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Saturday, June 05, 2010

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Taiwan under Ma Ying-jeou is a mess

Gangsters and police hand-in-hand -- and so much more!

Sun Moon Biotech -- the scene of the May 28, 2010 shooting that took place in broad daylight in Taichung City, Taiwan in the presence of four police officers
Sun Moon Biotech -- the scene of the
May 28, 2010 shooting that took place
in broad daylight in Taichung City, Taiwan
in the presence of four police officers
Photo by Tim Maddog
(click to enlarge)
On Friday, May 28, 2010, the shooting murder of gang leader Weng Chi-nan (翁奇楠) which took place in broad daylight in the presence of (at least) four police officers in Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led Taichung City pulled back the curtain on so much of what is wrong in Taiwan today.

The two senior officers on the scene were Taichung City Police Traffic Chief Lin Chi-you (林啟右) and Criminal Investigation Corps' Third Division head Lin Wen-wu (林文武). The two lower-ranking officers there were Shih Chang-hsing (石長興) and Sergeant Tai Chih-hung (戴志宏).

Surveillance video from the interior of the crime scene exists, but over a week later, not only has this video footage not been shown to the public to help identify and capture the shooter -- it is said to have already been partially erased. UPDATE: That page has ironically disappeared, but I fortunately saved an image of the web page. [/update]

Could somebody be hiding something, y'think? Can you say "accessories to the crime"?

Were the police officers there simply "drinking tea," as has been reported, were they "playing mahjong," or is such speculation just a distraction from what was really going on? So far, we can only rely on the testimony of seemingly untrustworthy sources. Right away all four officers on the scene claimed that they "didn't know" Wang.

But just days later, the story changes slightly. Also at the scene was retired officer Chen Wen-hsiung (陳文雄, the one you may have seen on TV yelling about people making "groundless accusations"), who now admits that he knew Wang, though he claims he "didn't know him well," and he says he invited the other four to the location. Tsk, tsk!

How long will it be before the story changes again?

Taichung Police Commissioner Hu Mu-yuan (胡木源) has already resigned as a result of this scandal. However, the re-election campaign of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) -- a Chinese KMT politician who has already held office since 2002 (thus having had plenty of time to do something about public order) -- is sure to suffer as a result of the constant attention being given to this matter.

Mayor Hu has repeatedly "declared war" on gangs, yet according to the National Police Agency (警政署), Taichung's crime rate has been the highest in the nation during the past six years.

This sure doesn't look anything like the "clean" Chinese KMT promised by Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in his 2008 presidential election campaign.

The undemocratic Referendum Review Rejection Committee
In news about Taiwan's disappearing democracy, to no one's surprise, the Referendum Review Committee rejected the second proposal for a referendum on the current government's plan to sign an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China. Even a poll by the deep-blue TVBS tells us that support for such a referendum increased from 48% to 55% [104 kb PDF file] since March 2009.

So why can't Taiwanese have a say in this matter? Referendum Review Rejection Committee chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) is claiming that "The TSU's proposal does not meet the qualification of 'approving a government policy' as stated in the Referendum Act."

This is just another of the Chinese KMT's word games which treat the Taiwanese as idiots.

The Ma government claims that the public supports ECFA, yet hundreds of thousands of signatures had been collected in support of this proposal. Could that number be the very reason the committee voted 12:4 to reject public opinion on something that could affect not only the economy but also Taiwan's sovereignty?

Radical (and mendacious) anti-Taiwan media
In a report on the latest rejected referendum, the frequently-mendacious news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) refers to the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- whose "spiritual leader" is former president (then-Chinese KMT) Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- as "a radical pro-independence party." More word games.

While I have previously complained about the TSU being infiltrated by Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) redshirts, there are only two groups which would consider the party itself to be "radical," and those groups would be the Chinese KMT and the CCP.

Why isn't anyone in the media referring to those two parties as "radical"?

China proves Ma to be a liar (How will he explain this away?)
After Ma's repeated claims that signing an ECFA with China would open the door for Taiwan to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, Chinese officials are ironically the ones who have been more forthcoming:
On the China trade issue, Taiwan protested on Wednesday after a mainland foreign ministry spokesman said Beijing "resolutely opposed" official contact between its diplomatic allies and Taiwan.
Does it matter what Chinese officials say about this? Will that stop other countries from signing FTAs with Taiwan? Read what Franck Varga says about that below.

US Congress listens to Ma's critics, not to Ma
(and Ma listens to no one but China)

A recent report by Congressional Research Services (CRS) titled "Democratic Reforms in Taiwan" has expressed "concern" over "the prolonged detention of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as a result of complaints by writers and scholars whose open letters (see link below) have been previously covered on this blog.

An article in the June 4, 2010 edition of the Taipei Times also has this to say about the report [highlights mine]:
"A number of professors, writers, activists and ex-officials primarily in the United States have signed open letters on what they called the 'erosion of justice' in Taiwan," the report says.

[...]

The US Congress has also helped, the report says, "by pressing the KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] regime to end authoritarian abuses of power in favor of freedoms for all the people in Taiwan, including the majority Taiwanese."

