Remember when Ma promised to establish a Ministry of Ocean Affairs? -- no doubt the public's disappointment with that failure is behind is low satisfaction ratings.
The mother of former President Chen's wife has passed away. Chen is petitioning to be let out Jan 10, four days before the election. Hopefully the KMT will block this move. Hopefully someone from the DPP will take him aside and explain how he can negatively affect the elections if he opens his mouth. Hopefully some bright boy will solve all the problems by advising the family to move the funeral back five days....
Announce plans to privatize the Grand Hotel right before the election? Totally not political, says the ruling party. The opposition candidate accusing the ruling party of smears? The opposition candidate accused of benefiting from insider knowledge in a business deal? The president visiting the Spratlys with a month to go in the election denying that the visit had anything to do with the election? Those are all from 2008.... Yes, it's deja vu all over again here in 2012. And of course, like 2008, the US favoring Ma Ying-jeou (AP):
Washington has been lavishing attention on Taiwan, stepping up official visits and saying it will likely allow visa-free travel to the U.S. The moves are raising suspicions that America is trying to influence a tight presidential election here in January.The reporter cites two longtime scholars and analysts of things Taiwan, June Teufel Dreyer and Arthur Waldron. It also contains the usual tiresome pro-Beijing slant:
President Ma Ying-jeou has seized on Washington's favors, touting them as reasons voters should re-elect him. The Taipei Times, which supports his main opponent, Tsai Ing-wen, said in an editorial: "Foolhardy or malicious, inadvertent or by design, the U.S. has taken sides in next month's elections."
By contrast, Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party supports formal independence from China, as opposed to the de facto independence Taiwan has now. Her predecessor as party leader, Chen Shui-bian, frequently angered Beijing — and gave America fits — when he was president from 2000-2008. Though Tsai has backed away from his brinksmanship with China, she has never publicly renounced independence."....she has never publicly renounced independence." Readers can understand how completely biased this is if you imagine some universe where in the mid-1980s AP writes of Vaclev Havel: "Though Havel has not angered Moscow and its Czech puppet rulers as much as his fellow travelers, he has never publicly renounced his support of democracy." Resistance to Soviet expansion? Huge approval for that. Resistance to Chinese expansion? Not so much, thank you. There's just no need at all for the last sentence of that paragraph..... AP could have put Tsai in context and neatly explained part of her appeal: "Like an increasing majority of Taiwanese, Tsai supports eventual independence for Taiwan." Or injected balance: "Tsai is known to support eventual independence for Taiwan, just as Ma has publicly stated on many occasions that he supports eventual unification." Or....
It must be said that the western media coverage this time around is not nearly as ugly as it was last time.
The Ma government made some interesting moves recently to shore up its election hopes. One was to announce that males born after 1994 will need to serve only four months of military service. This was immediately criticized as pandering to voters, which no doubt it was. Every government does this, the DPP did it in 2008. No doubt whoever wins will do it again in 2016.
Locally roads seem to be undergoing repairs all over the nation, and a section of the new expressway in eastern Taichung was opened on the 31st. The money taps are opening....
My man Drew remarked yesterday that now that Ma has stopped trying to win, he's doing much better. Let's hope this descent into the negative maelstrom two weeks before the election won't hurt the DPP too much.
Oh yeah, Happy 2012, everyone!
- Droll article on Nobody Keen to Answer the Big Taiwan Question down in Oz.
- Frozen Garlic with excellent post on Taitung county legislative politics.
- China pressures Chinese magazine on Taiwan election jaunt.
- Crowd-funded investigative journalism to begin in Taiwan
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