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!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

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KMT wants to become an election machine

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) discussed the party's plans to sell of its remaining assets & investments and switch itself, "like a Transformer," into an "election machine" (his words, not mine).

What I love about this "strategy," besides the Transformers reference and the fact that it will doubtlessly enrich some KMT friends while avoiding responsibility for ill-gotten assets and gains, is that the KMT suffers from such long-running local factional splits exactly because it already is an "election machine" -- one that local elites use to gain greater power, and which can normally accommodate multiple moneyed interest groups at the same time -- but local factional leaders will abandon the party at the drop of a hat to run as independents. One would think the KMT would rather have more loyal politicians than ramp up the "election machine" message.

(Moreover, voters may read King's message as an endorsement of the "eternal election" model which leaves actual governing by the way-side -- and that does not play well with voters.)

The KMT plans to live on "donations" for political campaigns in the future. And we all know how transparent the financial laws are for political donations (hint: you need only report what you spend, not what you take in). Perhaps this is all really just a shell plan to create more flexible slush funds.

Back in 2000 and 2004, one of the great hopes of green guys like me was that the KMT was about to collapse. As financial interests -- not ideology -- holds the party together, we hoped that the moneyed interests would say, "these guys aren't winning again," and go their separate ways.

That didn't happen. But it stands a better chance of happening the other way around, with a newly poor KMT being gutted of its previous moneyed interest support, who may go run their own show.

Either that, or the party may become corporate property for a new set of sponsors.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Chinese students in Taiwan say it's bad to hate the Beijing butchers

People who don't know much about freedom of speech

On Thursday, December 24, 2009, Chinese dissident Wang Dan (王丹) gave a speech at Taichung's Providence University (靜宜大學). The day before his speech, flyers advertising the speech had been distributed all around the campus, but by the day of the event, they had either disappeared or been ripped up.

What kind of person or people do you think would have had a reason to do that sort of thing?

Ten Chinese students showed up to attend the speech, seven of whom sat right up front. Although they were a minority in the audience, they took up much of the discussion time with long, rambling, and hostile questions.

Free speech is something their own government won't permit, but while in Taiwan, these Chinese students used that freedom to disparage Wang for hating the Beijing butchers responsible for the Tiananmen Square Massacre (天安門大屠殺) of June 4, 1989.

Here's some video from FTV News (民視新聞) about what happened:


2:44 YouTube video: "Chinese students in Taiwan say it's bad to hate the Beijing butchers"

Contemporary Monthly (當代雜誌) editor-in-chief Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒) compared the students' behavior to that of the infamous Red Guards of China's tragic "Cultural Revolution" (無產階級文化大革命) whose violent attacks against people violated its own rule that "persuasion rather than force was to be used." We've seen the same sort of violent, nationalistic behavior from Chinese at soccer games in their own country, the Olympic Torch Relay in other countries, and at a recent speech by a Taiwanese student in S. Korea who "dared" to hold up a small ROC flag. Don't fool yourself by saying that this is nothing.

Related reading:
* Wang Dan warns of PRC student activity in Taiwan:
Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) stirred debate recently over his suspicions that Chinese students may be "conducting organized activities" on college campuses in Taiwan.

In his latest post on Facebook, Wang said he raised the matter because he wanted to remind Taiwanese that this was now taking place in their country.

Wang, who is a guest lecturer at Chengchi University's Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, gave a speech at Providence University in Taichung on Thursday titled "How to See the Real China." During the two-hour event, a group of Chinese students studying in Taiwan challenged Wang, a student leader during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

[...]

They accused him of being unfair to the Chinese people because of his hatred for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

[...]

Wang said he was not making sensational comments to scare the public, adding that student council president at University of Hong Kong, who had previously made comments to the effect that there was no such thing as a Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989, was elected following organized voting by Chinese students.

"Taiwanese should take note of these things and not be too naive," Wang said.

Liao said the 70 students who attended the speech were free to ask questions. However, few Taiwanese students were able to do so, as the Chinese students dominated the session. He said that while Wang might have been slightly intimidated by the scene, the atmosphere actually wasn't too bad.

[...]

When a Taiwanese student asked Wang about China's progress on democracy, Liao said, the student took a moment to send "his regards" to a Chinese student who had spoken before him, saying that "the student from China loves his motherland very much. I also love my motherland very much, but I do not love China."
* Wikipedia article: Red Guards (China)
The first students to call themselves "Red Guards" in China were a group of students at the Tsinghua University Middle School [...] Chairman Mao Zedong ordered that the manifesto of the Red Guards be broadcast on national radio and published in the People's Daily newspaper. This action gave the Red Guards political legitimacy, and student groups quickly began to appear across China.
* Liberty Times article (Hanzi): 王丹提警訊 在台陸生疑有組織活動 (Wang Dan warns of suspicious organized activities by Chinese students in Taiwan)

* Ben Goren's Letters from Taiwan: Chinese Nationalism and Shades of Indignation

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

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

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Media mendacity on Taiwan, December 24, 2009

Jennings can't read?

