The opposition party has prepared a booklet, titled “Unspeakable Secrets of the ECFA,” which lists all the points of debate for its chairwoman to argue against President Ma, who wants to have the agreement concluded before the end of next month, if at all possible to prevent Taiwan from being marginalized in the emerging Asian free trade zone. The only line of argument against the ECFA, as revealed by the little book on her debate strategy, is that it is a conspiracy of the Kuomintang to let its Chinese born chairman sell out the native-born islanders of Taiwan.The English cheerleader of a party that has killed as many people as the KMT has, led by a politician who spent the formative years of his political career fighting democratization, simply isn't the position to spew like that. Absolutely shameful. Fortunately, Taiwan News came out with a ripping hot editorial on this today -- why not a bit earlier in the week, like Thursday or Friday, when events were a bit fresher? But never mind that. Here it is in all its restrained but penetrating glory:
It is ludicrous to argue that Ma is planning a sellout of Taiwan. Even if he dreamed of presenting Taiwan to the People's Republic on a silver platter, he couldn't make his dream come true. The plain truth is that nobody in the world can sell out Taiwan to China. But it makes sense for the opposition party to continue to accuse Ma of the conspiracy to win the upcoming mayoralty elections in five special municipalities and pave the way for Tsai to bear its standard in the presidential election of 2012. Like Adolf Hitler endlessly chanting Nazi mantras to mesmerize the Germans into following him, the DPP chairwoman simply has to drone on Ma's conspiracy to consolidate the party's power base in central and southern Taiwan.
The war of words over the drive by President Ma Ying-jeou's rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government to sign a bitterly controversial "Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement "with the People's Republic of China reached a new nadir this week.
In an editorial published Monday entitled "Is the ECFA debate necessary?", the China Post claimed that opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who is scheduled to debate the wisdom of the so-called ECFA with Ma April 25, would primarily focus her objections by `equating the pact with an act of selling out Taiwan."
The editorial indicated that its judgment was based on a booklet, "Unspeakable Secrets of the ECFA," which it claimed was prepared by the opposition party and "lists all the points of debate for its chairwoman to argue against President Ma."
According to the China Post,"the only line of argument against the ECFA, as revealed by the little book on her debate strategy, is that it is a conspiracy of the Kuomintang to let its Chinese born chairman sell out the native-born islanders of Taiwan."
Regretfully, with these statements, the China Post editorial writer revealed that he or she had not even bothered to glance at the actual document, a book whose title is more correctly translated as "ECFA: Unspeakable Secrets?", which has been published not by the DPP headquarters but is now being published in its third printing by the independent if pro-green Taiwan Thinktank.
In fact, nowhere in this 220-page book can a diligent reader find any mention of what the China Post calls the "only line of argument against the ECFA" and Tsai herself has never issued such an ethnically loaded charge.
Go read a book
If the China Post editorial writer had bothered to even examine its table of contents, he or she would have discovered that the Taiwan Thinktank book mostly concerns economic issues, notably the potential negative impact of the ECFA on worsening Taiwan`s dependence on the PRC's unstable economy, the likely negative impact on wages and employment and tangible risks to domestic market oriented industries and even high technology sectors such as electronics.
Only 13 of 69 "questions and answers" in an introductory section, evidently the so-called "debating points," are concerned with the pact's political implications and none speak of "conspiracy."
Only one answer stated that the reason why he Ma government has refused to consider contingency alternatives to the ECFA could be "perhaps stupidity or perhaps for the sake of eventual unification."
In the interests of fairness, the book also reprints the July 31, 2009 presentation by the Chung-Hwa Institution of Economic Research of an ECFA feasibility study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Moreover, the book includes a lengthy section on alternatives to the Ma-brand ECFA drafted by Taiwan Thinktank Chairman and former Council for Economic Planning and Development chairman Chen Po-chih, a former economic adviser to former president and ex-KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui as well as to the former DPP governrment.
Chen's six alternatives range from delaying negotiation of an ECFA until the formation of a domestic consensus on a negotiating and adjustment strategy, holding negotiations with the PRC on tariff reductions on individual sectors and encouraging Taiwan manufacturers to invest in Association for Southeast Asian Nations member countries to gain tariff free entry into the PRC market.
Moreover, Chen provides a rigorous critique of the questionable economic assumptions underlying Ma's ECFA strategy and sketches the outlines of an alternative "Taiwan-centric economic strategy."
Ironically, the China Post editorial provides far more tangible evidence than the Taiwan Thinktank book of the Ma government's intentions to dispense with Taiwan's sovereignty with its bald statement that "ECFA is not an agreement between two sovereign states in international law" but is instead "an arrangement between two political entities which have been engaged in a civil war."
Such a definition could well confirm the fears of many Taiwan citizens that the ECFA is not an agreement between two sovereign states or even between two equal member economies of the World Trade Organization but will be a "domestic arrangement" similar to the "closer economic partnership arrangements" signed between Beijing and the PRC's "special administrative regions" of Hong Kong and Macau.
Indeed, such an domestic "arrangement" would actually assign to Taiwan a level of dignity even less than Hong Kong and Macau are granted in their CEPAs with Beijing since the positions of the two former colonies as PRC "special administrative regions" are guaranteed by international treaties between the PRC and Great Britain and Portugal, respectively.
Acceptance of such an "arrangement" would not merely "sell out" but give away the hard-won people`s sovereignty won by the 23 million Taiwan people through our "quiet revolution" of democratization after four decades of KMT authoritarianism.
Finally, there is the question of the purpose of this transparent and unprofessional distortion.
The obvious aim is to discourage readers from even looking at the Taiwan Thinktank book or familiarizing themselves with the DPP's actual discourse on the ECFA and to block our citizens from realizing that there are feasible economic alternatives to the Ma government`s blind rush to sign this dangerous pact by June.
Ultimately, there is only one statement in this editorial that we can wholeheartedly concur, namely that the April 25 debate should be "over how the two leaders envision Taiwan`s future."
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