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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chen Shui-bian takes out the garbage, China throws baby food

In a move that was equivalent to throwing out food that is no longer edible, Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian has given China the chance to get their panties all in a bunch again. (C'mon, you know they love it!)

It all has to do with that pesky National Unification Council (NUC) and the accompanying National Unification Guidelines (NUG), which were created back in the early 1990s during KMT rule. Never mind that the KMT-controlled legislature cut the NUC's annual budget down to NT$1,000 (about US$30) back in 2003 or that the group hasn't met since 1999.

Here's Chen's big crisis-inducing move:
President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan announced Monday that he was scrapping the island's council and guidelines for any political unification with mainland China, but softened his rhetoric somewhat in response to heavy pressure from the United States and Beijing.


Chen declared in a televised address that the National Unification Council "ceases to function" and that Taiwan's National Unification guidelines "cease to apply." But having promised in his first inaugural address in 2000 that he would never "abolish" the council, Chen avoided repeating that term on Monday and used a slightly different term in Chinese to announce his decision to get rid of the council and transfer its staff to other activities.

He also promised not to change the existing relationship with mainland China.
(Note: that was written by Keith "Dime Novel" Bradsher, and the "slightly different term" Chen used was "終止 [zhong1 zhi3]." I just heard former ambassador to the PRC James Lilley on CNN saying that "in Chinese, it comes out stronger." He and Mike Chinoy are both fucking liars.)

I won't let you forget that whether he "abolished" the NUC or the NUG, "put them on hold," "gave them a few decades off," or "crushed them to death," Chen's pledge was based on this vital condition:
Therefore, as long as the CCP regime has no intention to use military force against Taiwan, I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regards to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, the abolition of the National Reunification Council or the National Reunification Guidelines will not be an issue.
You must remember this, a missile's not a kiss
I've written previously about how China was not only already in violation of that condition at the time President Chen made the pledge, and they have subsequently increased their threats against Taiwan via the "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) and the number of ever-growing number of missiles targeting us.

(Somehow, even Bradsher remembered to mention those things! To read more about China's ever-increasing threats against Taiwan, go back to my earlier post titled Speaking with clarity on Taiwan, and scroll down to "What kind of 'status quo' is this?")

Here's China's reaction to Chen's move, filled with the copy-and-paste propaganda phrases that normally accompany their tantrums:
"The further escalation of Taiwanese independence and secessionist activities, pushed by Chen Shui-bian, will no doubt cause a serious crisis," said a Chinese government statement.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. Since then Beijing has used a blend of threats and diplomacy to bring the self-governing island back into its fold, including the passage of a law last March codifying the use of force if Taipei moves to institutionalize its de facto independence.
And then the Gerber flew.

Never mind that it wasn't "China and Taiwan" that split up in 1949, but rather China (the CCP) and the KMT (who fled to Taiwan). Never mind that it's not Chen, but rather the "anti-secession" law, the new missiles, and the meetings between China and the violent pan-blue opposition that have changed the so-called "status quo."

Somebody get Ma some paint remover!
Here's Ma "Don't Paint Me Red" Ying-jeou (through a spokesperson) once again doing a spot-on impression of the Chinese authorities in Beijing:
Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) leader Ma Ying-jeou will make a move to recall President Chen Shui-bian, Ma's spokeswoman [Cheng Li-wen] said yesterday, following Chen's announcement that a council for charting unification with the mainland will be scrapped.


"KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou thinks President Chen has not only set a time table for extreme independence ... but has also taken concrete actions," Cheng told reporters.

"(Ma thinks) this seriously damages the status quo and is a threat to the national interest," she said.


"(Chen's) move will make the international community think we are trouble makers and we will not gain its sympathy," Cheng said.
Shorter Ma: If I don't get what I want, I'll tell my mommyland to punish you!

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

KMT's slip reveals horseshit stains

Ma Ying-jeou is on a roll (downward)

This past Tuesday, KMT chairman and Taipei city mayor Ma Ying-jeou appeared in a contradiction-filled interview on the BBC show HARDtalk. In that interview, which was a stark contrast to the fawning treatment usually given to Ma by both local and international media, he was taken to task by interviewer Stephen Sackur for his moment-to-moment flip-flops on everything from China to missiles to Chen Shui-bian and more.

