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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Remembering two 228 Incidents

First, the one less talked about

On February 28, 1980, while Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) was in prison on charges stemming from the Kaohsiung Incident, his seven-year old twin daughters and his mother were brutally murdered while their home was under 24-hour surveillance by secret police under the rule of Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). Another daughter survived that incident despite being stabbed several times, but grew up without her grandmother or her two sisters. This horrific act took place 33 years after another incident which led to the deaths (including executions on the street), political imprisonment, and disappearance of tens of thousands of people in Taiwan at the hands of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) under the lead of the aforementioned Chiang's father, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

The "228 Incident" of 1947
On February 27, 1947, a woman named Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁) was selling cigarettes illegally on a Taipei street when KMT officers attempted to confiscate her wares. In the struggle, the officer struck the woman in the head with his gun, and she later died. Witnesses to the event chased the officers away from the scene. They fled to a police station, and when citizens gathered there to ask for justice, the officer fled out a back door.

The next day, February 28, a larger crowd gathered at the Governor-General's Office to protest, but were met with machine gun fire. This doesn't sound like the "uprising" the China Post and the BBC's Caroline Gluck would like you to believe it was.

In the subsequent months and years, Taiwan's intellectuals were methodically killed off, jailed under false pretenses, and terrorized by authorities in the period of Taiwan's history that is known as "White Terror."

Sixty years after the 228 Incident of 1947, the embattled presidential wannabe and disgraced former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬應九) and his minions are still obfuscating history with their whines of "Stop bringin' up old stuff" and "Japan did it." Yet until this "transitional justice" is dealt with, this "old stuff" will continue to be raised against the party which perpetrated the crime.

More info
Articles from today's Taipei Times:
* Decades later, 228 still haunts Taiwan
* Hardline academics blame Japan for 228 Incident
* Amendment calling for 228 trial halted by pan-blue camp
* A series of 7 more articles: The 228 incident: Sixty years on
* An op-ed by Randall Schriver which states bluntly that "senior US officials are largely unaware and ignorant of what transpired in Taiwan after Feb. 27, 1947, including the White Terror era."
* Today's editorial: Historical record is key to justice

The March 1, 2007 edition of the Taipei Times continues the "228 Incident: Sixty years on" series with four more articles.
Other blogposts:
* Michael Turton on Taiwan's Own Holocaust Revisionists
* Wulingren wrote last Friday about a May 24, 1947 article in The Nation.
* Previous posts on INDIAC
* Previous posts on Taiwan Matters!
Videos (most in Taiwanese or Chinese with Hanzi subtitles):
* 台灣的歷史-戰後與二二八事件 [Taiwan History - Post-WW2 and the 228 Incident]
* A 2-part video from CassidyTW: 二二八60週年 - 紀念殞落的228菁英 [60th anniversary of the 228 Incident - In memory of the fallen elite of 228] (lots more links there)

UPDATE 2: Here's a 3-part video from SET that I uploaded to YouTube:
* Part 1/3 6'58"
* Part 2/3 8'01"
* Part 3/3 9'33"
* Here's another video to think about when the KMT pulls their "Stop bringing up old stuff" act and tries to sweep 228 back under the rug where it couldn't be talked about for so long. Via the Hanzi titles which accompany the images onscreen, it reminds viewers how France, Poland, and Germany haven't done so with the Holocaust, but have instead faced up to that dark part of history. In contrast, every city in Taiwan has downtown streets named after Chiang Kai-shek (中正路). That page also has links to WMV versions of the video. Check out the plethora of links listed at the end of the video as well.
* And here's a WMV video of a Taiwan "anthem" performed karaoke style (they sang right through the bridge) by the president, the V-P, and lots of DPP stalwarts.
More links:
* Wikipedia entry on the 228 Incident
* Wikipedia entry on George Kerr
* George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed [PDF, 1.1 MB]
* See chapter four of Jerome F. Keating's Island in the Stream (co-written with April C.J. Lin)

* Here's the page for the 228 Incident Memorial Foundation.
* Here's a poignant song sung in Taiwanese about the 228 Incident -- from the site that brought the "Surgical Blade Action" (手術刀). They've already gathered some 62,000 signatures, BTW.
Because of KMT control of the media and education system, many younger people in Taiwan don't know enough to even care about the 228 Incident. However, in order to secure their own future, it is something they must learn about.

