The US House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the lifting of US government curbs on visits by top Taiwanese leaders.
The House passed the measure by a unanimous voice vote, which supporters said would send a message to China over Taiwan, which the United States is legally bound to defend in any military conflict.
US transit stops by Taiwanese politicians, such as one by President Chen Shui-bian en route to Central America in January, provoke complaints from Beijing, which regards the nationalist island as a renegade province.
The resolution noted that when 'high-level visitors from Taiwan, including the President, seek to come to the US, their request results in a period of complex, lengthy and humiliating negotiations.'
'Lifting these restrictions will help bring a United States friend and ally out of its isolation, which will be beneficial to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,' the text added.
Don't get too excited, though. This is just the kind of thing that leaps through the House, but which the Senate looks at and says "OK, message sent, now we'll let the measure fail." Keep your fingers crossed, knock on wood, and say some sutras. It just might get passed.
Now they need to work on getting more US senior government people out here.
Media notes: Observe those two common formulations -- "the US is legally bound to defend Taiwan" (it isn't) and "China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province." How come nobody ever asks what Taiwan thinks of China?
Kathrin Hille continues the dissembling about Taiwan's UN bid
Hille of BS grows ever higher
In today's Financial Times, Kathrin Hille once again tells things like they aren't. While two of that article's three paragraphs are accurate, one unattributed phrase turns the whole thing into an opposition talking point:
The government of President Chen Shui-bian has this year been pursuing a campaign to join the UN under the name Taiwan in what is widely viewed as a political stunt aimed at building support ahead of presidential elections next March.
"[V]iewed" by whom? She doesn't say, but her use of the word "widely" implies that such "viewers" are all over the place. If you had hoped she'd name at least one of those "viewers," you would have been sorely disappointed.
One week and one day ago, Hille falsely painted DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as "rival[s]" Once again, she's telling big, fat lies, and I wouldn't say so unless I could offer you proof.
Truth, be told Here's the real story on how people view using the name Taiwan to join the UN:
Nearly 88 percent of participants in a poll said Taiwan, as an independent and sovereign entity, does not need China's approval to join any international organization, while 71.3 percent supported the government's bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan."
The poll, released yesterday, was commissioned by the Institute for National Policy Research and conducted by ERA Survey Research Center from June 15 to June 16. A total of 1,070 people were surveyed.
On the question of nation's planned UN bid, 14.1 percent did not support the campaign and 14.6 percent did not answer.
More than 77 percent of respondents did not consider Taiwan to be part of China and more than 80 percent of respondents disapproved of China's recent move at the World Organization of Animal Health to downgrade Taiwan to a non-sovereign member of the organization.
Comparing the poll with a survey recently conducted by Taiwan ThinkTank, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) emphasized that most respondents in the two surveys supported the UN bid and that, regardless of their political affiliations, were upset by China's move against Taiwan and did not think Beijing's behavior was conducive to cross-strait development.
The European Federation of Taiwanese Associations on Sunday expressed its support for Taiwan's bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan"
In a statement at the conclusion of a three-day meeting of the federation held in Fiuggi, near Rome, the Taiwanese expatriates said that they supported the Democratic Progressive Party administration's efforts to seek UN entry.
Who is it that doesn't support this bid? Would they be Kathrin Hille's usual sources, and does she spend so much time with them that she's become a True Believer in whatever they preach, no matter how easily refuted?
Jerome F. Keating floats an important campaign issue for Taiwan's 2008 presidential election
Using an allegory in which an "unwanted relative" illustrates the real-life situation involving Taiwan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and their 2008 presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (currently under indictment for abusing his personal allowance while mayor of Taipei), Jerome paints the bitter picture of Taiwan's recent history.
Here's a brief excerpt:
Transitional justice needs to be a campaign issue for 2008. Ma had promised in 2005 that he would divest the KMT of its "ill gotten gains." So far he has simply sold a few assets and put the money in the KMT's already bulging coffers. The numbers are there; the KMT remains one of the richest parties in the world; Taiwan remains in need of its state assets. Perhaps a brief allegorical tale is in order. It is the Tale of the Unwanted Relative.
The tale begins. A distant relative who has been fighting with his brother in a long battle for possession of their home invades your home and imposes on your hospitality. He tells you he has come to liberate you from your past. For four years (1945-49) he rapes your daughters, takes your sons to fight his battles and pillages your family heritage and your family's home to support his losing effort to retain his own home. At the end of the four years, your home is devastated, he has lost and so he decides to move back in with you.
The analysis It's usually the reporters that make other people cry. Recall, for example, the way the media attacks people like Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), or their daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤). Those kinds of attacks, by their very nature, come from pan-blue media.
A female reporter from SET (三立新聞) got all teary-eyed recently after she asked Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) this simple question:
"Someone has said that these legislators accompanying you on your 'long stay' tour have 'kidnapped' you. How do you feel about this?"
