Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Classics

The signs of an approaching election are all around us. Like this, clearly the best bear, bear being a play on the candidate's last name.

A candidate looms from the darkness.

A candidate towers over Fengyuan.

Jason Hu watches over a religious procession.

A candidate's flag.

A new angle on a giant sign.

"Handing down authentic culture, creating a beautiful life." Note that he is pictured in a religious procession.

A two for one.

Signs near a picnic area under a major highway.

See no evil, hear no evil...

"The Senate and People of Rome...."

The signs weigh more than the building itself.

Ma Ying-jeou, off to the left there, appears on a number of signs in Taichung city.

"Who? Me?"

Su Chia-chuan appears on many signs with local candidates, as does his KMT opponent for Taichung mayor, Jason Hu.

Enter the Dragon.

Candidates smile over a local 7-11.

His and hers fist pump.

Su Chia-chuan's HQ in southern Taichung. He is playing basketball with his daughter.

His daughter again. I have actually test-ridden that very bike he is riding in the picture.

I've been lurkin' on the railroad.

A candidate reaches out to local drivers, saying "If I say it, I will do it."

This bicyclist says "You found me!"

At the tourist fishing port in Taichung; an excellent spot.

Campaign workers in Tanzi.

President Ma and lesser mortals on a sign in Taoyuan.

This candidate's sign suggests putting in a trolley car from Ta-ken Scenic Area up to Hsinshe. Sure.
Daily Links:
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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

AIT on Cross-Strait Relations, F-16s, Visa Waiver

William Stanton, head of the American Institute in Taiwan, the US' officially unofficial representative office on The Beautiful Island, said in an interview on Friday with UDN that....

Continued engagement is the best guarantee for maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, said William Stanton, director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), in an interview with a local newspaper on Thursday.


In the interview, Stanton reaffirmed that the US welcomes cross-strait engagement. However, he added, as Taiwan is a democratic country, it is up to the people of Taiwan to decide the speed and direction of such engagement.

Saying that quite a few Taiwanese people remain wary about the cross-strait detente, evidenced by the results of a series of local opinion surveys, Stanton said it is an issue that Taiwan’s current and future governments have to address.

It was good that Stanton reminded readers of the pro-KMT UDN that the people of Taiwan should control how fast and how far engagement with China must go. Thanks! In the AIT summary on its website that is also mentioned. Stanton also spoke on the long-standing visa waiver issue:

Nevertheless, he said that the US is now in a dilemma over the issue because, while the US truly intends to grant Republic of China passport holders visa waiver privileges, it also hopes Taiwan can live up to the conditions set forth by the program.

Noting that the VWP program has many requirements, Stanton said the major hindrance to Taiwan’s inclusion was its failure to demand that its citizens apply in person for their passports.

Because Taiwanese citizens don't have to apply in person, the system can be gamed by Chinese who want to use Taiwan passports to enter the US. This lack of security in the application process is a big problem for the US.

And don't expect those F-16s any time soon. Stanton downplayed their importance in the interview. Taiwan recently said that it was suffering budget problems and couldn't afford systems it had already purchased.

The affected purchases include 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which were part of a $6.4 billion arms sale that set back U.S.-Chinese relations when it was announced in January.

Ruling party legislator Lin Yu-fang has issued a statement saying Taiwan also wants to postpone the purchase of six Patriot anti-missile batteries. In each case, delivery of the weapons would be delayed by three years.

Lin cited production schedules in the United States as well as Taiwan’s budget problems. The island is facing its third consecutive budget deficit.

The F-16s look like they are out of the question. Ironically the affected systems are part of the $6.4 billion dollar sale earlier this year that had China tying its underwear in knots.
Daily Links:
  • From 2009: Taiwan's killer mudslides
  • Kaiyuan Monastery, reputedly Taiwan's oldest.
  • David Reid looks at the Prediction market for 2012 and the five cities, which interestingly has Tsai slightly up on Chu in Xinbei.
  • Did you know that Tonio Andrade's poorly-titled but otherwise wonderful book about the colonization of Taiwan, How Taiwan Became Chinese, is online?
  • Ben on the outstanding verdict in case of the DPP councilors accused of destroying a historical relic.
  • "Maritime Security in Southeast Asia: U.S., Japanese, Regional, and Industry Strategies" By John Bradford, James Manicom, Sheldon Simon and Neil Quartaro (NBR Special Report, November 2010)
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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

China Perspectives Special Issue on Taiwan Out

China Perspectives has a special issue on Taiwan this month. Enjoy -- looks like some really great stuff here.


Paul Jobin • Frank Muyard

Mid-Term Analysis of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration: The Difficulty of Delivering the (Right) Goods
Frank Muyard
Since his election as Taiwan’s president in 2008, Ma Ying-jeou has embarked on an active policy of rapprochement with China, leading to the signing of a string of economic and technical agreements with Beijing that have further liberalised and normalised cross-strait economic relations. But the way this rapprochement has been conducted, coupled with the economic crisis that has struck Taiwan for most of the first two years of Ma’s administration and a series of missteps and mismanagements by the president and the Kuomintang (KMT) government, have generated a crisis of confidence and widespread discontent among the Taiwanese. This has resulted in consistently low approval ratings and several setbacks in regional and by-elections in 2009 and 2010, as well as the resurgence of a reformed opposition under the leadership of Tsai Ing-wen. The discrepancy between Ma’s increasingly apparent Chinese nationalism and the Taiwan-centred national identity of the majority is further indication of a significant disconnect between the KMT administration and the Taiwanese mainstream.

The New Détente in the Taiwan Strait and Its Impact on Taiwan’s Security and Future: More Questions than Answers
Jean-Pierre Cabestan
At first glance, the current detente between Beijing and Taipei has been a welcome development for all parties involved in the security of the Taiwan Strait: Taiwan, China, and the United States. However, this is an armed détente in which security issues have yet to be addressed. While accelerated economic integration is allowing China to exert increasing influence over Taiwan, the threat of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has continued to intensify unabated. Taiwan’s defence effort has been stagnating in spite of the recent US package announcement, and Taiwan’s will to fight depends more and more directly upon the US commitment to Taiwan’s security. This commitment has remained strong. But the PLA’s rapid modernisation drive, coupled with China’s growing influence over Taiwan, its politicians, its business people, and its society at large, have triggered a new debate in Washington about both the sustainability of the US security commitment, enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and its very raison d’être. As a result, more questions remain unanswered.

