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Nov 12, 2008

Going overboard

I am not pleased to see organizations like the Taiwan Society saying we're back in the White Terror period. It's complete hyperbole. Just like labeling every world leader you don't like "the next Hitler," calling a handful of very questionable detentions a return to the White Terror-- or likening the confiscation of flags to martial law-- quickly undermines the truly terrific scale of those events. This is no better than a few years ago when the Pan-blue camp was labeling all sorts of DPP actions as "a Green Terror."

Reminder: In the White Terror, spies for the government were everywhere. You could disappear for speaking your mind to a neighbor. Publications like the Liberty Times would be closed and their editorial board in jail. Executions were common, and the leadership would often arbitrarily increase the severity of a court sentence. The law meant nothing at all. The party dominated everything in life, and joining the KMT was key to moving up in almost any field. The army was the KMT's army (國民黨黨軍). Things are not the same now.

That is not to say I think the detention of these people or confiscation of flags is "no big deal."

Secondly: As Michael Turton points out, the fact that Chen is certainly guilty of at least some crimes does not change the fact that this could be a politically motivated prosecution. But the DPP has somehow managed to get wholly sucked into this. A few weeks ago, everyone in the party was doing their best to ignore him. Now Chen has successfully manipulated more than a few DPP media attention whores into making this cause célèbre into a cause de croisade.

13 comments:

JensMueller said...

I don't understand why CNN is reporting about Chen's arrest, but not about the protests ...

STOP Ma said...

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jensmueller,

The western corporate media usually spouts the KMT / CCP narrative in most of their coverage of Taiwan.
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Ian said...

Hi, I've heard about the police confiscating flags, and also equally fervent denials of that. Can you cite a source, or provide photos/videos documenting this?

Thanks

Raj said...

Thanks for this. I would agree that the rhetoric from both political camps is exaggerated. It's obvious that Chen needs to be prosecuted, but the KMT is doing this for partisan reasons. The prosecutors are being one-sided, though I thought that wasn't unusual, in the US at least.

My view is that the wider allegations about going after the DPP through its senior members will depend on what happens. If DPP politicians continue to be detained and we see no or very few corresponding actions against senior KMT staff then it is time to get very worried. But if there aren't then people should calm down - so far most investigations have concerned the Chen corruption case.

STOP Ma said...

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Ian,

2 posts at this site have videos / link to videos of what happened...

HERE and HERE.
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Tim Maddog said...

Ian, here's one video of ROC flags being violently confiscated and another video with a side-by-side comparison of that behavior with the PRC flag being protected by cops. This page has videos of the incident in which a woman had her finger dislocated by police as they took her flag.

Tim Maddog

Taiwan Echo said...

raj:If DPP politicians continue to be detained and we see no or very few corresponding actions against senior KMT staff then it is time to get very worried.

For your reference, my friend, this already happened:

辦綠不辦藍? 陳瑞仁憂辦案群組化
http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/nov/12/today-fo4.htm

It describes that -- in contrary to the speedy prosecutions and detentions against pan-green guys, the cases against KMT are either stalled or the KMT guys convicted (<== not just indicted) were never jailed.

You can figure out if it's gonna get better or worse.

David said...

It may not be White Terror, but we are at the start of a slippery slope. And we could start sliding down that slope very quickly.

The week of Chen Yunlin's visit serves as a test case of how far the government is prepared to go in its actions. We now know the police are willing to follow orders to act illegally against the people's basic right to freedom of expression. We also know that the government is not interested in listening to the people or making any effort to apologise or take responsibility.

It is only a matter of time before another event similar to Chen Yunlin's visit occurs. The government's approach won't be any softer when it happens.

阿牛 said...

Thanks for all the comments. I'll make another post today expressing my concern on the other side of these detentions.

Ian said...

Stop ma, and Tim Maddog:

Thank you for your replies. Watching those videos of flags being taken down made my heart pound with anger, especially when close friends of mine tell me that no such thing happened and that I'm being "brainwashed".

阿牛 said...

Dear Ian,

Where are you now by the way? Taipei, overseas? Just wondering!

Ian said...

Dear 阿牛:

I was born in Taiwan, but I've lived in Canada since I was three (now I'm in California). I still go back to Taiwan every year to visit family and friends.

Where are you located?

阿牛 said...

Beautiful Kaohsiung County!