Saturday, December 31, 2016

Universities Severely pinched... + Links

The KMT news organ reported....
According to statistics released Thursday by the Ministry of Education (MOE), in terms of registration rates for undergraduate programs, 17 universities across the nation saw less than a 60 percent enrollment rate, among which Nan Jeon University of Science and Technology (南榮科技大學) was the worst, with an 18.74 percent enrollment rate. Moreover, several universities and colleges in Taiwan failed to enroll any student in some of their doctoral programs for the 2016-2017 academic year.


The statistics also showed zero enrollments in 151 departments and graduate programs at universities and technical and vocational colleges, most of which were master and doctoral programs, including 64 public and 87 private institutions. Among them, National Taiwan University (NTU), the top university in Taiwan, had the most doctoral programs with zero enrollments, including theater and drama, anthropology, sociology, social work, ecology, art history, evolutionary biology and translational medicine.
According to the Taipei Times, 60 universities are slated to be closed, meaning that 12,000 instructors will be out of a job, out of 48,000 in the system.

The massive subsidies of the Lee and Chen Administration to universities had two effects. First, they encouraged the vocational schools to "upgrade" to universities, destroying the vocational universities, an incredibly useful source entrepreneurs, and they encouraged proliferation of universities. Many construction companies opened universities to farm the subsidy system -- if a university reached a certain minimum number of students and certain facility minimums such as a library with X number of volumes and a running track, then it received subsidies. The university would contract with the construction company to build its buildings, providing a flow of money... Over a decade ago the government started to mandate expansion of PhD programs throughout Taiwan -- the university I was at in central Taiwan received orders to accept 20 PhD students even though we did not have the professors to teach them.Then came the rotating subsidy...
As this year marks the end of the “Race to the Top Universities” program, which saw the government issue NT$50 billion (US$1.55 billion) in subsidies to a dozen select universities since 2011, a group of doctors hired for the program could be the first to lose their jobs, Taiwan Higher Education Union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said.
This was rotated around many universities, leading to the hiring of faculty to teach contract classes. More hiring, more expansion. All this is ended....

The smell of desperation is thick in the air: already there is a huge pool of part-timers whom universities are using to source classes, just as in the US. They will work for crappy pay, worse than a cram school, and universities will increasingly turn to them. With the job market shriveling and universities dying, grad students are going overseas or entering programs in materials, engineering, electronics, and similar. Humanities are widely perceived as a swift road to unemployment... Taiwan overproduces PhDs as people pursue the status of having a PhD, and avoid the job market.
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Taiwan News #6 and more on the KMT!

Anime drawing of KMT Chairman Hung Hsiu-chu posted to her Facebook page. It says "Chu-chu" (a cute diminutive form of her name) will not lead the KMT to "New Partyization". We have to let the members of the New Party and the People's First Party will come back to the KMT, it says.

My latest for Taiwan News...
Supporting Yang was Sufin Siliko (Liao Kuo-tung,廖國棟), the KMT's legislative caucus whip, an Amis aborigine, who called on Hung to step down for being a chairperson who "brazenly violates the party's internal rules." Liao warned that if the party did not follow its rules, there would be a civil war within the KMT.
This week the news of the KMT's internal struggle has come out in the open. That piece I wrote on Wednesday night. It details the pushback and eventual compromise over Hung's moving the election date and her attempt to flood the party vote with the Old Soldiers who support her. Hau Long-bin, the former mayor of Taipei, and Wu Den-yi, the former vice-president, leagued against her. Consider Sufin Siliko's criticisms, enumerated in a piece in TT warning that the KMT could split if Hung wins again:
  • Sufin said no party member, including KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bing (郝龍斌) and former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), ...dares to openly challenge the veterans’ branch.
  • senior party members and businesspeople have come to him expressing concerns that the KMT might create a new party
  • the party shouldn't move to the right, but "...the 100-year-old KMT needs to stand in the center in order to be the ruling party again,” he said.
  • “We the caucus want to get out of the quagmire [of ill-gotten party assets] as soon as possible, and uphold that the party assets except those required for personnel expenditure have been dealt with,” he said.
  • “The caucus wishes to maintain the [so-called] 1992 consensus, which says ‘one China, different interpretations,’ while the headquarters wants ‘one China, same interpretation,’” he said.
The latter three are things that many of us on the outside, and many more moderate types within the KMT, all realize must be done if the KMT is to survive...

Liao was also calling for younger leadership, according to the KMT news organ... and trying to get Wu Den-yih to run for head of the party....
When asked by media, Liao stated that many KMT legislators, including himself, had urged Wu Den-yih to run for the KMT chairmanship, but Wu was not forthcoming with a response.

Liao stated, “More and more people within the KMT caucus have expressed the hope that the KMT could choose a young leader. Johnny Chiang is a popular candidate. A young leader will give the KMT a new image and bring more opportunities. However, the question is how to convince elders within the party that it is important for them to pass the baton to the younger generation.”
The current struggle will likely result in a leader from the older generation...

Hung is far to the right of center even in her own party. This week she spoke to university students and was the hero of the Chinese exchange students... and called for political negotiations...
“The reality is [Beijing] believes its sovereignty claim covers Taiwan, and Taiwan vice versa, so the sovereignty claims of the two sides actually overlap,” she said, calling for mutual recognition of governance and a step forward toward political negotiations rather than restricting cross-strait talks to economy-related matters.
This is an extreme position, not supported in Taiwan's society at large, and not supported in her own party. Apparently she learned nothing from her presidential run.

Will the KMT split? Probably not. The obvious split is between the rightist mainlanders and the moderate mainlanders + Taiwanese. The former unofficial leader of the Taiwanese KMT legislators, longtime legislator Wang Jin-pyng, is basically powerless. He will not lead a Taiwanese revolt. Wu Den-yih, probably the highest ranking Taiwanese, is a servant of the mainlander elites and will never revolt. Who else would lead a split? A putsch against Hung is far more likely, but as long as she keeps the Old Soldiers in her pocket, she's powerful.
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Cosplay Nazis. Yeah, sure. It's not only that. =UPDATED=

Thanks, China. You're even occupying our air.

UPDATE: Kerim Friedman has some very useful commentary on this incident. Also, re the MC's comments on the Wushe cosplay incident below, a Keen Observer pointed out to me that it might have simply been shouted out in the heat of the moment. I haven't commented more because I don't feel I have a clear understanding of why Nazi kitsch is so popular here.