Earlier today via Twitter user anitaworld, I came across the latest piece of anti-Taiwan propaganda from Reuters. The headline reads:
One hurt, six detained in Taiwan scuffle over China
The average reader might not have any idea what's beneath that headline. Is Taiwan "fighting to take over China" or something? Since only a small percentage of people read past the headline, it only serves to create confusion about the situation.

Here's what's going on: The Taiwanese protesters are standing up for their sovereignty while deals compromising Taiwan's sovereignty are being signed by two authoritarian parties without the people's consent. But Reuters fails to provide you any of that information which is vital to understanding the story.

Although a scant few more details appear within the article, those details are obscured by a mess of unhelpful memes and outright smearing of the victims in this matter, thus canceling any value they might have otherwise contained.

The anatomy of mendacity
The article begins:
TAIPEI (Reuters) - A police officer was hurt and six people detained late on Wednesday during a protest against a visit by China's top negotiator to Taiwan, officials said.

It was the first violence in four days of protests against the visit of Beijing negotiator Chen Yunlin in Taichung, central Taiwan.
There goes Ralph Jennings (whose byline appears at the bottom of the article) phoning it in from Taipei yet again. If he could read (or maybe a quote by Upton Sinclair is what applies here), the Tuesday December 22, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times (that's two days ago) would have informed him of this violence by police:
A Taichung City policeman was penalized yesterday for using pepper spray on two protesters on Sunday night, but the police said his demerit was for carrying non-standard equipment rather than for assaulting the protesters, adding that he acted in self-defense.
Don't mace me, 兄弟!
The actual incident mentioned above took place four days ago (Sunday, December 20, 2009). "[F]irst violence," my ass! The police were the ones who drew "first blood"! Jennings isn't telling you the truth.

Getting back to the Reuters piece, Jennings feeds the readers generalities:
Also on Wednesday, protesters tried to stop Chen from visiting a temple, taunting police that have guarded every step of his December 21-25 visit, local media reported.
Jennings fails to answer some essential questions for the readers: Who were the protesters? (Were they members of the violent China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP, 中華統一促進黨), members of the peaceful Falun Gong movement, common hooligans, or simply citizens of Taiwan who don't want an authoritarian regime to take over their lives?); Why were the protesters there? (Chen Yunlin has previously threatened Taiwan, and he and his comrades are currently trying to annex Taiwan.); How did they try to stop Chen Yunlin? (Did they use weapons [sticks, stones, knives, guns, Molotov cocktails]? [No.], or did they just stand at the scene, hold up signs, and shout? [Yes.]); Which temple was this, and does it have any special significance? (Could it be Chenlan Temple, a temple which is run by a convicted criminal? [Yes!]); Which local media? (I dunno. Jennings doesn't/won't specify.)

Can you feel just how empty of any actual information that paragraph of the article is? He could have used that space much more efficiently if he had instead explained some of the facts to the readers. Ben Goren's blog Letters from Taiwan has a good list from which lazy reporters could simply copy and paste some terse, well-researched facts about Taiwan.

The generalities above are followed directly by this meme:
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.
The full name of the party Jennings is referring to is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- not just the "Nationalists." They fled to Taiwan to save their own asses from Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) Commie bandits (共匪), not to "save Taiwan," as is often purported by those who support the Chinese KMT's authoritarianism.

More importantly, China's "claim" has no legal basis, but Jennings doesn't keep my italicized phrase in his clipboard where he could easily paste it into the article to at least provide some semblance of "balance." And there he goes with that faux-honest "the island" formulation yet again, trying to undermine the fact that Taiwan is an independent country with a population slightly higher than that of the entire "island continent" of Australia (never just "the island [of Australia]").

The article ends with these two paragraphs full of copy-and-paste "journalism" and a byline:
As ties warm under Taiwan's Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou, economic powerhouse China and the export-reliant island agreed on Tuesday to negotiate a trade deal that would cut tariffs.

Protesters oppose closer ties between the governments.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by David Fox)
FOX News Taiwan?
Let's take down the troubling elements one by one.

Note the positive words ascribed to China and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九): warm, friendly, powerhouse. Note the diminutives ascribed to Taiwan: reliant, island.

What the protesters oppose is not any sort of ties between "governments." What they oppose is unequal party-to-party negotiations taking place behind closed doors with no opposition oversight whatsoever and which evidence shows to be a series of steps leading up to Taiwan's annexation by two authoritarian regimes working hand-in-hand.

How many average readers would have noticed these things upon first reading them? Far too many ordinary people have become numb to this kind of garbage that passes as "journalism."

The writers whom I have repeatedly criticized apparently won't change, so the readers must wake up, stop falling for this, and wake others up as well. Your most basic human rights and your livelihoods -- if not your lives -- are at stake, and mendacious media therefore amounts to just another form of violence.

Further reading/viewing:
* For better coverage of the story, try this article in the Taipei Times: "CROSS STRAIT TALKS: Police officer injured in Taichung protests."

