Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Chen's Speech on the Recall

The Asia Times reports on Chen's speech on the recall:

Taiwan's president struck back at the opposition's campaign to recall him, saying in a television address Tuesday night that his rivals were falsely accusing his wife of corruption and that their bid to oust him had no merit.

President Chen Shui-bian worked his way through a long list of arguments the opposition has used to justify the campaign to sack him with two years left in his second term. Some of the main allegations included charges Chen has mismanaged the economy and his family is corrupt.

Chen defended himself but in my opinion did not go far enough. The pan-Green camp needs to get on-message: the Blues are killing the nation by paralyzing the government and damaging confidence in the economy....

Still, uncertainty over the campaign has hurt investor confidence on the island, contributing to a drop in stock prices Tuesday, traders said. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange fell 219.49 points, or 3.3 percent, to 6,363.55.

“People don't know how long this political back-and-forth will last,” said Daniel Tseng, an analyst at Fubon Securities Investment Services in Taipei.

.....instead of taking potshots at Chen, as so many of them have, lately. Of course, you can count on James Soong, Chairman of the PFP and desperate to revive his ailing party and fading political career, to supply the humor:

James Soong, one of the recall bid's main leaders, said the campaign wasn't a bid by him to grab more power. He said he would retire if Chen was recalled.

“I'll pull out of politics,” said Soong, leader of the minor opposition People First Party.

The Beeb also reported on Chen's speech:

Earlier, his decision not to write to the legislature infuriated a group of around 20 opposition lawmakers, who attempted to march in front of the presidential office waving placards and calling on the president to step down.

They said his refusal to issue a written defence showed contempt for the legislature and was tantamount to an admission of guilt. Scuffles broke out with police.

Imagine not respecting the legislature. That would put Chen in step with just about everyone I know, Green or Blue. The BBC also reports on the move against the PM:

The opposition parties say if the vote fails, they will attempt to topple the cabinet by tabling a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

Being toppled might actually work in favor of the competent, quiet Su, who has considerable appeal across Party boundaries and is expected to contend for the DPP Presidential candidacy. He'd have a bulletproof excuse for not accomplishing any of his promises.......Ma Ying-jeou led a Blue camp attack on the President yesterday, as reported by Taiwan News:

Ma, who is also Taipei mayor, re-emphasized that the proposal to recall President Chen Shui-bian aims to reflect the spirit of "accountability" rather than to cause political conflict, and urged the public to condemn ruling party lawmakers who oppose the recall motion.

According to the joint statement titled "Reflect the Public Opinion, Support the Motion to Recall the President," opposing Chen and saving Taiwan from corruption are not only an individual political party's appeal but also people's consensus. To preserve Taiwan's dignity and the happiness of the next generation, everybody should move to oust President Chen Shui-bian together, the statement stressed.

There's nothing funnier than Ma, the KMT leader talking about corruption, given his firm support of corrupt local politicians (in Keelung and Taitung, for example. And again). Still, conversations with locals indicate that he has managed to maintain his reputation for integrity. Meanwhile Reuters reports that Chen's approval numbers have gone back up.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's popularity has risen slightly since May, a poll showed on Monday, but more than half the respondents felt he was unfit to rule.

The survey by the China Times and a television station found that 28 percent were satisfied with Chen's performance as president, up from 21 percent in May, when his son-in-law was detained in relation to insider trading allegations.

The rise could provide a crumb of comfort for Chen who has faced relentless pressure from the opposition for him to quit over financial scandals implicating family and senior aides.

The number of people dissatisfied with Chen dropped to 56 percent from 61 percent over the same period, the telephone poll of about 1,000 adults showed.

The newspaper attributed the improvement in Chen's popularity to the ability of his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its supporters, known as the "green camp", to divert attention from the scandals by painting the opposition action as a power grab.