The Taiwanese Economy After the Miracle: An Industry in Restructuration, Structural Weaknesses
Philippe Chevalérias
The Taiwanese economic miracle is over. At the end of the 1980s, changes in macroeconomic conditions forced Taiwanese industry to restructure. While it moved towards information technology, the island became increasingly tied to the mainland. By speeding up the integration of Taiwan with China by means of a China-Taiwan economic zone, President Ma Ying-jeou hopes to restart growth, but the economic and political consequences of the project are causing controversy.

Hazards and Protest in the “Green Silicon Island”: The Struggle for Visibility of Industrial Hazards in Contemporary Taiwan
Paul Jobin
This paper presents the struggle of several actors, from environmental NGOs to labour activists, to make industrial hazards more socially visible. After an overview of the key issues in Taiwan’s environmental movement since the democratic transition of the mid-1980s, the second part focuses on labour NGOs, an original form of mobilisation pushing for reform of the compensation scheme for occupational hazards. The cases presented cover different industries—including nuclear, chemical, electronics, etc.—various pollutants, and their consequences on public health such as lung diseases diseases and cancers.

Who Cares for Unions? Public Attitudes toward Union Power in Taiwan, 1990-2005
This paper studies how the general public in Taiwan evaluates the power of unions and which groups of the population support stronger unionisation. We intend to compare changes in attitudes toward union strength in two ways. First, we examine whether macro-economic or political dynamics created changes in attitudes. Secondly, we analyse the direct effects of four types of independent variables on attitudes toward unions (individual or collective level, short-term or long-term), including gender, age, ethnicity, and education. Using four waves of the Taiwan Social Change Survey conducted between 1990 and 2005, we find that support for stronger unions rose markedly between 2000 and 2005, expressing a higher awareness of the role of unions in labour relations, especially in the context of economic crisis or lower economic growth.

Taiwanese Historiography: Towards a “Scholarly Native History”
Damien Morier-Genoud
Historical studies of Taiwan have been moulded by schools of thought of diverse origins that support divergent and opposing readings of the island’s past. The 1990s and the 2000s have seen the emergence of a new scientific history of Taiwan, freed from the patterns of nationalist Chinese historiography. This article focuses on the conditions of elaboration and modalities of writing of this history. It examines in more detail the critical thought and recent work of two Taiwanese historians who seek to grasp, beyond the rigid divisions of political periodisation, certain dynamics of Taiwanese history and invite us to rethink the long-term transition of the island’s society towards the modern era.

Understanding the Nuances of Waishengren: History and Agency
Mau-Kuei Chang • Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang
In the late 1940s and early 50s, the world witnessed a massive wave of political migrants out of Mainland China as a result of the Chinese civil war. Those who sought refuge in Taiwan with the KMT came to be known as the “mainlanders” or “ waishengren.” This paper will provide an overview of the research on waishengrenin the past few decades, outlining various approaches and highlighting specific political and social context that gave rise to these approaches. Finally, it will propose a new research agenda based on a perspective of migration studies and historical/sociological analysis. The new approach argues for the importance of both history and agency in the study of waishengrenin 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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reading the ECFA fine print

IPS has an article on what an alliance of 20 civic groups that began in July found in the ECFA fine print:
In a report released Aug. 11, the alliance raised a long list of issues with the ECFA.

Among other things, it called for the elimination of an article in the ECFA that authorised the organisation of a bilateral "joint cross-strait economic cooperation commission" and granted the commission the power to negotiate follow-on agreements that would not require legislative review or approval.

The alliance opposed the clause on the grounds that the arrangement would transfer government authority beyond the scope of legal accountability to Taiwan’s laws or citizen monitoring.

A statute for the handling of cross-strait relations with China had actually been promulgated in 1992 and revised in 2002. But Academia Sinica Institute for Legal Studies Associate Research Prof Max Huang Kuo-chang says the statute mandated the SEF only to negotiate "pragmatic" or "technical" issues with ARATS.

"The cross-strait statute did not foresee that the SEF would be negotiating major treaties or to be ‘delegated’ powers of government on a permanent basis," he says.
But ECFA is non-political and there is no threat to Taiwan's democracy....
Daily Links:
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.

The People Hosed of Cairo

Cecilia: I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything.

President Ma Ying-jeou was at it again with the Cairo Declaration and Taiwan's status this week, another in the long line of examples of the constant KMT iteration of the falsehood that the Cairo Declaration and the Treaty of Taipei are the legal basis for the ROC claim to have "recovered" Taiwan for China. This week was especially egregious, for he added a claim about President Truman:
The 1943 Cairo Communique, worked out by the ROC president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), then-US president Franklin Roosevelt and then-British prime minister Winston Churchill, said Japan should return Taiwan, Penghu and other territories in northeast China that it had “stolen” from the Chinese, Ma said.

The Potsdam Declaration of 1945 reaffirmed the Cairo Communique and gave the ROC the right to take sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu, he said.

According to Ma, in its Instrument of Surrender, Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and former US president Harry Truman also accepted the idea that sovereignty over Taiwan was settled as the US Department of State said that the US and other Allied powers accepted the exercise of Chinese authority over Formosa, which was surrendered to Chiang.
Ma's claims about Cairo are the more complex of the two sets of claims here, so we'll first look at what Truman said. Ma refers to Truman's "1950" statements in his remarks (see the Taiwan Today piece). In 1950 Truman made two major statements on the status of Formosa. Remarks about the status of Formosa are included in his famous June 27, 1950 announcement:
The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. It has defied the orders of the Security Council of the United Nations issued to preserve international peace and security. In these circumstances the occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area. Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.
However, on Jan 5 of that year Truman issued a statement on the status of Formosa in which he appears to accept Chinese sovereignty over Formosa (extract here).
"A specific application of the foregoing principles is seen in the present situation with respect to Formosa. In the Joint Declaration at Cairo on December 1, 1943, the President of the United States, the British Prime Minister, and the President of China stated that it was their purpose that territories Japan had stolen from China, such as Formosa, should be restored to the Republic of China. The United States was a signatory to the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, which declared that the terms of the Cairo Declaration should be carried out. The provisions of this declaration were accepted by Japan at the time of its surrender. In keeping with these declarations, Formosa was surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and for the past 4 years the United States and other Allied Powers have accepted the exercise of Chinese authority over the island.

