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

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Blatant propaganda from Beijing

This trashy propaganda is characteristic of right-wing zealots who are interested only in slander and character assassination of those whose views or philosophies differ from or are in contradiction to theirs.
- American poet Amiri Baraka, purportedly writing about something completely different

There are some who call me... Nostra-Timmus?
In a post early Saturday morning, I "foresaw" the inevitable:
And don't forget, when you read that President Chen "survived a third recall attempt" in Saturday's papers, it means little more than he "walked on barely warm coals while wearing fireproof boots."
Lo and behold, a comment by Kerim Friedman (Keywords) led me to a reeking, (admittedly day-old), full rubbish bin from Jonathan Watts in Guardian Unlimited which ran under a red banner absurdly reading "Special Report China" and which bore a lede that was about as jam-packed with propaganda as it could possibly be:
The Taiwanese president survived with just one MP's support and his weakness could make him dangerous, writes Jonathan Watts
That's pretty base. How low can Watts go?
As I pointed out in my reply to Kerim, this Watts character is based in Beijing, and the propaganda that comes through his article couldn't be any thicker if his true love were to be found in the pockets of the Chinese Communist Party. That's four points of five-star propaganda -- just in the intro!

But, guess what. The propaganda does grow even thicker as Watts strokes it for every last gooey drop.

Put away your handkerchiefs, and get out your vomit bags
Here I've extracted just the propaganda -- and for the sake of your health, this is only from the first half of the article:
Pyrrhic victories ... painful ... humiliating distinction ... support of only one member ...

Bruised, unpopular and outmanoeuvred ... increasingly wobbly - and possibly dangerous ...


... Mr Chen can take no comfort in the manner of his survival. A majority of parliamentarians voted against him. ... Only one came out solidly on the side of the president with a "no" vote.

... a new low point for Mr Chen ... calamitous year ... his wife charged with corruption, his approval rating slip below 20% and many of his most powerful overseas supporters in the US turn their backs on him.

It is a far cry from 2000 ... Hopes were high then that he would end the corrupt practices of the previous Kuomintang administration ...
There are actually six more paragraphs of this nonsense. (Go read the whole thing to see how little I actually removed from those early paragraphs, but be sure to rehydrate at some point along the way.)

There's simply too much in there to take it apart in detail, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know what's innuendo (indictment doesn't equal guilt, the charges are based on selective leaks by rather corrupt political opponents, the "questionable" receipts were supposedly used to account for funds spent on secret diplomatic missions, the Ministry of Audit said to use those receipts before they said not to, etc.), what's distortion (the low "approval rating" comes from polls done by pan-blue media outlets, the "majority" who voted to recall Chen was 100% partisan, 100 legislators either abstained from voting or purposely cast invalid ballots, there was a huge corruption conviction of a Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] legislator on Friday which has been several years in the making, etc.), and what are outright lies. (Could Watts name a single "powerful overseas supporter" who turned their back on Chen? "[D]angerous"? Get the fuck outta here!)

Just open up your eyes, and you'll see
Saturday's Taipei Times presents their editors' impression that Beijing is being "silent" on the Chen recall idiocy. They're obviously not looking in the right places. Despite the omission of "Beijing" in the dateline of Watts' piece, the "rhetoric with Chinese characteristics" is as plain as the nose on my face.

Watts' brighter side?
I have actually seen some writing by Watts that is somewhat critical of Beijing (which is probably difficult to do under the circumstances -- here's more of his writing), but it's abundantly clear that he shouldn't be writing about anything related to Taiwan, because the CCP leaders could hardly have done a better job smearing Chen Shui-bian.

Take Action!
Instead of keeping your feelings bottled up inside or going to your window and screaming "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" read Watts' article for yourself, draw your own conclusions, and only after doing so of your own volition, feel free to make use of the information below to verbally express your feelings. Also, try to be more polite than Watts was honest, as it won't be him with whom you're communicating.

