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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Countering the mendacious memes about Taiwan

Simpler than the back of a cereal box

Robert Maguire (AKA The Only Redhead in Taiwan), blogging on Friday ostensibly about chemical pollution originating in China, reacted to some "journalistic" pollution and hit upon two truisms about Taiwan which the English-language media rarely comes even close to getting right.

He begins with a quote from a Reuters article bearing a Paul Eckert byline before smashing it to bits with a retort that even a rock could understand:
Taiwan has been divided from mainland China since 1949, when Nationalist forces fled to the island and Mao Zedong's Communists took power in Beijing.

China says the island is a breakaway province that must accept reunification and makes Taiwan's acceptance of Beijing's "one China" policy a condition for official talks.
Reunification? For once, I would like to read an article that says, "China says the island is a breakaway province, but the PRC flag has never flown over the island." I bet we would start seeing a significant change in the way people view Taiwan if these two little paragraphs that are in nearly every article about Taiwan were more accurate. Making clear that, yes, China does claim sovereignty over Taiwan, but there's no talk of "reunification" -- only unification -- seeing as the PRC never controlled (to my knowledge) any part of Taiwan. Also, Nationalist forces fleeing to Taiwan does not divide Taiwan from "the Mainland," seeing as there were already people on Taiwan before these outside forces came to Taiwan.
Those two bits are so good, let's look at them again in isolation:

* China says the island is a breakaway province, but the PRC flag has never flown over the island.

* Nationalist forces fleeing to Taiwan does not divide Taiwan from "the Mainland," seeing as there were already people on Taiwan before these outside forces came to Taiwan.

Maguire has done the work. All that these so-called "lazy journalists" would have to do is copy and paste the correct information -- if it's actually laziness we're talking about.

I won't hold my breath, but I'd be more than happy for them to prove me wrong.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ma Ying-jeou acquittal documentation online

Got headache?

Via a post on SocialForce, I've turned up a link to the official acquittal document (Big-5) from the Judicial Yuan regarding their "not guilty" verdict in the special allowance case of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier today.

How can anyone believe or accept that the judge's basis for acquittal was that Ma "didn't know" that what he did was wrong? Anyone who believes Ma didn't know any better needs to watch this video (again), in which Ma told us (11 months ago) that he knew perfectly well that the special allowance was strictly to be used for public matters, not private ones like paying his daughter's credit card bills.

1:59 YouTube video: "顏聖冠質詢馬英九"
(Taipei City Councilor Yen Sheng-kuan interpellates Ma Ying-jeou)

Remembering "the gecko's tail"
We should also not forget about Ma's staffer Yu Wen (余文), who was sentenced to 14 months in jail for his role in this. If he was guilty of a crime, why isn't Ma? After all, Yu just collected the receipts.

Working hard for nihilist principles
Ma is saying that an appeal would be "pointless" (虛耗) despite his own multiple appeals of many cases against him, including one involving a SARS death, another about the Tunghsing Building (東興大摟) that fell during the 921 Earthquake of 1999, and another that has to do with his refusal as Taipei mayor to pay the city's share for health insurance fees to the National Bureau of Health Insurance. Furthermore, despite the pointless mess generated by the "redshirt" madness that occurred not only on his watch but with his assistance (and which is planning to resurrect its pointlessness in Taipei next month), he says this would be "pointless" for all of Taiwan. Yes, the man must have no mirrors.

It's also too bad for Ma that KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) made those threats of violence last week (LINKS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) in the event of a conviction against Ma, because they give his opponents yet another very good reason to dispute the neutrality of this blatantly ridiculous decision and call for an appeal.

Be sure to also read Michael Turton's earlier post on the topic.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Indictments for Shih Ming-teh and pals

Will their red shirts be exchanged for striped ones?

Shih Ming-teh (施明德) -- the leader of last year's redshirt mobs (紅衫軍) which claimed to oppose corruption (反貪腐) and not distinguish between blue and green (不分藍綠) -- and 15 of those participating in his failed attempt to "depose" the democratically-elected president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), were indicted yesterday. Saturday's Taipei Times has the details, including this list of Shih's partners in crime:
Among those indicted with Shih were Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), People First Party Legislator Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧), former KMT legislator and Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Director Lee Yong-ping (李永萍), Taipei City Research & Development Evaluation Commission Emile Sheng (盛治仁) and New Party Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新).

Nine others were named in the indictment: Chien Hsi-chieh, Liu Kun-li (劉坤鱧), Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), Jerry Fan (范可欽), Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), former New Party legislator Cheng Lung-shui (鄭龍水), former Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), Chinese Culture University professor Yao Li-ming (姚立明) and lawyer John Wei (魏千峰).

If found guilty, the defendants could be sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment.
Why this story was on page 3 instead of Saturday's front page is anybody's guess.

