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

Monday, May 30, 2005

Ministry of Propaganda strikes again

Question everything, especially this!

These 2 articles showed up in my Bloglines feeds yesterday:
* China Alters Language On Taiwan
* Taiwan Nationalist Cites 'Consensus' With Chinese on Ending Hostilities
The first one bears a dateline of May 13, 2005, while the second is dated May 4, 2005. But let's note some similarities:
* Both articles are from the Washington Post.
* Both showed up in Bloglines as being posted -- not "updated" -- on May 29, 2005.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

* Both originally appeared on Page A01.
* Both articles are about Taiwan's perpetual crybaby opposition leaders visiting China.
* Both articles paint Taiwan's riot-loving opposition as well as China's missile-pointing leaders with words of kindness and greatness.
* There was no Google cache of either page.
Exactly two weeks earlier (May 15, 2005), CNN did the same thing with an article originally published on May 1, 2005. Although it showed up in Bloglines as being "updated," CNN's web site showed no indication that the last paragraph didn't appear in the original article. There's also one more difference: the original didn't mention that "Mike Chinoy contributed to [that] report." [NOTE: I compared the two versions at that time and saved both to my computer, but today, the Google cache showed a version that was saved on May 25, 2005.]

I smell something rotten, and I don't like it one bit. Thoughts? Click my name below to send 'em to me.

UPDATE: This post has now been updated three times -- first to fix a dumb typo, again to include this image, and finally to fix the update. Compare the image below with the one above which indicates nothing about the posts ever having been "Updated."
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Friday, May 20, 2005

WHO, cyanide, and HK's biggest joke

Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization (WHO) -- and even to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) -- has once again been rejected for the ninth consecutive time because of China.

Remember just last month when Lien Chan and James Soong went there for "talks" with Chinese leaders in Beijing? They supposedly got a promise that China would "allow" Taiwan into the WHO. That was then.

This is now: "Taiwan has no sovereignty and couldn't attend the WHA. Taiwan's opposition leaders said so during their visits to China," according to a summation of comments made recently by Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Sha Zukang and Chinese Health Minister Kao Qiang.

Whether it's their "one China" policy that doesn't allow other countries to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with China and Taiwan or delaying help to Taiwan during the SARS crisis, Sha, Kao, and the Chinese leadership are terrorists, plain and simple.

Here comes more sickness
In other news of sick motherfuckers, some asshole placed cyanide-laced bottles of the "energy drink" Paolyta Mán Niú and the "herbal drink" Paolyta B on the shelves of several local stores at various times on Tuesday and Wednesday (according to surveillance video), including the place where I get many of my groceries. Despite bearing labels with the words "Contains poison [skull and crossbones] Please don't drink," five people are said to have been poisoned. At least one death is said to have resulted from the poisoning.

The product has reportedly been pulled from all grocery and convenience store shelves while police search for a suspect, and the manufacturer has said that all remaining bottles will be destroyed.

Jackie Chan promotes a myth
After the 2004 presidential election in Taiwan, goofball Jackie Chan made a fool of himself by calling that election "the biggest joke in the world." That certainly didn't warm the hearts of too many pan-green supporters. In fact, one idiot in the DPP took things too far, proposing to ask the government "to ban showings of Jackie Chan's new movie [Around the World in 80 Days]." Even then, the media blew the story out of proportion. That was then.

This is now (I have this strange feeling of déjà vu.):
Movie star Jackie Chan says he will stay away from Taiwan for four years to avoid protests over remarks he made calling the island's presidential election in 2004 a joke, a Taiwanese cable station reported Thursday.


In an interview in Cannes with Taiwanese cable station TVBS broadcast Thursday, Chan said he wanted to avoid the island for the time being.

"If I come, some people might organize something at the airport," Chan said, alluding to recent political protests at Taipei's international airport.


Chan was visiting the Cannes Film Festival to promote "The Myth," an adventure movie shot in India and China.
How apropos!