"The United States has no predatory designs on Formosa, or on any other Chinese territory. The United States has no desire to obtain special rights or privileges, or to establish military bases on Formosa at this time. Nor does it have any intention of utilizing its Armed Forces to interfere in the present situation. The United States Government will not pursue a course which will lead to involvement in the civil conflict in China.

"Similarly, the United States Government will not provide military aid or advice to Chinese forces on Formosa. In the view of the United States Government, the resources on Formosa are adequate to enable them to obtain the items which they might consider necessary for the defense of the island. The United States Government proposes to continue under existing legislative authority the present ECA program of economic assistance."
It might be possible to read: "...or on any other Chinese territory." as Truman saying Formosa is Chinese territory. To put that in its proper context, the KMT had just retreated to Taiwan in Dec and suddenly, after saying Formosa was irrelevant, the US did an about face and began to prepare a policy that shifted between saying Formosa was irrelevant and that it was important, because it did not appear that the Communist Chinese would have any trouble taking Formosa when they got around to that task -- thus the declared policy of the US was to simply let the chips fall as they may. This Time article from 1951 gives a sense of that. Hence, Truman is not saying that Formosa belongs to China. He is merely announcing that the island was not a strategic interest of the US and that there the US had no dog in that fight and no designs on any Chinese territory, however such territory may be construed.

The clear indication of the June 27th statement, however, is that the US position was that the status of Taiwan is undetermined. That has been the US position for all of recent history down to the present day.

However, let us recall some salient facts: (1) Truman can't dispose of Formosa. In 1950 the US didn't own it; Japan did. (2) The Formosans themselves weren't consulted on the issue. Lest you think that is some idealistic modern interpretation that didn't apply in those hard-nosed days, Chen and Reisman's seminal review of the issues for the Yale Law Journal in 1971 (Who Owns Taiwan: the Search for an International Title) observed of the Cairo Declaration that in its own League of Nations context:
As to environing international norms, it is sufficient to note that the doctrines of self-determination and the prohibition of use of force for territorial changes, as embodied in many resolutions of organs of the League of Nations, had transformed the component of acquiescence of the indigenous people into a peremptory aspect, and a virtual requirement of lawful transfers of territorial title. Hence, even assuming that the Cairo Declaration, as reinforced by the Potsdam Declaration, had been intended by the parties to it to create new international rights, such an intention would have been limited by international law. Jure gentium, the Cairo Declaration could mean only that the participants agreed to recognize a Chinese acquisition of Formosa if the inhabitants of Formosa indicated that they desired to be part of or to be governed by China.
In other words, Cairo, Potsdam, Truman, Mao, whatever is said and done, in the end, no legal transfer of territory can take place without the consent of the population. Even by the norms prevailing in 1943.

Shifting to the Cairo Declaration, several things may be noted. First, here is the text:
The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.

With these objects in view the three Allies, in harmony with those of the United Nations at war with Japan, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.
The Cairo Declaration is not a treaty and has no force. It is merely a declaration of common aims, subject to any changes the future might bring. The language of the CD was adopted as a sop to keep Chiang Kai-shek in the war. The US clarified its position on Cairo in a statement issued Dec 27, 1950:
The Cairo Declaration of 1943 stated the purpose to restore "Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores to the Republic of China." That Declaration, like other wartime declarations such as those of Yalta and Potsdam, was in the opinion of the United States Government subject to any final peace settlement where all relevant factors should be considered. The United States cannot accept the view, apparently put forward by the Soviet government, that the views of other Allies not represented at Cairo must be wholly ignored. Also, the United States believes that declarations such as that issued at Cairo must necessarily be considered in the light of the United Nations Charter, the obligations of which prevail over any other international agreement.
That is also the UK position. George Kerr observed:
This [the Cairo Declaration] was not a carefully prepared State Paper but rather a promise to divide the spoils, dangled before the wavering Chinese. It was a declaration of intent, promising a redistribution of territories held by the Japanese. None of the territories mentioned in the document were at that moment in Allied hands.
Similarly George Kennen wrote:
No one seems to know from what deliberations this declaration [Cairo] issued; it was apparently drafted, at the moment, by Harry Hopkins, after consultation only with the President and the Chinese visitors.
I bet your head is nodding. Chen and Reisman point out two major issues, (1) the norms of the day (paragraph noted above) and (2) the capacity of the participants:
As to the capacity of the declarants, three states were simply not empowered under the principles and peremptory procedures of the Covenant of the League of Nations then in force, to decide that the territory held, and formerly recognized as validly so held by another, could now be forcibly removed from that state.
So much for Cairo. The real reason President Ma and other KMT fantasists keep referring to Cairo and to Truman and to Potsdam and the Treaty of Taipei is simple: under the postwar treaty arrangements codified in the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan gave up sovereignty over Taiwan and no recipient is named. Thus, under international law, the status of Taiwan is undetermined. Note that Ma generally omits discussion of the SF Peace Treaty, since to mention it instantly invalidates his case.

The purpose of this heightened exposure for Cairo and the like is simple: I believe it is the KMT plan to establish a basis for Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan without ever setting the matter before the people and legislature of Taiwan. By pretending that Taiwan has already become part of China -- and always has been, hence it was "returned" -- a 'stealth annexation' of Taiwan can be accomplished, and a plausible fait accompli offered to the world.
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.

The Irrational Rise

Manchurian Candidate 2010: student recruited by PRC intelligence for deep penetration. He can't be the only one:
The operations range from sustained cyber-attacks to deep-penetration agents inside the US government like the kind of agent Shriver was meant to be,” he said.

Shriver first went to China when he was 21 years old, to study Mandarin at East China Normal University in Shanghai for a year.

He returned to China the following year for a visit and was approached by a woman called Amanda who offered to pay him US$120 to write a political assessment of how US-China relations were impacted by Taiwan.

According to court papers, Shriver was then introduced to two Chinese intelligence officers identified as Mr Wu and Mr Tang.

