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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

915 UN for Taiwan - I was there!

(TM) Kaohsiung, Taichung, and points between

The correspondents
This past Saturday, Michael Turton and Craig Ferguson were together in Taichung scoping out the old fogeys and hired babes at the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rally. Feiren and I were (separately) in Kaohsiung, as was Wally Santana of AP. The dateline on a Reuters piece o'crap by Ralph Jennings (a veritable king of loaded language) says he was in Taipei (345 kilometers away from Kaohsiung), and while Bloomberg's Tim Culpan wrote about it, too, he may as well have been phoning it in from an alternate universe beneath KMT headquarters. (Read on, and you'll see why I say so.)

Many participants in the SocialForce.tw discussion took part in overseas rallies, including ones at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York, the Federal Building in Los Angeles, the TECO office in El Monte, CA, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and many other places.

I can only wonder how many people around the globe took part in the day's events supporting Taiwan's entry into the UN.

From here to there
First, some details gathered on my personal adventure to Kaohsiung.

My wife and I boarded a Taiwan Railways train at the station in downtown Taichung, where there was a nice big "UN for Taiwan" banner hanging out front. (Be sure to also check out Michael Turton's impressive panorama of the same scene taken 2 days later when there were far fewer people.)

Taichung Station for UN Taiwan

I didn't know if I'd see or be able to notice anybody aboard who might be headed to the Kaohsiung rally. Imagine my surprise when DPP heavyweight Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) got on my car in Chiayi (嘉義) wearing a green-sleeved "UN for Taiwan" jersey and sat a couple rows in front of me. He reclined in his seat and snoozed through most of the journey there, but before disembarking, a smiling supporter had grabbed his attention, so I didn't get the chance to say hello.

Chai Trong-rong snoozing  Entering Kaohsiung

At the station in Kaohsiung, it was more crowded than Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. I photographed a couple of the same kind of banners that Feiren saw there.

Banners at Kaohsiung Train Staion

So that's why they call 'em "5-star" hotels!
Leaving the train station by taxi, my wife and I headed to our hotel -- a high-class joint a short distance from the start of the parade route. But we were both tired and hungry. I had hardly slept at all on Friday night because I was so excited about the upcoming rally. We looked for food, but of the two nearby places on the map the hotel provided, one was already closed for their afternoon break, and the other apparently no longer existed at that location. So, we went back to the hotel and ordered room service.

By the time we had eaten, the parade had already gotten underway, so we were trying to see how the media was covering it. When I turned on the tube, it was tuned to TVBS where Lee Tao was busy spouting his usual nonsense and looking like his head was about to explode. SET was missing in action. FTV was present and accounted for, so we stuck mostly with that channel.

The TV images showed huge crowds, and we were in an air-conditioned room sitting on a comfortable bed. But I didn't come all that way just to sit there!

4:40 PM - Lots of people  5:04 PM - Will the bridge hold them all?  5:19 PM - Aerial shot of lots of people

Since the parade was well on its way, we hailed a taxi and headed for Nong 16 (農16), which was the end of the parade route and the site of the evening rally. The ride was not short (costing NT$150), so I didn't regret skipping the long walk in that heat. We were able to get out just a short distance behind the big stage.

Pure energy
There was so much happening, I have to refer to my photos and videos to get everything in order. Also, even though I was trying to not to fill my memory cards with images, I filled 3 of them.

Sign the petition - UN for Taiwan  One letter per person - UN for Taiwan  George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed (Mandarin)

Miscellaneous observations
Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) had lots of energy with which to fire up the crowd. An aboriginal singer-rapper let the rhythms flow in an exciting rapid-fire manner, yet he carried a wonderful melody at the same time. There were many different kinds of T-shirts for sale. I got myself a special one with a design which I'll keep secret. ;-)

The crowd was composed of people of all ages. I saw a guy walking with an upside-down ROC flag hanging from a ragged broom. A man in front of me had flags from earlier pro-democracy rallies I'd attended (228 Hand-in-Hand, 326 Democracy/Peace/Protect Taiwan). There were people as far as the eye could see (with more and more arriving in droves). An Elvis impersonator sang "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," and other tunes. DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) led the crowd with inspiring cheers. I saw Robin Hood (AKA Robin Dale of "Formosa Lily" fame [see the original video]) in the crowd nearby, Vice-President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) implored the US government in English to understand Taiwan's dilemma. Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) via satellite, live from New York kicked out something like a rap -- in Taiwanese:

1:14 YouTube video: "915 UN for Taiwan - Shieh Jhy-wey raps for Taiwan"
Camera/Editing: Tim Maddog

