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"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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Sunday, October 28, 2007


Taiwan's opposition kidnaps political discourse

A hissy fit a day keeps democracy at bay
Just yesterday I compared the tendency of the opposition in Taiwan to throw hissy fits with the same tendency in the Republicans in the US. Both take constant advantage of the media to "catapult the propaganda" and avoid real discourse.

This silly image from the front page of Saturday's Taipei Times beautifully illustrates the hissy fits of Taiwan's opposition:

CNA image via the Taipei Times
Somebody call the waaaaambulance!
(Click image to view full size.)

The large text across the middle of the picture reads "Referendum kidnaps the election." The pan-blues think that people are too stupid to know how to vote if they pick up all their ballots at once -- or at least that's what they say. I think the truth is that they're afraid that if the election is held in a fully democratic way -- that is, where thugs who are outside of the polling station watching who picks up their ballots can't see what voters are doing -- they'll certainly lose. The referendum to allow the public to show their approval for applying for UN membership using the name "Taiwan" will win, and any remaining credibility the pan-blues' grip on the media has allowed them to maintain will vanish like vapors do when fresh air is allowed to pass through a previously-stagnant space.

The above photo, by the way, accompanied an article informing readers that the Central Election Commission (CEC) delayed their announcement as to whether ballots will be distributed all at once or with separate steps for the referendum ballots and presidential ballots. Hidden by all the squealing going on are the DPP's "stolen assets" referendum and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) "anti-corruption" one which the article tells us "aims to give the legislature the power to investigate allegations of corruption against the president and subordinates." Mixing the legislative and judicial branches of government contradicts what I learned in Civics class about "separation of powers" in a democracy.

Quiet riot? Don't deny it!
Chao Shu-chien (趙叔鍵), a CEC member recommended by the People First Party, is paraphrased in the article as saying that "distributing the ballots together could spark a riot." He is directly quoted as saying that "If no serious problems occurred last time when the ballots were issued separately, why should we change it?" The piece of the puzzle without which we can't see the truth of the matter is that the opponents of the method used in the previous referendum (that would be the pan-greens) are generally non-violent, while the opponents of the proposed method of giving ballots all at once (that would be the violent pan-blues) threaten violence at just about every turn. (Please follow that link if you have any doubts.)

Vote these bastards out of office soon, please, so we can get beyond this medieval madness!

* February 26, 2004: An editorial in the Taiwan News reminds us that James Soong (宋楚瑜) once said that the "complexities" of collecting and casting three ballots will inevitably spark election conflicts and "riots." (Sound familiar? Didn't they riot anyway?)
* It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy! December 18, 2004: A LAUNDRY LIST OF PAN-BLUE VIOLENCE
* It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy! November 9, 2005: Topsy-turvy Taiwan

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

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Saturday, October 27, 2007


The KMT in Taiwan vs. the GOP in the USA

The tactics of those on the wrong side of right
A story in Friday's Taipei Times helped to bring together several ideas which I'd read on US political blogs. The Taipei Times story was about a Taiwanese official's difficulties in getting his driver's license properly labeled:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday called on the Japanese government to correct the nation's description on its alien resident certificates and other related documents from "China" to either "Republic of China" or "Taiwan."

Tsai Ming-yao (蔡明耀), deputy secretary-general of the ministry-affiliated Association of East Asian Relations, made the appeal at a press conference in response to a media inquiry.


When staying in Japan Tsai said he had complained to the Japanese government when the nationality column on his driving license was marked "China." But the Japanese vehicle office told Tsai he had to choose either PRC or China, saying that they were the only two options allowed in the country's rules and regulations..
What the hell kind of "choice" is that? Let's see how that looks through the filter of this post on the Crooks and Liars blog from earlier this year:
Lest we forget FOX did this a few weeks ago with a poll about MoveOn "taking over" the Democratic Party. The misleading way FOX asks questions reminds me of this exchange from "Family Guy":
Lawyer: Mr Griffin, which of the following two phrases best describes Brian Griffin: Problem Drinker or African-American Haberdasher?
Peter: Uh, do I-I guess problem drinker, but that's uh-
Lawyer: Thank-you. Now: Sexual deviant or magic picture that if you stare at it long enough, you see something?
Peter: Well, sexual deviant, but that other one's not even, eh-
Lawyer: Thank-you.
See the problem? No? Well, where are you from -- the moon or Mars?

But back to the Taipei Times article (continuing directly from the first quoted section):
"Of course, I didn't go for PRC," Tsai said, adding that the government would continue to negotiate with Japan in order to come up with a solution that was acceptable to both sides
Hmmm... "a solution that was acceptable to both sides." Where have I encountered that before? Oh, yeah. It was in a This Modern World comic by Tom Tomorrow:

Tom Tomorrow's ''This Modern World''
Click image to view the whole thing.
(If there's an ad, wait for it to finish,
and click "Enter Salon.")

I can almost see the "compromise" now.

But wait, there's more!
What Digby said about the Republicans (but she could've been describing the KMT) was this:
I first noticed the right's successful use of phony sanctimony and faux outrage back in the 90's when well-known conservative players like Gingrich and Livingston pretended to be offended at the president's extramarital affair and were repeatedly and tiresomely "upset" about fund-raising practices they all practiced themselves. The idea of these powerful and corrupt adulterers being personally upset by White House coffees and naughty sexual behavior was laughable.

But they did it, oh how they did it, and it often succeeded in changing the dialogue and tittilating the media into a frenzy of breathless tabloid coverage.

In fact, they became so good at the tactic that they now rely on it as their first choice to control the political dialogue when it becomes uncomfortable and put the Democrats on the defensive whenever they are winning the day. Perhaps the best example during the Bush years would be the completely cynical and over-the-top reaction to Senator Paul Wellstone's memorial rally in 2002 in the last couple of weeks leading up to the election.