Everyone is now aware of the totally tasteless and stupid cosplay event in which students from a high school in Hsinchu dressed up as Nazis (report in Chinese). The Jewish Center in Taiwan has issued a statement on it.

The internet is full of sudden expertise in the matter of power fetishes, costume displays, Nazism, ethics, and so on. Old incidents are being brought back to light. I am not going to rehash that here, it's been beaten to death. But my man Drew Kerslake alerted me that this is not the first time the school has been involved in a crypto-fascist cosplay. Ltn reports that on that same day of school celebration another year....:
...had another cosplay, of the Wushe Incident, whose Master of Ceremonies shouted "Fight the Japanese Devils, Restore our Chinese people!"
光復, the name of the school, is the KMT code term for the "restoration" of Taiwan, so the mention of it would immediately suggest that to the listeners, and would align and subsume the aboriginal revolt against the Japanese colonial people with the ROC and its imperial expansion. Note how the speaker even turns the aborigines into "Chinese".

There's a problem here.
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Taiwan News Number 5: KMT Chair election

A woman feeds stray dogs.

This week my piece was on the KMT's Chairmanship election, which has been moved up from Aug to May of 2107.
Potential rivals are few, and all are wounded. The "princelings," the children of KMT elites, lack appeal. Eric Chu, the current Mayor of New Taipei City, the one municipality still controlled by the KMT, performed poorly in the Presidential election and worse, is half-Taiwanese and thus suspect to many staunch mainlander voters. Hau Long-bin, the son of reactionary old KMT heavyweight Hau Pei-tsun and the former mayor of Taipei, lost an easy legislative election in 2016 in Keelung, long a KMT stronghold. Other names frequently mentioned include princeling Sean Lien, the son of heavyweight Lien Chan, who lacks appeal outside the deep Blues, and former Vice President Wu Den-yi, whose power base is in sparsely populated Nantou and who is Taiwanese. Except for Wu, who is a formidable politician with deep links throughout the party, none are likely to pose a great challenge to Hung.
I consider Wu more of a threat, in the sense that Huang Min-hui was a threat, because he is Taiwanese and can appeal to that large and dissatisfied wing. I have heard it was Wu who helped keep the KMT in line in the second Administration of Ma, when grumbling was widespread. Hau is also revered by the Old Soldiers since he is the son of the reactionary politician and general Hau Pei-tsun. But that loss in Keelung really hurt him.

After I wrote this and sent it in, Hau came out against the recent moves to change the position of the Old Soldiers in the party, indicating he is probably courting their votes. Perhaps he will run in May. If the Old Soldier votes, which determine the outcome, are split, then someone like Wu may have a chance. But in the end I still expect Hung will win. Hau may be a princeling, but the Old Soldiers can see that Hung is one of them. Moreover, Hung is an authoritarian ideologue and more KMT than the KMT, while Hau had to govern in the real world and lacks those qualities... UPDATE: Hau and Wu are leagued against Hung.

KMT-sympathetic news orgs were reporting that Ma was considering a run too. Still no new blood...

2020? Whoever becomes Chairman is automatically the next presidential candidate. I doubt the KMT will become wise enough to separate the two; the DPP certainly hasn't. Want to know who the next KMT candidates will be? Watch who makes pilgrimages to China to receive the blessing of the CCP...
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Know your 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! China Propagandize like Boss

One of my favorite sights is this old railway viaduct.

If you are at all familiar with China anti-US propaganda, you'll instantly recognize familiar themes and seeming errors of this piece at on the people around Trump. It neatly dovetails with the emerging media consensus that writers can say whatever they want about Trump's China people, and no one in the media will question or factcheck it if it fits their ideological prejudices (as with Bloomberg earlier this week). The writer opens:
US president-elect Donald J. Trump said that he doesn’t want to be “bound by a ‘one China’ policy,” the US’s decades-long stance of treating Taiwan and China as the same country.  Instead, he plans to use the issue as a bargaining chip, he said Dec. 11, to “make a deal” with China on trade and other issues.
A major error: US policy is that Taiwan's status is unsettled. Hence, US does not "treat China and Taiwan as same country". It's a common error, but clearly the writer does not know what he is talking about. Check second sentence: Trump never said he planned to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip, but simply raised the possibility.

The writer then cites a PRC source as first quote to support his claim that Trump's "plan" to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip is because his advisers have an outdated Cold War approach:
Trump’s throwback approach comes because he has surrounded himself with outdated, Cold War-era advisors who have had little exposure to China since then, analysts including Shen Yi, an associate professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Shanghai’s Fudan University, say.
We all know that PRC people who permit themselves to be quoted in foreign media pieces on US foreign policy are putting out Party propaganda, or they will be punished by the State. They all know the drill because they have lived in an authoritarian security state their entire lives. Anything quoted from a PRC source should be contextualized and caveated, and none of these people should ever be treated as if they were academics simply talking out of expertise.

The next two paragraphs on the 1982 US-China Arms Sales to Taiwan Communique (text). The piece asserts:
On August 17, 1982, the US and China issued a joint communiqué that agreed the US will gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan. But earlier in July, Reagan also pledged to Taiwan that the US would not set a date to cut off the arms sales, and “would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan,” among other promises together known as “the Six Assurances.” These guidelines have been confirmed by each successive US administration.

To complicate matters, Reagan issued a confidential presidential directive, on the same day of the communiqué, saying that the US’s willingness to reduce its arm sales to Taiwan only stands if China solves its differences with Taiwan by peaceful means. The very next day, the White House even announced the sale of 250 F-5 fighters to Taiwan.
This presentation is massively erroneous and appears to be a construct designed to slander the US by making it look hypocritical and duplicious. Note the term "the very next day" 250 F-5 fighters were sold to Taiwan. That is completely wrong.

The great site Taiwan has the info, easily found with a two second Google search:
On February 9, 1973, the ROC government and the US government reached an agreement for the co-production of 100 F-5E. This program was given the codename "Hu An" (Peace Tiger) and was to be undertaken jointly by Northrop and Taiwan's AIDC (then a branch of the ROCAF).

The first AIDC-built F-5E was rolled out on October 30, 1974, one day before the late President Chiang Kai Shek's 88th birthday, and was thus christened "Chung Chen", an alias of President Chiang. Production of all 100 aircraft was completed in November 1977.