And how could I forget Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) chiding of Ma "Don't Paint Me Red" Ying-jeou:

[Maddog translation]
Why can't you give Taiwan a chance?!
Coming up to the end of the event, when Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) and Kuan Bi-ling introduced President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the crowd went abso-friggin-lutely wild. See for yourselves:

2:40 YouTube video: "Kaohsiung - 915 UN for Taiwan - Chen Shui-bian, unpopular?"
Camera/Editing: Tim Maddog

At the end of the evening, there were lots of fireworks, the sound system played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" at high volume, lifting spirits even higher, people were enthusiastically chanting "Taiwan! Go, go, go!" and the evening, despite some small glitches, was one for the history books. The people of Taiwan, both at home and abroad, along with friends from nations around the world, had stood up and made their voices heard with a peaceful, positive message: "UN for Taiwan! Peace forever!"

President Chen Shui-bian - UN for Taiwan

A short while later when it was time to go, without necessitating any external pressure, the crowd dispersed in quite an orderly fashion, as they have at every single DPP event I've attended. It was a great end to an awesome evening.

During the rally, I got many smiles, thumbs up, expressions of gratitude, handshakes, and arms around the shoulder for my presence and support. As memorable as it already was just to be there, those things gave the experience an even more powerful flavor which I will forever carry with me.

The soreness
On the downside, my legs were killing me, so after grabbing some nourishment at a nearby bakery, we headed back to the hotel. The TV was strangely not saying a whole lot about the event, so it was time for a little more food, a shower, and sleep.

Rude awakening
The hotel breakfast was pretty bad, and by that, I mean 5-star awful! But equally bad was the China Times (中國時報) hanging on the door handle when we first went out. Perhaps that was the bad taste that lingered within me until noon.

5-star Times

To our surprise, when we picked up the Liberty Times (自由時報) (a "green" paper) from the nearest convenience store, the story wasn't on its front page. (It was on page A3 while the KMT's was on page A2.) However, its "sister paper," the Taipei Times reported it in the front page headline story which, in my opinion, was where it should have been.

The numbers game
First, all the wrong ones, and I'll start with an explanation of what I was alluding to in my earlier remark about Bloomberg's Tim Culpan reporting from "another universe." Head firmly up someone's ass -- perhaps his own -- he says that there were a mere "60,000" in Kaohsiung -- supposedly quoting [DPP] "organizers" -- and "100,000" in Taichung, quoting the KMT. Ralph Jennings of Reuters tells readers that there were "150,000" in Kaohsiung and "100,000" in Taichung. Wally Santana says "more than 100,000" were in Kaohsiung. Even the BBC says, quoting "police," that "At least 100,000 people" took part in the rally in Kaohsiung, and a later BBC story says "250,000." But you know what? They're all wrong -- every last one of them.

My own conservative estimate of at least 500,000 is based on: being there; walking through the whole site twice; actually counting large sections of people; and estimating how many such sections were present. Oh, and there are those photos and videos that I shot, in case you have doubts.

6:14 PM Crowd Panorama 1 (5 pieces)

6:18 PM Crowd Panorama 2 (7 pieces)

The usual BS
The above articles all contain the usual memes/errors/lies/distortions -- you know, the ones about Chen Shui-bian being "written off as an embarrassment" by his own party or of being "unnecessarily provocative" towards the US and/or China, the ones where the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has the "Chinese" part left off, the ones where Taiwan "split" from China in 1949, the ones where the economy is "sluggish," and so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

Readers of Taiwan Matters should certainly know better than to believe any of that kind of nonsense.

UPDATE: Reuters' "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Editor" has issued a "correction," apparently a short time before I published this post (see also this) which reads:
China has seen self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory rather than as a separate country since the island broke away from China in 1949 when Mao Zedong's Communists came to power.
Uh, not unless you equate both 1949 Taiwan and 1949 China with the KMT, eh? [/ END UPDATE]

The little surprises
Heading over to Chichin Island (旗津) early Sunday afternoon where the crowds were totally unaware of a "sluggish" economy, my wife almost immediately spotted something exciting -- a green sticker on a light pole reading in white calligraphic script "台灣國" (Taiwan Nation). Thumbs up!

Thumbs up for the Taiwan Republic  This is the Taiwan Republic

But it felt hotter and more humid than the sauna in hell's kitchen, so after stopping at a juice stand across the road, and passing by several of what my wife and I both perceived as being practically identical seafood eateries (no obvious specialties, just the same 50 or so items at every place?), we opted instead to head straight to La Mambo café, where the jingji (經濟, economy) seemed actually rather jingqi (景氣, or bustling).