* For comparison, here's a CNA round-up (in the Taiwan News) of other articles on the incident: "News digest of local media - Clashes."

* Here's a YouTube video of some of the hooligans stationed around the Chenlan Temple: "大甲鎮瀾宮前成自治區,廟方派出紅衣人保護警方維安現場-民視新聞" (Translation: The front of Dajia Township's Chenlan Temple becomes an "autonomous region," people in red [and pink] shirts dispatched to protect police, "preserve order" at the scene - FTV News). Note that in addition to the "uniforms," some of these guys are wearing earpieces, indicating that they're organized and awaiting orders from someone, much like soldiers on a battlefield.

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

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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Nepotism in Taidong = Good, Nepotism in Hualien = Bad

The Ministry of Interior recently accused newly elected Hualien County Commissioner (and 'ex' KMT loyalist) of conducting a fake divorce in order to appoint his 'ex'-wife as Deputy County Commissioner. As reported in the Times:
Newly elected Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi’s (傅崑萁) appointment of his ex-wife as deputy commissioner is illegal, Minister of the Interior (MOI) Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday.

Jiang made the remarks after a meeting with officials from the Executive Yuan, the Central Personnel Administration, the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Justice.

Fu, elected Hualien County commissioner on Dec. 5 as an independent after being ousted from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), assumed office on Sunday and announced that his former wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), would serve as deputy commissioner.

He said they had completed divorce proceedings three days earlier. Divorces can be completed at a household registration office once a couple presents an agreement signed by two witnesses.

The MOI initially said Fu may have violated Article 7 of the Public Officials Conflict of Interest Prevention Act (公職人員利益衝突迴避法), which bans public officials from taking advantage of their power to benefit themselves, their spouses or family members living under the same roof.

Jiang said that Fu and Hsu were still married because their divorce was deemed “fake,” adding that Fu’s appointment of Hsu was illegal.
Perhaps following this pressure from the MOI, today Fu reversed his appointment of his ex-wife: (taiwan News via CNA)
Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi said Wednesday that he will revoke his earlier appointment of his "ex- wife" as his deputy in line with a decision by the Ministry of the Interior.
Fu, who was elected by a landslide in the Dec. 5 local elections running as an independent after being expelled by the ruling Kuomintang, supposedly divorced his wife Hsu Chen-wei Dec. 18 and then picked her as his deputy just three days later.

Fu's move was interpreted as a "well-calculated attempt" for his wife to hold on to the post on his behalf in case he has to serve a jail term mid-way through his tenure -- he is appealing a six-and-a-half-year sentence for violating securities trading regulations.

Fu said in a press conference that he was "surprised" to find the high administrative efficiency of the central government by deciding in just one day in an inter-ministerial meeting that his divorce and appointment of Hsu were invalid, and he questioned whether the marital status of other Taiwanese people are subject to approval by inter-ministerial meeting.

Despite Fu's revocation of Hsu's appointment, Ma Yi-kung, a member of the Control Yuan -- the country's top watchdog agency -- said he will still conduct an investigation into the case and that a fine of between NT$1 million and NT$5 million will be imposed on Fu if he is found to have broken any laws.

The pan-blue United Daily News compared Fu to Chen and asked how they could be so popular: "Schizophrenic 'Pan-blue' Voters"
Pan-blue supporters think the pan-green camp's support for disgraced former President Chen Shui-bian is incredible, but it is also incredible to see them support Fu Kun-chi, originally a member of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) who ran as an independent to win the race for magistrate by a huge margin in Hualien county.

Chen was engulfed in corruption, but Fu has been implicated in two economic crimes. Fu's involvement in insider trading has seriously undermined the order of financial markets and the interests of the public.

We wonder why pan-blue voters in Hualien, a pan-blue stronghold, would condemn Chen and condone Fu? If we look at pan-blue voters who support Fu and deep-green voters who support Chen, we will see how similar they are. This is not an error of democracy, but a tragedy of populist politics.

Now Fu has unveiled his ace up his sleeve by appointing his ex-wife Hsu Chen-wei, whom he divorced only days before his inauguration, as his deputy.

The move has demonstrated that he is preparing to serve his term in jail after a local court makes a final ruling on his appeal of an insider trading conviction and that he will pull the strings from behind bars.

Such a self-staged drama should not be allowed to pass, and the Interior Ministry has no reason to accept such an outrageous appointment.

The KMT should also engage in soul-searching. Both Taitung and Hualien have the same drama being played out -- using divorce to manipulate the political situation -- but the KMT has watched it happen and let it continue. How can it face the simple people in the two counties and the support of pan-blue supporters?
Yet there was no such verdict from the MOI when the then Taidong County Commissioner Wu Chun-li (吳俊立) pulled almost the exact same move after he was indicted in 2005:
Wu was convicted of corruption by the Taiwan High Court but has appealed the ruling. In the meantime, he has also been charged with vote-buying and is currently out on NT$1 million (US$29,800) bail.