Later 208 more aircraft were added to the production run in five batches, from "Peace Tiger 2" through "Peace Tiger 6". Complexity of the production work by AIDC also evolved in several phases. The whole "Peace Tiger" program was completed on December 9, 1986, when the final aircraft was rolled of the production line. In total, the ROCAF received 242 F-5E and 66 F-5F. Breakdown of the numbers of aircraft built in each Peace Tiger batch is as follows:
When the Reagan Administration announced the F-5 sale, it was not 250 fighters but 60, the tail end of co-production and sales under which Taiwan had already been producing F-5s for almost a decade. The last sentence is complete bullshit.

Worse, the writer omits the fact that the Reagan Administration withheld the sale of F-16s and F-20s to Taiwan because it didn't want to anger China, an early appearance of the successful policy of China managing US Taiwan policy via careful application of "anger". The 60 F-5s were a consolation prize. As I teach my students in my current events class, if you want to understand the political slant of a media piece, look at what it omits as well as what it says.

In other words, we are faced with the choice that the writer is either stupid and lazy or is deliberately misleading his readers by conflating and omitting key information. Your call, folks, but we'll be facing that often in this piece.

Consider also the source: in the next few paragraphs the writer repeatedly sources PRC propaganda from Shen, which may account for all the problems in the first section of this piece. Editors and writers need to take it to heart: everything on Taiwan from PRC "academics" should be regarded as lies and misdirection unless otherwise proven. For example:
The tensions didn’t stop with Bush Sr. In 1995, when Bill Clinton was president, Taiwan tensions almost sparked a war between China and the US, when he granted then-president Lee Teng-hui a visa for a “private trip” to the US, and Beijing objected angrily and physically. Between 1995 and 1996, Beijing conducted a series of missile tests in the waters near Taiwan. In response the US dispatched its biggest combat forces to Asia since the Vietnam War, including two aircraft carriers, to the area, forcing Beijing to soften its stance.
Again, this conflates two separate incidents. The US did not send carriers to the area in response to China's missile "tests" over the Lee visa. It sent them because China launched missiles in an attempt to intimidate Taiwan's electorate during a free election. Moreover, note how the paragraph shows the familiar problem of assigning agency to "tensions" rather than actors. The US and China clashed because China launched missiles, one policy choice out of many possible responses, not because of "tensions". Indeed, the only reason there are tensions is because China wants to annex Taiwan.

O yeah, did that paragraph mention the 1996 elections? Nope. It's almost... almost like someone didn't want to draw attention to Taiwan's democracy.

Indeed, note that all three of the academics quoted in the opening section are Chinese.

The piece next names 5 people as Trump's China advisers: Ed Feulner, Rance Priebus, Peter Navarro, Bob Dole, and Jeff Sessions, because they were involved in The Call. This is a strange list. Dole was linked to The Call in the media but I expect that was wildly overblown, and I have not heard in any source that Dole or Sessions (srsly?) are China advisers for Trump. Or Priebus, for that matter.

Once again: omissions. Check out the presentation on Feulner:
Edwin Feulner (age 75), former president of conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, who wrote a 1976 book about China and the country’s “turning point” that is no longer in print.
Yeah, reading that you might think Feulner is 40 years out of date. Yet here, from the Chinese embassy itsownself, is a little blurb on Feulner's meetings with Chinese officials during his 2008 trip there. The writer probably failed to find it since it takes almost two seconds with a Google search. Apparently Feulner does that periodically, since he speaks on China and N Korea in another such junket to S Korea recently. Such trips hardly make him an expert, but the impression left by the sentence on him is false.
Trump’s advisors “don’t have much to do with China,” HKU’s Han said. American scholars who do understand China better, including Johns Hopkins’ David Lampton, David Shambaugh of George Washington University, and Henry Kissinger, are not involved in Trump’s transition, Han said.
These three names will be familiar as pro-China people. Omitted are their ties to Chinese money: Kissinger's firm does a lucrative business with China, and Shambaugh runs the China Policy Program at GWU, which hosts a Confucius Institute funded by PRC government money (Lampton speaks at Confucius Institutes from time to time, indicating he is acceptable to the PRC). Similarly, when the article lists Obama's China advisers, it omits the China business ties of Jeff Bader (Stonebridge) and Evan Medeiros (Eurasia Group).

(most pieces from China also omit Trump's business ties to China -- I wonder if they are considered an embarrassment, or perhaps a tool China does not want to draw attention to yet).

There is another significant omission: John Bolton is often mentioned when China policy is named. Whatever you make think of him, his experience in government is extensive.

Moreover, you could play the same game with Obama's people. Remember when Obama appointed Max Baucus as ambassador to China (on the heels of the solid choices John Huntsman and Gary Locke)?

The article cites Richard Bush on the Trump Adminstration's "China experts". Bush is primarily known as a Taiwan expert. But never mind that, if he is being critical, it is ok to cite him.

In other words, the piece cites one Taiwan expert and three Chinese academics in this piece of "reporting" on Trump's China people. No US China experts are cited. Hookay.

No balance either: no voices supporting Trump's choices are provided.

There's one final reason this piece sucks: it is too early. Just yesterday Washington sources were reporting that Trump's NSC director for Asia will be Matt Pottinger, described in one report:
Former Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow. Mr. Pottinger covered China for the Wall Street Journal from 2001to 2005 and for Reuters News Agency from 1998 to 2001. His stories, including investigations into energy and environmental pollution, the impact of official corruption, and the 2003 SARS epidemic, won awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia.

In September 2005, he put his writing career on hold to serve five years as a U.S. Marine. He completed three combat deployments: to Iraq from April to November 2007 and to Afghanistan from November 2008 to May 2009 and from July 2009 to May 2010. While in Afghanistan in 2009, he cofounded and trained the Marine Corps' first Female Engagement Teams. On his second Afghanistan deployment, he spearheaded an investigation into problems with the U.S. intelligence effort, coauthoring with Major General Mike Flynn the critical 2010 report "Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan."
Pottinger's autobiographical tale is here.

Off to discuss the media with my class, where this piece will certainly be used as an example.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

China Buys Sao Tome, saves Taiwan taxpayers millions

Look! A free meme for you!

