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Apr 18, 2008

Poll

Taipei Times:

The poll, conducted by the [DPP's] Poll Center on March 26 and March 27, questioned 1,043 adults. More than 69 percent of the respondents said any major accords signed between Taiwan and China must be put before the people of Taiwan in a national referendum. Only 26 percent said the accords did not need the approval of the people....

The poll also found that more than 88 percent of respondents agreed that Taiwan and China are two sovereign nations independent from each other, while only 8 percent of respondents said they were not....

The poll also discovered that nearly 82 percent of the people surveyed disagreed that the result of the March 22 presidential election indicated that the majority of Taiwanese were now more likely to accept unification with China.
Seems like good news and a fairly good indicator of the public mood. Obviously, the questions are stacked to produce answers the DPP likes, but that's how you control the debate -- frame the questions.

I'm glad to see strong support for a referendum upon those lines.

11 comments:

STOP Ma said...

"The poll also discovered that nearly 82 percent of the people surveyed disagreed that the result of the March 22 presidential election indicated that the majority of Taiwanese were now more likely to accept unification with China.

This is the great disconnect that the
Taiwanese have with...um...reality. They vote in, overwhelmingly, a party that is pro-unification and anti-democratic, and yet they feel that their wishes of an independent and free Taiwan will continue be fulfilled in the coming years. It reminds me so much of the disconnect that exists in America right now -- with McCain leading in the polls (who is the least willing to commit to the change that the people actually want).

When are these people going to start feeling some sort of cognitive dissonance?
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阿牛 said...

It's a good question. Ma has controlled the rhetoric and tone of debate enough to postpone the cognitive dissonance. We'll just have to see what happens.

STOP Ma said...

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Well, the Taiwanese are very quickly running out of time to wake up -- if it isn't too late already. So are the Americans, I might add -- which is what I'm most concerned about (being a Canadian).

(I'm not so optimistic these days, as you probably are aware.)

It has crossed my mind a lot these days, however, as to whether the lack of critical thinking skills is the problem here. I remember protesting wildly on Forumosa about this idea, which I still feel is ethnocentric and unfair. But, my god! Look at the state of the U.S. right now. And I've seen my share of sheep-like behaviour throughout my time in Taiwan with day-to-day life. You gotta wonder.
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Tim Maddog said...

A-gu, I'm glad you posted this. I've been a bit busy.

You wrote:
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... but that's how you control the debate -- frame the questions.
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In this context, I prefer to think of it as "unframing the questions" from the usual pro-China/pro-KMT vantage points.

Stop Ma asked:
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When are these people going to start feeling some sort of cognitive dissonance?
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When propagandist party organs like FauxNews/BSTV don't dominate the discourse, that's when. It's much easier to answer a direct unframed question than it is to deal with crap coming at you from all directions at once, including from people who repeat the crap without ever thinking twice about checking on the validity of their claims.

Remember what Mark Twain (supposedly) said: "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

People should never stop trying to verify (as I did with that link), but by using past experience as one's guide, they can get the truth out there faster and not get slowed down by the lies of people like Rupert "Married to the former-VP of STAR TV" Murdoch and Lee "two right out of ten is good enough for him" Tao so often.

Tim Maddog

STOP Ma said...

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Tim,

I would have to agree with you -- and that goes for most of the major networks / publications -- the "corporate media" as it were.

But I am not so willing to absolve the responsibility from the people themselves. It requires an active population to actually see this blatant misrepresentation from the media time and time again. What are the people going to do about it so it doesn't happen again and again and again? When are people going to, at the very least, (gasp!) turn off their televisions and turn on the truth? When are people going to practice their skill of critical thinking? The consumers ultimately have the power to refuse to be part of it. But they choose to be "entertained", instead. And with that entertainment comes mindless drivel that suppresses the imagination and allows issues to be framed over and over with only a limited number of government-friendly viewpoints. Meanwhile, the country is infinitely less hospitable to the overwhelming majority who live there.

And now, along comes HDTV to keep the sheep distracted.
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Prime Minister3 said...

I read that article, and I have to say that I usually don't put much stock in polls conducted by politically affiliated sources.

To Tim Maddog
I don't know that I agree with you on your association between Pro China and Pro KMT. I affiliate myself with the KMT, as much as I can not living in Taiwan ROC, but in my study of KMT rhetoric and history, you have misrepresented the KMT agenda. Decades ago, the KMT agenda was to reunite the Republic of China, meaning to reunited the mainland and Taiwan ROC under the Republic of China. Nowadays, the KMT viewpoint has modified to accommodate the reality of the PRC's economic and political power. Under such circumstances, they try to maintain the democratic integrity of Taiwan ROC without alienating the PRC, in order to incorporate Taiwan ROC into the international economy and community, rather than find itself on the outside of every major organization. This is because the reality is that the PRC is not going to relent in the "One China" policy, and the world is not going to recognize an independent Taiwan ROC. Therefore, maintaining the integrity of Taiwan ROC's independent government system and cooperation is comparatively more beneficial than the alternative.

STOP Ma said...

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they try to maintain the democratic integrity of Taiwan ROC...

