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

Monday, May 03, 2004

Just how much does "freedom of the press" cover?

Does it include giving airtime to presidential assassination plotters?

Lai Chu-hsing, a 40-year-old Taiwanese man who recently announced the creation of the "Revolution Party," was arrested Sunday for an alleged plan to kill Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian and former president Lee Teng-hui.

What's even more outrageous than the threat itself is that Lai "was invited on several TV programs to talk about his assassination plan," according to the Taiwan Quick Take section of today's Taipei Times. (Was this not a cover story because the Taipei Times was smart enough to know better?) I would absolutely support the press' right to go find the guy and interview him, but to give him the kind of free publicity that would allow him to promote his murder plot is just plain fucked up! I hope that an investigation into the media figures who invited Lai to appear will result in indictments as accessories to his apparent crime.

In all of the news I read on this subject, no mention was made as to whether Lai was possibly connected to the March 19 shooting the day before the recent election which left both the President and Vice-President with non-lethal bullet wounds.

The Chen-Lu ticket won the election by less than 30,000 votes, and the crybaby sore loser opposition pan-blue alliance has been screaming, whining, rioting, and making all kinds of threats ever since. A recount of the votes is scheduled to begin on May 10, just 10 days before the inauguration ceremony, but there's nothing to suggest that it would have a different result than the original ballot count on March 20.

Other threats
Taiwan has only 26 diplomatic allies around the world. From these countries, 15 heads of state are said to be planning to attend the May 20 inauguration ceremony in Taipei. According to the BBC, six foreign embassies in Taipei -- all from Latin-American countries -- have received "threatening phone calls" warning them not to attend the ceremony. Further details of the threats were not revealed. The BBC article also mentions protests planned by the opposition, but those details are also missing.

The latest buzz I have heard locally is that the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) -- at the suggestion of the People First Party (PFP) -- is planning to put up a large billboard with a picture of a gun and 2 bullets on the face of their opulent headquarters across from the Presidential Office and to fly the ROC flag at half-mast. If they want to look even more ridiculous than they already do, I say go for it!
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