Jason at Wandering to Tamshui blogged it, linking to the BBC's video of the interview and describing it as something that looked like a "fist colonoscopy" for Ma. Later, cleverCLAIRE transcribed it in three parts. Finally, Michael Turton at The View from Taiwan then fisked the fisting with the help of cC's transcript.

Go see the video, and if you can stand it, try Jason's drinking game while watching (though I'd personally recommend a non-alcoholic beverage for this one!).

Somebody get Ma a pooper scooper!
Ma, in apparent ignorance of how much of a fool he'd already made of himself, was quoted by the Saturday edition of the Taipei Times spouting this nonsense -- just 3 days after the BBC interview was shown -- about his party's so-called lack of involvement in the 228 Incident of 1947:
"Although the KMT was the then-ruling party, it was not directly involved in the event ... The decision to send troops to suppress the riot was made by the government."
Let's see now. The KMT was a party-state. There was no opposition party. "[T]he government" to which he refers consisted solely of the KMT, the KMT, and -- oh, yeah -- the KMT.

Good job, Chairman Ma(o)! Keep flapping your lips!

The KMT, CKS, and 228
The Leaky Pen had a good post earlier this week on the news which gave more details about things we already knew -- that the KMT Killed Many Taiwanese during and after the 228 Incident. In that post, blogger Nostalgiphile points out Taiwan's need for justice via something like the Nuremberg trials (in which Germany's war criminals were tried after World War II) and an end to the "silence" of the victims of the incident who have been terrorized into such a state by the KMT's continued hold on power in politics, the media, and the underworld.

Chiu Yi sentenced
Saturday's Taipei Times also reported today that Kaohsiung legislator (currently with the KMT) and "pugilistic earthworm" Chiu Yi has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his involvement in attacks on the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office the night Chen Shui-bian was re-elected president in 2004. Here's part of that report:
The court found that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi had climbed on a truck which rammed a courthouse gate in the city during widespread protests against the narrow election victory of President Chen Shui-bian. Chiu said he was trying to restrain overly zealous protesters, who claimed that Chen had staged a pre-election shooting to secure his win.
Read what I wrote in real time about that incident and other violence led by Chiu here, here, and here.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

KMT's unification slip still showing

Late Thursday night, in a post about the KMT's recent slippage, I mentioned how many people on the side of the unificationists just want the Taiwanese to "shut up." Here's one recent example of the kind of thing I was thinking about when I said that:
Don't say 'Taiwan': Vietnam
Vietnam's deputy foreign minister warned local reporters yesterday to avoid offending China by not using the name Taiwan when Vietnam hosts the APEC meeting later this year. Le Cong Phung also urged the press not to uses words like "country" or "nation" to describe any member of the group, instead using the agreed-on euphemism "member economies." "The official name for Taiwan in APEC is 'Chinese Taipei' and the official name for Hong Kong is 'Hong Kong-China,'" Phung said.
Talk about whiny-ass titty babies!

I explained in my last post how China -- and those who support that "totalitarian regime" (since they don't like the word "country") -- want the people who identify themselves as Taiwanese to effectively disappear.

They're at it again.

In an opinion piece in the Friday edition of the Taipei Times, former Villanova University professor and political commentator Henry Ting, while pretending that he supports President Chen Shui-bian and "the DPP's democratic struggle against the authoritarian Chinese National Party (KMT) regime," warns the DPP government about all kinds of things they shouldn't do and makes shit up about the feelings of the people of Taiwan:
Chen and the DPP brain trust should be very careful in stating that their sacred goal is Taiwan identity and sovereignty. Taiwan identity should never be used to antagonize China by refusing to communicate or cooperate. Taiwan identity should be illuminated as a symbol of the nation's advancement in terms of democracy and a free society. Taiwan identity does not have to mean keeping China at arm's length in cultural and economic exchanges.
How is it that Chen is once again being painted as the aggressor in this situation? And why is even talking about the fact of "Taiwan...sovereignty" off limits while planning for unification is unoffensive to ultra-sensitive superpowers?

Hmmmm, how could Hello Kitty make Superman cry?
Ah, I know! Sovereignty and Taiwan identity are Taiwan's kryptonite! That would explain why Ting ratchets up the rhetoric even further with this (continuing directly):
Most of all, the term "Taiwan identity" should be avoided at all cost in terms of stirring up hostility against the Chinese people.
How many times does it have to be said? It's the missiles, stupid!

