Thursday, February 12, 2009

Keeping your friends close....

Peter Pan: There oughta be a fairy for every girl and boy.
Wendy: Oughta be? Isn't there?
Peter Pan: Oh, no. Children know such a lot now. Soon they don't believe. And every time a child says "I don't believe in fairies", there's a fairy someplace that falls down dead.

Apologies for the light blogging, but with Lunar New Year over, I've been busy. Also apologies for the lack of new pics; Flickr's latest uploader version sets new standards for sucky, and they haven't done the intelligent thing and made prior versions -- which actually worked even if they were wonky -- available again. The freeware uploader I downloaded doesn't work either, and I don't have time for manual processing at the moment. But expect eye candy, foodporn, and plenty of lovely Taiwan countryside up on the blog shortly....links tomorrow, and with spring in the air, spider pics.

Life is good.

....meanwhile, everyone can enjoy a good belly laugh at the expense of those who claim that Taiwan should move closer to China in the name of competitiveness, unification, or whatever ideology of power legitimates the selling out of Taiwan in their minds. Reuters reports today that China, the Kingdom of the Benevolent Panda Givers Filled With Genuine Love For Taiwan, was busy blackmailing Taiwanese officials and turning them into spies....
Four civil servants on trips to China were filmed in hostess lounges and then blackmailed into becoming informants for Beijing, Taiwan Justice Ministry spokesman Luo Chi-wang said. He did not say what has happened to them since being uncovered.

Another 36 conducted themselves in "inappropriate ways" with Chinese officials, he said without elaborating.

China's Taiwan Affairs Council said it did not know about the case and could not comment.
And the KMT's foreign policy is to "move closer" to this colossus that wants to eat Taiwan. Brilliant. The Taipei Times has a feature out today as well on conditions in China for Taiwan businesspeople -- including inducements for them to return, which businessmen are not all that interested in (catch the contradiction between moving closer to China and encouraging businessmen to return to Taiwan?). With $200 billion invested there, and no economic boom here, maybe it is time to diversify our investments to other nations less inimical to our freedom. No other nation that borders on China has opened so widely to it, and no other nation is predicted to take as hard a hit this year. There's a lesson in there somewhere.....

I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas...

The story broke on the heels of another case of Chinese spies in Taiwan, this time in the Presidential office, where one Wang Ren-bing (王仁炳), was busted for spying for China.

The good Mr. Wang actually has a bit of a history. FTV notes:
He is not a stranger to controversy, having been indicted, but not convicted, on corruption charges as a staffer in Taipei's Department of Education in 1995. During his time in the Presidential Office, he was censured by the Control Yuan for his involvement in a campus construction project scandal. Now, he is a major suspect in a spy case.
Wang was brought into the Presidential office by Chen Che-nan in 2001. Yes, that's right, apparently a man indicted once and censured once for corruption was the only man in a nation of 23 million people who could do that job. Another brilliant pick by the DPP. No wonder China made a beeline for him.

I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas...

The Reuters story also comes as past and current presidents of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute (AEI) warned that China's intentions are inimical to Taiwan at a seminar yesterday:
He suggested that the Taiwan government takes advantage of all opportunities to build closer ties with Beijing, but to be also very wary of China's intentions to do things that are harmful and would restrict Taiwan's freedom.

"I think he (Ma) is highly cognizant of the reality of the kind of the government that exists over there, " DeMuth said when asked whether he thinks Ma is aware of the PRC's intentions.

"I think that he has no intention of letting his country fall under the sway of a government such as that," added the respected scholar who served as AEI president for 22 years.

Asked whether the AEI is concerned about the Ma administration leaning too much toward China by entering into a truce with Beijing to end the long-standing diplomatic tug-of-war between the two sides as some critics and the opposition parties have charged, DeMuth said that the AEI is not concerned about that.

Brooks said that positions are not important, but rather principles are, and that is the basis of successful diplomacy. He added that the government needs to bear in mind what Taiwan wants, noting that according to Ma, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and everybody else, "peace, prosperity and freedom" are the goals.
If only Ma were making policy toward China, discussions of his preferences might actually make sense....

I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas...

Hillary Clinton heads out this week to confer, confab, and otherwise hobnob with the elites in Beijing, with FAPA asking Clinton to avoid making deals with China that come at the expense of Taiwan.
FAPA has written to Clinton stressing the “erosion of democracy and justice in Taiwan” and charging that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has failed to protect the nation’s interests and sovereignty during negotiations with China.

The letter says: “We understand that in the near future you will travel to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China. In exchange for its cooperation on climate change issues, the [Chinese] government will undoubtedly attempt to whittle away the support from the United States for Taiwan as mandated in the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed three decades ago.”

It adds: “We urge you to stand up for the basic principles of human rights and democracy, and impress upon the government in Beijing that it should accept Taiwan as a friendly neighbor. Peace and stability in East Asia can only be maintained if the people of Taiwan have a free and open choice on their future, as stipulated in the principle of self-determination enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”

The first suggestion that Beijing might try to make a deal on climate change at Taiwan’s expense appeared in the Washington Post last week.

“Some experts warn that China may demand a freer hand on such contentious issues as Taiwan and Tibet in exchange for working with the United States on reducing emissions,” the newspaper said.
China expert Bonnie Glaser, generally a reliable guide to what the Establishment thinks, predicts that Clinton won't talk to China much about human rights (what, you expected that to be different?):

Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at CSIS, expected Clinton's visit to Beijing to tackle North Korea, the financial crisis and climate change, but tread carefully on human rights.

China, she said, may repeat that it wants the United States to stop arms sales to Taiwain, but may settle for some 'face-saving gesture by Washington to resume' high-level military exchanges suspended last year.

However, as the article notes, Obama sent Clinton to Asia first, not Europe.

I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas... I do believe in pandas...

The NYTimes has a long article on the negotiations between Taiwan and China over a possible joint exhibition of Chinese art treasures:

Yet even the initial negotiations with the mainland are controversial in Taiwan. The opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party, favors greater political separation from the mainland.

The opposition party points out that the mainland still does not even accept the name of the National Palace Museum, as the term “National” might be construed as acknowledging the sovereignty of the Taipei government. The official Xinhua news agency of Beijing cites the full name only in quotation marks. This irks the Democratic Progressive Party.

“Culture and civilization belong to humankind, and we don’t have a problem with sharing that,” said Cheng Wentsan, the party’s chief spokesman. “The problem now is that China is using this in a political way. China is using this to degrade Taiwan.”

If the DPP had real stones, they would be pushing the KMT to give the treasures back to China, which is, after all, the nation they actually belong to.

And remember, whenever you say you don't believe in pandas, somewhere a panda dies.


Taiwan Echo said...

"And remember, whenever you say you don't believe in pandas, somewhere a panda dies."

lol ... btw, Freddy and his are pushing a campaign to tell people that pandas are in fact from Tibet ...

Don't let pandas die, guys ...

Thomas said...

Can I decide which panda will die when I say that I don't believe in pandas? It would be a real bummer for China if they had to replace Tuan Tuan or Yuan Yuan just because of my utterance. They might not be able to come up with a suitably punchy unification-focused name.

dennis said...

what are pandas, never heard of em, dont believe in em.