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

Sunday, June 04, 2006

KMT still fantasizing about murdering Chen Shui-bian

I know there's been a lot of shit going on with Chen Shui-bian and his family recently, and talking about a recall would be expected from a party that hasn't stopped crying since they lost the presidency 6 years ago. But the KMT has once again crossed the boundaries of acceptable rhetoric.

A report in Friday's Taipei Times quotes KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou making this very poor choice of words just days before the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre:
"It's time to load the gun, but not yet time to pull the trigger, because you only get one shot at recalling a president."
Just to be sure that was an accurate translation, I searched for the original Chinese-language version. Here's what it said in the Liberty Times:

[My translation of the above] About the timing of the recall, Ma responded that attempting a recall is like firing a gun (with a single bullet), there can be no second chance in [Chen's] remaining time in office, "so the gun is ready to fire, but it's not the right time to take a shot."
Would you like some more context with that?
Bullets? Guns? While this is a common description in the Chinese language, you must remember that it's coming from the same people who made up "Bulletgate"?

What? Still not enough context? Let's look at some of the events of the past 2 years alone.
* March 19, 2004: The day before Taiwan's presidential election, a pan-blue supporter shoots incumbent president Chen Shui-bian and his running mate Annette Lu (DPP). Both survive the shooting with relatively minor injuries. This really pisses off the pan-blues.

* March 20 - 21, 2004: Riots led by pan-blue politicians occur in Taiwan's 3 largest cities. Habitual liar Chiu Yi (currently KMT, then-PFP) leads the charge atop a campaign truck attempting to crash through the gate of Kaohsiung's District Prosecutors' Office. PFP legislator Shen Chih-hui incites crowds in Taichung, telling them that "Chen Shui-bian is scared to have a recount."

* March 26, 2004: Riots led by pan-blue politicians occur at the Central Election Commission headquarters in an attempt to prevent election results from being officially announced. PFP legislator Pang Chien-kuo said that PFP legislator Liu Wen-hsiung was ready to give up his life and would bring a bulldozer to smash the barricades in front of the Presidential Office at the next day's protests. Then-PFP legislator Chiu Yi said he would bring 500,000 people to surround the Presidential Office and that the "horn of revolution had been sounded."

* April 5, 2004: PFP Chairman James Soong threatened that if Chen Shui-bian would not respond to the demands of the pan-blues, he would bring students to break into the Presidential Office.

* April 10, 2004: Another night of pan-blue riots replete with Molotov cocktails, pummeled photographers, and pan-blue politicians who cried when their toes got stepped on. Ma Ying-jeou passed the blame for the "political instability" to President Chen Shui-bian.

* April 15, 2004: PFP legislator Thomas Lee (Lee Tung-hao) encourages the public to "shoot President Chen dead."

* April 17, 2004: KMT legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (Hanyu pinyin: Guan Wo-nuan) suggested that it would be better if President Chen Shui-bian would just "commit suicide." Kwan also refused to apologize for this comment when reporters asked him if he would do so.

* May 2, 2004: Lai Chu-hsing, a 40-year-old Taiwanese man who recently announced the creation of the "Revolution Party," was arrested for an alleged plan to kill Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian and former president Lee Teng-hui. [MORE]

* May 3, 2004: BBC News reports that six foreign embassies in Taipei -- all from Latin-American countries -- have received "threatening phone calls" warning them not to attend Chen Shui-bian's inauguration ceremony.

* May 5, 2004: Hsieh Hung-yi, a former employee of the China Times, is taken in for questioning in the case of the May 3 threats.

* November 3, 2004: Lien Chan, quoting Confucius but talking about Chen Shui-bian, says during a KMT meeting, "Anyone can kill him."

* November 26, 2004: Yang Ju-man admits responsibility for 17 of the "rice bomber" explosions. The bomber claimed in at least one letter that he wanted the government to stop importing rice -- as per WTO agreements -- and protect local farmers.

* December 9, 2004: Two days before Taiwan's legislative election, a van packed with gas canisters was lit on fire near the Taipei Railway Station, setting off an explosion which destroyed the van and two other vehicles. The police released video footage caught by a security camera at a nearby convenience store as the suspect gave two letters to a FedEx courier to deliver to TVBS and TTV, and a reward of NT$1,000,000 was offered for information leading to his arrest. The letters contained threats to set off four more explosions before election day. Lien Chan said things on the day's TV news which implied that the explosion and threats were actually a "show" by the DPP. It was therefore no surprise when a pan-blue supporter I talked with the next day repeated those charges as if that were exactly what Lien had said.

* December 17, 2004: The pro-blue United Daily News publishes a large, front-page headline which reads, "Support the Rice Bomber: 10,000 People (Should) Protest Taiwan's Entry into the WTO."

* December 18, 2004: The gas bomber (see Dec. 9), who admitted that the bombing was "politically motivated," is caught.

* December 19, 2004: Gas bomber is released by a judge from the Taipei District Court because (get this) "he poses no further threat to society"! I should point out that former president of the Executive Yuan, Hsu Shui-teh (KMT), once said, "The courts belong to us." ("法院是我們家[國民黨]開的.") It looks like he was being unusually frank.

* March 14, 2005: China passes an "anti-secession" law which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan.