Without the missiles and constant threats, there would certainly be less hostility from this side. Furthermore, Taiwan poses absolutely no threat to China.

The KMT did a heckuva-job-Brownie in trying to eradicate Taiwanese identity, but it's still here, and they still think it's "queer."

Ting continues with this nonsense:
The average Taiwanese doesn't harbor any grudge against China.
Tsshyeah, and black is white. (And didn't he just talk about "stirring up hostility against the Chinese people," or does Taiwan identity not exist until Chen Shui-bian pushes some invisible magic button that only smart people can see?) What's made apparent by this claim, however, is that Ting hasn't asked too many "average" Taiwanese how they feel about the nearly 800 missiles with which China is targeting Taiwan. There's a source of "hostility" for you! Only jackasses like Ma "Don't Paint Me Red" Ying-jeou can make these kinds of apologies for China's own hostility (e.g., an "anti-secession" law which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) in the face of these missiles.

The way Ting writes puts him directly in Ma's corral. He goes on to say this:
Instead of threatening to abolish Taiwan's unification guidelines, the Chen government or its successor should drop the requirement that China must be democratic before unification can happen.
Notice how in Ting's upside-down world, Chen is the one doing the "threatening," and "unification" once again becomes the only thing that's allowed. Ting even suggests that it happen without any kind of democracy (or even an illusory promise of it) in place.

He doesn't speak for 80% of the Taiwanese people when he makes "unification" out to be the only choice, and if he actually thinks that it's a good choice for Taiwan, he's out of his fucking mind.

If you were to imagine a hostage scenario in which Ting were saying these kinds of things, which role do you think he would be playing? Could it be... Chen Chin-hsing?

Spot the difference, if it exists
Here's a quote from somebody else. I won't say who it is just yet, but see if it sounds anything like Ting or Chairman Mao-without-the-"o":
On how a recent poll in Taiwan saying that 78 per cent agreed with the contention that Taiwan's future should be decided by Taiwanese people, [the unificationist] said, "Yes, they can discuss unification but certainly not separation."
If it sounds a lot like either of the aforementioned jackasses, that's because it's Sun Yuxi, the Chinese Ambassador to India.

You see? Not very different at all.

Let's examine this further
Oh, yeah? Not very different?

I wonder how Ma would feel about Sun's actions as described on the second page of the article:
Ever willing to woo the present Taiwanese Opposition party, KMT, Sun Yuxi even rubbished their chairman's remarks on China on dismantling missiles saying that they need to add more missiles and not dismantle them if they keep making such remarks.

However, he said, "We will listen to the Taiwanese leaders. And if the Taiwanese authorities declare independence, the missiles will go the next day and we will resort to a military strike without announcing."
While the first sentence sounds rather self-contradictory (wooing them by rubbishing Ma's remarks?), this might actually be what the KMT wants after all -- more terror with which to strike fear into the hearts of Taiwan independence supporters. The KMT is, after all, the party responsible for the 228 Incident, White Terror, martial law, tapped phones, "black gold," and forcing elementary school students to spy on each other in case anyone should be so "evil" as to speak Taiwanese out loud (and if they did, they would be fined or physically punished).

I know for a fact that spoiled 3-year-olds only get worse each time you give in to the kind of screaming and crying that China is now doing. I also believe that the recent return of this "STFU" tactic will achieve the exact opposite of its intended goal. Millions thus far silent will learn to never shut up!

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

The KMT is on a slippery slope

The "unification" party is falling apart

KMT chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou set the latest slide-fest in motion in an interview appearing in the Dec. 26, 2005 - Jan 2, 2006 issue of Newsweek in which he declared (a little more loudly than usual) that "eventual...unification" with China was his party's goal -- despite the fact that a vast majority of the people in Taiwan wish otherwise.

No ambiguity. No "maybe." No "it depends on the will of the people of Taiwan." Just that authoritarianism-with-a-smile that the media loves to fawn over.

During the interview, Mr. "Don't Paint Me Red" donned his red apologist-for-China's-bellicosity hat, saying, "[I]f Taiwan makes a provocative move, [China] would be left with no choice but to use force."

No explanation. No definitions of what he considers "provocative." No examples of what would "justify" China's use of force. Just Ma's self-evident "red hat."

