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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chinese students in Taiwan say it's bad to hate the Beijing butchers

People who don't know much about freedom of speech

On Thursday, December 24, 2009, Chinese dissident Wang Dan (王丹) gave a speech at Taichung's Providence University (靜宜大學). The day before his speech, flyers advertising the speech had been distributed all around the campus, but by the day of the event, they had either disappeared or been ripped up.

What kind of person or people do you think would have had a reason to do that sort of thing?

Ten Chinese students showed up to attend the speech, seven of whom sat right up front. Although they were a minority in the audience, they took up much of the discussion time with long, rambling, and hostile questions.

Free speech is something their own government won't permit, but while in Taiwan, these Chinese students used that freedom to disparage Wang for hating the Beijing butchers responsible for the Tiananmen Square Massacre (天安門大屠殺) of June 4, 1989.

Here's some video from FTV News (民視新聞) about what happened:

2:44 YouTube video: "Chinese students in Taiwan say it's bad to hate the Beijing butchers"

Contemporary Monthly (當代雜誌) editor-in-chief Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒) compared the students' behavior to that of the infamous Red Guards of China's tragic "Cultural Revolution" (無產階級文化大革命) whose violent attacks against people violated its own rule that "persuasion rather than force was to be used." We've seen the same sort of violent, nationalistic behavior from Chinese at soccer games in their own country, the Olympic Torch Relay in other countries, and at a recent speech by a Taiwanese student in S. Korea who "dared" to hold up a small ROC flag. Don't fool yourself by saying that this is nothing.

Related reading:
* Wang Dan warns of PRC student activity in Taiwan:
Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) stirred debate recently over his suspicions that Chinese students may be "conducting organized activities" on college campuses in Taiwan.

In his latest post on Facebook, Wang said he raised the matter because he wanted to remind Taiwanese that this was now taking place in their country.

Wang, who is a guest lecturer at Chengchi University's Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, gave a speech at Providence University in Taichung on Thursday titled "How to See the Real China." During the two-hour event, a group of Chinese students studying in Taiwan challenged Wang, a student leader during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.


They accused him of being unfair to the Chinese people because of his hatred for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).


Wang said he was not making sensational comments to scare the public, adding that student council president at University of Hong Kong, who had previously made comments to the effect that there was no such thing as a Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989, was elected following organized voting by Chinese students.

"Taiwanese should take note of these things and not be too naive," Wang said.

Liao said the 70 students who attended the speech were free to ask questions. However, few Taiwanese students were able to do so, as the Chinese students dominated the session. He said that while Wang might have been slightly intimidated by the scene, the atmosphere actually wasn't too bad.


When a Taiwanese student asked Wang about China's progress on democracy, Liao said, the student took a moment to send "his regards" to a Chinese student who had spoken before him, saying that "the student from China loves his motherland very much. I also love my motherland very much, but I do not love China."
* Wikipedia article: Red Guards (China)
The first students to call themselves "Red Guards" in China were a group of students at the Tsinghua University Middle School [...] Chairman Mao Zedong ordered that the manifesto of the Red Guards be broadcast on national radio and published in the People's Daily newspaper. This action gave the Red Guards political legitimacy, and student groups quickly began to appear across China.
* Liberty Times article (Hanzi): 王丹提警訊 在台陸生疑有組織活動 (Wang Dan warns of suspicious organized activities by Chinese students in Taiwan)

* Ben Goren's Letters from Taiwan: Chinese Nationalism and Shades of Indignation

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Media mendacity on Taiwan, December 24, 2009

Jennings can't read?

Earlier today via Twitter user anitaworld, I came across the latest piece of anti-Taiwan propaganda from Reuters. The headline reads:
One hurt, six detained in Taiwan scuffle over China
The average reader might not have any idea what's beneath that headline. Is Taiwan "fighting to take over China" or something? Since only a small percentage of people read past the headline, it only serves to create confusion about the situation.

Here's what's going on: The Taiwanese protesters are standing up for their sovereignty while deals compromising Taiwan's sovereignty are being signed by two authoritarian parties without the people's consent. But Reuters fails to provide you any of that information which is vital to understanding the story.

Although a scant few more details appear within the article, those details are obscured by a mess of unhelpful memes and outright smearing of the victims in this matter, thus canceling any value they might have otherwise contained.

The anatomy of mendacity
The article begins:
TAIPEI (Reuters) - A police officer was hurt and six people detained late on Wednesday during a protest against a visit by China's top negotiator to Taiwan, officials said.

