Friday, February 16, 2007

Fawning over Ma

A pro-China Malaysian journalist, making no pretense of objectivity, comments in the online Asia Times on the Ma indictment....check out the pro-Beijing code phrases:

As the KMT still nominally accepts the "One China" principle, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) under President Chen Shui-bian has been pushing vigorously its separationist agenda, including cultural "de-Sinization", Ma's election is widely expected to be a key for the improvement of relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the democratized Taiwan. That has been called into question.
Taiwan independence is presented as "separationist" although Taiwan isn't and never was part of China....etablishing a local identity is labeled by the code-phrase "de-Sinization" although Taiwan culture retains all of its Chinese elements. Really, all the DPP advocates is labeling things what they are. Nobody is saying that Chinese languages should not be used, or Chinese gods not be worshipped, or Chinese characters dropped. "De-Sinization" is a common code phrase used by Chinese to describe the DPP's policies on establishing a local Taiwan identity.

The article then moves into unabashed Ma worship:

Until last November, Ma's image as "Mr Clean" was almost unassailable. Son of a KMT cadre, Ma's life has been prim and proper and blessed with many open doors. Soon after completing his doctorate in law from Harvard, he was recruited as president Chiang Ching-kuo's personal aide. He moved on to become a minister under Chiang's successor, Lee Teng-hui.

As justice minister, he earned his reputation and made many enemies combating "black gold politics", Taiwan's term for collusion between politicians, businessmen and mafia bosses. He went on to frustrate Chen Shui-bian's bid for re-election as the Taipei mayor in 1998, incidentally pushing Chen to run for and win the presidency two years later.

Though also known for his good looks and athletic stamina, Ma's largest asset is undoubtedly his near-dogmatic hold to rules and civility in Taiwan's notoriously rough and tumble politics. Such qualities, often attributed to his family upbringing and legal education, attract middle class and urban voters but arguably distance him from others.

Parts of this are downright hilarious. Ma is not the mere "son of a KMT cadre" but the son of a prominent mainlander general. Far from advocating civility in discourse, Ma has a silken nastiness that is right at home in local politics. He has repeatedly accused President Chen of being corrupt, has threatened prosecutors who don't come up with answers he likes, and has accused his rival Wang of vote-buying and busing in supporters in connection with the KMT chairmanship election. Ma is all about image, not reality, an image which his many supporters in the media enthusiastically promulgate. Ma is a personality type that many of us are familiar with, the little boy who fetches breakfast for his mother, sucks up to teachers, and then bullies kids on the school playground.

The journalist then goes on to cite the pro-Blue polls on Ma:

The public are more sympathetic to Ma. His approval readings in various opinion polls have risen after his resignation and declaration of candidacy. In a poll by United Daily, 61% of the respondents believed in Ma's integrity, a rise of 5% from November when he was investigated. His leads against DPP hopefuls have widened. He leads Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang by 59% against 21% and former premier Frank Hsieh by 61% against 20%. Among Pan-blue voters, he is leading Wang as the favorite candidate by 87% to 6%.

Anyone really believe that in the Real Taiwan Ma leads Premier Su by 38 points? Isn't this the same UDN that had the KMT up by 15 points on the eve of the Kaohsiung election they lost by a point? None of these polls are trustworthy, and relying on them is pathetic. The last sentence is especially great:

Despite the pro-China image painted by his Pan-Green opponents, Ma is the only Taipei heavyweight who every year commemorates the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989 . Much to Beijing's displeasure, Ma has categorically listed democratization of China as the pre-requisite for any reunification.

The reason that DPP politicians don't publicly commemorate Tiananmen is because it happened 20 years ago in another country. That Ma conducts pious public ceremonies about events that happened in China simply shows where his true loyalties lie: with China. Ma is a pro-China ideologue making pro forma mouthings about democracy. The writer's fawning over Ma's alleged commitment to democracy fails to note that democracy as a prerequisite for annexing Taiwan to China was the position of the National Unification Council, founded in 1991 under Lee Teng-hui -- which China protested for that very reason. Ma's best ideas always originate with others, usually long before he takes them up.

And terminology? Don't miss that "reunification" in the last sentence there.

Does Ma support democracy? There's no record of that until long after democratization had begun. Ma's mentor at NYU was the subject of an article in the Taipei Times the other day:

During an interview with CNA, Cohen, who is now a law professor at New York University, described Ma as honest and upright. He said he felt sympathetic and sad -- just the way he felt when another of his Taiwanese students -- Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) -- was jailed for her political activities in the 1980s.
....and the contrast couldn't be more clear. Lu went to jail for democracy, Ma became the private secretary to the dictator and murderer Chiang Ching-kuo. Had Ma been committed to democracy, he'd have been in the cell next to Lu......

Yes, Mr. Cohen, Ma is upright. It's because he's bipedal, not because he has integrity. Ma has already admitted downloading government money to his private accounts, and fighting the indictment on the grounds that he doing so is not theft, because anyway, it's OK because everyone does it (Cohen's softball treatment of Ma during US visit. Cohen is a member of the US elite Establishment organ, the Council on Foreign Relations).

Expect plenty of fawning over Ma for the next few weeks until the prosecutors hand down the next set of indictments, probably against DPP heavyweights. Hopefully then the System will wise up, vote in a general amnesty, abolish the Special Funds, and move Taiwan forward...instead of forcing everyone to use the Taiwan DefenseTM: Hey. Everyone does it...

UPDATE: LOL. Ron Brownlow's latest Taipei Times feature on the well-known bar DV8 has this to say:

Like many regulars — and unlike DV8's owners — Liao is of the pan-green persuasion. The bar's resident yarnspinner, at 10pm on Tuesday he was regaling a reporter with his story about how, while attending Jingxin Kindergarten (靜心幼稚園), he was punished by his teacher after Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is a year older than Liao, saw him teaching a few of his classmates how to speak Japanese. "I want you to print that," Liao told a reporter. "I want him (Ma) to sue me!"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great information about Ma.

skiingkow said...

I never read The Asia Times online anymore, since I had a spat with another pro-China writer there. Lawrence Eyton was one of the best international reporters on Taiwan politics. Then, they started churning out purple crap like this article.