Every table was occupied at La Mambo

Chichin Island Panorama

We were volunteer "lab rats" on the "choo-choo of (potential) death"

HSR at rest at the Zuoying StationLotsa leg room on the HSRGood bilingual info on the HSRHSR was nearly at full capacityHSR at Zuoying Station

Yep, that's right! We returned to Taichung on Taiwan's relatively new High Speed Rail. It was our "first time," and in contrast with what the Consumers' Foundation (Chinese Taipei) would have had us believe, nearly everything about the HSR was easy-breezy.

Volunteer lab rats?  These people aren't afraid of the HSR

In contrast with what the pan-blue media had been telling me, there were lots of people buying tickets. We got to the station so early (as a precaution) that our wait was actually longer than the trip itself! We walked around the station and checked out the shops, the signage, etc.

Back of the HSR ticket
Read number 4, and tell me if the TVBS reporter who blowdried their ticket was just a dumbass or was trying to create a story where there was none.

The trip home was fast. It was smooth. I was oblivious to just how much danger I was supposed to be in.

Zuoying HSR Station panorama
Zuoying HSR Station

Home, sweet potato home
Back in Taichung, I started putting all the photos and videos onto the hard drive, writing this post, editing videos, uploading and tagging photos, looking for others' experiences with the rallies. It took way too long, but I hope I've given you a view that you wouldn't have otherwise seen.

* A guest post from October 11, 2005 by Jerome F. Keating, PhD, on The Peking Duck blog: Should Taiwan have a seat on the United Nations? Most of the important details related to Taiwan's bid to join the UN can be found within that single post.
* Shieh Jhy-wey in New York with more of his "rap."
* A rockin' slideshow from Canberra and Sydney, Australia accompanied by a song called "相信台灣出英雄" (Here are the lyrics) performed by 水龍頭樂團.
* Strangely, a Hong Kong news report gives one of the highest crowd estimates I've seen ("400,000") and has a great image of the parade participants (14 seconds in).
* A musical interlude with video of the twinkling Taipei 101 Tower "UN for Taiwan" display
* Video from the Taiwanese Association in Belgium (Bruxelles/Brussels) in Taiwanese, French, and English
* A video called "UN for Taiwan--Voices from UK" has a couple of members of the UK Parliament speaking out on Taiwan's behalf.
* EuroNews (who seems to have deleted all their online articles) says "Hundred thousand rally in Taiwan over UN bid
." Never mind the inaccurate number in the title -- see for yourself.
* More from EuroNews: "Hundred thousand rally in Taiwan over UN bid, Part 2." This one shows the climax of the evening rally.
* A slideshow of scenes from Vancouver with the song "She [Taiwan] is our baby." Contains some of the same photos linked near the top of this post.
* People from Berkeley to San Francisco "Represent!" their support for "UN Membership for Taiwan."
* Plenty more pictures from New York and Kaohsiung
* A supporter of UN for Taiwan takes a subversive approach to spreading the message.
* More photos from Kaohsiung
* Yushan TV has lots of video (WATCH THE VOLUME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) including this one from the Kaohsiung rally (which contains many of the same scenes visible in Feiren's pictures) which shows that DPP supporters are not only 「一高二低」 ("old, uneducated, and low income"):

Online Videos by Veoh.com

* Here's a video from Taiwan Nathan ("Taiwan Nation" with a lisp?) (WATCH THE VOLUME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

915 UN for Taiwan

Get your maps, info, and reasons for going to Kaohsiung

915 UN for Taiwan Rally

Two rallies will be held tomorrow in support of 2 separate referenda. The DPP's, which supports joining the United Nations (UN) under the name "Taiwan," is important in that it will let the world know some very important things:
1) Taiwan is a democratic nation.

2) Taiwan is not part of China.

3) Taiwan's citizens do not want to be part of China.

4) Taiwan's citizens want their nation to be recognized as a a participant on level ground with the international community.

5) Taiwan wants freedom from the perpetual pressure from the US and China to bow to their whimsies.
Here's the content of the DPP's petition:


[Tim Maddog translation:]
Primary text: In 1971 the People's Republic of China joined the United Nations, replacing the Republic of China, and leaving Taiwan as an "international orphan." To strongly convey the will of the citizens of Taiwan and promote Taiwan's international standing and participation, do you agree or disagree that the government should use the name "Taiwan" to join the United Nations?
[More info here.]

