Sunday, October 30, 2005

Update to Election Adverts Site

I've updated my election site. New pics have been added at the beginning....enjoy!

The Vatican and Taiwan

How many divisions has the Pope? Enough to be a major propaganda coup for China if the Vatican switches to the authoritarians in Beijing. The National Catholic Reporter reports on the new US Ambassador and the old struggle between Taipei and Beijing:

After a wait of nearly nine months, the new American Ambassador to the Holy See touched down in Rome on Sunday, Oct. 23. Francis Rooney arrived at Rome's Fiumicino Airport shortly after 8 a.m., where he was greeted by Msgr. James Green, head of the English department in the First Section of the Secretariat of State, on behalf of the Vatican.


During confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late September, Rooney made brief comments about a couple of issues he'll tackle as ambassador. Rooney said Benedict XVI has made it clear he intends to continue John Paul II's work in promoting human dignity and "building bridges to the Muslim world."

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., who presided over the hearing, said he was concerned about reports the Vatican is considering severing relations with Taiwan. Allen said he didn't want to see the Vatican recognizing China over Taiwan.

Rooney said he would make it a priority to ensure the Vatican has "a sensitivity to the feelings of our government" on the issue.

He'll be facing an uphill battle, especially in light of recent comments from Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the effect that the Vatican is ready to cut ties with Taiwan right away if it can be assured of the immediate launch of relations with Beijing.

The Catholic Church has historically backed the authoritarians -- recall Catholic support of Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Peron, and Chiang Kai-shek, and here we have no exception. As soon as Taiwan becomes democratic, the Church decides that it is time to shift recognition to the Communists. (hat tip to Vatican Watcher)

TVBS is Chinese Fifth Column

Maddog (GREAT to have you back, man) blogs on how TVBS is the Black Hand of Beijing in Taiwan.

Duh! How could anyone not know this about TVBS? If it looks like a Beijing duck, walks like a Beijing duck, and quacks like a Beijing duck..., you might just ask yourself "WTF?!"

My wife asked me Thursday night if I knew who the chairman of TVBS was. "Uhhhh, a Chinese official?," I guessed -- off the top of my head. The answer, she told me, was Liang Naipeng, the former chairman of the Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority. Hong Kong, you must surely remember, reverted to Chinese rule back in 1997; therefore, making a distinction between Hong Kong and China in this matter is absolute nonsense.

I've blogged on this problem before. And look who the KMT's pretty obvious where they are getting their marching orders from.

UPDATE: Don't miss the comments below! Lots of perspectives.

Taiwan's New Business Jet is World's Fastest

Taiwan has developed the world's fastest business jet:

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation (SSAC) has received orders for 280 SJ30-2 from the US, Canada, Britain, Germany and Switzerland, with the first aircraft to be delivered in spring next year, according to CNA.

Taiwan built the IDF warplane for its air force and makes components for passenger jets manufactured by Boeing and Airbus, but the country has not yet manufactured a passenger aircraft.

The SJ30-2 has attracted worldwide attention amid SSAC claims that, with a cruise speed of Mach 0.78 and a range of 4,500 km, it is the world's fastest executive jet which also has the longest range.

Calling it "a milestone for Taiwan's aeronautics industry", SSAC's Taiwanese chairman Kuo Ching-chiang said he hoped Taiwan would benefit from the transfer of US technology.

"Taiwan's" jet is actually being made in West Virginia, according to the report.

Taiwanese oppose annexation to China

The Bangkok Post reports that Taiwanese in China generally favor the status quo.

But interviews with Mr Chang and others among the 300,000 Taiwanese professionals who have come to live in China as a result of thawing relations, suggest the gap between the two sides is substantial, going beyond China's one-party rule and Taiwan's democracy.

``Taiwanese people think differently from people on the mainland,'' Mr Chang says. ``In China it's been a real struggle to survive. So people are a lot tougher here. If you put a Taiwanese child down in China, he'll be eaten up alive.''

Opinion polls in Taiwan say only about 10% of its 23 million people want immediate reunification with the mainland. About 15% support formal independence, while the remainder favour maintaining the island's self-governing status quo.

Talks with Taiwanese here suggest that 56 years of separation have taken a toll on whatever once existed of a common identity.

Hey, no kidding. Nobody here except a few unreconstructed mainlanders supports annexing the island to China.

Exhibition on Taiwanese Resistance to Japan Opens in China

People's Daily Online edition reports on more propaganda from Beijing:

An exhibition on Taiwanese resistance against Japanese aggression six decades ago opened in Beijing Monday.

More than 400 people from China and abroad including Yu Mu-ming, chairman of the Taiwan-based New Party, and Zhang Meiying, vice chairwoman of the Central Committee of China Democratic League, attended the opening ceremony in the National Museum.

The heroic Taiwanese did not yield to the atrocious rule of the Japanese aggressors in half a century, and they contributed to the final victory over the Japanese aggression, said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at the ceremony.

"Their deeds will be recorded in Chinese history forever," he said.

He also called on Taiwan compatriots to remember the history and carry forward the patriotism to oppose Taiwan independence and build peaceful and stable relations across the Taiwan Straits.

"Let's strive for the peaceful reunification and rejuvenation of China," he said.

More than 160 photos and 28 articles are on show in a 700-square-meter hall of the museum, including a sword, a party flag and a Chinese brush pen which were used in the war against Japanese aggression.

The two-week exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Publicity of the CPC Central Committee, the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC, Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, one of the non-Communist parties in China, and the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots.

I especially like the part about the "Chinese brush pen" that was used in the war against Japanese aggression. The mind boggles at the uses to which it could be put.

"Poor fella. Look how he died."
"Damn! Look he's got a pen there?"


Meanwhile the Asahi Shimbun, remarking on this event, describes China's weird Taiwan policy:

The ceremony marked the first time Beijing has celebrated the 1945 liberation of Taiwan. And it wasn't without a shot at Japan.

"A small number of Japanese militarists who surrendered in 1945 are plotting to make Taiwan an independent country," said Jia. "They invited some pro-independent (Taiwanese) people to Japan to help their activities."

Even former archenemy, the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), is getting the red carpet treatment.

I wonder when we'll see a public admission of the truth that nobody here wants to be part of China.

Don't miss the totally slanted history of Taiwanese resistance to Japan at the People's Daily.

On the ideological and cultural front, Taiwan's people of lofty ideals all along carried out anti-Japanese publicity and struggle with their brushes instead of swords. In the early period there were first the anti-Japanese literary "three heroes"--Qiu Fengjia, Hong Qisheng and Lian Heng; later there were Lai He, "Father of Taiwan New Literature", as well as Zhang Wojun, Wu Zhuliu, Yang Kui, Jiang Weishui, etc. They opposed Japanese colonial rule and objected the education aimed to turn Chinese into subjects of Japanese imperial rulers, they carried forward national culture and exhibited noble national spirit. By reviewing this phase of history, people can see that the recovery of Taiwan is the result of the common struggles carried out by compatriots on both sides of the Straits who had the same enemy and hatred and helped each other. Compatriots across the Straits are of one blood, have the same fate and share weal and woe. This is another historical fact shown by the recovery of Taiwan.

I think I feel breakfast coming back up....

F-16s Fail to Sink Ship? Is anything indicated by this?

Sun Bin remarked on another post:

failed F-16 missions over a defenseless cargo ship.

Your fiction/fantasy's ending is probably more likely than MZT's.