With the exception of the bizarre Jesse Ventura, those in attendance, including the Republicans, were non-plussed by the nature of the event at the time. It was not, as the chatterers insisted, a funeral, but rather more like an Irish wake for Wellstone supporters — a celebration of Wellstone's life, which included, naturally, politics. (He died campaigning, after all.) But Vin Weber, one of the Republican party's most sophisticated operatives, immediately saw the opportunity for a faux outrage fest that was more successful than even he could have ever dreamed.

By the time they were through, the Democrats were prostrating themselves at the feet of anyone who would listen, begging for forgiveness for something they didn't do, just to stop the shrieking. The Republicans could barely keep the smirks off their faces as they sternly lectured the Democrats on how to properly honor the dead — the same Republicans who had relentlessly tortured poor Vince Foster's family for years.

It's an excellent technique and one they continue to employ with great success, most recently with the entirely fake Move-On and Pete Stark "controversies." (The Democrats try their own versions but rarely achieve the kind of full blown hissy fit the Republicans can conjure with a mere blast fax to Drudge and their talk radio minions.)
Sound familiar? As with China's constant counterfactual claims about "being provoked," the KMT in Taiwan seems to have a similar policy in place. With their minions on the multitudinous pan-blue blab-fests at their behest, any mediocre event can be turned into weeks', months', or even years' worth of noise. Just look at Jaw Shaw-kong's latest for a perfect example.

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

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


George Kerr vs. Robert Ross et al

Formosa continually betrayed
Fellow blogger Michael Turton alerted me earlier today to a pure propaganda piece disguised as a Forbes Magazine "Special Report." Within this filially pious "report," author Robert Ross kisses the asses of China and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) until everything above his shoulders is brown. Turton tears Ross a new one with his own analysis:
Wow. Among the hundreds of articles on Taiwan I have discussed on this blog over the last couple of years, this piece of dreck from Robert Ross, For China, How To Manage Taiwan?, represents the absolute nadir of writing on the island and its future in a major media publication.


[...] it flows like sewage going downhill [...]


In [Ross'] la-la land, Chen Shui-bian provokes; missiles and threats do not. [...]


[W]hy should China turn its propaganda machine on Taiwan, when it has Robert Ross to do its work for them? [...]


[...] Ross simply reproduces the standard China/KMT line on Taiwan politics [...]


Ross again reproduces standard KMT propaganda -- the "polls" are all pro-KMT media polls [...]


Ross simply takes the Chinese position. [...]


Above all, Ross accepts that it is OK for a Communist dictatorship to suppress a democracy. What more can be said after that?

This is a very sick article. Please take a moment and write in to Forbes: readers@forbes.com
Indeed, it's a sick article, and I strongly encourage readers who care about Taiwan to take a careful look at it and write to Forbes about the many distortions and outright falsehoods within.

Clairvoyant critique?
More than 40 years ago, in his book Formosa Betrayed (被出賣的台灣), George Kerr noted how this kind of Chinese propaganda was achieved here in Taiwan (still known as Formosa at the time of the book's writing) in the early days of KMT occupation. These excerpts are from pp. 153-7 (pp. 170-4 in the PDF version, pp. 164-7 in the Mandarin translation):
[...] The world had changed, the United States Government and people were entering upon the long cold war of words, ideas, and human emotions.

We were reminded soon enough of this when we began to see the pattern of Chinese reaction to the presence of prying, spying foreigners on Formosa.

Chinese Reaction to Foreign Critics:
"Getting the Facts Straight"

Chen Yi's men resented the presence of foreigners, for it gave them a double task. On the one hand they had to persuade the world overseas that despite occasional unfriendly news reports, they were doing a magnificent job, rehabilitating the economy and leading the Formosans back from Japanese servitude to full and happy membership in the democracy of China.

On the other hand, they had to undermine and destroy, if they could, the high prestige of Americans on Formosa, and the emotional trust with which Formosans were turning to foreigners with tales of woe. [...]

[...] And what if unfriendly press notices abroad prompted the United States Congress to demand an investigation?

Anticipating this challenge, Chen Yi reorganized the Provincial Government Information Service. All references to the "provisional" character of the local government began to disappear from official and unofficial documents and from public statements. All foreign visitors - and especially American visitors - were smothered with evidence of progress, presented by men who knew how to flatter Americans. Steps were soon taken to lower American prestige among the Formosans and to discredit Formosans in the eyes of foreigners overseas. [Maddog note: This is precisely the type of "ethnic divisiveness" (族群分裂) that the KMT constantly accuses the DPP of currently.] Something had to be done to check this dangerous talk of local appeals to the United States or the United Nations.

A graduate in journalism from the University of Missouri (Stanway Cheng, M.A., '37) was placed in charge. Huang Chao-chin (M.A., Illinois, '26) became "Foreign Affairs Representative" or front man. The Central News Agency of China opened a Formosa office on March 16. A private, confidential press-clipping wire-service in Cheng's office kept the Governor's men abreast of published American comment on Formosan affairs.

Visiting Congressmen, the Administration's agents, and other unwary guests who came to Taipei were at once taken in hand by Cheng and Huang or their deputies, to be given flattering V.I.P. treatment. For visiting "fact-finders" it was a great convenience to be handed up-to-date statistical summaries which could be read at any time on the homeward journey. These made tedious on-the-spot investigations unnecessary, and left time for delightful suburban tours, hotspring outings and gargantuan Chinese feasts. Over-crowded scheduling for the visitors ensured a maximum insulation from reality and prevented any unfortunate straying from well-marked paths. [Maddog note: Actual walls are currently being built in Beijing to ensure the same thing with Olympic visitors.] If a visitor insisted upon talking to Formosans there was always ex-Mayor Huang, a native of the island, and Chairman of the People's Political Councils, to satisfy their curiosity. Delays in transportation, far from Taipei, or mechanical difficulties with cars within the city became standard means of forestalling undue meetings with independent and articulate Formosans or long conferences at the American Consulate. Creating insulation for visitors was a fine art, pursued by talented men.