Neither the PRC, which now holds the "China" seat at the UN, nor the ROC, which once held the same seat, have ever done anything to give real representation to the people of Taiwan. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan. While the ROC flag has done so, the makers of that flag lost their "China" (of which Taiwan was not a part) to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); hence, the ROC claim that Taiwan is a province of "China" is about as slippery a drop of mercury on a Teflon™ cliff. Nevertheless, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) still clings to the fantasy that the country from which Mongolia became independent in the early 20th century and which they lost entirely in 1949 still exists. For the ROC to "rejoin" the UN would mean that the PRC doesn't exist.

Foreign backing
The KMT is desperately seeking foreigners to use as campaign props in their own "anti-referendum" rally in Taichung.

I would recommend, instead, that you head to Kaohsiung for the DPP's forward-thinking rally and show your heartfelt support for a democratic Taiwan with a brighter future than the KMT and CCP combined could (and would) impose upon it. If you've never been to such an event, I can't tell you how much the locals will appreciate your participation. If you have, then see you there!

The details
Here's the parade route, via the web site of the DPP:

Click thumbnail to enlarge

Here's a Google map where you can see the rally location -- the big grassy area at center right.

Here's a map I built on Wayfaring.com which shows the route, etc. (Hover on the yellow "bubbles" for notes.):

Click once on the map to change to "satellite" or "hybrid" view, zoom, etc.

I've been seeing contradictory information about times and parade routes, but the latest, most reliable info I have says that people should meet at 3 PM at the intersection of Chungshan 1st Road (中山一路) and Minsheng 2nd Road (民生二路), and the parade will start moving toward "Nong 16" (農16, a large grassy area) at around 4:15 PM. According to my Wayfaring map, the route is 2.44 miles (3.93 kilometers) long. Whatever happens, it shouldn't be too hard to find. There's sure to be a big crowd.

Come together, right now, on the green!
So, get on the ball! Many hotels are already booked to capacity for Saturday night. And if you're watching it on TV from either side of the globe, the climax should be happening at 9 PM Saturday Taiwan time (9 AM Saturday, US east coast time).

UPDATE: Info on the New York rally

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Monday, September 10, 2007

The many faces of Ma Ying-jeou

The Lon Chaney of Taiwan politics?
In a semi-facetious comment over on Michael Turton's blog last Thursday, I wrote about the many different "versions" of the increasingly ragged-looking former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九):
Michael, I believe Hsieh may have been talking about the Ma Ying-jeou (v.1) who said he hoped the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Youth Corps would "produce another Hu Jintao." This was apparently a "different" Ma Ying-jeou from the one (v.2) who got mad at the DPP for juxtaposing his image with someone shouting "Long li[v]e Hu Jintao!"

Then again, there was also that Ma Ying-jeou (v.3) who said that Taiwan could join the UN using the name "China Taipei" (中台北). (See the very beginning of Part 3 of the September 5, 2007 edition of Talking Show [大話新聞]. If Ma [v.3] "protested" that name, as he says right there in the video, why did he even say the words, much less suggest them as a "possibility" -- in the same sentence, even?!)

And, of course, there was yet another Ma Ying-jeou (v.4) who disputed the words of v.3 just a few hours later.

The case against Hsieh will rest entirely on which anti-Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou he was referring to. I hear there are several more of these Ma Ying-jeous ;-)

UPDATE: A little bird tells me that these are all the very same Ma Ying-jeou, and he's long overdue for an upgrade -- so long overdue, he may just have to be replaced altogether. I'm sure readers will understand my confusion.

Tim Maddog
Therefore, I am not surprised to see Ma doing yet another 180-degree turn while trying to blame the situation on his political opponents.

What is it this time?
Let me give you the background first. Here's something I wrote on this blog back on November 14, 2005:
The artist formerly known as "the defender of the ROC flag," Ma Ying-jeou
At two international sporting events held recently in Taipei (the Asian Short Track Speed Skating championship and the Sixth Asian Youth Judo Championship), the ROC flag (which I consider to be the flag of an occupying power rather than the "real" Taiwan flag) was replaced by the Olympic flag of Chinese Taipei which, due to Chinese pressure, has been flown at the Olympics since 1984. (Being mostly white, it also looks way too much like a surrender flag.)

The problem this time is that while the events were held in Taiwan, not only was the ROC flag removed from the facility, but spectators were forbidden by the event organizers from even carrying such flags inside. The organizer of the latest even[t] shed crocodile tears on TV news while blaming "the (central?) government" for the situation.

Good try, but the thing is that [then-premier] Frank Hsieh had made clear that there were no laws to prevent such free speech.

But when the flag of the enemy is raised, and the local one is lowered (at an event representing "peaceful competition"?), the lyrics of Alanis Morisette naturally start bouncing around in your brain.
(Note that if you hover on the "Alanis Morisette" link, you'll see that there were "only" about 700 Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan back then. The number now surely exceeds 1,000.)