Tell ya what, Jackie. I'll never pay to see another one of your movies. Ever. How about that? Not that it'll be too difficult or anything. Read the interview with BS-TV here (in Big-5 Chinese encoding).

Sunday, May 15, 2005

After Taiwan's National Assembly election

Post goofy election goofiness
Back in December 2004, the dominant spin after Taiwan's legislative elections was that Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were "defeated." (See also here.) How do you think the pan-blues will spin the results of Saturday's National Assembly election? Here are the numbers for the four major parties:

PartyActual # of votesPercent of votesSeats
PFP236,7166.1% 18
* Compiled from unofficial results reported on Taiwan's TV news.

Speech, speech
I saw 2 of the parties' chairmen giving speeches after these numbers were being broadcast.

DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang was elated and expressed deep gratitude to his party's supporters.

KMT chairman Lien Chan, on the other hand, was doing his usual Mr. Magoo impression, seeming lost and confused, and wearing a plastic surgery-like smile. Quoting what is most likely an internal KMT poll (it certainly isn't this one), he said that "80% of Taiwanese" supported his recent trip to China. He had trouble reconciling that with the low voter turnout (local news said that it was only 23.36%) which was most surely greater than the sample in the poll he was quoting. Lien said he wasn't sure if this counted as a "loss."

At least he wasn't visibly crying.

Blame it on the rain
A spokesperson from the Central Election Commission speaking on TV a while ago blamed the low turnout on today's admittedly very bad weather. I'm sure it affected some people's decision to stay home, but as I wrote yesterday, people were simply uninformed and consequently unmotivated, despite prizes of MP3 players and NT$1 million being offered as an incentive to participate.

Let's compare the results using the standard "blue vs. green" method:

127 (DPP) +21 (TSU)= 148 (pan-greens)
117 (KMT)+18 (PFP)=138 (pan-blues)

Looking at it this way, the pan-greens clearly "won." But we still don't know how the National Assembly is going to work.

Will it require a simple majority or a two-thirds vote to pass the proposed constitutional reforms? Will the pan-blues resort to underhanded methods to block developments the way they've been doing in the legislature?

Will they even try to blame this latest "loss" on an "invalid" election? There are already indications that they may be ready to try this old trick once again. A TV news report earlier this evening said that they* were requesting a constitutional interpretation from the Grand Justices to determine if the low voter turnout would invalidate the election. We'll have to wait for tomorrow's papers to come out to find out more.

I think I'm going to go to sleep for the next 14 hours. I'm as tired as a mule fucker.

* UPDATE: PFP vice-chairman Chang Chao-hsiung and loudmouth PFP legislator Lee Yung-ping are among the ones requesting the constitutional interpretation.

UPDATE 2: The Monday, May 16, 2005 edition of the Taiwan News has an English-language report on the sore-loser PFP's request. Be sure to check out PFP vice-chairman Chang Chao-hsiung's argument about why he thinks "democracy is regressing." Hint: the voters weren't simply "disinterested" -- many were kept in the dark, and those who knew the details probably didn't want to vote for a "package" when they only supported part of it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Chinese speak Mandarin and other bullshit

Yahoo! News has a Washington Post article called "China Alters Language On Taiwan." [UPDATE: Link to original WaPo article.]

Instead of endlessly repeating "one China, one China, one China," James Soong and Hu Jintao now want to switch the echo to "two sides, one China" ("liang2 an4, yi1 ge0 zhong1 guo2") as a result of a Thursday meeting between the two Taiwan-haters.

Big difference, huh?

The article contains this big ugly fucking lie:
The disputes over wording may appear arcane and trivial to outsiders, but the governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait regard them with utmost seriousness and sometimes threaten to go to war over them.
Um, no! This is exactly the sort of thing for which Taiwan needs a mechanism like MediaMatters.org, the Daily Howler, or FAIR.

China is the only side that constantly threatens to go to war. Taiwan occasionally says that it will "defend" itself, but I think you have to go way back to the "retake the mainland" fantasy days of the KMT to find any such threat from this side of the Strait.

