Friday, December 12, 2008

Talking points sprouting up all over

Taiwan Journal editorial commentary shows just how nervous the government is getting, and also how the GIO journals are being warped over to the party line. The commentary says:

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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try reading the GIO publications The Taiwan Review and Taiwan Panorama. They look like KMT talking points. The last episode of the TR I saw had stories about "Win-win" situations. The Chinese Tourism boom and the economic improvement spawned by opening to China. It read like a Ma Ying jiu speech. There was no counter point.

David said...

My main criticism of the Wild Strawberries is that they have been a little overzealous in their effort to be non-partisan. They have gone so far as to push some people/groups away that genuinely support them but are seen as being associated with the DPP. This has weakened rather than strengthened their movement.

====

The KMT seem to have dusted off the propaganda manual from 1980. It seems they have not changed with the times, as evidenced by the dinosaurs who still occupy the most powerful positions in the party. The internet and the widespread use of digital recording devices give ordinary people a powerful tool to challenge the government. Their lies and propaganda will be exposed.

Tim Maddog said...

MIchael, you wrote:
- - -
When the government spokesmen, and the Blue media are all pushing this line only a baby could believe, they must be nervous indeed.
- - -

It could also be said that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and their lapdogs are lying through their teeth.

You quoted KNN as saying:
- - -
Other media outlets largely ignored the month-long sit-in, it added.
- - -

Coincidentally (?), I had just commented in the Wild StrawBerries' chatroom yesterday that if the media had been giving them the same kind of coverage that they gave the redshirts, even more people would be on their side.

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

Yeah, who the heck is "TJ Editor"? Taiwan Journal and Taiwan Review were actually really good insights into Taiwanese current events, culture, arts, politics, in the past. It'd be a really big shame for it to be used as a government propaganda tool like this.

Just like it'd be a shame if they did that to Public Television in Taiwan too.

steve said...

"If it isn't obvious why the attorneys of the accused haven't said a word, you don't understand Taiwan."

I'm afraid It isn't obvious to me. I can hazard probable guesses but I'd appreciate it if you could spell it out to me.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"The KMT seem to have dusted off the propaganda manual from 1980. It seems they have not changed with the times, as evidenced by the dinosaurs who still occupy the most powerful positions in the party. The internet and the widespread use of digital recording devices give ordinary people a powerful tool to challenge the government. Their lies and propaganda will be exposed."


I can't say it enough. Ma has picked his favorite time... his golden years before democracy came and "ruined everything that was great and good". The KMT has gone right back to the 1970's, forgetting there was this popular Lee Teng hui character followed by a less popular Chen Shui-bian. After all, they have probably purged him from their collective memory banks, like when a child gets angry and declares the target of their anger is invisible and does not exist.

Anonymous said...

The indictment Chen Shui-bian and his wife is a typical tactic of Chinese back through the ages. The ruling party finds it necessary to castigate the former ruling party by chopping off its head. The entire Chen clan will be imprisoned most likely.

So what has democracy taught the Chinese?

janice said...

Another front of the KMT propaganda offensive was opened up in Washington, D.C., by the delegation sent by the Ma administration to “clarify misunderstandings” in the international community re: human rights abuses and politically-motivated prosecutions. They started off with a 90-minute presentation at the Heritage Foundation, the Taipei Times account of which is here, then proceeded on to Capitol Hill. Archived video of the panel discussion can be viewed at the Heritage website. They also passed out an NPA document titled “A Clarification on the Security Arrangement during the Visit of Mr. Chen Yunlin to Taiwan,” and someone in attendance has scanned and uploaded the pages here.

Like the GIO publications, both the written report and the live presentation focused the number of injured police and contain several blatant misstatements of widely known facts.
At one point Hsieh Kuoh-liang actually said with a straight face that KMT supporters are “moderate,” implying that they are less prone to violence. And of course, after failing to convince anybody in DC, Hsieh said he complained that American policymakers are “friendlier” to the DPP than KMT.

Anonymous said...

The Taiwan Review is a pile of trash and Taiwan Panorama is nonsensical gibber. But the cream of the crop is undoubtedly the Taiwan Journal. Hardcore propaganda, lies and Kuoumintang policy masquerading as "news stories" are what fill the pages of that rag. The Government Information Office is obviously staffed by fools and imbeciles that believe readers believe the mush they publish.