Guardian Unlimited
119 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3ER
United Kingdom
PHONE: 020-7278 2332

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Third attempt to recall Taiwan president Chen fails

On my tombstone just write, 'The sorest loser that ever lived.'
- baseball coach Earl Weaver, ejected from more games than anyone in Major League history

Third time still unlucky
(or maybe it's got nothing to do with luck)

The third attempt in less than six months by Taiwan's opposition pan-blues to recall President Chen Shui-bian, purportedly due to allegations of corruption, has failed miserably. Only 118 legislators voted in favor of recalling Chen, once again falling way short of the 2/3 required for the motion to be put to a public referendum.

Ironically, one of those very people shouting the faux "anti-corruption" slogans in the Legislative Yuan Friday was sentenced the very same day to 19 years in prison for corruption, theft, and breach of trust in relation to amounts over NT$1 billion.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator and former Miaoli County Commissioner Her Jyh-huei (何智輝) was convicted on charges related to a NT$1.1 billion loan obtained by using land valued at NT$100 million as collateral. Not so long ago, Her had fled to China to avoid being investigated (he returned in order to form the unconstitutional, kangaroo-court-like "319 Truth Commission" [MORE: 1, 2]), and in an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of his case, registered to become a member of the Legislative Yuan's Judiciary Committee (司法委員會). As recently as 2004, the beleaguered Taipei mayor/KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou, currently under investigation for abuse of his "special allowance fund," supported Her's candidacy when running for legislative office, calling him "honest and simple" (淳樸). Birds of a feather and all that.

Third time, still not charmed
According to an article by the AP's Peter Enav in Guardian Unlimited, "lawmakers from Chen's Democratic Progressive Party did not participate in the poll [and] 12 members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union - a DPP ally - deliberately spoiled their ballots" this time. Note the clear partisan lines in addition to Her's conviction on much more serious charges, and you will see that the recall attempts have absolutely nothing to do with opposing corruption.

Give up!
Even though the first attempt came up with 119 votes in favor of the recall, and the second time around only got 116 votes, Chen's stubborn sore-loser opponents just don't know when to throw in the towel. The third attempt got only two more than the second attempt but one vote fewer than the first try, yet the pan-blues are already saying that they want to go for four-in-a-row. Remember, they need 28 more votes than they got this time in order for the motion to pass, and then it has to be put to a public referendum.

Enough, already! Even after 2 months of organized street protests, there is no general support for the anti-Chen crowd's anti-democratic efforts. The pan-blue legislators are also wasting millions, if not billions, of Taiwanese taxpayer dollars by dilly-dallying around in the Legislative Yuan with this nonsense instead of passing legislation to move Taiwan's democracy forward and keep it safe from China's threats.

And don't forget, when you read that President Chen "survived a third recall attempt" in Saturday's papers, it means little more than he "walked on barely warm coals while wearing fireproof boots."

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

China is not friendly to Taiwan

"Tin soldier," said the goblin, "don't wish for what does not belong to you."
- Hans Christian Anderson, The Brave Tin Soldier

Now the valley cried with anger; mount your horses, draw your sword,
and they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain, dark and red,
turned the stone and looked beneath it. "Peace on earth" was all it said.

- Coven (Lambert/Potter), One Tin Soldier

China in the bullshit shop
An Agence France-Presse (AFP) piece, published by Channel News Asia and others on Sunday carries this deceptive headline:
Taiwan envoy says China 'friendly' at APEC meet
If only that were true! Here's what the body of this item tells the reader while supplying further reinforcement of that propaganda with a smiling photo of Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) alongside:
HANOI -- Taiwan's envoy to a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders said Sunday that the president of China -- which considers the island to be part of its territory -- has been "friendly" to him in their meetings.

Taiwanese tycoon Morris Chang, sent to represent Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, said that he had "a lot" of contact with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hanoi.


"President Hu's attitude was very friendly, warm and constructive," he said, but declined to provide any detail about their discussions.