Mock the vote
Later today, there will be an election for something or other. Not too many people seem to know what the hell it is. Wanna know why?

Instead of detailed coverage of the issues at stake, the past two weeks' news has been saturated with details about Soong's excursion to China and the recent suicide of actor/comedian Ni Min-jan.

To find out more about the details on the election, I had to dig up an April 25, 2005 editorial in the Taipei Times which provided this succinct summation:
The assembly is being elected to vote on constitutional amendments to halve the number of legislative seats, adopting a single-member district, two-vote system for the legislative elections and abolishing the institution of the National Assembly.
So what do you think the Taipei Times did after that? They complained less than a week ago that people still "do not know much about the election" and then failed to further clarify anything.

It's a classic case of the "media two-step." First, the media mostly ignored the election, then Friday evening, they were still "reporting" about how ignorant everybody is. Aren't they something?!

I had to go elsewhere to find out more.

After spending over an hour with my wife, a Chinese-English dictionary, and the FAQ from the Central Election Commission's (CEC) web site, here's what I can understand.

The Legislative Yuan wants to temporarily (for one month only) re-establish the formerly abolished National Assembly, whose main job -- before Taiwan's citizens could vote -- was choosing the president and vice-president. They also had the responsibility of constitutional reform. The Legislative Yuan would first recommend changes before the National Assembly had a crack at 'em, and they were each sort of a check and balance on the other. One more big power held by the National Assembly was the ability to impeach the president and vice-president.

The CEC's FAQ spells out the details of the proposed constitutional reforms a little more clearly than the Taipei Times did above (translation mine):
1) halve the seats in the Legislative Yuan from 225 to 113
2) increase legislators' terms from 3 years to 4
3) 2 votes per legislative area [whatever that actually means]
4) this National Assembly will self-destruct [we mean it this time!], and the Legislative Yuan will have the right to initiate referenda
5) the Grand Justices will have the right to impeach the president and vice-president
In today's election, voters must choose a single party which will either support or oppose all five of the above items. That's pretty fucked up. The DPP and the KMT support the above reforms, while the smaller Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and New Party oppose them. The makeup of the 300-member National Assembly will be determined by the percentage of votes each party gets. For example, if the TSU were to get 20 percent of the votes, the first 60 people on their list would be in the Assembly.

Aye, there's the rub
By putting reforms 1, 2, and 3 into the constitution instead of simply changing the election law, subsequent reforms will be more difficult. It should be obvious from the poor planning of this election that this is a huge mistake.

Item 4 takes away the right of citizens to initiate referenda. The Taiwanese refer to the type of referenda that would result as "birdcage referenda." The citizens are like birds in a cage who must depend on their owners to initiate the act that will set them free. Ain't gonna happen. Whether 10,000 or 10 million people petition for a referendum, the decision to actually put it to a public vote will be determined by the proportional makeup of the Legislative Yuan. Think "squeezing blood from a stone."

The problem with reform number 5 is that the Grand Justices are appointed by the president. Their primary function is interpretation of constitutional law.

Is that loopy enough for you?

Anyway, now you're armed and ready if anyone brings up any of the above topics at the dinner table.

UPDATE: According to the early Saturday edition of the Chinese-language Liberty Times, could ya fucking believe that the legislature has still not determined how many votes it'll take for the National Assembly to pass the freakin' reforms?!?! I suppose they're waiting for the outcome of today's election is in order to "move the goalposts"? (Refer to the title of this blog.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Do writers really "create" propaganda?

Or do they just shit out whatever's fed to them?
Every day via Bloglines, I can keep up with some of the memes about Taiwan being a "renegade province," the lies about China's so-called "olive branch[es]" being extended to Taiwan, and so on.