Theme and variations on Newton's third law of motion
On January 29, President Chen Shui-bian gave a speech in which he suggested that it was time to consider abolishing the National Unification Council (NUC) and National Unification Guidelines (NUG). (Chen has said that this was in response to Ma's stance on unification, but coming a month after the Newsweek interview, it certainly wasn't a kneejerk reaction like those you will see the KMT pulling farther below.)

As I described in my last post, the KMT reacted to Chen's speech with shock and awe. It was as if President Chen had said he was going to take their favorite candy away from them.

Add one little "o," and what do you get?
Chairman Ma immediately accused President Chen of breaking promises made in his inauguration speeches of both 2000 and 2004 when Chen said that he wouldn't get rid of either the NUC or the NUG. Not surprisingly, the Chinese media echoed the sentiments of the pan-blues word-for-word (going so far as to quote Ma Ying-jeou, James Soong, and two or three of Taiwan's pro-blue newspapers), calling Chen a "trouble maker," but avoiding the heart-stopping word "president" whenever referring to him.

What both the KMT and the Chinese media left out was the very crux of Chen's promises -- the fact that they were based on China relinquishing its "intention to use military force against Taiwan." This is a condition which, judging by China's "anti-secession" law alone, has clearly not been fulfilled, despite all the "panda-panda" propaganda.

Somebody get Ma a doctor
Several news sources reported that while speaking at England's Cambridge University last week, Ma Ying-jeou said that "talks would never take place while Taiwan faced a deadly threat from China." [My wife insists that according to the news video she saw which showed Ma answering a Cambridge student's question, the claims made by these reports were inaccurate.] In fact, Lien Chan -- the sitting KMT chairman at the time -- went to China for just that purpose in the immediate wake of the legislation of the "anti-secession" law.

Some quick spin-doctoring was required by the KMT. Ma claimed that the media "misinterpreted" him and that talks with China should continue despite the military threats.

KMT duckspeak
Just this Tuesday, the KMT placed a half-page ad in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (a pro-independence newspaper) which implied that the "status quo" equals "peace" and said outright that the "status quo should be maintained."

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The propaganda piece, titled "Taiwan's Pragmatic Path," accused Chen Shui-bian of "twisting" their "policies and stance." Approved by Chairman Ma, it simultaneously blamed Chen for all the troubles the KMT themselves have brought upon Taiwan.

It then goes on to repeat the KMT's fiction about the "ethnic divisiveness" they say is caused by Taiwan consciousness.

This sounds a whole lot like American conservatives talking about the "liberal media." Every time they get the other side to shut up a little bit, the perceived "center" moves closer to their position. The unificationists would just love for all independence supporters and those who identify themselves as Taiwanese to shut up completely so they would, in effect, cease to exist.

What war?
While Taiwan may not be currently involved in a military conflict with China, the threats are as clear as day, and their tactics aren't limited to the military front alone.

The "one-China policy" amounts to economic terrorism against Taiwan, the pro-China media in Taiwan is a 24-hour-a-day brainwashing machine, and the education system has indoctrinated the Taiwanese with more garbage about how "great and glorious" the KMT's "motherland" (China) is than it has taught them about the real history of their own country. And in the face of SARS and bird flu, China wages a war of psychological terror on Taiwan by blocking its participation in the World Health Organization, leaving everyone in Taiwan in real danger.

The segment of the propaganda piece which created even more trouble for the KMT says that "the future holds many possibilities, including unification, independence, or the status quo." Of course, the "independence" part of that is a transparent attempt by the KMT to deceive the Liberty Times' readers. After all, why put an ad in a pro-independence newspaper? If there are any doubts about their sincerity, just go back and look at what Ma said about unification being his party's "eventual" goal in the Newsweek interview.

Same day, different drivel
The ad in the Liberty Times must have been written faster than this post because it immediately required even more spin. "What we meant," spun the spinners (I'm paraphrasing here), "was that the people can choose independence, but that's not what we want." Of course it's not! Ma had just told us that he wanted the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to make that choice.

That sounds just like the kind of "vote" Ma would like: pitting the 1.3 billion+ people of China voting against Taiwan's 23 million.

That's certainly not democracy.