Lest we forget: , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lunar New Year

It doesn't just belong to the Chinese

Nor is it just "politically correct." Read about it in English and/or Chinese.

Happy Lunar New Year! And 萬事如意! [=van.su_ru.yi! / wàn shì rú yì! Best of luck in all things!]

Being in a bit of a rush to begin my vacation, I missed these links (all are presented in both English and Mandarin):
* How the people of Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of South Korea celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of Singapore celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of Malaysia celebrate Lunar New Year

Terrestrial objects: , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ma Ying-jeou's double standards

In his own words

On the Wednesday, February 14, 2007 broadcast of Talking Show (大話新聞), host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) presented several clips of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) which provide an interesting contrast between his attitude when talking about his political opponents and when the shoe is on the other foot.

The first set of clips shows Ma speaking just prior to the indictment against Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and shortly afterwards. These clips are then juxtaposed with the words and actions of both Ma and his supporters just one day after Ma himself was indicted.

Under Ma's thumb
In the first part, Chairman Mao-without-the-o says that President Chen would "die a horrible death" if he didn't step down on his own. (What did Ma do? First of all, he waited to be indicted -- but that's not all. Just 2 hours later, he declared his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election.)

Referring to the ongoing cases surrounding Chen, Ma says (taking on the president's voice and ironically pointing at himself), "If my associates are corrupt, I need to take all of the responsibility. I can't blame anyone else, because I am the emperor." Ma says, "With problems like this affecting Chen's family, how can he talk to me about 'the law'?"

Rules are for other people
In the second segment -- with images from one day after Ma himself was indicted -- members of his party cheer, "Ma Ying-jeou, jiayou! (an expression of encouragement)" and "KMT, victory!" despite their party rules saying that an indicted member can't run for office. Well, if that was true to begin with, it's not anymore. They changed their rules in a move of desperation just hours after Ma was indicted. (Even though President Chen's wife hasn't yet been convicted, the DPP suspended her membership after the indictment, following their own rules the way they should.)

Next, a KMT member who is currently on the Taipei City Council screeches (and I'm talking "fingernails-across-the- blackboard" here) that Ma is "like Jesus being nailed to the cross" and that Ma is "the greatest person in history." (Yes, she actually said those things!) They've mobilized a nationwide signature drive to get people to "swear" support for Ma. Check out the gangster-looking guys with the black gloves accusing the other side of having "black hands" controlling the judiciary. (Hogwash!) Be sure to notice how "enthusiastically" these guys throw down those black gloves.

What went around came back around
Remember all that redshirt bullshit about "not distinguishing between blue (Ma's side) and green (Chen's side)" (不分藍綠)? Remember this picture? Which direction are those thumbs facing now? Up their you-know-whats!

Can you spot the double standards of Ma and his supporters? I knew that you could.

At last, the video:

3'08" YouTube video: "Ma Ying-jeou's double standards"

Same thumbs, different ways: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ma Ying-jeou indictment available online

Read all about it (in Mandarin legalese)

The documents related to yesterday's indictment of Ma Ying-jeou are now online via the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office. Here are the links (MSWord documents and XL spreadsheets):
* 起訴書 [the indictment]
* 附表一(起訴書) [Attachment 1 (indictment)]
* 附表二(起訴書) [Attachment 2 (indictment)]
* 附表三(起訴書) [Attachment 3 (indictment)]
* 附表四(起訴書) [Attachment 4 (indictment)]
* 附表五(起訴書) [Attachment 5 (indictment)]
* 附表六(起訴書) [Attachment 6 (indictment)]
* 附表七(起訴書) [Attachment 7 (indictment)]
* 附表九-1、九-2(起訴書) [Attachments 9-1 & 9-2 (indictment)]
* 附表八、十、十一、十二(起訴 書) [Attachments 8, 10, 11, & 12 (indictment)]
* 附表十三(起訴書) [Attachment 13 (indictment)]
If at some point in the future they disappear, just write to me.

Just the facts, ma'am: , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou indicted

Immediately announces he'll run for president

How ya like him now? Ma has been indicted on charges of "embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000)." Yes, he's innocent until proven guilty, but his 5 different versions of what happened with his "special allowance fund" says a lot about the case.