A couple of days ago, a piece called "Do Countries Really 'Point' Missiles At Each Other?" by Daniel Engber in the online magazine Slate was one of the items offered for my perusal. Here are some excerpts from that piece [links present in original]:
The head of Taiwan's opposition party returned
on Tuesday from an eight-day visit to mainland China. Relations between the two countries may be on the mend; after the visit, China made a peace offering to the island in the form of two giant pandas. But reports about the possible rapprochement have been careful to note that the Chinese military still has around 725 missiles "pointed" at Taiwan, with no plan to remove them any time soon. Wait, are these missiles literally pointed toward the island?

Well, not right now. [...] If China were to launch a missile attack, it would first need to haul the missiles out of these tunnels, turn them on, and point them in the right direction.


Before China could use the missiles, the military would have to drive them out of the underground tunnels on transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) [...] The missiles must also be "spun up," [...]. The missiles "pointed" at Taiwan may already be targeted; spinning them up would probably take about half an hour. [Emphasis mine]
What a funny guy, eh?

No? I didn't think so either. [LET ME EMPHASIZE: We, the targets, do solemnly swear that we don't give a flying fuck whether the missiles are literally "pointed" at us or not.] I wrote to the author to express my consternation about his semantic games. I wrote more than once.

Here's what transpired (published with the unexpected permission of the author; e-mail addresses and redundancies removed; emphasis added here):
From : Tim Maddog
To : Explainer
Subject : Semantic bovine excrement


Do I detect an excess of semantic something-or-other happening in your piece called "Do Countries Really 'Point' Missiles At Each Other?" [http://slate.msn.com/id/2118034/]

Lemme make myself as clear as I possibly can.

China has these missiles, see, and they're massed along the coast facing Taiwan, dig? [Taiwan Theater Missile Facilities http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/china/facility/theater.htm] These missles aren't there for the purpose of decimating marine life. Nor are they there to crush an uprising of peasant farmers in Zhejiang or Chengdu either, okay?

If you've been paying attention to the news recently -- and being "(the) explainer" and all, I sure hope you have -- China just passed something they call an "anti-secession" law. Boy, the fun we could have with the semantics of that one! Lemme tell ya! You can read the full text of the law in English here:

It's only 788 words long, so it shouldn't take up a whole lot of your time. Note in particular that it mentions "Taiwan" approximately 27 times and "non-peaceful means" 3 times.

Anyway, I'll let you figure the rest out for yourself, but thinkin' folks here in Taiwan see things a tad differently from the way you present it in your article, what with that "renegade province to be reunited by any means, even by force, if necessary" stuff constantly spewing out of Beijing. And, yes, the spewage is pointed at us here in Taiwan.

Whether the missiles' pointed ends are currently facing Taiwan or not, I would really appreciate it if you didn't play word games about this. You and I both know that they're targeted at Taiwan, no matter which direction they originate from.

As serious as a heart attack,

China passes "anti-secession" law threatening Taiwan

Full-text Chinese version of the "anti-secession" law
(Note the word "antiseparation" in the URL)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Question everything -- especially this!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A PSA from nobody in particular.

From : Explainer
To : Tim Maddog
Subject : Re: Semantic bovine excrement

Dear Tim,

The title of the column--"Do Countries Really 'Point' Missiles At Each Other?"--describes the goal of the piece: We were not taking any position about whether China is actually threatening Taiwan with the 725 missiles it has deployed abutting the Taiwan Strait. Nor could any serious reader possibly interpret the column to make that case.

We were answering the (perhaps silly), but somewhat interesting) question of whether missiles literally get "pointed" at countries in any context.

If the piece were entitled "Is China Really Threatening Taiwan With DF-11 Missiles?", the content would have been quite different.


From : Tim Maddog
To : Explainer
Subject : Re: Semantic bovine excrement


I'm impressed by your quick reply, but my suspicions about your semantic games were verified. Instead of responding directly, you took the Ann Coulter "I'm-a-linear-thinker-but-you're-not" (Yeah, right!) approach and played the game of "If the title were blah blah blah, you'd have a point, but you don't, so I'm right, and you're wrong." That's not what I was expecting from an "explainer."

Taiwan is bullied by China and in the international community because of the attitudes created by a constant barrage of memes such as "renegade province" and "Chen Shui-bian is a 'troublemaker' for 'moving toward' independence."

