Ma Ying-jeou's thugs
SUMMARY: Four legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- a party which frequently claims their opponents will use "dirty tricks" (奧步) to win the election -- initiated actions this past Wednesday which arrogantly overstepped their authority. Just 10 days before the presidential election, the legislators intruded into the campaign headquarters of those very opponents under the guise of conducting an "inspection." Such things are supposed to be handled by prosecutors (檢察官) with warrants.
Although it doesn't appear that they actually gained access to the campaign offices, they did abuse their authority by refusing the building's first-floor security's demands for them to sign in and by imagining that they have any such power to conduct "inspections" of private property.
DPP candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) summed things up quite well with this analogy:
[...] it is all nice and well that Ma apologized, but it shows he cannot control his party's legislators.Whether they got "in the door" or not is not the issue here. It's about their intentions.
As Ma yesterday said that it was a public issue whether Hsieh's campaign was illegally leasing the office building, Hsieh said he had no problem discussing the issue. However, it was another issue for KMT legislators to barge into his campaign headquarters and then condemn the violence of his [meaning Hsieh's] team members.
"It is to mistake the effect for the cause," he said. "It is like a woman who is sexually harassed by a man and slaps the man on the face. The man turns around and then accuses the woman of brutality."
The DPP has subsequently produced the lease for their office space for the public to view and make up their own minds:
The lease agreement
(Hsieh's campaign rented the office space under
the company name 「美夢成真」, or "Dreams Come True")
(Click image to enlarge)
(See also the article which accompanied the above image in the Liberty Times [自由時報] print edition)
On Friday, KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) was still "urging the Executive Yuan to investigate whether or not Hsieh's camp had occupied the bank's property for free." Read on, and see behind the multiple curtains of this crazy mess.
(REMINDER: Hovering your cursor on most links in my posts will reveal extra information in a small pop-up.)
Villainy and vengeance
Wednesday evening, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Alex Fai (費鴻泰) (caucus whip), Chen Chieh (陳杰), Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), and Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) (an officer in Shih Ming-teh's [施明德] "redshirt" army [紅衫軍]) went to DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) campaign headquarters in Taipei looking for information they claimed would show an illicit relationship between Hsieh and First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) or that Hsieh's campaign was either paying unfairly-reduced rent or none at all.
It began earlier in the afternoon with an interpellation of First Bank manager (總經理) Huang Hsien-chuan (黃獻全) and Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽) at the Legislative Yuan by Alex Fai during which Fai says he wants the two others to accompany him to DPP headquarters the following morning, then suddenly changes his mind and wants to go "right away" (馬上). See the flip-flop between the 3:33 and 3:43 marks in the video below.
7:16 YouTube video: "大話新聞 2008-03-12 Part 1-1"
According to an article in Thursday's Taiwan News, they used the excuse that they were doing a "fire inspection." After the four ignored first-floor security, went up to Hsieh's office on the thirteenth floor, and then took the elevator down to the third floor -- where they were blocked in by campaign staff -- police were called to the scene. When police arrived, they began to escort the four legislators away (no one was being placed under arrest), but a large crowd had apparently already gathered outside.
Son-of-a-gangster Lo Ming-tsai fled the scene amidst the pushing and shoving going on between DPP supporters and the many police who were outside the offices. These supporters wanted to legally detain the three remaining suspects until prosecutors arrived. The police were able to remove the KMT legislators from the scene a couple of hours later after prosecutors finally arrived to verify the DPP's claims and the DPP unblocked the exits.
Alex Fai (費鴻泰) on Thursday
I'm no Dr. Bill Frist, but I can detect neither an ear injury
nor any signs of brain activity by watching this guy on TV.
(Click image to enlarge)
As the KMT legislators were making their way to the police car, someone in the huge crowd that formed outside appears to have landed or nearly landed a blow on or just behind Fai's right ear, but in the footage of him "apologizing" for the incident Thursday afternoon, a medium close-up (above) didn't reveal any problems with his ear, chin, or any other part of the exterior of his head. TV images on Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon showed him variously in a wheelchair and on a hospital gurney. He has since conjectured that he's being persecuted because he is a "waishengren" (外省人) (his own term), or so-called "mainlander." (See video of that twisted excuse in Part 2 of the links here [21:11 on-screen "也許衝著我是外省人的關係"]).
