"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Good news for Taiwan?

(Updated with links to Sunday's Taipei Times)

I'm still avoiding the local (mostly) Chinese-language news, which tends to exaggerate, distort, and outright lie (even more than others) [UPDATE LINK 1], but the New York Times has a headline that sounds hopeful:
Despite Rally, Taiwan President Tightens Hold on Office
The first picture accompanying the article below that headline also provides a hilarious example of the hypocrisy of the pan-blue supporters. The headband on the (apparently) screaming woman reads jìng zuò -- literally, "quiet sit," or according to my Chinese-English dictionary, "to sit still with a peaceful mind; to sit still as a form of therapy." She doesn't look very quiet to me. Even if it's short for "sit-in protest," it doesn't describe the situation very well. [UPDATE LINK 2]

Another interesting thing is the caption to that photo:
The Taipei police estimated with unusual precision that 468,000 people participated in Saturday's rally.
Have you ever heard such an "unround" number when talking about protesters? The only thing I can make of it is that the number "168" sounds lucky in Chinese, and the number "4" sounds like "death" and is considered unlucky. I have no verification of this, however. It's simply a guess.

In Spike Lee's controversial film Do the Right Thing, the weather played an important factor in the outcome. Although it wasn't much help on Friday, the weather may have also been a factor here in Taiwan yesterday, according to the same NYTimes article:
Scuffles on Friday between riot police and a few hundred People First Party supporters, who smashed windows and doors at the Central Election Commission, had raised fears about possible disturbances on Saturday. But in cool weather and under a light but steady drizzle, the crowd stayed calm.
A local English-language news source also has some encouraging news that President Chen Shui-bian's DPP party is hitting back hard with the hypocrisy charges after giving the pan-blues lots of "rope" with which to hang themselves [UPDATE LINK 3]. Here are some excerpts from an article in the Taiwan News:
DPP disputes opposition allegations
2004-03-28 / Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Wang Chung-ming

Democratic Progressive Party officials yesterday criticized the leaders of the opposition Kuomintang and People First Party for allegedly feeding their supporters unsubstantiated allegations at yesterday's rally which cast doubt on the legitimacy of Taiwan's March 20 presidential election.

"The KMT and PFP are unwilling to respect legal procedures," DPP legislative caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang told reporters at the DPP headquarters.

"In suing to nullify the election, they accused the DPP of fraud and manipulating the vote-counting process without offering any concrete evidence," Tsai said, "They are trying to distract the people's attention from the key points."

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan also denied claims by the opposition that the government was not interested in solving the political stalemate.

"The government has shown goodwill in responding to their appeals for a recount, a clarification of the shooting incident, and examination of the wound," Lee said.

According to the DPP, an eight person task force was invited to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation on March 24 for a briefing on the evidence gathered by that time.

This group included Academia Sinica researchers Chu Hung-yuan and Cheng Yang-chun, National Taiwan University professor Lu Rei-chung, scientist Wu Yung-yu, overseas citizen Cao Hsiang-sheng, Chu Li-jung, Central Police University professor Chang Kuang-ming and Central Police University professor and ballistics expert Lin Mao-hsiung.

"Has any one stood out to contradict the CIB's conclusions?" Tsai asked. "Obviously, it's the KMT and PFP who have not told the truth to Taiwan's people," he said, responding to independent Legislator Sisy Chen's demand that the government reveal the truth behind the March 19 attack on the president.

The DPP's goodwill was also evident when President Chen instructed State Public Prosecutor-General Lu Jen-fa to invite Henry Lee, a world-renowned forensic scientist recommended by the KMT, to join the special task force, Tsai contended.

Secretary-General Lee urged the opposition not to insult Taiwan's civil, medical, and investigative agencies' personnel.

"Please litigate your case. Please respect the court," Lee said.


Lee also slammed as "irresponsible" Soong's claims that a senior DPP leader told him that the March 19 shooting of the president and Vice President Annette Lu was a DPP plot, and asked Soong to reveal his source.

He also dismissed Soong's allegation that DPP supporters attempted to set fire to PFP headquarters on Friday night.

"We cannot accept such accusations made without evidence," he said.


"The KMT and PFP are projecting their experience when they totally controlled the military during their decades of rule," Chen [Chung-hsin, the director of the DPP's Chinese Affairs Department] said. [Emphasis mine] [LINK]
I'm looking forward to the Sunday Taipei Times (usually online around noon, Taiwan time) for more details about Saturday's events.
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