They persuaded Shriver to continue working for them by returning to the US and getting a job in either the US State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The intelligence agents told him: “If it’s possible, we want you to get us some secrets of classified information.”

Shriver went home and took the Foreign Service exam twice — failing both times — in order to apply for a job with the State Department.

To keep his spirits up, the Chinese agents gave him a US$30,000 bonus.

Next, he applied for a job with the CIA and the Chinese gave him US$40,000 more.

Shriver told the agency that he had no contact with a foreign government, but during the extensive background checks it performs on potential employees, the CIA discovered that he had held 20 meetings with Chinese agents from 2004 to 2007.
Which is by way of introducing Dan Blumenthal's piece in Foreign Policy: What happened to China's peaceful rise? Blumenthal asks: what happened to China's soft power, its reputed patient, skillful diplomacy? Disappearing, as China rises. He turns to a couple of recent books to explain China's behavior in terms of its cultural view of a heirarchical, sino-centric world in which it sits at the top, with the Warring States period as its model for current international relations:
Thus, it could be that the current sanctification of Westphalian norms in China's foreign policy is merely a useful instrument in what Chinese strategists view as the competitive struggle for political hegemony ongoing today. Sovereign equality is accepted as a reality, at least for now, until China can establish a political order more in line with the Sino-centric hierarchy it naturally prefers. The concept of "non-interference" and respect for sovereignty is a useful way for Beijing to defend the territory China already controls and that which China claims.

In a competitive international setting, China would be highly attentive to the slightest adjustment in the distribution of power among states. The proximate cause of China's expansive South China Sea claims may have been a judgment that the current hegemon -- the United States -- was reeling from the financial crisis and distracted by two wars. The weakness of the strongest state in the system presented an opportunity for China to make its claim on the South China Sea more public and coerce the lesser "tributary" states along its periphery to accept Beijing's diktat.

The strong counter-reaction by Secretaries Clinton and Gates took the Chinese by surprise and left Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stunned and furious. But precisely in his moment of fury, Foreign Minister Yang had much to reveal about how the Chinese elite think. In Yang's view, Secretary Clinton was "attacking China." And as Yang said, "China is a big country and other countries are small countries and that is just a fact." This reaction makes a great deal of sense when seen through the prism of China's world view as explained by Ford, Newymer and Pillsbury. First, Beijing sees itself as in an intensive competition for primacy that parallels the Warring States Period. U.S. attempts to stand up for its interests and allies are not taken at face value, they are "attacks" on China. Second, the natural order of things is that the "small countries" must accept China's superior position. In Beijing's view, accepting your natural place in the hierarchy is not just a matter of power politics in the classical realist sense, it is right, proper, and the only way to establish a stable order.
These two ideas help explain a lot of what we're seeing in Beijing's international diplomacy, including the waiting game it played when China was weak. The key in this case to understanding "the rise of China" is that it is a twofold event: China is rising, and the US is in decline. Had we not burned out our military and blown up our budget with two useless wars, we might be in a much better position to engage China.

The American folly in Afghanistan also gives lie, I would argue, to those who constantly argue that China will not do X because X is irrational. The US, a democracy with a vigorous opposition both right and left, still cannot shut down its war in Afghanistan, which is draining its strength, debasing the national democracy, and destroying its ability to make an economic recovery -- not to mention making Central Asia safe for Chinese expansion. The behavior of the US foreign policymaking elites on the Afghan War is the very picture of irrationality. And that is the supposedly competent US at work. How much worse will Beijing be?

Well, we're getting glimpses all over the place -- from China aggressing on Japan about Beijing's entirely artificial claim to the Senkakus to the steady seizure of Vietnamese fishing boats in the South China Sea to a whole state of India appearing on Chinese maps as Chinese to Colonel Saito and Annexation Barbie haranguing the Taiwanese delegation at a film festival in Japan.* There's no rational reason for Beijing to simultaneously peeve all of its neighbors at the same time. But there it is....

*Saito. Thanks to K C for "annexation barbie."
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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leninist Organization in Action: the Ad

Several months go I wrote about the formation of these "student groups." Very slick, eh? Obviously a lot of money behind this.
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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Daily Links, October 25, 2010

The Yankees lose: a nation unites. Meanwhile, life going by too fast to see clearly? That's why we have weekly links today....


Chinglish: For pete's sake, can we get "to learn" corrected to the proper "Learn". Don't they have native speakers who check this stuff!? Also, enjoy the interplay of Taiwan and China in that little ad.
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!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

China Policy Infighting In Washington

Geertz's latest Inside the Ring at the Washington Times outlines some of what we've been hearing for the last year:
With President Obama set for a major trip to Asia next month and the Obama administration nearing the halfway point of its first term, U.S. officials tell Inside the Ring that a heated policy debate is under way over how to deal with China.

Two camps in the policy dispute involve one powerful faction that favors past policies of conciliation and concessions in relations with China — described by one official as the "kowtow" group. A second, more centrist, group is characterized as "sad and disappointed" by China's across-the-board refusal to work cooperatively with the United States for the past two years.

The policy debate is almost totally hidden from public view and only occasionally surfaces in public through statements or public speeches by faction members.

China's diplomats and intelligence officers are said to be aware of the debate and the U.S. officials said the Chinese are actively trying to influence it behind the scenes through their supporters in and out of government.
"Through their supporters in and out of government." Yeesh. Geertz adds:
The kowtow group is headed by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and includes White House National Security Council Asia Staff Director Jeff Bader, and his deputy, Evan Medeiros, a China military expert. Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing also support continuing the current U.S. policies aimed to avoid upsetting Beijing's communist leaders.

According to the officials close to the debate, this group and its supporters in departments and agencies, including the intelligence community analysis groups, believe they must protect China from critics who they claim want to turn it into an enemy by following U.S. policies that will not upset Beijing.


The centrist faction is being called the "sad and disappointed" group whose most senior members are Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and, although not technically a policy official, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta. Included among the sad and disappointed group are Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, and Wallace "Chip" Gregson, a retired Marine three-star general and assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs.
Bader came out of a company that does business with China (see this article) -- that complicating factor almost never appears in news reports -- but like many other areas of governance, foreign policy often represents a case of regulatory capture by the concerned private interest.

