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

Friday, June 25, 2010

6/26 protest to demand referendum on ECFA

Be there if you can!

The Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government is planning to sign an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA, 經濟合作架構協議) with Taiwan's untrustworthy authoritarian neighbor China on June 29. That's next Tuesday, despite the fact that even polls by media which favors Ma and his party show that a majority of Taiwanese oppose the agreement and that people of all political stripes support holding a referendum on the issue.

Ten or twenty years from now, when you reflect back on tomorrow's rally to show the Ma government -- and especially the rest of the world -- what the people of Taiwan really think of this deal, will you be able to say "I was there!" or will you say "I was too busy/tired/apathetic, so I didn't go"? Think hard before you choose the latter.

Citizens demand a referendum on ECFA, oppose 'one-China' market
Citizens demand a referendum [on ECFA] and oppose the "one-China" market
June 26 [2010], gather at 3 PM @ Wanhua Station and Dinghao Plaza
(Click to slightly enlarge)

Wednesday's Taipei Times has the important details about the 626 protest in English:
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday that 100,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Taipei on Saturday to demand that the government put its proposed plan to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China to a referendum.


The party said demonstrators would be split into two groups — an "anti-'one China' market" group and a "referendum on an ECFA" group.

The "anti-'one China' market" route will start at Dinghao Plaza and travel along Zhongxiao E Road, Linsen S Road and Renai Road Sec 1.

The "referendum on an ECFA" march, meanwhile, will begin at Wanhua Station and proceed along Monga Boulevard, Heping W Road Sec 2, Fuzhou Street, Roosevelt Road Sec 1 and Zhongshan S Road.

Both marches will start at 4pm and converge on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office at 5pm, where a number of DPP officials are expected to make speeches.

The protest is scheduled to finish at 7pm, the party said.
How 'bout we make it 200,000?

Remember to take pictures, record videos, and post them online so that when the media underreports the numbers or claims that the crowds were violent, people will be able to find out for themselves what really happened.

Lest ye forget!
And I want to remind readers once again what Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) said about ECFA being one step toward "complete unification of the motherland [sic]":

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

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Mainland"? Which "mainland"?

An obvious symptom of brainwashing in Taiwan (and elsewhere)

Because of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), for most of the past six decades, Taiwan's educational system has indoctrinated students with the concept that "my country" (我國/本國) includes Taiwan, the territory now controlled by the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Mongolia. As a result, certain words used by Taiwanese reveal how deeply this indoctrination has penetrated.

An  old Geography textbook used in Taiwan
An old Geography textbook used in Taiwan
Tim Maddog photo
(Click to enlarge)

While most elementary school students these days will state "Taiwan" (台灣) as the name of their country, and only an incredibly small minority will say they are from the "ROC" (中華民國), there's still a lot of deep-set confusion. As Professor Lee Hsiao-feng (李筱峰, AKA Jim Lee, of National Taipei University's Graduate School of Taiwanese Culture) explains in the piece I will translate below, the words we are exposed to on a daily basis affect our ability to see clearly and even to clearly form our own identity.

Here it is, 「大陸」「大陸」,哪個大陸? ("'Mainland,' 'mainland,' which mainland?") [translations, text coloration mine]:

People say, "This kind of person plays with this kind of bird" and "This kind of person uses these kinds of words" [both meaning: "A person is defined by the words they use"]. In the past, Taiwan's national identity has been a jumbled mess. From the different words that people use, you can spot the differences in people's sense of national identity and political affiliation.


Think back to the televised debate between Tsai Ing-wen and Ma Ying-jeou. Each time the PRC came up, Ma consistently referred to it as the "mainland" while Tsai referred to it more clearly as "China." The whole world knows that "China" refers to the country whose full name is the "People's Republic of China." But what about "mainland"? There is no country on Earth called "Mainland" [Maddog note: Though I've capitalized it here (as if it were the name of a country), it shouldn't actually be capitalized unless it's the first word in a sentence.] -- it's merely a geographic term which could variously refer to the Eurasian continent, the African continent, or the North and South American continents. So why say "mainland"? Because Ma identifies with China and considers Taiwan to be part of China. If he were to call the other side "China," it would mean that Taiwan is something separate -- something Ma could never admit. By calling China the "mainland," he means that the two sides belong to China and that the "mainland area" and "Taiwan area" are both part of that China. This actually belittles and disparages Taiwan.