I wondered if we'd reach that magic moment when Chen would get a bounce. One poll doth not a bounce make, but it sure is nice to see. Perhaps the Blues have finally gone too far, and forced the public to see how indifferent they are to the future of the island (Paralyze the Government, Attack Chen). Note that the poll is from the pro-KMT and anti-Chen China Times. Unfortunately Reuters then goes on to display the international media's usual ability to avoid nuance and local knowledge:

Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, has been accused of accepting millions of Taiwan dollars of department store gift vouchers and his son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, has been detained since late May on suspicion of insider trading. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Observe how Reuter's sticks both of these accusations together as if they were somehow equal in weight. In fact, there's no evidence to support the accusations against the First Lady; they are apparently vapor. Meanwhile the insider trading accusations against Chao give every appearance of being true.

UPDATE: ESWN has a post on polls after Chen's speech.


Anonymous said...

Concerning Mayor Ma and his flipflop on letting the law take its course; I'm thinking that Ma must have some inside dirt on WuSujen to jump into the circus like he did.

As head of the KMT with many of its supports still in high level positions in the govenment, he has to know much more than the average jou.

Taiwan Echo said...

Prior to the 2000 president election, in which Chen, Soong and Lien compained, numerous inside polls were carried out by Lien's people. They, those who were responsible for the polls, knew that Lien was far far behind Soong. But they were afraid to tell Lien about the truth. Instead, they modified the poll results before they reported to Lien. As a result, Lien has no idea what's really going on. He always thought that he was gonna win in a landslide manner.

Yes, people like Ma would know more than outsiders do. But, if he takes those info for granted, he might bring himself toward an early death of his political career.

Michael Turton said...

As head of the KMT with many of its supports still in high level positions in the govenment, he has to know much more than the average jou.

Shit, maybe that's what he's thinking too. But the scandal is already touching the KMT....

Echo, what's your source for the story on the polls that gave Lien distortions of reality?


Taiwan Echo said...


It was from a friend who said he conducted many polls in Taiwan. Unfortunately this info is not documented. Although not documented, it's easy for people growing up in that environment to believe. For example, when I served in the army as an obligatory training officer, I helped the army to falsify all sort of training records. No matter how bad your soldiers are, the most important thing is to make them look good, at least on the records. In the worst case, a unit of 150 soldiers have only ~50 soldiers serving during the entire year, most of missing soldiers were relatives/sons of some KMT high commands, or that of some Mayors. They have their names in that unit, but they never show up, resulting in 50 poor no-background soldiers doing all missions of 150 ones.

But, thanks to that falsifying culture, we have the complete training records of all 150 soldiers for the entire year, every year. What if the higher officers came to verify the training results? Our commander would invite them to a high-value dinner, and then party all night, added with some gifts or something. If these 'actions' please them, the investigating officers would then "falsify" their investigation results all the way up to make our unit look good. It seems to me that it's how things were done in the KMT era; Entire KMT culture is based on lies after lies after lies.

I hate that kind of culture and that's actually the very first reason to make me break away from the fairy tale of "proud of being a Chinese" that I was taught since kid.

Anyway, since I can't offer solid reference, I am ok if others treat that as hearsay.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, Echo. I appreciate the treatment.


Tim Maddog said...

Michael, in the ESWN post you linked, Roland Soong is spewing the latest meme -- this time about Chen's speech -- that we must verily extinguish:
- - -
...delivered in Minnan dialect and therefore alienating a significant proportion of the population
- - -

The China Post also made such a claim, but it's not true. I watched the speech, and Chen spoke in a mixture of Taiwanese and Mandarin. My wife tells me there were also Mandarin subtitles in the scrolling text on at least one channel which were being typed as Chen spoke, therefore, they lagged a bit behind -- but they were there.

As far as "alienating a significant proportion of the population," tells us that "Today about 70% of the population of Taiwan (15 million people) speak Taiwanese and most also speak Mandarin. Outside Taipei most people prefer to speak Taiwanese..."

In fact, some of my in-laws who support the pan-blues don't speak much Mandarin. I haven't yet had the chance to ask them if they were alienated by Ma Ying-jeou's speech.

Why are they so fixated on this?

Notice also that the "polls" he quotes ask people about things which are either factual or not, e.g,. "president's wife met with Chen Yu-hou?" It's either true or not. Show me incontrovertible evidence, and I'll answer "yes," too.

Is it a mere coincidence that BS-TV, 聯合洗腦報, and 中國洗腦報 all had that exact same question? I think not.