Unlike other APEC members, Taiwan did not send its government leader to Vietnam to avoid offending China, which considers it part of its territory and insists it is called 'Chinese Taipei' at the APEC summit.
First of all, China is not friendly to Taiwan, and they weren't being friendly to Taiwan at the APEC summit. Hu -- in meetings -- was "friendly" to Morris Chang (張忠謀), a non-governmental representative whose money he'd love to have a bit of. It would also fit Hu's anti-democracy background to be "friendly" to someone who was chosen as a leader rather than elected to a government office, and it would make sense for an envoy sent by President Chen to let loose a few platitudes, er, be diplomatic. But is China friendly to Taiwan? The very clear answer is, "No -- if you read past the headlines and pay attention, it most certainly isn't!" If you noticed that the article mentions twice about what China "considers" Taiwan to be, then you're way ahead of most readers.

Listen children to a story
Once upon a time (way back in 1996), China was reported to have "merely" 40 missiles targeting Taiwan -- an independently-ruled island nation which elects its president by popular vote, and which -- I might add -- poses absolutely no threat to the military giant across the Strait. By 2000, the number of missiles targeting Taiwan had increased fivefold to 200. Just 4 years later, that number doubled to 400. Two years later, there were 700 missiles targeting Taiwan. I think a 4-year-old child could see the pattern here.

But that's not the end of the story. The figure of 784 is from January of this year. In the ensuing 10 months, the number has reportedly increased to 900. A high-school algebra student would recognize the exponential nature of this increase in objects whose purpose is to kill people and destroy things.

Here's a visual, in case all those numbers are making you dizzy.

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Go ahead and hate your neighbor
What if, when an ambulance came to your house to rescue family members in need, your neighbor said, "That's my property, and I won't grant you permission to enter"? Wouldn't it be appropriate to "hate your neighbor"? That's effectively what happened during the SARS crisis of 2003, when China blocked assistance from the World Health Organization for a month and a half while hiding the effects of the disease within their own borders. And surely the entire planet hasn't yet forgotten about China's "anti-secession" law (which ludicrously "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against a foreign country, namely the sovereign Taiwan). Is hatred of that truly "Sinophobia," as some people like to call it?

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Yu Shyi-kun should have put the silly "ethnic divisiveness" argument to rest -- or at least knocked a big dent in it -- when he described himself recently as a "Taiwanese of Chinese ethnicity" [my translation of "華裔台灣人"]. It is clear that the hatred which exists in this context is not about ethnicity but about politics. Unfortunately, many people on the anti-Taiwan/anti-democracy side of that argument will cloud the issue with false portrayals such as this.

Where the truth lies
China blocks Taiwan's participation in world bodies at every turn. This happens as a result of the economic terrorism exacted by its "one-China policy". Its detrimental influence is seen in so-called "news reports" from around the world which regularly diminish Taiwan and blow smoke up China's ass.

This nonsense needs to be put entirely to sleep. China is not "friendly" towards Taiwan, but if you believe it is, you're likely to believe just about anything.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The differences between the cases of Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian

Curiouser and curiouser

In reference to the disparity between comments a couple of months ago saying that Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) finances were clean as a whistle and the current situation regarding his special allowance fund where the stink is so thick you can see it, the Ministry of Audit's vacillating spokesperson Wang Yung-hsing (王永興) said recently, "越說越複雜" ("The more that's said, the more complicated it gets"). The thing is, however, that the more complicated it gets for the KMT -- actually for all of the pan-blues and all of the anti-Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) crowd -- the more clearly the public can see the pure hatred, the lack of reason, and the double standards upon which the opposition crowd's actions are based.

One of the big differences here is that the accusations against President Chen are focused on the items whose receipts were used to cover expenditures of the "state affairs fund," but not even prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) has said that the money in question went into the president's pockets. No, that case is all about a lack of evidence, yet the anti-Chen crowd has been demanding for the president to step down because that's the only thing which will satisfy their vampiric thirst.

Enter the horseshit
There's a Mandarin phrase similar to Wang's above that suits Ma's special allowance fund. It goes "越描越黑" ("The more one tries to cover up a scandal, the more it stinks"). As pro-democracy author Jerome F. Keating has said, the accusations have opened up a Pandora's Box for the accusers. Let's take a look at the contradictions they have revealed about themselves.