While he said he'd step down as the chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), their Central Standing Committee is reported to have just finished meeting and refused his resignation. They have also changed their own rules to allow him to run for president anyway. Nice, eh? Did Ma forget all that stuff he said about "rule of law" and "honesty" in his CNN interview?

Even the prosecutor is asking judges for leniency because "they said Ma had donated 15 million dollars to charity during the investigation." [As Michael Turton reminds readers in a post on Taiwan Matters earlier this evening, the prosecutor is a friend of Ma's. Tsk, tsk!] Once again, if the money is stolen from public funds, it should be returned to the public. That's not too hard to understand, is it?

"Cover me!"
The international news coverage, as usual, leaves much to be desired.

The BBC, for instance, repeats the meme about Ma's "squeaky-clean image." As often happens, they also fail to include a byline on the article, and doesn't clearly identify the affiliation of an anonymous "spokesman" quoted within (though it appears to be a spokesman for the high court).

A Bloomberg article by James Peng and Chinmei Sung calls Ma's party the "Nationalist party," failing to include the eye-opening "Chinese" at the beginning of that name. It also repeats the usual memes promulgating China's perspectives about Taiwan. However, the article correctly included information about the KMT "alter[ing] its rules to allow Ma to run as the KMT's candidate."

Barely after the indictment was out, Channel NewsAsia pushed this quickly-melting meme: "Taiwan's opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou, seen as the front-runner for next year's presidential election..." "[S]een" by whom?

The local news is certainly no better. During a press conference Ma gave shortly after the indictment came out, people could be heard shouting, "Chairman Ma, jiayou!" (加油, an expression of encouragement). Only those present could tell for sure if those shouts came from the reporters themselves.

KMT secretary-general Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently said it would snow in June before Ma was indicted. I just heard the host of Talking Show (大話新聞) say that everybody had better buy their jackets now.

P.S.: Michael and Jason demonstrate their ability to type and post much quicker than me. Don't miss their takes on the topic.

Charges: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Monday, February 12, 2007

CNN airs interview with Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou

(Sorry for the delay in publishing this, but this has been a busy week, and the number of links within this post has continued to grow that whole time due to ongoing events.)

Mr. Ed revisited
Last Saturday (February 3, 2007), exactly one week after airing an interview of Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), CNN host Anjali Rao interviewed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). [TRANSCRIPT] Let's take a look at the content and make some comparisons along the way to the previous week's interview as well as the general coverage of Taiwan by the international media.

The horse's talking head
If you can't access CNN's videos and want to see Ma Ying-jeou speak English and Newspeak simultaneously, I've uploaded the videos to YouTube. The first section was too long to be uploaded there, so I cut in into two pieces. Don't worry -- I didn't take anything out. Click the thumbnails below to view the clips. My analysis begins just below the images.

Mmmmmma Ying-jeou on CNN's TalkAsia, Feb. 2007
 Stop reading over my shoulder
Part 1
Taiwan Presidential wannabe/waffler, Ma Ying-jeou
Part 2
 TalkAsia host Anjali Rao
Part 3

The intro: Patting the horse's backside
It begins with the usual identification of the participants and a few sound bites to grab the viewers' attention, but just eight seconds in, the memes begin in grand fashion:
[0:08] Rao: "... the man many believe could be the next president of Taiwan." [Emphasis Rao's]
The more the international press repeats this meme, the more likely we'll have a reaction to his loss like the ones that occurred in 2000 and again in 2004. By continually feeding the audience this propaganda alongside pan-blue meda surveys telling us how far "ahead" they are, Ma's party will expect that audience to support the "sure winner" when they yet again acts like sore losers in 2008. The "many" Rao refers to, by the way, consists mainly of blue politicians, blue media outlets, and blue readers. Furthermore, Ma's party is already talking about changing their own rules so that he can run as their candidate even if indicted for misusing his "special allowance" -- as it seems more and more likely the case may be.