Manipulation of the news to show "progress under Chen Yi," and America's hearty support of the Chen Yi regime is illustrated in this example, published in Taipei, which purports to have originated in Washington:

(UP) Washington, Aug. 5, Relayed by Central News Agency.
United States economic officers [Maddog note: unnamed] who have just returned from a tour of the Far East do not fall in with the general belief that the Chinese administration on the island of Formosa is inadequate and that there has been large-scale looting and ransacking.

They saw marked improvement in rehabilitation work in the regions they visited where the Chinese Government seemed to be exercising an adequate management of all industries and local affairs with every possible technical assistance available.

Except those who were retained as technical experts and their families, totalling about 28,000, all Japanese on the island have been duly repatriated. [2]
The Newton articles were not forgotten. To smother unfavorable impressions created by one man's dispatches, Chen's Information Office invited twenty-six correspondents to spend the week of August 31-September 6 on Formosa, with lavish entertainment and all expenses paid.

The bona fide correspondents knew that their press credentials for long-term work on the mainland might be lifted if they were too outspoken. They could merely hint that all was not well. For example, Ronald Stead of the Christian Science Monitor wrote that "Chinese Government officials and Taiwan provincial administrators say the number of dissidents is very few. So far our time has been so occupied in eating our way down and up the island, receiving the most lavish hospitality everywhere, but making only a wide, superficial inspection, that there has been little time to weigh the situation."

A few foreigners were assumed to be well-paid agents hired to steer the group toward a proper understanding and reportage of Chinese achievements on Formosa, and some frankly confessed (privately) that they were "free-loaders" professing assignments -fictitious or self-devised - from local papers in the United States. Temporary press cards had been issued to them at Shanghai.

Transients could be handled by Chen Yi's agents with marked success, but the presence of UNRRA and Consular people remained always a problem. In a move to concentrate the foreigners' evening activities at one spot, Cheng and the Information Service arranged (behind the scenes) to open the Lucky Bar, thoughtfully designed to appeal to American patronage. Here the Chinese Information Service could keep abreast of day-to-day affairs within the foreign community.

I had doubted the accuracy of the report which told of the origins of the Lucky Bar, but one summer evening, after drinks and dinner at my house, the mysterious Admiral S. Y. Leigh (T. V. Soong's man, Li Tsu-i) asked me why I never went to the Lucky Bar, adding, indiscreetly, that whenever he wanted to know what Americans thought of the situation in Formosa he simply went to the Bar and took the booth next to that habitually occupied by the American Consul, his wife, and their friends, or sat near the favorite booths and tables of the UNRRA members drifting in and out.*

* Thus in the Lucky Bar we had the forerunner of Madame Chiang's clubs, The Officers' Moral Endeavour Association (OMEA), a series of hostelries which catered to foreign correspondents, businessmen, diplomatic service underlings, and minor military observers, all taken in at a distinctly favorable rate. To the charitable OMEA establishment there were added in due course the Friends of China Club, the Taipei Guest House, and the Grand Hotel, all of them listening posts - Lucky Bars - on a grander scale, befitting the "temporary capital of China."
Is Robert Ross merely one of the "unwary guests" mentioned above, or is he something of a more sinister nature? It would be a rather difficult stretch of the imagination to believe he could be among the "bona fide" correspondents -- or anything close, for that matter.

Through an RSS reader, darkly
This is good description of the type of lens through which I have long viewed people like Ross, Keith Bradsher, Mike Chinoy, Edward Cody, Peter Enav, Caroline Gluck, Kathrin Hille, Jane Rickards, and so many others when it comes to writing about Taiwan and many other subjects. I hope that you, too, will question what you read even more deeply from this point onward.

* George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed [PDF, 1.1 MB]
* Alternate link to Formosa Betrayed (Note: The file you will see there is a zipped PDF -- not a video file. Click/Right-click the book cover, download the file to your hard drive, decompress it, and get ready for some heavy reading.)
* Michael Turton's earlier takedown of Ross' schizophrenic manifestations: "Taiwan's Fading Independence Movement? Or Robert Ross' Fading Understanding?"
* My video of the supposedly "unpopular" Chen Shui-bian at the "915 UN for Taiwan" rally in Kaohsiung, September 15, 2007.

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

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Friday, October 19, 2007


United Bamboo -- KMT's Underground Assassination Sector

On October 4th, Chen Chi-li (陳啟禮), aka Lord Duck (鴨霸子), the one-time spiritual leader of the United Bamboo (竹聯幫), the largest gang in Taiwan, passed away in St. Teresa's Hospital, Hong Kong. He is well known to Taiwanese for his role in the oversea assassination of a Taiwanese-American writer Henry Liu in California (1984). Liu wrote a manuscript about the extramarital affair of then President Chiang Ching-kuo and was considered a rebel of the country. The assassination was ordered by KMT in the name of patriotism. In a case like this, Chen should have been treated by KMT as a national hero. However, after the contract was successfully carried out, KMT betrayed him and sentenced him to life in prison. Chen escaped to Cambodia to avoid life imprisonment and hid there until his death.

The death of Chen Chi-li not only marks a transition point of United Bamboo Gang, but also, more importantly, refocuses Taiwanese attention to the dirty, covert gangster-linked nature of KMT. The recently exposed yet another murder contract between KMT and a Hong Kong movie star, Jimmy Wang (Wang Yu 王羽), for the intended killing of Hsu Hsin-Liang (許信良) certainly stirred up the heat even more.

But there's more shocking news. Let me cited several paragraphs describing the origin of United Bamboo Gang first.

Taiwan's Dirty Business
The United Bamboo was founded 40 years ago by a handful of teen-aged sons of senior officers in Chiang Kai-shek's KMT army who had encamped in Taiwan rather than be crushed by Mao Zedong's advancing Communists. Disenchanted by the humiliation of their fathers, the young rebels joined forces to fight other gangs along Bamboo Forest Road on the outskirts of Taipei.
Lord Duck Is Dead
Chen (Chi-li) was born in 1943 in China and moved with his family to Taiwan in 1949. At age 17, he formed the United Bamboo gang with friends ... the United Bamboo gang was formed by a bunch of teenage students who were born on the mainland, oppressed by local Taiwanese people and got together to defend themselves.

