Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WSJ Double Plus Good Today

Some good blog love going to to Ting-yi Tsai at WSJ today, who went where lesser media organs feared to tread. Earlier this week I highlighted an unforgivably awful BBC report that appeared to be little more than stenography from Xinhua, which repeated the standard "Beijing says Kadeer is a terrorist" claim, and then wondered aloud why news organs never point out that no evidence has been offered to support that widely disseminated claim. Today Tsai wrote in WSJ (its a shorter version of the article):
The Taiwan government on Friday said it would not allow Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer to visit in December, in another sign of China's increasing clout over the island. Kadeer, the U.S.-based leader of the World Uyghur Congress, had accepted an invitation to visit Taiwan and applied for a visa. But the government said Kadeer's visit would hurt Taiwan's national interests, citing terrorist links that have been claimed by Beijing but not accepted by most western countries or independent analysts.
Progress! One day I hope to see the forthright declaration that Beijing has never submitted any evidence for its claims. Great work. The full-length article goes into some detail discussing the KMT claims and the pro-Taiwan sides' rebuttals, along with the fear that, as I have noted many times, the closer we get to China, the farther we get from democracy.

Also on the Kadeer affair, WSJ offered an excellent editorial today that looks at the problems for the island nation's democracy that result from the Ma Administration's kow-tow to Beijing.
Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou was elected last year largely to improve the island's economy through closer links with China. His government is misinterpreting that mandate to include closer ties with China's authoritarian politics, too.

There's no other way to interpret Taipei's decision to refuse an entry visa to Rebiya Kadeer. The Uighur activist was invited by a local rock star Wednesday to visit the island in December. The Ma government shut that idea down fast. Interior minister Chiang Yi-hua told parliamentarians Friday that Ms. Kadeer's World Uighur Congress "is related to terrorist groups" and thus couldn't visit the island. Premier Wu Den-yih added the decision was "in the best interests of Taiwan and its people."
The article notes, as every observer has, that other nations have had no trouble admitting Ms. Kadeer, and that Taipei does not have the Uighurs on any list of terrorists. It then points out the paternalism of the government's response:
As for the claim that it's in citizens' "best interests" not to listen to Ms. Kadeer, surely that's a decision for the individual, not for the government, to make—a choice made possible in a democracy. Taiwan is home to a variety of pro- and anti-China groups, both of whose views are covered extensively in the island's lively media. Why not let Mrs. Kadeer present her evidence of China's brutal campaign against the Uighurs and then let citizens decide what they think?
The government has repeatedly permitted individuals who have made threats to kill Taiwanese, such as this fellow, to move about freely in Taiwan. Kadeer, on the other hand, threatens no one. WSJ continues:
By refusing Ms.Kadeer a visa—before she even applied, no less—the Ma government is appeasing China. Shortly after Ms. Kadeer's trip was announced, Chinese state-run media threatened to pull Beijing's support for Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization and to halt cross-Strait economic liberalization. Beijing raised a similar fuss when Taipei let the Dalai Lama visit the island earlier this month to comfort victims of Typhoon Morakot.
It is easy to see how China's dribble of concessions on the WHO is being used here. It can be revoked any time, since it exists solely at the pleasure of Beijing, and thus, represents a hold over the Ma Administration. As WSJ observes, the kowtow here means that the Ma Administration is losing its leverage, since Beijing can constrain its freedom of action by threatening to withdraw any of the tiny drabs of benevolence it has dropped on Ma's head. The DPP had the right idea -- no compromises, bargain for concrete gains only. That is the only way to deal with China.

For a couple of years, long before the election, it's been clear that Ma has staked the future of his administration on the willingness of China to cooperate. What this means is that China's control is absolute -- since China has no incentive to help KMT, the KMT will be forced to offer more and more concessions to get anything out of Beijing. Since Ma and the KMT, unlike the DPP, do not draw the line at sovereignty, where is the limit on what the Blues will be willing to concede? We got a little taste today, when Taipei completely capitulated to Beijing, and echoed the line that an old woman who is a millionaire businessman is a terrorist.

