Hang onto your lower jaw as you read this article in today's Taipei Times about the founder of the Fo Kuang Shan monastery, Hsing Yun (星雲): Taiwan Buddhist master: 'No Taiwanese'. Here are his disgusting words:
During a press conference at the forum on Friday in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province [China], Hsing Yun said that "both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family. There are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese."
"Which Taiwanese is not Chinese?" he asked. "They are Chinese just like you are. We are all brothers and sisters."
Is there no brain under Hsing Yun's scalp -- no heart beneath his ribs?
I don't understand religious leaders like Hsing Yun who advocate colonialism; I just steer clear of them. But it is interesting to note the key context that is entirely missing in the Reuters piece. It is correct to say that Hsing Yun is one of the island's most influential monks, but the Reuters piece should have mentioned that he was born in China, fled to Taiwan, and has served the KMT and Chinese nationalism ever since, advocating the annexation of Taiwan to China. He's not advocating annexation of Tibet and Taiwan to China out of some weird Buddhist commitment.
Faleomavaega defends self by defending Ma Ying-jeou
Who has an agenda?
A March 25, 2009 editorial in the Taipei Times took US congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega to task for his attempts to weaken the wording of a Congressional resolution on the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, 台灣關係法). Faleomavaega wanted the description of the TRA as being the "cornerstone" of US-Taiwan relations changed in a way that described the TRA instead as "vital" and removed a sentence from the resolution which stated that "Taiwan's young democracy faces constant military threat and intimidation from neighboring China." The editorial quoted him as saying these changes in the resolution would be "better for the people of Taiwan."
In the Wednesday, March 31, 2009 edition of the same paper, Faleomavaega attempted to defend himself -- by defending Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (be sure to read the enlightening Taipei Times rebuttal below the letter):
[...] one might conclude that your newspaper stands in opposition to the will of your people, who voted in 2008 for a change in Administration and for a more honest government.
Take a look at some of the recent things I've written about that administration:
Honest? Ha! Did Faleomavaega also participate in the "Ma Ying-jeou course on political terminology"?
"Ma Ying-jeou course on political terminology" An editorial cartoon from the April 16, 2004 edition of the Taipei Times
Mr. Faleomavaega's "defense" is offensive Here's another of his attempts to "defend" his indefensible actions:
As Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2001, said, "For many years, successive US administrations have affirmed that there is one China and that the people on Taiwan and the people of China should work out a plan for peaceful unification."
Yes, Lugar said "unification" [318 KB PDF file], but the fact behind the US' policies is that the word should be "resolution." Actually, that same CRS Report for Congress which quotes Lugar ("China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy — Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei") states this quite clearly:
President Reagan's 1982 statement on arms sales to Taiwan declared that "the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, to resolve." Moreover, "settlement" or "resolution" — not stated as "unification" — of the Taiwan question is left open to be peacefully determined by both sides.
What does Faleomavaega know about what's "better for the people of Taiwan"? Not a damn thing, apparently.
Also, the ABCDEF Group (Anyone But Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega Group ) references my post in a piece called "Faleomavaega at War with Taiwan," which tells how Faleomavaega's familial relationship with the Samoa News allows him to get the last word anytime he presents thin-skinned defenses of his illogical positions there. (Sounds a lot like the same way the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) maintains political dominance in Taiwan!) Their post also lays out the logic and illogic in a bite-sized linear fashion. Go read that whole thing now, too! [/update]
Taiwan's current president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) frequently speaks about his "clean image," and after running an "anti-corruption" campaign, he told the public that "things would be better right away" (馬上就會好) when he took office on May 20, 2008.
However, things in Taiwan have gotten worse since that date in all kinds of ways.
But one thing hasn't changed a bit: the KMT's way of doing business.
In Taipei's Da-an District (大安區), for example, KMT legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) was recently forced out of office after a scandal which revealed that she had held office illegally for 14 years while possessing dual nationality and had regularly lied to the public about it. A by-election to fill her vacated legislative seat is scheduled for tomorrow -- Saturday, March 28, 2009.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday accused the Taipei City Government [led by the KMT's Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌)] of abusing municipal resources to campaign for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) in tomorrow's legislative by-election, and urged municipal officials to maintain neutrality.
About a dozen staff from the Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs [台北市政府民政局] visited a traditional market in Da-an District (大安) to hand out pamphlets urging residents to vote tomorrow. However, two people wearing the department's vest were also spotted calling on residents to vote for Chiang.
It's a serious violation of administrative neutrality and we need to stop public servants from campaigning for a specific candidate in such an obvious way [...]
Before I get to a recent example of deception found in the China Post, I should inform readers of the truth -- something which even that very paper reported back on July 7, 2004:
"Since I neither rigged the vote nor faked the shooting, I am not afraid of independent probes into the shooting, just as I did not fear a vote recount," Chen [former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)] said.
