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Mar 18, 2008

Spin factory at work

Ma's fooling someone who's name starts with a K- and ends in an -atherin Hille.

Ma Ying-jeou, the frontrunner in Taiwan's presidential election, yesterday declared the island a sovereign country as he tried to limit potential damage to his campaign from the violence in Tibet, writes Kathrin Hille in Taipei.
Cross-strait relations have long played a key role in Taiwanese elections such as Saturday's presidential poll. China claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and threatens to attack the island, should it formalise its de facto independence.
Historically, it has been the ruling Democratic Progressive party's position that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country. Mr Ma had refrained from echoing this.
But in an effort to deflect what some see as a possible benefit to the DPP from the violence in Tibet, Mr Ma yesterday declared: "Taiwan is not Tibet, Taiwan is not Hong Kong.
We are a sovereign country."

She's right about his motives, but Ma specifically avoided declaring that Taiwan is a sovereign country here, instead using the ambiguous "we." The subtext is that nearly everyone in Taiwan would say the Republic of China = Taiwan; but the catch is that the ROC, not Taiwan, is the only entity Ma believes is sovereign.

This is actually a step back for the old horse, becuase Ma has said Taiwan is sovereign before, including in his recently published book (which is why Hille's article is old news, not a breakthrough of some kind). Ma likes to use use two phrases: the ROC is independent and Taiwan is sovereign.

He tries to equate the Republic of China with Taiwan, but he avoids ever saying Taiwan is independent, which would actually be the logical conclusion of Taiwan = ROC and ROC = independent.

Ma still holds that ROC sovereignty extends to all of China, including Tibet (see 1:11 mark; thanks, Maddog), and Ma is just trying to use the "ROC = Taiwan = sovereign and independent" association to his benefit without ever saying it.

1 comment:

Tim Maddog said...

Wow! I somehow missed this post.

Katherin Hille does something that starts with "s-" and ends with "-mokes Ma Ying-jeou's cigar," writes Tim Maddog in Taichung.

In what looked to me to be a well-rehearsed statement, Ma purposely used the reality-challenged, polysyllabic "中華民國" (ROC) instead of saying "Taiwan," yet Hille uses some real dirty trickery to make the reader think otherwise. What madness from both of them!

Tim Maddog