By law, Wu would be immediately suspended from his position upon his swearing-in. Knowing this, Wu divorced his wife Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞) on Monday to sidestep a restriction preventing a commissioner from selecting a relative or spouse as his deputy.
Wu appointed Kuang before Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Walis Pelin (瓦歷斯貝林), who administered his swearing-in, could stop him.

However, Pelin said that Wu's suspension was effective immediately upon his being sworn in and that he therefore did not have the right to name a deputy.

The Taitung County Government said that Kuang and its Secretary-General Lai Shun-hsien (賴順賢), who was appointed as the acting commissioner by the Cabinet, both reported for duty but that all of the official documents were reviewed by Lai.

Although Wu is suspended, he can still run in a by-election by resigning and retaking the oath of office if re-elected.

Even though Wu thought his actions were valid, DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that he had violated the Public Officials Conflict of Interest Prevention Law (公職人員利益衝突迴避法) by naming someone related to him, making him subject to a fine of up to NT$5 million.

Although Wu divorced his wife on Monday, Hsu said that it should be considered invalid because it violates Article 87 of the civil code for plotting a fake divorce.
Jerome Keating's take on events:
Wu Chun-li (吳俊立), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen's (鄺麗貞) ex-husband, had been the KMT Taitung County commissioner, but after being found guilty of corruption and serving a jail sentence — he appealed, but it was overthrown — he could no longer serve as Taitung County commissioner.

Stymied in his efforts to serve as commissioner, he wanted to keep the lucrative position in the family and arranged for Kuang, his wife and a former airline stewardess, to succeed him.

Again the law stepped in — because of her relationship as his wife, Kuang was forbidden from running for office.

Not to worry. Now comes the interesting twist.

As her jailed husband was an impediment blocking her from running for office, Kuang quickly divorced him, qualifying her to run.
Could it be that the difference between the two cases was one where a DPP Central Government was attempting ham fistedly to prevent corrupt candidates from nepotism and the other where a KMT Central Government is trying to punish the candidate that ran as an independent (although facing charges and having a criminal record at the time) against the central party's chosen candidate, former Minister of Health Yeh.  Again, the wheels of justice certainly seem to move faster when the KMT has a few bones to grind.  Continuing thanks go to the current administration's party for their determination to bury not only Chen but also his family and friends in eternal legal damnation; your actions have helped the DPP transition to Tsai's new and seemingly much more capable leadership. 

In the meantime, I keep hearing the words Chen Chu and President and 2012 cropping up in conversation, or is that just me trying to generate enthusiasm for the idea?

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Taiwan Matters wins Best Political Blog

FTW!

Thanks to David and Fili for hosting the Taiwanderful Taiwan Best Blog Awards 2009 and to all the members of the Taiwan Matters! blog team for contributing their unique insights into the politics of the country which I have called "home" for many years now. It's quite a pleasant surprise to have won!

Best Taiwan Blog Awards 2009
Best Taiwan Blog Awards 2009

A-gu's (阿牛) blog, "That's Impossible! Politics from Taiwan," tied with Taiwan Matters! for first place in the peer-judged category. Congratulations to him!

Here is the list of winners in all categories. You can get to know a wide variety of Taiwan blogs on a myriad of topics there.

Congratulations also to the winners in all categories! My one hope about winning this is that it might help us to do more to promote Taiwan to the world by reaching a larger audience and to inform the public about a certain party's predilection for lies and about the multitude of media memes related to Taiwan. Since neither the authoritarians nor their media lapdogs will change, everyone needs to be able to see through the smoke and mirrors.

Help us to do this by spreading the word about Taiwan!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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DPP protest: info and maps

Step out and join the fun* on December 20

Despite the protests last November to let him know he is not welcome here, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) is coming back to Taiwan to push forward a party-to-party (Chinese Communist Party [CCP]-to-Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]) Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which -- in spite of the fact that at least 69% of Taiwanese do not want "unification" with China -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) has called one of the steps which "will certainly bring about complete unification of the motherland [sic]." (See the video below.)


0:35 YouTube video: "DPP ECFA referendum ad - with English titles"

Naturally, the DPP has organized several events ahead of and during Chen Yunlin's arrival. The first of these will be a march and rally in the central Taiwan city of Taichung (台中市) on Sunday, December 20, 2009.

Here's the English-language info from the Taipei Times:
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demonstration against the government's China-leaning economic policies [Maddog note: ... and Chinese plans to annex Taiwan!] will be held on Sunday in Taichung starting at 2:30pm, the party announced yesterday, urging the public to join the protest.

[...]

Protesters will gather at 2:30pm at two locations — the intersection of Mincyuan Road (民權路) and Taichunggang Road (台中港路) and the corner of Chaoma Road (朝馬路) and Anhe Road (安和路).

The processions are expected to meet up at 5pm on Hueiwun Road (惠文路), where a rally will be held in an empty parking lot, the spokesman said.

"Everyone should come and join the protests to send a loud and clear message to President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] and Chen that all cross-strait issues must be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Taiwan's sovereignty must not be undermined," Chuang said, asking that protesters exercise restraint and avoid violence.