This refers to this event here:

Three weeks after a South Korean freighter carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of benzene capsized off Taoyuan County, the government on Thursday tried to demolish the ship with bombs and missiles.

Although two separate bombing runs failed to sink the ship, the Ministry of National Defense declared the mission a success.

Admitting that it was "embarassing" that the initial effort by two F-16s to bomb and sink the ship failed, Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) yesterday said the ministry would engage in introspection about the mission.

This sounds like it might confirm my thoughts about the competence of Taiwanese forces, but reality is more complex. The fact is that it is not uncommon for even completely stricken and helpless ships to be difficult to sink:

"At 1851 the planes from Isuzu and Maya noted Mustin and Anderson cudgeling Hornet with their 5-inch guns to speed her demise. Flames gnawed Hornet's soggy hull from stem to stern, but despite seven bombs, two aircraft crashes, three Japanese and nine American torpedoes, and now over 300 5-inch shells, she refused to succumb."*

I don't think we can conclude much from this isolated incident.

*From Frank, Guadalcanal, p398

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Family Visit

At Wenwu Temple by Sun Moon Lake

Three days of heaven with Nick and Barb from Cleveland. We visited many places in central Taiwan, including Sanyi and Sun Moon Lake. Ate like pigs -- plenty of cake and chocolate. Drove like crazy. Too millions of photos. The site above is probably temporary, so enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday , Oct 28, Taiwan Blog Round-up

She's really here! This is NOT a Photoshopped picture!

This week my Auntie Barb and Uncle Nick arrived from Cleveland to visit us for three days after vacationing in the Middle Kingdom. We did a "Greatest Hits of Central Taiwan" vacation that saw us up to Sun Moon Lake and Flying Cow Farm. More on that tomorrow....So I let the world go by this week....and lo and behold, suddenly it was Friday! A much abbreviated version of the round-up this week. My apologies to all!


Pinyin Info posted a funny essay on why Chinese is so damned hard.

So what do I mean by "hard"? Since I know at the outset that the whole tone of this document is going to involve a lot of whining and complaining, I may as well come right out and say exactly what I mean. I mean hard for me, a native English speaker trying to learn Chinese as an adult, going through the whole process with the textbooks, the tapes, the conversation partners, etc., the whole torturous rigmarole. I mean hard for me -- and, of course, for the many other Westerners who have spent years of their lives bashing their heads against the Great Wall of Chinese.

I've never found Chinese difficult; I thought Swahili and Taiwanese were both harder. Even Spanish with its idiotic conjugations is harder than Chinese IMHO. But I learned Spanish in school, while I learned Chinese here, on the street. Probably it's easier to learn in a 24-7 environment....


What a Wonderful World, a Singapore blogger who always Pays It Forward, blogged on a Taiwan humanitarian this week:

Twenty years ago, there was a gap in the welfare systems of Taiwan—no organization was assuming the responsibility to care for patients in a persistent vegetative state. Hence, many patients ended up lying permanently in a corner of their home, deprived from proper medical care. Imprisoned in their own bodies, they were totally under the mercy of their family members.

Taiwan in those days was a poor country; if a family had a vegetable, it was unlikely that any more adults could be spared from working--it would be a luxury to have a full time caretaker. Naturally, long hours of neglect meant the patients would end up developing bed sores, and the lacks of immediate medical attention and continuous medical care, meant the situations could only get worse—the sores grew larger and the rotting flesh started to smell, in some cases bones were even visible. These patients lived in a living hell; they were striped off their pride and cornered into a little cell; silently they would endure a period of torments that seemed to last forever, where hours passed like days and days passed like months, until their final day arrived.

Has that gap changed much? Families are financially crushed by such patients as the system, AFAIK, has no provision for withdrawal of care.......


MeiZhongTai has an extensive commentary on the problem of oil, China, and Everything Else.

Strategically, it would seem to make sense for China to coordinate with other actors interested in the Spratlys, and then leverage the goodwill against Japan through stoking fears of a resurgent Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It is worth noting that every single Spratlys actor had been attacked and/or occupied, at least in part, by Imperial Japanese forces. (Taiwan was never attacked, as it was handed over to Japan following the Sino-Japanese War in the Treaty of Shimonoseki.) Thus China hopes to convert energy that might otherwise have been directed against her into a resource with which to compete with Japan.

It's interesting that MZT denies the competence and imagination to China in military affairs that he ascribes to it in diplomatic. But whatever my jealous sniping from the peanut gallery, this is one not to be missed....


Several bloggers remarked on the Commentary in the Taipei Times the other day on how Chiang Kai Shek from the KMT (Kill Many Taiwanese) blew Taiwan's UN seat. Maddog has the call:

That (between the quotes) is what the headline on an article in Thursday's Taipei Times read, and it's exactly right. When my wife heard this in local Chinese-language news yesterday, she was a bit surprised because I had said almost exactly the same thing to her the day before. My version went something like this:
"Look, anytime these pan-blues start scolding the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) because of some country breaking up with Taiwan, all you have to say is 'And how many countries' relationships did we lose in 1971?' End of story."

Good to see you back, Tim!


David a Jujuflop scores with several good posts this week. Check out his posts on non-Constitutional reform....

President Chen Shui-bian is very keen on constitutional reform. He regularly talks about it being vital for the future development of Taiwan, and a cornerstone of his presidency. This in itself means that the pan-Blue opposition parties will make very sure that he won't be able to reform the constitution again during his presidency.

...Chinese tourists in Taiwan...

There has been some discussion on weblogs about the general behaviour of Chinese tourists abroad - so it will be interesting how they are viewed in Taiwan. I suspect the main 'tourist attractions' they will be drawn to will be the larger shopping malls in Taipei, where I'm sure the storekeepers will be overjoyed to see them (and their wallets).

The only other questions are whether they'll be able to avoid confrontations with the pro-independence Taiwanese they bump into, and how they interact with the other main group of tourists to Taiwan - the Japanese.

......and the it-never-rains-but-it-pours life of Pasuya Yao, GIO head:

Why have all these news stories come out recently? Well, of course, the most obvious answer is that Yao is an incompetent minister with a knack for putting his foot in it. However, it can hardly be coincidence that all these stories have come out after he was responsible for refusing to renew the licenses of several TV channels - thus drawing the ire of Taiwanese media. Freedom of the press means that if you piss off the press, then they will get their revenge. Pasuya Yao must be yearning for the 'good old days' of the GIO (otherwise known as the 'James Soong years') when anyone critical of the GIO would have been shipped off to Green Island, and their newspaper shut down.


Taiwan's Other Side posted an interesting post on KMT-CCP cooperation:

The 中國國民黨Kuo Ming Tang and 中國共産黨Chinese Communist Party have had something of a rapprochement over the past few years, particularly since the end of 李登輝 Lee Tung-Hui's presidency, and especially since the 2004 presidential elections in Taiwan. This has caused quite a stir in Taiwan, and has allowed the DPP to fairly successfully label the KMT as communist sympathizers and traitors. It is common to hear that pro-blue media organizations have been 'infiltrated' and are now puppets of the regime in Beijing. What has prompted this change of heart on the part of the KMT? Is it simple opportunism, as some say, or is there something more?
Good work, TOS.


ESWN this week posted some of his trademark media analysis, this time of Taiwan's media reports about the Kaohsiung Metro Scandal.