* March 17, 2005: Li Ao brandishes a knife during a legislative session and tells Minister of Defense Lee Jye that he should castrate himself.

* March 31, 2005: Lien Chan, then-chairman of the KMT, is in Beijing with a 30-plus-member 'delegation' of KMT politicians consorting with the enemy.

* April 6, 2005: Lien Chan returns from his so-called "journey of peace" in China. Supporters and opponents turn out at the CKS Airport in large numbers. Lien's supporters include known gangsters who beat people and leave them in pools of blood for simply "being Taiwanese" just like they did in the days of White Terror. In the end, the DPP apologizes for their part and "condemn[s] any form of violence," adding that "We are in favor of meting out punishment to those held responsible in accordance with the law and urge agencies concerned to conduct a swift and thorough examination of the matter to prevent any similar occurrence from happening again."
The pan-blues, however, call for more bloodshed. [MORE]

* June 9, 2005: After it is revealed that Taipei City Council member Wang Yu-cheng's (PFP) recent claims about food "offerings" from funeral parlors being "recycled" and served at restaurants in the vicinity of Taiwan Normal University were fabricated (the videotape "evidence" was made by his assistants), Wang cries like a baby. [MORE]

* June 21, 2005: More than a dozen idiot legislators accompany Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng aboard a Taiwanese Navy frigate with the purported mission of "protecting Taiwan's fisherman" from Japan after a Taiwanese fisherman who admitted being in Japanese waters (merely to provoke Japan?) gave the pan-blues a chance to attack someone who was trying to help Taiwan in the face of China's threats. [MORE here and here]

* October 29, 2005: DPP lawmakers reveal that TVBS (AKA "BS-TV") is "100% Chinese-funded. This causes the pan-blues to cry to the International Federation of Journalists, despite the fact that BS-TV looks, walks, and quacks just like a Beijing duck and the Hong Kong based TVB which owns BS-TV admits 100% ownership.

* November 9, 2005: KMT lawmakers Hung Hsiu-chu and Kuo Su-chun publicize Information Minister Pusaya Yao (DPP) and then-premier Frank Hsieh's (DPP) home and office telephone numbers in recent as retribution for charges made against TVBS that the station is in violation of the law for being Chinese-funded. As a result, both Yao and Hsieh receive death threats from crazed pan-blue supporters who have been stirred up by their so-called "leaders." [MORE]

* UPDATE 1: In the days immediately following publication of this post, Ma Ying-jeou continues the tradition. Read on.

* June 5, 2006: While answering questions at the Taipei City Council from member Li Keng Kui-fang (KMT), Ma denies being "too soft" on Chen Shui-bian and says that those who think he is need to "just wait and see" his "ferocious side."

* June 7, 2006: Yam News mirrors an article from the China Times which feeds their readers more of Ma's bloody rhetoric from the previous day:

[My translation] During the KMT meeting, Ma Ying-jeou said that if President Chen does not have the sense of responsibility to be ashamed and resign of his own accord, but instead waits for the people to overthrow him, "[Chen] will die a horrible death."
All of the above is considered by the KMT to be a great "improvement" over the "historical" KMT that was responsible for the "228 Incident" of 1947 and the subsequent decades of White Terror and martial law. Ma Ying-jeou's words, whether intentionally or not, and especially in the context provided above seem to indicate that killing is an integral part of the KMT's subconscious.

Any potential wrongdoing by Chen Shui-bian, First Lady Wu Shu-jen, and "first son-in-law" Chao Chien-ming must be dealt with according to the law, but their situation couldn't compare with the pan-blues' evil if they lived their lives a hundred times over.

Likelihood of the recall's failure
Although the scandals mentioned at the top of this post are close to Chen Shui-bian, he is not implicated in any wrongdoing. I'm also under the impression that the pan-blues won't actually go through with a recall, despite "the gun [being] loaded." One reason is that without Chen in office, the pan-blues would lose their favorite whipping boy. (Note that they've been "pushing for recall" since at least October 2000.) Secondly, if Chen has the balls to fight back, he could dissolve the legislature, and an election to choose new members would be carried out under new rules (enacted subsequent to the last election) which would cut the number of legislative seats in half.

UPDATE 2: As Michael Turton reminds us (via an excerpt from a Taipei Times editorial), "recalling the president requires the approval of two-thirds of legislators" as well. Commenter Echo, on the same post, provided the Yam News link in the update above. [/END UPDATE 2]

UPDATE 3: An article in the June 13, 2006 edition of the Taipei Times reveals an even higher threshold for a successful recall:
A recall motion requires approval from two-thirds of the legislature and a majority of eligible voters in a nationwide referendum to take effect.

Lastly, another meme-avoidance reminder
I keep reading about how all of Taiwan's elected presidents (all two of them?!) have previously been mayor of Taipei and how this is a supposed "stepping stone" to the office of president. This meme seems to not only be setting Ma Ying-jeou up as the favored KMT candidate in the 2008 presidential election but placing undue emphasis on who the DPP will choose for their Taipei mayoral candidate this December.

I would personally suggest reminding people that in all three of Taiwan's direct presidential elections, the two winners (Lee Teng-hui in 1996 and Chen Shui-bian in 2000 and 2004) have both been pro-Taiwan independence. Stick that feather in your cap! ;-)

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