DPP Lawmaker Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said that if the government continues to ignore public opinion, protesters could head to the Presidential Office in Taipei next.

Chuang said the DPP would also arrange smaller activities throughout the duration of the meeting from Dec. 21 to Dec. 25. Details will be finalized today by the Central Standing Committee, he said.

Other groups such as Falun Gong practitioners and human right advocates have said they will join the protests.

Meanwhile, according to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), more than half of the population believes signing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing will hurt Taiwan's economy and livelihood.
Here's a Google Map I made of the routes and rally location:


View December 20, 2009 protest against Chen Yunlin in a larger map

Here's the Chinese-language info from the Liberty Times (自由時報) [English translations mine]:
第四次江陳會將在台中市舉行,民進黨昨表明,二十日舉辦的「破黑箱.顧飯碗」大遊行,將號召至少十萬人上街,由黨主席蔡英文領軍,邀呂蘇游謝、台聯黨主席黃昆輝等人一起參與,二十一日至二十五日也規劃系列小型活動表達抗議。

Ahead of the fourth Chiang-Chen meeting to be held in Taichung, yesterday [Monday, Dec. 14] the DPP announced a "Breaking the Black Box, Protecting the Rice Bowl" march led by party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen to take place on the 20th and called for at least 100,000 people to take to the streets. Those invited to attend include [former Vice-President Annette] Lu, Su [Tseng-chang], Yu [Shyi-kun], [Frank] Hsieh, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) chairman Huang Kun-huei, and others. A series of smaller protests is scheduled from the 21st to the 25th.
If it's at all possible, you should be there, too! In my opinion, 100,000 is far too small a number for a protest such as this.

* While it's quite a serious matter, DPP protests and rallies are usually happy affairs.

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

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Monday, December 14, 2009

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Poll statistics regarding Taiwan's independence vs. unification

Another look at the Global Views survey of October 2009

For several weeks, I have owed my readers the second part of my analysis of the recent Global Views Magazine opinion poll. The poll asked the usual questions about the attitudes of Taiwanese towards "independence versus unification." I've finally gotten around to putting this analysis into a presentable format.

At the bottom of the poll is a description of the methods used [sic throughout]:
This survey was conducted by GVSRC from 6.20 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. from Oct. 14-16, 2009. It was conducted with random-digit-dial sampling and computer-assisted telephone interviewing methods. 1006 Taiwanese people who are 20 or older completed the interview. One can say with 95% confidence level that the theoretical margin of sampling error is ±3.1%. Gender, living areas, ages, educational level and other features of the interviewees have undergone weighting procedure and test of the sample's representativeness in the survey results. The funding of the survey came from the Global Views Monthly.
I wasn't sure if each person interviewed had gone through the whole set of questions, or only a portion of the questions. If each person had completed the entire questionnaire via telephone interview (which seemed to be the case), I wondered why there were some inconsistent outcomes within their own survey.

I don't want to blame the pollster for this or to suspect data manipulation right away because sometimes people are tired of answering the questions at the end of a telephone interview, and they may provide inconsistent answers. However, from my experience, I can conclude that the survey gave inconsistent results -- assuming there was no data and/or sampling manipulation at all such as removing samples which gave unfavorable results or including additional samples (from the original randomly selected samples) which gave favorable results.

The abbreviations used here will be the same as those in my earlier analysis:

SD: Maintain the status-quo now, decide later
SF: Maintain the status-quo forever
SI: Maintain the status-quo now, declare independence later
SU: Maintain the status-quo now, proceed with unification later
II: Independence immediately (or as soon as possible)
UI: Unification immediately (or as soon as possible)
NA: No answer or don't know
TT: Total percentage who responded

The time when the poll was taken will be denoted with MM/YYYY

M: Mainland [sic] Affairs Council (MAC) statistics
G: Global Views Magazine statistics
AV: Average statistics for the year-to-date

The percentage sign is omitted throughout.

200720082009-AV-M09/2009-M10/2009-G
SD39.9038.75035.2035.440.7
SF19.2523.35027.5028.011.0
SI14.1515.87515.0014.910.3
SU10.708.0508.158.74.3
II8.808.8505.855.019.0
UI2.701.7501.451.74.0
TT 93.789.3

Global Views Magazine conducted an earlier poll in May 2009 (refer to page 5 of the linked PDF file) which tells us:

SD = 44.9%, SF = 11.5%, SI + II (as in that survey it was not distinguished between the two) = 25.4%, and SU + UI = 8.3%, a total response rate of 90.1%.

The first thing I did was to add up the figures to reveal the total percentage of those who responded to find out the percentage who refused to respond or didn't know the answer. In the October 2009 Global Views survey, there was a total of 10.7% who either refused to answer or didn't know the answer, whereas the figure for the MAC survey was 6.3%. Generally speaking, a greater response rate gives more accurate poll results.