The charges are related to the Double Ten "besieging" of the Presidential Office by Shih's mobs, which included the most partisan of partisans that only a fool would believe was neutral. (Cough, Emile Sheng, cough!)

Meanwhile, over NT$20,000,000 that was donated to Shih's "anti-corruption" campaign is still unaccounted for. Things that make ya go "Hmmm."

Others' takes
A-gu (阿牛) at That's Impossible makes a couple of important points:
The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office wrapped up the preliminary investigation yesterday. The Executive is not directly involved. The prosecutor in this case said Shih knew he was acting illegally and had no regrets, an important reason he pressed charges.

Meanwhile, since it was then KMT chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] who violated all precedent and allowed these people their month long, 24 hour-a-day rally in the first place, some DPP people said Ma owes an apology (to the city? to Shih? I'm not sure). Using rhetoric that you may hear on a playground, Ma's response was that A-bian should say he's sorry since the whole parade was a result of A-bian's (unproven) corruption. Ma added that the KMT had already brought a bill to alter the Assembly and Parade Law, a decision made soon after Ma became chairman.
Ah, yes! What about the already-indicted, Hong Kong-born former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman's involvement? After all, while shedding crocodile tears about the responsibility being unfairly placed on his shoulders, he was out feeding the mobs bread and soymilk paid for with KMT money and even sharing the stage with Shih.

A-gu has even more links, so be sure to click on over to read his full post.

Fellow Taiwan Matters blogger Michael Turton relates by e-mail that he hopes Shih isn't turned into a martyr because of this. I agree with his sentiments 100%, but we all know the pan-blue media will do so anyway. Michael also says he should have a post on the subject up sometime on Sunday. [UPDATE: Michael's post is up.]

Remembering recent history
Here are some real-time posts related to the aforementioned events:
* September 13, 2006: BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
  - I slam the BBC for their biased "reporting" of Shih's mobs.

* September 16, 2006: Non-partisan protesters?
  - Michael Turton photographs some of the "non-partisan" mob meeting at a KMT landmark. Coincidence?

* September 16, 2006: Circling the Presidential Office
  - Friend from Across the Strait gives us his view via the Hong Kong media. On a recent visit to the US, a Hong Kong-born restaurant owner with whom I engaged in political conversation blindly echoed everything the HK media had told her.

* September 16, 2006: Will Chen Resign?
  - Michael Turton rhetorically asks the question from the title and blasts the foreign media's failure to present facts by which the average reader could begin to understand the situation.

* September 27, 2006: The Economist Misses a Chance
  - Michael Turton smacks down The Economist for their deceipt.

* September 27, 2006: Pan-blue hypocrisy just keeps rolling on
  - In that day's Taipei Times, Jerome F. Keating (linked in Michael's post above) takes on the baldfaced lies of Shih's campaign.

* October 9, 2006: On the Eve
  - On the eve of the Double Ten mob activities, Michael continues to inject a healthy dose of facts into the fabrication-filled "discourse" via which the foreign media has been poisoning the public.

* October 12, 2006: Voters of Taipei: recall Ma Ying-jeou
  - I point my middle finger in Ma Ying-jeou's direction for his wishy-washy stance on when the law needs to be enforced and tell him to "take some responsibility."

* October 13, 2006: Requiem for the Red Shirts
  - Feiren recaps the China Times' strategic step back from their earlier provocations (more info in the January 5, 2007 post linked below) in the aftermath of the Double Ten fiasco.

* October 26, 2006: Bloomberg Blue Bias
  - STOP_Ma guest blogs about Bloomberg stenographer James Peng's exaggeration of the number of participants in Shih's mobs and other biases.

* November 2, 2006: Guest Blogging: Jerome Keating on Shih Ming-deh
  - Jerome examines whether Shih is a "Hypocrite, Maudlin, Schizophrenic, or a Pawn in Search of Redemption."

* November 4, 2006: First Family Indictment Extravabonanza!
  - Jason points out Shih's hints for the military to become involved as well as his mendacious claims of "success."

* December 30, 2006: Enemies of Press Freedom
  - Feiren tells of the China Times' smearing of the rational opponents of Shih's mobs.

* January 5, 2007: KMT's China Times Connection
  - Feiren reminds readers of China Times editor/Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) propaganda minister Yang Tu's (楊渡) transparently-veiled call to violence.
Note that most of the posts linked above contain numerous links within. Check a few of them out if you need to refresh your memory.

What would you do?
In light of these indictments, my greatest concern is that this is using the wrong approach. I'm sure there are many other laws that could be more appropriately applied to this case. There was lots of violence involved (including violence against police who didn't assist with their illegal behavior [original version]), public airwaves were used to communicate directives to the mobs, tens of millions of dollars of cash were collected and remain out of sight, and more.

What are your thoughts? Reply in comments [at Taiwan Matters], or send us an e-mail via the address listed in the sidebar.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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