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

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

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

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You've got great taste in blogs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

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Moving the melamine goalposts

Do you trust the Ma administration with your lives?

From the Thursday, September 25, 2008 Taipei Times:
The Department of Health (DOH) said last night that the highest permissible concentration of melamime [sic] in raw materials and processed foods is to be 2.5 parts per million (ppm), rather than zero ppm as it had announced on Tuesday.

Because of this easing of standards malt extract and creamer manufactured by Union Chemical Industrial Co, Ltd and creamer manufactured by Festsun Enterprise Co Ltd, originally declared unsafe by the DOH on Tuesday, are now considered fit for consumption because their concentration is lower than 2.5ppm.

The new standard was the result of a meeting between the DOH, Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis and Food Industry Research and Development Institute. The use of 2.5ppm as a standard mirrors that used in Hong Kong.

However, for products meant to for consumption by infants, such as baby formula, the standard is set at 1ppm.

At an earlier press conference, the DOH contradicted itself about whether vegetable-based protein products would be among the products pulled from shelves until they could be tested for melamine.
Some obvious questions arise: "Do they know what they're doing?" "Are they making it up as they go along?" "Did money play a part in the changing standards?"

Be sure to read the rest of that article to learn more about the media relations clusterfuck that happened as Deputy Health Minister Sung Yen-jen (宋晏仁) gave and withheld information.

Also take a look at this graphic which names the companies whose products -- more than 200 metric tons' worth -- tested positive for melamine. Pay special attention to the items which are qualified as being "Positive at negligible amounts." That graphic also names companies affected but doesn't name the specific products. From what I saw in last night's news reports, those products include chocolate, ice cream, yogurt, boxed milk tea, 3-in-1 coffee mix, dried tofu, vegetarian meats, and more.

Here's a slightly more-detailed description of the products that are affected. On that same page, there is a PDF link (2.7 MB) which contains the aforementioned graphic at infinitely better resolution

The Ma government promised on Wednesday that all affected products would be removed from store shelves by Thursday. Can they be trusted to be sure that happens?

Related YouTube videos:
* CNN:53,000 babies fed tainted milk in China 三鹿全脂毒奶粉事件造成423名嬰兒患上了腎結石,還有一名嬰兒因此死亡 (September 14, 2008) -- CNN's John Vause reports from Beijing.
* Mad in China: China produces killer milk!! (September 15, 2008) -- Vause talks to people at Sanlu's national headquarters. Listen to the way he describes Taiwan at around the 2:00 mark: "Apart from Taiwan, all of the contaminated formula was meant for domestic consumption."
* [CNN] More Chinese products found contaminated 2008.09.19 (September 19, 2008) -- Vause, once again
* 三鹿奶粉廣告 -- an original Sanlu infant formula commercial
* China Tainted Baby Milk 's Commerical毒奶粉三鹿廣告 -- same as above, in case that one disappears or doesn't work
* Parodies of 2 Sanlu commercials

Solid concretions: , , , , , , ,

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

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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Ma Ying-jeou's survey dips to a new low

Presidency in limbo

According to a recent survey by the very pro-blue Global Views Magazine (遠見雜誌), Taiwan's president I-don't-mind-if-you-call-me-"Mr." Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is faring even worse than George W. Bush with an approval rating of 24.9 percent. That's quite an "accomplishment" having been in office for only four months!

I don't have a direct link to the Global Views survey [UPDATE: Here's the link (560KB PDF file) /UPDATE], but here are the headlines of some Chinese-language news stories reporting the results [translations mine]:
* 遠見民調/從政以來最低民調 馬英九施政滿意度僅24.9% (via NOWnews, which is part of the pro-blue ETTV)
Global Views survey / Lowest rating since taking office, Ma Ying-jeou administration approval rating only 24.9%

* 從政以來最低 馬英九民望僅24.9% (via Apple Action News, a division of the dubiously-motivated Apple Daily)
Lowest since taking office, only 24.9% have hope for Ma Ying-jeou