The latest development concerns a visit to a South Korean casino by two principal characters. The following are some examples of the technical defenses. (China Post) Chen Che-nan, a former deputy secretary-general to President Chen Shui-bian, admitted yesterday he visited a South Korean casino in November 2002 together with Chen Min-hsien, who is under investigation for involvement in the snow-balling Kaohsiung Metro scandal. "We visited the casino on Cheju," said Chen Che-nan, who had insisted he never set foot on South Korea before. Li Tao, the talk-show host, produced on Wednesday night a photo showing the two Chens at the Korean casino, which he claimed was in Seoul. "I have said I have never visited Seoul and Inchon," Chen Che-nan. "I visited Cheju with Chen Min-hsien," he admitted. Minister of Justice Shih Mao-lin ... was grilled at the Legislative Yuan for failure to obtain "evidence" against the two Chens, which the media had easily secured.

If one of the parties put as much energy into improving the workers' lives as they did in attacking/defending each other, then the scandal would prove useful. But the one thing that has dropped out of the scandal is the one really important thing: worker welfare.


Menghsin Journal explains why bus drivers in Taiwan can sometimes be great:

About three minutes of pointless back-and-forth continued, during which the bus driver explained that the children's fare is only 8NT whereas the normal fare is 15NT. He insisted on seeing her ID (a pointless request considering she was obviously not a child) which she wouldn't produce, and eventually claimed she did not have. She was taking her sweet time pulling her bus pass out from its protective sheath too, all the while insisting that she didn't swipe a child's card.

Jerome Keating posts essays on Kinmen, one on history and some pics on its environment.

October 25th, the anniversary date of the battle of Guningtou approaches and the small island of Kinmen once again is in the spotlight. Kinmen sits some two kilometers off the southeastern coast of mainland China at the Jiulong River estuary in Fujian province. Though not large, its special location has nevertheless given it important, diverse, and changing roles in the history of China and later of Taiwan.

Wandering to Tamshui had many great posts, as always, but in particular had one on beating in Taiwan schools that was just great....

If passed without addressing the root of the problem, the no-hitting law will be enforced for all of a year before it either gets ignored or teachers find other, more imaginative ways to punish errant students. Holding mandatory retraining seminars for teachers in conjunction with the new law therefore seems to make a lot more sense.

Cold Goat Eyes also blogged on this topic:

As for me, I am appalled and disgusted by this video clip. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach that this kind of blatant student espionage is allowed to happen in this day and age. The boy that filmed this event must be punished. His cellphone should be siezed and a ban on all similar devices in the classroom should be initiated and enforced as soon as possible. We cannot allow our students to film the practice of corporal punishment in schools in this manner. The teacher waited ten days for this boys homework. TEN days! If it had been me I would have done it after 2 hours. After all, Taiwan kids have it easy here right? Short school hours, no tests, no pressure, no out-of-school cramming in early-morning or late-evening bushibans, no homework, no obsessive parents who lock them in their bedrooms after 8pm and force them into an unwanted path of academic hellfire and brimstone.

Rank blogs on the Pan-Blue's continued attempts to ensure that Taiwan has no functioning government at all:

The Pan Blues have done it again. They've passed an incoherent bill that will create more problems that it solves. This China Post article seems itself to be a paradigm of incoherence, but the process it describes matches the descriptions in Chinese media. Parties will nominate a total of 15 people to the National Communications Commission. The Cabinet will nominate an additional three for a total of 18 nominees. An 11-member legislative panel will confirm 13 nominees through a vote. The interesting wrinkle is that a nominee needs at least 60 percent of panel votes to be appointed. Given the current legislature's record on cross-party cooperation, this virtually guarantees the NCC legislative panel will be deadlocked: based on the current legislature, five members would be pan green and six would be pan blue. Do the math. The pan blues won't be able to push through nominees unless at least one pan green panel member is absent during a vote. How likely is that?


Ni Howdy develops an interesting counterproposal for the Anti-Succession law:

2. Have a referendum upon the question, "Any unification plan must pass a referendum of Taiwan's voters with X% approval rate with Y% of total registered voters voting."

The beauty of this is Taiwan can claim to be setting up for a unification scenario (not independence), but at the same time constraining China if it passes that any unification plan has to be damn acceptable to the people of Taiwan and not some bargain made with James Soong in a smoke-filled Shanghai KTV.

Jon complains to the BBC about Taiwan's Tamiflu situation. Karl hilariously attempts to introduce worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to Taiwan. Congrats to Big Ell on adding by 1! Don't miss the podcasting at Getting a Leg Up and Ugly Expat. As always, great photos at 35togo, Unplugged, the forgetful's photo gallery, amateur commune, andres, Clarke vs Matt, Cat Piano,T_C at Fotolog, Fotologging Taiwan, Photoactionboy, leftmind, MaMaHuHu (Jackson, you gonna put new stuff up there?), Everything Visible is Empty, Roger in Taiwan, Love Songs (Are for Losers), Photoblogging Taiwan, a better tomorrow, and This Life. There's a big list of Taiwan fotologgers at

US Military Aid to Taiwan!

The US approved air-to-air missile sales to Taiwan:

The U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday notified Congress that it had approved the sale to Taiwan of 10 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and 5 AIM-7M Sparrow missiles -- both built by Raytheon Co.

The proposed sale, valued at $280 million if all options are exercised, also included continuation of a pilot training program and logistics support for F-16 aircraft, as well as associated equipment and services.

Hooboy! 15 missiles!


In a second item, part of the same deal, we're going to train Taiwanese pilots:

THE Pentagon has announced a possible contract with Taiwan to continue training F-16 fighter pilots in Arizona and provide air-to-air missiles for live fire drills.

The contract, which was notified to the US Congress, was valued at as high as $US280 million ($367.89 million).

It includes 10 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and five AIM-7M Sparrow missiles for live fire exercises at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, the Pentagon said.

The contract also provides for the continuation of a program to train Taiwanese pilots at Luke Air Force Base and logistics support for F-16 fighter aircraft, it said.

This is far more important than missiles and something I have long called for. I'm curious to see what kind of stuff leaks about the quality of local fighter pilots.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

They're here!

My aunt and uncle, the first family to visit me in all my years here, have stopped in for the next few days. So it will be light blogging until the weekend.....

....except for the roundup, of course!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

New Wall of Photos

My aunt and uncle from Cleveland are visiting this week for a few days on their way home from vacationing in China, so my wife has been furiously cleaning and decorating. On Monday my wife scrubbed the downstairs spotless, clean enough for open heart surgery. We brought our Golden Retriever in for the night, and sometime in the night had diarrhea all over the floor. I got up in the morning to clean it, only to find that the pump motor had failed in the mountains above us, and our community had no water. Not a bad day it was, with the fragrant smell of dog diarrhea hanging in the morning air, and not a drop of water in the house.

One thing I have done since Peace Corps is put up pictures of friends and family. My parents sent me dozens of pictures, which I assembled into a huge collage that was a constant generator of questions and attention from my students at the village school where I was teaching. Since then it has been a tradition in my family to cover the walls with pictures of the family. It just seems a waste to have all those pictures stashed in volumes when they could be up for everyone to enjoy. Pictured above is the main wall of pictures in our house.

My wife added a new wall the other day, this one of our trip to Sri Lanka. She makes these by using cheap white plastic soundproofing from B&Q. She puts up two layers held together by double-sided tape, and then tapes them again to the wall with double sided tape. The soundproofing is the only stuff that is light enough to tape to a wall -- you could put up a soft wood, but that is expensive and a pain. Ordinary tacks/pins are then used to affix the pics to the soundproofing.

New Page on the Teaching English in Taiwan Site!

