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

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

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

Thanks to all those who voted for Taiwan Matters!
in the Taiwanderful Best Taiwan Blog Awards 2010!
You've got great taste in blogs!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


DPP on the Wu-Hu Lovefest

Xuenfang Battery in Tainan, on Guanghua Street, now enclosed in the grounds of a Buddhist nunnery.

The DPP came out with a statement on Saturday morning saying that the Wu-Hu talks had inflicted "five major wounds" on Taiwan:

  • Harming Taiwan's democracy by regressing the pattern of cross-strait negotiations back before even the October 1992 semi-public SEF-ARATS talks to the party to party talks called for in the "Nine Points" issued in 1981 by Ye Jianying and by returning to an era of "the party leads the government." The negotiations are "private negotiations" and the KMT neither has to report to the Legislative Yuan nor be subject to any monitoring.

  • Harming Taiwan's sovereignty as Wu did not even dare to mention "one China, separate expressions," turning Taiwan`s President Ma into Taipei's Mister Ma. Thus did not just set aside disputes, it set aside Taiwan's sovereignty. Wu`s request for Beijing's help in arranging Taiwan`s international space also reduced Taiwan`s sovereignty into a bargaining chip with China so that even before negotiations have begun, Taiwan has already made a serious concession by Wu`s agreement to "hollow out" Taiwan`s sovereignty.

  • Harming Taiwan's negotiation process by placing the KMT-CCP platform ahead of the SEF - ARATS channel and even implying with the timing that only because of the party-to-party talks and has allowed China to portray the June 11-14 talks as the product of party-to-party negotiations and has thus created confusion between the KMT-CCP "Track Two" and the SEF-ARATS "Track One."

  • Harming Taiwan's security as, while proclaiming that the people on both sides of the strait belonged to the same Chinese nation had shared the love of compatriots, Hu has not done anything to eliminate the threat to the 23 million Taiwan people by 1,400 missiles aimed at Taiwan or to cease oppressing Taiwan`s international space or blocking Taiwan's entry into the
    WHO. The only result of the Wu-Hu talks has been the depreciation of Taiwan's sovereignty.

  • Harming Taiwan's economic interests by focusing solely on the opening of the Taiwan market to Chinese tourists and the initiation of direct weekend passenger charter flights, both of which are more favorable to the PRC`s interests, and failing to discuss the question of direct charter cargo flights, which is more in Taiwan's interest and would facilitate the retention of R&D and precision component production in Taiwan and locating assembly operations in China.

  • The DPP statement said it did not oppose contact between political parties in the PRC and Taiwan on the basis of upholding Taiwan`s national interests, promoting cross-strait peace, publicizing Taiwan`s democracy and assisting China`s democratization.

    However, the DPP maintained that such interaction should not involve matters of public authority or national interest and noted that if such contacts did do so, they would be violating the statute on cross-strait relations, which specifically bans any individuals or organizations from engaging in negotiations with mainland organizations or government on matters that involve public authority or interest.

    Some incisive commentary from the DPP. Wu has granted the PRC everything it wants and gotten nothing from the PRC. As a perceptive commentator pointed out to me, it looks like the public elected the KMT to fix the economy by moving closer to China, but the KMT is moving closer to China regardless, and the economy is just an excuse. In a society with a robust and fair-minded media, the disjunct between the goals of the KMT and the people might cause serious problems, but with the way the media serves the Blues....

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    Friday, May 30, 2008


    The sound of rising prices in Taiwan

    We hate price hikes... No, wait!

    The administration of Taiwan's new president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been trying to place the blame for the rapid price hikes that are overwhelming the nation on the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). But anyone who was paying attention should remember the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) demands for the DPP to freeze prices while using campaign banners such as this:

    When an election was at stake, things were different!
    A campaign banner from before Ma Ying-jeou was elected
    Translation: "The price of rice, gas/oil, flour, pork, tissue... up! up! UP!
    Folks, can you endure it?
    It's time to change the ruling party. (#2) As president, Ma will immediately fight for the economy.
    Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Li-nah implores you."

    Note: Chen Li-nah (陳麗娜) has connections to KMT vote buying.

    Do you see yet another KMT double standard here?