The big news is that Sao Tome switched from the ROC to the PRC today. Reuters reports. This is another symbolic act with no concrete costs, which will generate media hysteria but probably benefits Taiwan. China cannot knock out too many allies, because it needs the ROC to exist and support its territorial claims, as well as maintain that Taiwan is part of China and someday deliver Taiwan to China. One of the props of the ROC are its "diplomatic allies", countries which recognize it, and not the PRC, as China. Gaining allies is always paid for by the sweat of Taiwanese taxpayers, just one of the many colonial taxes Taiwanese continue to pay to the ROC. The Taiwan government said, quite rightly:
In its diplomatic relations the ROC has consistently maintained the principles of integrity and mutual benefit, contributing to its allies’ development to the full extent of its abilities. The government of São Tomé and Príncipe, however, with excessive financial difficulties, and demands beyond those the ROC could meet, has ignored 20 years of friendly diplomatic relations, playing both sides of the Taiwan Strait while holding out for the highest bidder. The ROC regrets the São Tomé and Príncipe government’s abrupt and unfriendly decision, and condemns this action.

The media will have plenty to write about. Thanks, China, for keep Taiwan in the media churn so we can get more people to read about it and recognize its existence.

...but the big thing for me is this piece from Keith Richburg, who has been reporting out here for years, going against the mainstream "ZOMG CHINA MIGHT..." policies that have governed US relations with China...
Loath as I am to agree with Trump about almost anything, on this one, he may have a point. Since the start of the U.S.-China detente with President Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit in 1972, America has been content to allow Beijing to set the parameters, even the lexicon, of the relationship, with the U.S. often getting little or nothing in return. It may be time to start treating China like any other country -- and that may mean talking tough when needed, and ignoring the fabled thin-skinned sensibilities of Beijing's Communist rulers.
Whoa. Happy to see this from a longtime mainstream media reporter. Years late, but nice to see all the same.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Time Travel, Taiwan Style

If only the banks were as advanced as this.

Want to travel in Taiwan? You don't need expensive equipment or new theories of time and space. You just have to go to your local bank, where it is still 1961.

Went into the bank today to deposit (note: not cash) a US$1000 check from my mother. We've deposited checks from overseas with them many times during our nearly 15 years with that bank. I sign the check and then we fill out the onerous and unnecessary paperwork. A waste of time, but like all Taiwan procedures, if all the proper papers are filed, eventually you get what you want.

Not today. First, the teller informs us that we have never done that before. She was very polite and apologetic. "We have no record of any checks from you." Patiently we explained. Finally, after much back and forth in which we identified dates of specific checks, and conferencing between several employees, and, no doubt, viewing the intestines of slaughtered chickens to see whether the auguries were positive, they did indeed find the records.

Then they told us, which much apology, that we would need a third person guarantor. New rules, ya know.

Let's put that in perspective. We're depositing a check -- we won't be able to use the money til the check clears. If there is a problem, it's a check. No money comes in, bank loses nothing.

And think about this: if I want I can swipe my credit card from this bank, which I have had for 15 years, for many times the amount of that check, and I don't need a guarantor. I can pick up the phone and ask them to enlarge or reduce the amount of credit on the card. I don't need a guarantor.

But I can't deposit a check without a guarantor?

"How about my wife?" Nope.

"But we've been customers here for 15 years! Steady, no problems! This is an insult!"

Downcast. "Sorry."

My wife and I look at each other. Who are we going to invite into our financial business? Who can come down during working hours to guarantee a check for us?

"Who can we use for a guarantor? Is my father in law ok?"

First they couldn't really define who an acceptable guarantor would be, except that it had to be a Taiwan citizen. Finally they agreed my Dad in law would be ok.

That's right. Two people, one a citizen, both with identifiable and legal incomes and assets, can't sign a check which they've done 100 times before. But an 87 year old retiree on a fixed income in ailing health, that's no problem.

As my wife said in consolation as we headed out the door, "Lucky we weren't trying this India."

Taiwan is not quite that primitive. But for a mighty trading nation, the banking system is incredibly backward, especially when it comes to foreigners. Everyone has their own horror story, but the real problem isn't the occasional horror story, but the fact that everyday activities like this are so time-consuming, bureaucratized, and difficult to use...
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Taiwan's Threatened Leopard Cat

The area between Tainan and Yenshui is filled with traditional old housing complexes like this one.

The association between Leopard Cats and humans goes way back. Wiki observes of the Leopard Cat:
Archeological and morphometric studies have indicated that the first cat species to become a human commensal or domesticate in Neolithic China was the leopard cat, beginning at least 5000 years ago. However, these cats were ultimately replaced over time with cats descended from Felis sylvestris lybica from the Middle East
Leopard cats are widely spread across Asia. Historically they have been hunted for their skin. Because they are considered pests who eat domestic fowl, they are routinely poisoned by farmers throughout Asia.

I recently stumbled across Home ranges, movements and activity patterns of leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) and threats to them in Taiwan by Mei-Ting Chen, Yu-Jen Liang, Chih-Chuan Kuo, and Kurtis Jai-Chyi Pei (Mammal Study 41: 000–000 (2016)). Several years ago I toured the Zoo at Pingtung Agricultural Technological University and interviewed Dr. Pei. At that time he said:
In Taiwan leopard cats are endangered. But I have a student who is studying probably Taiwan's only viable population of leopard cats up in the Hakka communities in Miaoli. Even though Taiwanese and Hakka both do agriculture, but interestingly, in the countryside inhabited by Taiwanese, there are very few leopard cats left, but in the Hakka countryside, there are many. Why? We don't know yet and hopefully we will have better understanding by the time when she finish her study.
In this recent paper, based on 2006-8 data gathering, he makes the same point:
Miaoli County in northwestern Taiwan is one of three counties where Taiwanese leopard cats still exist and probably the only area where a viable population of this species can be found (Pei 2008). Recent studies in Miaoli County suggested that habitat fragmentation, degradation, road-kills due to man-made developments, and significant illegal trapping and poisoning due mainly to the retaliatory reactions for poultry loses by farmers, were major concerns of their sustainability (Pei 2008; St. John et al. 2014). Adequate ecological information, such as home range, territoriality and activity pattern, and understanding of their survival challenges are urgently needed for their conservation.
The data the team gathered drives home how endangered these cats are:
A total of 3,448 trapping-night was conducted. Three Taiwanese leopard cats (M/14, F/37, and F/39) were trapped by our box-traps, and 3 (M/29, M/32, and M/33) additional cats were rescued from foot traps set illegally by farmers or hunters during the study period (Table 1). Except F/37, all other 5 individuals were found trapped by hunters or killed by farmer’s poison baits after various radio-tracking periods; for F/37, we retrieved the collar in her home range and the state of the collar suggests it was removed by a hunter (Table 1). M/33 was an unfortunate case, he was first trapped by a snare and rescued by us in January, 2007. After recovering from a minor injury and released for radio-tracking, he was found trapped again 11 months later and seriously injured this time. He was sent to the Pingtung Rescue Center for Endangered Wild Animals (PTRC) for medical treatment and care. After his second recovery and release, he was found dead due to poisoning 15 days later (Table 1). M/32 and M/14 were excluded from the analysis due to short tracking periods (for 49 days and for 60 days, respectively).
In other words, all six of the animals they tracked were eventually killed by hunters or poisoned by farmers. The report concludes:
The high incidence of illegal poisoning and trapping found in this study just within a small area, i.e., total 10 incidents involving 6 individuals monitored, indicated that this anthropogenic mortality may be the profoundest mortality threatening the survival of this endangered species in Taiwan. Most of these incidents were pest-control measures carried out by local farmers who believe that Taiwanese leopard cats are pests and will continue to prey on their poultries (St. John et al. 2014). Furthermore, the dense road system in Taiwanese leopard cat country not only impedes their movement (Fig. 2), hence creating isolation, but also increases the risk of road-kill when they cross the road. At least 15 road-kill cases were reported by the media or online communities from 2012 to 2014 (personal and Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute collected data).
It will be a sad day when humanity's first cat-friend vanishes from Taiwan...
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump's People are Obviously Clueless. Just ask the Media.