As I've noted before, advocacy of the position that "we shouldn't anger Beijing" simply gives the CCP a veto over US China policy. Not only that, but as the article notes, Adm. Willard has been sidelined for speaking out for a tougher US line -- meaning that criticizing Beijing can get you in trouble -- thus handing Beijing a veto over who gets to participate in the policymaking conversation.
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!

Tokyo film Festival: Blustering Beijingers Bullying BS

Beijing's blusterers strike again:
Shortly before celebrities began to walk a green carpet to mark the start of the festival, the head of the Chinese delegation, Jiang Ping, told organizers that the Taiwanese delegation must not attend under the name "Taiwan" but should use the designation of "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei" -- the title Taiwan uses when participating in the Olympic Games.

Jiang said that if his demand was not met, the Chinese delegation would boycott the green carpet walk and other festival-related events.

The Taiwanese delegation, headed by Chen Chih-kuan, director of the Government Information Office's Department of Motion Pictures Affairs, however, refused to accede to the Chinese demand.

Chen said the delegation applied to attend this year's event under the name of Taiwan as it has in past years. "We have no reason to make a concession this time around," he added.

"We will respect the arrangements made by the organizers under the prerequisite that our national dignity is not undermined, " Chen said.

With both sides sticking to their guns, the green carpet walk finished without them
Thank you, GIO, for the right response. If only the festival organizers had shrugged and told Beijing: your loss.

Video here: as Andrew R says in the comments, it will make your blood boil. This should be an advert for the DPP.
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!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

US-Taipei Disarray and the Status Quo

Staunch Taiwan supporter Arthur Waldron on Taiwan, China, the US, and Defense in the Jamestown brief. The piece gives a picture of disarray within the Ma government, caught by surprise by the sudden Chinese aggressiveness in recent months....
I made a plunge into the world of Taipei gossip and rumor, within which I have some relatively reliable sources. I heard, from the blue camp, a distinctly dispiriting account of the Ma administration. The government, so the analysis went, had staked, if not everything, then "ninety percent" on improving relations with China. Clearly, they had made some gains. On the trip home, I ran into a responsible American official who described the recent Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (aka ECFA, signed June 29) as "amazingly" favorable to Taiwan. Yet, little consideration, my Taiwan sources told me, had been given to the need for an alternative approach, should China prove uncooperative.

Some among the blues said that even the ostensibly urgent appeals to the United States for advanced fighter aircraft and other weaponry had been undercut, via back channels that told the Washington administration that Taiwan did not really want approval of the weapons (this would have been before the sobering events of the summer). Other sources reported that the United States was aware of traffic between China and Taiwan that undercut the latter's public position. None of this seemed on the face of it implausible, given that when out of power the Kuomintang had stifled funding in the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's parliament) for the Bush administration's unprecedented comprehensive arms sales offers to the island. Had they not done so new F-16s may already be flying in the skies over Taiwan.


The new cold breeze blowing from China, however, looks to have had some effect on Taiwan, and is likely to continue to do so. A foreigner who had recently met with a number of regional governments told me that in his opinion not one expected anything other than trouble from China in the years ahead. As already mentioned, Taiwan's government would seem to have slowed down the rate at which it has been embracing cooperation with China. As a coalition of other Asian states takes shape to counter-balance China, I argued in my presentation at the conference, it was unlikely that democratic Taiwan would take the side of a dictatorship against other democracies (among other things the military would never stand for this—I was told), and even more unlikely that the United States would seek to force a democratic country like Taiwan to make terms with a would-be regional hegemon.
Meanwhile Nat Bellocchi on the Status Quo:
However, during the administrations of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), it was also used by the US to dampen initiatives that were perceived as “rocking the boat.”
This was the same point I made a few days ago: the Status Quo evolved into a cage for Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui. But there was never any criticism of the Chinese missile build up in terms of the Status Quo. Now that Ma is in power and the KMT is sleeping with its pals from Beijing, there is no mention of the Status Quo at all. It has disappeared from the conversation.

The Status Quo was leverage. A tool, now tossed away.

Those bars of Status Quo could have imprisoned Ma just as effectively as they had Chen -- and been a moral bludgeon against Beijing. The US could have growled a few warnings, noting that Ma and the KMT had no majority support for the project of annexing Taiwan to China, and based them on the Status Quo. That now represents another blown opportunity -- now China is suddenly becoming more aggressive, and the KMT plan to put Taipei in China's orbit has stalled thanks to splits within his own party, as Waldron documents above, and effective opposition in the form of election defeats and low poll numbers. Had the US insisted on the Status Quo as a living policy, it might now be in a better position to re-incorporate Taiwan into the Japan-Taiwan-US security alliance.

Maybe it's not to late to start talking about the Status Quo. Could give those in the KMT and in the Ma Administration policy cover and the space to advocate a retrenchment at a greater distance from Beijing.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Full Moon over Taiwan

"Setting, the moon seems to shake the flowering trees along the river with unquiet thought."

Lovely full moon tonight on the eve of tomorrow's predicted typhoon deluge. Stay safe, dear readers.
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Election Shorts

I took this outside the train station in Taoyuan city. As you step out of the station it is clearly visible. It advertises Chu Li-lun, the KMT candidate for The City Formerly Known as Taipei County, or Xinbei City (New North City). The sign advertises him as "Son of Taoyuan" and asks voters to call their friends and relatives in Xinbei and tell them to vote for Chu.

First, Bill Clinton is visiting Taiwan next month. Don't miss J Michael's post explaining what it is all about. There's a contest to which questions for Clinton can be submitted, and the "ten most popular" will be chosen. Sure. Anyway, the link is here. Go thou and submit.

There has been an extended debate over proposals to set up some kind of absentee voting system since elections here are like 23 million versions of the return of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem as voters return to where they are registered in order to vote. Taiwan Today posted an article on the latest developments:

Saying the ministry is fully cognizant of related stipulations in the Constitution as well as in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, Jiang stressed nationals need to return to Taiwan to vote to elect the president and vice president.

Under the ministry’s plan, all eligible voters, except those who live abroad, will be able to cast their ballots outside the city or county where their household is registered so long as they file an application within a predesignated period.