I'm working on a couple of new pages for the website. This new one, which I finally got up today, is related to the upcoming county and local elections. I've collected pictures of political ads from around the area, and posted them with my usual trenchant commentary and elegant wit. I'll be updating this baby as time goes by. Enjoy!

Miers Nomination

The Truth Laid Bear is doing an informal poll of blogosphere on the Miers nomination. Interesting idea.

I oppose the Miers nomination. Although I have to admit, watching conservatives find out what a corrupt, incompetent, self-absorbed, arrogant, paranoid bunch of shits the Bush Administration is has been very enjoyable. In a way I'll be sorry to watch HM go down.

China Blog Lists

The Peking Duck pointed me to this list of China Blogs from the Creators of Sinosplice

Lee Teng-hui's Recent Speech

Here is the text of Lee's recent speech courtesy of Taiwan Communique:


FYI hereby the speech President Lee delivered in Los Angeles.

For an overview of press articles and commentaries, visit our website

Gerrit van der Wees
Editor, Taiwan Communique
New Taiwan, Ilha Formosa, the website for
Taiwan's history, present, and future

A Strategy of Freedom in Asia-

The Sudden Rise of Cooperation Among Free Democracies

Against Communist Militarist Hegemony

Lee Teng-Hui, former President of Taiwan

Formosa Foundation

Los Angeles, California

October 21, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am greatly honored to have this opportunity to meet with friends from
Los Angeles and share some of my thoughts on Asian strategies for
freedom in the twenty first century.

The twenty first century is the century of freedom. On January 20th of
this year, your president-elect George W. Bush, in his inauguration
speech stated,

"The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the
success of liberty in other lands. [The] best hope for peace in our world is
the expansion of freedom in all the world. It is the policy of the
United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and
institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of
ending tyranny in our world.

Two months later, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a speech
given in Tokyo at Sophia University, said "[R]aw power will not define
Asia in the 21st century, as it has done in centuries past. Instead,
ideas -- ideas of freedom -- will define 21st century Asia."

These two statements set out the foundations of both a great vision as
well as clear objectives regarding peace and security in Asia.
Therefore today I would like to examine the Asian strategy that is needed to
achieve these objectives.

What are the differences between Asia and other regions in this regard?

Most areas of the world have experienced an abrupt rise in freedom and
democracy while tyrannical dictatorships are in decline. With the
breakup of the Soviet communist military bloc the democratization of Europe
was completed. Latin America and Africa are also in the throes of
bidding farewell to dictatorships and entering the age of democracy.

However in Asia, we are witnessing a widening in the rift between the
opposing systems of free democracies and tyrannical dictatorships.

On the one hand we have the examples of Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and
Mongolia in East Asia; India and Pakistan in South Asia; Thailand, the
Philippines, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia; and Afghanistan, Iraq,
Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Georgia in Central Asia. All of these
countries, with their different peoples, religions, and cultures, have
in their own way chosen the path of freedom and bid farewell to the
dictatorships of the past.

In the midst of waves of democracy rolling through the Asia-Pacific
region, we witness the abrupt rise of China, the last major bastion of
communist dictatorship and so this region takes center stage in the final
confrontation between freedom and tyranny.

This emergence of China has captured the public's attention throughout
the world. Everyone is asking: Will China's rise be a peaceful one or
will it be based on military force?

The answer to this question is very simple. If China terminates its one
party community dictatorship and opts for constitutional reform that
includes freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the new
China will be a peaceful country. If the contrary is true however, and
China insists on maintaining its one party despotic dictatorship, if it
continues to exploit and suppress its people at home and expand its
military threats against its democratic neighbors, then China will retain
its current status and we will continue to witness the rise of a
militarist hegemony.

So which road will the emerging China take? The road to peace or the
road to aggression? Freedom or oppression? Democracy or dictatorship? The
choice is not entirely for the government and people of China to make.
The route China takes will also depend on the strategy and policies
towards China and future developments in the Asia-Pacific that are adopted
by free and democratic countries, especially those of the United

If free countries drop their guard against an emerging China military
dictatorship and tolerate China's oppression at home and military
adventures abroad, or if we capitulate to China's "united front tactics" that
are designed to divide and defeat the free countries one by one we will
have committed the mistakes of Munich and Yalta and facilitated China's
following in the footsteps of Hitler and Stalin. The results will be a
disaster for Asia that will reverberate throughout the entire world.

Free nations must remain on the alert to the threats from the Chinese
military dictatorship as China grows in economic strength. Free nations
must develop and strengthen their global and regional cooperation in
both supporting the peoples of China in their struggle for freedom and
democracy as well as taking measures to stop Chinese acts of oppression
and aggression. Only in this way will we eventually see a China that
respects the universal human rights of its people, a China that has
renounced tyranny, and a China that is ready to take its place among the
family of free nations in Asia.

The free nations of Asia lack a common strategy to deal with the
emerging China. One reason for this deficiency lies in the difference between
the development strategies adopted by communist China and that adopted
by the Soviet Union under communism.

The Soviet Union and the East European members of the Soviet bloc
adopted a closed-door policy whereby socialist and capitalist systems were
kept apart. When socialist practices proved to be weaker than capitalist
practices in the area of economic and national development, socialism
lost the competition and the Soviet bloc collapsed.

The difference then is that China has adopted an "open door,"
"magnetic" strategy aimed at drawing in the capital, technology, and management,
markets of the capitalist countries. So under conditions that are
tantamount to enslavement by the state, businesses from the capitalist
countries are enticed by cheap obedient labor and cheap land and facilities
"owned" by the state. China is thus able to consolidate foreign
resources with its local conditions to become the manufacturer for
international capital, producing inexpensive goods which are then dumped on world
markets and fill China's coffers with money that strengthens the
economy, military and technology of a country in which the people still live
as slaves to the communist system. As long as the capital from free
countries continues to pour into China, China's already oppressive
practices will become more entrenched and the ensuing and ever expanding
militarism will make the likelihood of a transition to a peaceful country
ever more unlikely.

China Inc., a book that praises the "vigor and dynamism of China" opens
with a story.

The author visits an electronic components factory in Shenjyun China.
The factory has ten thousand employees, all paid the equivalent of
eighty U.S. dollars a month, all young women, and not one wearing glasses.

The author asks the plant manager: "So you don't hire anyone with poor

The manager responds: "If anyone's eyesight deteriorates we ask her to
leave. It doesn't matter to me, there are plenty of people lined up
waiting for jobs here."

The author goes on: "Whether in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Suzhou, or Dalian,
there are hordes of people coming from the countryside seeking work,
and this sort of attitude on the part of managers is a natural result of
the labor situation. A plant in Dalian advertised for a job paying the
equivalent of US$90 per month and was met with two thousand applicants
from nearby farming villages surrounding the entire factory when lining
up for the interviews. The women chosen for the job lived in the
factory dorm working day and night and spent their lunch breaks learning
about electronic circuitry in on the job training. There is an
inexhaustible supply of this kind of labor in China, it is without precedent
anywhere in the world."

The author's conclusion is that the situation in China is "the way
capitalism is supposed to be, a capitalist's paradise."

This story reveals the secret of China's powerful magnetic effect. The
pyramid of China's rise is built on an inexhaustible supply of young
women from rural China who will lose their sight and youth. This is the
magnetic pole toward which free global capital is rushing. But when
products from Chinese slave factories are flooding the world, profits will
decline for capital in the free world, unemployment will rise, and the
wages of free workers, following those of unfree Chinese workers, will
fall. The result will be the defeat of the competitiveness of free
countries by the slave system that they themselves have nurtured.