Both articles describe that the reason the United Bamboo Gang was formed was nothing but gangster-style romanticism. If this is true, then we can fairly say that KMT later decided to "link to" this already existing gang and make use of their fire power for political use.

But "link to gangster", a knowledge that has long been recognized through available records, can't seem to describe the true nature of KMT enough.

When Chen Chi-li was indicted for his role in the oversea assassination, the attorney representing the victim's wife was the current DPP Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh. Certainly Hsieh was in the court with Chen Chi-li and had the chance to listen to what Chen Chi-li said.

In a news report (謝長廷:當時的政府要陳啟禮組竹聯幫) yesterday, Hsieh revealed:

"Chen Chi-li said in the court that the (KMT) government wanted him to organize the United Bamboo Gang, and the sole purpose is to kill those rebels. They (KMT) thought the anti-government people are weak, so it's possible to gather gangsters to organize United Bamboo Gang to handle these people. This is what Chen Chi-li said."

He went on saying:

"Chen Chi-li said it crystal clear, openly in the court, (it's the government) asking him to organize the United Bamboo Gang, and to extend their influence for the sole purpose of killing those people."

"Chen Chi-li described the organizing process in details in his confession and the audio recording. Because it's the (KMT) government who ordered the gang formation, it brought chills to the bone. So at that time nobody dare to say anything."

Hsieh also hinted that the reason the United Bamboo Gang could grow to be the largest gang in Taiwan is due to KMT's support.

What Hsieh revealed is a shocking news. After all, "has gangster link" is one thing, but "actively organize a gang for the purpose of murder" is a whole new story. Obviously, even after years of awakening, Taiwanese still haven't learned how dirty the true nature of KMT is yet. The United Bamboo Gang is not just a gang that KMT links to. In fact it is KMT's underground assassination sector.

More readings:

More on the White Wolf
The China Connection - How Crime and Politics come together ... again
Ex-movie Star Claimed KMT Wanted Him to Kill Hsu Hsin-Liang
Prosecutors launch investigation into Jimmy Wang `murder contract' case

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Monday, October 15, 2007


Ma on KMT Human Rights, Hsieh Re-appears

With DPP Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh finally reappearing on the campaign trail, it was Ma Ying-jeou who spoke at the political prison on Green Island:

Ma promised to resume a thorough investigation of two murders that are believed to be politically motivated.

Both were committed in Taipei while Chiang Ching-kuo was president.

One of them occurred on February 28, 1980. The mother of Taiwan Provincial Assemblyman Lin Yi-hsiung and his twin daughters were murdered at their home on Hsinyi Road. Another daughter was seriously wounded but survives.

Lin, a "tangwai" or non-Kuomintang politician, was in prison himself. He was spared.

No suspects were arrested. The case was closed.

Tangwai politicians inaugurated the Democratic Progressive Party in Taipei in 1987. Lin served as its chairman and helped Chen Shui-bian elected president in 2000.

In the other case, which is considered another political assassination, Dr. W.C. Chen, an assistant professor at Carnegie-Melon University, was spirited away from his family home in Taipei by agents of the Taiwan Garrison Command on July 2, 1981.

Professor Chen was back in Taipei for a family reunion. He was scheduled to give a series of lectures.

His body was found on the Taiwan University campus on the following day. Police investigators concluded that it was an accidental death or death by suicide.

Mrs. Chen Pao-yueh, the young professor's elder sister, filed complaints with Taipei district prosecutors on July 2, 2001, charging General Wang Ching-hsi, the then commander-in-chief of the Taiwan Garrison Command, and four other officers with premeditated murder.

Convinced her brother had no reason whatsoever for suicide, Mrs. Chen pressed the charges on the day the statute of limitation took effect 20 years after the alleged murder.

No investigation has been conducted, however.

"If I were elected," the Kuomintang standard bearer vowed, "I would have both cases thoroughly investigated to find out the truth."

Even if murderers or assassins were found, they would be immune to prosecution, however.

"What we need to know," Ma said, "is the truth about both cases and if the Kuomintang government was responsible."

Ma himself is a prime example of the repellent hypocrisy that lies at the heart of KMT claims on human rights. Ma, who has been identified by prominent DPP politicians as a student spy for the KMT, reporting on his fellow students from Taiwan during his college days in the US, worked as a personal secretary and translator to the dictator Chiang Ching-kuo beginning in 1981. There is no record of Ma objecting to any of the anti-democracy actions of either Chiang, senior or junior.

In 1993, after holding several posts and rising through the KMT party-state hierarchy, Ma was made Minister of Justice under Lee Teng-hui. During the three years he held that post, he made no attempt to search for the killers of Lin Yi-hsiung's family or the murders of Chen Wen-chen, though it was well within his power to do so. Not only did Ma fail to seek justice when it was within both his power and the statute of limitations, Ma opposed the lifting of Article 100, under which dissidents were prosecuted, and opposed direct elections of the President. If these are the actions of a "moderate," I'm a point guard for the Celtics. Ma is an ideologue, and when the chips were down, acted as one.

For those of you who want a different view, Linda Arrigo's presentation on Green Island and the Kaohsiung Incident is superlative.

Meanwhile, Frank Hsieh finally ended a two-week absence from the campaign trail. Tanned, rested, and ready, Hsieh challenged Ma to a debate.

After a 13-day absence and repeated rumors about his health, Hsieh restarted his campaign following Chen's announcement. Hsieh invited Chinese National Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to a public debate about the referendum proposals on joining the UN.

The media read the challenge, with its strong affirmation of the referendum, as a signal that the Hsieh-Chen split is healed. Ma basically dismissed the idea, quoting Bill Clinton's famous remark: it's the economy, stupid. Chen also promised to hand over the Chairmanship of the DPP to Hsieh in due time:

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday vowed to step down as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) when his presidency ends in May, expressing his confidence in the party's presidential candidate and saying he was willing to hand over the leadership to the "new president Frank Hsieh (謝長廷)."