I was here during the SARS crisis when the WHO -- supposedly a non-political organization -- didn't send any assistance to Taiwan for a month or so after the crisis began due to political pressure from China. You probably can't even imagine the sense of paranoia that came out of that situation. [More info on SARS and the missile threat: http://indiac.blogspot.com/2003_12_01_indiac_archive.html#107107077944212697]

Your article may be just a "drop in the bucket," but by using semantics to mock the fact that China is threatening Taiwan with hundreds of missiles, you most surely haven't done anything to help the situation. *This* is the interpretation of a "serious" reader.

If you do reply to this mail, I would actually prefer a slower, more carefully considered reply that might indicate you read some of the info I sent along (in both this and my previous mail) to help you understand the situation more clearly.


From : Explainer
To : Tim Maddog
Subject : Re: Semantic bovine excrement


Perhaps I shouldn't even reply, since I don't actually have time to read all the material you sent along and produce the careful reply you're hoping for. But in a sense that's the point I want to make: The Explainer column goes up every single day on a wildly different topic. In general, we focus on one small (sometimes tiny) element of a news story and try to explain it. For the "Missiles" column we really wanted to answer the question of whether countries really point missiles at one another. This is a phrase you hear in the news a lot--and not just regarding China and Taiwan. I think some folks are curious about this phrasing, and whether it's literally true.

It gets dicey when we use the column to address a tiny element of an important issue. I did a column on how much it costs to buy a monkey following news reports that the Arizona police were planning to buy a capuchin), but I didn't really go into too much detail on the fact that keeping a monkey as a pet is a bad idea, and (in my opinion) morally wrong. Still, I did give a through explanation of the pricing scheme used in the monkey trade.

anyway, it helps to hear it when readers have a problem with the tone of the column, so thanks for sending in your comments. (But didja have to say "bovine excrement"?


From : Tim Maddog
To : Explainer
Subject : Re: Semantic bovine excrement


You crack me up, avoiding the issue at every turn! "Perhaps I shouldn't reply," "I don't have time," "It gets dicey," and eventually shifting to the moral correctness of "keeping a monkey"!

There was no specific "careful reply [I'm] hoping for," but you've given me an answer anyway: You aren't at all interested in the "truth," hence, my unfortunate allusion to "bullshit."

Perhaps I *was* hoping for some statement of regret or even an admission of your ignorance toward the subject matter. However, 4 out of the 5 paragraphs in your article were about China and Taiwan. Go back and count 'em for yourself, if you have the time. Is this by accident? I think not.

In fact, let's do some simple research, shall we?

On the first page of results, 10 out of 10 items are about... Taiwan! On the second page, it's 9 out of 10 which are about Taiwan. Page 3: 10 out of 10 about Taiwan. Page 4: 9 out of 10. Page 5: 10 out of 10. On the 6th and final page, 4 out of 5 mention Taiwan.

That's 52 out of 55, or over 94%.

In your latest reply, you wrote:
>This is a phrase you hear in the news a
>lot--and not just regarding China and Taiwan.

My retort: Bullshit! You're playing word games again.

Anyway, would you have any objections if I posted some -- or all -- of our discussion on my blog? It might be interesting to see what other "serious" readers think about this.

Still as serious as a heart attack,
Tim Maddog, BS Detector

From : Explainer
Sent : Saturday, May 7, 2005 9:10 PM
To : Tim Maddog
Subject : Re: Semantic bovine excrement

knock yourself out

[Emphasis added]
I think Daniel's employers might do well to heed his advice about "keeping a monkey as a pet." He does have a good point there.

Serious readers? I'd like your feedback. Click on my name below if you've got something to say about this.