The next thing to do was to compare past trends with present figures. The SI of 10.3% is low compared to past trends as well as to the MAC result of 14.9% in September 2009, this coupled with the UI of 4% -- which is unusually high, as I mentioned in my previous post that this figure had never been as high before (only 3 out of 28 times had this figure ever exceeded 3%) -- made me suspect that maybe there was some attempt here to give an overall false impression (since most people will not compare the October 2009 survey with past trends) that people are shifting from the "status quo first then independent later" to the "unification immediately" group. But read on, and you will find out why this is not true when compared with the statistics of past MAC surveys.

The next task was to compare Global Views' results from the above chart with the different questions within the same Global Views poll.

The first question was whether one would agree (A) or disagree (D) with eventual unification with China, and here are the results (from page 3 of the link at the top of this post):

02/200609/200805/200910/2009
A28.719.516.215.7
D54.567.569.069.0
TT83.287.085.284.7

Notice that the people who want independence (SI + II) would answer "disagree" to this question while the people who would like to maintain the status quo forever (SF) would either answer "disagree" or would not give an answer to the above question. So, the percentage of "disagree" here contains (SI + II + some SF), and the "no answer" figure actually contains (NA + some remaining SF).

The second question in this survey asked whether one would agree or disagree with Taiwan's eventual (formal) independence. The results were as follows:

02/200609/200805/200910/2009
A44.350.648.547.2
D40.334.135.034.1
TT84.684.783.581.3

Notice that the people who want unification (SU + UI) would answer "disagree" to this question while the people who would like to maintain the status quo forever would answer either disagree or would simply not give an answer to this question. Therefore, the percentage of "disagree" here contains (SU + UI + some SF), and the "no answer" would contain (NA + some other SF).

Notice also that the total percentage of respondents to the second question dropped slightly -- from 84.7% to 81.3%. One explanation for this could be that some respondents thought that once they had provided their answer to the first question, it would not be necessary to provide their answer to the second question, viewing the answer to the second one as obvious or redundant once they had answered the first question. The immediate effect of this is that the second question got a higher non-response rate.

Since the same people (samples) had answered both questions plus the question contained in the chart at the very beginning, we can analyze further.

If we take the percentage who disagree with eventual unification (69%) minus the percentage who agree with the eventual independence (47.2%), it will give us the percentage of people who want SF (status quo forever) since the same people (samples) had answered both questions:
69 - 47.2 = 21.8%

i.e. (SI + II + some SF) – (SI + II) = some SF, and the remaining SF are hidden among the non-responses (NA)

The SF should therefore be greater than 21.8%.
On the other hand, if we take the percentage who disagree with eventual independence (34.1%) minus the percentage who agree with eventual unification (15.7%), it will also give us the percentage of people who want SF (status quo forever) for the same reason stated above:
34.1 – 15.7 = 18.4%

i.e. (SU + UI + some SF) – (SU + UI) = some SF, and the remaining SF are hidden in the non-responses (NA)

The SF should therefore be greater than 18.4%.
In either situation, the SF (those who wish to maintain the status quo forever) cannot be less than 18.4%, but the chart at the very beginning has the SF at 11%.

This shows us that the survey actually gives three widely-differing figures for SF: 11%, >21.8%, and >18.4%. It is quite inconsistent to have three different figures in one survey obtained from the same samples. Could it be because this figure was intentionally kept low by the Global Views pollster in order to give a higher percentage to the SD (thereby creating the false impression that many people want to keep the status quo now and decide later, including the option of unification), but in reality the 47.2% (assuming this percentage is not an underestimate) itself tells us that the SI + II = 10.3 + 19 = 29.3% from the first chart is an underestimate of people who want eventual independence. The rise from 29.3% (the chart at the very beginning) to 47.2% (the second question) is a difference of 17.9%, hidden in the SD.

The SU + UI = 4.3 + 4 = 8.3% from the first chart compared to the MAC result of 10.4% in September and the earlier trend suggests that there is a slight drop in the percentage of people supporting eventual unification (Could recent cross-strait exchanges have made some pan-blue supporters want to maintain the status quo forever?), but when given no such choice of maintaining the status quo, the percentage of people who want eventual unification rises from 8.3% to 15.7%, the difference in the rise is 7.4%, hidden in the SD.

Comparing the 17.9% (two paragraphs above) with that 7.4%, one can see that the increase in support for independence is more than twofold that of the increase in support for unification (hidden in the SD).

If we add the percentage of people who agree with eventual unification (15.7%) and the percentage who agree with eventual independence (47.2%), it is 62.9%, and if a person neither agrees with unification nor agrees with independence, the person must be SF or NA, meaning 37.1% (100 – 62.9 = 37.1) of the people who either want to maintain the status quo forever or who don't know or refuse to answer. Since the percentage of people who either don't know or refuse to answer does not usually exceed 15% (as a matter of fact, under normal circumstance and from past trend it ranges from about 7% to 12%), that leaves the percentage of people who want to maintain the status quo forever to be at minimum 22.1% (37.1% - 15% = 22.1%). Comparing this figure to the first chart of SF 11%, the figure of 11% is clearly an underestimate. This conservative figure of 22.1% can be compared with the MAC figure of 28% in September 2009 or with past trends ranging from 19.25% in 2007 but increasing yearly. This group (possibly wanting to avoid war with China) has the biggest percentage increase and the implication has been discussed in my previous post on this subject.