In the analytical piece linked above, a local political commentator gives Hsieh some excellent advice:

Second, Hsieh must refocus the campaign to become more candidate-centered. Despite his limited personal charisma, Ma should not pose strong competition for Hsieh, who is one of the DPP's most visionary and creative political leaders. He proved his capabilities as an administrator both as Kaohsiung City mayor and as premier.

Ma, on the other hand, has a long record of opposition to democratic reform and the notion of Taiwan-centric consciousness. His recent push for a referendum to use any flexible name -- including the Republic of China or Taiwan -- to return to the UN was simply an attempt to assimilate the DPP agenda.

Ma's performance as Taipei mayor was also lackluster, though people may not realize it because he was protected by the pro-unification media.

Not only has Ma failed as KMT chairman to achieve his internal reform proposals, he supported the party's irrational boycott of the DPP government programs.

It should be added that in Taiwan's working class male culture, Ma comes across as a sissy -- Hsieh has already raised questions about whether Ma has the stones to run the show. Hsieh is a far better candidate than Ma -- smarter, tougher, and more experienced. In a debate his rhetorical skills, honed arguing actual cases before actual judges, should blow away Ma's. Let's hope Chen can stay out of his way and just lets his horse beat Ma to the post.


Sunday, October 14, 2007


The most urgent threat to Taiwan is in Taiwan

In his recent blog Ben Findlay wrote Why should I care about Taiwan's geopolitical future?, in which he talked about his observation on the lack of Taiwanese effort on the international platform:

Yes, Taiwan continuously tries to enter international bodies. Yes, there is going to be a referendum on the UN question. Yes, there are regular protests and marches against Chinese threats. But how is any standard westerner supposed to know about the convictions of Taiwan’s population? Where is the prolific debate in languages westerners understand?

Where are the regular blanket advertisements in western media? Where are the powerful NGOs loudly making Taiwan's case and vilifying the opposition's factual and moral flaws through well financed journals and websites? Why does Taiwan not have any lobbying influence remotely comparable to The American Israel Public Affairs Committee when the case is magnitudes less equivocal?

Where is the tireless, relentless campaign to reach Chinese people with the truth? Where are Chinese people’s funded opportunities to see reason? What possible hope can there be without this?

and what he learned from the above observation is:

I see little evidence that Taiwanese people really, really care.

thus an approach he follows:

Taiwan is a rich country of 23 million people. There are no excuses for their pathetic efforts. When they really start to show that they care, I’ll really start to feel justified in caring myself.

I totally agree with Ben on the lack of Taiwanese-launched international campaign. We do need to promote ourselves on the international platform. Many people, Taiwanese or not, do see this.

However, how people respond to this existing weakness depends on how much they know about Taiwan.

Many people don't understand that the most urgent threat Taiwan has been facing is not PRC military threat or any other lack-of-support from foreign countries, but the political struggle inside. There are still huge pro-china population (like KMT) in Taiwan, who rather see Taiwan as a sub-culture of China and treat Taiwanese as secondary citizens. In a sense those pro-china people in Taiwan serve as front soldiers of China. It's this infight that we have to win first. If we lose this fight to KMT, then don't have to wait for the PRC coming, we will go right back to a society in which Taiwanese are always discriminated.

Therefore we spend most of our resources at where we need most, that is, to spread the Taiwanese consciousness to our own people. There's no way we could put this nearby day-to-day threat aside to spend too much time and resources on far remote campaign.

And this is not an easy task. Think about how long it takes for brain-washed people to change their minds that have been with them since childhood. Simply asking a person to change his attitude toward his wife is not easy, if even possible. And we are talking about "mind change" of a whole country that has been brain washed for decades! This certainly limits the ability to educate more people for handling international issues.

That doesn't mean that we didn't try. Check out FAPA (http://www.fapa.org). It is one of the most influential lobbying groups in the US, second only to the Israel group. It plays a very crucial role in helping US understand the real struggle Taiwan has. Many Taiwan-friendly bills wouldn't have passed in US congress without the long time effort of FAPA.

People who know a little about Taiwan should have already learned this. Judging from Ben Findlay's question "Why does Taiwan not have any lobbying influence remotely comparable to The American Israel Public Affairs Committee", it seems to me that he is not even aware of FAPA.

In fact, it's in those long time foreign campaigns like FAPA has been doing when we realized where our real obstacle is. When we are fighting China's diplomatic suppression and international indifference up front, those pro-China people from Taiwan are pulling our legs from behind. These "pulling-legs" people include those who serve in Taiwan's diplomatic offices oversea, in which they are supposed to follow (DPP) government's orders. Many foreign friends are confused by "two versions of Taiwan" and don't know how to help. A lot of effort is thus wasted. Anyone who has observed Taiwan closely should have also known that whenever Taiwan's government launch a global campaign, those pan-bluers just jump right out to do it in the opposite way. That's how we realized that we have to reach a domestic consensus (i.e., to end the infight) before any effective international campaign can be done.

So this is where we are -- fighting hard for the domestic consensus and don't have enough resources and people to campaign in foreign platform effectively.

Ben's observation is right, lacking more international campaign is our weakness at this moment. But his response to the observed weakness is not appreciated. For one thing, this is not a new issue. People who have been fighting for a better Taiwan all know about this weakness, especially those fighting for Taiwan in the international stage.

Secondly, people who know better about Taiwan understand the difficulty involved and the priority we are facing, therefore know that a pure criticizing talk like Ben's is not gonna help. After all, it's always easy to criticize at the phenomena at its face value, but it's much much harder to get hands dirty to really spend time contributing.

In fact, instead of criticizing at the phenomena on its surface, some choose to jump in to write and speak for Taiwan using the advantage that common Taiwanese lack -- English speaking and composition ability -- to fill in the blank for Taiwan. Examples can be found in this blog and many others like Michael Turton, ah-Gu, ... etc. These are the people who are doing something helpful.



Friday, October 12, 2007


Does Either Party Want to Win the 2008 Elections?