Alex "Faker" Fai (費鴻「太過分」, screen right)
"stretch-er-ing" the truth on Wednesday
(Click image to enlarge)
KMT presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), then made a statement "denouncing" (譴責) the violence "on both sides," obfuscating the fact that if these members of his own party had stayed in the Legislative Yuan and not overstepped their authority, the day's events would not have occurred. Subsequent statements from Ma included half-hearted apologies which must be seen to be truly understood.
Who's to blame?
If these four legislators did this without Ma's or KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung's (吳伯雄) knowledge or permission, shouldn't they be kicked out of the party? (Pre-completion update: Fai has offered to quit the party, but he wasn't kicked out.) If Ma and/or Wu did know about it, shouldn't they step down from their respective positions? And are the KMT's "apologies" really apologies when caucus whip Lin Yi-shih says that "these four legislators didn't do anything wrong." Is he advocating Gestapo-like tactics? What if the shoe were on the other foot?
Furthermore, can the KMT's "apologies" really count as apologies when a front-page ad in Thursday's United Daily News (聯合報) has Wu making the excuse that they "went to the wrong place at the wrong time"? Would it have been okay at "another time"?
These were not mere "rogue supporters" -- they were legislators, including a caucus whip and a convener of the Legislative Yuan Finance Committee. What the fuck kind of Bizarro World do these people live in?!
With a report by Next magazine (一週刊) just coming out alleging that KMT legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) has US citizenship (or did during her legislative terms) and another story about Ma Ying-jeou's father Ma Ho-ling (馬鶴凌) having had an affair several years ago, one might suspect that Wednesday's incident was a KMT dirty trick to distract attention from these other things.
If, as Ma-the-son says, there's nothing to the green card story, why does he continue trying to divert everyone's attention toward the Central Election Commission's (CEC) report that said he doesn't have US citizenship when that's a horse of a completely different color?
Is this going to hurt Ma and help Hsieh to win the election? Will this event (四個笨蛋) be blamed if Hsieh wins the March 22 election the way those pesky "two bullets" (兩顆子單) were blamed when Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won in 2004? Only time will tell.
* SocialForce.tw provides links to video of the event which I haven't seen any of the news channels broadcasting. The video begins with still pictures unaccompanied by sound, but then you can hear DPP officials describing just what they were doing as it happened.
* The DPP Youth blog (韋．革里拉軍團誌) posted video showing the facetious attitudes of the pan-blue legislators as they did their dirty deeds.
* "Dirty tricks"? I've got yer dirty tricks right here! Via Friday's China Post:
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese opposition lawmaker said Friday he will consider suicide if party presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou loses the presidential election on March 22.If you even entertain the thought that Fai would do the same, you're a fool!
Alex Fai of the opposition Nationalists said he felt extremely sad about the controversy surrounding an opposition invasion into the Taipei headquarters of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh on Wednesday.
If the incident costs Ma his presidential victory, Fai said, "I will not exclude the possibility of ending my own life."
Before January's legislative poll, DPP lawmaker Wang Shih-cheng said he would jump into the sea if his party failed to win a single seat in the city of Taipei.
The Nationalists ended up with a clean sweep there, and Wang made good on his promise - though without any lasting ill effects.
* Thursday's Taiwan News uses active verbs in the headline "KMT lawmakers cause chaos after storming Hsieh's office," telling readers just who did what as well as when and how they did it. (The link is to a cached version, because Taiwan News articles are inaccessible to non-subscribers after a week or so. I've saved the original page -- with images [try these links: 1, 2] -- as a PDF file for when the online version disappears.) Check out how Ma Ying-jeou deflects the blame:
Speaking in Chiayi yesterday, Ma expressed "regret" over the incident and censored the Hsieh camp for "violence."(I think they mean "censured.")
* Thursday's China Post unsurprisingly makes it look like the incident happened spontaneously with the passive headline, First melee erupts as presidential race heats up. Note also that it's the "[f]irst" melee. Do they have inside information about plans for more such incidents? Foreigner in Formosa points out that the geographically-challenged newspaper hid the story. (I had found it via a Google search for info related to this incident.) While it was a front-page headline in the print edition (I saw it with my own eyes while I was at work), a link to the article was missing from the front page of the March 13, 2008 online edition (which I also verified with my own eyes). Try out their "select date" function at the bottom of their front page, and see for yourself.
