According to the picture painted by some critics, during the early November visit of Chen Yunlin, chairman of mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, police tasked with ensuring his safety used excessive force against peaceful protesters and violated their rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
From images captured by television crews, however, it appears clear that clashes between protesters and police ensued when a number of individuals pushed over barricades and attempted to break through security cordons. Some threw rocks and even petrol bombs. This resulted in injuries to more than 170 policemen and fewer than 40 civilians.
....170 policemen hurt, versus only 40 civilians. Right. Have we heard this before? Sure -- almost thirty years ago. Several years ago Linda Arrigo gave a talk on the KMT response to the Kaohsiung incident, about which I noted:
James Soong, then head of the GIO, wrote Newsweek to complain of its coverage, saying that Arrigo was not a reliable source, and no protesters had been hurt, whereas 180 police were wounded. That unbelievable story was nevertheless the story the KMT used when it hired an American PR firm to distribute anti-democracy propaganda, referring to Arrigo by name. The PR firm spread the story around the US, using a stilted translation that was obviously propaganda, and which Arrigo said backfired completely. Score: Arrigo: 1, Soong: 0.
When the government spokesmen, and the Blue media are all pushing this line only a baby could believe, they must be nervous indeed. If you're wondering how far the historical parallels go, in the Kaohsiung incident gangsters were unloaded to attack the police, create violence, and discredit the protesters... was history repeating itself?
Further down the Journal commentary notes:
Critics also paint a picture of public prosecutors serving as tools in a political vendetta, by arresting and detaining former and present opposition party officials and holding them incommunicado without charges. Even the attorneys of those arrested, however, have not made such claims. In all cases, the arrested have been informed of the charges for which they were under investigation and of their right to remain silent. They have also been able to exercise their right to consult with attorneys. In all cases, extended detention was possible only because within 24 hours of arrest, a panel of three judges approved it.
If it isn't obvious why the attorneys of the accused haven't said a word, you don't understand Taiwan. KNN had this to say about the Strawberries, evicted yesterday in the wee hours:
According to press reports, the so-called Wild Strawberry "student movement" had actually been orchestrated by several pan-Green university faculty members. The protest had set its pike and aimed at the government. The protestors accused the police of using excessive force to control the crowd of people expressing their anger and dissatisfaction over Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan. Chen Yunlin is the chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). However, members of the "Wild Strawberry Movement" never criticized the protesters for violently attacking the police officers assigned to protect Chen. 149 police officers were injured in ensuing riot. Press reports concluded that the Wild Strawberry protestors had no objective views, so only the pro-Taiwan-independence media had given the “Wild Strawberry Movement” any coverage. Other media outlets largely ignored the month-long sit-in, it added.
Note the talking points: (1) the Strawberries are Green tools (they went out of their way not to associate with the Greens who attempted to insinuate themselves into the protest (2) nobody paid any attention to them (must have sucked when Amnesty came out with a statement (3) again the line about the police injuries. Along with the admission that the KMT papers deliberately ignored the Strawberries. And of course, the hypocrisy of accusing the Strawberries of not being objective for only criticizing the police, while reversing things and only criticizing the protesters. Sure.
In a way it is scary, the insistence on unreality, but in another, it is reassuring -- as long as the Blues put out low-grade propaganda like this, no one with a functioning brain will take them seriously in the sphere of public discourse.
Antidote? Try Freddy Lim of Chthonic, interviewed here.