Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jane Rickards at WaPo on anti-Chen protests

Jane Rickards had a slanted article in the Washington Post today. Jason at Wandering to Tamshui has the call:

Sadly, this article is one of many cookie-cutter pieces designed to “fit” a narrative that editors seem to have already written: the “Mad Chen”, frustrated by his inability to plunge Taiwan into a war of independence with China, turns to corruption with the help of his Lady MacBeth while the rest of the country suffers in silence. Meanwhile, the selfless freedom fighter Shih returns from the political wilderness to valiantly fight on against his now-fallen student for the good of the Republic. Shit, if this story ends with Chen wearing a menacing black suit and helmet, I’m going to demand my money back.

Let’s keep the cart behind the Horse and wait for the prosecutor's findings and follow the law if the president is found guilty of wrongdoing. And for God’s sake let’s stop pretending that this “Depose Chen” business is just a non-partisan grassroots call for clean government, because it’s not. The presence of Taiwan’s biggest convicted tax-evader at the weekend’s rally is proof enough of that.

Jason is referring to the crazed central paragraph of the article:

The months-old allegations that his wife, other relatives and key aides exploited their positions for illegal financial gain have weakened his leadership. The situation has raised questions about whether Chen will have the confidence to push for formal independence for the self-ruled island of 23 million, a move China has threatened to oppose with military force.

"...whether Chen will have the confidence to push for formal independence for the self-ruled island...." For crying out loud! Does anyone really think that Chen will be able to push through independence when...
  • he has promised not to
  • he is a lame duck president
  • the legislature is controlled by the Blues who oppose independence
  • the public which opposes a change in the status quo has to vote for it in a referendum
  • the US would be against it
  • China would have to attack
  • As Jason says, this is not about reporting news, but selling a pre-packaged narrative of Mad Chen the Insane Independence Monger. Watch out! He'll do anything! He's so crazy, he could convince a pro-Blue legislature to vote for independence!

    Perhaps the strong slant of this article has something to do with the fact that Rickards is a reporter for the China Post, the local pro-KMT English newspaper. It's sad, because she is usually a voice of reason on that paper. It is also sad that the Washington Post did not indicate the newspaper's allegiance in its article, so that readers would know.


    chris said...

    There is a section beside the article that links to Taiwanmatters and Wandering to Tamsui.

    The Foreigner said...

    Didn't Ms. Rickards used to write a weekend nightclub column every Friday for the China Post?

    She had a cute line, "Sleep is for the weak and partying is for the week."

    I could be mistaken.

    Jerome said...


    Back from the States; I have rarely found Jane Rickards a voice of reason. Whenever she writes she always seeks pro pan-blue sources to quote so that her writing has a feel of legitimacy but in reality is blue party line.

    Foreigner is right she used to be a weekend nightclub column writer; now she is trying to upgrade herself and claim to be a reporter.

    One of the reasons (along with the continuously slanted editorials--of course editorials have license to say what they feel without facts) that I will periodically refer to that paper as our local pan-blue rag.

    Sun Bin said...

    of course Chen has been "pushing for", with an 'encroaching' babay-step tactic. you have to admit at least Rickards is technically correct.

    Yes, Chen has promised a lot of things, 4 NO 1 non-existence. We all know what happened to those promise, and that he did it only very reluctantly.

    Michael Turton said...

    of course Chen has been "pushing for", with an 'encroaching' babay-step tactic. you have to admit at least Rickards is technically correct.

    Well of course. But the narrative Rickards is creating is part of a KMT propaganda theme.

    Yes, Chen has promised a lot of things, 4 NO 1 non-existence. We all know what happened to those promise, and that he did it only very reluctantly.

    Chen's promise was conditional on China's behavior. He broke no promise.

    Sun Bin said...

    critical reading.

    where is the 'conditional' text in his pledge in 2000?

    Michael Turton said...

    Critical reading: the promise is contingent on China having no intention of using force. Since China has repeatedly declared its intention to use force in many different ways, Chen need not hew to his promise.


