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

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Have you ever seen an "earthworm" cry?

Taiwan legislator Chiu Yi of the opposition "People First Party" (PFP) has been charged with treason, according to an article on Bloomberg.com.

The charge stems from his involvement in a riot at government offices in Kaohsiung on the night of March 20 after votes were tallied and Chen Shui-bian declared victory in Taiwan's presidential election. The article also says Chiu denied this, saying that he "was trying to calm the people, not incite them." I caught the tail end of his press conference in response to the charges this afternoon, in which the media described him basically as "whining" this denial.

I watched the riot on live TV, and it sure looked to me like he was inciting the crowd. Although the charges of treason apply specifically to the incident in Kaohsiung, Chiu was involved in other such incidents during the following week in which he is quoted by the Toronto Star as saying, "The horn of the revolution has been sounded."

This statement is related to another event that I watched with amazement on live TV, where Chiu was way up in the front of the crowd as protesters kicked in the glass on the bulletin board announcing the official results of the election at the Central Election Commission building in Taipei. I was also watching when the protesters smashed the glass doors of the building, pelted police with eggs, and finally forced their way inside. An article called "Taiwan radicals pushing for violent demonstrations" appearing in today's Straits Times cites Chiu Yi telling the Financial Times that "Only a revolution could succeed in overturning Mr Chen's government." Chiu is also quoted as saying, "We need to storm the fortifications," that "demonstrators should ram through the police barricades in front of the presidential office," and "You cannot conduct a revolution if you think about your public image. Only with open conflict will we be able to scare Chen Shui-bian."

Whether he said these things in Taipei or Kaohsiung, it doesn't sound very much like a person who "was trying to calm the people."

Chiu Yi's name (spelled "Chou Yi" in some reports, Hanyu pinyin: Qiu1 Yi4 [the numbers representing "tones"]) sounds enough like the Mandarin for "earthworm" (Hanyu pinyin: qiu1 yin3) that it has earned him that nickname among some. He has a long history of making outrageous accusations without any evidence backing them up. Now he's been caught on video inciting riots twice in a week's time, and he thinks that being a crybaby will get him off the hook. As he has been hoisted on his own petard, I can only say, as we do in Taiwan when someone verbally "passes gas," [\bang.pui]! What a fucking hypocrite!
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