* 馬上任四月施政滿意度僅24.9% (via Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao [大公報], regarded by some as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party)
Ma in office four months, administration's approval rating only 24.9%

* 民調:馬英九獲從政來最差評價 64.5%民眾不滿意 (via China's official government "press agency," Xinhua [新华通讯社])
Survey: Ma Ying-jeou gets worst survey result since taking office, 64.5% of the people are dissatisfied

* 台刊民调:马英九上任4月施政满意度仅为24.9%
(via another Chinese government "agency" [read: mouthpiece], China News Service [中國新聞網 or 中新网])
Survey in Taiwan periodical: In office 4 months, approval rating of Ma Ying-jeou administration only 24.9%
Gee, I wonder how that could have happened...
This is clearly the result of Ma and his administration's damaging of Taiwan's sovereignty, their inability to live up to any of Ma's campaign promises, their mishandling of more than one typhoon, their slow, nonchalant, and inadequate reaction to the discovery of food products from China which contained potentially-fatal melamine, and their total failure to take responsibility for their own words and actions/inaction.

We're gonna get you, suckas!
Instead of responding to the opposition's reality-based attacks for all these things by changing tack, forming a new cabinet, or engaging in any introspection, they have decided instead to form a "counterattack squad." I wish I was kidding, but see for yourselves [translations mine]:
* 拒絕挨打 藍組反擊部隊 (via the pro-blue United Daily News [聯合報])
Refusing to take a beating, blues form counterattack squad

* 拒絕挨打、導正視聽 藍組“反擊部隊” (via the HK-based China Review News [中國評論新聞網])
Refusing to take a beating, countering the rumors, blues form "counterattack squad"
What they're saying is that they didn't do anything to cause such bad survey results and that it's all because the opposition -- meaning the DPP -- is spreading "rumors."

A brief history of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) "counterattacks"
For greater context, check out this nonsense from one year ago, from a source that could easily be called "an outlet for KMT propaganda" itself:
* Kuomintang tries counterattack on 'underground' radio stations (via the pro-unification China Post)
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The opposition Kuomintang, convinced that it lost the last presidential election in 2004 because of a rumor spread by underground radio stations, is launching a counterattack.

Wu Dun-yih, secretary-general of the Kuomintang, confirmed yesterday his party is asking "licensed" radio stations to air its propaganda.
And here's another more recent display of how the kind of propaganda they're talking about works:
Executives at supermarkets and wholesale stores said that some international food and beverage giants used to enjoy brisk sales here.

But their milk powder made in China under contract has now suffered steep drops, although they vouch for the quality and safety of their products.

Bakeries in Taipei said sales of their products have also become victims of the negative publicity about the tainted milk powder.
The bakeries using Chinese milk powder are the victims -- but not the consumers who may have unknowingly ingested a toxic chemical? The "negative publicity" is the problem -- not the fact that this toxic chemical made its way into Taiwan's food supply?

This propaganda portrays the situation as if it hadn't yet been determined whether or not this melamine problem even existed. It treats it as if all of the potentially-toxic products -- containing some of the 25 metric tons (at least) of milk powder and other affected products which are known to have been imported into Taiwan -- had already been tested thoroughly and deemed safe. And it makes it sound as if the customers were being "unreasonable" when they had a valid reason to be concerned about their safety.

Is KMT-led Taipei totally free of melamine-tainted food, as the article implies? With the amount that made it into the country, I think that remains to be seen.

I am concerned... for the people of Taiwan
Not that I have even half an iota of concern about what Ma could do to boost his ratings, but it's certainly not impossible for him to do so. I won't hold my breath waiting for him to make that happen, but unless there's some serious change, I can only imagine Ma's ratings plunging even further -- and not because of any so-called "rumors."

苦民所苦
Here's a recent photo of Ma feeling somebody's pain -- most likely his own:
Ma Ying-jeou feels Ma Ying-jeou's pain!
... and doing so while wearing a cap that says "ARG"! (out of view)
Ma's expression is the result of being scolded by a local official
-- from his own party! --
during a visit to Nantou several days after Typhoon Sinlaku had devastated the area.
(via the NOWnews article linked above)

Opposition rumors, my ass!