Finally, let's look at yet another question on the same survey (also from page 3 of the survey linked at the very top of this post). If the two sides [Taiwan and China] come to have similar conditions, 68.3% still deemed it unnecessary to unify with China while only 11.7% said it would be OK to be unified. And the total response rate for this question is only, 68.3 + 11.7 = 80%. It's interesting that the response rate nicely and coincidently adds up to the round figure of 80% and that the response rate is even lower than that of the second question above, which was 81.3%. This 68.3% figure may likely have suffered an underestimate because the response rate was limited to 80% when in reality the actual response rate was probably higher. How could anyone explain this 11.7% (yet another inconsistency) in light of the SU + UI = [only] 8.3% in the first chart?

To sum it up, there is no consistency in the figures in this survey.

The trend can only be observed when we compare the statistics over a number of years. There is no actual increase in the percentage of people who want eventual unification -- as a matter of fact, that number is dropping. And most people who answered that they wish to maintain the status quo now and decide later (SD) are actually people who want to choose independence later.

References:
* My previous post on Talk Taiwan: "Statistics on Taiwan's Independence or Unification opinion polls - Part 1"
* American Association for Public Opinion Research: "Do Response Rates Matter?"
* Oxford University Press' Public Opinion Quarterly: "A Comparison of Address-Based Sampling (ABS) Versus Random-Digit Dialing (RDD) for General Population Surveys"

(This post was edited by Tim Maddog.)

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

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A quick analysis of Taiwan's 3-in-1 election

DPP makes gains, but they aren't enough

Today's Taipei Times had a good visual analysis of the election result in PDF form [link updated] comparing the results with the turnout of the last Township/City/County election in 2005 and showing that out of the locales that were involved (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Taipei [Cities and Counties]) weren't), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held onto all their seats plus gained Yilan County. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), on the other hand lost not only Yilan (to the DPP) but Hualien County, too, to Fu Kun-chi (傅昆萁), who had left the party to run against the KMT's Du Li-hua (杜麗華).

The election in Penghu County was close, with KMT candidate Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) beating his DPP opponent Tsai Chien-hsing (蔡見興) by just 595 votes. A recount will take place automatically.

Michael Turton notes how close the overall vote count was, though I should point out that he's only looking at the numbers for the city mayors and county magistrates.

Much more info on the election is available on today's front page and in the Taiwan News section.

Chinese KMT violence to the fore
In other election-related news, Chen Chen-hui (陳振輝), the KMT's losing candidate in the Yunlin County town of Huwei (虎尾鎮) did something incredibly stupid.

A couple of hours after votes had been counted, Chen showed up at rival Lin Wen-pin's (林文彬, DPP) campaign headquarters. Chen was drunk and had a gun, and he started shooting. The DPP candidate's son, a policeman, happened to be on the scene and quickly captured the shooter, but not before a woman had been shot in the leg. Her injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

Here's a Liberty Times (自由時報) report on the shooting from late last night, and another article in today's Liberty Times mentions that Chen has a serious criminal record for having shot two investigators 24 years ago. That article tells us:
根據警方資料,陳振輝在二十四年前曾因槍擊兩名雲林縣調查員入獄。

[Maddog translation:]
According to police sources, Chen Chen-hui was sent to prison 24 years ago for shooting two Yunlin County investigators.
Chinese KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who happens to be Taiwan's current President, said he'd run a "clean" campaign with "clean" candidates, yet this violent criminal -- who probably had the gun already -- was one of his picks.

Ah, the things that some people will call "clean."

Here's a report on the shooting from SETN (三立新聞台) that I uploaded to YouTube:


2:27 YouTube video: "Shooting in Huwei, Yunlin by loser Chinese KMT candidate"

Is anybody surprised?

UPDATE: More analyses:
* Michael Turton compares the DPP's numbers from the 2008 presidential election with those from the December 5 election. The result shows an increase in DPP support in every area but one (Chiayi City, -1.9%).

* The Monday, December 7, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times takes a magnifying glass to the local election results, showing that the DPP made were bigger than they may seem at first glance. [/update]

Bullets in the chamber: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

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Elections fast approaching

As I have said in my previous analysis, I see little chance of a lot changing in the election which will happen in just 47 hours.

At best the DPP will hold onto their current 3 seats and pick up Yilan, which is dead even by gangster estimates; the KMT is scrambling to hold onto Hualien and hoping that one of those splittist elements doesn't get elected, but faces only factional dangers but few challenges from the DPP.

Ninty eight people have been taken into custody in connection to vote buying during the campaign. Over 3,500 cases of vote buying related activities were reported, with investigators taking up over 2,200 of them.

