Friday, August 15, 2008

Sovereignty endangered too.....

You diabolical bastard! You can't put an animatronic animal in a zoo! - Why not? - It's not real! So what? It gave you a thrill. People come from all over the world...who have never seen a panda in their whole miserable life. It's not a real thrill, is it? It's artificial! Having pandas in England is artificial, for God's sake! What do you want me to do? Put everyone on a plane and fly them to Africa? Africa? - They come from China. - Not this baby. This was handmade in Belgium. I don't want some cheap Chinese panda.

With one eye watching the unfolding mess as Captain Chen steers the SS DPP into an iceberg, the Olympics and the continuing struggle over sovereignty are still ongoing... Leslie Hook blogs for WSJ from Beijing on the suppression of Taiwan at the Olympics:

Many athletes and fans chafe at these rules. At a Taiwan v. Japan softball game today, a group of Taiwanese tourists completely eschewed the official Olympic flag, instead wearing hats they had designed themselves for their trip to the Olympics. The hats, which are blue, red and white, are reminiscent of the Taiwanese flag, but different enough that they are still permitted inside venues. Each hat displays “Chinese Taipei” on the front, along with a baseball—their favorite sport. “It makes me sad that I can’t use our national flag in the stadium,” said Xu Mengjie, a 21-year-old university student.

A member of the softball team I spoke to was more diplomatic. When asked how it felt to hear cheers for “Chinese Taipei” rather than for Taiwan, she said “this way is better, it’s the right thing to do.” The physician accompanying the team, who gave his name only as Jim, said there were differing views within the delegation about how it felt to compete in Beijing. “They try to be good hosts, and try to treat us like family. But I think some people don’t feel that way.” It doesn’t help that in China the words for “Chinese Taipei” are often confused with “China Taipei,” making Taipei sound like a city in China.

Beijing may also be more sensitive to any hint of pro-Taiwan paraphernalia. As I entered the stadium my baseball cap—which sported the real Taiwanese flag—was politely confiscated. A volunteer told me by way of explanation that “Taiwan is not a country” and that “this flag is not allowed in China.”

The latest CRS report on China only has a small section on China's suppression of Taiwan's international space, but does put "recover" Taiwan in quotes. Hooray! On the other hand, we've stupidly agreed to accept pandas named "unification" and let them crowd out our funding that could go to preserving and researching local species. Hopefully they will go to a for-profit place that didn't do much of that anyway. Concerned Taiwan groups have called for public hearings, accusing the Council of Agriculture (COA) of making the decision behind closed doors. As Chen put it, it's "politics above ecology."

Meanwhile, in other aspects of our sovereignty, Jerome Keating had a blistering piece in the Taipei Times today on further Ma retreats:

This is the hypocritical obfuscation and fudge factor that Ma always hides behind. With this background, the foreign ministry recently floated the idea of using “Chinese Taipei” — the non-entity name given the Olympic team — for the nation’s application to join the UN.
What did Chen accomplish? Chen normalized the use of the word "Taiwan" to describe, well, Taiwan. This helped beat back Chinese attempts to squeeze Taiwan's international presence. On that front, however, it's been 100 days of surrender for Ma -- "Chinese Taipei" for our UN name is a step backwards even from using The Republic of China. Perhaps they have some sneaky plan for establishing the Chinese Republic of Taiwan as was suggested in the 1970s, but I doubt it. Meanwhile the money diplomacy that Ma has claimed would stop goes right on as Ma offers increased aid to Paraguay. The new center-left government there has ended 60 years of right-wing authoritarian rule and may switch recognition to China...

Oh, and remember Ma's campaign promise to keep Chinese labor out? Guess again:
“The government is determined to keep our fisheries strong. As such, various policy amendments and subsidies will be used to help fishermen,” Ma said.

The Executive Yuan has ordered that subsidies for fuel for fishing boats and electricity for fish farms be increased, Ma said.

Restrictions on Chinese fishermen working in Taiwan will also be loosened so they can help their employers with a wider array of tasks, Ma said.
The camel's nose is in the tent.....


TicoExpat said...

LOL. Love that movie. Very appropiate indeed.

Actually, destroying the DPP will not be such a bad thing. With so many factions fighting among themselves, a real rebirth by fire would be welcome.

You definetively do not want to know how much help Taiwan goves to Paraguay...

I wonder if the KMT realizes that if they are truly successful in their endeveour to unite with China, they will not come on top. They will lose both China and Taiwan, and then head where? The US, of course. Then what? Can they bear being espectators ogf the game, or will they be agents for disestabilization? Scary thoughts.

Anonymous said...

On accepting the pands. Chen should have accepted them in the first place. He should have been their to greet them when the arrived, getting his photo taken to clearly take credit for cuddly animals coming to Taiwan, and renamed them something like "liberty" and "independence" right on the spot. The complete inability of China to do anything about it would have simply reinforced that very liberty and independence.

So Taiwan is getting the pandas after all. If Taiwan remains democratic, a pro-Taiwan party will eventually be gain office. As soon as that happens I hope they remember to rename the pandas. Better late than never.

Anonymous said...

The dumbest part of this transaction is that we've let Georgia's hothead leader, Mikhail Saakashvili, unilaterally declare war between NATO and Russia. We don't let Taiwan do the same in our crucial relationship with China, so why have we let ourselves get played for such chumps here?