What the November 11, 2005 version of Ma said was this:
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, said that all international games held in Taipei follow the IOC's rules.

"This is about following the rules of the IOC and ensuring that sports events run smoothly. It has nothing to do with my national identity ... I love the Republic of China and I love the national flag," Ma said.
Raising a red flag (about his past behavior and statements)
But in response to the very latest removal of flags, here's a quote from the September 8, 2007 version of Ma in Sunday's Taipei Times:
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has vowed to defend the right of audiences at sports games to carry national flags, adding that if he were elected next year, his government would cancel any games where Chinese teams refused to cooperate.

"I will make it clear with China that the existence of the Republic of China [ROC] cannot be ignored in cross-strait exchanges. Any move that belittles the ROC will damage cross-strait relations," Ma said in a written statement on Friday.

Ma made the remarks after attending a meeting with locals in Pingtung, where he was asked to comment on the Straits Cup basketball tournament in Hualien last week, where some fans were prevented from waving the national flag.

"We will fight for our freedom to bring the national flag if the host country blocks Taiwanese from carrying the national flag or from singing the national anthem," he said in the statement.

Ma said that International Olympic Committee regulations on national flags and anthems should not include the audience. As such, audiences should be allowed to bring flags and sing national anthems.

"As long as the audiences bring the national flags or sing national anthems voluntarily, their actions should not be banned, as it is the public's right to express their passions for their country," he said.

If elected next year, Ma said he would not allow China to demand that the country cover national flags or pictures of Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) during cross-strait exchange events in Taiwan.

"Such incidents happened frequently after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power. I will not accept it and won't let it happen again if I am elected," he said.
What a load of horsecrap! These events may have happened "after the [DPP] came to power," but more importantly, they happened under Ma's mayorship (and even during his brief party chairmanship), and the DPP lambasted the incidents in real time.

Oh, and there's a big problem with Ma's use of the word "should" -- while Olympic rules may "forbid political banners in venues," and while agreements with the International Olympic Committee may apply the flag rule to the teams and venues, I don't believe that these agreements prevent spectators from waving the ROC flag.

Note also that in the most recent flag flap, the people stopping spectators from displaying their flags used the same excuse as Ma above -- the one about harming Taiwan's international reputation.

So, while Ma couldn't control events in his own city, he hides that truth so as to be able to appear that he can control them abroad?

Read the full article to get the DPP's side of the story from party chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃[方方土]).

Yeah, but you're only quoting "green" media,
and besides, Maddog, who stopped the flags?

Then how about this from ETtoday on December 14, 2001, with a quote straight from the horse's mouth [English translations, explanations mine]:
亞洲盃女足賽/比照奧會模式 馬英九籲民眾配合

Asia Women's Soccer Cup / follow Olympic model, Ma Ying-jeou request's people's cooperation


The 13th Asia Women's Soccer Cup was held on the 4th. Due to the presence of teams from the 2 sides and 3 areas [refers to the 2 sides of the Taiwan Strait, including the 3 "areas" of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China], the Olympic model [i.e., calling Taiwan "Chinese Taipei" and using a special flag in ceremonies] was recommended in order to avoid conflicts regarding the national flag. Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou said, "As host city, Taipei must abide by the international norms, or it won't be able to continue hosting international event, and I hope the public will cooperate."


As mainland China and Taiwan both have teams in the competition, in order to prevent a recurrence of the protest incidents like those which happened at the Asia Cup skating championships, the city will comply with the rules of the Chinese Football [Soccer] Association and follow the Olympic model which is to use the name "Chinese Taipei" and the "plum blossom" flag.
Once more: Olympic rules don't prevent spectators from waving the ROC flag.

And here's something more recent from ETtoday [English translation, clarifications, commentary mine]:

People may not be surprised by this, but in ROC year 90 [2001], when Taipei City hosted the Asia Women's Soccer Cup, some spectators carried [ROC] national flags into the arena, and police told these spectators "Carrying the [ROC] national flag will harm our international reputation." The police then snatched the flags away. However, any 5-star flags of Communist China [PRC] that were present at the event were allowed to remain. And at the 2005 Chinese-Japanese-Korean Invitational Baseball competition, the Taipei City Government [Y'know, the one mis-led by Ma Ying-jeou?] asked police to enter the arena in order to check people for possession of the ROC "blue sky, white sun, red earth" flag. The day before the 2007 Asian Men's Volleyball Quarterfinals in Chiayi City's [another KMT-misled city] Kang Ping Sports Park, the hosts and the Chiayi City Government forbade spectators from bringing [ROC] national flags into the arena and removed from view any [ROC] national flags that were originally on site.
Same mendacious excuse, many different days.

