Mr Ma was well aware that he was taking a risk when he decided on August 27th to approve the Dalai Lama’s request to visit the island.Similarly, the TIME writer said:
Ma took a gamble. He approved the trip — and bet on China's leaders appreciating his dilemma. They did: their censure was directed solely at the DPP with no mention of Ma whatsoever.A body of literature is defined by the way it uses and subverts convention -- like the ancient Greek historical fictions filled with innocents going to their execution willingly, or modern horror movies with their virgins who are never slain. Like any good literature, the Establishment media is marked by its conventions, one of which is the Leader Who Makes Bold decisions. It makes for good narrative. But is it for real? Max Hirsch of Kyodo reports (behind paywall):
The Friends of Tibet, an India-based advocacy group with an office in Taipei, accused Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of bowing to the wishes of Beijing and paring down the Dalai Lama's itinerary during his Sunday-Friday visit to the island.In passing note the connections -- the Dalai Lama's nephew is married to an important aide of Lee Teng-hui (nephew's talk last year).
''First it was the press conference that was canceled, then the public speech was downsized,'' the group's director Chow Meili said in a phone interview, referring to the Dalai Lama's engagements on Monday and Tuesday.
''It could not be clearer that the Ma administration is taking orders from the Chinese Communists,'' added Chow, whose husband, Khedroob Thondup, serves as a parliamentarian of the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama, Khedroob's uncle.
Last week, opposition leaders in the south invited the Dalai Lama to console the victims of Typhoon Morakot, which lashed the island's south with heavy rains from Aug. 7-9. Floods and mudslides killed more than 600 people, with damage to property and crops estimated at roughly US$1.5 billion.
Risking the ire of China, Ma, of the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), approved the invitation, and the Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan on Sunday night.
The Ma administration sent KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung to Beijing last week to soothe frayed nerves in a secret meeting with Chinese officials, Chow said.
Lee, she said, agreed to three conditions raised by the Chinese government in ''a horse trade'' conducted on behalf of Ma -- namely, that no KMT political heavyweights meet the Dalai Lama, and that the spiritual leader be barred from holding press conferences and from giving public speeches.
In return, Beijing would refrain from mentioning Ma, his administration and the KMT in criticizing the visit, she added.
In other words, as we know, the CCP and the KMT have been in regular communication for several years now. Not only do we have the assertions of the Dalai Lama's people and of LTH's entourage that the KMT and the CCP were talking, but we also have the word of Premier Liu himself that they were, as reported on Sept 2:
[Premier] Liu would not comment on the nature of the communication that had occurred between Taiwan and China on the visit by the Dalai Lama, saying that he “was not involved” but was “aware of the process.”Apparently, the writers for TIME and The Economist either do not know this -- in which case they lack the knowledge necessary to write on this topic -- or else they chose to sex up Ma's behavior to make him look stronger by ignoring the communication lines between the two Chinese parties. The reality, in other words, is that the risk was only apparent -- the deal was already made and the fix was in.
“We had some information and made some impact assessments … But to say more about this would do no good,” Liu said.
It is hard to tell whether this is simply writers engaging in conventional modes of presentation, or whether the media is returning, like robots equipped with only one solution for all problems, to its posture of admiration for Ma Ying-jeou, in an attempt to rehabilitate his image after the international media here in Taiwan widely publicized the incompetence and indifference of his administration's response to the typhoon, and his own seeming narcissism.
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