But before you get the wrong idea about the China Post's journalistic integrity, I should also point out some questionable content from the same article:
Chen was reelected on the following day, thanks to sympathy votes, with a paper-thin margin of 0.2 percent.
According to the police report, the suspect bore a personal grudge against Chen as he could not sell his apartment because of the economic downturn Chen induced during his term in office. [Maddog note: With the economy being what it is during Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) president Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) first term, how can they even bring this up?] A New York Times reporter described the police report as one ounce found in a dime store novel. [Maddog note: That would be Keith Bradsher.]
A big chunk of that section is not fact-based. (Note how the China Post mangles the already-melodramatic Bradsher quote as well, which originally said that police were "Spinning the sort of story once found in dime store novels...")
But let's focus once again on the part of the article which quoted Chen saying in 2004 that he was "not afraid of independent probes into the shooting." I would like to ask readers to contrast that quote with this deceptive nonsense from the Friday, March 20, 2009 edition of the same paper:
Former President Chen Shui-bian, who was vehemently opposed to the investigation into themystery-shroudedshooting in Tainan five years ago yesterday, now wishes that a new probe would be launched to find out the truth.
Do the editors at the China Post not read their own paper?
Or do they merely hope the public will rely on them to accurately provide such details instead of looking these details up themselves?
More of what they're not telling you The China Post only hints at what Chen actually opposed -- the unconstitutional, pan-blue-dominated "319 Truth Commission" (319 槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會) (MORE: 1, 2, 3). The China Post also won't tell readers that now-Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) once told a reporter that the commission didn't have the money to come up with any evidence (yet the commission drew assumption-based conclusions anyway).
To get an even clearer picture of where the China Post takes its cues from, note how the 2005 article repeats that zombielie about "sympathy votes." Here's a sentence from the KMT produced propaganda pamphlet known as "Bulletgate" (子彈門):
The mysterious shots caused a groundswell of sympathy votes for the pan-green ticket.
A new survey released just yesterday which was conducted by the pro-blue Global Views Magazine puts President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) approval rating at 28.6% [648 KB PDF file] -- down 5.9 percentage points from last month's 34.5% [316 KB PDF file].
Back at the Ma-World Theme Park, this might be considered a "bounce," since his approval rating in October 2008 was only 23.6% -- about the same as TVBS says [156 KB PDF file] Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) current approval rating is.
BTW, the Global Views survey listed above gives Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) (Ma's party) legislators an overall approval rating of only 19.9%.
Worst. Legislators. Evah.
Who's your daddy? Keep in mind that all of the polls quoted above favor Ma and the KMT -- while book sales recently put Chen at #1:
When I photographed this in February 2009, Chen Shui-bian's book "Taiwan's Cross" (台灣的十字架) was in the number one spot at Eslite Bookstore (誠品書店), beating Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father." (Click to enlarge)
Who's the failest [sic] of them all? At a press conference today, Ma had this to say in response to a reporter's question about his "political achievements" behind the low approval rating he has just 10 months in office [transcription via SETN, translation mine]:
We believe that we're moving mostly in the right direction, but we need to work harder at communicating.
Ma seems to have been consulting his "magic mirror" again.
On Wednesday, the frequently sensationalist Apple Daily published pictures taken at the abandoned Ankeng Guesthouse (安康接待室/安康接待所) in Taipei County. These particular photos needed no embellishing -- in fact, portions (and not just the full name on a jar containing an object of mystery and suspicion) were obscured by a mosaic.
The ironically-named* Ankeng Guesthouse was a facility used during the White Terror period by the Taiwan Garrison Command (台灣警備總司令部) under the party-state of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) dictatorship.
In addition to hundreds of documents found at the scene which reports say are related to the interrogation of political prisoners, there were dozens of glass jars containing human body parts. The facility had been abandoned for quite some time and was missing even a front door.
Yesterday's Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the documents [Maddog note: interrogation records], along with body parts in jars, had been left scattered at the Investigation Bureau's abandoned Ankeng Guesthouse in Taipei County.
The newspaper printed photos taken inside the building of human body parts in glass jars. Both the newspaper and the government said the body parts belonged to homicide victims and were unrelated to politics. [Maddog note: How credible is a statement like that?]
The newspaper's reporters were able to enter the derelict office and take photos of the documents and human remains.
Hsieh [former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏)] said: "They [Taiwan Garrison Command officials] told me they conducted human experiments on a mountain in Jingmei [景美], but few people knew where it was. Most people were taken to the place blindfolded and few of them came back."
He said both former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had failed to conduct a proper investigation into the fates of political prisoners during the White Terror era.
Asked by the Taipei Times why the documents had not been dealt with under the two-term Chen administration, Cheng [DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦)] said the government had not been aware of them. Had it known, it would have requested action, he said.
