The article starts out ok and even identifies China's politicization of the festival:
But for China, sending its temple representatives here to join in the celebrations is not without its political motivations.Several things could be mentioned here, but most importantly, BBC completely failed to put the political context in Taiwan front and center. A huge opportunity to describe what is going on in Taiwan was blown.
The Chinese government has placed great emphasis on reviving Mazu in China – seeing it as an important way to underscore its insistence that Taiwanese people and culture came from China – and that Taiwan is a part of China.
Beijing hopes to reunify with the island one day and has not renounced the use of force to do so.
"They’re doing this to show both sides believe in Mazu and have a similar heritage," said Tsai Ming-hsien, a volunteer Mazu celebrations organiser who has had many dealings with Chinese temple officials.
Celebrants from mainland China have been instructed to not give interviews, according to their Taiwanese tour guides.
First, the article completely failed to mention that the procession is overseen by the powerful local politician Yen Ching-piao, once elected out of jail for various nefarious (organized) crimes, who has old, deep connections to the KMT and was recently appointed spokesman to the locals for Ma's ECFA program. That's one religion-organized crime-politics-annexation nexus ignored. But BBC ignores an even more important one, citing his right-hand man Cheng Ming-kun without giving the full context of his remarks. Let's see what the lad has to say:
"It's about religion, not politics." What a hero! Who is Cheng Ming-kun? I've asked this question before when AFP failed spectacularly with the same person in the same way:
Nevertheless, officials from both sides said the fact that both sides were stepping up cultural exchanges was a sign of improving relations.
"It’s about religion, not politics. What’s most important is doing things that are good for the economy of both sides’ people," said the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple’s vice chairman, Cheng Ming-kun.
He said that the increased number of Chinese visitors to Dajia had helped the town and nearby scenic areas.
"Mazu brings together the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and brings peoples’ feelings closer," Mr Cheng said.
Cheng holds a couple of key positions in the Matzu Associations, such as the Deputy Chairman of the Jenlan Temple in Dajia. Ring any bells? That's the name of the island's most important Matzu temple, the subject of one of the world's largest pilgrimages. That's right -- the procession run by the former KMT politician, now "non-partisan", Yen Ching-piao, elected out of jail by his loyal constituents a few years back. That procession is a prime example of how politics exploits religion in Taiwan (anyone know where the zillions in donations go?). Cheng, who was kidnapped for 10 days in 2005 in what was widely rumored to be a shady business deal gone bad, was indicted for forgery and breach of trust in connection with the temple association. Naturally Cheng is close to Yen -- I believe the proper expression is "thick as thieves."Instant replay: our non-political Cheng was in Beijing last year negotiating with CCP officials on how to use Mazu to bring Taiwan into China's orbit.
What are Cheng's political affiliations? Well, Cheng was in Beijing in July promoting cross-strait ties through better Matzu connections. Cheng also met with Chen Yun-lin, last seen here in November of 2008 negotiating on Beijing's behalf. Is leveraging Taiwan's most important goddess to annex Taiwan to China apolitical?
In May of 2009 a boat carrying Cheng Ming-kun and a load of Mazu pilgrims was the first passenger ferry to cross the strait. It was seen off by the Mazu Temple Chairman Yen Ching-piao. The Taipei Times noted:
Jenn Lann Temple chairman and Independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), who was paroled on Thursday after having been in prison since August for illegal possession of firearms, saw off the pilgrims in Taichung.In fact, the two sides, the Taiwan Mazu Temple Association people and the Beijing Mazu exploiters, are cooperating on the same goal: annexation. But the BBC completely fails to mention any of this agenda when it mentions the Taiwan side.
Here was an opportunity to at least sketch for readers the outline of the emerging cross-strait organized crime-religion-business-annexation nexus, which is sort of a local Taiwan temple community association blown up to galactic scale. This emerging nexus is appearing in all sorts of contexts. There's the very high-level, dodgy group bidding for the Nanshan unit of AIG, which included PRC "princelings" (children of CCP elites), Chinese state banks, rogue stock speculators, poorly-capitalized and staffed front firms set up for the bid, and cooperation of individuals in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. There's the low level prominent gangster in Taichung who runs KTVs and other entertainment facilities in China but trains his people in Taiwan. There's the garlic smuggling and the human trafficking -- both sex slaves and blue and white collar workers quietly entering Taiwan legally and illegally -- and the exploitation of religion. They are all part of the same whole, pixels that will resolve into a complex and fascinating image if brought into focus in the media.
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