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

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Wu Den-yih and his medicine show

Is he, too, "selling snake oil"?

The Central News Agency (中央社) reported about a week and a half ago (Thursday, March 25, 2010) that Taiwan's Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) (Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]) will start cracking down on fake medicines [translation mine]:
查緝偽劣藥 政院取締小組動起來

Executive Yuan prohibition group initiates crackdown on fake medicines


(CNA reporter Hsieh Chia-chen [ph], [reporting from] Taipei, [March] 25) In order to combat fake medicines, Premier Wu Den-yih established a task force to investigate pirate ["underground"] radio stations, night markets, street vendors, adult novelty stores, and other fake medicine outlets. He also asked the Department of Health to make stricter laws regarding fake medicines along with harsher punishments for violations.
Here's the same story as covered in the Friday, March 26, 2006 edition of the Taipei Times:
A cross-agency task force will be established to combat counterfeit drugs and medical products sold via underground radio stations, the Internet and night markets, the Executive Yuan and the Department of Health announced yesterday.
Sounds like a pretty good idea, right? The problem is that "underground radio stations" is dog-whistle politics to Chinese KMT supporters:
Dog-whistle politics, also known as the use of code words, is a term for a type of political campaigning or speechmaking which employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience
To these folks, "underground radio" is equivalent to "southern Taiwan," "pro-Taiwan," ""pro-DPP," and/or "anti-China," and words like those (and "fake medicines" -- which are often associated with the sponsorship of such stations) get them salivating. While a lot of discussion is already focusing on the upcoming (November 27, 2010) special municipality elections, this is an obvious attempt by the Chinese KMT to stir up their base with irrational hatred.

This is all a sham, as the following info will reveal.

The kicker
What do you think "legal" pro-Chinese KMT TV and radio stations do for whole days at a time? If you said, "Sell medicine," you'd be onto something.

Take a gander at the following screenshots from some of those blue-affiliated TV stations (and see if you can spot a familiar face in the crowd):

Buy this stuff for your kids. Their bones are at stake!
I'm no pirate! I've got
a lab coat and a toupee!
(Does it make me a Dr?)
(Click to enlarge)
Would you put just any old ''natural'' thing into your body? Cat poop? Poison ivy?
If you wouldn't eat cat
poop or poison ivy,
you should think twice
about taking this, too.
(Click to enlarge)
Would you take just any old pills this man gave you?
If I move a walker away
and stand up, will you
believe I used to need it?
(Click to enlarge)
So he grabbed some FK23 and gave it to me, and I took it without even thinking!
Somebody gave me
FK23, so I took it. LOL
Could've been FM2!
(Click to enlarge)
Does saying something has ''no *other* added chemicals'' mean it has none at all?
Saying it's got no other
chemicals doesn't mean
it has none at all.
(Click to enlarge)
Ma Ying-jeou helps his bud sell drugs
Ma Ying-jeou endorses
the guy selling drugs.
(Click to enlarge)
Would you trust this to ''prevent H1N1''?
Didn't trust Adimmune's
H1N1 vaccine? Would
you trust this?
(Click to enlarge)
Cures everything for everybody!
This claims to help
high BP, diabetes, kidney
problems, enuresis,
impotence, and more!
(Click to enlarge)
One pill to fool them all!
Whatever you've got, take
our pills. You might not
get better, but we'll profit!
(Click to enlarge)
Wait! Is that KMT chairman/President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) I see? By George! It most certainly is!

And no, these aren't just commercials. Whole shows use questionable methods to sell these questionable products. (All of the screenshots above were captured between 2:53 and 3:51 PM on Saturday, March 27, 2010.) Do you think Wu's "crackdown" will affect these "above-ground" TV stations at all? Will President Ma be caught in their dragnet?

Keep your eyes on this story, but don't bet anything of value on it.

Further reading:
For earlier examples of the use of this specific tactic, search for the word "radio" in these older posts, or at least hover on the links below for a preview (original posts have links to further information):
* December 15, 2006: "10 or so sources of KMT brainwashing"

* June 2, 2007: "Behind the China Post's curtain ... lies a big conflict of interest"

* September 24, 2008: "Ma Ying-jeou's survey dips to a new low"
* The Liberty Times (自由時報) thinks Wu's "crackdown" is an attempt to shut out voices opposed to ECFA. (Hat tip to A-gu)

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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