Acting on information from local residents, reporters for the vernacular "Apple Daily" found files on about 500 former detainees tossed like garbage in the abandoned Ankang Reception Center in Hsintien, Taipei County Tuesday evening.
Built in 1973, the innocently named "reception center" was initially controlled by the now defunct Taiwan Garrison Command's Military Law Department Ankang Detention Center and served as a location for the detention and joint interrogation, including torture, of "seditionists" by TGC military court prosecutors and the Investigation Bureau until the lifting of martial law in July 1987.
Most of the 50 files uncovered by the reporters dated back to Taiwan's White Terror period, when the Kuomintang government of President Chiang Kai-shek persecuted dissidents and people it suspected of sympathies for communism or for Taiwan Independence.
Subjects of the files included late opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairman Huang Hsin-chieh and former Vice Premier Chiou I-jen, the Apple Daily said.
The MJIB [Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau] said the files only contained the most basic information, including fingerprints and photographs, of people who had spent some time inside the building as detainees or interrogation subjects. The files were stored inside metal filing cabinets [Maddog note: See my notes about this further down in this post, below the video], so they had not been abandoned, the bureau said.
The bodies [sic; Maddog note: This should probably refer to body parts] at the Ankang Hostel were stored temporarily for research purposes until the newly established Ministry of Justice Coroners Research Institute had moved into its own site, the MJIB said.
After the media turned out in force at the site Wednesday, the MJIB mobilized police to keep reporters out, while cleaning personnel also arrived to spruce up the low concrete buildings and the surrounding woodland. [Maddog note: Couldn't this also be considered "tampering with evidence"?]
So far, I don't see any coverage of this story in the China Post.
Related video Here's a Chinese-language report from FTV, uploaded by YouTube user jessie1229tw:
Look closely at the 2:02 mark in the above video, and you'll see that those documents that were supposedly "stored inside metal filing cabinets" don't quite match that description. You'll also hear former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min talking about different forms of torture that were inflicted at the facility, including one that sounds a bit like waterboarding -- except that it used oil or even mace ("辣椒水").
Meanwhile, back at the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari... The KMT currently has their sights on reopening the investigation of the March 19, 2004 shooting of former president Chen Shui-bian and his running mate Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). I don't object at all to further investigation (in fact, Chen and Lu both welcome it) -- as long as it's based on facts -- but the party who maintained their power via the torture at the Ankeng Guesthouse shouldn't be the ones conducting it.
Even a pro-unification media* survey will back that up
Before I get to the distortion, let me start off with some info that's closer to the truth (and by that, I mean that the real numbers most likely favor an even greater degree of support for Taiwan independence). Here's a bit from a March 11, 2009 survey [236 KB PDF file] done by TVBS [translations, highlighting mine]:
Relations between Taiwan and the mainland: 64% of the public support maintaining the status quo, 19% support independence, and only 5% support unification
The poll also found that on the subject of relations between Taiwan and the mainland [sic], 19% support Taiwan independence, 5 percentage points lower than a poll taken before [China's ARATS chairman] Chen Yunlin visited Taiwan (October 28, 2008), while 5% supported unification, and the earlier 58% support for maintaining the status quo increased by 6 percentage points to 64%. Over the past 5 years, this is the highest preference the public has shown for maintaining the status quo. Taking the question one step further, when the public could only choose from independence or unification, 66% of the public expressed a desire for Taiwan's independence, 17% desired unification with the mainland [sic], and 18% stated no opinion, differing only slightly from a poll taken before Chen Yunlin's visit.
One thing you'll notice if you read that carefully is that the answer varies greatly, depending upon how the question is asked. Furthermore, remembering that TVBS has a pro-unification position, one can easily deduce that if their numbers are inaccurate in either direction, they would want to tweak those numbers so as to favor unification.
"We think the mainland authorities should carefully consider the feelings of Taiwanese and handle their piece of legislation appropriately," Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.
Wang did not elaborate on what he meant by "appropriately," but said Taipei believed the "mainland authorities have the wisdom to know how to handle it appropriately."
Wang said President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) position on the "Anti-Secession" Law has been consistent since it was enacted four years ago.
"He has insisted on protecting the sovereignty of the Republic of China and maintaining Taiwan's dignity," Wang said. "He has always believed the 'Anti-Secession' Law is unnecessary and unfeasible."
Wang said the legislation was unnecessary because the majority of Taiwanese were in favor of maintaining the "status quo" in the Taiwan Strait and are against Taiwanese independence.
Y'see? That's not exactly true. (Refer back to the information I highlighted in the TVBS survey.) If you ask Taiwanese to choose between independence and unification, a great majority will choose independence. Take the very real threat from China's 1,500 missiles out of the equation, and those numbers would favor independence even more. Change the word "unification" to the more accurate "annexation," and watch what happens. Taiwanese do not want their freedom to participate in the world to be oppressed by China for one more day -- much less indefinitely.