Bugs at rest.

One of the things I complained about last week was the way the media and commentators have criticized Trump's advisors but never bothered to read what they said. Bloomberg provided an excellent example this week of how the major media dismissively discuss Trump's team using language they would never use with Obama's, even though many individuals on Obama's team come directly out of firms doing business with China, or revolved out to such firms -- all without bothering to find out what Trump's people have actually said. Bloomberg criticized Trump's recent words...
Trump’s threats might be more credible if there were any indication he or his team had thought through these possibilities.
Yeah... let's take a look at what Bloomberg says and compare it to what Trump's people have said. I simply and easily located discussions from Trump people. After you scan this, it will be obvious which of these two sides is the clueless, shallow one that hasn't thought through the possibilities:

Thanks, Obama. =UPDATED=

This developer must have been overjoyed when Trump was elected President

Surveying the media over the last few weeks, I can confidently say that Donald Trump is a magician. All he had to do was say Taiwan accio! and suddenly everyone in the media became a Taiwan expert...

UPDATE: Why did Taiwanese get upset in response to the use of the word autonomy? Because in PRC lexicons it is part of the one country, two systems program for annexation and occupation of Taiwan. Note that the speaker is talking in response to Obama.
China’s “one country, two systems” model is to a large degree about Taiwan remaining autonomous, a Chinese academic said on Saturday.

...Speaking of people at the presidential level talking wrongly about Taiwan, lots of Taiwanese were shocked to hear Obama replicate Beijing's expansionist language as he "explained" China using the "poor, put upon China" motif and as a special bonus, used the term "autonomy" as if Taiwan were (already) part of the PRC. Obama's remarks were in response to a question:


Q Your successor spoke by phone with the President of Taiwan the other day and declared subsequently that he wasn’t sure why the United States needed to be bound by the one-China policy. He suggested it could be used as a bargaining chip perhaps to get better terms on a trade deal or more cooperation on North Korea. There’s already evidence that tensions between the two sides have increased a bit, and just today, the Chinese have evidently seized an underwater drone in the South China Sea. Do you agree, as some do, that our China policy could use a fresh set of eyes? And what’s the big deal about having a short phone call with the President of Taiwan? Or do you worry that these types of unorthodox approaches are setting us on a collision course with perhaps our biggest geopolitical adversary?

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great question. I’m somewhere in between. I think all of our foreign policy should be subject to fresh eyes. I think one of the -- I’ve said this before -- I am very proud of the work I’ve done. I think I’m a better President now than when I started. But if you’re here for eight years, in the bubble, you start seeing things a certain way and you benefit from -- the democracy benefits, America benefits from some new perspectives.

And I think it should be not just the prerogative but the obligation of a new President to examine everything that’s been done and see what makes sense and what doesn’t. That’s what I did when I came in, and I’m assuming any new President is going to undertake those same exercises.

And given the importance of the relationship between the United States and China, given how much is at stake in terms of the world economy, national security, our presence in the Asia Pacific, China’s increasing role in international affairs -- there’s probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance and where there’s also the potential if that relationship breaks down or goes into a full-conflict mode, that everybody is worse off. So I think it’s fine for him to take a look at it.

What I’ve advised the President-elect is that across the board on foreign policy, you want to make sure that you’re doing it in a systematic, deliberate, intentional way. And since there’s only one President at a time, my advice to him has been that before he starts having a lot of interactions with foreign governments other than the usual courtesy calls, that he should want to have his full team in place, that he should want his team to be fully briefed on what’s gone on in the past and where the potential pitfalls may be, where the opportunities are, what we’ve learned from eight years of experience, so that as he’s then maybe taking foreign policy in a new direction, he’s got all the information to make good decisions and, by the way, that all of government is moving at the same time and singing from the same hymnal.

And with respect to China -- and let’s just take the example of Taiwan -- there has been a longstanding agreement, essentially, between China, the United States, and, to some degree, the Taiwanese, which is to not change the status quo. Taiwan operates differently than mainland China does. China views Taiwan as part of China, but recognizes that it has to approach Taiwan as an entity that has its own ways of doing things. The Taiwanese have agreed that as long as they’re able to continue to function with some degree of autonomy, that they won’t charge forward and declare independence.

And that status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the Taiwanese to be a pretty successful economy and a people who have a high degree of self-determination. But understand, for China, the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket. The idea of one China is at the heart of their conception as a nation.

And so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what the consequences are, because the Chinese will not treat that the way they’ll treat some other issues. They won’t even treat it the way they treat issues around the South China Sea, where we’ve had a lot of tensions. This goes to the core of how they see themselves. And their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant.

That doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to everything that’s been done in the past. It does mean that you’ve got to think it through and have planned for potential reactions that they may engage in.

