Asked about blind activist Chen Guangcheng, whom China recently allowed to travel to the United States to study after a diplomatic row between Beijing and Washington, Ma said Taiwan was concerned about rights in China, particularly in light of there being a million people from Taiwan on the mainland.There is a transcript up now in Chinese at the President's Office.
"We hope the mainland can face some of the issues that have happened in the past and can treat dissidents well. We are looking at this from the point of view of kindness, not based on Western human rights values, but traditional Chinese values."
我們長期以來關心中國大陸的人權問題，並不是刻意要干預他們的內政，而是目前有100多萬的臺灣人在大陸工作、就學及經商，因此他們的權益也要受到保障，例如最近我們與中國大陸談判的「投資保障協議」，其中就包含一些有關個人安全及自由的保障，這是不可避免的，我們當然會關心。我認為兩岸在這方面還有一些差距，如果能夠縮短，就能有效縮短兩岸人民的心理距離。在過去幾年中我經常提到這一點，我們會持續關心這個議題，希望大陸能夠務實面對過去所發生的一些問題，同時善待異議人士，我們的出發點是善意的，而我們的依據不是西方價值，而是傳統中國價值。Note that in the transcript currently online, there is no mention of "human rights" here. Hence interpretation of the President's meaning is complicated by the issue of what he actually said. The text in Chinese simply says "...but what we are basing this on is not western values, but traditional Chinese values." Has "human rights" been dropped from the transcript? Such editing of transcripts is hardly abnormal.
Since the questions here were probably scripted -- indeed during Ma's first term there was much 'criticism' of the President's speaking to reporters in English, which appeared to actually be support for a move to exert greater control over the questions that reporters ask.
Judging from the other comments made in that paragraph, it looks like Ma is searching for common ground with China, as he always does. This probably should not be read as something anti-western so much as it is his normal pro-China boilerplate about "reducing differences" between the two sides and appealing to shared Confucian values. These are favorite themes, the locals just shrug them off.
There is plenty of stuff on economics, which is Reuter's primary focus, after all. The report notes that Ma is attempting to get FTAs with other trading states. Very curious to see whether Beijing will let that occur. Ma also mentioned the talks with the US, which got hung up on the beef issue. Also very curious to see whether both sides are genuinely interested, or are merely playing the same kind of game as Taipei and Washington have been playing with the F-16 purchase.
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