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

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Past 2 days' local news recaps most recent posts on this blog

On both Sunday and Monday, I wrote about "those 'Taiwanese' 'students' who want 'truth' and 'democracy.'" Several articles in yesterday and today's news restate and verify a lot of the information contained within those two posts.

Here's a (relatively) brief look at several news items of the past two days [with a whole lotta emphasis and a tiny bit of commentary added]:
Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Students in league with pan-blue alliance: DPP (Taipei Times)
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused the students staging a "hunger strike" at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall of being in allegiance with the pan-blue alliance.

According to the DPP, some of the students played active roles in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance's election campaign.


The deputy director of the DPP's Information and Culture Department, Cheng Wen-tsan, yesterday said that some of the students participating in the hunger strike had ties to the pan-blue alliance.

Cheng said that one student, Chen Hsin-ju, was the vice convener of the pan-blue campaign office's information department, and also served as a student representative to the PFP's national congress. Another student, Chen Cheng-feng, was supported by the KMT in his unsuccessful attempt to be elected president [Whoa! You scratch my unsuccessful back, and I'll scratch yours?] of National Taiwan University's student union.

At a media conference yesterday, the DPP displayed photographs of the students posing with KMT Chairman Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong.

The DPP said the hunger strikers' Web site, http://dyu.hopto.org, was connected to the home page of a pan-blue youth organization. The e-mail address on the students' Web site is pfpe2k@yahoo.com.tw. According to the DPP, "pfp" refers to the political party, while "e2k" is the name of youth summer camp held regularly by the PFP. [NOTE: I believe "youth summer camp" is a mistranslation of what should be "youth camp" in the sense of the "youth division" of the PFP.]

Editorial cartoon (Taipei Times)
[Two blindfolded men, labeled "Pan-blue camp," holding signs reading "We want the truth," while droplets of saliva come out of their mouths as if they're shouting. One of two passersby says, "If they want the truth, somebody tell them they're lost."]

Pointless protests drag on (Taipei Times)
I have been watching the endless protests since the election on March 20. The pan-blues are demanding a recount, a new election, a state of emergency, a special task force to investigate the election-eve assassination attempt and so on.

It is hard to say what the protests are about because the protesters keep changing their demands all the time, leaving us confused about what they really want. From my point of view, President Chen Shui-bian has given reasonable explanations for all the doubts the pan-blues have raised, but they keep coming up with something new to keep the protests going.


I read that there were no reasonable facts to support what Lien and Soong have been saying -- they only kept saying the election was unfair, that the election was rigged and that the assassination was staged. When asked if they had any particular evidence to support the allegations, they could not give a satisfactory answer.

So, what do the pan-blues really want? They have been rejecting any proposal that tries to resolve the problem peacefully. It is evident that they want to keep these endless protests going until Lien and Soong are declared unconditionally the winners. Otherwise, they are going to harass our lives forever.

But the question is, are Taiwanese that blind? Are people really so easily cheated with these allegations?

Dispersal of hunger strike students sparks dispute (eTaiwanNews.com)
The dispersal of eight college students on a hunger strike late Sunday night at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall once again created tensions between Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and the central government.

After investigating the police action, Ma told reporters yesterday evening that the National Police Administration and the Democratic Progressive Party government should bear the greatest responsibility for the illegal crackdown.

'New democracy' reverses democracy (eTaiwanNews.com)
Political figures formerly associated with the DPP, notably former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, who now support the KMT - PFP alliance have claimed that this campaign represents a "new democracy movement."

But an examination of the demands, the nature of leaders and supporters, its historical background and its vision (or lack thereof) reveals that this creation far short of being either "new" or "democratic" or even anything recognizable as a "movement."

It is an exaggeration of reality for Mr Hsu and his confederates, such as "independent" legislator Sisy Chen and ex-legislator Chu Kao-cheng, to refer to their actions as representing a "movement."

The only organized forces evident in the street demonstrations have been linked with the KMT and PFP and the tone of the actions, including the violent confrontation at the Central Election Commission March 26, have been set by PFP "lawmakers," most of whom by now have dropped earlier references to exploding volcanos and "revolution" in the wake of ebbing support among the general public.