    An inadvertant pun for Ma Ying-jeou
    Onstage at Ma's inauguration party at the Taipei Arena (小巨蛋) -- dressed entirely in blue -- 1970s chanteuse Fong Fei-fei (鳳飛飛) performed 「掌聲響起」 (zhǎngshēng xiǎngqǐ) "The Sound of Applause Erupts"). A rather fitting pun on the title changes the characters to 「漲聲響起」 (zhǎngshēng xiǎngqǐ): "The Sound of Rising Prices Erupts." I should credit blogger "kusotare," who uploaded a recording of the tune accompanied by video of the shockingly-long gas lines at 5 locations in Sanchong (三重) on Tuesday:

    【影片】08.05.27 馬英九無預警宣布汽油漲價當晚@三重(5處加油站)
    Translation: (Video clip) May 27, 2008, The night Ma Ying-jeou's gov't announced the gas price hike without warning

    Beacons of one thing or another: , , , , ,

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

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    Wednesday, May 28, 2008


    How TVBS treats different presidents

    Two standards to fool them all?

    The standard by which TVBS (AKA BS-TV) judges Taiwan's new president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is poles apart from that by which they have handed down judgment on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

    A post on the SocialForce.tw forum brings us the links, quotes, and commentary. I've merely provided the translations:
    (->) 政院擬降稅 汽油可能只漲4.5元 2008年5月27日 [TVBS article, via Yahoo News]

    Executive Yuan to incrementally raise gas prices, price might only go up NT$4.5 -- May 27, 2008


    Let's look at some older news:

    (->) 超貴!油價漲2元 最快今公佈 2006年4月18日 [TVBS article]

    Super expensive! Gas prices to go up NT$2, today at the earliest -- April 18, 2006

    [Excerpt:] 一大早加油站就湧進大批人潮,因為油價這回不但要漲,

    The large early-morning crowd at gas stations was not only because of the price increases, but possibly also because this is a record high.
    [Excerpt:] 假設以每公升調漲2元來計算,民眾平均每次加油40到50公升,

    Assuming a NT$2 price increase times 40 to 50 liters per tank will add close to NT$100 to the average person's fill-up, adding up to a considerable amount over time.

    (->) 油價狂漲! 馬痛批:扁政府做太差 2007年10月30日 [TVBS article]

    Insane gasoline price hike! Ma complains: Chen government is doing a terrible job -- October 30, 2007

    [Commentary:] 漲了4.5元叫"只漲",漲了2元叫"超貴,歷史新高",
    3.9*50=195 快200元耶

    An increase of NT$4.5 is called "only," whereas an increase of NT$2 is "super expensive, a historic high."
    Is 2 greater than 4.5?
    The reporter's logic is puzzling.
    Isn't it strange that today's reporters can't help people calculate what the additional costs of filling up will be?
    NT$3.9 times 50 [liters per tank] equals 195 -- almost NT$200!
    Regular people can't survive, la~!

    [Sarcastic commentary:] 扁政府真是做太差了,沒能力讓大家看到這種排隊加油沒有盡頭的奇蹟,

    The Chen Shui-bian government did such a poor job, not being able to let everyone experience the wonder of neverending gas lines. Mr. Ma is great!
    I suppose the sarcasm in the final paragraph is obvious to most people, but I want to point it out just in case there might be some stubborn Ma fans out there who still don't get it.

    Photographic documentation
    I do have one thing to add to this. Here's a composite photo showing the gas prices last night and then tonight:

    Gas prices before and after the *first* increase under the Ma Ying-jeou presidency
    C'mon feel the joys!
    (and then demand some alternatives!)

    Even saying "I told you so" won't make me feel better.

    Red balloons: , , , , , , , ,

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

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    Tuesday, May 27, 2008


    A new slogan for Ma Ying-jeou

    This is gonna hurt you just as much as it'll hurt me!

    Taiwan's new president, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) -- who is neither a lawyer nor an economist -- used the double entendre馬上就會好」 as a slogan during his presidential campaign. The two meanings of that slogan are: "Things (specifically, the economy) will be good right away"; and "If Ma ascends (to the presidency), then things will be good."

    Are you ready for this? (你準備好這些事情了嗎?)
    I'd hope that even hardcore Ma supporters would be questioning their values by now. Just for starters, on the very day of Ma's inauguration, the TAIEX dropped 226 points:

    TAIEX down 226 points on Ma's inauguration day
    That can't be a good sign!
    (image via the pro-blue Era News, May 20, 2008)

    And it didn't stop there. In the next 4 days, share prices continued to dive, bringing the post-inauguration drop to 460.67 points so far, or approximately 5%. Although tourism stocks "outperformed after the Cabinet said on Thursday that it remained committed to bringing in more tourists from China," couldn't that "commit[ment]" just be more empty promises?

    The changes keep a-comin'
    Ruh roh! Another day has passed since I wrote the preceding paragraph, and the stock market has plummeted another 126.90 points for a whopping total of 587.37 points, bringing Monday's market close to 8707.83 points!