And let's not forget that some of those far right Nationalist nutcases within the KMT still think that Xinjiang is rightfully China's, just like Mongolia, Tibet, Taiwan, and heaven knows what else. There is more at work here than mere kowtowing in the hope of getting Beijing to keep the benefit taps flowing.

It will be interesting to see whether voters punish the KMT for its accelerating acceptance of Beijing-centered politics.

It will also be interesting to watch the "centrist" apologists for the KMT come out in droves over the next few days. Kadeer was a stunt that threatened Taiwan's economic livelihood! they will screech, invoking the hidden, and false, dichotomy between democracy and economic growth. Hogwash -- not a single businessman in China has been threatened, not a single export halted at customs, not a single traveler molested. Beijing almost never takes concrete action, only symbolic action (as in the delayed arrival of minor negotiators over the Dalai Lama visit) aimed at the media, to enable them to gush reports of "tension" like 16 year olds swooning over Elvis.

Nope: the Kadeer invitation was a scalpel that exposed the burgeoning pro-Beijing cancer at the heart of Taiwan politics.
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33 comments:

Atoq said...

Rebiya Kadeer should ask President Obama to invite Pres. Ma to the White House and then request him for a visa.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I wonder if the US is getting the message that Taiwan will not serve as a model for a "Chinese democracy", but rather, China will serve as a model for a Taiwanese autocracy instead.

I just wonder if the shift in media balance is strategic.

Anonymous said...

Right. Didn't Bin Laden deny he order the 911 attack. To this day, the Arab world would still argue that the U.S. didn't have any direct proof that links Bin Laden to the 911 attack and the majority of the Arab world still doesn't think that Bin Laden is a terrorit. Bin Laden himself would NOT admit that he is a terrorit, so... does that make him a terrorist or not. Or are terrorists simply in the eyes of the beholders now. Or is it that only YOU Westerners/Americans can decide who is a terrorist or not.

Kadeer is a terrorist to Chinese as much as Bin Laden is a terrorit to Americans.

Taiwan is smart staying clear of Kadeer as we should also stay clear of Bin Laden. Who in their right mind want to anger Chinese or American governments nowadays.

If WSJ is so smart, tell them to invite Bin Laden to give a speech in the WSJ HQ and see if there is any back lash from the American government while the Arab countries applaud their balls. LOL....

Michael Turton said...

Or is it that only YOU Westerners/Americans can decide who is a terrorist or not.

LOL. Evidence that Bin Laden is a terrorist: overwhelming. Evidence that Kadeer is: zero.

You're welcome to bring evidence in your next comment. But somehow I expect it will just be more opium-driven fulminating. Why do people who can't produce coherent thoughts insist on commenting?

Michael

Robert R. said...

Why do people who can't produce coherent thoughts insist on commenting?

They have a lot more free time since they don't spend it thinking...

Anonymous said...

Kadeer is a "terrorist" because she advocates political independence from an expansionist state that has built and maintained a political structure in far off lands that is based upon an insurmountable ethnic-class divide.

A terrorist in the shameful ilk of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas said...

"If WSJ is so smart, tell them to invite Bin Laden to give a speech in the WSJ HQ and see if there is any back lash from the American government while the Arab countries applaud their balls. LOL...."

If the WSJ knew he would come, you can bet they would. They would get the credit for helping the US government catch a terrorist whose organization actually admits to terrorist acts. Bin Laden is not forbidden from entering the US. He would just be arrested if he did ;)What a silly argument... almost as silly as the expression "applaud their balls". That just sounds painful.

Michael Turton said...

"applaud their balls."

What is the sound of one ball clapping?

Marc said...

"A terrorist in the shameful ilk of Thomas Jefferson."

Yes, he certainly was.