The system will allow people who must be on duty on presidential election days to cast their ballots at the polling booth chosen in their applications. Included are those serving in the military or the police, electoral workers and convicts, as well as students and average citizens living away from their registered household.
The latest measure excludes nationals living abroad, meaning that businessmen in China will have to return home to vote. There had been some fear that China might interfere in absentee voting if the absentee ballot was extended to voters abroad, since ballots would not be secure. Not to mention the irony of Taiwan holding democratic elections in the PRC. Wouldn't that be enlightening?

UDN, the pro-KMT paper, says that PFP chairman and former KMT heavyweight James Soong's support for DPP defector Yang Chiu-hsing in Kaohsiung, combined with his criticisms of Mayor Hau in Taipei, put the KMT in a bind. Soong is the leader of the PFP, a pan-Blue party allied with the KMT:
The reasons are simple. James Soong's move will leave the KMT with even less room to maneuver. Now all the KMT can do is limit the damage James Soong has inflicted upon the Blue Camp. Soong has clearly made his play. His is attempting to "dump Huang to save Yang" in Kaohsiung. He has blasted Hau Lung-ping for "failure to make Taipei look like a national capital." Soong has already precipitated a complete schism. This forces the KMT to back Huang Chao-shun in Kaohsiung to the bitter end. The KMT now has no choice but to prevent the "James Soong factor" from spreading to Taipei and Xinbei City. If the situation persists, if both Huang and Yang remain in the race to the very end, if both manage to retain over 10% of their diehard supporters, then Huang Chao-hsun stands no chance of getting elected. James Soong's attempt to ensure that Yang gets elected will fail. Therefore, James Soong's move is really intended to split the Blue Camp. His attempt to get Yang elected is merely a pretext.

The real problem is that Blue Camp voters no longer have the same opinion of James Soong they once did. Any attempt to promote a "dump/save effect" in Kaohsiung hinges on Pan Blue voters' desire to bring down Chen Chu. But this collective desire rests on the premise of "Blue Camp solidarity." James Soong's attempt to exploit this "dump/save effect" involves flagrant attempts to discredit Ma and Hau. These may be unacceptable to most Blue Camp voters. Therefore, Soong's attempt to play the "dump/save card" may on the one hand incite "defeat Chen Chu above all else" sentiment among Blue Camp voters. They may intensify support for Yang Chiu-hsing. They may on the other hand provoke intense Blue Camp voters' anger against James Soong, and persuade them to support Huang to the bitter end. Another possibility is that such offensive tactics may alienate them so badly they boycott the election altogether. These are all reasons why Soong's attempt to persuade voters to "dump Huang to save Yang" may not succeed.

With this "shot in the arm," Yang Chiu-hsing may have overplayed his hand. He has forced the KMT's hand. Now there is no turning back. The KMT must now fight him to the end. Yang's move will inevitably provoke a backlash. It will inevitably incite Blue Camp anger against a common enemy. Also, the Chen Chu camp, seeing Soong and Yang come together, is bound to point to this move and attempt to dissuade Green Camp voters from dumping Chen Chu to save Yang. This will reduce Yang's final vote count. Therefore, once the dust settles, Yang Chiu-hsing may find that his piece of the pie has actually shrunk. The Blue Camp initially had a chance to play the "dump/save card" in the Greater Kaohsiung election. But James Soong's move has mired the Blue Camp in a deadlock.


James Soong's image is not what it used to be. It is no longer what it was years ago. Therefore, persuading voters to "dump Huang to save Yang" will be correspondingly difficult. When Soong lashed out, he immediately impacted the larger political picture. Even Hau Lung-bin was dragged in. Soong's public pronouncements will inevitably become increasingly intemperate. This of course will affect the feelings of Blue Camp voters. Some may agree with Soong. But others may become even more contemptuous of him. In short, for Blue Camp voters, this is highly emotional matter. The impact of Soong's move is not limited to "dump Huang to save Yang" in Kaohsiung. It is bound to impact every one of the five cities elections. It is bound to impact the Ma administration's 2012 re-election bid.
UDN essentially argues that the KMT can't dump Huang to save Yang -- have its voters switch from the KMT's Huang, who cannot win, to Yang, who has a shot at winning -- and thus defeat the DPP's Chen Chu in Kaohsiung, because that would serve Soong. What's the priority? August polling from TVBS showed Yang was actually deriving his support from KMT voters.
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Ma and the Senkakus in AP

The controversy over Ma's "political talks" remarks, discussed in the post below this one, obscured some other remarks that Ma made in the AP interview. Let's look at the pro-China Want China Times transcript of his remarks about the Senkakus:


President Ma: Well, on the East China Sea, for instance, the Diaoyutai or Senkaku [Islands], they were actually discovered and named by the Chinese more than 600 years ago, and during the process, they were used as navigation aids and that included the sea defense of Ming and Ching dynasties, ironically, against the Japanese. There are many historical records, particularly when the kings of the Ryukyus [acceded to the throne], they actually paid tribute to mainland China, to the Ming and Ching dynasties, for almost 500 years. So during the process, there were dozens of special envoys sent by the Ming and Ching courts to officiate their inauguration, so there were [many] historical records on using those islands.[MT: note how in Ma's mind Okinawa is connected to the Senkaku claim -- the Okinawans paid tribute so the Senkakus are part of China. What does that tell you about the views of Ma and similar Chinese nationalists about Okinawa's status? And where they will go next? I hope in the next interview someone will ask his opinion of Okinawa's status? ]

The Japanese actually annexed those islands in 1895 after they had already defeated the armies and the navy of the Ching court at the end of 1894. So when the islands, including Taiwan, were ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, these islands were also turned over. That is why after the war, those islands were returned to the Republic of China under not only the Instrument of Surrender but also the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty of 1952.[MT: check these documents yourself. Think Ma is interpreting them correctly? No one but China claims this. Ma also knows that Japan annexed the islands in Jan of 1895 prior to the Treaty of Shimonoseki in April of 1895. At no time until 1969 did either Chinese government claim the Senkakus were part of China, as I have covered elsewhere and Ampotan also notes in a great post. ]

But the Japanese say that they discovered those islands in 1895 as terra nullius, so we have historical records [that are] quite clear. But, you see, these islands have been in a state of dispute for over 40 years. And for all this historical, uh, territorial dispute, which is associated with natural resources, I think the best way is to shelf the issue and then try to jointly develop resources and to have some kind of sharing. This is probably the best way to settle our disputes.[MT: "state of dispute for forty years". Ma tacitly admits that the dispute is of recent origin -- actually it is related to the announcement of oil there by Japanese scientists. ]

AP: It sounded, to me, though, like you were making a pretty good argument that there is a rightful territorial claim to those islands, and it’s not Japan’s.