    Sun Bin said...

    Look, that is not what Chen said.

    Quote me when Chen said "conditional", when he promised the 4NO 1w/o in May 2000. He either forgot to mention it, or added that condition in 2006.

    Michael Turton said...

    Sun Bin, I'm tired of wasting my time with this. I can't believe you couldn't find a copy of his speech. Here is the relevant text:


    "I fully understand that, as the popularly elected 10th-term president of the Republic of China, I must abide by the Constitution, maintain the sovereignty, dignity and security of our country, and ensure the well-being of all citizens. Therefore, as long as the CCP regime has no intention to use military force against Taiwan, I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regard to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, there is no question of abolishing the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council."

    Sun Bin said...

    Now back to your post
    "he has promised not to [push for independence]...."

    when did he promised this? according to the pan-green interpretation. in 2000, was there any evidence that CCP has no intention to use force to stop taiwan from going independence?


    this goes in a circular logic, actually.
    1) if CSB does not declare independence, CCP promised not to use force. so that means CSB should stick to 4 No 1 W/O.
    2) since 'pushing for' does not trigger use of force (technically, and i believe this is CCP's bottom line), CSB should stick with 4+1.

    now let's be fair, and look at the matter from CSB's POV.

    if CCP has no intention, then 4+1.
    IF ccp shows intention, then void 4+1.
    since CCP's intention is conditional to CSB's declaration. this makes thing quite tricky. we probably need a lawyer to do this circular.

    let's look at the DPP view in 2000. in that speech, with the "commonly accepted interpretation", the preconditions of 4No 1W/o are there. That is demonstrated by the speech itself and the fact that CSB actually sticked to 4+1 throughout his 1st term.

    Now the question is: is there any change on CCP's intention between 2000 and 2006?
    DPP's defense is that the anti-secession law changed the CCP intention. but that is bollock. ASL changed the procedure for CCP to act, not its intention. Its intention has always been the same.


    in fact, the current situation of revoking the 1W/O but pledging the 4 NOs is self-contradictory. you either have 4+1 altogether or you revoke all of them. seems CSB himself is quite confused whether his "as long as" was triggered, and when it was.

    Now back to Rickards and your comment. Since 1W/O was revoked, it is fair to believe there is plan to revoke 4No.

    Michael Turton said...

    Of course the 4 Nos were contextual and conditional, everything in politics is. The great thing about making a promise that is contingent on China behaving well is that you will never ever have to keep it, a fact well known to the Chen Administration when that plan was made. I'm glad they had a plan, I only wish Chen had handled it a little better. Like running it by the US first.

    seems CSB himself is quite confused whether his "as long as" was triggered, and when it was.

    No, it is you who is confused. China's continued threats of violence, military buildup have freed Chen from his promise. He can keep as many or as few of his promises as he likes, and the other 4 nos are more serious than shutting down the NUC.


    Kai Xie said...

    I am a bleeding heart liberal, but I think conservative's favorite word wishy-washy applies to CSB perfectly, Michael might be pround of that virtue in his president. Haha

    TC said...

    Aren't you thinking of Alita Rickards? Is that the same person as Jane Rickards? Also, if the biases of the China Post should be noted, the biases of the other two papers should be noted as well, just to be fair.

    Michael Turton said...

    TC, the other two papers didn't have their reporter stick a planted article in the Post. That is why they are not mentioned.


    TC said...

    So you're saying Alita is Jane? I didn't know that. I knew she left Taiwan, but I didn't know she'd changed her name and was writing for a paper in DC.

    Or maybe your definition of "planted article" is different than mine.

    Michael Turton said...

    TC, I think you are very, very confused. Jane Rickards is a reporter for the China Post. If you google her name, and CHina Post, you'll find recent articles by her. For example, her piece on the AmCham/TSU flap


    I have no idea who Alita Rickards is, but I am sure our definitions of planted articles are close.