Share this

Jul 29, 2010

Warp Zone

For some reason, I occasionally find myself reading editorials in the KMT's mouthpiece, the Central Daily News. Perhaps it's because the paper sometimes says what the Ma administration won't announce from the podium. Here is the article I read today.

The editorial mocks DPP positions on the ECFA; denigrates Lee Teng-hui's "two countries" and Chen Shui-bian's "one side, one country" formulations as "not only completely unworkable but bound to bring about disastrous consequences;" and finally notes that shooting for de jure independence is sure to bring economic ruin and war.

But what really caught my eye was the final paragraph, where the writer throws a curve ball:

Up to this point, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have had the wisdom to define their relations as a unique, non-international and non-domestic relationship. Thus agreements have been signed on the principles of equality and mutual respect by [Taiwan's] Straits Affairs Foundation [SEF] and [China's] Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits [ARATS]. The agreements have been mutually beneficial and won the praise of the international community, just as the ECFA has. Taiwan independence supporters, though, continue to blow hot air about dealing [with "the mainland"] on a nation-to-nation basis. The Taiwanese people have already experienced the tangible benefits of setting aside political differences, fostering warm economic relations, and reducing the danger of a military conflict. If the independence supporters keep mouthing the same old platitudes, they will not win any hearts or minds.

 兩岸如今都有智慧把雙方關係定位為非國際、亦非國內的特殊關係,故以海基、海協兩會來進行協商簽署,合乎對等、尊嚴原則,互蒙其利,亦獲國際社 會讚賞,ECFA也是一樣。獨派卻仍鼓吹以國與國來處理兩岸關係。台灣人民已體驗到了兩岸政治上擱置爭議、經濟上合作互惠、軍事上化解危機的實際利益,獨 派再唱其陳腔濫調,是不會有市場的。
It is obviously and pointedly false to suggest that China views relations with Taiwan as anything other than domestic, unless you ignore everything they say about the subject.

But far more baffling is when the CDN tries to suggest the KMT defines relations [with China] as a unique, non-international and non-domestic relationship.

When was that the definition? Certainly not in 2008 when Ma drew a firestorm of criticism for saying relations were "a non-international, special relationship." Certainly not today, when fantasies of China recognizing a "shared sovereignty" situation are the domain of deluded academics. In fact, there's not a peep about "non-domestic" anywhere.

To prove the point, go search for the Chinese phrase "non-domestic special relationship" (非國內的特殊關係). That search turns up only this CDN article. Even when broken up into two phrases,"non-domestic" and "special relationship," we see nothing else about this topic on the internet. This terminology is newly minted, not official policy, and certainly not the policy of both China and Taiwan.

Why would the official KMT mouthpiece make up one definition of a policy -- one where nuance in phrasing matters a lot -- when the KMT has a different official policy? Is the editor simply living in la-la land? Does he have access to insider information about progress in negotiations with China? Is he making an effort to fool the public in Taiwan (presumably because people don't actually have the stomach to accept relations with China as "domestic" yet)? Or what?

Jul 28, 2010

Vaguely Familiar

It seems the Legislature has figured out what we long knew. It's amazing how the timing works out -- this report about the ECFA comes out soon after the ECFA's signing, meaning the negative results would not be in the news to influence the legislative vote. But on to the meat of the post...

This week, a report out of the Legislative Yuan's think tank-like organization, called in Chinese the Lifayuan Fazhiju ji yusuan zhongxin (立院法制局及預算中心), said that China will strictly adhere to a "One China" policy (imagine that) and block Taiwan efforts to sign other FTAs.

The report ominously concludes that "in the future, it is possible that Taiwan's survival and development will require walking the road to integration with China."「將可能使台灣生存與發展僅先有一條與中國大陸結合之路」。

Back in Nov. 2008, I said:

"I also think [Ma's] policies will lead Taiwan not directly into unification, but to a point of no return, where economic and political relations are at a point where China will be have even such enormous leverage in both the cross-strait and international sphere that the CCP will be able to push for a unification time table of its own choosing and Taiwanese leaders will have few options but to comply and negotiate for minimal concessions."
Obviously, my prediction was somewhat more descriptive and uses KMT taboo words like "unification." But it is clear that the Ma administration's policy may well put Taiwan in a position where unification is the only peaceful option.

Some would say that the point of no return has already come. There are certainly plenty of people positioning themselves for that time, even if it is not here yet.

Jul 27, 2010


It is, in a way, big news that China's Gao Hucheng (高虎城), Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said the ECFA was signed under the precondition of accepting "the '92 consensus of One China." While this has been the unvarying Chinese policy, it is not often said in one piece. Before the ECFA's signing, the Chinese favored simply "the '92 consensus" and tried to avoid talking about "One China". China certainly doesn't often reiterate their claim that the '92 consensus means "One China," not "one China, two interpretations."