The leaders of the current campaign are clearly named Lien and Soong and the "masses" are comprised mainly of first or second generation mainlanders, many of which are long-time backers of the New Party or PFP who feel their values or interests to be threatened by Taiwan's progressive democratization, a perception which we feel is understandable but mistaken.


And what, after all, does the "new democracy movement" called for by Hsu and others offer?

Besides refusing to abide by the accepted legal "game rules" and acknowledge defeat, the core position of the KMT-PFP in the past two weeks has been their demand that President Chen declare a "state of emergency," ostensibly to sweep away legal and constitutional barriers to the formation of special investigative tribunals to probe the March 19 shooting of the president and vice president and its possible effects on the polls.

The most neutral sites for investigations into such matters are precisely the Judicial and Control branches, which are institutionally independent of the president.

A declaration of a state of emergency would only accomplish the suspension of the Constitutional order, negate the changes to the political system that have taken place due to the democratization process since 1987 and take Taiwan back to the condition of "rule by law," which evidently the KMT - PFP prefers.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

'Hunger-strikers' linked to parties (Taipei Times)
The student protesters staging a "hunger strike" at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall yesterday were alleged by fellow students to have worked with the pan-blue camp even as they claimed to be politically neutral.


Students are taking turns going without food for 12 hours, labeling the action a "hunger strike."

Editorial: Youthful protesters seem misguided (Taipei Times)
The students, however, seem to have no idea of how the government works -- or much knowledge of recent political history. The president is in a position of power, but he is not all-powerful.

For example, take the students' appeal for a Cabinet made up of the party with a legislative majority. Such a significant change to the government system would require a fundamental revision of the Constitution. Such power lies in the hands of the legislature, not the president. Since it is the pan-blue camp that claims a legislative majority, the students should be making this demand to Lien and Soong, not Chen.


The students appear to be, excuse the phrase, jumping the gun in their demand for a commission to investigate the March 19 shooting. World-renowned forensics expert Henry Lee and his team are already investigating the case and Lee is considered pro-blue. Why don't the students calmly wait for the results of his probe and then see if they have any complaints?

As for their claims to be politically neutral, at least three of the students leading the hunger strike are members of either the KMT or the PFP. Some of them have said that they would withdraw from their parties right away to show their neutrality. But their actions have understandably raised suspicions about whether one or more political parties are behind the students' protest, and has damaged the credibility of the protesters.

Ma tells the central government to back off (China Post [Taiwan, mofo!])
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou yesterday insisted that the central government had no right to ask the Taipei City government to retract an approval for a massive opposition rally to be held this Saturday outside the presidential office.

The DPP-controlled central government in response urged the KMT's Ma to reconsider allowing the demonstration to go ahead in view of the violence that broke out between protesters and police before dawn on Sunday.


The KMT's Ma yesterday used unusually strong language to criticize the central government, saying that the central government in its treatment of the hunger-striking students was turning Taiwan into a police state.
Today's news also brings up some interesting new points. James Soong's opposition People First Party, which seems to put Soong first and "the people" last, has taken the most absurd measure of planning to "file a malfeasance lawsuit against Chen Tsai-fu (President Chen Shui-bian's chief security guard)" for "failing to protect the safety of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu during the election-eve assassination attempt." While one might tend to make the argument that the ACLU protects even groups like the Ku Klux Klan, it must not be forgotten that the opposition have been threatening violence and revolution after their election loss. While police dare not accuse the opposition of being behind the assassination attempt on the president, the possibility has certainly crossed the minds of many.

An op-ed article in today's Taipei Times also does an excellent job of examining the "man behind the curtain," calling the (local) media "a catalyst for unrest."

Though I'm neither in this for money nor fame, I'd like to thank the World Star Gazette for linking to Monday's post and at least one earlier post. They seem to have brought a few extra visitors to this blog recently, and hopefully this will help people figure out "the truth" for themselves. Go follow some links over there if you're in the mood to do so.
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