Rao knows the full name of Taiwan's DPP, but she fails to shine the tiniest bit of light upon the history of Ma's party:
[0:30] Rao: "... Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang Party."
The full, correct name of Ma's party -- which reveals so much more to non-Chinese speakers and those unfamiliar with Taiwan's history -- is the "Chinese Nationalist Party" (中國國民黨). It would be so much better if the international media would actually use that name and use it at least as consistently as they do their inaccurate memes.
[0:33] Rao: "... supports closer links with china [sic]."
There are no hints about what those "links" falsely imply -- that in Ma's eyes, they seem to somehow magically negate the bellicosity of China's "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) and their ever-increasing number of missiles.
[0:40] Rao: "... head to head with the pro-independence leadership."
Last week she repeatedly called Chen "president," but in Ma's presence, he's just a "leader"? What a difference a week makes.

At the 41-second mark, we see a picture of the Shanghai skyline while Rao talks about economics. Then we get this soundbite:
[0:44] Ma: "... politically, it [China] could be a threat..."
Ma actually addresses China's missiles in the full version of this statement (in Part 2 of the video). However, not only does he adjust the actual number of missiles downward by nearly 200, but those missiles apparently don't threaten too much more than his and his party's chances of winning elections. Oh, and by they way, they are apparently "all Chen Shui-bian's fault for refusing to give in to an even smaller number of missiles" (barely a parody-phrase) -- or so Ma would like you to believe.
[0:57] Rao: "... others admire him for his movie-star looks and all 'round squeaky clean image."
Astute observers would know that both of those descriptions are the fruit of the pan-blue media that dominates the public sphere brainwashing the public with such nausea-inducing nonsense.
[1:05] Ma (with a straight face): "That's not really embezzlement because..."
He means Chen Shui-bian, right? After all, Ma admitted that his "special allowance" went into his personal bank account (and reported as "personal income"), some of which was used "to reward staff members." (And this is looking worse for Ma by the day.)

Enough with the inflated introductions. Let's move on to the interview itself.

Part One (in which Ma declares himself "clean," the DPP "dangerous," and Taiwan merely an "island")
Get out your gasmasks, and prepare for more horseshit.
[0:14] Ma: "... I've got my eye on my party's reform."
Flowing out of Ma's trap, I can't tell if that's a Freudian slip or a desperate attempt to get people who care about clean government to somehow switch to his side. Either way, it sounds like even he thinks he's short of the votes he'd need to get the presidency in 2008 and that the public is aware that his party is corrupt to the core.

At the 0:16 mark, Ma Ying-jeou is written correctly onscreen, contrasting with the incorrect formatting of President Chen's name in the previous interview. However, the transcript abbreviates his name throughout as the even more unorthodox "MJ" and gives "China" a lowercase "c" in the second paragraph of the intro.
[0:59] Ma: "I think our popu, um, larity is getting, uh, higher compared to, uh, what we were before."
Um, I think, er, that, uh, Ma isn't very, um, confident about this, er, statement.
[1:36] Ma: "That's not really embezzlement because this is a special allowance for public relations. More than 6,500 'govermofficials' [government officials] have that.
Ma doesn't tell us what those other "govermofficials" did with their money, but it would be embezzlement no matter how many of them broke the law, too.
[1:51] Ma: "We all use that fund according to the method we are told to follow." [Emphasis his]
I'm pretty sure that "method" doesn't say to use it to reward staff -- unless you were "told" to do so by honorary eternal KMT chairman Lien Chan.
[1:58] Ma: "Though at the moment, I believe that I have done nothing wrong."
Again, he's not too confident here. Nor does he even mention the courts as Chen Shui-bian did in his interview.

Humbug! With "media friends" like these, who needs the courts?:
[2:15] Rao: "You've got this very clean image."
Notice, how that's stated as indisputable fact. You don't suppose that those "rewards" for Ma's staff members helped to perpetuate that "image," huh?
[2:38] Ma: "I'm probably the person who donated the most property to public charity or public interest, and I have engaged in those things for more than 2 decades."

[2:54] "I have donated blood for [sic] 174 times, so I think a lot of people believe that I'm still very clean."
It's quite interesting that Ma has this figure onhand, but we can see why Ma failed the bar exam. That argument wouldn't work in a court of law. As for the monetary donations, much of the money he's referring to wasn't his to donate in the first place. He can't pay Paul back to make up for stealing from Peter. That is highly illogical and does not amount to restitution to the victims or atonement for the crime. Besides, I hear that Chen Shui-bian donated a good chunk of money to various charity organizations (not run by his wife) -- something Chen didn't mention in order to "convince" anyone of his innocence.