Many people were shocked to see that Obama had used "autonomy" as if Taiwan were Tibet or Xinjiang. This goes to the core of how they see themselves. Wrong in two ways: one China is not a case of China seeing itself, but a case of expansionism dressed up as a historical wrong. And second, once again we get an explanation of how people feel that doesn't include the Taiwanese side. Let's put that back in (h/t to Wilfred Chan):
More than 80 percent of respondents self-identified as Taiwanese, compared with 8.1 percent who identified themselves as Chinese and 7.6 percent who identified as both in the poll, whose wording asked respondents if they viewed themselves as “Taiwanese,” “Chinese” or had “other thoughts.”

When asked to choose between eventual independence and unification with China, more than 51 percent said they favored independence, while 15 percent favored unification and 25 percent favored maintaining the “status quo.”

“The results represent a historic peak for identification as Taiwanese and show that it has decisively replaced identification as Chinese as Taiwan’s mainstream ethnic identification,” foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said, attributing respondents’ relatively high support for independence to the poll’s focus on an eventual future rather than the immediate choice used in many surveys.
Does Obama even really know what US policy is on Taiwan and its status? You can't tell from this answer. Nowhere does Obama apply terms like ally, friend, democracy, security, trade, relationship, to Taiwan. It's classic Obama vacu-speak, pretty speech that says nothing. You certainly don't get a sense from this that President Obama understands China as an expansionist power.

Obama using Beijing propaganda to explain China? That's a great victory for Beijing.
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Friday, December 16, 2016

A Not-Trump Post, catching up on the domestic side

It's a (tourist) trap!

Wow. Trump hasn't said anything about Taiwan in a couple of days. Almost afraid to say anything, in case I jinx that delightful streak.

Here in Taiwan domestic politics rolls on. KMT Chairman Hung is on a swing through SE Asia states, apparently to interact with the Chinese communities there. The go-south policy for the KMT always meant piggybacking on those communities, as a Keen Observer pointed out to me over Belgian beer and cheesecake at Panos the other night. Hopefully that will change with the new Administration.

I am not hearing things that make me happy about the NPP, the party to the left of the DPP. It really needs to get a party structure out there so it can compete, but people are observing that it looks a lot more like the personal fiefdom of Chairman Huang Kuo-chang at the moment, the way the PPP looks like the personal faction of James Soong. Freddy Lim has been urged to run for higher office but he wants to move on to other things at some point, which means that no one in the NPP will rival Huang. They may field more candidates in 2018, though, so we will see.

Oh yeah. Our tourism industry was so crushed by the drop in Chinese group tourists that it had a record-breaking year in 2016....
In 2015, Taiwan's foreign visitor arrivals totaled 10.44 million, up from 9.91 million a year earlier, according to government data.

With 20 days to go, 2016 is likely to see more than 10.66 million foreign tourist arrivals in Taiwan, according to Deputy Director-general Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) of the Tourism Bureau.
Yep... rising tourism from elsewhere in Asia is offsetting the loss in group tourists; the government's efforts in SE Asia are paying off. Back in May the government was warning that Taiwan may not break the 2016 record.
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Taiwan News #4: The Gay Marriage Trap for the Tsai Administration

My latest on gay marriage and the Tsai Admininstration for Taiwan News....
On the other hand Tsai, as both President and Chairman of the DPP, should have sent down orders to the legislature to get this done weeks ago, with the threat of punishment if legislators do not fall into line. That is, after all, what they were elected for. Someone in Tsai's office needs to start taking heads. It is nearly 2017, and there is a real danger that the public takeaway from the first year of the Tsai Administration going into the 2018 local elections is going to be… gay marriage, not something on living standards or the economy. The DPP does not need voters to be asking themselves why they keep hearing about gay marriage when their salaries have regressed to 1998 levels.
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New Journal CFP: International Journal of Taiwan Studies

Which commonly eaten green vegetable is this?

International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS)

Call for Papers
An exciting new peer-reviewed academic journal on Taiwan studies, the International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS), will be launched by Brill in March 2018. IJTS, cosponsored by Academia Sinica and the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS), aims to be a principal outlet for the dissemination of cutting-edge research on Taiwan. Once launched, IJTS will be published in March and September every year. It will offer a platform for theoretical debates and empirical analyses, and create a space for discussion among international scholars working across disciplines in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. The journal is also interested in interdisciplinary approaches to Taiwan studies. IJTS welcomes submissions that are localised in focus, as well as research that is more global and comparative. Authors are encouraged to position Taiwan and Taiwan-related issues within different global, regional, and local contexts and processes.

The journal’s Editor-in-Chief is Dr Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley, Research Associate of SOAS, University of London and Secretary-General of EATS (2012–2018). The Executive Editorial Board members are Professor Kuei-fen Chiu (National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan), Dr Dafydd Fell (SOAS, University of London), Professor Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao (Academia Sinica), Professor Michael Shiyung Liu (Academia Sinica) and Professor Gunter Schubert (Tübingen University). Book review editor is Professor Gary D. Rawnsley (Aberystwyth University).

The theme of the inaugural edition will be “Taiwan Studies: State of the Field”, edited by Professor Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and Dr Dafydd Fell. It intends to cover as wide a range of disciplines as possible. If you would like to submit to the launch issue of the IJTS, the deadline is 31 March 2017. The journal follows a double-blind peer review system. Please follow this link to download a copy of the submission guidelines: Meanwhile the rolling call for papers for regular issues of the International Journal of Taiwan Studies is also open. The same submission guidelines apply. For further information about the journal, please visit our website:

Contact Details
Please follow submission guidelines and submit your articles by email to the IJTS editorial office:

Please write to the IJTS editorial office ( if you wish to propose a special thematic issue.

Please write to the Book Review Editor, Professor Gary Rawnsley ( if you would like to review books relevant to Taiwan studies.

The postal address of the IJTS editorial office is: Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3FE, UK
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Trumpfest *sigh*

A duck enclosure. The white ones are farmed. They don't fly away because they are too fat -- ducks are like dogs, we were told, they eat and eat. The black ones are wild visitors living the easy life.

So much headache this week. I think I'm going to invest all my retirement funds in tranquilizers, since everyone in DC must be taking them by the handful now...

Yeah, hopefully Trump will start trolling on another topic, so I don't have to write any more posts like this and can go back to writing on domestic events.