And as you see above, pan-blue media tells us it was the "Taipei City Government," then under Ma Ying-jeou, who told police to enforce these rules and Ma himself asking the public to cooperate with rules he says on other days "should not include the audience."

Anyway, the real problem behind this is much bigger -- the fact that Ma Ying-jeou's "ROC" includes all of China, and even Mongolia. That fantasy is smashed to bits by simply recognizing the fact that the ROC is defunct and that Taiwan isn't part of China, but these are the things that make people like Ma's heads explode.

So be sure to stick around for the next episode of... "The Many Faces of Ma Ying-jeou"!

* MUST SEE! A video compilation of many similar flag flaps with KMT characteristics (Mandarin listening ability required)
* See Chinese losers grabbing the ROC flag from the Taiwanese champions at the 2006 International Children's Games
* A text version of the follow-up to the above, in which the Chinese team, when asked "Is violence your only choice?" answered in unison, "Yes!" (Note: Ma Ying-jeou fancied himself defending the flag that day.)
* A different telling of the story immediately above: "A matter of flag"
* A video I uploaded to YouTube in February 2007 about "Ma Ying-jeou's double standards" (includes English explanation)

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

WARNING: China Times headlines are toxic

More from the masters of mendacity

The front-page headline of the September 4, 2007 edition of the China Times (based in Taiwan) read: 「漁署警告:鰻魚有毒」 ("Fisheries Agency warns: eels are toxic"). As regular readers might guess, that paper is playing loosely with the facts, and that's an understatement.

Screenshot from Thursday's Talking Show (大話新聞)

The Taipei Times, on the other hand, informs readers in a non-sensational fashion and includes the important facts:
[A]gency officials point out that only a tiny minority of aquaculture farms sampled tested positive for banned additives, with 99.88 percent of samples passing the test.

[T]he level of enrofloxacin found in the tainted eels, from 2.59 to 9.68 parts per billion, was not considered a serious health risk and could have resulted from environmental contamination rather than deliberate usage on the part of the farmers.

"The problem is the China Times improperly overemphasized the isolated cases of violation," said James Sha (沙志一), deputy director-general of the fisheries agency.
Right! While 99.88 percent of the samples passed muster, the China Times focused on the 0.12 percent, exaggerated it into a front-page story with a bold-faced headline, accused the fisheries agency of issuing the warning, and made excuses for such a headline. Can you guess what their excuse might be?

They claimed they were "warning" the public about something that could cause them potential harm.

Wrong! The facts did not merit such a "warning" which is why the fisheries agency did not issue one.

The real danger here is in the China Times' lack of concern with things like facts. For them, a spectacular headline seems to be what counts the most.

Toxic media
First of all, simple observation seems to indicate that the toxicity index of the China Times' headlines is far greater than 0.12 percent. I could be wrong, but given the examples they have presented us, should I bother to even check? If I'm proven wrong, can I follow their stunning example and say I was only trying to help people? (Might I even add a "Boo hoo! Why's everybody picking on me?!" for good measure?)

No! Of course I can't do those things!

But there are real questions to ponder which are much more important. For example, why this story, and why now? Are they in a frenzy over the revelation that the US doesn't recognize the "ROC" as a country, nor does it accept Taiwan as being part of China? Are they afraid because China hasn't yet invaded to "save" them from such inconvenient facts?

Are they helping to distract attention from the latest recall of toxic toys that were made in China by trying to paint Taiwan as being "just like" China in this respect?

Is it because Japan is a large importer of Taiwan's eel meat? Is it an attempt to manufacture "evidence" upon which they'll base their next report about Taiwan's "bad economy" (經濟不景氣)?

Is it just because they can't stop themselves and will say anything at all in an attempt to get anybody at all to hate the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration? And wouldn't that be due to the fact that every time some long-ignored truth is finally recognized due to the efforts that have been made under this administration, it knocks holes in the China Times' fictitious cause?

Could it be for many -- or even all -- of the above reasons? It's long past time for this kind of toxic media environment to end, and I wish the eel farmers the best of luck with their planned lawsuit against the China Times.