Just after Ma tosses around a bunch of numbers regarding the supposedly "poor economy" (which, in my experience, sees Taiwan's citizenry spending like there's no tomorrow) this softball is thrown to him:
[3:49] Rao: "I assume you're talking about the deterioration, in part, due to the DPP's less-than-cozy relationship with mainland China.
And I assume someone fed that response to Rao.
[4:09] Ma: "security threat to Taiwan... 800 missiles... on the other hand... opportunity for Taiwan."
Here, Ma gives the impression that he values money more than democracy -- and to top it off, he gives China a 20% discount, as they currently have nearly 1,000 missiles targeting Taiwan.
[5:31] Rao: "If [China] is such a threat, then why does the KMT keep blocking arms sales to -- the US arms sales to Taiwan that the DPP has long been fighting for?" [Emphasis hers]
This question stands out, but doesn't do much to make up for the previous fawning. Ma's wordy response also obfuscates the fact that all that has happened so far is that after blocking the purchase 70 times, they finally allowed a discussion to be tabled. The fact remains that nothing in the budget has yet been purchased and that Taiwan's defense capabilities continue to wane as China's offensive capabilities advance, yet Ma is making the same arguments his predecessor Lien Chan did a year and a half ago.
[6:22] Rao: "... this island"

Ma: "... the autonomy of the island... dignity... sovereignty."
When talking about "dignity" and "sovereignty," the choice of the word "island" to describe Taiwan from a China-centered POV (in which "mainland" is the counterpart) won't do.
[7:27] Rao: "The DPP favors independence from the mainland, which has said it will attack Taiwan if it were to declare statehood."
Meme upon meme. The DPP favors international recognition of Taiwan's existing independence from China. "[M]ainland" only works if an island is part of the same territory. When bullies threaten to "attack" if a smaller kid's lunch money isn't handed over, one takes on a faux-neutral position by saying: "The kid favors spending his money on his own lunch, even though the bully said he'd beat him up if he did so." An objective view of the facts tells us, "The lunch money belongs to the kid, and the bully keeps threatening him, despite having no rights to that money."
[7:40] Rao: "Do you think that their [the DPP's] agenda is dangerous to Taiwan as a whole?"

Ma: "Yes, I think they will endanger Taiwan's not only security status but also international status as well."
As if Taiwan's "international status" is in more danger. Do you think it's dangerous for kids to hang onto their own lunch money, or should they just give it up? That's the same question, basically, and Rao handed that lunch money to Ma on a silver platter. His answer is just as ridiculous, pretending to be unaware of the bully's bellicose nature and placing the blame on the smaller, weaker kid who does his own homework and has to make do with his own lunch money. While both the question[er] and answer[er] lay the blame on Chen here, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) is the one who harmed Taiwan's international status the most when he refused dual representation at the UN in 1971 and sunk the citizens of Taiwan into their subsequent diplomatic isolation.
[8:35] Ma: [My party sold out Taiwan 2 years ago.]
And right at the time of the "anti-secession" law, no less. (Go see that part of the video to hear how he stated his full inadvertant admission.)
[9:00] Ma: [a false re-assertion of the "1992 consensus" which KMT con artist Su Chi admitted in January 2006 was a fabrication]
And there you have Part One of the show. We'll be right back after CNN tries to sell me things for which I have absolutely no desire.

Part Two (in which Ma displays ways to dissemble regarding just about anything -- even things which don't exist in the real world)
After the usual commercials targeting the upper income bracket, we come back to hear Ma relate his goofy story about him being "both" Taiwanese and Chinese. (Do you think that's what he says in closed-door KMT meetings?). Oh, and he talks about it for a good 40 seconds or so before he can spit out the word "Taiwanese." Then, the host asks more questions based upon false premises:
[1:17] Rao: "How do you go about unifying a society that is so divided [into Taiwanese/Chinese identity] like that?" [Emphasis hers]