De facto, de jure, declare which you want more!
The People's Republic of China (PRC) has never controlled Taiwan, so Taiwan doesn't need to declare independence from them. If Taiwan needs to "declare" independence, it needs to do so from the KMT, who occupied Taiwan at the end of World War II and who were supposed to be its caretakers, but who instead Killed Many Taiwanese, stole the land from the people to fill their own coffers, imposed their culture and language on them, lost most of Taiwan's international allies, and who have done nothing but act like bullies and crybabies (oftentimes simultaneously) ever since losing the presidency in 2000.

By voting the KMT out of power in the legislature, in mayoral offices, in city councils, and in the 2008 presidential election, the people of Taiwan can simply "declare independence" from the KMT and clear their path to self-determination and de jure independence. The KMT would be more than welcome to go back to their mommyland and be crushed by the CCP for the Nth time.

* In a February 8, 2006 editorial, the Taiwan News reminds us of Ma Ying-jeou's "distaste for the direct democracy institution of referendum" and how the "enshrinement of the goal of unification [was made] by the KMT's National Unification Guidelines in 1991 and its use as the foundation for the 'compromise' with Beijing was precisely an act to 'determine the future of Taiwan' made by the then one-party KMT government, which then had no electoral mandate from the 23 million people of Taiwan."
* In a February 6, 2006 editorial, the Taiwan News also gives its own definition of a "pragmatic status quo."
* The February 15, 2006 edition of the Taipei Times tells us about how the DPP made a smart move by giving a background briefing to British reporters in order to delineate the differences between their position and that of the KMT. Quoting MAC Chairman Joseph Wu, the article says, "The DPP upholds Taiwan's sovereignty as an independent nation, while the KMT remains ambiguous in this regard, and both former KMT chairman Lien Chan and Ma have accepted Beijing's 'one China' principle in public."

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Speaking with clarity on Taiwan

Taiwan needn't be "hard to understand"

Back in May 2000, just after Chen Shui-bian was elected to his first term as Taiwan's President, he first mentioned "five noes" during his inauguration speech. In that speech, he promised that he would not abolish either the National Unification Guidelines or the National Unification Council (both of which are products of the KMT's sentimental childhood fantasies of returning to their mommy-land) that he wouldn't change the official name of the country or the constitution (both of which were products of the KMT's failed rule of China), that he wouldn't push for a "state-to-state" model to be included in the constitution, and that he wouldn't declare independence.

On January 29, 2006, Chen gave a speech in which he said that he would consider abolishing the National Unification Guidelines and the National Unification Council, that he wanted to draft a new constitution, and that he would like the nation to be represented in the UN as "Taiwan," implying a change from the "official" name to the one that people use and which clearly states what the territory ruled by national government in Taipei is called.

Here's how the Taipei Times reported what Chen said in that speech:
Now is an appropriate time to seriously consider abolishing the National Unification Council and the Guidelines for National Unification in order to reflect the current state of Taiwanese consciousness, President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday.

"What Chinese unification are we after?" Chen asked, describing the guidelines as "a store whose sign has disappeared and stocks gone."

"In addition to considering whether to abrogate the nominal Unification Council and guidelines, I'd like to see the nation join the United Nations with the name of Taiwan," Chen said.

"In addition, I'd like to see the draft of a new constitution completed by the end of the year so it can be put to a popular vote next year," he said.
Contrary to the impression which the reporting on this had been giving, when Chen gave his inauguration speech back in 2000, he wasn't merely spouting platitudes. Those promises were all based on a vital condition.

Here are those promises again, with the context of that condition included:
Therefore, as long as the CCP regime has no intention to use military force against Taiwan, I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regards to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, the abolition of the National Reunification Council or the National Reunification Guidelines will not be an issue.
Of course, this caused the pan-blues to get upset, but they throw tantrums over just about anything. Here's the KMT chairman pitching a bitch about the January 29 speech:
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou responded to Chen's comments by saying that the president had promised before his election and re-election that he would not abolish the council.

If the president now decided to abolish the council, his credibility would be questioned, Ma said.
He's a guy who whined "Don't paint me red" (i.e., "falsely make him look like a supporter of China") and sued the DPP when they made a TV spot which showed his face while a veteran in the background shouted "Long live Hu Jintao."

That Ma sure is a strange red fellow. Just last month, Ma said he hoped (paraphrased here) "that the KMT Youth Corps could produce another Hu Jintao."