President Ma: We believe these islands belong to us. Not only for historical reasons but also for geographical and geological reasons. They are geologically connected with Taiwan. They are separate from the continental shelf of Taiwan and the mainland, away from the Ryukyu Islands [Okinawa]. There is an Okinawa Trough, which could be as deep as 2,717 meters.[MT: Ma's thesis was on the Senkakus.]

On the other hand, geographically they are also closer to Taiwan than to the Ryukyu Islands. If you look at the historical records of Ryukyu, they have only 36 islands, not including the Diaoyutai Islands. Actually, the Japanese name Senkaku means, “pinnacle,” like a church pinnacle. These were actually named by the British sailors in the 16th, 17th century, when they sailed through those islands. The island has a mountain of 383 meters, which is rare in a volcanic island. And that has been used for centuries by sailors as a navigational aid. So we know that island very well; it has been visited many times by Taiwanese fishermen. Near the island there are great fishing grounds.[MT: Geographically the islands are closer to Japanese territory than Chinese, even if you count Taiwan as part of China.]


AP: So does the geological continuity between Taiwan and these islands mean that the Republic of China’s claim to these islands is superior to the claim of the People’s Republic of China to these islands?

President Ma: Yes. These are islands geographically, geologically belonging to the island of Taiwan. Even historical records as early as the 16th century have had records of that. But the problem is, all these historical records were actually used by mainland China and Taiwan together because it’s part of history. [MT: I think he means to say that China and Taiwan together are using the historical fancies records to advance a claim to the Senkakus.]

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

GIO to AP: 'Sup, Press?

Huge week for press freedom in Taiwan... in a three-steps backward kind of way...

First, Reporters without Borders actually moved Taiwan up in the rankings this year, to 48th. Reporters without Borders had expressed concern over the apparent takeover of Public Television last month, but this did not stop them from moving Taiwan up. Note that under Ma press freedom has tumbled -- we were generally ranked in the 30s under the Chen Administration, and third in Asia (we are now seventh). UPDATE: Klaus corrects me:
2004: 60
2005: 51
2006: 43
2007: 32
2008: 36
2009: 59
2010: 48
The big media news, however, was the controversy over AP's reporting of an interview of President Ma Ying-jeou by veteran reporter Peter Enav. The Taipei Times has complete coverage in its excellent article today:
A controversy surrounding an Associated Press (AP) interview with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took a new turn yesterday after Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) sent a letter to John Daniszewski, the international editor at AP, requesting that the news agency “investigate the causes of distortions in the interview piece” and make corrections as soon as possible.

At the heart of the controversy is a section of the interview published by AP on Tuesday where Ma’s remarks are portrayed as suggesting that sensitive political talks with Beijing, including security issues, could start as early as his second four-year term, provided he is re-elected in 2012.

Ma denies providing a timeline or tying such talks to his re-election.

In a press statement, the GIO said AP did not “correctly reflect” the views expressed by Ma during the interview and “misled” readers by printing remarks that Ma did not make, which “runs against the code of ethics universally adopted in international journalism.”
The Taipei Times has a transcript from the Presidential office, which it compares to the AP interview.

I've had my differences with AP as an organization, most notably over the ridiculously inaccurate and remarkably pro-Beijing "split in 1949" formula. But AP's local reporting is generally sound and sober and Enav is, more importantly, a total professional. The GIO accusations are, in my view, groundless, which should lead the observer to ask why they are being made. The Taipei Times notes in an editorial:

A closer look at the transcript, however, clearly shows Ma responding to an AP question — “if economic issues are resolved during your second term, during that term, you might move on to political questions?” — by saying: “As I said, it depends on how fast we move, whether these issues are satisfactorily resolved.”

It is therefore reasonable for the AP to quote Ma as having “suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.”

On Tuesday night, Ma stressed that what he said was that “the government would not start political talks with China before it completed negotiations on economic issues.”

However, that very statement rings a horrifying tune to the ears of many. After all, at what point will the Ma government determine that economic issues have been resolved? Has the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in June borne fruit for Taiwan or improved Taiwan’s economy? What about the trade imbalance between China and Taiwan?

This is really the key point of the whole "controversy" over Ma's remarks: who decides when economic affairs are "satisfactory"? Ma and the KMT. Who decides what constitutes political talks? Ma and the KMT. "Neither the legislature nor Taiwanese voters have authorized Ma to represent the country in moving on to political talks should economic issues be taken care of in his first term," concludes the Taipei Times. Yup.

Note further that the "controversy" obscures these points. By debating the when of political talks we normalize them. It has slowly become perfectly normal in the discourse to speak of a future when we have political talks with China, rather than debating whether we should have surrender negotiations political talks at all. Ma's constant invocation of political talks? not at this time! has subtly shifted the center of gravity of the discourse. Not to mention that the term political talks is itself a euphemism for unification negotiations.

Ma deploys the claim that the voters prefer the status quo in the same way. Ma is careful never to interpret the wishes of the voters as a permanent state, despite the fact that, as poll after poll shows, only something like 8-12% of the electorate wants to become part of China, and only a tiny handful of loons wants to join the PRC immediately. The status quo in Ma's discourse functions to shut off independence as a viable option -- by invoking some unspecified and perhaps democratic future in which Taiwan joins China whenever he mentions the preferences of locals for the status quo, Ma aligns the status quo with a weakly pro-unification position, rather than describing it as it actually is: a powerful signal of the preference of the majority of voters for independence in some form.

It doesn't really matter what Ma says to AP because the KMT will do whatever it wants in Ma's second term, assuming there is one (Ma has in any case said that political talks cannot be ruled out in the Chinese language press) and ignore the public, as they did with ECFA. The KMT is merely concerned that with three weeks to go in an election campaign when the KMT is taking a beating at home for its pro-China positions, the ruling party does not need another indication of Ma's pro-China views. Hence, this bit of political theatre -- a "controversy" -- to blow smoke in front of the local electorate. Note the red meat for the indignant masses: Oh noes! foreignersforeignersforeigners screwing the President.