[1:35] Ma: "You see, Taiwan, in history, is a place for immigrants from all over the world."
I say this is based on false premises for this simple reason: While Taiwanese are indeed made up of immigrants, the ones who still identify themselves as Chinese as opposed to Taiwanese are the same ones who came here as occupiers and committed atrocities against the local population. They are the same ones who continue to deny people the right to identify with Taiwan instead of China. Who's to blame for that? Is Ma trying to defend China's aggression against Taiwan.
[2:20] [Ma tries to "explain" TECRO, but he skips the part about CKS and the UN.]
See the explanation of that back in Part One (below the quotes at the 7:40 mark).
[2:52] Rao: "Do you think that Taiwan will ever reunify with the mainland?"
Again, we're presented with the "mainland" construction, from which "reunify" is mistakenly derived. For Taiwan to "reunify" with the "mainland" (i.e., China), it would have had to be part of it in the first place. Just a reminder to all journalists: Taiwan has never been part of the PRC, and just because they've repeated it a million times (with your help) doesn't make it so.
[3:10] Ma: "Taiwan's future has to be determined by the 23 million Taiwanese -- by their free will."
Whoa, horsie! I thought your latest position was that independence was not an option for Taiwan!
[3:17] Ma: "At the moment, the majority of Taiwanese favor the maintenance of Taiwan's status quo."
The supposed "status quo" (a PRC construct if there ever was one) that people wish to "maintain" is the part about not being controlled by China. The 980 or so missiles that are currently aimed at the island, the constant threats made by China, the legislation of such threats, and KMT cooperation with the untrustworthy CCP in the wake of such legislation affect people's answers to such vaguely-worded polls. The most ironic part of this bit is what Ma said less than a week earlier, paraphrased here by the Taipei Times: "Arguing that the KMT would never seek independence, Ma said yesterday that the country's future should not be decided based solely on opinion polls."
[3:28] Ma: "Even the mainland today is not interested in pushing that [unification] because they know it is not ready yet. Nobody is ready. And what they are doing now is to prevent Taiwan from going further in independence instead of calling for reunification."
Again, Ma seems to dump the responsibility for the danger all in Chen Shui-bian's lap for "going further with independence" (i.e., the recognition of the existing reality), even though Ma just said himself that "Nobody is ready" (for unification).
[4:05] Rao (VO): "After the break Ma Ying-jeou tell us what he thinks about the air of celebrity surrounding him."
If you were watching this on TV, you might have wanted to stick your head out of the window during the following commercials to get some air.

Part Three (in which Ma runs short of oxygen and admits that despite referring to Taiwan moments earlier as merely and"island," it is (in his own words) "a democratic country")
Rao starts out the third segment with a this:
[0:12] Rao: "Chairman Ma, you're it's fair to say, a very popular politician around these parts. And you've always had this air of celebrity about you."
No kidding! I wonder how much "journalists" get paid to fluff this "air" of "fair[ness]."

I also have to wonder how the same journalists can ask questions like this next one -- unless, of course, such questions are just set up in order to allow answers containing unchallenged distortions:
[2:44] Rao: "[Y]ou did come under a lot of flack didn't you for your handling of the SARS crisis in 2003. Do you think that those criticisms against you were justified?"
Ma dissembles in this response, too, comparing an acute disease like SARS (where even Taipei doctors escaped their quarantines) to the much slower-acting and more-difficult-to-contract AIDS. Rao should have followed up about the most basic errors Ma made in handling the situation.

Rao then asks another question from the KMT perspective (and I wonder why she showed the ancient footage):
[3:31] Rao: "Politics in Taiwan can be a ferocious business. You know the world often sees these pictures of parliamentarians just losing their rag and brawling, hurling abuse and often objects at each other. Why do we see this happen so frequently just you know, the parliament descends to this undignified chaos here?"
Having painted Ma as "squeaky clean," she gives absolutely no real context to the uninformed viewer. Ma, in another unchallenged response, talks about "rule of law" [3:58, 4:43, 5:13, 5:26] -- as if he has any idea -- when he allowed the redshirts to run roughshod over the citizens of Taipei for over a month. Therefore, it portrays the violence as coming from those who Ma is opposing. The greens aren't the only ones doing such things, but in the latest brawl, they were fighting against the pan-blues' attempt to strongarm yet another unconstitutional piece of legislation by which the pan-blue majority would be given control of the Central Election Commission. Some people fight for democracy, others for total, perpetual control.