Before responding, Ma checked out the logo on her microphone and noted that she was with SET, a station closer to the pan-greens. He snarkily responded (without actually answering the simple question), "Oh, SET! Only your station would ask this kind of a question."
The little one isn't happy with Ma Ying-jeou either.
If it's a lie, then whodunnit? The question the SET reporter asked was based on a report in the rotten Apple Daily newspaper (蘋果日報), and in fact, a reporter from Era News (年代新聞) -- a very pan-blue TV station -- had asked the same question. At that time, Ma didn't answer the question, but said as he walked quickly away smirking, "That was SET that just asked that question, wasn't it?"
Apparently, it's only acceptable to Ma to be asked questions which make him happy.
Deeper background While the reporter's tears may seem a bit over the top, this case was merely the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. This wasn't the first or only attack against pan-green media by Ma during this "long stay" tour.
When handing out snacks to the reporters on the tour, he placed special emphasis on the fact that he hadn't excluded Liberty Times or SET -- even though he was obviously acting as if he had left them out. This caused all the other (pan-blue media) reporters to laugh. (This sort of behavior among the media workers may have contributed something to the cause of the tears.) Another day when Ma had a cough, the same female SET reporter asked him how he was feeling. Despite having answered similar questions from other (pan-blue media) reporters, Ma very sarcastically told the SET reporter to "Thank [her] boss for his concern" and that he was "very touched."
There's even more. As you will see in the video, Ma repeatedly mocked the SET reporters, both female and male, for asking him questions. After putting out a statement making a half-assed "apology" which claimed that SET's reporting had been repeatedly "unfair" towards he-who-wants-to-be-emperor, Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅志強) said that "even" DPP member Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) called SET "fascist media." Hong, I should point out, is one of the "11bandits" (11寇) which are the Taiwanese counterparts of Joe Lieberman. That is to say, if Hong says such things about supporters of the DPP and is used by the opposition to smear the same supporters, Hong doesn't belong in the DPP!
Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜), director of the Association of Taiwan Journalists (台灣記者協會), likened Ma's behavior to that of the KMT under martial law. Instead of answering a simple question which was hardly "unfair," Ma merely tried to make the reporter look bad instead. Pathetic!
The standards on the other foot On the July 25, 2007 edition of SET's "Talking Show" (大話新聞), footage was shown of the China Times' (中國時報) Washington correspondent Fu Chien-chung (傅建中, AKA Norman Fu) asking DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) a question, then telling him he could only answer "Yes" or "No." How "fair" is that?
Date: Saturday, 28 July, 2007 Venue: 3F, Taipei International Shangri La Hotel (3F, No 201, Section 2, Dunhua South Road, Taipei) Hosted by: Taiwan Thinktank Enquiry line: +886 2 2370 6987 ext 161 (Ms Tseng ) You may also fax your details to +886 2 2370 6994
- This conference will be held in English. - Simultaneous translation equipments will be provided to you upon request.
Download the agenda
The link on the small image above lists the panelists and their background in dealing with the issue of transitional justice.
In the post I wrote yesterday marking the 20th anniversary of the end of martial law in Taiwan, I quoted DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) explaining that forgiveness of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) past offenses against Taiwan (which -- be honest -- continue to this very day) shouldn't include giving them another chance to be Taiwan's stewards. Here's the quote once more:
"We can forgive a 'caretaker' who harmed our people, raped our daughters and stole our property, but we can never allow him to be the caretaker again."
The quote is back in the news today, having started a debate of sorts (in which the participants were in different locations at different times). Reporters who had heard tell of each quote then asked the relevant candidate's opponent for his response. Or something along those lines.
Hong Kong-born KMT candidate Ma "There's-a-seriously-decomposed-corpse-on-the-balcony-of-my-City-Hall" Ying-jeou (馬英九) -- who announced his candidacy just hours after being indicted for misusing his "personal allowance" while he was mayor of Taipei -- responded to Hsieh's comment with the same kind of logic one would expect from a man who rode a bicycle around Taiwan for ten days and informed the world via his personal blog about not wearing underwear while doing so. (Could he be a "Britney Spears" fan?)
The article -- in which Ma wishes people would just forget all about martial law in Taiwan -- relates it like this:
Ma slammed Hsieh for his remarks, saying he "was surprised to hear Hsieh speak ill of others, because Hsieh is religious."
Ma also challenged Hsieh's idea of "reconciliation and coexistence," calling it "hollow words."
Speaking truth to authoritarianism (whether one is religious, agnostic, or atheist) doesn't count as "speak[ing] ill of others" (造口業) -- a phrase which implies unjust criticism. In the case of Hsieh's description of the KMT, it's simply truth that must be told because of the vast media conspiracy that would prefer for the public to ignore the dark past (and present) and focus on such hollow words (如空話) as "handsome" instead. Hey, Ma "Informed-on-his-Taidu-classmates-during-a-time-when-that-could-get-them-killed" Ying-jeou, people called Ted Bundy "handsome," too.