FURTHER READING (Lest we forget):
* Melamine was the chemical contaminant that was found in pet food produced in China in early 2007 and which "killed or sickened thousands of animals." Has anything changed?

* Pet Food Recall (Melamine)/Tainted Animal Feed
On March 15, 2007, FDA learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China and used as ingredients in pet food.
* Melamine in pet food may not be accidental
A nitrogen-rich chemical used to make plastic and sometimes as a fertilizer may have been deliberately added to an ingredient in pet food that has sickened and killed cats and dogs across the country, public and private officials say. A leading theory is that it was added to fake higher protein levels.

[...]

[...] "That melamine was found in all three of those, it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that this was intentional." [Stephen Sundlof, FDA chief veterinarian]
* Wikipedia: 2008 baby milk scandal

* Wikipedia: Food safety incidents in the People's Republic of China

Baselines: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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Monday, September 22, 2008

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Jerome Keating discusses the Cairo Declaration

Time to acknowledge that Taiwan is Taiwan

With the 65th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration coming up in just a couple of months (December 1, 2008), Jerome Keating takes a look back at some of the details of that infamous non-binding document. Here's a bit from near the conclusion:
[...] The actual Treaty of San Francisco (1952) never stated who Japan should give Taiwan to. A faint ray of hope appears when you force the United States government into a corner and ask what the real status of Taiwan is right now; the answer is that it is still "undecided." Even the dodgy "one China" mantra that the US State Department constantly trots out simply means that the US acknowledges that the PRC government thinks by its own twisted logic that it owns Taiwan. But that mantra leaves unsaid that the official US position is that Taiwan's fate is undecided.

Undecided? Even that wording annoys. Isn't it time then to end this circuitous rhetoric? Here we are some sixty-three years after the end of World War II, more than a half of a century and the fate of twenty-three million people in a thriving, hard won democracy is still called undecided? Ironically after that war, the United Nations charter states that all people have the right to self-determination. All that is, except the twenty-three million of the thriving democracy of Taiwan.
Go read the whole thing for full effect.

FURTHER READING:
* The Cairo Declaration (via the Taiwan Documents Project)
* The Treaty of Peace with Japan, AKA the San Francisco Peace Treaty or the Treaty of San Francisco, (also via the Taiwan Documents Project)
* The Treaty of Shimonoseki, in which pre-PRC/pre-ROC China gave up Formosa (Taiwan) "in perpetuity and full sovereignty" (also via the Taiwan Documents Project)
* On one of my anti-meme pages, I discuss the situation of pre-PRC, pre-ROC, non-Han control of merely a portion of Taiwan and how that relates to the falsehood about the two entities which supposedly "split in 1949."
* The Taiwan Nation web site shows readers how Winston Churchill -- one of the signatories CORRECTION: issuers of the Cairo Declaration -- subsequently said that the document "contains merely a statement of common purpose" and that "the question of [Formosa's] future sovereignty was left undetermined by the Japanese peace treaty."
* 1874 map of Taiwan (Formosa) with "Chinese Boundary" visible (from the archives of Reed College, Portland, Oregon).
* 1894 map of Taiwan (Formosa) with "Limite de domination chinoise" (French for "Limit of Chinese rule") visible (also via Reed College).

Items (some insular) in the stream of consciousness: , , , , ,

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

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

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Photos and video from the August 30 anti-Ma rally

The decent ones, anyway

There are some images here that already appeared in my previous post, but here are the rest of my best shots from the 830 "Hundred Days' Roar" rally (830百日怒吼全民站出). Video of the event is at the bottom of this post.

By request
All of the photos in this section are of people who specifically asked to have their pictures taken so that their message could be seen by even more people.

