Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Short shorts for Wednesday

Parking as close as possible to the door. After all, no one else exists.

With the elections due in 4 months, the news is slowly trickling in and the KMT appears to be in fear... The KMT's candidate in Keelung, long a KMT fiefdom, was yanked from the election this week as corruption allegations swirl about him. Rather strange since Keelung has a long history of electing corrupt KMT candidates, but in this case he was also taking a beating in the polls.

More serious, in what has now become a kind of traditional prelude to any election season, the special investigations division (SID) sent summons to a whole slew of DPPers, including current Sec-Gen Joseph Wu. The Taipei Times observed:
“Wu was listed as an ‘interested party’ in a recent subpoena from the SID... on which no details of the case were listed. The division appears to have violated the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法),” DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) told a press conference.

According to the code, the SID should have listed the origin of the case and the identity of the subpoenaed — be it a witness or a defendant, Huang said, adding that “interested party” was not an identity as regulated by the code, which means that the subpoena could be illegal.

The DPP also suspected that there is a hidden agenda behind the investigation and the subpoena because the SID “is notorious for its interference in several high-profile political cases in recent years,” the spokesperson said.
Wu had sent around an email the previous evening detailing that the SID had summonsed all the DPP secs-gen and their staff who had worked in the two Chen Administrations. Going back to himself -- he served in 2002-4. A knowledgeable observer noted that SID said that it would not inform Wu of the charges because they were protected by the State Secret Law -- but, the observer said, SID has no jurisdiction in cases involving State secrets.

The move is apparently political. It's difficult to interpret it in any other way. It would be great if someone in AIT said something publicly or privately, to the KMT about this apparent abuse of the judicial system.

And the timing, so soon after the Zhang visit, suggests...?

President Ma announced that there would be a comfort woman museum and events to commemorate the Marco Polo Bridge Incident next year, 2015 which was important to Taiwan, Ma claimed. The President also defiantly reiterated ROC sovereignty over the Senkakus. Down the memory hole -- anyone remember when Ma promised to be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker? Anyone remember the heady days of 2007, when Ma was pragmatic? The media has moved on from that, son. No need to revisit that, heh heh heh.

Had some fun relaxation from politics yesterday. Taiwan Review sent around this piece on Lincoln in ROC history, which observed of a 1942 postage stamp:
During World War II, Lincoln’s image became a symbol of the presumed historic and political ties between the Unites States and the ROC as wartime allies. On July 7, 1942, the United States Post Office issued a stamp to commemorate the beginning of the fifth year of Chinese resistance to Japanese aggression. Personally approved by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945), the stamp was a potent reminder to ordinary Americans of the importance of their Chinese allies and supposed parallels between the two nations’ political systems. It was the first American stamp to contain either a picture of a foreign leader or Chinese characters, as it listed Sun’s Three Principles in Chinese alongside Lincoln’s democratic principles. The 5-cent denomination allowed for first-class service to China. The stamp was issued in Denver, Colorado, where Sun had just arrived in 1911 when he learned that the Xinhai Revolution had toppled the Qing dynasty.
Alas, it was not the first postage stamp to show a picture of a foreign leader. AFAIK that honor goes to the 1893 Columbian Issue, which hit a trifecta -- first commemorative US stamp set, first US stamp to show a female and first US stamp to show a foreign leader: Isabella of Spain, who helped launch Columbus into history. A 1937 stamp also depicted a statue of the great Hawaiian king Kamehameha I. Make what you will of Hollow Horn Bear, who was commemorated in 1923. Here's Wiki's list of people who have appeared on US postage stamps, obviously not complete since it doesn't contain Sun's 1942 appearance.

The more interesting Sun Yat Sen stamp was the 1961 issue which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the ROC. The US Postal Museum has a complete rundown on that stamp. An excerpt:
Norman Todhunter, artist for other U.S. postage stamps, created the stamp’s initial artwork. When the postal officials shared the design with the State Department and Chinese Embassy, demands for changes resulted. For accuracy, the twelve points of the sun symbol should not join the base. The Chinese violently opposed any wording referring to the Chinese revolution because it might be associated with the Communist revolution rather than the Nationalist revolution. As a result, the text at left changed from “50th Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution” to “1911 Anniversary Republic of China 1961.” They also insisted that Chinese characters be used on the stamp. Consequently, the dates at the top moved to the side text, and designers at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing added characters representing the Republic of China. Political objectives motivated all these changes with the State Department supporting all embassy requests.
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Readin said...

On a number of occasions I've seen America's civil war given as an excuse for why China should be allowed to recolonize Taiwan. If America didn't let the South go, why should China let Taiwan go (as though it weren't already gone)?

Therefore I think it is important to clarify the moral case for Mr. Lincoln's invasion, as well as the lack of a legal case for that invasion.