Department of State-of-Panic
But it wasn't just the pan-blues who went into panic mode when Chen Shui-bian spoke clearly.

Even the US State Department got all pissy:
Warning that Chen's speech could be "inflammatory or send the wrong signal," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli read a special department statement reiterating US cross-strait policy at a routine press conference.

Ereli admitted that Washington was "surprised" about Chen's announcement, and that the administration had not been consulted about it beforehand.

Ereli also said that the administration feels that an effort to join the UN under the name "Taiwan" and holding a referendum for a new constitution by next year -- two other pledges in Chen's speech -- would likewise constitute changes in the status quo.
It sure looks like the "Shock and Awe" people will wet their pants over anything.

A Yahoo article has some unidentified surfer dude at the US State Department spewing these gnarly imitations of imaginary "spokes-sentences":
A US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Chen had "said some stuff that is going to spin people up.

"We don't want people to get spun up. We don't want China to get spun up, we don't want Taiwan to get spun up. So we thought it would be useful to make it clear in a public way that the goal post haven't changed [sic] on this," the official said.

Asked to identify aspects of Chen's statement that could send the wrong signals, the official said, "Like Taiwan wanting a seat at the UN, change in constitution ... things that he said he wouldn't say again and now he said it again."

"It's like woah, woah, woah...," said the official, sounding that Chen was pushing things too far.
[I'm not making that up! No wonder he didn't want to be identified.]

The article also like totally ignores the "if" part of Chen's promises. That's like so bogus!

The State Department then went into full-mommy mode with this nonsense:
A senior State Department official has called on Taipei to communicate fully with Washington to avoid a repetition of President Chen Shui-bian's "surprise" Lunar New Year proposal to scrap the National Unification Council and unification guidelines and seek UN membership as "Taiwan."


The State Department is said to be angry that Chen put forward his proposals on UN membership and the unification council without telling Washington first. That would explain the department's sharp reaction on Monday when it took the unusual step of widely publicizing its reaction statement to Chen's speech, equating his speech with an effort to change the "status quo."
The reporter seems to have left out the part where the unnamed mommy-figure angrily said, "I'm going to count to three!!!"

What kind of "status quo" is this?
So what has happened since Chen's 2000 inauguration that would warrant the clarity of his January 29 speech? Have there been any other "changes in the status quo"? Here's a short list to refresh your memory:

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

* The number of Chinese missiles along the coast facing Taiwan has increased exponentially. In fact, there are currently nearly 300 more missiles than there were just over two years ago.

* Bird flu: Lack of transparency from China. Infected birds smuggled into Taiwan from China. False accusations made against Taiwan that certain cases of bird flu originated here, but tests showed that "the H5N1 found [...] was most similar to the virus found in China." China has continually blocked Taiwan's participation in the WHO.

Why did Chen wait until now to speak up?
The timing of Chen's recent suggestion about abolishing the rusty relics from the "retake the mainland" days wasn't enunciated for several days after his speech, but Vice-President Annette Lu finally turned on the spotlight:
Lu said that Chen did not break his promises, because they were made on condition that China abstain from using military force against Taiwan.

"Everyone just remembers the 'five noes,' while forgetting the 'one if.' While Beijing has been increasing the military threat it poses to Taiwan, the prerequisite for Chen's promises has actually never existed," Lu said.
Still not clear enough for you?

I can see clearly now, Zemin is gone
How about this? The article also mentions that the speech came just as China was commemorating the 11th anniversary of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin's "Eight Points" which purportedly sought "peaceful" unification with Taiwan. In the interim, however, this has proven to be, er, utter bullshit. If just the few items listed above don't provide enough clarity, you should remember that it was just a year after the "Eight Points" were "catapulted" that China fired missiles into the waters off Taiwan.

It should have been plenty clear one year after Jiang's "Eight Points." Six years onward, it should have been clearer still.

Eleven years on, it's got to be as clear as a bell! As clear as day! As clear as crystal!

As clear as 784 mother-killing missiles!

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of Taiwan and speak clearly about Taiwan's situation. Don't wait until more missiles fly.