Wrapping up his "rule of law" run-on, Ma makes a statement which is surprising coming out of his mouth. However, he adds a qualifier which -- coming from a man whose party/supporters rioted for four weeks straight after losing a democratic election -- will only further confuse the casual viewer about his real feelings on the topic:
[5:35] Ma: "No doubt Taiwan is a democratic country, but our quality of democracy still needs a lot of refinement."
The interview ends with this unbelievable exchange:
[5:43] Rao: "You've been in politics for so many years now Chairman Ma. What sort of counsel would you give someone who wanted to follow this career path?"

Ma: "Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest with you know your fellow politicians. This is a rare quality of politicians. But integrity, honesty is still I think the most valuable quality for a politician. Don't think that politicians should cheat should fight each other all the time. People don't like that. People like to see honest persons. So I certainly will advise many young people who want to participate in politics, honesty is the best policy."
Honestly, I wouldn't even buy a used scooter from this guy. And I would certainly not advise any young people who want to participate in politics to vote for Ma. But don't just believe me. Check these things out for yourselves.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

Friday, February 02, 2007

BBC's Gluck dumps on changes to Taiwan's history books

Chucking the muck

Caroline Gluck gets a byline in yet another horrid article about Taiwan bringing readers the same kind of perspectives found at CTiTV or CCTV. This latest article is called "Taiwan PM wades into history row," and since it's 100% rubbish, it merits a line-by-line takedown. Get out your plasting sheeting, and prepare for disgusting projectiles! [The blockquoted sections are Gluck's.]
Taiwan has defended changes to new history textbooks which have been strongly criticised by rival China and some opposition lawmakers in Taiwan.
I might have written something more like this instead: "Taiwan has made some changes to its textbooks which simply remove the lies forced upon it during Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule. This has made the people who are still working so hard to promulgate these lies after more than half a century rather upset. But that's no surprise, as both China and the opposition complain about almost everything the Chen Shui-bian administration does." That would be a breath of fresh air, if I do say so myself. Gluck's smells like rotten cabbage which has passed through the digestive system of a sick person and sublimated.

Unfortunately, she continues to let it rip (and she's barely gotten started):
The books, which go into classes next month, will refer to the "mainland" or "our country" simply as "China".
Note the dissembling by omission. Gluck's sentence could be read as meaning that Taiwan is now being called "China." She somehow "conveniently" left out the words "what until now have been called" in front of the two quoted bits to which those words "will refer." For your information, Taiwan's textbooks, under KMT rule referred to China as "我國" ("my country"), "本國" ("this country"), or "大陸" ("the mainland").

Then she tells it a bit more clearly; but with this tiny baby forward, she takes at least one giant step back:
They therefore suggest Taiwan is a separate entity and not part of Chinese territory, as Beijing claims.
How does one "suggest" a simple truth that must be told? You merely tell it, and that's the goal of these changes. Give people the facts, and let them decide whether Beijing's "claims" are true or merely noxious gas.

Pay close attention to the perspective with which Gluck poisons this bit of otherwise factual information:
Taiwan's prime minister is the latest official to weigh in on this controversy.
It's only "controversial" if you're on the pro-unification side. I happen to think these changes are an excellent idea that's long overdue!
Su Tseng Chang has strongly defending changes to the high school history textbooks and backing his education minister.
Note the same kind of capitalization used in the CNN interview of "Chen Shui Bian." Also note the same kind of English mistakes often found in the China Post or The People's Daily (人民 日報). It could be a botched rewrite of the sentence, and I'm not quite sure what to make of these things, but the context must certainly be considered.

For more of that context, here comes a subheading:
This section could be called many things in place of what sounds like someone trying to deny their awful past: Rectifications, Erasing the Errata, Fixing the Eff-ups, or so many other possibilities. (Note: The Taipei Times used the same word in an actual headline, though the content was a bit more objective.)
During the weekly cabinet meeting, he said students should be taught about their own country and their history.
Gluck fails to even hint at the ugliness lurking behind that, just beyond the reach of uninformed readers. Let me pull back the curtain a bit for you and show you what Gluck either can't or won't.