We can now clearly see that Communist China and the former Soviet
empire have adopted different strategies against free, democratic countries.

The former Soviet empire was eventually buried by the very capitalist
system that it swore it would bury by opposing the United States. But
China does not oppose the US and is not trying to bury capitalism.
Rather, it is absorbing imports of American and international capital by
engaging the US in "constructive cooperation" and international capital in
"friendly interchanges." These capital imports are allowing China to
rapidly build up the economic, military, technological, and diplomatic
power of its slave system.

The former Soviet empire directly challenged the world's free
democracies, polarizing the world and creating a balance of terror through the
resulting arms race. In the end, the Soviet empire fell apart after its
economy collapsed under the weight of its military over-expansion.
Communist China, however, avoids direct confrontation with the free
democracies of the world. Instead it divides the world's democracies with its
"multipolar" strategy. This is in fact the traditional Chinese strategy
of "using barbarians to rule other barbarians." The objective is to use
differences between the world's democracies to block them from allying
with one another so that its slave system can coexist in a "multipolar"
order of divided democracies.

The former Soviet empire's military expansionism failed because it
overextended its lines and diluted its power. China knows that it does not
have the former Soviet Union's military power and so it has adopted a
strategy of shrinking its lines by converting its former enemies such as
Russia, India, and Vietnam into "partners" or "friendly neighbors."
This allows China to concentrate its forces on attacking democratic Taiwan
as its first stepping stone to expanding its military and becoming
Asia's dominant power.

Why is it that everyone could easily see the threat posed by the former
Soviet Union, come together to strengthen cooperation between free
countries and force the Soviet Union to abandon its slave system? Why can't
people see the threat posed by China's slave system?

I believe there are two factors. One is that the West has a double
standard for the former Soviet Union and China. People in the West believed
that Soviet human rights violations and threats to neighboring
countries should be stopped. But they believe that China's violations of human
rights and threats to neighboring countries are "special Chinese
characteristics" that can be tolerated.

The second factor is that the Soviet Union had just one face that it
turned to the outside world, and that was a threatening face. But China
has two faces. One face is intimidation, the other enticement. In March
of this year, Communist China stepped up its intimidation of democratic
Taiwan by passing its so-called "Anti-secession Law." And then General
Zhu Chenghu of the People's Liberation Army threatened the United
States with nuclear weapons. But at the same time it continued to oppress
its people to create illusory economic growth that it uses to attract
foreign investment.

In his speech in the Latvian capital of Riga commemorating the 60th
Anniversary of World War II, President Bush reflected on the history
lessons of the Yalta Agreement, which placed half of Europe under the yoke
of the Soviet slave system. President Bush said:

The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and
the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments
negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this
attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent
divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern
Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history. .We
will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or
excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability. We
have learned our lesson: no one's liberty is expendable. In the long
run, our security and true stability depend on the freedom of others.

Today the Soviet Union's communist empire has been destroyed and the
tragedy of half of Europe being placed under the yoke of the Soviet slave
system has ended. But the primary threat of "sacrificing freedom in the
vain pursuit of stability" has clearly shifted to Asia.

The strategy for freedom in 21st Century Asia is for free democracies
to cooperate fully, join together to resist China's strategy of
division, and bring the light of freedom to the darkest corners of Asia.

The strategic advantage in the Asia-Pacific region lies on the side of
the free democracies, not on the side of China's slave system. But the
major obstacles to strategic cooperation between Asia's democracies
include overrating the strength of the slave system, underestimating the
strength of freedom and democracy, fear of Chinese intimidation, and
speculating on Chinese economic incentives.

The Chinese and North Korean slave states are just large and small
islands in the sea of freedom and democracy. China advocates
"multi-polarity" because it wants to sow dissent between the free countries so that
it can strike them one by one and realize its goal of isolating the
leader of the free countries, the US. Asia's free countries should increase
economic, military, cultural, and diplomatic cooperation to avoid
falling into traps like the Shanghai Cooperation Council that Communist
China sets to divide free democracies.

Taiwan has emerged as a new democracy during the third wave of
democracy. During the past 300 years, Taiwan had been a colony of Holland, the
rule of Koxinga, the Manchu empire, Japan, and the Chinese Nationalist
Party (KMT). In the decade between 1986 and 1996, Taiwan transitioned
from rule by a foreign power-the Chinese Nationalist party or KMT, to a
democracy. The people of Taiwan gave me an opportunity to become
witness to history. I began as a vice-president and then became Taiwan's
first democratically elected president. By the time I left office, Taiwan
had accomplished its first peaceful transfer of power to another party.
I witnessed Taiwan's three miracles.

Freedom. Taiwan's people ended more than 300 years of
slavery by foreign rule and oppression.

Economic progress. Taiwan became one of the world's most
competitive countries.

Peace across the Taiwan Straits. The votes of the Taiwanese
aple defeated the Chinese dictatorship's missiles. China, an
authoritarian slave state, will never again dare to take lightly a small

But Taiwan faces external and internal threats.

The progress of Taiwan's democracy is being hindered both by her
threats from China's slave state and internally by the remnants of the
Chinese foreign power that once ruled Taiwan.

And now these two enemies are joining together and plotting to
undermine Taiwan's democracy. They want to take power out of the hands of the
Taiwanese people and put it back in the hands of the Chinese Nationalist
Party's foreign rule.

Taiwan's freedom depends on the people of Taiwan protecting it. But the
people of Taiwan need the support of the US and other free peoples. The
threat of Munich and Yalta-that great powers will once again sacrifice
the interests of small countries-has not passed. Taiwan's people
believe President Bush's promise in Riga of not to "repeat the mistakes of
other generations, (in) appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing
freedom in the vain pursuit of stability".

The battle between slavery and freedom has shifted to Asia. The people
of Asia hope that the United States, India, Japan, South Korea, and
Taiwan will create a strategic alliance of Asian democracies to begin a
new era of cooperation between Asian democracies. They hope that this new
alliance will protect them from the threat of Chinese militarism and
will also help the Chinese people win their freedom from slavery and put
China on the path of democracy and peace.

Thank you for your attention.

Blast from the Past: SARS and Bird Flu

I wrote in a previous post that Taiwan was surprisingly successful in fighting SARS. An anonymous poster wrote in the comments:

Da-Bien sat with his thumbs up his ass and pointed his fingers at Hong Kong and China while doing NOTHING at home. Then the infections hit!

I was there. I rememebred it. Locals running out to 7-11 during quarantine, the infection spreading. Doctors refusing to treat patients.

Stepping past the hysterical obsession with Chen Shui-bian, whom the more childish among the mainlanders have nicknamed "Da-Bian" (poop), I too once felt the same way. Here's a fatalistic article I wrote two years ago for a now defunct website called East Cathay...


Last month my wife and I were taking the family out to dinner at a local restaurant. As the stoplight turned green, a city bus roared out into the intersection through the red light. It had run down a long line of cars patiently waiting for the light to change by speeding past them in the lane for oncoming traffic. It careered into the intersection like a drunken whale, and we watched in disgust as it made a right turn across three lanes of traffic (including, as always, a lane of cars illegally lined up in the far righthand parking and motorcycle lanes), and then lurched to a halt at the stop to disgorge its cargo of junior high school students. "See?" spat my Taiwanese wife in frustration as we slammed on the brakes, "this is why we will never stop SARS here."

