A visit to Taiwan by Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security Chen Zhimin (陳智敏) and his delegation earlier this month was shrouded in secrecy and intentionally unpublicized, even as talks were held with senior government officials, an investigation by the Taipei Times showed yesterday.What's to be scared about? "This could be the first time in the nation’s history that a visit by senior Chinese officials was covered up by Taiwan’s own government agencies" says the Taipei Times, but it does not seem very likely that Chen's has been the only such visit kept from the public. What did the Administration say? It added:
Chen, who is believed to be the second-highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the nation in the past 12 years in an official capacity, was in Taipei from Sept. 13 through Sept. 18 and met representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and the Ministry of Justice.
“We had a tacit understanding with [China] … we weren’t going to release this trip to the media because of the upcoming [November] elections,” he said. “The request [for this] came from China, and as the host, we accepted.”This offhand description seems to suggest that this sort of thing has happened before (and how can a "tacit understanding" be "a request"?). A friend of mine just got back from Beijing, where he watched a TV show devoted entirely to Taiwan, with intelligent and insightful statements from a military official on the island's electoral politics. This little clarification shows that Beijing is becoming quite savvy in intervening in the island's politics on behalf of its allies, the KMT, and also demonstrates the tight coordination between the two. It is also another example of the many ways in which the KMT uses the China relationship to further its own position in Taiwan.
Consider also that the use of official secrecy for partisan political purposes is an undemocratic abuse of power. Let us hope the party responsible pays for it at the polls.
One must also ask of the KMT media: what did they know and when did they know it? Surely in a case like this the local pan-Green media is the last to get hold of the story. This case may also show how national security and policy, along with democratic media behavior, are subordinate in pan-Blue media reporting to the needs of the KMT.
The visit coincided with the Ma Administration decisions to send Taiwan coast guard vessels to confront Japan in the Senkakus, and with the joint Coast Guard exercises. It seems unlikely that there is a connection to the former event since it must have been scheduled weeks in advance. It also coincided with a big media blitz over other visiting Chinese officials.
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