...Therefore, maintaining the integrity of Taiwan ROC's independent government system and cooperation is comparatively more beneficial than the alternative.


Prime Minister3,

You've have given a voice to the exact disconnect I was talking about. The KMT, in the past 8 years have shown nothing but contempt for the democratic system. So, this "maintaining" business is really quite laughable.

Secondly, the Chen government was genuinely quite willing to improve relations with China, but it was China (with the help of the KMT) that put relations in deep freeze.

Furthermore, this notion that China has agreed to allow Taiwan to define "one-China" as being the ROC is insane. They have not agreed to this. And, even if they did -- the international community would consider Taiwan to be a joke with this fantasy.

Nowadays, the KMT viewpoint has modified to accommodate the reality of the PRC's economic and political power.

Really? Well, maybe you should consider this quote from Ma Ying-Jeou...(2006)

Ma also told the council [of Foreign Relations in New York] that Taipei viewed "one China" as the Republic of China (ROC).

"This is the status quo and the majority of people in Taiwan want to maintain the status quo," he said.


How has this changed since the so-called imaginary "1992 Consensus"? How has the KMT officially "accomodated" the PRC in the following equation?

ONE CHINA = R.O.C.

I'm all ears.

Now, if I were China , I would accept this generous offer from the KMT because it will inevitably back-fire to hurt Taiwan's interests and identity on the international stage.

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Prime Minister3 said...

To stop ma:

A) What exactly has the KMT done to "show contempt for the democratic system"? You really must explain this so that we can further this discussion, simply because as I understand, the DPP, after years of accusations that the KMT was a corrupt, discriminatory, and ineffective party, has proven itself to be such. This is not to say that the KMT was not corrupt or discriminatory [on the subject of effectiveness, I would argue that the economy and education statistics proves KMT effectiveness], but that the DPP was equally so, if not more.

B) I don't think you truly understand the dynamic in the PRC enough to say that Chen was truly willing to improve relations with the PRC simply because their governmental system depends heavily on rhetoric. Chen not only spoke with insincerity, but also issued inflammatory comments on a regular basis, especially when he needed the support of the Taiwan ROC independence supporters. In such a situation, no matter what he does will contradict his normal rhetoric to the people of the ROC and the PRC is fundamentally unable to accept that. As I recall, an improvement happened in Strait relations after Lian Chan's visit to the PRC.

C) Ma Ying Jeou's actions since the election have shown that he is putting the economy first as opposed to ineffective social agendas that do not help people in severe economic distress. Your article, I can simply dismiss because of the date. In Strait matters, it is about ever-changing circumstances and not rehashing previous statements. Opening up flights and trade is the best thing Ma Ying Jeou can do for an ailing economy and an increasingly weakly educated population.

D) As of right now, there is no Taiwan ROC identity on the international level with the exception of 10-20 countries, none of which are major powers in the world. Taiwan ROC has to switch gears and look towards the future, not the past. The future is in economic advancement and progressing beyond high technology areas, while at the same time improving education standards that have become atrocious in the past 8 years, thanks to the localization of education. I mean no disrespect to the people in Taiwan ROC who don't speak Mandarin or are of different ethnic groups, but to be blunt, I live in the US, and when people specify that they are a certain ethnic group from Taiwan ROC, people are just like, "Oh, so you're Chinese." Not to mention, at my university, you can take Chinese, Traditional or Simplified. You can't take Hakka or "Taiwanese". Taiwan ROC needs to get with the program and look at itself through a bigger lens, not complain about ethnic inequalities and such. It exists in the minds of people, which you can't change. And all of this needs to happen fast because one day, when Taiwan ROC has no clout left, people won't even care that Taiwan ROC has a democratic government because it no longer is a factor in international politics.

STOP Ma said...

A) What exactly has the KMT done to "show contempt for the democratic system"?

You're kidding, right?

Do you not remember the 2004 aftermath when the actions of the losing candidates caused rioting and considerably undermined the democratic process by asking the president to enact martial law?

And what of the red-shirts that also caused violent rioting on the streets of Taipei because they could not wait for the judicial process to play out.

Fear and intimidation are the hallmarks of the KMT -- in the past and in the present. This thuggery occurs routinely with their constituents and with party members.

And what of the referendums in 2004 and 2008 that the KMT boycotted? How is THIS in the spirit of the democratic process? Incidentally, the 2 ballot-box process during both elections allowed voting privacy to be compromised. And this privacy factor was only an issue if the KMT committed to a boycott -- which they did, on cue. Speaking of which, vote-buying is almost exclusively a KMT tactic. Corruption runs deep in the KMT and they are much better at it than the DPP.

To say that the DPP is "more corrupt" than the KMT is a wee stretch of the imagination. But I can assure you that now that there is one-party rule, you won't be seeing as much corruption on a federal level. The reason for this is that the KMT will dutifully keep this aspect hidden.

B) China froze relations with Chen before he even took office. And what "inflammatory" comments are you referring to? The fact that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country? Did you know that Ma has made the same remarks? I'd like you to provide me with examples of this provocative language. I think you'll find that all of the rhetoric was aimed at maintaining the status quo -- something China has significantly breached with more than just rhetoric with the Anti-Secession law and 1500 missiles.