TAIWAN not CHINA, TAIWAN be TAIWAN
This whole group stopped for my camera and only moved again until I waved them on so I could shoot some video of them marching.
They seem to have something they want the world to know:
"We aren't Chinese, no matter how times certain people try to say we are."
(Click to enlarge)

''Taiwan,'' not ''China, Taiwan''
''Taiwan,'' not ''China, Taiwan''
(Click to enlarge)

''This land is *my* land''
Hello from the Taiwan Republic
(Click to enlarge)

Snap me if you can!
Another member of the 908 Taiwan Republic campaign
(Click to enlarge)

Traffic cop
This guy stood in front of my camera and struck a pose, so I pressed the shutter.
(Click to enlarge)

A lady with a handmade sign painted on a fan
In poetic language, the sign says
"Horrible government, step the fuck down"
(Click to enlarge)

Giving my presence a thumbs up
A man gives my presence at the rally a thumbs up
(Click to enlarge)

Man in a farmer's hat giving the thumbs up
Another man gives my presence an enthusiastic thumbs up
(Click to enlarge)

Handmade ''Taiwan Republic'' sign
It says "Taiwan Republic"
(Click to enlarge)

A huge thumbs up
A proud Taiwanese woman takes her message to the Presidential Office office of Mr. Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) along with somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 other people.
(Click to enlarge)

Ma takes office, and right away, we can barely survive!
Two guys in the back raise their black signs high. The signs say
"Ma takes office, and right away, we can barely survive!"
(Click to enlarge)

Grab bag
Here are a bunch more photos of all kinds of things: people, signs, flags, hats, banners, vehicles, chains, tents, buildings, shirts, bigwigs, questionable food products, and more.
A Taiwan flag flies in front of the  228 Memorial
A proposed Taiwan flag flies in front of the 228 Memorial
(Click to enlarge)

2 ladies with hats reading ''TAIWAN my country''
2 ladies with hats reading "TAIWAN my country"
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwan is not part of China
The sign says, "Taiwan is not part of China."
The shirt says "One China, One Taiwan."
(Click to enlarge)

TAIWANESE INDEPENDENCE
Taiwanese Independence banner
Hey, it's the status quo!
(Click to enlarge)

Young people marching
Young guys with gongs
(Click to enlarge)

The cry of a country enslaved
The cry of a country enslaved
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwanan blog was there
Taiwanan bloggers were there
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwan, not Chinese Taipei
Taiwan, not Chinese Taipei
(Click to enlarge)

''Taiwan,'' not ''China, Taiwan''
Taiwan, not China, Taiwan
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwan is not part of China
TAIWAN is not part of China
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwan is not part of China
TAIWAN is not part of China
(Click to enlarge)

Mr. Ma's empty office
Mr. Ma's empty office
(Click to enlarge)

Taiwan GO!GO!GO!
Taiwan GO!GO!GO!
(Click to enlarge)

Stop inflation!
Prices of commodities are rising in Taiwan, even when they're decreasing internationally.
Mr. Ma, is it a "mission: impossible" for you to do something about that?
(Click to enlarge)

Sovereignty, livelihood, and sunshine laws
Sovereignty, livelihood, and sunshine laws: three basic things desired by the Taiwanese people
(Click to enlarge)

Mr. Ma, stop betraying Taiwan
Mr. Ma, stop betraying Taiwan
(Click to enlarge)

Ma Ying-jeou, gimme back my cow!
Ma Ying-jeou, gimme back my cow!
馬英九還我牛!
(Click to enlarge)

Ma Ying-Jeou is quisling
"Ma Ying-Jeou is quisling, Resign now!"
is what it says, I think.
(Click to enlarge)

We want sunshine!
"We want sunshine!" --
a request for laws to prevent corruption
(Click to enlarge)

It is NOT OKAY to bash TAIWAN
It is NOT OKAY to bash TAIWAN
(Click to enlarge)

The corner by NTU Hospital was packed!
The road alongside NTU Hospital (台大醫院) was packed with people!
(Click to enlarge)