A few weeks back I wrote a post on why Hsieh will win the 2008 Presidential Election. Hahaha. What a sense of humor I have! I slay myself, really. Just ignore everything I said, because President Chen has decided after consideration -- as if there were any doubt -- to take up the invitation offered to him by the DPP's central standing committee and become the Chairman of the DPP.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian Thursday agreed to return as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, pledging to safeguard the island's sovereignty and lead the party to election victory.

"After days of deliberation and exchange of consultation with party elders, I decided to take the post of DPP chairman and assume the responsibility (of party chief)," Chen said at a press conference.

The DPP had asked Chen, who had served as its chairman from 2002-2005, to lead the party following the resignation of Yu Shyi-kun in September.

I can imagine the conversation at DPP party headquarters....
ANALYST 1: New Chairman....new chairman...who?
ANALYST 2: I've got an idea....why don't we make an unpopular President who already mishandled one set of legislative elections the first time around the party Chairman again!
ANALYST 3: God, that's brilliant! You're a genius!
ANALYST 4: Wish I'd thought of it.
ANALYST 1: You must be channeling Karl Rove.
ANALYST 3: Perfect! The KMT has Honorary Chairman for Life Lien Chan, so we definitely need one too.
SHIAO MING: But....but....Lien Chan lost two elections, and he's uglier than the hind end of a yak.
ANALYST 2: [ponders] Don't worry. I think we can reach that standard.
SHIAO MING: But...but...don't you think the DPP should promote some up and coming young person like Hsiao Bi-khim or Lin Jia-lung? Or maybe give an experienced person like Tsai Ing-wen the post as a profile raiser? I mean, party heavyweights will be making all the decisions anyway...so why not cultivate talent?
ANALYST 1: What a stupid idea! What are you, some kind of Chinese spy?
ANALYST 3: Yeah, who are you anyway?
SHIAO MING: Uh...I'm just here delivering the lunchboxes. Who's having the vegetarian?
Ma Ying-jeou, quick to criticize, as always, ignored his Party's past:

Ma blasted Chen's provisional selection as DPP chairman.

"A chairman should be elected by party members," he said. "And it should not be because one is the president that he can become his party's chairman."

Strange, but I can't recall Ma taking this line when the Chiang Sr. and Jr. appointed themselves KMT Party Chairman after killing, imprisoning, exiling, or buying off potential rivals. Good Old Ma -- he can always be relied upon to have the courage of some other guy's convictions.... this week Ma also accused the DPP of colluding with China -- yes, you read that right:

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop "deceiving" the public by saying that "Taiwan is the ROC" because the Republic of China was annihilated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) long ago.

Chen was referring to a statement released by Ma's campaign office on Sept. 15 that said: "We hope the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] will not collude with China in attacking the Republic of China ... The Republic of China and Taiwan are inseparable. Taiwan is the Republic of China, harming the Republic of China means harming Taiwan."

Ma on Wednesday went on to say that the Presidential Office did not decorate the building or put up placards displaying the national title for this year's Double Ten National Day celebrations, calling the move similar to China's refusal to recognize the ROC.

Ma added that the administration's behavior showed that the DPP was singing Beijing's tune and had teamed up with Chinese authorities to attack the ROC.

Let's point it out again: the first thing newly-elected KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung did in April was to go visit China. Who is colluding with Beijing? Any time you want to know what nefarious activity the KMT is engaging in, just see what they accuse the DPP of doing.

Such attacks remind us, however, that Ma speaking of the "ROC" during an election cycle is once again doing exactly what the DPP wants him to do. Foreign representatives up in Taipei may gush over the charismatic former secretary to a dictator as they listen to Taipei residents hack on the DPP (but remember that 40% of them voted for Hsieh last year -- watch what they do, not what they say), but down here in The Real Taiwan every time Ma opens his mouth, he sounds like the mainlander colonialists that Taiwanese grew to hate during the martial law era. Is Ma an ideologue? If not, why the unnecessary public defense of that useful virtual state, the ROC? Ma has to propitiate his core voters, just like Chen....

Does either party want to win? I can't tell. I thought the KMT was doing a great job handing the election to the DPP with the selection of Vincent Siew for the Veep, the slow alienation of the southern (Taiwanese) legislators, and the panting after the DPP's referendum. But with the ascension of Chen to the top spot in the DPP, I think the democratic side has definitely evened the score. Moreover, Frank Hsieh, the DPP's Presidential candidate, has been in hiding for the last couple of weeks, suffering from stress and a sprained ankle, he said on his blog. The one good thing about this: it will keep the KMT locked in its obsessive focus on the meaningless rivalry between Chen and Ma -- another tactical error of the KMT is that they seem to have forgotten it is Frank Hsieh, not Chen Shui-bian, that Ma Ying-jeou is running against.

Ah, Taiwan elections. I think I need to go binge eat now...

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


What "provokes" the Chinese?

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) included
Although Taiwan is frequently painted by intermational news media as "provoking" China, it's becoming more and more apparent that the thing that pisses off China the most is plain old reality.

Clarification: Michael Turton has previously blogged about being provoked as a "policy choice" by Beijing. The post you're reading now is about specific overreactions by Chinese. [/clarification]

Let's take a look at some examples, shall we?

Wouldn't you know it? There's been yet another flag flap resulting from a Taiwanese victory (3rd place!) at an international competition. This most recent one has resulted in the DPP demanding an apology from Beijing -- a demand which I say is long overdue.

Today's Taipei Times has the details in an article titled "MOFA decries Chinese attack in Seattle":
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday lambasted Chinese players at the World Cyber Games in Seattle for roughing up Taiwanese contestants, saying that violence could only increase Taiwan's aversion toward Beijing.

Phoebe Yeh (葉非比), acting deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, said China's suppression of Taiwan had reached an "eccentric" level, with the international community witnessing the profanity and violence of Chinese players at the event.

She cautioned Taiwanese to remain alert when encountering Chinese competitors at international events.

Players are advised to contact the ministry's representative offices for assistance, she said.