Back in June of this year, more than four months before the indictments were even issued against the First Lady and three presidential aides, Ma himself said that President Chen would "die a horrible death" if he didn't voluntarily step down at that time. [Here's a Google cache of an article containing the original quote in Mandarin.] The shoe is on the other foot now, and Ma has said that even if he's indicted himself, he would only give up his KMT chairmanship. Cutting through the thick odor of that deep pile of horseshit, I can still clearly smell the stench of a double standard.

Exit the gecko's tail
Taipei City staffer Yu Wen (余文) has been referred to as the "gecko's tail" (from the Mandarin phrase "斷尾求生" or "Sever tail, save life"). In order to escape a predator's grip, a gecko will gladly let go of its tail. Yu, despite having to submit an average of only four receipts per day, claims that receipts for larger amounts were substituted for purchase of smaller amounts in order to reduce paperwork. Ma has called this a mere "administrative defect" for which he apologized, and he hopes we'll all just ignore the obvious.

It is being said by many that by diverting blame to Yu and saying "Oops," Ma is using the gecko's strategy to save his ass. Here's the kicker (from the article about the "defect") which reveals to careful observers that this is merely a diversion:
"Although I knew nothing about it and so far there is no evidence to prove [my staffer] pocketed the money, I still need to shoulder administrative, political and moral responsibility for this blemish ... I offer my sincere apologies to Taipei residents," Ma told a press conference at Taipei City Hall.
Red herring/straw man alert! I don't believe anyone is accusing Yu of pocketing any money. But there's still the looming question of the other NT$170,000/month which requires no receipts that Mayor Ma has been sucking up for nearly 8 years. While he's over a month shy of that duration, the full amount would come to NT$16,320,000.

紅包拿來! ("Where's my red envelope?")
What about the other NT$170,000/month? Taipei City Government Secretariat Director Lee Shu-te (李述德) claims that about NT$80,000/month was used "to reward staff members," according to an article in Friday's Taipei Times. (Ah, the perks of working for these people!) Over a period of 8 years, that would be another NT$7,680,000 that was used not for administrative purposes, but rather to pad the pockets of those in City Hall. Add that to the previous number, and we now have almost NT$24,000,000 of government money going into the pockets of Ma and his employees. There's no question about this -- it is what has been admitted by Ma and his staff. Remember, the accusations being flung in the direction of President Chen have to do with receipts amounting to NT$14,800,408. Again, even if it's only this portion of Ma's money that has problems, there's still a huge double standard at work.

Mayor's Office Director Cheng An-kuo (鄭安國), whose resignation Ma accepted on Wednesday, admitted that all of that money went directly into Ma's personal bank account. It looks like the tailless gecko is now missing its forelimbs.

Taipei Information Department Director Lo Chih-cheng (羅智成) also admitted to some key points during an on-air phone call to SET's (三立電視) "Talking Show" (大話新聞). First, he admitted that Ma deposited the NT$170,000/month which didn't require receipts into his personal account. He also admitted that Ma subsequently declared that money as part of his personal assets in a statement to the Examination Yuan, though he said he didn't know how much it was altogether. Bye bye, hind legs! Remember, Chen Shui-bian denies similar charges, and no evidence exists that he has pocketed any of the money. The question is all about why he used receipts for things from magazines to diamonds to cover those expenses, and the very simple answer is that the Ministry of Audit told him to do so (before telling him much later not to do so).

Another way Ma is trying to avoid the "jaws of death" is by saying he'll donate NT$15,000,000 to charity. How amusing! If I stole your money and then donated a portion of it (no matter how large) to charity, I would be totally avoiding two things: 1) paying back the victim; and 2) atoning for the crime. The law requires that Ma return the unused portion of those funds to an account specifically for the purpose of collecting that remaining money, and Ma apparently did not follow this law. He also seems to have gotten in the "charitable" mood just within the past few days. Can you say "cover-up"?

No longer in possession of a tail which can be easily detached (since no one else can take the blame for putting the money in Ma's personal account) or even of any more limbs, Ma's head would appear to be on the chopping block. [Troll repellent: this is a metaphor regarding his political career.]

Taking responsibility
Actually, even if Ma would resign to feign "responsibility" for this (something I suggested not so long ago), it would amount to nothing more than a show on his part. There's less than a month remaining until the mayoral election. The main point is not that he needs to step down or go to jail -- it's simply that he needs to apply the same standards to his opponents or shut the fuck up.