For Ma-the-Chinese to call China the "mainland" isn't strange at all. What is strange is when supporters of Taiwan's independence use the word out of sheer habit, following others' use of "mainland" when they mean "China" -- this is a contradiction of their own principles.


The word "lùshēng" has recently entered Taiwan's vocabulary. This contains a similar meaning. "Lùshēng" is merely a short form of ""dàlùxuéshēng" ("mainland students"). To call Chinese students "lùshēng" is just as belittling and disparaging of Taiwan as using the word "mainland" instead of "China." A more natural short form would be "Zhōngshēng." How did that become "lùshēng"?


Another strange word which has appeared in recent years is "a-la̍k-á" [Maddog note: The pronunciation of that term is invariably Taiwanese, not Mandarin]. Many people call Chinese (people) "a-la̍k-á" with the middle word "la̍k" ["six"] having the same pronunciation in Taiwanese as the "lù" in "dàlù." "A-la̍k-á" itself bears a pejorative tone, but actually one may not realize that using this kind of tone to describe others can also belittle Taiwan, disparage the user, and show self-unawareness.


There are many more words used to belittle and disparage Taiwan. For example, calling Sun Yat-sen the "nation's founding father." Which "nation" is he the "founding father" of? Of course that would be the "Republic of China [ROC]." Don't say that even Sun himself didn't know he was called "the nation's founding father" by the Chinese KMT, but if he could know that some Taiwanese still call him the "nation's founding father," he'd be completely amazed because a year before he died, Sun appealed to Japan to allow Korea and Taiwan to become independent. For Taiwanese to call him the "nation's founding father," they must really be morons!


As for entertainers who wander off to China in search of money and who refer to the PRC as the "heartland," not even the word "moron" can describe what they are! When Taiwan was a Japanese colony, Taiwanese referred to Japan as the "heartland." However, during the Qing Dynasty, [what we now call] China was the "heartland." Present-day Taiwan doesn't belong to the PRC, yet people still use the term "heartland." People of Taiwan: How long will you humiliate yourselves like this?
One "mainland" which Professor Lee left out was Australia's. People in Tasmania will refer to the non-Tasmanian part of Australia as the "mainland" while people in New Zealand never do so -- because it's a whole other country. It's a good example to use with people who don't seem to "get it."

* A guy I met later on Facebook called in to New Taiwan Go Go Go (新台灣加油) to complain about so-called pro-Taiwan TV stations using the word "mainland." I posted the video on YouTube:

1:23 YouTube video: "Mr. Chuang wants green media to stop saying "mainland""

* Hena (Taiwanese for erhu, 二胡) player Kenny Wen is one of those who sold his soul to Beijing and was "forced" to call China the "heartland" (內地):

9:00 YouTube video: "Kenny Wen Teaches: How to sell your soul to the demons in Beijing"

* A Taiwan Matters post with links to videos of the entire debate referred to in Lee's piece: "Ralph Jennings pushes anti-Taiwan, pro-Ma propaganda"

* If you need help with the videos linked in the post at the link above, the Taipei Times translated the entire debate between Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) into English:
- Part One: Ma, Tsai lock horns in ECFA debate
- Part Two: Tsai questions Ma on job losses from signing ECFA

Words which mean things: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Ralph Jennings misreports on Taiwan again

Completely unacceptable

On my Facebook wall, Alex Raymond alerted me to a Ralph Jennings piece from Saturday titled "Taiwanese show guarded acceptance of China pact."

Do Taiwanese "accept" this so-called Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) at all?

Take a look this particular paragraph of Jennings' article [emphasis mine]:
Political analysts said the size of the protest, a month after a sit-in in Taipei attracted only a few hundred, was an indication that Taiwan's public accepted the deal, wanted to know more details or believed the government was deaf to protests.
The first problem there is that Jennings quotes unnamed "political analysts." Would it make a difference if these "analysts" were close to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the party he chairs, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)? Yes, it would. (See an earlier example of Jennings' use of similar tactics.)