But the KMT's double-standard-bearer (Ma) didn't stop there. Continuing to avoid logic at all costs, he actually buttressed the validity of Hsieh's criticism with this next bit:
"The fact that the KMT was bad in the past doesn't prove the DPP is good now," Ma said.
First things first: "[T]he KMT was bad," and that's a fact, Jack!
But just in case your head is spinning from Ma's non sequitur, let's break down the "logic":
The fact that noun A was adjective B in the past doesn't prove that the opposite of noun A is the opposite of adjective B now.
Replacing those with some words chosen off the top of my head, I come up with this: "The fact that the dog was furry in the past doesn't prove that the cat is hairless now." Or, "The fact that Hitler was evil in the past doesn't prove that [choose your own contemporary opposite] is benevolent now."
As you can see, the statement is utter nonsense.
Ma "Foolishness-doesn't-prove-anything" Ying-jeou, therefore, can't even prove his own assertion (that the DPP is not good) -- but he does bolster my assumption above that the DPP -- despite all its faults -- is pretty much the polar opposite of the KMT. No wonder he never passed the bar exam.
The beleaguered former Taipei mayor (Ma) stumbles onward while gazing at himself in the rearview mirror:
"The KMT has stepped down [following the 2000 presidential election] and has reflected on its conduct during the martial law period," he said.
They love to claim that they "reflect" (反省) -- in a genteel and inscrutable Confucian manner -- on the errors of their murderous ways, but we still have Ma "Singapore-is-a-good-model-to-follow" Ying-jeou spewing nonsense. If any such "reflection" had actually occurred, the die-hard KMT members would have returned their stolen assets to the people of Taiwan, donated whatever was left to the victims of the "228 Massacre" and subsequent White Terror, and perhaps even gone home to the "motherland" to be with the ones they love. Whatever! Hsieh says to stay here and enjoy the democracy earned on the backs of the Taiwanese if you want -- just don't expect the people who call Taiwan their motherland to want you to be their president.
Hsieh puts the final nail in the conversation with this alliterative verse:
Hsieh said the victims [of political persecution during the martial law era] should forgive their persectors but never forget.
"Those who forget history will be forgotten by history. Those who abandon history will be abandoned by history," Hsieh said.
"Those who have harmed others are in no position to ask their victims to forget."
I can't wait to see these two go head-to-head in a real debate on live television.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in Taiwan. That 38-year-long era was like a knife plunged into the hearts of the Taiwanese. And current members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have the nerve to call the removal of this knife a "gift to the Taiwanese."
WTF? That's almost like saying that their own raping of Taiwan prevented China from doing so. Oh, wait...
Today's Taipei Times brings us a bunch of good info. Here are the links along with some samples:
Kaohsiung Incident leader Lin I-hsiung's mother and his twin daughters were brutally murdered on Feb. 28, while the elder daughter was seriously injured. The identity of the murderer remains unknown. [Maddog: Unknown to anyone outside of the KMT (whose secret police had the house under 24-hour surveillance), that is.]
Carnegie University professor and supporter of Taiwan's democracy movement Chen Wen-cheng (陳文成) was found dead a day after he returned to Taiwan for a visit and was taken from his residence by agents from the Taiwan Garrison Command, a secret police and state security body.
Chiang Nan (江南), a Taiwanese author writing a biography on Chiang Ching-kuo, was killed on Oct. 16 at his house in San Francisco by a Taiwanese gangster commissioned by the Military Intelligence Bureau. Chiang Ching-kuo started the second term of his presidency.
While celebrating the anniversary of the lifting of martial law in 1987, it is easy to forget what life was like at a time when many aspects of society -- including books, music and TV and radio programs -- were heavily censored and under the tight control of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.
Dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) declared martial law on May 19, 1949, after his KMT troops lost the Chinese civil war to Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) Communist Party and withdrew to Taiwan.
Martial law was not lifted until July 15, 1987.
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has attributed the lifting of martial law to the social forces that came into effect following the Kaohsiung Incident, with the immediate cause being the founding of the DPP.
The December 1979 Kaohsiung Incident occurred when the KMT authorities broke up an anti-government rally organized by Formosa magazine.
Ten days after the DPP was founded, then president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) announced he would lift martial law and allow the formation of opposition parties.
"We can forgive a 'caretaker' who harmed our people, raped our daughters and stole our property, but we can never allow him to be the caretaker again," he [DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷)] said. "It is not a matter of right and wrong. It is a matter of defending the character of Taiwanese people."