    Much more will soon become painfully apparent for everyone in Taiwan.

    Shadoobie, shattered
    Increases in the price of cement (a more than 10% increase), gasoline (20%), electricity (20 - 30%), natural gas (30%), fertilizer (50%!), and many other commodities are imminent, and their effects will be widely felt.

    A chart of *some* of the impending price increases
    Is there any escape from such "joys"?
    (image via SET News)

    Tough love?
    As you'd expect, Ma has an "explanation" (which isn't really satisfactory) for the "pain" (Ma's own term) that will soon be felt:

    [Maddog translation:]
    It's better to hurt for a short time than to hurt for a long time
    That's simply amazing coming out of the party of "活不下去" ("can't stand it")!

    At the same time, his campaign promise of bringing an ecoonomic growth rate of 6% by the end of this year -- part of his "633 policy" -- has already been "downsized" to probably less than 4.8%, according to Council of Economic Planning and Development Chairman Chen Tian-jy (陳添枝):

    [Maddog translation:]
    It will be difficult to reach even a 4.8% economic growth rate this year
    The GDP was 5.7% last year under the administration of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and with over half a year left for Ma to fulfill his promises, it makes me wonder how anyone could have believed that his words weren't mere campaign rhetoric far beyond his actual capabilities.

    In just one week, it's all gone Pete Tong!
    In light of the empty promises and impending price increases described above, I've come up with a new slogan for Ma's regime:
    ''Instant Pain!''
    "Ma's presidency will cause a lot of pain!" or "Instant agony!"
    (a slogan which I'd prefer not to be true)
    (More easily-spoken substitute: 「馬上好痛!」)

    Oh, and a big one-fingered victory salute to President Ma for removing "台灣" (the Hanzi for "Taiwan") from the Presidential Office web site before the end of his inaugural speech. It's quite curious how he and his party are still acting like sore losers.

    The KMT hates Taiwan. Is the feeling mutual?
    If the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) doesn't hate Taiwan, WTF could their excuse be?
    (image via the print edition of the Liberty Times, May 21, 2008)
    (Here's the text which accompanies the above image.)

    At least there aren't any dead bodies rotting on the balcony of the Presidential Office so far -- that we know about!

    Wake-up calls: , , , , , , ,

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

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    Sunday, May 18, 2008


    Deep thoughts, May 18, 2008

    Forward to the distant past

    Given the authoritarian background of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), what should we expect during the presidential inauguration of their candidate, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) just two days from now (Tuesday, May 20, 2008)?

    First of all, we probably won't hear too much about his party's "love" for Taiwan, there probably won't be any pro-green performers, and I'm pretty sure there won't be any big-name pan-green politicians suggesting that it's okay to [do something terrible to] the new president.

    But what will we see and hear?

    Will we hear chants of "Long live the Great Ma Ying-jeou" and/or "Long live the ROC"? Will there be a speech by Ma calling himself Taiwan's "leader" instead of "president"? Will he suggest de-rectifying the name of the Presidential Office (總統府) to "Long Live Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石] Hall" (介壽館)?

    Or will we witness a game of "remove all the ROC flags from Chinese Taipei"? Will there be talk of "a peace treaty with" (AKA "unification with," "surrender to," or "absorption by") the KMT's "mommyland" (祖國)? Will there be praise for all the "progress" our bellicose neighbor China has made in the last, um, er...? (Better not look back too many days!) Will Ma be introduced by the man of whom he once said he hoped the KMT Youth Corps would produce another like him -- the unelected Chinese leader Hu Jintao (胡錦濤)?

    There's also a question that stirs one's curiosity about the maturity of Ma's party and its members: Will KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) get his preferred seat as close as possible to Ma Ying-jeou's lap?

    Watch it
    If you're here in Taiwan, you'll most likely be able to watch the spectacle on all the news channels -- some of which are more nausea-inducing than others -- but it will also be webcast live on May 20 from 8:30 to 11:45 AM (Taiwan time) at the E-government Entry Point of Taiwan (I can't find a more specific link) and the Taiwan Government Information Office (the link is right at the top of the center column).

    Whatever happens, 我快活不下去了啦!!!!!1!!1!

    Recondite ruminations: , , , , , , ,

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

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    Tuesday, May 13, 2008


    Deep thoughts, May 13, 2008

    Shifty in Shanghai

    If Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) were an agent of the PRC government, would it be any easier for him to just shuffle off to Shanghai, China to "investigate" the Papua New Guinea diplomatic fund scandal and "uncover" info related to the case in less than 12 hours?