''TAIWAN'' in decorative lettering
"TAIWAN" in decorative lettering on the back of someone's shirt
(Click to enlarge)

All ages know that the TAIEX immediately dropped when Ma took office
Taiwanese of all ages know that the TAIEX immediately dropped below 7,000 points when Ma took office.
and they remember his empty promises that it would go above 10,000 -- or even 20,000.
(Click to enlarge)

Tsai Ing-wen and Ker Chien-ming lead a large group
DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) lead a large group of marchers.
(They're all the way to the left of the image.)
(Click to enlarge)

Taipei Mitsukoshi building at twilight
Taipei Mitsukoshi building at twilight
(Click to enlarge)

Jingfumen 景福門
Jingfumen (景福門)
(Click to enlarge)

Anti-Annexation 反併吞
Anti-Annexation (反併吞)
(Click to enlarge)

WTF? ''Taike'' Doritos?!
In 1969, it was the brown acid...
In 2008, don't eat the Taike Doritos!
(WTF were they thinking?!)
(Seen at a 7-Eleven in the Taipei Train Station on my way back home)
(Click to enlarge)


And then there was video
What? The pictures weren't enough? Okay. Here are some scenes I recorded near the 228 Peace Park, in front of National Taiwan University Hospital, and on Ketagalan Boulevard near Jingfumen (景福門):


4:29 YouTube video: "830 anti-Ma Rally, Taipei, Taiwan"


What to watch for:
0:05 - 0:34 - At the corner of Xiangyang Road (襄陽路) and Gongyuan Road (公園路), marchers have already started passing. Police are directing traffic away from the parade route. I had just arrived in Taipei via the HSR and had walked directly to this spot.
0:35 - 0:52 - Further south on Gongyuan Road, larger groups pass the camera chanting 馬英九下台! ("Ma Ying-jeou, step down!")
0:53 - 0:55 - Two young ladies in green "908 Taiwan Republic" vests display the Victory/Peace sign.
1:00 - 1:29 - Banging on pots, accompanied by a very Taiwanese singing style
1:30 - Two beeps at the camera with a compressed-air horn
1:43 - 1:49 - A man with a horse on a stick, representing Ma Ying-jeou (whose family name means "horse") strikes poses and shows me the two sides of his sign. I can't make out the first side, but the second side says 馬上失足, or "Ma gets elected, immediately loses footing."
1:50 - 1:58 - A man with a farmer's hat says to me in English, "Hello, hello. Thank you, thank you. Thank you." Then he shakes my hand -- the one that's strapped to the camera -- and I somehow maintain a fairly steady shot.
2:09 - 2:25 - A sound truck drives by playing a pro-Taiwan song with a nice melody and a bit of an island/reggae beat.
2:26 - 2:32 - A dog on a bicycle!
2:33 - 2:44 - This very energetic group stopped so I could record them, then moved on with a very Taiwanese "Thank you very much-y!" Another man in the group adds (in English), "Taiwan number one!"
2:45 - 2:53 - Both sides of Zhongshan South Road alongside National Taiwan University Hospital are packed with people as are the sidewalks -- all the way down to the Jingfu Gate.
2:54 - 3:10 - A Taiwan flag in front of the 228 Monument with the rhythmic beating of a pot in the background. This scene is slightly out of chronological order, and it wasn't actually that dark.
3:12 - 3:23 - Looking toward the main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard. I was closer to Jingfu Gate than I was to the stage.
3:24 - 3:52 - The crowd sings a Taiwan favorite, "She [Taiwan] is Our Baby."
3:53 - 4:29 - Credits roll over a longer audio clip of the song played earlier by the sound truck. YouTube chops off the last three seconds of my audio.

That's all I've got.

Expressive impressions: , , , , , , ,

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

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Monday, September 01, 2008

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My good bye

I've decided to sever my relationship with this blog. it's a great blog, but I don't have time to be part of it. Haven't posted here in a long time. Many thanks to all who had read and commented on my posts here.

Michael Turton

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