Crooks and Liars posted a video of Ann Coulter making the absurd statement on Hannity & Colmes that "I think we gotta get College Republicans to start putting up their best debater against you [Alan Colmes] on college campuses to show liberals -- to y'know introduce them -- to the process of linear thinking and logical thought," as if A) she knows what either of those things are; B) she is able to do either; C) her own conversation wasn't illogical and Moebius-like. (The line comes up at about the 2'36" mark.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Five five five is a joke

A study of nihilism in 21st century Taiwan
On the fifth day of the fifth month of the year 2005 (05/05/05), James Soong, Lien Chan's crybaby sore loser running mate in last year's presidential election in Taiwan and chairman of the People First Party (PFP), is in China for another round of "selling out Taiwan."

President Chen Shui-bian is back from kissing dolphins in the Marshall Islands and an overnight stay in Fiji, and he's spouting bullshit about "reconciliation."

This crap about being a president for "all the people" is utter nonsense in this case because it assumes the absurd:
1) that one can let gangsters run wild yet suppress people from demonstrating peacefully;
2) that what is "good" for the opposition (the party of gangsters which allies itself with a country that has 700 or so missiles aimed at us) is "good" for the people of Taiwan -- even if the people were to agree with the shit; and
3) that compromising with the KMT, the PFP, or the CCP will actually gain anything for the people of Taiwan.
This [Chen's refusal/inability to use the rule of law to strike back at an opposition who continues to flaunt this situation and endanger democracy] is a reflection of the mei ban fa ("it can't be done") part of Taiwan's culture that makes me sick to my fucking stomach.

To those who would not be nihilists
Look, if there's anybody out there who has the means, here's what you need to do, even if you think it's already too late:
1) Go take a good, long look at MediaMatters.org, the Daily Howler, and FAIR.
2) Compile a database of info about the strange relationships between Taiwan's politicians and the media, both at home and abroad, both pan-blue and pan-green.
3) Every time there's untrue, deceptive, or otherwise inaccurate news about Taiwan in either the local or international news, apply the methodology to tear it to shreds, and hold accountable those responsible for its promulgation.
4) Do it in at least Chinese and English so the international community won't be so blissfully ignorant.
5) No cha bu duo ("close enough for government work") allowed!
6) Do it now!!! You can't wait for my Chinese ability to be good enough to do it myself.
That's all there is to it. Sounds like fun, eh?

Or the alternative? You could just lay down and submit to China and the KMT.

To those who would be idiots
One of the clients of the company where my wife works thinks that China is "not so bad." This person actually said that if you "don't do anything wrong, you should have nothing to fear."

I think I should remind this kind of person of a few things:
1) They beat, jail, and kill people for practicing Falun Gong in China.
2) In China, you can't view many web sites in or even about Taiwan.
3) A reporter named Chen Hung-hsiu speaking a short while ago on the late night talk show "Xin wen wa wa wa" ("News, dig, dig, wow!") was asked if he like the idea of unification with China. He said that covering the recent Lien Chan trip was his first visit to China and that he didn't like the idea one bit because of the limits that were imposed upon him during the short time he was there. The kicker? This guy works for The Journalist -- a magazine which famously complained about a lack of freedom of the press in Taiwan!
4) Even if you don't do anything "wrong," somebody like Diane Lee might say you did just 'cuz they don't like you -- or perhaps because they did something wrong, and you know about it.
Still itching to join up? If so, please just kill yourself now.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It's nothing at all like democracy

Lien Chan returns from China, brings totalitarianism along; Chen Shui-bian jumps the shark
Before Lien Chan had even returned to Taiwan, it was announced by Interior Minister Su Jia-chyuan in an attempt to preempt protests that "groups of 3 or more people" at the airport would be considered an "illegal gathering."

Things moved even further towards a Minority Report-like scenario when DPP legislator Wang Shih-chien was detained by police on his way to the airport. First of all, he was traveling alone. Second, he was carrying nothing more "dangerous" than 2 rotten eggs as he had publicly announced the previous day that he would.

Nevertheless, the same police who can't catch the most notorious gangsters in Taiwan were overperforming on Tuesday.

Other legislators were detained by police both at the airport and in transit. Only one of them was pan-blue -- New Party secretary-general Lee Sheng-feng.