The "three wars" strategy refers to Beijing's plan to threaten Taiwanese psychologically, block Taiwan's participation in international organizations and "brainwash" Taiwan and its allies through "united front" (統戰) propaganda aimed at extending its influence in Taiwan.
"The end goal of the Chinese government's 'three wars' is to make Taiwanese believe that Taiwan is part of China," said Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志), president of the Taiwan New Century Foundation think tank, which hosted the forum.
"Strengthening Taiwanese people's sense of national identification is the best defense against the threats post by China's 'three wars,'" Chen said.
Despite all the informative articles above, the same edition of the same paper sows seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt when they should be promoting bravery, dedication, and clarity instead. There's a really bad editorial today (Could Antonio Chiang [江春男, AKA 司馬文武] be the "concern troll" writing this garbage?) equating two things which are actually quite different:
With the public spotlight on the end of the martial law era, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) finds itself in an awkward position, being the sole political party responsible for subjecting Taiwan to 38 years of martial law that brought the violence of the White Terror and other tragedies.
The KMT's quandry [sic] lies partly in the fact that the victims of the dictatorship are still around to recount their stories. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the party's heavyweights today also played important party roles during the latter part of the martial law era. They were part of and upheld an oppressive system. They were silent on the issue of oppression then, but present themselves as champions of democracy now.
But the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) may not be in a position to boast either. Although it deserves praise for the actions of its members at crucial points in the past -- the Kaohsiung Incident and the struggle for democracy, for example -- the DPP should not, twenty years after martial law has ended, still be relying on Taiwan's collective memory of dark and painful days to win votes.
The DPP should be concerned that it's [sic] biggest contribution continues to be achievements from two decades ago. During the seven years of its administration, the DPP has made little progress in switching from an opposition party mentality to that of a governing party. Unfortunately, the DPP has far fewer laurels to show for its time in the presidential office than it gathered on the road to democracy.
I guess the writer of that piece forgot that the KMT controls a big chunk of the legislature to this very day. There's nothing at all disingenuous or unseemly about the DPP's use of the topic to gain the votes it needs in order to get things done. The editorial's comparison about "laurels" earned by the DPP now versus the leaps made 20 years ago reminds me of the inaccurate comparison made between the steady progress of Taiwan's well-developed economy and China's burgeoning economy. The Frank Hsieh quote from above bears repeating: "We can forgive a 'caretaker' who harmed our people, raped our daughters and stole our property, but we can never allow him to be the caretaker again."
Fellow Taiwan Matters blogger Michael Turton was up early on this Sunday morning publishing some goodies of his own over at The View from Taiwan -- including something which may further elucidate my comment about the economy just above:
Taiwan's "problems" are the problems of any advanced economy, complicated by the political threats from China, and perceived through the strong cultural belief here that life is a zero-sum game and if you're not at the top of the heap, you must be at the bottom. Most nations would take joy in Taiwan's 4% annual growth rate and strong electronics sector. Instead, we have angst. Some of it is justified, given the decline in purchasing power faced by the middle and working classes, but it is also true that the public in Taiwan could stand a little education in the problems of growth when your economy is already quite wealthy.
So what is Beijing up to? They know from their pals in the KMT that the UN referendum is an election year ploy that will have no real effect on anything. So this isn't about "Taiwan independence" really. It's about stopping or defusing an election year ploy, on behalf of its allies, the KMT. It is also part of its long-term policy of making Chen Shui-bian look like a "radical."
A Maddog or a stray dog? "And where have you been for the past couple of months, Maddog?" you may ask. Some of that time has been taken up tracking some of the anti-Taiwan memes in the Western media which fly in the face of reality. Here are the pages I've posted so far:
Due to the sheer volume of these memes, it's difficult for me to keep those pages completely up-to-date, but I'll do my best. Referring to them from time to time should be a real eye-opener, and I hope you will pass the information on to others in order to counter the effect of the memes.
In his interview With Chen Shui-bian Edward Cody of the Washington Post misunderstands Chen. Chen is finishing a question about his role ins the Kaohsiung incident:
Moreover, this democratization took place not only in the political sphere but also spread to the farmers' movement, the labor movement, the women's rights movement and the indigenous peoples' rights movement. It spread like wildfire.
By indigenous peoples, Chen means Taiwanese aborigines, not ethnic Minnan or Hakka. But Cody's next question shows confusion on this point.
Q3. That's what I was going to ask you. How important was that factor, in other words, indigenous vs. mainland Chinese? Was everybody an indigenous Taiwanese in this early movement? Or were there also mainland Chinese involved?
But Cody does get another of Chen's explicit statements on Taiwanese independence:
The principle of sovereignty entails a respect for and acceptance of the reality and status quo of Taiwan's being an independent, sovereign country. Taiwan must not be belittled, marginalized, or treated as a local entity, nor may attempts be made to delegitimize our government or refuse to recognize that this government wields public authority.
Note here: The status quo is that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country.