Life in the world of SARS. To outsiders it must seem like Taiwan has gone completely batty, but then completely batty is the norm here. In a society where civic-mindedness is weak and "me-first" is the dynamism that propels national growth, SARS is like a giant hand that has lifted the stone to expose the ants scurrying beneath. Practically everything that is normal and habitual in Chinese culture, from spitting on the street to ignoring the law to relying on luck and fate, facilitates SARS. The virus could hardly have found a better society to incubate if it had been given eternity and the entire planet to chose from.

My wife, and my kids haven't really curtailed our lifestyle too much. At my wife's insistence, we wear masks when we go out, and wash our hands with disinfectants, but we still go out. Business is down, but it is hard to tell whether SARS or the declining economy is the culprit. The restaurants are empty, little museums of Taiwanese night life, where the staff play Mah-jong and exchange rumors about competitors who have already gone under. Every day the news brings reports of another round of political bickering, stories of official incompetence, hoarding, and defiance of quarantine. Last month the papers reported with great indignation that more than 40% of those quarantined were ignoring the order. High placed officials are leading the way: several of the first cases were influential doctors who had treated SARS patients in the hospitals and then ignored quarantines to see patients at the private clinics they operated. Draconian punishments were threatened but were, as always in local society, not carried out. Law enforcement in Taiwan is something that is often heard, but rarely seen.

Despite the morbid predictions on all sides, humorous moments still lighten our SARS life. The other day a KTV hostess was admitted to the hospital in the large city of Kaohsiung with SARS-like symptoms. Much to everyone's horror, the lung x-rays showed the telltale white spots. As a KTV hostess she had been in enclosed rooms at length with scores of people. Somehow a smart radiologist checked the charts and the young woman was forced to publicly confess that her bosom had received a little artificial stimulus, said implants being the cause of the white spots. No doubt it was the first time in history there was public relief that someone had undergone breast augmentation.

Taiwan is in the international spotlight, and its image has suffered. One issue that has angered me is the coverage in the foreign news. A nasty-minded article in the Los Angeles Times managed to imply that the government here was violating local civil rights by enforcing quarantine regulations through highly selective quoting and examples. Apparently the illiterate who wrote it had never heard of her own government's Patriot Act, which would have been right at home here in the martial law era. Another article in the Washington Post said that President Chen's government had done a poor job combatting SARS. The writer hadn't done the proper research. Hoping Hospital, at the center of the outbreak, had been run by the opposition KMT, the former ruling party, and was already famous for its obstructionist tactics even before its incompetence and procrastination helped spur the SARS outbreak. Most upsetting of all, the WHO, so courageous in confronting disease germs, showed an utter lack of moral courage in confronting China over SARS in Taiwan.

Still, the beat goes on. A Taiwanese doctor, fresh from treating SARS patients, decided to take a vacation in Japan. Fortunately nobody got SARS. A scholar from the Academia Sinica broke quarantine and traveled around Asia. The head of the Academia Sinica, highly-respected Nobel Prize winner Lee Yuan-tze, limply excused this on the grounds that the institution could not hold him because he was a US citizen. Rather than seizing all incoming masks and simply redistributing them through the network of government health clinics to ease the shortage, the government is spot-checking shops for price-gouging, as if anyone will pay the slightest attention. The result is that masks are unavailable. With a fine sense of bureaucratic comedy, a local city government announced that if you wanted to visit its buildings to carry on your business, you should wear a medical-quality mask, although the central government has restricted them to medical personnel only. There is now open discussion of the one certain solution: confine everyone to their homes and shut the country down for 14 days, until all possibility of SARS has passed. However, everyone knows that too many people would simply pay no attention to any such order, just as they pay no attention to any other order the government gives. "There is no law on Taiwan," runs a knowing local saying. Perhaps the locals, having reformed the KMT out of office, will finally reform the law into it, now that they have SARS to spur them on.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

BBC Reports Taiwan to Break Tamiful Patent

The Blogosphere is abuzz with the BBC report that Taiwan has decided to break the patent on Tamiful and produce the drug itself.

Taiwan has responded to bird flu fears by starting work on its own version of the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu, without waiting for the manufacturer's consent.

Taiwan officials said they had applied for the right to copy the drug - but the priority was to protect the public.

Tamiflu, made by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, cannot cure bird-flu but is widely seen as the best anti-viral drug to fight it, correspondents say

Taiwan was surprisingly sucessful in fighting SARS. Don't get pessimistic about the island's ability to contain bird flu just yet....

Mayor Ma's Butt Again

Mayor Ma's butt, which is enshrined in KMT headquarters on a painting as Rank reported last month, was in the news again a few days back. Those of you who think that the good mayor is a class act, think again.

It seems that the Mayor had an event with Mayor Hu of Taichung, in which a group of blindfolded women got on stage with the two men, and then felt the hind ends of the two men to see if they could distinguish one from the other. I don't know what's worse -- Ma's ego that drove such an event, or the women who would sign up for it. The letters and blogposts criticizing this event were a legion. It is apparent that if Ma keeps talking and acting on a national level, simply giving him enough rope will be sufficient to let him hang himself. The man hasn't a lick of political sense, and has the lack of spine to match that other defect.

Some pics taken from the above link:

And here a curious woman almost gets round to his "LP" (as the Little Bird is known in Taiwanese initial slang)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Taiwan and India Trade Continues to Grow

I'm always happy to report on improved ties between Taiwan and India, and here is another article on the topic.

He added that Kwang Yang, Taiwan’s largest motorcycle manufacturer has already been surveying the prospective sites for setting up a manufacturing unit in India.

While Mumbai and Puna seem to be probable locations, parts of Orissa and West Bengal in eastern India have not been ruled out, though.

Another Taiwanese company, Hsu, that was initially interested in setting up its India-office in Bangalore, now seems to have made up its mind to set shop in Kolkata as well.

"The company (Hsu) will import iron ore from India. The office will be set up in Kolkata, since it makes economic sense to operate from here," a senior TWTC representative told Newsline.

While Kwang Yang is set to invest a whopping $20 million in the first phase of its motorbike manufacturing unit, the size of the food processing company that will also be set up in India is not known now.

Chang said that the industrialists of the state can also expand their activities to Taiwan.

"The Indo-Taiwan trade stood at $2.2 billion between August 2004 and July 2005. The bilateral trade between January-December 2005 is expected to touch $ 2.5 billion.

Actually, my interest is purely selfish: I'm looking forward to an explosion in Indian restaurants. maybe I'm an optimist.

CCTV on Taiwan's 60th Anniversary of Leaving Japanese Rule

China Central TV, a station from China, had a hilarious little blurb today on the 60th anniversary of Taiwan's freedom from Japanese colonial rule.

This is sixtieth anniversary of Taiwan's recovery from Japanese colonial rule. The island has kicked off celebrations with a month-long photo exhibition. The show opened at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum in Taipei.

It shows how people in Taiwan resisted the Japanese invasion, fought for survival, and won the final victory. Many veterans of the war have visited the exhibition. Eighty-five-year-old Hsu Li-nung, the head of Taiwan's New Nation Alliance, was among them. He praised the bravery of the ill-equipped Chinese troops during the war, and expressed hope that people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits can carry forward the brave spirit, and accelerate the country's peaceful reconciliation.

Did people in Taiwan fight for survival in the 1920s and 1930s? Resistance was pretty much over among the Taiwanese after 1910. Ironically, the real resistance, the aborigines, don't appear to rate a separate mention here.