Some young gang members were put into a paddy wagon at the airport by police who discovered that they were in possession of 60 centimeter-long clubs.

Which of those things sounds totally reasonable? If you answered "putting the guys who were at the airport with weapons into the paddy wagon," we'd be in agreement.

Sounds like bullshit
When Lien arrived, he mumbled a short speech at the airport which was broadcast live on TV. His audience was not visible, but from the audible reaction, it seemed that some of his supporters were there in attendance. How did they get in? Or were the reporters and camera operators the ones applauding?

Summary of Lien's speech (impediment)
Uh, hello, er, everybody. I'm back, and stuff. Taiwan's poor, lowly farmers can sell fruit, uh, to China, uh, the mainland. Um, and they want to give us a couple of pandas. Heh heh heh. Oh, and listen to me speak 10 or 15 words of Taiwanese to try to fool the local folk, er...

The (monetary) cost of pandering to China
According to an article in Tuesday's Liberty Times, someone from Taipei's Mucha Zoo has reported that it will cost Taiwan a fortune to keep the pandas.

For starters, just building their enclosure will cost an estimated NT$50 - 60 million (US$1,598,210.01 - 1,917,852.02 at the current exchange rate of 1 USD = 31.2850 TWD). Every year, Taiwan will be "required" to "donate" US$1 million (NT$32 million, according to the article) to a panda research center in Sichuan, China. (What kinda "gift" is that?!) An additional NT$10 million would be spent annually here in Taiwan on panda research, bringing the yearly tally (quoting the article) to a whopping NT$53.4 million (US$1,706,897.02)!

Mom, can we not keep 'em?

Winds of change (or Chen Shui-biàn, biàn, biàn!!!)
With all these changes in Chen Shui-bian's behavior, he has lost my support. Despite his talk of inviting Hu Jintao to visit an "independent Taiwan," Chen has allowed Taiwan to look more like a police state than I've seen in all my time here.

No, I won't be like Lien Chan and refuse to believe he's the president, but c'mon! Even a camel's back will break when that one final piece of straw is added.

After the presidential election last year, Chen let the pan-blues riot incessantly but asked his supporters to remain calm. Pan-blue politicians, including Lien Chan himself, even made threats against Chen's life. When pan-blue supporters went to the airport recently to protest as Taiwan Solidarity Union chairman Shu Chin-chiang returned from a controversial visit to Japan's Yasukuni Shrine, there were no repercussions for May Chin, the legislator who brought them there. On April 26, 2005, pan-blue gangsters beat up 15 pan-green supporters who were at the airport to protest Lien Chan selling out Taiwan. The pan-greens paid with their blood, but how does Chen Shui-bian show his appreciation? "No more protests at the airport." Then he runs off to the Marshall Islands for some rather familiar-looking "dolphin diplomacy."

Full circle?
TV reports Tuesday said that on Monday police had been paying Tainan city councilor Wang Ding-yu (DPP) visits at his home every hour or so and had followed him everywhere he went that day to try to intimidate him so that he wouldn't go to the airport on Tuesday to protest Lien Chan's return.

All this bears a frightening resemblance to the "White Terror" that occurred under KMT rule. But how can this be with the mighty mighty Chen Shui-bian in office?

If someone has planted a computer chip in his fucking brain, things wouldn't look a whole helluva lot different!

Here's what it has been looking like over just the past couple of weeks: Lien Chan shouldn't go to China. Okay, he can if he calls me. "Bubba-bian, I'm off. See ya in hell!" Okay, you have my blessing. James Soong is not an envoy. Scratch that. I'm sending a message with James Soong. "No, he's not."