Remember, there haven't been any rotting corpses discovered on the balconies of the Presidential Office under Chen's administration, but there has been one at Taipei's City Hall under Ma's watch. That's something that deserves much more attention.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mike Chinoy distorts Taiwan's democracy

Appeal to the mustache

Mike Chinoy has reared his big head again, and as usual, the lies that accompany his presence are also big. At the very top of the index page of AsiaMedia today, there is an article about Taiwan which portrays Chinoy as the sage of all things Asian and media-related ("former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief," "veteran journalists," "has lived in and reported on Asia for nearly thirty years and won an Emmy and Peabody award for his 1989 coverage of the violence in Tiananmen Square"). This is a faulty "appeal to authority" because both Chinoy's authority and his claims are called into question by the facts.

Here's Chinoy's whopper:
Chinoy said that the contentious nature of politics in Taiwan hurts the country's progess. A reigning party will unlikely gain support from an opposing party for the sake of political power. An event such as U.S. president George Bush's acknowledgment of the Democrats' victory in last Tuesday's midterm election, for example, would never happen in Taiwan. Chinoy explained, "In Taiwan, such gestures would be almost inconceivable. It's one of the darker and more worrying signs [in Taiwan's democratic process]."
Carefully note how Chinoy paints Taiwan's democracy as both "dark" and "worrying" -- exactly the kind of portrayal China thrives on. If you are under the false impression that Chinoy knows more than you and is opening your eyes with his vast knowledge, there's one thing that will readily knock that misconception on its ass -- the truth. Open your eyes wide, and see for yourself what he's not telling you.

7'34" YouTube video: "1998阿扁台北市長落選珍貴影片"
[My translation: "1998 A-bian Taipei mayoral election loss, video rarity"]
Click "Play" at lower left to load the video here.
Click on the screen to open the video in a new browser window.
(I suggest hitting "Pause" until the video loads fully.)
Click here to download the latest version of Adobe Flash.
Click here for YouTube help.

Yes, dear reader. Not only can it happen here -- it has already happened! Even if you don't speak Chinese, you can see that when Chen Shui-bian lost the Taipei mayoral election in 1998, he did so in an incredibly graceful manner. You can also see that his supporters behaved calmly and rationally and accepted the results of that election which left Taipei in the hands of Ma Ying-jeou, who is currently ("Surprise, surprise, surprise!!") being investigated on the same type of corruption allegations which he has been flinging in the direction of President Chen for the past two months.

It ain't the first time, baby
I couldn't find any video of it right off, but Chen did pretty much the same thing after the legislative elections in December 2004. Coincidentally (?), I was also writing about Chinoy's bullshit right around that time, too.

Taiwan's ugly other side
On the other hand, if you dishonestly equate Taiwan with the despicable KMT, Chinoy might have a point. But that's not the reality, despite the media's frequent phrasings which make it seem like that's the case.

For the sake of comparison, let's see what happened when the pan-blue ticket failed to regain office for the second time in a row in what was only Taiwan's third direct presidential election in history as well as the third loss in a row for pro-unification candidates.

2'04" YouTube video: "換掉"
[My translation: "Get them out of here"]

Even if you don't understand Chinese or Taiwanese, you should still be able to spot the difference immediately. For the benefit of readers who lack those language abilities, Lien Chan is seen in the beginning of the video stirring up his supporters with shouts of "Annul the election!" shortly after TV news reported that he lost. His vice-presidential running mate James Soong is then seen rousing the rabble with the violent declaration that he wants them to accompany him to go "Break into the Presidential Office!" Their incitement led to weeks of riots by their supporters, scenes of which appear throughout the above video. The images are accompanied by a Taiwanese-language parody of Alex To's song "脫掉" ("Take it off") which replaces the main chorus with the words "趕快換掉" ("Get the f*** rid of them").

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Another thing to keep in mind is that these guys, who've been crying for their mommyland since they lost their civil war in China back in 1949 -- identify themselves as "Chinese."

No, dear reader, the KMT does not -- by any means -- equal Taiwan.