Of course, the chilling effect of this incident on the potential future toughness of interviewers is an important side benefit. If you thought Ma's interviewers weren't fawning enough..... notable also were the claims from the pro-KMT press that Ma's English wasn't up to snuff. Helpfully, they suggested that he prepare answers beforehand if he is going to speak in English. Meaning that interviewers will have even less ability to get Ma to speak.

The real issue here is that by creating a faux "controversy" over what AP reported, the GIO has managed to divert attention from what President of the ROC and Chairman of the KMT Ma Ying-jeou actually thinks.

Which is what we should really be discussing.

REF: The pro-China Want China Times transcript is here.

UPDATE: I am bringing up Don's comment from below:
One of Ma's tics is talking about "the people of Taiwan" like an external entity that he's not a part of. Like they are children or foreigners. Quite unusual for a modern democratic leader. I also recall him after Morakot and on some other occasion using "them" and "they" to describe Taiwan's people. Very off-putting. I wonder why more voters aren't repelled by this.

In the AP interview Ma once again avoids the obvious conclusion that since the public don't want unification (which he freely acknowledges) then it's not his job to promote the diametrically opposite position. It shouldn't be a matter of "when the time is ripe" when the situation you are referring to is one that no-one apart from a sleazy parasitical minority want to see realized.

I think AP are right to stick to their guns and hope they don't backtrack. Ma tried at least twice to waffle away from Mr Enav's question but nevertheless he let the cat out of the bag: political talks with the PRC are coming as soon as he thinks it is possible, maybe even before a "2nd term".
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

James Soong Rises from the Political Tomb

Whatever happened to James Soong? A colossus who once bestrode Taiwan politics, who missed becoming President in 2000 by a mere 3% of the vote, who headed a political party spun off from the KMT -- and shot meteor-like across the landscape of the first Chen Shui-bian term, then vanished after being blown out in the last Taipei Mayor election. Yeah, that Soong.

He's baaaaaccckkk!

Soong blasted the adminstration of Mayor Hau of Taipei last week, then stuck his wily hand in the election in Kaohsiung by pledging his support to Yang Chiu-hsing, the DPP defector now running an independent campaign.
[The KMT's] Su’s remarks came in response to reporters’ questions about the possibility of a “dump-save” effect after Soong pledged his support for Yang on Sunday.

The “dump-save” effect refers to strategic voting in which a party with little chance of winning leans toward one of the major parties during a campaign.

The entry of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member Yang has turned the race into a three-way contest with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the DPP and KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順).

Su said Huang was the best choice because a change of government was the only way for residents in the region that will become Greater Kaohsiung to change the status quo.

If the KMT’s policies were correct, Su said he was confident the party would obtain the support of the majority of voters in the south.

Meanwhile, PFP-turned-KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said Soong’s support for Yang would “more or less” affect Huang’s electoral chances.

The article had a nice picture of former President Lee Teng-hui on the platform with Chen Chu calling for DPP votes. Thanks, LTH.
Daily Links
  • Japanese cancel flights to China due to Senkakus dispute.
  • A-gu asks how Ma's declarations that Taiwan and China are one country keep sailing under the radar.
  • Taiwan's Mirage fighters are in decline? Don't even think about it; spineless American politicians aren't going to sell us F-16s.
  • Weirdly, this AP interview with Ma Ying-jeou states that in the mid-1990s Taiwan and China "nearly came to blows." Here on the real Earth, Taiwan held an election and China launched missiles into nearby waters. That doesn't look like Taiwan coming to blows with anyone, and does look like violence moving in one direction, from Beijing towards Taiwan. Anyone have greater insight than I? Was there some near-war I missed?
  • At the same time, kudos to AP for this article on Taiwan's business community: "Since Ma took office in May 2008, Taiwan's economic connection to the mainland -- already robust even under the pro-independence regime of his predecessor -- has moved into high gear..." It's so rare for someone in the international media to actually notice the massive trade between Taiwan and China under the Chen Administration. Thanks Peter.
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The Strange Letter of Defector Justin Lin

"When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains

A reader alerted me to this blogpost by Evan Osnos at the New Yorker of Oct 4. It is about Justin Lin, the Chinese economist now at the World Bank, who defected from Taiwan in 1979.... Osnos writes:
Lin is a global ambassador, of sorts, for Chinese economics. He also discusses his remarkable background—notably his decision at the age of twenty-six to walk away from his Army post in his native Taiwan and swim across the Taiwan Strait to a new life on the mainland. He left behind his wife, who was pregnant, and a three-year-old son. In China, he chose to “evaporate,” as he told me, by adopting a new name and passing himself off to classmates as a Singaporean. What drove that decision? To help answer the question, Lin recently gave us a copy of a letter in Chinese that he wrote to a cousin in 1980, a year after his departure from Taiwan, seeking to explain his motivations and asking for help in supporting his wife.
Read the whole letter carefully. Lin swam away from the ROC and to the PRC in May 0f 1979. On 1 Jan 1979, not five months before, President Carter recognized the PRC and derecognized the ROC as the government of China. On 1 Jan 1980 the mutual defense treaty with the ROC was invalidated by Carter. On Dec 10, 1979, ROC police assaulted the human rights protest in Kaohsiung in a famous incident.

1979 was a pivotal year in Taiwanese history. The letter says it is written prior to April, 1980 (references to studying for exams in April and to the 17 million people of Taiwan and to being gone almost a year). The entire letter is about the future status of Taiwan. There is no mention of the pivotal events of 1979 in this letter, all which have great bearing on the status of Taiwan. Instead, nearly the entire letter, but for the paragraph on what to do about Lin's family and a few personal remarks, is spent developing a treatise for the cousin about what "our generation" should do for the future of Taiwan, to ensure that it is annexed to China. A belief his cousin obviously shares.

This letter was written to a cousin in 1980. Mrs. Lin avers that it was years before she found out he was still alive in this 2002 article and Wiki says she took a $31K payment within a year from the Taiwan gov't because Lin was "missing." But the cousin knew he was alive within a few months -- and never told the wife? Yet Lin instructs him to use a pet name when he contacts her! Lin also refers to his defection embarrassing the authorities and to his fame in Taiwan.

Interesting letter eh?
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