Eel farmers' ad in Friday's Liberty Times (自由時報)

* Thursday night's Talking Show (大話新聞) smacked the China Times upside their mendacious headlines.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Taiwan isn't China's

Say it out loud

What I've been saying all along has supposedly been said by US officials in a letter to the United Nations, quoted here in an FTV article via Sina.com:


[Tim Maddog translation:]
US doesn't accept that Taiwan is part of the PRC

The United States spoke out just last week to say that neither Taiwan nor the Republic of China are countries. News reports on September 5 said that the United States wrote a letter to the United Nations saying that it "does not accept that Taiwan is a part of the People's Republic of China." The blue and green camps both confirmed the news. The DPP said it will exert even more effort to promote its planned referendum on joining the UN.
A DPA article titled "China drops plan for UN vote on 'Taiwan is part of China'" provides these details:
The China Times, in a dispatch from Washington DC, said China has canceled the plan for the UN vote. China now says that it is UN members' consensus that Taiwan is part of China, so there is no need for a vote.

In a nine-point clarification, the US told the UN that 'Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China' is not the consensus of the majority UN members, and is not the consistent policy of the US.

Washington has conveyed this stance to both the UN and Taipei, the mass-circulation Chinese-language paper said.

China originally planned to ask UN members to vote on 'Taiwan is part of China' to block Taiwan's bid to join the UN. Taiwan has been seeking to join the UN since 1993 but stepped up its campaign this year by applying to join the UN as a new country, called 'Taiwan,' with President Chen Shui-bian signing the application which was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban rejected Taipei's application, saying the Taiwan issue was solved when the UN passed Resolution 2758 in 1971 to expel the Republic of China (ROC) and accept the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The ROC government lost China to the Chinese Communists in 1949 - when it fled to Taiwan to set up its government-in-exile, still called the ROC - but continued to hold China's UN seat until 1971.
Note the complete rectification of the old false meme about "Taiwan and China" having "split in 1949." Now that's Journalism with a capital J! Whoever is responsible for that deserves some heavy-duty kudos.

This sounds like good news in so many ways, but prepare yourselves for the imminent wailing and gnashing of Chinese dentures.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Ma Ying-jeou seriously misrepresents Taiwan Relations Act

Equine waste matter for the masses

In an article about the competing versions of a referendum regarding Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations, the Sunday edition of the Taipei Times gives us a direct quote from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in all its fly-infested glory:
KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday blamed the strong US reaction on the DPP's attempt to push for the bid to enter the UN under the name "Taiwan," arguing that it was still possible for the country to be recognized in the international community under the name "Republic of China (ROC).

"The US treats the ROC as a foreign government in the Taiwan Relation Act (台灣關係法). In other words, it is still feasible to rejoin the UN under the name `ROC,"' Ma said during a trip to Kaohsiung.
What a mess of lies mixed with fantasy! And the resulting stench is overwhelming! Somebody... help!

Maddog's Cleaning Machineto the rescue
I just linked to the Taiwan Relations Act on Saturday night. Let's refer to that link once again to see exactly what it says about the "ROC":
SEC. 2. (a) The President- having terminated governmental relations between the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979 [Maddog note: that would refer to the, um, KMT], the Congress finds that the enactment of this Act is necessary--


(c) For all purposes, including actions in any court in the United States, the Congress approves the continuation in force of all treaties and other international agreements, including multilateral conventions, entered into by the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and in force between them on December 31, 1978, unless and until terminated in accordance with law.


(b) The President is requested to extend to the instrumentality established by Taiwan the same number of offices and complement of personnel as were previously operated in the United States by the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979.


(2) the term "Taiwan" includes, as the context may require, the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores, the people on those islands, corporations and other entities and associations created or organized under the laws applied on those islands, and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities (including political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities thereof).
There you have 'em -- each and every mention of the "Republic of China" (excluding "People's Republic of China") within the Taiwan Relations Act. Search that page for yourself if you don't believe me.

But just in case anybody riding Ma's wavelength still doesn't get it (or pretends not to), the Act states with very precise phrasing that as of January 1, 1979, what was formerly (therefore, no longer) recognized by the US as the "ROC" would from that point onward be referred to as "Taiwan." Note, too, that the Act defines Taiwan clearly as:
[...] the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores, the people on those islands, corporations and other entities and associations created or organized under the laws applied on those islands, and the governing authorities on Taiwan.
There's nothing there about any of Mongolia, Tibet, or any of the provinces currently under China's (PRC) rule and which Ma's ROC would most likely include in its territory. And nowhere within does the US "treat[] the ROC as a foreign government," as Ma claims. It treats the ROC as a formerly recognized government.

Lastly, but not least, read the name of the Act -- out loud. It's called the "Taiwan Relations Act."

What, Ma worry?
In addition to the reasoning implicit and explicit above, applying for UN membership as the "ROC" has been tried over a dozen times, and it has met with failure each and every time. Is Ma actually afraid that even if it fails, using Taiwan will gain a bit of ground for the people of this nation in their quest for international recognition of their existing independence?