What is happening in his head?
Does Mike Chinoy equate Taiwan with the KMT? Judging by both his past and present distortions, one could easily draw that conclusion.

It's interesting to note that Chinoy is also currently employed by Taiwan-based ETTV. It makes me wonder just how many steps (or should I say "how few"?) it would take for the money to travel between the KMT and Chinoy's pockets. [See UPDATE, below.]

Related note
The current index page of AsiaMedia links to my letter to the editor I wrote on November 11, 2006.

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Here's what I sent to them. (Note: The online version was edited slightly.):
RE: http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=57058
- - -
TAIWAN: It's time to go, say newspapers

Taipei Times and newspapers call for Chen's resignation
- - -

What a deceptive headline! Despite being based in Taiwan, how can you imply that the *China* Post or the *China* Times are "Taiwan's" newspapers? The Taipei Times, as the body of the article says, merely "appears to nudge" Chen in that direction. Appearances can be quite deceiving. This editorial cartoon tells quite a different story:
[Pan-blue media toward Pres. Chen: "Guilty, guilty, guilty"]

Providing links to the sources of such quotes (and not just to their index page) would allow readers to judge for themselves if such comments are accurate.
I'm quite surprised they published it at all, much less linked to it from their index page. Still, it was pretty awful to begin with for them to say that somebody (the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post) said that somebody else (China Post, China Times) said something ("We've hated you forever, and we still hate you") about somebody (Chen Shui-bian) -- and didn't provide nearly enough specifics. In fact, the part about the Taipei Times was plainly deceptive, as the editorial cartoon from 4 days later demonstrates. In that cartoon, they point out clearly that it's the pan-blue media who have declared Chen "guilty."

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that ETTV is the channel which gave the largest false lead to Lien Chan and James Soong before official results came out in Taiwan's 2004 Presidential Election. The chairman of parent company Eastern Multimedia, Gary Wang, is a former KMT legislator whose father Wang You-tseng was a member of the KMT's Central Standing Committee as recently as July 2006. Mike Chinoy had left CNN earlier this year to work for the Pacific Council on International Policy [Board of Directors, Contributors, FAQ, Members, Mission] as an Edgerton Fellow [The Edgerton Foundation].

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

BBC cooks up more nonsense about Chen recall bid

Babble without a byline

In a BBC article of Friday, November 10, 2006 titled "New recall bill tabled in Taiwan," someone (since there's no byline, we don't know who) was paid to cook up this dreck and pass it off as reporting:
Legislators in Taiwan have set the date for a third vote on a recall bill aimed at ousting President Chen Shui-bian.

The vote is scheduled for 24 November, and if the motion passes it will trigger a national referendum on whether to get rid of the president.

Mr Chen has survived two such votes before, and looks likely to again.
If it doesn't look like dreck, you're either not looking carefully enough, or you don't have the proper knowledge. You might also think that in three one-sentence paragraphs there couldn't be too many foul-ups there, huh? Not so fast! Let's see how many I can extract.

1) While all of the "[l]egislators" did indeed set the date for the recall vote, the ones who tabled it in the first place just happen to be comprised entirely of opposition legislators. Both the DPP and the TSU have said they'd back President Chen. Did the BBC not know this, or are they only reporting what CTiTV feeds them? Either way would reflect negatively on their trustworthiness.

2) Such a referendum would most certainly not read "Do you want to 'get rid of' President Chen?" (If you think that I'm being picky, thank your bleedin' lucky stars I'm ignoring the lack of a subjunctive case in that conditional crap.)

3) As Michael Turton has pointed out previously, Chen didn't merely "survive" the first two recalls. The fact is that both of those attempts failed miserably to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to make it past the legislature before a public referendum could even be held on the matter.

We've only just begun
Pushing forward, let's see what other muck the unidentified chef has thrown into the pot.
But this time the challenge will be tougher, in the light of prosecutors' claims that they have enough evidence to charge him with corruption.

Mr Chen cannot be prosecuted while in office, as he is protected by presidential immunity, but his wife, Wu Shu-chen, and three ex-aides have already been charged with the misuse of state funds.