No, the real fighting done by the Taiwanese was done by the 200,000 who served in the Japanese Army. Somehow that little embarrassment was left out of CCTV's presentation. Nor does it mention that the vast majority of older Taiwanese would probably rather be ruled by Tokyo than by Beijing, if those were the only two choices available...Also, the blurb doesn't mention who the Japanese handed Taiwan over to. HINT: their capital wasn't in Beijing.

The Guardian on The Weapons Purchase

I have to admit that I am in despair over the simple inability of foreign columnists to get Taiwan right. I could list probably 30 blogs that whose writers have a more interesting and knowledgeable take on Taiwan, and well understand the issues surrounding the weapons purchase. This article from the Guardian makes puts out the same inane analysis that the others do, with a bonus error on the Taiwan Relations Act.

But the biggest question for Washington concerns Taiwan, which China regards as a "renegade province" and which the US is legally bound to defend under the Taiwan Relations Act. US pressure on Taipei is being exerted less publicly but with growing forcefulness.

I'm tracking down the writer's email so can carefully explain to him that the TRA obligates the US only to hold a meeting if China attacks Taiwan, and does not require the US to defend Taiwan.

Here is the relevant portion, Sec 3302

# (a) Defense articles and services
In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 3301 of this title, the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.
# (b) Determination of Taiwan's defense needs
The President and the Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan, in accordance with procedures established by law. Such determination of Taiwan's defense needs shall include review by United States military authorities in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress.
# (c) United States response to threats to Taiwan or dangers to United States interests
The President is directed to inform the Congress promptly of any threat to the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan and any danger to the interests of the United States arising therefrom. The President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger.

Read it carefully. The TRA requires the US to provide for Taiwan's defense, but there is nothing in it to stop the President from saying "Taiwan's defense is well-provided for" as its airplanes are shot out of the sky and Chinese troops swarm onto the island. Judgment of Taiwan's defense needs is limited SOLELY to the President and Congress (no legal mechanism brings Taiwan itself into the debate) and they can come to any agreement their political calculus dictates. Should Taiwan be attacked, the President must notify Congress promptly.

And that's it. There is absolutely no guarantee of any defense for Taiwan. It is all political calculus. Realistically, at the moment, it is likely that the US will intervene. But there is no guarantee here. Continuing:

The main irritant is the internal political deadlock over a $10bn US arms sale that Washington is urging Taiwan to accept. But peace-building moves by the pro-reunification opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, which is pursuing a rapprochement with China in defiance of the independence-minded president, Chen Shui-bian, have also upset traditional US calculations.

Tisdall does at least dimly understand that the KMT is a problem, but erroneously refers to the KMT's cooperation with Beijing as a "peace-building move." That is simpleminded regurgitation of KMT propaganda. We then have the pro-forma citation of an analyst from the US also missing the nuances:

"If Taiwan is not willing to properly invest in its own self-defence, why should we, the US, provide for it?" Edward Ross, a senior Pentagon official, asked in a speech at the US-Taiwan Business Council last month. "At a time when young American men and women are in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan - countries not nearly as developed or politically evolved as Taiwan - an increasing number of Americans are asking hard questions about how much we are willing to sacrifice for the security and democracy of others."
Then the provision of decontextualized information, as if thousands didn't march in favor of the weapons purchase just last month. They, however, don't get a voice.

Many Taiwanese worry that new weapons could upset the fragile status quo; others believe it is pointless to try to match Beijing's military might; and still others feel the money would be better spent on social programmes.

Yes, and no doubt all of that it is true, but your claims are unsupported by survery data, Mr. Tisdall. Finally Tisdall cites Lee Teng-hui on the arms purchase:

One such response came from the former president and fierce advocate of independence, Lee Teng-hui.

He said the main problem with the arms sale was that the defensive weapons on offer were not good enough. In his view, only serious military hardware will guarantee Taiwan's future. Another reason, perhaps, why Mr Rumsfeld's attempt to stop China building weapons and to sell arms to Taiwan looks likely to self-destruct.

Without ever mentioning that Lee has publicly backed it. Tisdall also does not mention that the pro-China parties have blocked it, while Chen supports the purchase, SOP for foreign reports of this.

In sum, a poor job of research that results in a slanted presentation. Taiwan still awaits the foreign reporter who can get things right.

Gavin Menzies and Ming Voyages

I am sure that many of you have seen Gavin Menzies' 1421: The Year China Discovered the World and wondered about it. This Erik-Van-Daniken-meets-ancient-China codswallop was debunked in a post to H-ASIA today.

October 21, 2005

Popular History and Bunkum -- on *1421, The Year China Discovered
From: Geoff Wade <>

Dear H-Asia members,

I have just submitted the following complaint against Transworld
Publishers of Britain to the Consumer Complaints body of the United

The complaint derives from Transworld publishing and advertising
"1421: The Year China Discovered the World" , authored by Gavin
Menzies, as a work of history, which I believe is a violation of the
British Trade Descriptions Act of 1968

Best wishes,

Geoff Wade


Copy of complaint submitted:

I purchased a copy of Gavin Menzies' "1421: The Year China Discovered
the World," published by Transworld, on the basis that it was
classified as "History" in their catalogue. A detailed reading of the
text revealed that the work is a fairtytale and fiction of the worst
kind. I detail some of the outrageous fiction perpetrated within the

Claims by Mr. Menzies followed by facts

1. Claim: Four eunuch admirals�-Hong Bao, Zhou Man, Zhou Wen and Yang
Qing --led fleets to the Americas, Australia, Greenland and the
Antarctic during voyages between 1421 and 1423.

Fact: There are no Chinese or other texts which suggest in any way
that these four eunuchs, or any other Ming commanders, traveled
anywhere at all beyond Asia, the Middle East and the East coast of
Africa. All other voyages derive solely from Mr. Menzies'
imagination. Further, the currents, winds and dates Menzies cites in
support would not have carried the ships anywhere near where he
claims. In short, there is no archaeological, textual or archival
material to support the Menzies thesis as set down in *1421*. In this
book Menzies intentionally distorts known materials and deliberately
alters known facts in order to support his thesis.

2. Claim: Sailors and concubines from these fleets settled in the
Americas, Australia, New Zealand and islands across the Pacific. In
evidence, he cites studies of "recent" inflow of "Chinese genes" and
"East Asian DNA" into the Americas.

Fact: There is no evidence of Ming settlement sites in, or even Ming
knowledge, of these places until the arrival of the Jesuits in China
in the 16th century. The genetic evidence on which Menzies relies is
provided by a company whose genetic tests have been labelled a "scam"
by Stephen O'Brien, the US National Cancer Institute's laboratory

3. Claim: There exists a range of wrecks of the ships from these
voyages spread around the world, and these are proof of the voyages
claimed by Menzies.

Fact: Not one wreck which can be linked with the eunuch voyages in
the first 30 years of the 15th century (or indeed any Chinese wreck)
has been identified outside of the Asian region.

4. Claim: The Ming voyagers built celestial observation platforms at
24 places across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Menzies names and
provides coordinates for these platforms. (*1421*, pp. 416/17, 457)

Fact: There is no textual or archaeological evidence to even begin to
suggest that the Ming voyagers built observation platforms anywhere
in the world. Again, their existence derives only from the fertile
imagination of Mr. Menzies.

5. Claim: The Ming armadas left a range of other built structures
around the world, particularly in Australasia and the Americas,
including the Newport Round Tower, the Gympie pyramid and other
structures and mines. They also left a ship's slipway made of stones
on the Bimini islands in the Caribbean.