The law of repetition
To repeat Ma's lie: "The US treats the ROC as a foreign government in the Taiwan Relation Act." Read the Act for yourself to see that this is a lie. It's Taiwan which the Act says is to be treated by the US in the same manner as "foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities." [See Section 4 (b) (1) & (2).]

To restate the facts: That "treat[ment]" ended on January 1, 1979, and the "foreign government" has from that date onward been referred to as "Taiwan." Read the Act for yourself to see that this is the truth.

To remind readers of more facts: UN Resolution 2758 brought an end to the legitimacy of the ROC's representation of China at the UN, and the blame for the "strong US reaction" should be placed squarely on the shoulders of our unfriendly neighbor: China.

To repeat for the sake of absolute clarity, Taiwan is defined in the Taiwan Relations Act as:
[...] the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores, the people on those islands, corporations and other entities and associations created or organized under the laws applied on those islands, and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities (including political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities thereof).
It's a question of dust
So, former-Chairman Ma, why did you say what you said in Kaohsiung, and -- to paraphrase President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) -- 「ROC是啥碗糕?」 ("WTF is this 'ROC' of which you speak?") [UPDATE LINK: Hear President Chen say it -- with the context -- just past the halfway mark in Part 4 of the show.]

In other words, would you please be so bold as to draw a map of it for us as you explain -- out loud -- how on Earth that dusty historical relic could get a seat at the UN? Then tell us this -- if, by some remote chance (or devious trickery) you are elected president, who would you claim to represent, and on whose behalf? If the answer to either part of that question is "Beijing," then I know you dare not say it out loud the way Chen Shui-bian has clearly spoken of Taiwan's existing independence many times over.

Is this the "ROC" Ma thinks can join the UN?

BONUS LINKS (Hanzi versions of Ma's incredible claim):
* 馬英九:中華民國仍有討論空間 (via United Daily News)
* 美首公開 否認中華民國是國家 #謝:獨立國家不該自稱政治實體 #馬舉台灣關係法 美視為外國 (What a long title! TTV [台視] story via Sina.com)

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

China Times can't stop lying

Don't start believin'

It never stops, does it? The mendacious China Times (based in Taiwan) has done it yet again.

In an August 30, 2007 story (and one might as well use the term "fairy tale"), propagandist Norman Fu (傅建中) told another story which only small children would fall for. This particular fabulation claimed that "an important official" in the US government told Fu that if Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) insists on holding a referendum to join the United Nations (UN) under the name "Taiwan," the US will "only need five minutes to organize the people of Taiwan to overthrow Chen."

Of course, this kind of nonsense needed to be corrected as soon as possible, and it didn't take too long for some real reporters to do so.

Who ya gonna call?
An article by Nadia Tsao and Tsou Ching-wen in today's Taipei Times pwns the demons behind the lies:
Following an analysis in the Chinese-language China Times that quoted "an important US official" as saying the US could stage a coup to overthrow the current Taiwanese government in five minutes, top US officials have responded to inquiries from Taiwanese diplomats in the US by unambiguously stressing that this was not US policy, and that no US official would say anything to that effect.

Diplomats were also told that since the original report, written by the China Times' Washington correspondent Norman Fu (傅建中), did not include a source for the statement, there was no way the US could verify whether or not it had actually been said.

They were told that if someone really did say such a thing, it was thoughtless and not a policy statement.


Sources say that the AIT deputy director told the MOFA officials "that this is absolutely not the US' position" and that he would convey the concerns of Taiwan's government to Washington.
The Taipei Times article also tells us that Taiwanese officials will base Taiwan's next steps on "how the US government handles the follow-up to the issue."

Seeing as the US doesn't recognize the ROC, but refers to Taiwan as "Taiwan" on the CIA World Factbook page, in the Taiwan Relations Act, and in so many of its own policies, I don't see the logic of denying the people of Taiwan's desire to join international organizations under that name. Is the US protecting Taiwan, or is Taiwan protecting the US via such policies?

* A while back, Fu claimed to have been "taken in" (arrested or detained) by authorities while "covering" the story of Wang You-theng's (王又曾) confinement at an immigration detention center in the United States. Watch Fu reveal his own story to be a lie. [Mandarin listening and reading abilities required, but I'll tell you this much -- Norman volunteered to go in the officer's car to apply for permission to report from the federal facility.]
* Make of this what you will, but see how "competitive" Fu is with "reporters" from TVBS, ETTV, and even with spokesliar Hu Chung-hsin (胡忠信) (once [current?] editor-in-chief of EraNews) at a press conference in Los Angeles for wanted criminal Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪). [Mandarin listening and reading abilities required.]
* Here's part 2 of the above video.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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