Opposition supporters are continuing their demands for Mr Chen to step down over the crisis.
Three more one-sentence paragraphs, and I see at least as many distortions. Follow along, and see how hollow those words are.

4) Let's talk about "claims" first. Some people claim to be messiahs. A claim isn't necessarily the truth and shouldn't be judged as being so just because it comes from someone with the title of "prosecutor." I bet it would be pretty easy to track down someone to find a balancing quote. Oh, bugger! There's nobody available in the CTiTV studios? Darn. Maybe next time.

5) By the way, these claims have nothing to do with whether or not it will "be tougher" for Chen to avoid being recalled. Could it be the BBC's unstated goal to make it "tougher"?

6) President Chen said he would waive immunity and step down immediately if his wife, Wu Shu-jen (alternate spelling above) were found guilty. Don't forget that the prosecutor had agreed to do another interview of Wu on November 5 to allow her to clarify some things, but he went ahead with the indictment anyway before that date; thus the interview never happened.

7) Liars, thieves, and convicted criminals are among those leading the "[o]pposition supporters." Not surprisingly, some anti-Chen people in Hong Kong and China can hardly be distinguished from those oxymoronically-named folks.

Keeping up appearances of truthiness
Whoever is writing this finally gets around to mentioning some of the things that should have been presented simultaneously with the information above, but it does little to make up for the damage. Here we have a dash of subheading and five more scant paragraphs, only one of which exceeds a single sentence:
Keeping up the pressure

The opposition parties, which have a small majority in parliament, will need at least 14 ruling party members to back the recall motion in order for it to succeed.

The last two attempts - in June and October - failed as all Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) colleagues stood by him.

Analysts say the big question now is whether the prosecutors' conclusions last Friday will cause some DPP lawmakers to lose faith in their leader and vote in favour of the recall motion.

So far, correspondents say, it appears likely that the vote will again fail. Most DPP members seem to be loyal to their leader, and the party has said it will punish any legislators who vote against Mr Chen.

"The chances of [the bill] [<-that's the BBC's] passing are low," admitted opposition Nationalist Party legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan, but he added that even if it did not pass, his party would still keep up the pressure against Mr Chen.
Before you even think about taking even a tiny bite of what has just been served up, here are my closing arguments.

8) The chance of 14 DPP members voting for the recall is slim to none. If any do, it could only be people like Lin Cho-shui or Tuan Yi-kang who should have been kicked out of the DPP long ago for repeatedly kicking the party from within while it's being attacked from without. Those people seem to be in it for other reasons (spies?) and should probably not be painted as ever having had faith in Chen.

9) It wasn't just the DPP who "stood by" Chen. The TSU also showed their disapproval of the motion by casting null ballots in both the first and second votes. Although there is some strong disagreement between those two parties, both of them stand strongly for democracy.

10) "Analysts say..." (insert any claim here). Finish that with "the big question now is..." and what I see is a magician saying "Look at my hands!" Are you watching closely? Which analysts? Can the BBC name even one or tell the readers who they're affiliated with? Could these "analysts" be from places like CTiTV or TVBS? Perhaps it's Emile Sheng yet again. (Am I close?!) As I've mentioned, the DPP and TSU have already made formal statements saying they would oppose this recall motion. Can you feel the bullshit vapors wafting upward toward your nostrils yet?

11) "[C]orrespondents say..." (insert any claim here). Maddog says, "Bollocks!" You might as well type, "I'm making this up." Could this be "Caroline Gluck, distorting from Taipei"? Why do "[m]ost DPP members" merely "seem" to support "their leader." (Note to Ms. Gluck and everybody at the BBC: He's the democratically-elected president, not just a "leader." Stick that someplace where you can easily copy and paste it.)

12) The full name of the "Nationalist Party" to which our fully-unnamed writer refers is the "Chinese Nationalist Party," also known as the KMT or Kuomintang. Trying to make it harder to Google up their long history of murder and oppression, eh? Nice try.