    Wouldn't these "investigative" "duties" further explain why Xinhua (新華) likes to put quotation marks around the word "legislator" when they write about Taiwan?

    Even if Chiu isn't an agent of the PRC government, can you say "Really big shew"?

    I bet the real answers are far, far away from where Chiu Yi is telling the media and the public to look. After all, the suspect in question, Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖) was said to have been in the US at last sighting.

    Link details (plus one):
    * May 9, 2008, Central News Agency (Taiwan's national news agency): Diplomacy scandal suspect will consider returing to Taiwan: lawyer
    Lawyer Chang Hsiu said Ching will hold a news conference in Los Angeles prior to May 20, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration steps down, to provide a clear picture of what happened, and specifically to give the media a clearer picture of who received funds and in what amounts.

    He added that Ching's top concern now is his personal safety.
    * May 9, 2008, China Times (中國時報): 邱毅:將到上海追查金紀玖女友帳戶 [Translation: Chiu Yi says he'll go to Shanghai to investigate the account of Ching Chi-ju's girlfriend]

    * May 10, 2008, ETToday via qlife.com.tw: 外交醜聞/邱毅:金紀玖上海存款100萬美金 應先扣押 [Translation: Foreign affairs scandal / Chiu Yi says "Ching Chi-ju has US$1 million in Shanghai, account should be frozen"]
    到上海不到十二個小時,邱毅已經找到金紀玖在上海的不動產登記 [...]。

    [Maddog translation:]
    Within 12 hours of arriving in Shanghai, Chiu Yi had already located Ching Chi-ju's real estate records [...]
    * Additional article, May 11, 2008, United Daily News: 邱毅:搓巴紐案翌年 金紀玖在滬置產 [Translation: Chiu Yi says "After dealing with the PNG case for one year, Ching Chi-ju owns property in Shanghai"]

    * May 12, 2008, Sydney Morning Herald: Taiwan issues warrant over funds scandal
    Taiwan's police department said it discovered through intelligence sources that Ching first fled to China before going to Canada earlier this month. He was found on the US West Coast last week, they said.

    No, not "deep throats"!: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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    Thursday, May 08, 2008


    Deep thoughts, May 8, 2008

    Smoke and mirrors

    When lawyers for people like Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材) (one of the alleged brokers in the Papua New Guinea fund scandal) appear on "talk" shows like those hosted by Sisy Chen (陳文茜), shouldn't the question on everyone's mind be "What are they trying to distract people's attention away from?"

    Chiu Yi talks about himself when he purportedly talks about others
    Is this a "fraudulent" slip?
    Chiu Yi says: 四分真來雜薯包裝六分假
    Translation: "40% truth packaged with 60% lies"
    (Nah! 40% is way too high for Chiu!)

    And when habitual liars like Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) give the media "clues," wouldn't it be best for them to quickly run away and look elsewhere for the real answers?

    UPDATE: The Sunday, May 11, 2008 edition of the Taipei Times has an editorial cartoon which indicates that someone there is thinking like me. Since it's not available on their web site, you'll either have to get your hands on the print edition or click the thumbnail below to view it in full detail:

    A witch doctor, the pan-blue media, and the 'investigator(s)'
    A witch doctor leads the pan-blue media
    which, in turn, wants an "investigator" to follow.
    (Hmmm. Where have I seen that guy on the left before?)

    Between the meninges and the cerebellum: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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    Monday, May 05, 2008


    Deep thoughts, May 5, 2008

    With help from an old edition of Lonely Planet's guide to Taiwan

    What's a smile mean?
    From a pre-JoSamBro edition of Lonely Planet's guide to Taiwan

    Since people in Taiwan sometimes smile out of embarrassment, could the focus by Max Hirsch and others on Vice Premier Chiou I-jen's (邱義仁) smiling be some kind of a distraction?

    Chiou I-jen smiles, Max Hirsch does something...
    From Max Hirsch's post on the Thirsty Ghosts blog
    (and shouldn't that caption read "May 4"?)

    And was the use of that photo Max's own idea?

    What do you get when you Google 'smile,' you get to see some pan-blue distractions
    A Chinese-language Google News search for "Chiou" and "smile/laugh"

    (No, it doesn't necessarily mean that Chiou isn't happy, but c'mon -- use your brain and try to figure out why the semi-homophonic habitual liar Chiu Yi [邱毅, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)] is acting like he knows so much about this Papua New Guinea fund scandal)

    Stuff from the sulci: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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