The next problem is the simple lack of deductive logic. The first paragraph of the article claims that the size of Saturday's protest was "10,000" (and Jennings has greatly underestimated the number of attendees at previous protests by pro-Taiwan groups) and then tells readers of a sit-in that happened "a month" ago (which, in reality, was a 3-day protest which ended just 15 days ago) and which "attracted only a few hundred." Gee, according to my math, "10,000" is a much larger number, and 15 days is only half a month.

While it may be correct to say that Taiwanese "believed the government was deaf to protests," note how it's not the single possibility which was placed in the headline. Despite the addition of the word "guarded," the one which does appear there (and in the article minus the qualifier) is the one which is the easiest to disprove.

Just what do Taiwanese think about this ECFA?
Let's look at a poll from the pro-Chinese KMT TVBS which was released just this past Monday (May 31, 2010) [104 kb PDF file] for some indications [translations, emphasis mine]:
公投題目「是否同意政府與中國簽ECFA?」:同意42% v.s.不同意44%

Voting on a referendum which asks: "Should the government sign an ECFA with China?" 42% say "Yes" while 44% say "No."

[...] 15%未表示意見。

[...] 15% expressed no opinion.


辦 ECFA公投民眾贊成的比例上升至55%,不贊成則下滑到 30%

Hold a referendum on ECFA? Public support increases to 55%, opposition slips to 30%


若辦公投,六成(59%)民眾說會去投票 [...]

If there is a referendum, 59% of the public says they will vote [...]
I don't trust TVBS, but remember that if there's any bias in their poll, it will be in favor of those pushing this ECFA with China. So, I must wonder: Does Ralph Jennings hate Taiwan and the truth, or will he write just anything -- as long as he keeps getting paid to do so?

Don't just accept what you read, especially not when it's written by "pros" who repeatedly provide you with information that is as easily disputed as the stuff Jennings keeps shoveling.

Check out how Reuters dissembles even more by using an image (with a caption that only appears as a pop-up) of cheering Taiwanese atop this version of the article.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Taiwan under Ma Ying-jeou is a mess

Gangsters and police hand-in-hand -- and so much more!

Sun Moon Biotech -- the scene of the May 28, 2010 shooting that took place in broad daylight in Taichung City, Taiwan in the presence of four police officers
Sun Moon Biotech -- the scene of the
May 28, 2010 shooting that took place
in broad daylight in Taichung City, Taiwan
in the presence of four police officers
Photo by Tim Maddog
(click to enlarge)
On Friday, May 28, 2010, the shooting murder of gang leader Weng Chi-nan (翁奇楠) which took place in broad daylight in the presence of (at least) four police officers in Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led Taichung City pulled back the curtain on so much of what is wrong in Taiwan today.

The two senior officers on the scene were Taichung City Police Traffic Chief Lin Chi-you (林啟右) and Criminal Investigation Corps' Third Division head Lin Wen-wu (林文武). The two lower-ranking officers there were Shih Chang-hsing (石長興) and Sergeant Tai Chih-hung (戴志宏).

Surveillance video from the interior of the crime scene exists, but over a week later, not only has this video footage not been shown to the public to help identify and capture the shooter -- it is said to have already been partially erased. UPDATE: That page has ironically disappeared, but I fortunately saved an image of the web page. [/update]

Could somebody be hiding something, y'think? Can you say "accessories to the crime"?

Were the police officers there simply "drinking tea," as has been reported, were they "playing mahjong," or is such speculation just a distraction from what was really going on? So far, we can only rely on the testimony of seemingly untrustworthy sources. Right away all four officers on the scene claimed that they "didn't know" Wang.

But just days later, the story changes slightly. Also at the scene was retired officer Chen Wen-hsiung (陳文雄, the one you may have seen on TV yelling about people making "groundless accusations"), who now admits that he knew Wang, though he claims he "didn't know him well," and he says he invited the other four to the location. Tsk, tsk!

How long will it be before the story changes again?

Taichung Police Commissioner Hu Mu-yuan (胡木源) has already resigned as a result of this scandal. However, the re-election campaign of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) -- a Chinese KMT politician who has already held office since 2002 (thus having had plenty of time to do something about public order) -- is sure to suffer as a result of the constant attention being given to this matter.