Part of the reason Gao spoke so "boldly" is that his audience was the international community. Reinforcing the "One China" aspect of the deal is a way of trying to undercut and prevent pro-Taiwan ideas from entering the heads of the international community.

Pingtung DPP legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安), quoted in that article, seems to forget (or pretends to forget) that China did not leak a KMT secret. Rather, the Ma administration has a long-standing acceptance of "One China," a policy phrase they also utter as little as possible -- especially in connection to the ECFA. Just check out the MAC Vice-chair Liu Te-hsun's (劉德勳) limp, non-denying response to China's assertion. Liu simply musters the formula stating that the ECFA is apolitical because it is a strictly economic deal.

Apparently, Japan too has little interest in the subtleties of years-gone-by -- the Japanese ambassador to China recently reiterated the rarely spoken fact that Japan has never recognized Taiwan as part of China.

Keepin' it interesting, eh?

Jul 19, 2010

Special Feature

Despite its rhetorical flair, this article brings up some important issues. So I've decided to translate this Liberty Times opinion piece for you.

[Original text]

Hu pins ECFA with label of "anti-independence, one China;" Will Ma go along?

Reporter Zou Jingwen ╱ Special Feature

"The ECFA is purely an economic issue, unrelated to politics."This remark was made by President Ma Ying-jeou."The common political basis for the signing of the ECFA is opposition to Taiwan independence and the upholding of the '92 consensus. "So says Hu Jintao.

These two statements about the signing of the ECFA are contradictory; whose statement is correct? Does Ma Ying-jeou accept the ECFA's "common political basis?"The government's position has resulted in "one ECFA, two interpretations;" this rhetoric is deceptive, to both ourselves and others.

When Ma Ying-jeou says the ECFA is non-politicial, he is talking to the Taiwanese people. He does not say such things to China. So do these words reflect reality or do they not?

Make no mistake: Hu Jintao brought up this "political foundation" in the presence of Ma's special envoy, Wu Poh-hsiung. These words were uttered for all the world to hear. These words are most sincere.

Now that the ECFA is signed, Hu Jintao has opted to set the tone and thereby deny Ma negotiating cover cover, preparing to force future concessions that go further than "opposing Taiwanese independence and upholding 'One China.'" If these two policies are the ECFA's foundation, they become "reality;" Ma's calls for Hu to "face reality" are naive nonsense. Beijing does not intend to let Taiwan avoid further compromise for the next thousand years.

Hu may have hit this ball into Ma's court, but Ma must not sit idly by; 23 million pairs of eyes are watching him. China has "put this hat on your head" [pinned Ma with this label]. Will you wear it? If you will not, you must refuse it; silence will indicate consent, and those in Taiwan who oppose you will have another righteous reason for doing so.

Asking Ma to "wear the hat" of One China and anti-Taiwan independence, regardless of the color of the hat [A-Gu:that is, regardless of its political character], demonstrates Chinese anticipation that Ma would play innocent and agree, since these policy positions are in Ma's DNA.

The problem is, Ma's campaign promised the voters that "Taiwanese independence is a choice." Not only has that choice been removed, but Ma now wants to tie our hands. He has openly repudiated his own election pledge. Yet how can support for Taiwanese independence be made illegal? Is there an intention to set up a Fascist government?

Even more ridiculous is what "opposing Taiwan independence" entails. Basically, "Taiwan independence" has two meanings. One is that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country.The KMT has said that the ROC is on Taiwan, and that the ROC is a sovereign independent country. We should be able to reason by extension that here in Taiwan we have an independent and sovereign country. Does Ma Ying-jeou oppose this position?

If he does not, then let us consider the second meaning of "Taiwan independence." This is a sovereign independent country, and is also a democratic country, and in democracies all over the world, the people have the right to decide major policies which greatly affect national development. This includes the majority's right to change the national title, flag or anthem.

If one day the people of Taiwan decide that the label "ROC" creates international confusion and problems with our self-identity, and jointly decide to change the country's name to "Taiwan", on what grounds is the KMT so slandering this definition of "Taiwanese independence?"

Ma's parroting the Chinese "one China" position and his cooperation with the Communist Party in opposing Taiwan independence is undermining the basis for Ma's own prosperity. Are these efforts aimed at preparing for a denial of the sovereignty and independence of the "Republic of China?"

Hu has branded the ECFA, and topped it with a red cap. How can Ma Ying-jeou ignore this reality?Ma owes the people an explanation.

Jul 16, 2010

High Court corrupt?

I'm sickened by the possibility that four High Court judges and a prosecutor accepted bribes from a (former) KMT legislator. There may be several additional, undisclosed investigations into judicial corruption as well.

This sort of thing is a deathblow to confidence in an institution. If even the High Court can be corrupted, what verdict can escape suspicion?