C)
Ma Ying Jeou's actions since the election have shown that he is putting the economy first as opposed to ineffective social agendas that do not help people in severe economic distress.

Severe economic distress? Are you kidding me? I was in Taiwan last month and I can assure you that Taiwan is nowhere near "severe economic distress". This is the ultimate KMT talking point in the past few months.

Anyway, Hsieh had a revitalization strategy of his own. His plan, however, did not involve gutting Taiwan for the sake of increasing the GDP a whole percentage point.

D) I agree with you with the insularity of Taiwan, but you don't win any points with me with respect to Americans not knowing much about things international. This ignorance is a separate American issue. Regardless, Taiwan has never been given a fair shake with the international corporate media. I will concede, though, that the DPP have done a piss-poor job at improving this aspect. In comparison, what the KMT is doing is 100 times worse. The international community is being given a false signal / hope that normalization between the two countries is 1) Due to the evil Chen Shui-bian not being there. 2) That Ma Ying-Jeou has the magic solution to normalize relations with no sacrifice to democracy, identity and freedom for the Taiwanese. This, of course is bunk of the highest order, and the world (and the Taiwanese) will soon get a rude awakening.
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Prime Minister3 said...

The 2004 aftermath is not a good thing to bring up to boost the legitimacy of the DPP, the investigation of which is possibly linked with the death of someone who was pinned with the "assassination attempt". But now that you mention this incident, I would like to remind you that Ma Ying Jeou upheld the law, and much to the dismay of many in his own party, did not support this protest, much to his credit.

The DPP uses fear and intimidation equally in their actions. The most ridiculous is in their rhetoric of associating the KMT to "selling out Taiwan ROC", despite the fact that the KMT set up the framework for a democratic system. Dr. Sun's writings called for a period of political tutelage and martial law in order to achieve a republic, and that is what happened, leading to free elections. Without this setup, how do you think someone from a minority party could one day become president?

Historically, not one referendum has ever succeeded. No need to split party lines here. None. The parties are political entities. Whatever one does, the other has done as well.

Note that I did not say that the KMT was not corrupt. And the fact that the KMT has been around a lot longer means that naturally, there would be more corruption, but at a rate level, the DPP is just as corrupt if not more because there has been equal corruption for a shorter time period.

The PRC froze relations because Chen actively courted the independence group. You can't win with the support of the Dark Green and then take office expecting the PRC to forget how you got there.

Your interpretation of economic distress is amusing. First off, where were you in Taiwan ROC. Second, look at the stock market trends, oil prices [and what oil companies have been doing in the name of nationalism], and unit prices. If you are looking for a full blown depression, then yeah, it isn't there yet. If you are going to wait until that happens, that's just stupid. And just how is Ma Ying Jeou's plan going to be "gutting Taiwan" ROC? Increasing trade is the only way to increase the value of products produced in Taiwan ROC and encourage investment. The less money you have in the system, the less economic growth. The rapid accumulation of government debt under DPP administration has not helped a bit [actually, a record high government debt]. That is money that taken out of the system that you can't get back until you balance the budget.

Not to burst you, what, Canadian bubble, even if the Americans don't know a thing about international situations, it still matters. Maybe one day it won't, but in today's world, it still does. And you really can't pin this one on the media, a lot of things you can, but not this one. Taiwan ROC will never be a superpower. Its values and ethnic languages will never be accepted on an international level. It is as simple as that. Say it is because of its land mass, or its relation with the PRC, or anything you like. That is just the reality.

I think you might have a tendency to exaggerate things. To say that what the KMT is doing is "100 times worse" is funny at best, plain libel at worst. And as a Ma Ying Jeou supporter, I can plainly tell you that I do not think he has a "magic solution to normalize relations with not sacrifice to democracy" because that would be just plain naive. What I do think is that Ma Ying Jeou is willing to make an effort whereas I never saw Chen make the effort. Even if the PRC did not give him a chance because of his rhetoric to the Dark Green, he did not try a bit. I care less about the actual outcome of talks with the PRC at this point in time because I don't foresee any dramatic changes within the next 2 years, but what I want is for the administration to extend their hand and say to the international community, Taiwan ROC is willing to do something, even if it is a short talk with a government official. That is what I see in Ma Ying Jeou, his willingness to try, not some magic solution.

As for any criticism that you can make on Ma Ying Jeou's apparent popularity with the media portraying him in a way that makes you think people see him as a magician, then I would like to remind you that a lot of people thought that about Chen when he was elected. He dug himself into the hole he's in, not the KMT. Even a lot of the people who normally vote green, voted for Ma Ying Jeou this time. Don't take your frustration out on Ma Ying Jeou. If you must take any frustration out on anyone, do it to the DPP supporters who didn't turn up to support your guy.

As much as I would like to continue this very polarized debate with you, I have tests and papers this week, so sorry. No more time for this. Think what you will.

STOP Ma said...

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The 2004 aftermath is not a good thing to bring up to boost the legitimacy of the DPP, the investigation of which is possibly linked with the death of someone who was pinned with the "assassination attempt".


Enough said :>)
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