Mayor Hu has repeatedly "declared war" on gangs, yet according to the National Police Agency (警政署), Taichung's crime rate has been the highest in the nation during the past six years.

This sure doesn't look anything like the "clean" Chinese KMT promised by Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in his 2008 presidential election campaign.

The undemocratic Referendum Review Rejection Committee
In news about Taiwan's disappearing democracy, to no one's surprise, the Referendum Review Committee rejected the second proposal for a referendum on the current government's plan to sign an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China. Even a poll by the deep-blue TVBS tells us that support for such a referendum increased from 48% to 55% [104 kb PDF file] since March 2009.

So why can't Taiwanese have a say in this matter? Referendum Review Rejection Committee chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) is claiming that "The TSU's proposal does not meet the qualification of 'approving a government policy' as stated in the Referendum Act."

This is just another of the Chinese KMT's word games which treat the Taiwanese as idiots.

The Ma government claims that the public supports ECFA, yet hundreds of thousands of signatures had been collected in support of this proposal. Could that number be the very reason the committee voted 12:4 to reject public opinion on something that could affect not only the economy but also Taiwan's sovereignty?

Radical (and mendacious) anti-Taiwan media
In a report on the latest rejected referendum, the frequently-mendacious news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) refers to the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- whose "spiritual leader" is former president (then-Chinese KMT) Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- as "a radical pro-independence party." More word games.

While I have previously complained about the TSU being infiltrated by Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) redshirts, there are only two groups which would consider the party itself to be "radical," and those groups would be the Chinese KMT and the CCP.

Why isn't anyone in the media referring to those two parties as "radical"?

China proves Ma to be a liar (How will he explain this away?)
After Ma's repeated claims that signing an ECFA with China would open the door for Taiwan to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, Chinese officials are ironically the ones who have been more forthcoming:
On the China trade issue, Taiwan protested on Wednesday after a mainland foreign ministry spokesman said Beijing "resolutely opposed" official contact between its diplomatic allies and Taiwan.
Does it matter what Chinese officials say about this? Will that stop other countries from signing FTAs with Taiwan? Read what Franck Varga says about that below.

US Congress listens to Ma's critics, not to Ma
(and Ma listens to no one but China)

A recent report by Congressional Research Services (CRS) titled "Democratic Reforms in Taiwan" has expressed "concern" over "the prolonged detention of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as a result of complaints by writers and scholars whose open letters (see link below) have been previously covered on this blog.

An article in the June 4, 2010 edition of the Taipei Times also has this to say about the report [highlights mine]:
"A number of professors, writers, activists and ex-officials primarily in the United States have signed open letters on what they called the 'erosion of justice' in Taiwan," the report says.


The US Congress has also helped, the report says, "by pressing the KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] regime to end authoritarian abuses of power in favor of freedoms for all the people in Taiwan, including the majority Taiwanese."

The report says that a sustainable democracy helps Taiwan to guard against "undue" Chinese influence as cross-strait engagement has intensified under Ma.
Whenever people criticize things about the Ma government that anyone can see with their own eyes, the Ma government will have a response that treats you like you're imagining things (or perhaps that you're "not Chinese, so you couldn't possibly understand"), but their logic doesn't hold up to the facts. That doesn't seem to bother them in the least.

But remember this: When the Chinese KMT says "up," you should think "down" -- way down -- and check things out for yourself.

Related reading:
* David Reid of David on Formosa blogs: "Rejection of referendum is a denial of democratic rights"

* Ben Goren blogs on Letters from Taiwan: "Pants on Fire"

* Franck Varga blogs about gangsters, Chinese KMT hypocrisy, and more. As Franck points out, "They [the Ma government] want to let the Taiwanese believe that other countries will not be afraid of the Chinese reaction…"

* Michael Turton blogs on The View from Taiwan about Beijing slapping Ma in the face, noting Bonnie Glaser's Nineteen Eighty-Four-like "logic."

* Look back at what Jason Hu told the Taipei Times back in 2001 when he was running for mayor.

* Taiwan Echo writes about the return to days of dictatorship -- and beyond: Ma to Send More Military Instructors to Campus -- Elementary Schools Included

* Part 13 of my series of posts on "the erosion of justice in Taiwan" contains links to all the open letters, the responses, and my earlier comments.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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