It was the first violence in four days of protests against the visit of Beijing negotiator Chen Yunlin in Taichung, central Taiwan.
There goes Ralph Jennings (whose byline appears at the bottom of the article) phoning it in from Taipei yet again. If he could read (or maybe a quote by Upton Sinclair is what applies here), the Tuesday December 22, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times (that's two days ago) would have informed him of this violence by police:
A Taichung City policeman was penalized yesterday for using pepper spray on two protesters on Sunday night, but the police said his demerit was for carrying non-standard equipment rather than for assaulting the protesters, adding that he acted in self-defense.
Don't mace me, 兄弟!
The actual incident mentioned above took place four days ago (Sunday, December 20, 2009). "[F]irst violence," my ass! The police were the ones who drew "first blood"! Jennings isn't telling you the truth.

Getting back to the Reuters piece, Jennings feeds the readers generalities:
Also on Wednesday, protesters tried to stop Chen from visiting a temple, taunting police that have guarded every step of his December 21-25 visit, local media reported.
Jennings fails to answer some essential questions for the readers: Who were the protesters? (Were they members of the violent China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP, 中華統一促進黨), members of the peaceful Falun Gong movement, common hooligans, or simply citizens of Taiwan who don't want an authoritarian regime to take over their lives?); Why were the protesters there? (Chen Yunlin has previously threatened Taiwan, and he and his comrades are currently trying to annex Taiwan.); How did they try to stop Chen Yunlin? (Did they use weapons [sticks, stones, knives, guns, Molotov cocktails]? [No.], or did they just stand at the scene, hold up signs, and shout? [Yes.]); Which temple was this, and does it have any special significance? (Could it be Chenlan Temple, a temple which is run by a convicted criminal? [Yes!]); Which local media? (I dunno. Jennings doesn't/won't specify.)

Can you feel just how empty of any actual information that paragraph of the article is? He could have used that space much more efficiently if he had instead explained some of the facts to the readers. Ben Goren's blog Letters from Taiwan has a good list from which lazy reporters could simply copy and paste some terse, well-researched facts about Taiwan.

The generalities above are followed directly by this meme:
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.
The full name of the party Jennings is referring to is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- not just the "Nationalists." They fled to Taiwan to save their own asses from Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) Commie bandits (共匪), not to "save Taiwan," as is often purported by those who support the Chinese KMT's authoritarianism.

More importantly, China's "claim" has no legal basis, but Jennings doesn't keep my italicized phrase in his clipboard where he could easily paste it into the article to at least provide some semblance of "balance." And there he goes with that faux-honest "the island" formulation yet again, trying to undermine the fact that Taiwan is an independent country with a population slightly higher than that of the entire "island continent" of Australia (never just "the island [of Australia]").

The article ends with these two paragraphs full of copy-and-paste "journalism" and a byline:
As ties warm under Taiwan's Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou, economic powerhouse China and the export-reliant island agreed on Tuesday to negotiate a trade deal that would cut tariffs.

Protesters oppose closer ties between the governments.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by David Fox)
FOX News Taiwan?
Let's take down the troubling elements one by one.

Note the positive words ascribed to China and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九): warm, friendly, powerhouse. Note the diminutives ascribed to Taiwan: reliant, island.

What the protesters oppose is not any sort of ties between "governments." What they oppose is unequal party-to-party negotiations taking place behind closed doors with no opposition oversight whatsoever and which evidence shows to be a series of steps leading up to Taiwan's annexation by two authoritarian regimes working hand-in-hand.

How many average readers would have noticed these things upon first reading them? Far too many ordinary people have become numb to this kind of garbage that passes as "journalism."

The writers whom I have repeatedly criticized apparently won't change, so the readers must wake up, stop falling for this, and wake others up as well. Your most basic human rights and your livelihoods -- if not your lives -- are at stake, and mendacious media therefore amounts to just another form of violence.

Further reading/viewing:
* For better coverage of the story, try this article in the Taipei Times: "CROSS STRAIT TALKS: Police officer injured in Taichung protests."

* For comparison, here's a CNA round-up (in the Taiwan News) of other articles on the incident: "News digest of local media - Clashes."

* Here's a YouTube video of some of the hooligans stationed around the Chenlan Temple: "大甲鎮瀾宮前成自治區,廟方派出紅衣人保護警方維安現場-民視新聞" (Translation: The front of Dajia Township's Chenlan Temple becomes an "autonomous region," people in red [and pink] shirts dispatched to protect police, "preserve order" at the scene - FTV News). Note that in addition to the "uniforms," some of these guys are wearing earpieces, indicating that they're organized and awaiting orders from someone, much like soldiers on a battlefield.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DPP protest: info and maps

Step out and join the fun* on December 20

Despite the protests last November to let him know he is not welcome here, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) is coming back to Taiwan to push forward a party-to-party (Chinese Communist Party [CCP]-to-Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]) Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which -- in spite of the fact that at least 69% of Taiwanese do not want "unification" with China -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) has called one of the steps which "will certainly bring about complete unification of the motherland [sic]." (See the video below.)

0:35 YouTube video: "DPP ECFA referendum ad - with English titles"

Naturally, the DPP has organized several events ahead of and during Chen Yunlin's arrival. The first of these will be a march and rally in the central Taiwan city of Taichung (台中市) on Sunday, December 20, 2009.