Fact: Not one of the structures Mr. Menzies cites has been shown to
have any links with China. The Bimini "slipway," which is in any case
parallel to the shore, has been shown to be a completely natural

6. Claim: The Chinese "were aware that the earth was a globe and had
divided it into 365 and a quarter degrees (the number of days in the
year) of latitude and longitude." (*1421*, p. 449)

Fact: There is no evidence that during the early Ming, the Chinese
had any knowledge of the earth as a globe and certainly none that
they were aware of latitude and longitude.

7. Claim: The Ming voyagers surveyed South America, Antarctica, North
America and the Atlantic as well as Australasia. "The whole world was
accurately charted by 1428." (*1421* p. 411)

Fact: There is no text or other evidence which suggests that the Ming
voyagers went anywhere near these places and no Chinese maps which
indicate any surveying of these places. Further, there are no
contemporary Ming artifacts found in any of these regions.

8. Claim: A range of European maps show anomalies which can only be
explained by accepting the Chinese voyages proposed by Mr. Menzies as
having taken place

Fact: The cartographic anomalies which Mr. Menzies points to, real or
imagined, can be explained through many avenues, the most likely
being that Arab navigators, who had been traveling these waters for
600 years before the Chinese, had produced maps of areas they traveled

9. Claim: Mr. Menzies noted that the Venetian Niccolo da Conti was
the crucial and only link between Chinese and European cartographers.
Menzies claims that he participated in the voyages over several years
and carried Chinese maps back to Europe. He notes that Da Conti "had
spent years aboard a junk of the treasure fleet" and that "Chinese
maps passed from Da Conti to Fra Mauro, and from him to Dom Pedro of
Portugal and Prince Henry the Navigator." (*1421*, pp. 369, 84-87,

Fact: Da Conti, who left us detailed accounts of his travels,
recounts neither meeting any Ming envoy in Calicut, nor traveling on
any Chinese ship for even a day, nor seeing or receiving any Chinese
maps showing a new world. The utter and complete contempt for truth
with which Menzies depicts these events is disheartening.

10. Claim: Mr. Menzies claims that a number of mylodons (a type of
giant sloth) had been taken from South America to New Zealand and
China by the Ming ships.

Fact: All available evidence suggests that the Mylodon has been
extinct for several thousand years, which militates somewhat against
the likely veracity of Mr. Menzies' claims in this respect. But such
sloppy research is found throughout the volume. He notes, for
example, rubber trees in Malacca 450 years before they had been
introduced from South America by the British, etc., etc. ad nauseam.


In short, all major claims within the work are fictional.
Representing this work as history is a flagrant violation of the
Trade Descriptions Act of 1968 which makes it an offence both to
apply a false description to any goods and to supply or offer to
supply any goods which have a false trade description applied.

To be an offence the Act notes that the indication must be false to a
material degree. To represent fiction as history does indeed meet
this criterion.

The role of the Local Trading Standards authorities is to enforce the
provisions of this Act and they are able to take whatever steps they
consider necessary to prevent others from being deceived. I trust
that appropriate action will be taken in this case.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact


I do not know if similar legislation to the British Trade
Descriptions Act exists within the United States, but William Morrow,
the publishers of the US edition of the book "1421: the Year China
Discovered America", and an imprint of Harper Collins, lists the
book under Non-fiction/History/World:

Harper here

With best wishes,

Geoff Wade
National University of Singapore

To post to H-ASIA simply send your message to:
For holidays or short absences send post to:
<> with message:
Upon return, send post with message SET H-ASIA MAIL

Chunghua Night Market

Vendors along Gongyuan Rd.

Next week my my aunt and uncle are coming to Taiwan to visit us for three days on their way back home from China, so we were thinking of taking them to some of the attractions in the Taichung area. I had seen the Chungahua Night Market in Compass' list of 16 attractions in Taichung, so we decided to check it out as a possible place to bring them.

The market sprawls around the area of Gongyuan and Junghua Roads, behind the Chungyo Department store, a famous landmark. I am sad to report that the shopping areas directly nearby Chungyo are probably more interesting, and certainly the restaurants are better. This night market is thoroughly dull, especially for the kids.

Cute little bandits.

The market is composed largely of clothing shops and food vendors. There are no games or rides for the kids. There is on amusement place on the way, the one pictured above. But we hate burning money in those places.

The True Jesus Church, as opposed to those False Jesus Churches.

We parked on a side street near the True Jesus Church, an imposing structure fronted by clothing vendors, fortunetellers, and porn VCD sellers in the best Taiwan style.

Rhonda and Mom bargain for a purse.

We took our neighbor Rhonda and her son Josh with us to the market.

The fecundity of modern productive power.

Presentations in Night Markets emphasize the seller's ability to supply an abundance of goods.

Got heartburn? Fried seafood.

Although there were some small eateries, most of it was stuff the kids don't eat, or that we wouldn't let them eat, or wouldn't eat ourselves.

Steak to order.

Finally we located something Sebastian would eat: chicken fried and served on an iron plate over noodles.

Hot pot cookin'.

Rhonda and I had typical night market fare, cheap hot pots. Mom ordered some ribs in soup from the vendor next door.....

Josh plays with his money.

Josh was a big hit with the locals.

Lots of stuff? Nope!

The "Ma La" (spicy) hot pot clocked in at $80. It looks like there is plenty of stuff but actually there wasn't very much. Worse, our presence precipitated what appeared to be another episode in a long-running argument between the hot pot vendor and the rib vendor from whom mom ordered her ribs in medicinal broth. The two men, next door to each other, nearly came to blows, arguing over whether the hot pot vendor had really returned a chair he had borrowed from the rib vendor. Finally JY apologized for causing the argument, which obviously wasn't about her, and this intervention caused the two men to slowly wind down.

Waiting by the health clinic.

It was hard to see what the fight really was about, since there were spare stools everywhere.

Shaved ice treats.

A favorite of the women in our family are those shaved ice treats found everywhere.

Dan-dan and Mom make their choices.

The great thing about them is that they basically consist of water and sweetened toppings, meaning that they are low in fat and calories.

Rhonda in the shop.

We wandered around for another hour, but there was nothing to really see, do, or buy, unless you were into sexy underwear, purses, bad shoes, or barbecue.

Watching as Zeb's chicken is cooked.

Zeb and Dan-dan got some BBQ for breakfast the next day.

The jewelry shop.

Mom stopped to have a look at everything. When Mom shops, each and every object must be inspected, and its merits discussed and dissected.

I want to scream too.

I can't decide whether I should laugh at this thing from the fortunetellers, or run screaming in fear from it.

The video store.

My wife maintains that in Taiwan you can't make it as a singer unless you are really good looking, while in the US there is still the possibility that you can make it in the music business no matter how unprepossessing you might be.

Bangles on clothing.

I love the contrast between this iron-faced old vendor and the bright clothing festooned with metal and beads that she sells.

Inspecting the nail clippers.

Mom and Rhonda did manage to find some necessities.

How long will they last?

My father once remarked that there is no town so small that it can't use another shoe store, and looking at Taiwan night markets, it is clear that he was right.

Sugared fruits.

It was past the kids' bedtime, so we headed home....

Sheridan poses with the newfangled phone that provides email, telephone, and other services.

I cannot recommend this night market. There are many better ones locally; even the small ones in Tanzi beat it. Spend your time and money elsewhere.