Thursday, March 26, 2015

[UPDATED] Chu political theatre, Reuters

Ants are like the future, constantly in motion, and getting a clear pic of them with the aphids is hard. Very pleased with this one.

[I took the post down about Chu. Burned by a bad translation from KMT's own news organ. Many thanks to the commenter who pointed that out]

The KMT is whipping up some grand political theater apparently designed to make it possible for Chu to backtrack on his promises not to run for President. The KMT news organ reports:
The DPP’s (Democratic Progressive Party) standard bearer in the 2016 Presidential race has virtually been decided, but no one in the KMT (Kuomintang) has yet stepped forward to run for President. On March 25, Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) asked, “if no one in the KMT expresses a willingness to run in the Presidential Election, then how could I shirk the responsibility to do so?” KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) has insisted on first formulating the nomination procedures in May. Hung denounced Chu’s decision as an act of “dragging himself [Eric Chu] and the KMT into quicksand!”
Dragging out the process increases the pressure and tension, which can be resolved by Eric Chu beating his breast in anguish, and reluctantly, oh so reluctantly, reaching out a hand to take the crown, forced by his supporters. Note that Chu has said the whole thing will have to wait til May, when all the backroom deals have been made and support garnered. And for mine own part, I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.

The problem is New Taipei City. Turnout was low when Chu nearly lost it in the November election. If Chu goes for the presidency, there will be a by-election in New Taipei City. Chu forsaking the city after two years will further dispirit KMT voters while energizing voters who want to punish him. This poses the very real threat of the KMT exiting the 2016 elections with a DPP president and DPP mayors ensconced in every municipality. [UPDATE: This might be an error, in that the Vice Mayor will rise. But I thought there had to be a by-election... will check. Nope, not error apparently, see this 2010 piece on the 2012 election, last paragraph. Same situation holds now. I'll double check.]

Media notes
With the election coming up, Reuters is positioning itself well for this blog's needs. This piece on the Sunflowers in court was rife with international media tropes. I'll point out some from different paragraphs....
(Reuters) - Anti-China [why not pro-Taiwan or democracy since that's what they were] activists told a court in Taiwan that their weeks-long protest campaign last year saved the island from further economic colonization by Beijing, in defense statements given at the start of their trial on Wednesday.
The protests, dubbed the "Sunflower Movement", marked the largest display of anti-China [not anti-China but pro-Taiwan] sentiment seen in Taiwan for years and followed nearly a decade [not nearly a decade, just six years if you count Ma only, or over twenty if you start with LTH or 15 if you count Chen] of rapprochement between the two historical foes [the foes are the CCP and the KMT, not China and Taiwan].
Opponents launched the protest movement after accusing Ma of trying to ram through legislation for a far-reaching services-trade pact without public consultation in March of last year.[the services pact was indeed rammed through without public consultation. Why not just report that, since it is true?]
Before the pact could become law hundreds of protesters led by Chen and others forced their way into Taiwan's parliament and repelled police efforts to evict them.[before the pact could become law... ROFL. the committee head attempted to proclaim that the pact was law without a vote. That's what triggered the occupation. The report makes it sound that the students were interrupting due process. Just the opposite: they were trying to re-establish it.]
Opponents say it would have accelerated political reconciliation [political reconciliation... between who and what, about who and what? The CCP and the KMT have already reconciled and are allied, the problem is the Taiwanese.], a key goal of China's foreign policy [again as always in the Establishment media we are told what China wants, but not what Taiwan wants][note that what China wants is not reconciliation but annexation.] also. Last September, China's President Xi Jinping reiterated the "One Country, Two Systems" principle for bringing Taiwan back under Chinese rule [Taiwan has never been under Chinese rule, not once, not ever] [again, as always in the Establishment, we are told what China wants. This is the ideal moment to inform readers that Taiwanese emphatically reject 1C2S in poll after poll and reject a Chinese identity and consider themselves Taiwanese. What do we get? Silence.].
The emergence of the Sunflower Movement is regarded as a turning point in Taiwan politics, as new parties and grassroots voices have begun calling for more openness in negotiations with China.[well, some points for saying the Sunflower Movement is a turning point, but then once again the issue of local identity is completely neglected.].
The protests also accelerated a steep decline in popularity for Ma and his ruling Nationalist party, as evinced by the party's drubbing in recent local elections.[note that the piece does not explain why Ma's popularity has dropped. After reproducing all the pro-China tropes at the beginning, and implying that Ma's economic agreements are beneficial -- information on their effects is omitted -- Reuters could hardly explain that Ma's closeness to China is a huge problem, along with the failure of pacts to deliver benefits, and of course, the (unmentioned) Taiwanese identity. Hence, the silence -- no explanation of Ma's slumping popularity is given, as in so many pro-China tropes in the media, it happened without involvement of human agency.]
Thanks Reuters! With reporting like this, my blog will always be in demand from readers who want to know what's really going on.

UPDATE: Ben at Letters collates the Rules for Writing on Taiwan
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Sean said...

I work four jobs. Eric Chu tells me that I should convert my anger to working for my future? I want to see if Eric Chu works 14-18 hour days, 6-7 days a week, for months at a time. Easy enough for a rich Princeling to imply we're lazy or don't have our futures in sight. On the contrary we are the ones most focused on our futures.

Anonymous said...


Please keep up the good fight! Sunflower shows us that it is worth it to keep trying.

Unknown said...

Nit-picking one of your criticisms of Reuters:

"why not pro-Taiwan or democracy since that's what they were" The assumption is that everyone in Taiwan is "pro-Taiwan" (which isn't that unreasonable of an assumption, although it is pretty clear that the KMT is more pro-China than it is pro-Taiwan). The Greens aren't just pro-Taiwan, they are anti-China. A similar trade pact with America or Japan would not likely have generated the same opposition.

Everything else was spot on. The worst was Reuters calling "political reconciliation" "a key goal of China's foreign policy". (I swear officer, I didn't punch him, I just reconciled my fist with his face.)

M said...

You are relying on a very bad translation. Chu doesn't use any gender specific language in the post..he just says that the "angry youth" in each generation will become the "fighting youth" for that generation (每一個在各自時代曾為憤青的年青人,最終也都要成為那個時代的奮青) - a word play between 憤青 ("angry youth") and 奮青 ("fighting youth") which have the same pronunciation.

Anonymous said...

A very bad translation by the KMT itself?

My understanding is Chu doesn't legally have to resign to run for president; he just might politically have to do that if he wants to actively campaign.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, forgot about that wrinkle of Chu not resigning. But it won't look good if he tries to do both.


Macca said...

'My understanding is Chu doesn't legally have to resign to run for president; he just might politically have to do that if he wants to actively campaign'

I'd love to know how much work he's actually done for New Taipei City since his re-election. KMT business seems to have been taking precedence for the last few months.

Anonymous said...

Right, for Chu to run for president while still being mayor would be unprecedented for Taiwan. The only people to have ever run while still holding another political office were presidents (Lee 1996 and Chen 2004) and vice presidents (Lian 2000). Lin Yang-kang and Chen Li-an resigned from the Judicial Yuan and Control Yuan, respectively, to run in 1996, which may be why we're all thinking Chu would have to leave New Taipei to run for president. And KMT insiders have already made plans for the deputy mayor there to replace Chu, UDN says.