Here's the English-language info from the Taipei Times:
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demonstration against the government's China-leaning economic policies [Maddog note: ... and Chinese plans to annex Taiwan!] will be held on Sunday in Taichung starting at 2:30pm, the party announced yesterday, urging the public to join the protest.


Protesters will gather at 2:30pm at two locations — the intersection of Mincyuan Road (民權路) and Taichunggang Road (台中港路) and the corner of Chaoma Road (朝馬路) and Anhe Road (安和路).

The processions are expected to meet up at 5pm on Hueiwun Road (惠文路), where a rally will be held in an empty parking lot, the spokesman said.

"Everyone should come and join the protests to send a loud and clear message to President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] and Chen that all cross-strait issues must be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Taiwan's sovereignty must not be undermined," Chuang said, asking that protesters exercise restraint and avoid violence.

DPP Lawmaker Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said that if the government continues to ignore public opinion, protesters could head to the Presidential Office in Taipei next.

Chuang said the DPP would also arrange smaller activities throughout the duration of the meeting from Dec. 21 to Dec. 25. Details will be finalized today by the Central Standing Committee, he said.

Other groups such as Falun Gong practitioners and human right advocates have said they will join the protests.

Meanwhile, according to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), more than half of the population believes signing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing will hurt Taiwan's economy and livelihood.
Here's a Google Map I made of the routes and rally location:

View December 20, 2009 protest against Chen Yunlin in a larger map

Here's the Chinese-language info from the Liberty Times (自由時報) [English translations mine]:

Ahead of the fourth Chiang-Chen meeting to be held in Taichung, yesterday [Monday, Dec. 14] the DPP announced a "Breaking the Black Box, Protecting the Rice Bowl" march led by party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen to take place on the 20th and called for at least 100,000 people to take to the streets. Those invited to attend include [former Vice-President Annette] Lu, Su [Tseng-chang], Yu [Shyi-kun], [Frank] Hsieh, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) chairman Huang Kun-huei, and others. A series of smaller protests is scheduled from the 21st to the 25th.
If it's at all possible, you should be there, too! In my opinion, 100,000 is far too small a number for a protest such as this.

* While it's quite a serious matter, DPP protests and rallies are usually happy affairs.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

A quick analysis of Taiwan's 3-in-1 election

DPP makes gains, but they aren't enough

Today's Taipei Times had a good visual analysis of the election result in PDF form [link updated] comparing the results with the turnout of the last Township/City/County election in 2005 and showing that out of the locales that were involved (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Taipei [Cities and Counties]) weren't), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held onto all their seats plus gained Yilan County. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), on the other hand lost not only Yilan (to the DPP) but Hualien County, too, to Fu Kun-chi (傅昆萁), who had left the party to run against the KMT's Du Li-hua (杜麗華).

The election in Penghu County was close, with KMT candidate Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) beating his DPP opponent Tsai Chien-hsing (蔡見興) by just 595 votes. A recount will take place automatically.

Michael Turton notes how close the overall vote count was, though I should point out that he's only looking at the numbers for the city mayors and county magistrates.

Much more info on the election is available on today's front page and in the Taiwan News section.

Chinese KMT violence to the fore
In other election-related news, Chen Chen-hui (陳振輝), the KMT's losing candidate in the Yunlin County town of Huwei (虎尾鎮) did something incredibly stupid.

A couple of hours after votes had been counted, Chen showed up at rival Lin Wen-pin's (林文彬, DPP) campaign headquarters. Chen was drunk and had a gun, and he started shooting. The DPP candidate's son, a policeman, happened to be on the scene and quickly captured the shooter, but not before a woman had been shot in the leg. Her injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

Here's a Liberty Times (自由時報) report on the shooting from late last night, and another article in today's Liberty Times mentions that Chen has a serious criminal record for having shot two investigators 24 years ago. That article tells us:

[Maddog translation:]
According to police sources, Chen Chen-hui was sent to prison 24 years ago for shooting two Yunlin County investigators.
Chinese KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who happens to be Taiwan's current President, said he'd run a "clean" campaign with "clean" candidates, yet this violent criminal -- who probably had the gun already -- was one of his picks.

Ah, the things that some people will call "clean."

Here's a report on the shooting from SETN (三立新聞台) that I uploaded to YouTube:

2:27 YouTube video: "Shooting in Huwei, Yunlin by loser Chinese KMT candidate"

Is anybody surprised?

UPDATE: More analyses:
* Michael Turton compares the DPP's numbers from the 2008 presidential election with those from the December 5 election. The result shows an increase in DPP support in every area but one (Chiayi City, -1.9%).

* The Monday, December 7, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times takes a magnifying glass to the local election results, showing that the DPP made were bigger than they may seem at first glance. [/update]

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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