Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chen Yunlin Detritus

Chen Yunlin has come and gone...

United Daily News (UDN), the rabidly pro-KMT paper, published a poll after the talks. The note said: The public opinion poll was conducted on December 24 with 771 people over 20 years of age successfully surveyed and 289 people declining to be surveyed. The margin of error associated with this sample is plus or minus 3.5 % with a 95 % confidence interval. Now consider those 289 people, more than one-quarter contacted, when you look at the poll outcomes, especially the "no opinion."

6. Are you satisfied with the protest rally mobilized by the DPP during the fourth Chiang-Chen Meeting?

Yes 22%
No 56%
No opinion 22%

7. Do you support signing a cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with the Mainland?

Yes 44%
No 26%
No opinion 30%

Note that even polls from pro-KMT sources can't find majority support for ECFA. My favorite is this question:

Do you support Mainland Affairs Council chairperson Lai Hsin-yuan’s proposal that the Mainland should remove their missiles targeting Taiwan?

Yes 49%
No 18%
No opinion 33%

Yes, that's right, a majority of those polled have either no opinion or selected "no" when asked whether missiles pointed at them should be removed! How reliable can this poll be?

ESWN translated a TVBS poll taken just before the visit -- a poll of a Hong Kong Chinese-owned pro-KMT station -- which noted:

Q7. Are you confident that the government will protect the interests of Taiwan in the meeting with Chen Yunlin?
9%: Very confident
26%: Somewhat confident
25%: Somewhat not confident
27%: Very not confident
13%: No opinion

Q8. Some people think that the cross-strait policies of Ma's government lean towards China too much. Do you agree?
52%: Agree
33%: Disagree
15%: No opinion

Q11. What is your preference for the status of Taiwan?
20%: Pro-independence
4%: Pro-unification
64%: Maintain the status quo

Q12. If a choice exists between either Taiwan become an independent country or unified with China, which would you choose?
68%: Taiwan independence
13%: Taiwan unified with China
19%: No opinion

Think about that -- 68% in a TVBS poll chose "independence" in an up-or-down question.


Been thinking a bit about the social construction of the news lately, governed as it is by powerful ideological frameworks, and maddog points out, in a rip of Reuters, how the media goes about constructing this particular piece of news. maddog notes:
Getting back to the Reuters piece, Jennings feeds the readers generalities:
Also on Wednesday, protesters tried to stop Chen from visiting a temple, taunting police that have guarded every step of his December 21-25 visit, local media reported.
Jennings fails to answer some essential questions for the readers: Who were the protesters? (Were they members of the violent China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP, 中華統一促進黨), members of the peaceful Falun Gong movement, common hooligans, or simply citizens of Taiwan who don't want an authoritarian regime to take over their lives?); Why were the protesters there? (Chen Yunlin has previously threatened Taiwan, and he and his comrades are currently trying to annex Taiwan.); How did they try to stop Chen Yunlin? (Did they use weapons [sticks, stones, knives, guns, Molotov cocktails]? [No.], or did they just stand at the scene, hold up signs, and shout? [Yes.]); Which temple was this, and does it have any special significance? (Could it be Chenlan Temple, a temple which is run by a convicted criminal? [Yes!]); Which local media? (I dunno. Jennings doesn't/won't specify.)
Of course, Reuters places a strict word limit on this type of reporting from Taiwan which handicaps reporting severely. But here the "if it bleeds it leads" creates a narrative whose construction, as maddog notes, places the onus for the "violence" (one shove!) squarely on the protesters, who also "taunt" police (a necessary detail because...?). Police violence disappears in this narrative, and the truly chilling, implicitly violent event goes unmentioned as well...

The really interesting thing here is not the protesters peacefully pushing back against Chen Yunlin, whose Peacefully Rising government on many occasions has threatened wholesale murder of Taiwanese, but the 700 temple association members (?) who showed up, apparently in concert with the police, at the Matsu Temple in Dajia (1. video 4:05) (2. video: China Times looks at the 700 bravos). Note that in the first video, about 2:40 the reporter questions the police about the bravos who showed up and they simply walk away from him.

Think the threat of 700 toughs doesn't have a chilling effect on the protests?

The temple itself is an interesting choice for Chen Yunlin to visit, and shows the interconnections between China, the KMT, organized crime, and local religion (pictures of the temple), and local police and security forces. The Matsu Temple is controlled by Yen Ching-piao, who is basically Dajia town's analogue to Michael Corleone. Yen has been in and out of local jails over his many years as gravel digger and politician. He oversees the annual Matsu pilgrimmage, now one of the largest religious processions in the world. Another connection: the Deputy Chair of the Temple, Cheng Ming-kun, head of the Taiwan Matsu Association, a goddess with hundreds of thousands of adherents, who is very close to Yen, was in Beijing in July visiting Chen Yunlin (go here for my commentary, it's a classic example of AFP a work). Of course, who can forget the wedding of Yen's 16 year old son, which I wrote about several years ago, an event attended by KMT heavyweights:
The Gentle Rant commented on an odd angle of an appalling affair: a wedding given by a local politician that featured 20,000 guests.
What I'm wondering is how many sharks were 'finned' to whip up 20,000 bowls of shark fin soup? I found an interesting article called, Shark Fin Soup: An Eco-Catastrophe?
The eco-catastrophe aspect was one that hadn't occurred to me -- there were just so many things about the event that defied belief, that one slipped under my radar. The wedding featured two teenagers as pregnant bride and nervous groom, and was given by a prominent "colorful" politician with a long record of legal trouble -- someone who, in another country, might be referred to as a "don." Prominent Blue politicians were among those in attendance:

The wedding party was more a show of Yen Chin-piao's political muscle than a celebration of the new couple's friends, bringing together political figures of various parties, including the opposition Kuomintang's former chairman, Lien Chan (連戰), incumbent Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as well as Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were said to have been on the reception's guest list, but neither appeared at the ceremony.

And the Chinese papers also dropped a few broad clues about the nature of the host:

A rough translation: "Yesterday from north and south came no small amount of "brothers" using the names of companies to attend, taking up more than a dozen tables, wearing black clothing and black pants. Everybody looked at them."
There's far more to this than Envoy Visits Local Temple to Protests. In fact, elucidating (some of) the dizzying array of connections shows how cross-strait politics and local politics, organized crime, the KMT, and local religion, are incestuously intertwined.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

Such a poll wouldn't fool anyone in Taiwan, but if we see this on Angus Reid then we'll know for sure that there's a media plot to destroy Taiwan.

Άλισον said...

The local factions “Mafia” and their “brother” followers (doesn’t matter in red, pink or black shirts) + KMT legislators, the two forces combined together hinder Taiwan’s transformation to true democracy

Anonymous said...

The gang bosses are being handpicked to become the oligarchs of the Taiwan SAR. They can use their vast legal and illegal resources and organization to control the rest of he population. Ironically, look at post- Communist-post democratic Russia for a glimpse into the future of Taiwan.