
  - I slam the BBC for their biased "reporting" of Shih's mobs.

* September 16, 2006: Non-partisan protesters?
  - Michael Turton photographs some of the "non-partisan" mob meeting at a KMT landmark. Coincidence?

* September 16, 2006: Circling the Presidential Office
  - Friend from Across the Strait gives us his view via the Hong Kong media. On a recent visit to the US, a Hong Kong-born restaurant owner with whom I engaged in political conversation blindly echoed everything the HK media had told her.

* September 16, 2006: Will Chen Resign?
  - Michael Turton rhetorically asks the question from the title and blasts the foreign media's failure to present facts by which the average reader could begin to understand the situation.

* September 27, 2006: The Economist Misses a Chance
  - Michael Turton smacks down The Economist for their deceipt.

* September 27, 2006: Pan-blue hypocrisy just keeps rolling on
  - In that day's Taipei Times, Jerome F. Keating (linked in Michael's post above) takes on the baldfaced lies of Shih's campaign.

* October 9, 2006: On the Eve
  - On the eve of the Double Ten mob activities, Michael continues to inject a healthy dose of facts into the fabrication-filled "discourse" via which the foreign media has been poisoning the public.

* October 12, 2006: Voters of Taipei: recall Ma Ying-jeou
  - I point my middle finger in Ma Ying-jeou's direction for his wishy-washy stance on when the law needs to be enforced and tell him to "take some responsibility."

* October 13, 2006: Requiem for the Red Shirts
  - Feiren recaps the China Times' strategic step back from their earlier provocations (more info in the January 5, 2007 post linked below) in the aftermath of the Double Ten fiasco.

* October 26, 2006: Bloomberg Blue Bias
  - STOP_Ma guest blogs about Bloomberg stenographer James Peng's exaggeration of the number of participants in Shih's mobs and other biases.

* November 2, 2006: Guest Blogging: Jerome Keating on Shih Ming-deh
  - Jerome examines whether Shih is a "Hypocrite, Maudlin, Schizophrenic, or a Pawn in Search of Redemption."

* November 4, 2006: First Family Indictment Extravabonanza!
  - Jason points out Shih's hints for the military to become involved as well as his mendacious claims of "success."

* December 30, 2006: Enemies of Press Freedom
  - Feiren tells of the China Times' smearing of the rational opponents of Shih's mobs.

* January 5, 2007: KMT's China Times Connection
  - Feiren reminds readers of China Times editor/Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) propaganda minister Yang Tu's (楊渡) transparently-veiled call to violence.
Note that most of the posts linked above contain numerous links within. Check a few of them out if you need to refresh your memory.

What would you do?
In light of these indictments, my greatest concern is that this is using the wrong approach. I'm sure there are many other laws that could be more appropriately applied to this case. There was lots of violence involved (including violence against police who didn't assist with their illegal behavior [original version]), public airwaves were used to communicate directives to the mobs, tens of millions of dollars of cash were collected and remain out of sight, and more.

What are your thoughts? Reply in comments, or send us an e-mail via the address listed in the sidebar.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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