Wilfred Chan, whose stuff is excellent, observed what I have been saying publicly and privately in a Tweet:
Suggestion: whenever you feel rising panic about a China thing, look to see how Taiwanese people are reacting. They've dealt with it decades
Watching these panics happen periodically is very instructive in maintaining that Zen-like calm in the face of hyperventilation in the Commentariat. I also recommend dogs, whiskey, and bicycling... very sharp man Solidarity, now studying in the US and new proud father (congrats!) also tweetly observed:
If I were Zhongnanhai I'd be wondering how else to take advantage of Western media liking me better than they do the incoming US president
I made a mistake, actually. When I pointed out that the media was teaching China what topics were safe for it to be tough on, I forgot that it was also teaching our future President what topics were sensitive enough for successful trolling.

As for Trump's most recent remarks, J Michael Cole said it in one China, Many Trumps:
But one thing is certain: the likelihood that the United States will scuttle “one China” is next to nil, as such a policy goes against even what the more creative (and pro-Taiwan) of Trump’s advisers on Taiwan and China, people like John Bolton, have argued over the years. In Bolton’s case, his argument has been that dual recognition might be possible, albeit under a “one China” framework. The logic behind this is that there is nothing in the United States’ “one China” policy that prevents dual recognition. (Whether such an argument would be palatable to Beijing or Taipei is a different question altogether.)
This is exactly right: not much will change because Trump is surrounded by people who will keep policies that help Taiwan in place and expand around the edges where they can. Whenever there is policy change, there is pushback from opponents who are powerful and heavily invested in the current framework. Leaders might make noises about revolutionary change, but change usually occurs incrementally, if it happens at all.

You're just watching that pushback against Trump's possible future policies in realtime...

A couple of small things... many pieces contended that Taiwan was a "core interest" of China. The is one of the ways the media noise helps conceal what is actually going on, supporting Beijing inadvertently. Taiwan is not a core interest of China. Let's spell this out for future reference:
Taiwan is not a core interest of China. Annexing Taiwan without interference from other Powers is the core interest at stake here.
PRC nationalism has now invested Taiwan with deep expansionist significance -- two generations have been brainwashed. It will be difficult for the PRC to decouple itself from this train. Let's hope it can find a way, but in the meantime... keep talking to the individual Chinese you meet.

The overreading into Trump's remarks (On video) was comical. Many commentators over-read "I heard the call was coming probably an hour or two before" to mean he never knew about the call, but the comment was not meant in so literal a way. Much of the noise is driven by the media's profound anti-Trump bias. And no, I am not defending Trump (pointing out media bias is not the same as defending Trump). Nor am I a neo-con (now that's comedy -- I'm so pink there's a shoot-on-sight order on me in Saudi Arabia).

Is Taiwan going to be used as a bargaining chip? It some ways it always has been, but no, the Trump Administration isn't going to sell Taiwan for oil drilling rights for Exxon or for lower tariffs on US goods or for a different currency policy. Could things get worse? Well, the NY Times sententiously warned us that Bad Things Could Happen. Salvatore Babones laffed:
The NYT warns that China could buy Airbus, trade with North Korea, burn coal, snub Taiwan, and trade with Iran. So?
Things China is doing anyway. Ye gods.

Yes, our newspapers are always pointing out what China could do to the US. We never hear what could happen in return. A tit for tat trade war helps no one, which is why it won't happen.

Meanwhile, Trump's foreign policy trolling is a success: that much less attention and space in the mainstream media is given to his Administration picks....
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Excerpt from Nelson Report and State Department Briefing on this mess: click on Read More

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Third for Taiwan News and Other stuff....

A replanted forest crosses a trench dug to protect a Japanese firebase in the mountains, a reminder of how Taiwan has always been shaped by outside powers.

If you read one thing this week, it should be Shawna Yang Ryan in the Washington Post on Taiwan, a country with a long history that is not just a diplomatic nuisance.

Lots of people wanted my thinking on the media problem this week. I was on ICRT with Keith Menconi, on a show that also includes former AIT head William Stanton, and the always intelligent Jane Rickards. Natalie Tso of Radio Taiwan International interviewed me on the media.

And finally, my third piece for Taiwan News: The Real Danger of the The Call. This was written on Tuesday, before the huge media pushback on Taiwan's behalf...
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!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

THE CALL Take 3: Linkfest and Short Shorts: Carpal Tunnel Edition

Stopped at this kiln in Miaoli, but the tix were a whopping $250. Lovely place, though.

Well, this week has had some interesting health effects for me. On the one hand, my right elbow tendons are screaming so this will be my last post for a few days. On the other, my stress levels have really socked my appetite. I figure if Trump and Tsai could just talk two more times, I'd meet my weight loss goals for this year.

One thing: after the initial hysteria cooler heads began to prevail. Veteran China reporter John Pomfret warned in WaPo, as I did in my opening post on The Call, that the media response was part of the problem.
This criticism has elements of truth, but the overblown nature of the reaction to Trump’s call also is unhelpful. Together, Trump’s shenanigans and the hyperventilation by the media could end up adding more unwarranted pressure on democratic Taiwan and could contribute to the continued narrowing of its international space.
Michael Green pointed out in Foreign Policy that this was not an unprecedented breach of protocol.

In the initial rush, Taiwan was basically ignored and no one in Taiwan was asked anything. But that began to change as the massive improvement in the media environment over the last few years re-asserted itself. Jenny Hsu was first in with a piece in WSJ on Taiwan's reaction. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian wrote two solid pieces on the Taiwanese side in which actual Taiwanese were asked, one in Foreign Policy (the article is much less stupid than the subtitle) and one in the NYTimes...
Even so, Taiwan has developed its own democratic traditions right under China’s nose. Taiwanese are fiercely proud of their democracy. Many here crave recognition for this accomplishment. In our interview, Ms. Tsai alluded to the kinship that Taiwanese felt with liberal democracies like the United States as one reason for the contact with Mr. Trump. “The phone call was a way for us to express our respect for the U.S. election,” she said.
And Emily Rahaula and two other WaPo writers got almost everything right in a backgrounder...
In the process, the United States has shaped and abided by its own “one China” policy (not to be confused with China's “one China” principle), in which Taiwan's status remains neither settled nor challenged. (The official language in a joint 1972 communique states that “the United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position.")
...except the 1992 Consensus, which they asserted was negotiated in 1992. History is literally being made, I mean, manufactured, right in front of us: no consensus was reached in 1992, yet that claim is now universal in the media (Max Fisher doing it in the NYTimes in another otherwise sturdy explainer). I suppose I should be happy that the only media problem is the 1992 Consensus. More on that fake news later.