Visual aids
Check out this FTV news report (Chinese-language, Windows Media format) from the April 26, 2005 riot at the airport. In it, you can see female gangster Wang Lan greeting New Party chairman Yok Mu-ming, singing a "nationalist" song, and telling police to let her into the airport. She mentions during the report that she's protected by numerous "fu2 bing1," which, directly translated, means "ambushers," saying also on camera that she had brought them along that day with the assistance of her ex-husband, gangster Chu Chia-hsun, AKA Er Leng-tzu. The reporter mentions that these are all familiar faces that are seen causing trouble at every pan-blue event and asks rhetorically why the police don't see them too.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

It's not democracy (unless Lien Chan says so)

First, the damn lies
Did the Chinese Communist Party and the KMT "end civil war hostilities" "with a simple handshake," as Reuters reports? Can either Lien or Hu Jintao be trusted?

Lien Chan shook hands with Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian at a debate in early 2004, but his hostility towards Chen only grew from that point onward.

China's People's Daily, the mouthpiece of Beijing, provides us with this lovely sample of Lien Chan's máo dùn:
In his speech, Lien said maintaining the status quo may be the best way to develop cross-Straits relations.

"To maintain the status quo is not something static..."
Is that Newspeak, or what?!

How exactly does one "maintain" something which is "not ... static"? "496 missiles"? "600 missiles"? "706 missiles"?

When the number is "nearly 1,000," will Lien Chan still consider that to be a "status quo" that should be "maintain[ed]"?

His story vs. history
An article in Monday morning's Taipei Times hits back at one of the points I wanted to discuss -- that is, Lien's belittlement of National Taiwan University (NTU). According to my wife's translation of local Chinese-language news reports, Lien said that "seeds of freedom" had spread from Peking University (PKU) to NTU. Lien also said that NTU had become a good university because one of its former presidents and many of its professors came from PKU.

Despite having a historian as a father, Lien also shows off his ignorance of history. NTU was founded during Japanese rule, yet from his above arguments Lien draws the conclusion that NTU has become a veritable "branch" of PKU. "Peeeee-yoooooooo" is more like it! What a stinker, that Lien!

Lien Chan seems to think that everything good about Taiwan comes from China, saying that he opposes "desinification" in Taiwan. Lien believes in his cold, black heart that it's all about "severing ties between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan," calling this "an extreme idea."

What about the de-Taiwan-ification of Taiwan, motherfucker? How's that for "extreme"?

The people of Taiwan were brainwashed of all local identity during KMT rule to the point where many exhibit "Stockholm Syndrome"-like behavior towards their oppressors. They were forbidden by the KMT to speak Taiwanese in school until the 1980s and forced to speak Chinese. What the fuck do you call that?!

Just one week ago at CKS International Airport, what happened? Mainlanders were once again attacking Taiwanese people for being so damned Taiwanese that they answered questions asked in Taiwanese in -- can you guess which language? Why, Taiwanese, of course!

Lien wouldn't have any idea what "Taiwanese consciousness" is. After all, he has said that he's "100% pure Chinese."

Remind me again about that "ethnic divisiveness" crap?

"It's not democracy, it's 'populism' (except when it involves me)"
To recap something from the previous post, Lien Chan berated the people of Taiwan during his speech at PKU, saying they were letting "mín cuì," or "populism" "take the place of democracy," and he did it in the capital of a country where an authoritarian government that blocks news and other information from Taiwanese web sites plays semantic games to deny the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Lien seems to have completely forgotten about his own rallies -- that is to say "riots" -- after losing the presidential election last year. At that time he attempted to use his own "populist" methods (crying, rioting, lathering, rinsing, repeating) to overturn an actual democratic process (the presidential election that he sorely lost). Losing two elections in a row sure fucked up his definition of "democracy," didn't it?

Chinese roulette
As if all that weren't enough, I've heard (though I cannot confirm) that Lien has proposed cooperation between the armed forces on either side of the Strait and that he wants the Chinese Communist Party to "control" Taiwan "independence activists." What a fucking disaster either of those things would be! Look, if Lien Chan wants to commit suicide, I won't stand in his way, but stay the fuck away from me with that shit!

How many ways does Lien Chan hate Taiwan? More ways than you could possibly ever imagine!

He's supposed to be coming back to Taiwan later today. I want to see him with "egg on his face."
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