Monday, September 16, 2013

Ma-Wang Tussle Round Up

Apple Daily has had some wonderful front page illustrations during this Ma-Wang disaster.

I need to go away for a vacation (post below) more often if President Ma is going to melt down like this. What fun!  Some observations, in no particular order:

Let's remember -- this affray is entirely the result of Ma's decisions. Nothing called for him to do anything but make his usual noises about resolving things by the law, the KMT is clean, he is against corruption, etc. He didn't have to go after Wang and spark a political and possibly even constitutional. This crisis is entirely of Ma's making.

The Washington Post reports on Taiwan from...Beijing. An island full of talented and perspicacious writers and observers, and their go-to guy is 3000 kms away. Why not just solicit stories from Moonbase Alpha? Think of the broad scope! Longtime Taiwan specialist John Tkacik pointed out the article's subtle pro-PRC spin in a comment below it:
I detect several pro-China spins in this report, including the subtle assumption that Taiwan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, DPP Legislative Whip Ker and Justice Minister Tseng really are guilty of something. These are political figures that Beijing doesn't trust and would gleefully discredit. And when a Taiwan official tells a WPost reporter calling from Beijing "it's unsafe to talk, we're being monitored," he is probably referring to the Chinese security services' routine monitoring of Foreign Correspondents' telephone calls as much as anything else.
The article even terms the feeling of being watched "paranoia" though the piece is about -- what kind of case? Yes, a case in which the government wiretaps were used to discredit the President's perceived political enemies.

Poll plummet: UDN had Ma at 11% approval. As Ma fell to 9% in at least one poll, people were gleefully digging up Ma's words calling for Chen Shui-bian's resignation when Chen hit 18%, or twice as high as where Ma is now. Ma said back in 2006:
and the bolded comment below was widely repeated:
當民意已經不支持你, 你的政治責任沒有辦法再承擔的時候, 你就應該知道自己下台, 不要等人來罷免你。一個人要有羞恥, 人家才會尊重

When the opinion of the people no longer supports you, and when you can no longer shoulder your political responsibilities, you should know that you need to step down. Don't wait until someone impeaches you. A person has to have a sense of shame for the people to respect him. - Ma Ying-jeou, June of 2006
Letters from Taiwan, always good, juxtaposed a poll that said the DPP's Tsai is now more trusted to carry out cross strait policies than Ma, and that Ma was at 9.2%

The news report for more than 30 scholars and law professors signing a document saying Ma has crossed a constitutional red line is here. I've placed the text under the READ MORE divider below. Thanks to Ketty Chen for sending it around Facebook. The Constitutionality of Ma's acts is starting to loom; what looked like Ma simply doing something fantastically stupid is slowly blowing up into a constitutional crisis. Civic groups pointed out that by listening to the prosecutor and removing Wang from his position in the legislature, Ma may have committed a constitutional violation.

The Court's reversal of the order expelling Wang from the KMT certainly makes it seem so. That was huge.... (Taipei Times):

The Taipei District Court yesterday ruled in favor of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) provisional injunction seeking to retain his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership and position as head of the legislature.

The court ruled that Wang would be able to retain his membership and rights as a KMT member after submitting a guarantee of about NT$9.38 million (US$314,300), Taipei District Court spokesperson Lai Chien-yi (賴劍毅) told reporters.
The KMT plans to appeal, so stay tuned. FocusTW explains the Court's logic.
The panel of three judges granted Wang's request on the basis of avoiding "irreparable damages" that the plaintiff would suffer due to a loss of eligibility to serve in the Legislature while waiting for a court to rule on his other lawsuit.
Motives? Lots of people are pointing to simple hate. Lee Yuan-tseh, Taiwan's nobel prize-winning physicist, criticized Ma for constantly having his features distorted by hate. Nathan Batto over at the awesome Frozen Garlic has a marvelously informative blog post on the whole affair, well worth reading. He is leery of identifying a motive. All politics may be local in some places, but in East Asian Confucian societies, all politics is personal. I'm with the vendetta believers, though I am sure the politics of the moment, and of the future (particularly Ma's prized cross-strait peace plan) may have played a role. I don't think Ma is playing 11-dimensional chess or is all that impatient with what's going on in the legislature; I think he seized a chance to revenge himself on someone he really just totally hated. Like a sort of inept, out of control Michael Corleone, he's taking revenge on everyone who offended him by opposing him: the jailing of Chen Shui-bian, the investigation of Lee Teng-hui for embezzling (handled by the same prosecutor who went after Wang in this case), the investigation of Su Tseng-chang for his handling of government papers, the attack on Wang, the prosecutions of DPP politicians all over the island, etc etc etc.

The China Times says Ma sacrifices Taiwan's Future by Slaying Wang. The China Times also pointed out that Lin Yi-shih, the Ma associate who was recently given six years for corruption, is still a KMT party member.

Jonathon Manthorpe, longtime observer of things here, has a write-up of events here.

Lighter moment: some delegation went to Washington to complain to people there about Taiwan's Watergate -- illegal wiretapping! Bwahahaha. Don't they read the news? Complaining to Washington about someone engaged in illegal wiretapping is like complaining to the Mafia about what horrors illegal prostitution and gambling are.
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Mike Fagan said...

Another possibility is fear (not of Wang), with certain other people having some kind of leverage over Ma. That might explain Ma's apparent miscalculation as an act of desperation instead. It might also explain why Ma both said and did nothing with regards to 劉政鴻 in Miaoli.

Anonymous said...

Does Taiwan have anything law about peddling?
I read on facebook, some pro-Ma ex-cops actuallyy saying that it is because Wang had acted corruptly, but as there is no law to bring Wang to justice, so Ma had to expel Wang to balance it out.

Anonymous said...

New York Times banana story referred to Taiwan as a country, did not use the "island" term that Commie China insists on. QUOTE: "But so far, the country’s efforts have fallen short.'' Country was referring to Taiwan. On the NYT website too.

Taiwan Echo said...

Share a quick note here:



Blue legislators said that the handling of political peddling should have been justifiable. The low support rate in the poll indicates that people are concerned about the illegal wire-tapping.

To this Ma replied: "Lawful citizens will not worry about wire-tapping".

So, if you are in Taiwan, DO NOT show that you are worried about the wire-tapping. Otherwise you are a criminal in the eyes of government.