LOL. Lots of different numbers out there for the DPP protest on Sunday. AP reports in an article that gives an excellent view of the situation, hitting on Ma's many failures:
Organizers from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party estimated the crowd at 150,000, though Associated Press journalists on the scene put the number at no more than 50,000. There was no immediate estimate from police.Estimates: in any case this Tokyo paper claimed the police had announced 90,000 as did the China Post. VOA news also said 50,000 like AP. Taipei Times pegged it at over 100,000. Obviously the Taipei Times is a lot closer to the truth than the international media. Lowball crowd estimates are a problem with the international media, see this old post from 2008 (at bottom) as well as this one which gives a detailed discussion of why crowd counting is so hard.
Since Ma’s re-election, his popularity has plummeted amid the failure of his China-oriented economic program to show results and nagging unease over Taiwan’s increasing orientation toward the mainland. Ma — whose approval rating now stands at around 15 percent — insists that tying the island’s high-tech industries ever closer to China’s lucrative markets is the best way for Taiwan to avoid economic marginalization.
The last sentence there in the AP piece is especially delicious, pointing out how ridiculous Ma's claim is that globalization = marginalization without ever saying so directly. Good work. Unfortunately AP is still writing the pro-Beijing claim "Taiwan separated from the mainland (in 1949)" hogwash. Not much point in pounding on that dead equine any further.
Jenny Hsu turned in another of her uniformly top-notch pieces on the rally, though with no crowd estimate, in WSJ:
Playing a clip from a speech by Mr. Ma during a 2006 rally to depose the former DPP leader Chen Shui-bian, Mr. Su said the Hong Kong-born president should “take his own advice” and remove himself from the office when the public is no longer behind him, referring to his current 13% support rate.Frozen Garlic has an excellent post on the DPP's campaign to get Ma recalled, noting:
The island’s export-reliant market has been in doldrums since the onset of the euro-zone crisis in 2010. The slower-than-expected recovery in the U.S., along with weakening China demand and stiff competition from South Korea’s booming tech industry, have stunted Taiwan’s exports, which contracted 2.3% in 2012 from the previous year.
But supporters of the KMT say Taiwan’s sputtering growth is an inevitable result of the global downturn. The government has rolled out policies, such as offering foreign-based Taiwanese businesses tax breaks to move part of their operations back to the island to boost local employment, in attempt to pull itself out of the mire.
First, the video they showed of President Ma calling on his supporters to recall President Chen in 2006 was extraordinary. Ma systematically destroyed all the arguments he might make today to delegitimize the DPP’s actions. If I were the DPP, I would buy TV commercials and play that clip over and over. I’m sure Ma never dreamed that speech would come back to haunt him. Politicians never expect that they will someday be in the same position as that incompetent, immoral jerk they are attacking.The recall is certain to be a failure, and is dividing the party (predictably). Perhaps somehow all that energy could be directed into developing the party's local networks and ensuring that each and every elected position in Taiwan's local governments has a DPP candidate running for it.
There's a certain irony in contemplating how the general agreement that Ma sucks has actually hamstrung the opposition's ability to fight him. Not only that, the focus on Ma is wrong. The DPP needs to make a general case that Ma is symptomatic of the KMT as an incompetent, out of date, do-nothing, party.
I'm sure you're curious, on a day in which the DPP packed around 100,000 souls into Taipei to protest the President, what Ma himself was doing that day. As protesters exercised democracy in the streets, the President visited the tomb of former dictator Chiang Ching-kuo to commemorate the anniversary of his death. Almost as if he was sending a message of wistful regret that he couldn't clap all the protesters in irons or send gangsters in to beat them up as was done in Chiang's day.
- Frozen Garlic has an excellent post on the DPP's campaign to get Ma recalled, which has no chance of succeeding.
- Video: Two Maori trace their ancestry across the Pacific to Taiwan in this documentary.
- Drew on training on the awesome 136
- Media Deal Sparks Concern in Taiwan by the awesome Chen and Famularo.
- China to publish map showing its full territory. Rumor has it the map will include the Andromeda galaxy, Ringworld, and areas to be named south of Gondor.
- J Michael Cole's review of Bruce Jacob's new book.
- Geopolitical stakes of Taiwan's gay marriage law.
- Global warming research in Taiwan shifts focus
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.