First, alliances are broken all the time and such alliance breaking does not serve as an excuse to start a war. Was the Constitution an alliance of independent sovereign states, or had the states surrendered their sovereignty by ratifying the Constitution? Clearly some things argue in favor of a new country having been created: alliances don't normally have presidents, legislatures, courts etc.. And it was more than merely an alliance - it was also a free trade pact and an agreement to cooperate on other matters such as patents.

However in modern times at least such pacts certainly do have government like structures (the UN, the WTO...). Also the name of the Constitution refers to the "states" not to the "provinces" or "counties" indicating that the states were still to be recognized as states rather than as parts of a single large state.

A lot more pro and con could be introduced (and I'm sure it was at the time), but the question largely is unanswerable.

So what was the solution? The Constitution gave Washington DC limited enumerated powers, and the power to wage war against states that were leaving was clearly not listed as one of those powers. Once they had left the could of course be attacked as foreign entities, but Lincoln always claimed to be acting against people who supposedly still had rights as part of America.

Legally, Lincoln wasn't in the right.

Morally too, there is a strong argument to be made that Lincoln was an aggressive power-hungry warmonger whose failed to respect the rights of self-determination. If the Southerners wanted to leave the club, why should anyone have the right to tell them they can't? It takes two to tango - if one partner wants to leave the floor the other has no right to chain her up and make her keep dancing!

But then comes the question of slavery. The Southerners who voted to leave were also taking with them millions of people who were not only kept from voting, but were kept from leaving the South if they wanted stay with America! It wasn't a simple case of self-determination - the people self-determining were in doing so depriving millions of others from having that same right. That, and that alone, is what made the radical Republican invasion moral (though not legal - sometimes the law is an ass and needs to be ignored).

Slavery is what made the Civil War moral, and that is why American's talk about it so much when discussing the war. We want to boil it down to right-vs-wrong and the only way to make the winning side right is to make it all about slavery.

In the context of the China-Taiwan dispute, it is clear that the issue of slavery is not a case that China can make for capturing Taiwan.

It is however, and I find it interesting that it was noted by the KMT, available as an argument for allowing Taiwan to conquer China (now that Taiwan is a democracy - flawed though that democracy may be). The idea that the KMT appealed to this argument 60 years ago is pathetic in two ways. It is pathetic because at that time the Taiwanese were not free enough to make a strong argument that they could free another people. And it is pathetic because at the time China was so much worse that even a takeover by the Dictator Chiang could be seen as a liberation.

Although in the present day, the KMT could in theory use the precedent of the American Civil war to justify uniting Taiwan and China, the fact is that any union that occurs will occur under the CPC, not the KMT, so the precedent is moot for them. And as I clarify above, the CPC has no standing to use the precedent.

Anonymous said...

Being stupid dumbfvcks is just in the DNA of the Chinese Nationalists. They just don't get it: NEVER GO FULL KMTARD!

Taiwan's ex-premier slammed for singing Chinese national anthem

Michael Turton said...

If the Southerners wanted to leave the club, why should anyone have the right to tell them they can't?

Yeah, except the southerners didn't want to leave the club. The votes in several states had to be fixed and all over the south, large swaths seceded from the new confederacy. The Southern "rebellion" was a one percent project forced on a reluctant populace, as the northerners knew.

Michael Turton said...

Otherwise, interesting analysis.

Readin said...

I mean to include, but forgot, the Gettysburg address argument that the war was necessary to demonstrate that democracy was a viable form of government. Like slavery, that was an argument based on a moral imperative rather than on law - the idea being that democracy was important enough to fight a war to preserve despite other moral and legal issues.

However while I can sympathize with the moral argument, I think the facts don't back up the argument.

America was already a stable democracy. Why would a peaceful separation cause it to crumble? The separating side also was practicing democracy (as much as it had been practiced before, anyway), and both countries existing after the separation would still be larger in land area than most countries existing in the world (land area was often a limiting factor for empires due to travel times - thus the need for Roman roads).

Slavery was a big enough human rights violation to overshadow pretty much all the other concerns even if most people didn't see it at the time (except radical Republicans of course)

TaiwanJunkie said...

The American civil war as a model for China's persistent and unrelenting aggression toward Taiwan has been a favorite for Chinese commentators everywhere. The problem of course is this is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Taiwan did not rebel and try to separate from the PRC. Even the ROC government that claimed to govern China never actually had effective control over China. The current internationally recognized Chinese government has never controlled Taiwan in all of its history. The roughly 200 years Taiwan and China were ruled together was actually under a foreign power.

To put it bluntly, the American Civil War is the one example in human history that doesn't fit. The German/Austrian, Iraq/Kuwait, India/Sri Lanka, Australia/New Zealand models would be far more fitting