CHANG: Yes, he is going to adversely affect the Ma Ying-jeou vote and despite China's pressure on James Soong, I think he is determined to run and so this is going to make Taiwan's presidential election much more lively and interesting. Because between two major candidates, the DPP and the Kuomintang, there are many people who feel that they want a third choice, so he's going to receive lots of votes and earlier I think Kuomintang made a terrible mistake by well belittling Soong's election and so make very defiant and much more determined to run and he is going to have a considerable number of votes and most of them will come from the Kuomintang's so-called 'pan Blues camp'.Conventional wisdom is that Soong will benefit the DPP's Tsai by poaching votes from the KMT. There is a similar take in Bloomberg and in AFP. Both of those media orgs used the China Times poll. Neither cited the prediction market. AFP neatly described Tsai's approach to China as "not rushing to reapproachment" rather than the usual bleakly wrong "anti-China" the media so often reaches for. The foreign media also found locals to quote who pointed out the animosity between Ma and Soong. By far the worst report is the BBC's. A quick look:
LAM: And, of course, James Soong was once a rising KMT star himself and both James Soong and Ma Ying-jeou are seen as China-friendly candidates. So in real terms though, is there a point of difference between the PFP and the ruling KMT in terms of policy?
CHANG: Well, not so much the policy differences area, but rather I think a lot of personal fight, if you will, between James Soong and Ma and I think over the years, Ma didn't give him too much credit and so now he has a chance to avenge.
LAM: So you think it's personal politics at this point?
CHANG: Very much so, but it is no longer a personal politics, because Soong has publicly and very forcefully criticised Ma's ineptness, no ability to lead the country. In many ways I think Ma is in deep troubled, because his lack of leadership has been clearly shown by James Soong's criticism.
That decision split the votes of supporters of the so-called pan-blue camp, which favours improving ties with China and not Taiwanese independence.[MT: the pan-Green camp also favours improving ties with China. They just don't favor selling out Taiwan's interests to do so.]I could go on. As I wrote last week:
As a result Chen Shui-bian, the candidate from the opposition party DPP, which favours Taiwan's independence, was elected with the largest percentage of votes.
Eight years of tensions with Beijing followed. The same outcome is feared for this upcoming race.[MT: Eight years of tensions followed! No human agency involved! Immaculate Tension! Wouldn't it be great if the media assigned "tensions" to their actual source, Beijing? And noted that eight years of increasing trade and investment by Taiwan in China, as well as other links, also followed? Nah. BBC's reading is both one-sidedly negative AND omits facts that puts a bad light on Beijing. Just awful.]
Opinion polls show Mr Ma only has slightly more support from voters than opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen.[MT: Some polls have Tsai ahead of Ma. Mustn't mention that, though.]
Ms Tsai is believed to favour Taiwan independence at heart, although since declaring her candidacy she has said she is open to negotiating with China and would not cancel the free-trade agreement signed under Mr Ma.[MT: Is ECFA a free-trade agreement or a managed trade agreement? Another critical omission that makes the DPP look as if it is obdurate -- "Tsai is open in negotiating with China" as if others were not or have not been in the past. The DPP has always been open to negotiating with China -- and Tsai was once one of the negotiators under the previous president. D'oh. Another subtle hack on the DPP.]
Still, there are fears that a victory by Ms Tsai could bring tensions with China and instability to the region.[MT: here the issue of who causes tensions is even more one-sided -- it is a Tsai victory!! Not Beijing, which doesn't even exist except as a passive recipient of Taiwan's actions, almost a victim. Could have said "Still, there are fears that Beijing will increase tensions and regional instability if Tsai wins." Saved a few words, and told the truth.
Note also that in a news report where space is at a premium, it was so crucially important to get in this hack on Tsai that BBC said it TWICE! If you go back and look at each sentence, you'll find that more reportage is devoted to presenting negatives about Tsai than telling the reader anything about James Soong, except that the dastardly Soong has opened the way for the horror of a Tsai Ing-wen victory.]
Leon Pannetta praised China for its more restrained response to the F-16 upgrade sale to Taiwan, and said that the Adminstration had notified Beijing of what was going to take place. It is hard to think of a clearer illustration that tensions are (1) caused by Beijing and (2) totally under Beijing's control and (3) a calculated policy response and not some putative visceral reaction, aimed at US support for Taiwan and US analysts and observers. I suppose, though, it is too much to hope that the media will cease writing as if tensions occur without agents causing them, or that Taiwan is the cause of tensions between Beijing and Washington.Yea, verily, I am a prophet.
ADDED: Cindy Sui's response to Ben's letter to her on this piece.
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