Before the meme "terrorist" was spread by the media, everyone used "anarchist". Before that it was "rebel" and "revolutionary". Since the last word is now a business term, rebel is embeeded in an iconic Hollywood movie theme, and anarchist informs a Soho fashion style, we now have to use the first word. The other words are simply too positive!

Thoth Harris said...

"What is the sound of one ball clapping?" - Michael Turton

lol. From what I've heard, Hitler had only one ball. Maybe Bin Laden has none. That could explain why he feels the need to compensate. Bin Laden is amoral, and doesn't care about anyone.

Kadeer cares about the Uighurs. And what does the Chinese Communist Party stand for?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who reads the WSJ knows that its editorial writers are a who's who of neocon ideologues whose opinions are far different than what is found in the news sections of the WSJ or in the mainstream media. But then Turton seems to have a special affection for repeating the talking points of the US arm chair militarist talking head community so his praise for the WSJ editorial page is no surprise.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that the DPP and its fellow travelers continues to expend its political capital on battles like whether Rebiya Kadeer gets a visa or not rather than on substantive issues.

All the Blues need to do is to continue to push the DPP's buttons with "controversies" like this to completely neuter the DPP, like watching a cat attacking the detached tail of a lizard while the actual lizard laughs and walks away.

Anonymous said...

Now it's time for Freddy and Mayor Chen Chu to invite Mr. Sultan Kosen !

Stefan said...

"Didn't Bin Laden deny he order the 911 attack."

To my knowledge he claimed responsibility for it:
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2004/10/29/binladen_message041029.html

There is also apparently a declaration of "holy war" and a "fatwa" calling for the killing of American civilians, which he signed in 1998.

Anonymous said...

Let's start a guessing game!

Who will Mayor Chen Chu and Freddy invite next?

A. Aung San Suu Kyi.

B. Roman Polanski.

C. Shaq.

D. All .

Anonymous said...

Who can blame Ma for kowtowing to Beijing when people here are even calling 911 when they can't shower?

How can such a populace face the PLA?

Aoede said...

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I need some sort of appropriate venue in which to vent, I really do. There's nothing I can do to make things different, and then I can't even vent.

Michael Turton said...

Taiwan will not serve as a model for a "Chinese democracy", but rather, China will serve as a model for a Taiwanese autocracy instead

Well put! But they already have Singapore...

Michael Turton said...

I really hope that the DPP and its fellow travelers continues to expend its political capital on battles like whether Rebiya Kadeer gets a visa or not rather than on substantive issues.

No political capital expended at all, and plenty of other political capital expended on substantive things.

Like the Casino victory in the Penghu.

Michael Turton said...

But then Turton seems to have a special affection for repeating the talking points of the US arm chair militarist talking head community so his praise for the WSJ editorial page is no surprise.

I do, for they are the only supporters our democracy has. Others talk a good line, but they kow-tow to China and worship authoritarianism. Like certain anonymous posters.

Aoede said...

Wtf, did I just see someone equate Aung San Suu Kyi with a child rapist?

...good going for your cause, anon. Good going.

Anonymous said...

And do you know why the KMT is kow-towing to China at this moment? Because while the DDP excelled at fanning nationalistic fumes it didn't do squat for the Taiwan economy. KMT needs to do what it needs to do to improve Taiwan's economic slump, something which you probably don't really care about because you are not even a Taiwan citizen.

The fact that the Taiwan media cast Ma as a CCP stooge and he was still elected by an overwhelming margin is just proof that Taiwanese choose economy over confrontation.

Michael Turton said...

And do you know why the KMT is kow-towing to China at this moment? Because while the DDP excelled at fanning nationalistic fumes it didn't do squat for the Taiwan economy. KMT needs to do what it needs to do to improve Taiwan's economic slump, something which you probably don't really care about because you are not even a Taiwan citizen.

Not bad, the first half consists of almost complete ignorance, the second an insult. Content free! No wonder you post anonymously, as stupid as you are.