I'll try to have an analysis here not only of the higher level, more prominent election results, but also the things going on at the township level.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

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Beijing's Annexation Strategy

According to author and exiled Chinese law professor Yuan Hongbing, Beijing has made clear plans to achieve annexation of Taiwan via principally economic means. In an interview with Yuan, and a review of his new book, 'Taiwan Disaster', Wu Tsen-hsi of the Epoch Times lays out Yuan's take on Beijing's strategy as follows (alleged direct quotes of Chinese leaders in orange):

  • Chinese Prime MInister Wen Jiabao maintains that Taiwan will have to agree to integrate economically with the mainland if it expects to utilize the mainland for its economic development. Wen also stated that an agreement must be signed to ensure that the rules of economic integration are followed."Economic integration is by nature, economic unification. Taiwan benefits from it economically, and we [the CCP] fulfill our political goal by doing it," Wen said
  • Prime Minister Li Keqiang explained in depth that in order to break through the investment barrier erected by the government of Taiwan,a number of Taiwan’s merchants will have to be used as agents. They would, of course, be relatively well paid, and would manage the CCP's investments in Taiwan's banks, insurance companies, and other strategic economic entities. Li concluded by saying, "To manipulate Taiwan's stock market so it rises or falls according to our will that will take a lot of capital investment, but the expenditure is worthwhile, considering what we will gain politically."
  • The mainland would become the primary market for Taiwan's industrial and agricultural export products, accessing 90 percent of Taiwan's total agricultural product output for export in the shortest time possible; the mainland would become the primary source of Taiwan's strategic resources, including energy resources; and the regime would ensure that a target number of 500,000 mainland tourists visiting Taiwan each year (Poster's Note: 2009: 900,000) would be maintained up to 2012, assuring that the mainland remains the primary source of Taiwan's tourism.
  • Another key strategy of the regime is to erode Taiwan’s politico-economic factions from within. To accomplish this, the regime will focus on corrupting the Kuomintang (KMT) leaders and marginalizing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP.) The CCP's economic strategy specifically targets the upper-classes of the Kuomintang (KMT), the sponsors of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and several million Taiwanese merchants. Taiwan Disaster mentions a confidential 2002 document forwarded from the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CCP to the Provincial army level. The document stipulates that the CCP should protect any investments made by upper-class KMT members and other influential individuals, including those investments made directly in their names, or indirectly, in their friends' or relatives' names. The book quotes a 2008 document issued by China’s Central Government which states: “The [Chinese Communist] Party should take advantage of the Kuomintang’s return to power, and complete the reunification of Taiwan by 2012, before the Party’s 18th National Congress."
  • The regime has been betting on the KMT leaders for a long time, according to Yuan. During the eight years (2000-2008) when the KMT was not in control, the Chinese regime has been methodically binding the economic well being and dependency of the KMT leaders tightly to the communist regime by inviting them to open businesses in the mainland, according to Yuan. Suppressing, weakening, and corrupting the DPP is another integral part of the regime’s strategy to erode the country’s political framework. Yuan says the regime has been trying to deepen the rift within the DPP by manipulating the money laundering case of its former leader, President Chen Shui-bian.
  • The regime is fomenting social conflict and inspiring hatred toward the DPP. Yuan explains how economic means are to be used to control the sponsors of the DPP and disintegrate its standing in society.
  • The tactics used to disintegrate the DPP's social status also include buying fruit in large increments from Southern Taiwan to make Taiwan heavily dependent on mainland purchases, while at the same time serving to imply that Taiwan’s political stance toward the regime had changed. According to the book, this strategy was contrived by Hu Jintao, the General Secretary of the CCP. For the 'reunification'[sic] of Southern Taiwan, Jia Qinglin, the Chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference, said in the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau: "For those Taiwanese merchants who support our policies with Taiwan, we must meet their reasonable financial requirements, making them feel that the mainland is a haven for investments.For those merchants who clandestinely go against our policies, we must strengthen our monitoring and control mechanisms, and pursue financial retribution. When necessary, we can ruin them financially and make them lose everything they own."
Original Chinese article

So ... apparently economics is the key and ECFA the first major step toward the CCP realizing its goals. Yet the China Post reported on a survey by NTU that a clear majority of Taiwanese (in the survey) opposed ECFA:
Six out of 10 Taiwanese are against a major trade agreement with China that is being pushed aggressively by the island's government, a survey showed Friday. Out of more than 1,200 polled earlier this month, 59.7 percent opposed the planned pact, known as the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), according to results released by National Taiwan University. Only 34.7 percent supported the agreement, which Taiwan's China-friendly government has said will bring both higher growth and more jobs. Just over 54 percent said they had no faith that President Ma Ying-jeou could protect the interests of the Taiwanese people when negotiating with Beijing on the deal.
Remember that the Premier has said that the best conditions for signing an ECFA will be when 60% of Taiwanese support it. Expect that to be forgotten as more polls show opinion swinging in exactly the opposite direction.

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