Chris Horton, whose work shines, had another strong piece in the NYTimes on the Taiwan response. There's a quote in there from Chen Hui-ling, who is one of my favorite people, and one of the smartest. Nick Frisch in the New Yorker writes on what Tsai sees in Trump. CNN interviews only people from pan-Green parties in Taiwan in its piece. When I started this blog, most media interviewed only Blues...

The Sunflowers were given a piece in the Washington Post.
Sharing these values, we are puzzled why many commentators have treated Trump’s move as an “affront” to authoritarian China rather than consider the possibility of normalizing relations with a democratic nation of 23 million people, many of whom share deep affinities with the United States. When it comes to human rights in Tibet, freedom of speech in Hong Kong or maintaining strong relations with Japan or the Philippines, U.S. pundits rarely skirt controversy for fear of “provoking” China. Why should the rhetoric change when it comes to Taiwan — a vibrant young democracy led by a female head of state which boasts universal health care and is poised to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage?
Yes, liberals, don't let your contempt for Trump undermine support for Taiwan. The Boston Globe forthrightly asserted that there is one China and one Taiwan. Tiananmen dissident-turned-Taiwan politician Wuerkaixi had a piece in IBTimes on The Call and Taiwan's status. And hosts a great piece calling for people to stop marginalizing Taiwan.

Other good news. J Michael Cole, contending that Tsai and Taiwan will pay the price for the phone call, sent word around to expect a new media project much like the old Thinking Taiwan. Looking forward to details and a raft of new articles to promote.

But it should be said that China always locates a pretext for the moves it has planned, so that it can claim plausibly it is responding to some issue. No doubt at some point Beijing will do something and hint that The Call is the reason, and we'll get another round of media scolding.

Still, the media continues to amaze. AP put out a completely erroneous and subtly slanted "timeline" of Taiwan-China relations which it may well have sourced from Xinhua. It asserted the 1992C occurred in 1992C, utter nonsense...
November 1992: Semi-official negotiating bodies from China and Taiwan reach the 1992 Consensus. It obligates both sides to hold any talks as parts of a single China, but allows each to interpret "China" in its own way according to political pressures at home.
But check out this section:
January 2001: Despite enmity, the two sides introduce postal, transportation and trade links between southeastern China and Taiwan's outlying islands.


April 2005: Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan visits China and meets Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao in Beijing. The visit marked the first meeting between the heads of the rival parties in 60 years.


May 2008: Nationalist Party-backed President Ma Ying-jeou takes office and sets aside political disputes with China to discuss deals on tourism and commercial flights.
I used this in my current events class as an example of how the media is slanted pro-China. What's missing? Look carefully at the 2001-2008 period: yeah, Chen Shui-bian. They just removed him. Because he had no effect on Taiwan-China relations, right?

The comedy show fails were particularly painful. The Daily Show mocked Trump for his lack of knowledge and then explained that since Nixon, all presidents have regarded Taiwan as part of China, when as everyone knows, the US position is that Taiwan's status is undecided. ComedyFail. Colbert's lumping of Tsai with Robert Mugabe was simply an obscenity.

And CNN made us see how the Cold War continues to shape today's writing:
"The formula, enshrined in the documents that eventually led to the establishment of US relations with China, permits Beijing to regard Taiwan as a part of China and the United States to sell the nationalist island arms to defend itself against the mainland, and has headed off a major US-China clash over the issue." 
Taiwan is not a Nationalist island. It doesn't even belong to the ROC under US policy. Why not just say "island"? The Cold War, dead now these thirty years, continues to shape media production...

But on the whole, the rebound and Taiwan-centered pushback was amazing. It was really heartening to see.

Speaking of fake news...
I noted on day 1 the Atlantic screwed up the 1992 Consensus. This was followed by an interview with a PRC state agent, Shen Dingli, who of course spewed a ton of PRC propaganda. The interview followed a pattern which will be familiar to readers, in which the PRC spokesman is permitted to speak unchallenged and uncaveated by the interviewer on the grounds -- later given by the interviewer when he was challenged on this move -- that "My goal with the interview was to offer readers a sense of what Trump’s Taiwan call, along with his campaign and post-campaign rhetoric about China, look like from China and particularly among Chinese who spend their time thinking about how to manage the country’s high-stakes relationship with the United States." As if the man is speaking unscripted and as if this hasn't happened 1000x before! Puh-lease -- that's what they have Xinhua for.

Compare that interview of Shen Dingli to how Tsai and other Taiwan speakers are frequently challenged and patronized by interviewers. Remember this uninformed, threatening, patronizing WaPo interview with Tsai earlier this year? PRC speakers never get treated like that.

A variant of this is to include the opinions of "netizens" as this Singapore paper did. No evidence is ever offered that the netizens so quoted are not paid wumao out there to generate just such quotes.

Everyone in Washington was shocked to learn that Bob Dole was getting money from Taiwan: "What? Only 20K a month?" Of course Dole answered that, yes, his firm may have had some influence. What was he going to say? "No, we took that 20K and did nothing"? It's good advertising for him. But was Bob Dole's work really that important? The people around Trump have been writing and talking about making changes for years. The Call or something similar was already prophesied in their writing. I doubt Dole had any great effect on anything. But more power to him...

Really we should just make a list of all the people not involved in The Call. It would be shorter... as I noted on Twitter:
Bob Dole too? If failure = orphan but success has many fathers, than surely The Call must be the most successful phone call in human history
What was the function of Dole? Oh yeah, Dole is the media patsy. With Dole you can watch the media filter work in realtime to determine which side the media is playing on. People speaking about China have their extensive, deep, often multigenerational links to the PRC which result in money flows, power, influence, and status concealed or downplayed in the media. But let Dole get a pathetic $20K a month from Taiwan (ZOMG), which everyone in DC knew Dole must have been getting (since DC gossip on who is getting what from whom is legendary and in any case lobbyists for foreign governments must publicly file that information), and it is a major media hoo-ha. Like the vapor story about Trump's Taoyuan Hotels, it is SQUIRREL! designed to distract readers from the real issues. It is... fake news.

There is a wonderful irony in these news agencies inventing history out of whole cloth (there was no 1992 Consensus and Beijing does not accept two interpretations), routinely concealing the China financial links of China-explainers in the media, permitting PRC agents to speak unmolested, quoting possible wumao as if they were random netizens, or according Bob Dole a mighty role in The Call, or claiming that the US says Taiwan is part of China, or etc etc etc, and then whining about the problem of fake news.

Because dudz, you are the fake news.
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