* In this video from CTiTV, you can see that their videographer accompanied the four legislators in the elevator. The anchor says that their personnel "didn't see anyone kick or even touch the glass door" -- just 11 seconds after it appears that one of them does touch the door (1:50 in the video). Could it be that they're the only ones with a camera who saw it and that they're just not showing us the footage? Don't forget what the anchor just said, basically repeating what the reporter said around the 1:40 to 1:45 mark and what happened between the smoke and the mirrors. This report is presented as if the "evil DPP" set a "trap" for the "kind and gentle" KMT, as if the latter didn't decide on their own to show up at the headquarters of the former. And the more the reporter and anchor say that about the door "not being kicked," the more I suspect that it did happen.
* An article in Friday's China Post makes me wonder if Lo Ming-tsai is the door kicker:
Hsieh aides alleged that Fai and company kicked the door open to intrude. Fai said they all entered "peacefully."While Fai says he'll "quit ... politics altogether," Lo Ming-tsai -- the one who fled the scene before police arrived -- promises a much lesser sacrifice. Gee, I wonder why. (I also wonder if something is lost in translation here. Did they actually "kick [in/open]" any doors, or was it more like "barging in" or "intruding"?)
"If I did," Fai said, "I'll quit as lawmaker and politics altogether."
His three colleagues vowed to follow suit after they offered an apology.
Lawmaker Lo Ming-tsai said he would resign as convener of the Legislative Yuan finance committee, should he have kicked open the door.
The other two legislators, Chen Chieh and Luo Shu-lei, also asked to be forgiven for their sally, which was intended to find out whether Hsieh paid for an extra office on the thirteenth floor of the bank's building without paying rent.
"Please produce evidence that we kicked in the door," all four said, "and we all would resign."
* Another article in Friday's China Post quotes DPP candidate Frank Hsieh saying:
"It wasn't violence," Hsieh went on. He likened the free-for-all to a tit-for-tat. "Can you say a girl slapping a man trying to rape her is committing an act of violence?" he asked.What Hsieh means there is that he doesn't accept Ma's description of the violence being "on both sides." You tell him, Frank!
* The BBC goes FUBAR with this story, claiming that "MPs from both sides were arrested." That did not happen on this planet, but the usual suspect's name (Caroline Gluck) appears in the story:
According to the BBC correspondent in Taipei, Caroline Gluck, the run-up to elections in Taiwan are normally heated affairs, but violence-free.I guess Gluck "forgot" about the assassination attempt on Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) in March 2004, the gas bomber in December 2004, and so many other similar "violence-free" incidents. Michael Turton blogged this one in more detail while I was busy with this post.
So the clash at the DPP campaign offices - the first case of any disorder ahead of this month's presidential elections - was widely reported, our correspondent adds.
RELATED BLOG POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES:
* October 28, 2007: Taiwan's opposition kidnaps political discourse, in which the hissy-fit throwers need somebody to call the waaaaambulance!
* October 27, 2007: The KMT in Taiwan vs. the GOP in the USA, in which the "phony sanctimony and faux outrage" of the party that brought us George W. Bush is compared with that of the KMT.
* June 21, 2006: Pan-blue crybabies find Taiwanese incomprehensible, in which their complete lack of desire to integrate into Taiwan's society is made perfectly apparent.
* November 9, 2005: Topsy-turvy Taiwan, in which the pan-blue media turn death threats against politicians into "non-political" "performance art."
* December 18, 2004: A LAUNDRY LIST OF PAN-BLUE VIOLENCE
* May 20, 2004: "United" only in their divisiveness, in which the losers of that year's election stand behind shields of irony while accusing Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of "hiding behind bulletproof glass." (Foiled yet again!)
* April 21, 2004: I've got your "ethnic divisiveness" right here!, in which I insert a hyphen into "anal-retentive analysis" and pick at minute details such as telling bald-faced lies.
These aren't "tags" (at least not in KMT Bizarro World): Taiwan, 台灣, Chinese Nationalist Party, 中國國民黨, Kuomintang, KMT, 國民黨, violence, 暴力, dirty tricks, 奧步, Ma Ying-jeou, 馬英九, Wu Poh-hsiung, 吳伯雄, China Post, 英文中國郵報, Taiwan News, 台灣英文新聞, BBC, 英國廣播公司, Caroline Gluck, 凱若琳葛拉克
Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!