Yeh said that Taiwanese player Liu You-chen (劉祐辰) won the bronze medal in the grand final of Project Gotham Racing 3 and displayed the Republic of China (ROC) flag during the award ceremony.

More than 10 Chinese gamers and Chinese media employees scrambled toward the stage to grab the flag, she said.

After the ceremony, Chinese players confronted the Taiwanese contestants, requesting that they surrender Liu and calling Taiwanese players "sons of bitches," the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) reported.

The report said that Chinese players struck at the Taiwanese and tried to prevent them from taking their vehicle back to their hotel. Seattle police were called in to maintain order while the ministry's representative office in Seattle sent personnel to provide assistance.
Geez! "[V]iolence could only increase Taiwan's aversion toward Beijing." Who'd have thunk it?

Here's a South African source of the same news which, translating the Liberty Times a bit more literally, reports that "Chinese gamers yelled insults, saying the Taiwan side was 'given birth by dogs.'" Seeing how the Chinese often refer to Taiwanese as their "fellow countrymen" (同胞), that would be highly ironic. (And here's the original Liberty Times article and one from the pro-blue United Daily News which oddly reports the "mainland" players calling the Taiwanese players "Chinese pigs." WTF?!)

An article in today's Taipei Times titled "Map outrage piques artist's curiosity about Taiwan" reveals how the louder China's whining gets, the more detrimental the intended results are:
Chinese friends' repeated claims that "Taiwan is part of China" in response to her creation of a map of China that did not include Taiwan, is what encouraged visiting artist Susan Stockwell to come and see for herself.


Stockwell, who has done extensive international work, created a paper map of China during her last residency in Nanjing, China. The response from her friends was unexpected, she said, as almost all of them said that she had left out Taiwan, although none of them mentioned Macau or Hong Kong, neither of which were on the map.

Her friends told Stockwell over and over again that Taiwan was a part of China, which made her very angry, she said.

The Royal College of Art graduate said she had learned a little about China-Taiwan relations before, but the reaction to her map dramatically boosted her curiosity. [...]
I bet Stockwell's "Chinese friends" are all letting out a simultaneous "Oops!" right about now.

Naaaaaah! It's more likely that they're cooking up yet another scheme which will blow up in their own faces. (And I think the Taipei Times description of a "paper map" is inaccurate.)

Art for provoking China's sake?
I'm guessing this is Stockwell's "provocative" map
Click the image to go to Stockwell's web site

Words, or lack thereof
Today's pan-blue media news reports are all whining about President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) saying "Taiwan" (台灣) but not saying "ROC" (中華民國). A caller to a talk show (穿透台灣政局大解碼) on SET (三立新聞) at around 3:25 PM today described the pan-blue whining by saying that it makes the KMT look "as if their parents just died" (如喪考妣). I would say that's an understatement.

On the same show, the otherwise apathetic KMT legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) repeatedly scolded the other guests (Wu Kuo-tung [吳國棟] and Hsu Kuo-yung [徐國勇]) for "having only Taiwan in their hearts." So what?! The exact opposite could be said of Fai.

It's not only about Taiwan
Whether it's lead paint in toys, poison in toothpaste, contaminated pet food, their "look the other way" attitude about Burma, or just the occasional accuracy that finds its way into media reports, China always seems to find a way to shirk any responsibility and to blame those who point out their evils. That's what appeasement brings about, and until the world stops doing it, we'll have to endure a lot of gnashing of teeth when it comes to dealing with China. When Mattel apologizes to China, smart people are likely to boycott Mattel for life. That's the way you do it.

I'm sure you can think of many more examples on your own. With the Olympics coming up next August, now is the time to use that as leverage against this international bully. Don't wait until it's too late to speak the truth.

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

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Yeh Chu-lan answers the question

Cut to the chase
In yet another idiotic interpellation, Lee son-of-a-former-premier Ching-hua (李慶華) repeated another version of the same stupid question that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) zealots have been asking their DPP opponents for ages. This time, Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) gave him a direct answer. Tuesday's Taipei Times has the details:
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) asked what National Day the Presidential Office will be celebrating tomorrow after the office refused to put up placards saying "Celebration of the Republic of China's National Day" as it has in the past.

Yeh said the office will celebrate the National Day of the Republic of China, but added that the republic includes only the land inhabited by the 23 million Taiwanese -- and not Outer Mongolia and China as claimed by the former KMT regime.
Why can't others (cough, Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九], cough) be as direct? Yes, the ROC (the current PRC + Tibet + Outer Mongolia) doesn't exist anymore, but some people nevertheless like to celebrate the birthdays of those who left us long ago. And yes, October 10 is the "birthday" of the ROC, but that was a foreign country whose territory had never included Taiwan. (More on that below.)

I'm not 100% pleased with Yeh's answer, but at least she didn't hem and haw and duck and dodge.

Anyway, be prepared for lots of foolishness that will most likely occur during Wednesday mornings activities and will most likely include Lee Ching-hua and the faux "non-partisan" Shih Ming-teh (施明德). (See James Soong [宋楚瑜] in the center of the Taiwan Matters! header for another example of foolishness.)

Abbie... something
An article by author Lee Hsiao-feng (李筱峰) on the editorial page of Tuesday's Taipei Times helps readers try to make sense of this confusing mess:
The ROC that originally did not include Taiwan collapsed in late 1949 as the result of the communist revolution. Its exile government escaped to Taiwan, a place which didn't even participate in the founding of the country but was now commandeered as ROC territory. It's not very strange that Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) said in a meeting in his Yangming Villa on March 13, 1950, that: "Late last year, the Republic of China perished as a result of the degeneration of the Mainland, and today we are the people of a perished nation."

The situation that arises when a country that no longer exists brings its national title, flag, constitution and system to use in a place that wasn't even part of the founding of that state is abnormal, regardless of whether we ar talking about Taiwan or the Republic of China. This is also the reason the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been discussing its "normal country" resolution.

Commenting on the resolution, however, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that, "I don't think there's anything abnormal about the Republic of China."