Others spoke clearly, too
Michael Turton points us to the text of an announcement from FAPA, emphasizing something I will include farther below. But this is the part that struck me right between the eyes with its unusual clarity:
We are thus surprised at the State Department's pronouncement on January 30th, in which it reiterated its worn-out "One China" policy. That policy was devised more than 30 years ago in response to a situation in which two repressive regimes -- the Chinese Nationalists and Communists -- both claimed sovereignty as government of China.
For the sake of even more clarity, the "Chinese Nationalists" referred to are the KMT, but isn't that a whole helluva lot clearer than that "renegade" bullshit that news writers like to copy and paste so often?

FAPA also had this to say:
By insisting on its anachronistic "One China" Policy, and by stating that the US "does not support Taiwan independence" and that a resolution needs to be found that is " ...acceptable to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait", the State Department is actually standing in the way of a peaceful resolution: it inhibits creative thinking about Taiwan's future, and gives a Communist China a say in decision-making on a democratic Taiwan's future that should be made solely by the Taiwanese people themselves. Imagine if someone had suggested in 1776 that the future of the American colonies should be " ...acceptable to people on both sides of the Atlantic."
Oh, how I yearn for such clear statements to be made on a daily basis!

Earlier would've been better still
The Taipei Times finally got around to editorializing on this matter a whole week after Chen's January 29 speech. Here's a big chunk of what they had to say:
[A] closer examination of Chen's words fail to reveal any groundbreaking departure from the status quo -- at least nothing substantive enough to invite the level of surprise that the US government has demonstrated.


[T]he National Unification Council has not been convened once since 1999. It serves absolutely no function and a pan-blue controlled legislature slashed the council's annual budget to the ridiculously low amount of NT$1,000 (US$31). If anyone in Taiwan genuinely wishes for unification then it would have to be members of the pan-blue camp. However, not even they felt that it made sense to provide the council with more than a NT$1,000 bill each year.

[...] [O]nly the Taiwanese people can decide whether there should be unification with China. The existence of the National Unification Council and unification guidelines takes unification as a given, something that is at odds with democratic progress and development.

As for Chen talking about wanting to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" [...], this is hardly an earth-shattering revelation either. [...] In choosing between "ROC" and "Taiwan," it is a toss up as to which is more offensive to China, since the former claims sovereignty over China's territory and the latter conflicts with the "one China" principle. Neither is going to be acceptable, so Taiwan might as well pick one that it prefers and which also happens to faithfully reflect the political reality of an independent sovereignty.

And as for the talk about holding a referendum on a new constitution, Chen has cited this as one of his major political platforms for quite some time now. It comes as no surprise.


The real question is: Do Taiwanese crave unification? The answer is a blindingly obvious "no."
Major league madness
Michael Turton also refers us to the words of Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo in a letter scolding the commissioner of Major League Baseball on matters related to the silliness surrounding Taiwan's participation in the upcoming World Baseball Classic -- something that needs to be clarified every time Taiwan participates in international sporting events:
For more than 20 years, because of pressure from the People's Republic of China, athletes from the Republic of China (Taiwan) have been forced to compete under the name "Chinese Taipei" in the Olympic Games even though Taiwan is not subject to the control of the unelected government in Beijing.
While Tancredo (R-Colorado) gets it relatively right, it's totally fucked up that someone who "supports" Taiwan is an anti-immigration idiot who "advocat[es] terror against civilian populations." The fact that he and people like Dana Rohrabacher seem to "support" Taiwan actually makes me kind of nervous.

Even though Tancredo got a few things right in the case of Taiwan, we really need other people to be the ones saying these things -- people who don't advocate terrorism when it suits them.

Now, if we could only get a whole bunch of real "Taiwan hands" to speak clearly and speak often, we might just make some progress.

UPDATE: Corrections have been made to these three items:
* [gnarly imitations of imaginary spokes-sentences] was changed to [gnarly imitations of imaginary "spokes-sentences"] (quotation marks added) to assure readers that the neologism was intentional.
* [enunciated of for several days] was changed to [enunciated for several days] (removed the word "of") to fix an error that resulted from trying during my pre-publishing edits to be clearer than what I had typed during a draft of the post.
* [the speech just as China was commemorating the 11th anniversary] was changed to [the speech came just as China was commemorating the 11th anniversary] (added the word "came") to fix the oversight.
Thanks to Dok Uni at The Poison Dart for his contributions to the "self-correcting blogosphere" and to "clarity." ;-)

Twenty-three bottles of biru on the wall: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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