Where do we go from here?
They distort, you decide. Is this the work of Caroline Gluck? Hers has been the only name appearing on any of the recent articles from Taiwan which do have a byline. Why no byline on this article and so many others (some of which contain Gluck's name within), and does this lack of bylines have anything to do with Michael's and my deconstruction of her so-called "journalism"? Could she be farming out the work to local pan-blue hacks? Is the BBC biased against Taiwan and/or Chen Shui-bian and/or the pan-greens?

Sound off!
If your thinking is anything like mine, drop them a line (via either e-mail or online form), and tell them why.

Pieces of the puzzle: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Key points of Chen Shui-bian's speech

Why are we here?

Last night, Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian went on TV for approximately an hour and twenty minutes in order to respond to an indictment brought by Taipei prosecutors against his wife and three top aides on charges which include corruption, forgery, and perjury. While the president himself is immune from such charges while still in office, the accusations are being made against him as well.

These indictments are based on doubt which has arisen from several things, including selective leaks and the inability of the accused to prove that the money in question was used for "secret diplomatic missions." Saturday's Taipei Times, quoting DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun, also tells us, "The prosecutor did not say the president pocketed the state fund. The suspicious points in the indictment resulted from the president's need to protect details of the country's confidential diplomacy."

The key points
Here's my summation:
1) The charges are nonsensical. Do the math. Hell, I'll do it for you. The money supposedly stolen (NT$14,800,408) amounts to less than half the losses resulting from Chen cutting his own salary (from NT$820,000/month to NT$420,000/month) for the past six years and five months (that's NT$32,340,000 he has voluntarily given up thus far, plus the remaining 19 months of his term would increase that figure by NT$7,980,000) and refusing to use the "secret accounts" from the KMT era (allowing a whopping NT$110,000,000/year) which require no receipts and which would therefore be easy to pocket. (He gave that money back to the central government, by the way.)

2) The rules are unclear, and double standards are being applied. Things that the Ministry of Audit said were okay early in Chen's term are now being considered illegal.

3) Chen refused to take advantage of any privileges and distance himself from his wife's actions. He said that if the First Lady were convicted by the courts, he would accept the verdict and step down immediately.

4) Despite promises of confidentiality by the prosecutors, Chen said he couldn't identify the "Person A" () mentioned in the indictment documents (a spy?) because it would put that person's life in danger. Out of patriotic duty to Taiwan, he said that it was a secret he would carry with him to his grave, even if he had to go to prison for doing so.

5) Despite promising to allow First Lady Wu Shu-jen (sometimes spelled Wu Shu-chen) a follow-up interview which was delayed until November 5, 2006 (the day of President Chen's speech) for health reasons, the prosecutors went ahead with the indictment.

6) The above 2 items demonstrate injustice, insincerity, and lack of professionalism on the part of the prosecutors.
What the media is saying and will say
* ...if Chen is convicted (despite the fact that he can't even be indicted).

* He spoke Taiwanese! (Somebody call the waaaaambulance 'cuz the opposition has only had 57 years to learn the language!)

* Chen refuses to step down (even though he says he will do so immediately [that's the word he used in Mandarin: "立即"] if his wife is convicted).

* Chen didn't reveal any juicy details about where the secret fund goes. (Duh!)

* C'mon! Tell us the name of "Person A"! (Even though people like Sisy Chen accused both President Chen and former President Lee Teng-hui of endangering spies earlier, now the exact opposite suits her goals!)
What's next?
Another recall motion is set to be tabled in the Legislative Yuan on Monday -- unless the psychotic personal weapons enthusiast Li Ao (sometimes spelled Lee Ao) changes sides and sets off a canister of noxious gas to prevent it. A two-thirds majority is required for the motion to pass. Even then, a referendum of the voting public is required for the recall to be finalized.

One thing's for certain: things are never boring around here, though I often wish for them to be.

UPDATE: Official transcripts of President Chen's speech in English and Chinese are online for those crybabies who claimed he was speaking a foreign language from China in order to speak only to his supporters in southern Taiwan. (Oh, the irony!) You can also watch the video of Chen's speech (divided into 4 WMV files) here.

Things to consider: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chen Shui-bian speech at 8 PM

Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian will be speaking at 8 PM in response to the recent indictments against his wife and aides.

The usual targets: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
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