But there aren't too many perished states around that have brought their national title, flag, constitution and system to a place that wasn't even part of the state's founding. So if you say there's nothing abnormal about that, then you are probably the one that is a bit abnormal.
That's already a good portion of the original, but I highly recommend reading the whole article.

* Fellow blogger Michael Turton quotes an overlapping section of the Lee Hsiao-feng article above in a post on The View from Taiwan about the contorted logic in a South China Morning Post article.
* Read the original Mandarin version of Lee Hsiao-feng's article.
* Tuesday's China Post quotes Yeh slightly differently in an article that gives a completely opposite version of what is planned for tomorrow by the redshirts. It also contains something which seems to be simultaneously a lie and a stunning admission:
[P]articipants in the celebration in the Presidential Plaza tomorrow should not carry large backpacks, clubs, knives, megaphones, balloons, zoom lens cameras, umbrellas, or placards, flyers and banners unrelated to the Double Ten celebration.

These items are banned because they were used by the 'Red shirts' who [...] laid siege to the Presidential Plaza on last year's National Day [...]
* Tuesday's Liberty Times has the Mandarin version of what Yeh said, but with a different focus.
* An essay by pro-democracy writer Jerome F. Keating, PhD on how the US' appeasement of China has led to the current situation here was reprinted in Monday's Taipei Times. Go read it.

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

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Friday, October 05, 2007


Taiwan's Joe Lieberman quits DPP... finally!

What took you so long?!

Joe Lieberman and Taiwan counterpart Shen Fu-hsiung
Cut from the same mold?
Joe Lieberman (faux left) and Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄)
Was either one ever a real "Democrat"?

Thursday's Taipei Times does an excellent job of recapping the reasons why it's such a pleasure to see former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) exit the party. Here's a big chunk of the article which contains some great reminders:
Shen said there was no need for him to stay in the party now that "bad boys" within the DPP felt nothing about his outspokenness against them. He did not elaborate.

"I am a good DPP member. People [in the party] just don't like me," he said.


Shen had been a member since 1992 when he ran for legislator under the party flag.

However, he was long considered a "loner" because of his outspokenness about the party's policies or other members with whom he disagreed.

He created a stir before the 2004 presidential poll when he gave credence to claims by tycoon-turned-fugitive Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) that the businessman had given a donation to first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) 10 years earlier.

Chen Yu-hao said Shen had been a witness to the transaction.

Shen's unwillingness to contradict Chen Yu-hao's allegations threatened to derail President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election campaign in the week before the poll.

Shen has been sharply criticized ever since by pan-green supporters, who denounced him for being a DPP apostate and for making connections with pro-blue figures.

In April 2004, Shen urged pro-green politicians to stop using the phrase "love Taiwan" as an encapsulation of their pro-localization stance, saying the phrase was detrimental to ethnic harmony between the majority Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) and Mainlanders who came to Taiwan after 1945.

In May this year, Shen suffered an embarrassing defeat in the party's legislative primary along with 10 other members of DPP's former New Tide faction.
Kudos to reporter Flora Wang for presenting us with all those juicy details!

As the last sentence of the article clearly indicates, the voters were the ones who didn't like Shen -- not just other DPP politicians. Note, too, that the party allowed him to run for a DPP seat instead of kicking him out. This probably hurt them in the short run, but letting him get out of his own accord, they'll hopefully have a bit more leverage in next January's legislative elections.

The last time I saw the Shen
I seem to remember Shen threatening not so long ago to (UPDATE: links down bottom) "say bad things about the DPP all across Taiwan" if they didn't give in to his demands -- as if he hadn't already been saying such things for a long time. The last time I recall seeing Shen (I took a screenshot at the time) was in the same place he'd been appearing for a good while already -- alongside Little Bo Peep cosplayer Sisy Chen (陳文茜) on her 「文茜小妹大」 ("Sisy Chen, Gangster Gal"), a veritable fiesta of feces-flinging.

Hail, hail, the gang's all here!
June 23, 2007
Left to right: Hsu Hsing-liang (許信良), Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍), (unidentified), Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), (unidentified), and Sisy Chen (陳文茜)

I'm lookin' for clues...
Notice the people with whom Shen yucks it up in the above image. He carries on with this bunch as if they were old Double-O colleagues in espionage.

Well, aren't they? Sisy Chen and Hsu Hsin-liang both left the DPP long ago and took up with the deep blues not so long thereafter. Tang Hsiang-lung is the creator of the 一高二低 ("DPP supporters are old, low-class, and uneducated") meme frequently used by enemy media and is one of the hosts of the ETTV smear-fest 新聞龍鳳配 ("Dragon and Phoenix").

Also notice the "poll" about the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential ticket of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) in the lower portion of the screen. Did 18,791 people really call in, or are those just more faked numbers? Oh, and the station is CTiTV (中天新聞), where the "C" stands for "China."

* Try not to get dizzy as you watch how the China Post views Shen's statements about the first lady through some kind of "Alien Skin" filter.
* Here's a post I wrote in 2004 (shortly before the article linked above came out) which mentions a certain "traitor in [the DPP's] midst."
* Here's another post of mine -- this one from 2006 -- helping Shen answer "What have [I] done to deserve this?" (Go see who Shen was collaborating with and learn precisely why saying "love Taiwan" hurts him so.)
* Here's a post I wrote the day after the one above about Shen running to the mendacious China Times (中國時報) for help.
* Thursday's China Post interprets Shen's departure with their usual spin.
* As usual, there are many more links within each of my own posts linked above.

UPDATE: Shen's appearance on Sisy Chen's show was just a few days before his threat against the DPP. Here are some related links:
** 民进党大佬沈富雄警告:将走遍全台批判民进党 (My translation: "DPP elder Shen Fu-hsiung: I'll criticize the DPP all across Taiwan")
** Here's a news report (WMV file), via FTV and TaiwanUS.net.
** Here's a letter to the editor about Shen's statement (Mandarin) in the June 30, 2007 edition of the Liberty Times (自由時報) by a Tunghai University graduate student of political science. [/end update]

Which side was Shen supposedly on again? Feh! Good riddance to him!

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

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