The fact that the Taiwan media cast Ma as a CCP stooge and he was still elected by an overwhelming margin is just proof that Taiwanese choose economy over confrontation.

ROFL. Maybe in the alternate reality where you live. Here on earth the media in Taiwan are almost completely pro-KMT.

As I said, no wonder you post anonymously. And support the KMT.

Anonymous said...

Jeeeeze!

That other Anonymous just can't stop. I have seen several ignorant jackasses pass through these comment sections, but I have rarely seen one post such a stream of ignorance, idiocy, misinformation, bigotry, unsupported trash and downright bullshit in such a short span of space and time. Do you need to go to school for that? Maybe a correspondence course?

kudos!

I think you own the title as the dumbest poster ever on The View From Taiwan.

Thomas said...

"The fact that the Taiwan media cast Ma as a CCP stooge and he was still elected by an overwhelming margin is just proof that Taiwanese choose economy over confrontation."

In addition to what Michael said, before the election, the foreign media was also in the KMT's pocket, as it remains today. So it is not surprising that, with the effect of the Chen case, Ma did win with a large margin.

But since we are talking about how much Ma is liked by the Taiwanese and how much they value his approach at governance and responsibility, perhaps you can explain his low approval ratings and the fact that, for the fourth month in a row last month, less than half of respondents to a Global Views survey thought that Ma could be trusted.

But before you do explain any of this, by all means come out from behind the "anonymous" nickname. If you are so sure of what you are saying you should have the confidence to say it under a recognizable name.

Atoq said...

Shaq, certainly I wish they would invite Shaq.

And then more.

Recruit the Diesel to play for Taiwan and the final score VS PROC:

Taiwan 180, PROC 23

Max said...

First, give credit when it is due. If you can not tell whether Michael cares about Taiwan or not, then you shouldn't not waste your time reading his blogs. (of course, unless your job requires you to do otherwise)

Secondly, "..improve Taiwan's economic slump," ha, It won't do Taiwan any good by moving enormous investments and advanced commercial technology to China regardless record unemployment here. Care wall street more than main street? Definitely, no ECFA referendum is necessary for wall street, but how about main street?

Lastly, Will you kowtow to me if you could get NT10,000? It's your choice, isn't it?

BIT said...

"because you are not a Taiwan citizen"

Michael Turton may not be a Taiwan citizen, his blogs display a true love for Taiwan. I cannot praise him enough for what he has been doing in his blogs for my homeland. Then of course you are a "Chinese" citizen how could you understand what it means to care for Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

Kadeer is a "terrorist" because Comrad Hu Jin Tao is afraid of her!

Michael Turton said...

Look anon, I'm not wasting everyone's time putting any more of your crap on here. Open your own blog, loser.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious how many of our brave American and British friends here will be on the first flight out when the firing starts?

Those who will volunteer to stay are welcome . Please write your names here!

Anonymous said...

I think it's so outrageous, that I don't even dare to post it under my account's name. But just let me add this to your thoughts:

"The article notes, as every observer has, that other nations have had no trouble admitting Ms. Kadeer, and that Taipei does not have the Uighurs on any list of terrorists."

While I assume it's true that there is no such list, you gave the real reason in a later paragraph:

"And let's not forget that some of those far right Nationalist nutcases within the KMT still think that Xinjiang is rightfully China's, just like Mongolia, Tibet, Taiwan, and heaven knows what else."

In fact, the other day a professor with a (strong!) pan-blue background told his students in class (at a respectable and famous Taiwanese University) that the ROC constitution does not allow Xinjiang independence. And that therefore allowing Kadeer to come to Taiwan is against "our national interest" (that last is a direct quote, I can only guess that by "our" he meant the ROC).

He then suggested people who want to meet her, might do so somewhere else.

Stefan said...

@anon,
hm, i am afraid, that all the flights will be packed with the kmt bigheads and their family members ;)