The report says that a sustainable democracy helps Taiwan to guard against "undue" Chinese influence as cross-strait engagement has intensified under Ma.
Whenever people criticize things about the Ma government that anyone can see with their own eyes, the Ma government will have a response that treats you like you're imagining things (or perhaps that you're "not Chinese, so you couldn't possibly understand"), but their logic doesn't hold up to the facts. That doesn't seem to bother them in the least.

But remember this: When the Chinese KMT says "up," you should think "down" -- way down -- and check things out for yourself.

Related reading:
* David Reid of David on Formosa blogs: "Rejection of referendum is a denial of democratic rights"

* Ben Goren blogs on Letters from Taiwan: "Pants on Fire"

* Franck Varga blogs about gangsters, Chinese KMT hypocrisy, and more. As Franck points out, "They [the Ma government] want to let the Taiwanese believe that other countries will not be afraid of the Chinese reaction…"

* Michael Turton blogs on The View from Taiwan about Beijing slapping Ma in the face, noting Bonnie Glaser's Nineteen Eighty-Four-like "logic."

* Look back at what Jason Hu told the Taipei Times back in 2001 when he was running for mayor.

* Taiwan Echo writes about the return to days of dictatorship -- and beyond: Ma to Send More Military Instructors to Campus -- Elementary Schools Included

* Part 13 of my series of posts on "the erosion of justice in Taiwan" contains links to all the open letters, the responses, and my earlier comments.

Facially-tattooed tears: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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7 Comments:

At 1:31 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Thanks for composing this list. It's a hard work.

Something can be added in the next version: the international report on the speedy erosion on Taiwan's speech freedom.

 
At 1:31 AM, Blogger Koenraad said...

Is it really any different elsewhere? It is just better hidden in other places, but the story remains the same.

 
At 5:26 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Koenraad, can you actually be serious?

Tim Maddog

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Koenraad said...

Tim, I am both serious and a realistyt.

I have lived in over a dozen countries, including Taiwan, and there has not been one exception in corruption, organized crime and government involvement.

In countries such as Ecuador, the issue is more visible, the police is easyly bribed and works more for organized crime and that counts for their government as well.

Belgium is quite the opposite, but only image wise, everything looks dandy but behind the screen, everything can be bought and has been bought by organized crime and similar organizations/individuals. It is just better hidden and much more expensive to achieve.

Taiwan, is a case somewhat in between. The system of "favors" has already been used for a long time and it has been known that e.g. KTV organizations were not only used for Karaoke. Don't tell me people don't or didn't know.

So yes, I am serious. But Tim, seriously, maybe instead of just replying and avoiding further discussion, maybe give a thought and do some actual research in other countries than Taiwan, and then answer.

If you want a website in favor of taiwan and its independence, then maybe focus on Chinese dirty tactics and their cooperation between government and organized crime.

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Koenraad: "I have lived in over a dozen countries, including Taiwan, and there has not been one exception in corruption, organized crime and government involvement.
....
maybe give a thought and do some actual research in other countries than Taiwan, and then answer."


I think people don't need to live else where to know that corruption and crime involvement are common.

But, Taiwan in what scale of corruption is totally irrelevant.

Like the corruption being the human nature, the urge to seek a better life is, too. No matter in what scale of corruption, any society would strive hard for better future. Therefore, the criticism against corruption or else is a reflection of this urge. Without it, the society will go down in a free ride to lawlessness.

Similar thoughts like yours often pop up when Taiwanese wanted to seek justice (through law, not through lip service) for the killing in 228 :

"Oh it's nothing. Governments in every dynasty of Chinese history did that. The authority just kill people, that's all. In many cases much worse than in 228. There's nothing special in 228"

So people just got killed, full stop ? What should people do ? Just shut up and accept the fate ? Does that mentality apply to the killings in any other places on earth, or just to Taiwanese ?

It's easy for people who can't feel the pain of victims to dilute the seriousness. For those who suffer, and those who has compassion to feel the pain of theirs, silence is definitely not the choice.

 
At 1:57 AM, Blogger Koenraad said...

Yes, Taiwan Echo, I agree with you, and indeed, it does not take to live in different countries to see corruption. But comparing 228 with corruption is like comparing apples with pears.

228 is a lesson one should never forgot so it will not happen again, not in Taiwan and not elsewhere else.

But corruption was and is there and will not go away until a politician (in a high position) will have the guts to stand up and fight it. I haven't seen any candidates yet, certainly not in KMT and not immediately in DPP.

Corruption is affecting democracy and corporate business, but it is also affecting the independence in Taiwan's unique situation.

Since a military takeover by China is not immediately an option due the to treaty with US and other reasons, corruption has opened the doors for the Chinese to slowly take over Taiwan economically. Chinese businesses are slowly being allowed (Beijing Duck restaurants chains,...), travel is easier, neon light casinos will appear soon on Penghu.

Money can buy anything, also in Taiwan.

 
At 3:40 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Koenraad, if you read carefully, you should be able to figure out that Taiwan Echo wasn't comparing the 228 Massacre with corruption.

The comparison was about the similarity of your argument ("the story remains the same") with arguments used by people who try to diminish the importance of certain topics when they don't want to hear about them.

Tim Maddog

 

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