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

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.
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