When my wife attended school, policies forbade students from even speaking the Taiwanese language at school, and there was nothing taught in her history classes about Taiwan's history before the arrival of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣 介石, 蔣中正), as if Japan hadn't occupied Taiwan for the previous 50 years. The historical events which took place before Chiang's arrival that were taught in the class were all ones which happened in China. Even the post-war history of Taiwan that was taught ignored such significant things as the "228 Incident," White Terror, the Kaohsiung Incident, and so much more. (The simple fact that Taiwan's aboriginals weren't Chinese immigrants was never mentioned either.) Furthermore, the discussion of Taiwan took up only a tiny part of her Geography classes during which my wife was told that Outer Mongolia and Tibet were part of "her country." The truth is slowly being allowed to become part of the curriculum as Taiwan's democracy breaks free from the shackles of the KMT's continued authoritarian behavior.
Critics say the changes are another attempt by President Chen Shui-bian's independence-leaning administration to try to downplay the island's cultural and historic links with China.
"Damn those people who can see reality! I shall call them... 'reality-leaners'!" Does Gluck dare name any such critics, or would she be revealing her "keepers" by doing so?

Hold your nose -- here comes a big, stinky meme:
China regards the island as part of its territory and has threatened to use force if Taiwan formally declares independence.
Oh, for fuck's sake, Gluck, how many times has that line crawled up your ass and died? Wheeeeeeesh!

Gluck then gives even more space to the frequently heard ideologies of Beijing:
Beijing says the latest changes are politically motivated and it has accused Taiwanese officials of introducing independence ideologies into the classroom.
Note how very similar things were said by students from China who were in attendance during Tu Cheng-sheng's speech at the London School of Economics last month. Viewed from another angle, "introducing independence ideologies" is merely removing the taboos placed upon such democratic notions. My conclusion: both Beijing and the KMT fear democracy.
Some opposition politicians in Taiwan have also complained that the changes are an attempt to cut the island's historic links to China and called for the education minister to resign.
There, she dishes out more of that "(Unnamed) people say..." crap. I'm sure someone did say those things, but if she quotes those same pan-blue politicians too often, she may reveal her "keepers." (Does "Emile Sheng" sound like a suspect? Su Chi? Chairman Ma, himself?)

Here's another subheading which I'll allow to slither directly into the next section:

Among the revisions, references to the "mainland" and "our country" are removed and simply replaced with "China".
Is there an echo in here? And didn't I ask that very question recently when I wrote about the BBC?
While Dr Sun Yat-sen is referred to only by name without previous explanations that he was also the nation's founding father.
Does Gluck really expect readers to believe that the books "refer[] to" Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙, 孫中山) without explaining why he's in the history book? I bet this is a total lie and that the new books explain that he founded the ROC in 1911 without also implying that he's the "father" of Taiwan.
Identity is one of the most sensitive issues in Taiwan, although in recent years more people are identifying themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese.
It's the KMT who are "sensitive" about "letting X equal X." As far as why more people are identifying themselves as Taiwanese, perhaps it's partly because they're not being as brainwashed as severely as they were in the past. Moreover, maybe it's simply because fewer and fewer people fear saying it out loud: "I am Taiwanese!"
It is a trend that clearly worries Beijing.
Again, they are worried because they fear the truth and democracy!
Earlier this month, China also complained about proposed changes to the charter of Taiwan's National Palace Museum, which contains the most important treasures which were once held in Beijing's Forbidden City.
That's not all that's in the museum, and the "most important [Chinese] treasures" are being lumped in with all the other foreign artifacts, that's all. It was the KMT who brought those things here, by the way.
The authorities accused officials of trying to remove references about where the art treasures originally came from.
Uh, not quite, Gluck, but you really seem willing to repeat it just the way they want you to. The people who are making these changes just want to clarify that they are foreign.

Beijing Gluck under glass
There you have it, dear readers -- the epitome of the BBC's Taiwan coverage. Could it get any worse? I probably left out quite a few things above, but it's very clear that having Gluck write the BBC's reports about Taiwan's politics is a dream come true for the Mandarins in Zhongnanhai.

Previous Taiwan Matters takedowns of BBC bullshit (all within the past 4 months):
1) BBC gets Taiwan all wrong
2) BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
3) BBC still not getting Taiwan right
4) BBC continues Taiwan deception
5) BBC strikes again
6) BBC Taiwan Coverage: Pathetically Biased
7) BBC cooks up more nonsense about Chen recall bid
8) Who will observe the Taiwan observers?
9) BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards

Those in the queue: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
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