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Nov 26, 2008


I don't know who will care about this post, but I find the topic interesting ...

Several months ago there was a minor uproar when the Ma administration's Economic Minister stated under legislative questioning that "馬上就好," a double entendre which can be read to mean "Things will be good if Ma gets elected" and "Things will immediately be good."

Green sources immediately slammed this as an "admission" that Ma was lying about his governing skillz throughout the campaign (which in fact he was, though the Minister's statement does not mean to indicate that); the Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yin Chi-ming (尹啟銘) quickly reminded people that slogan is a neutral noun, and does not have either positive or negative connotations.

The English slogan comes from the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, 'battle cry.' The Chinese 口號 (kouhao) is, in fact, fairly defined as neutral. And English political slogans rarely have anything to do with a plan of governing.

But an interesting facet to this is that kouhao's use in political reporting is virtually always negative, because it is directly contrasted with action or fulfillment of promises.

For example, view reports from just the last month; I don't think a single political article uses kouhao in a neutral way, though non-political articles do (see below).

Conclusion? It's no surprise people took the Minister's statement to be an admission of guilt, given the political context of the comment, but the minister almost certainly didn't mean it in the way it was interpreted. Let's call it a very poor choice of wording.

看問題/請民進黨當個負責的在野黨,好嗎?!NOWnews - 10小時前

黨政同床異夢團結成口號 自由時報 - 2008年11月22日

地方政府喊出18萬億投資口號遠超地方財力極限 新浪北美 - 2008年11月26日


馬總統高喊2.5產業!法人:方向正確,但執行力是重點 中網理財- 2008年11月26日
也有業者指出:「不知是口號還是會落實。 」

女隊世錦賽口號向男隊學習能否進奧運明年九月揭曉 臺灣新浪網 - 2008年11月22日

上海發佈世博旅遊口號和標識 鉅亨網 - 2008年11月19日


Police chiefs who were in charge of the heavy-handed units in Taipei during Chen Yunlin's visit? All recently promoted.

Nov 25, 2008

Christmas song list

Missing anything?

More media madness

Yahoo! Taiwan shuts down the Mango Daily (芒果日報), a green-leaning blog which has been focusing on the student protests. The reason for the shutdown remains unclear. Lots of info at that link, though (Hat tip Maddog).

If this is a political decision, it would seem confirm that that old self-censoring mentality, which Taiwanese parents & professors still exhibit, and which Chinese media is using on a daily basis, may be creeping back into some Taiwanese media, even something as new and apolitical as Yahoo!

Business Today (今周刊) reports in issue 622 that the CEO of Wantwant Group (旺旺集團), Tsai Eng-meng/Cai Yanming (蔡衍明), hosted a dinner on the 16th for all the top executives at his newly acquired asset, the China Times Group. It was there that Tsai, who is a Hong-Kong based Chinese Taiwanese businessman with with lots of Chinese investments and a few Taiwanese investments, supposedly sent down three orders for the paper to use as guidelines: To protect President Ma with all their might, to reconcile the misunderstandings between the people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and to report no news dealing with unification or independence (全力擁護馬英九總統、化解兩岸人民誤會、所有新聞皆無關統獨。).

In my view, motivations for Tsai's orders (if they were given) are likely to be financial; Tsai may sense an imminent partial opening of Taiwanese media to enter China, and he may want to be on the front end of the invitation list. In any case, the group's news reports wouldn't be much different than the China Times Group has been since, say, 1950. Not so sure about this; the guy can probably open up plenty of Chinese media investments already, if he wanted to.

Nov 24, 2008


"The Control Yuan will begin an investigation on NPA director-general Wang Cho-chiun, NSB chief Tsai Tsao-ming and sec-gen Su Chi to see if they've committed administrative wrongdoing when handling demonstrations during Chen Yunlin's visit. The investigation may run from 3 months to 6 months. If they're found guilty, they'll be impeached. Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) will be in charge of the investigation. He's a former legislator affiliated with the DPP, who seems to be quite insisting on "DPP's founding principles" (and thus has been keeping a distance with the Chen Shui-bian administration towards the end of Chen's term)." -- Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times reporter.

Slander & Libel

In a perfect example of what is wrong with the slander law here in Taiwan, a city councilor is suing some citizen for calling him "garbage" after watching a political television program that indicated the councilor was supporting A-bian through some of these scandals.

I mean, who cares? Get over it. Someone called you garbage. Go cry me a river.

Nov 21, 2008

KMT caucus raises bill to use force to curb Green legislative protests

The bill would allow police force to be used when necessary to remove legislators who are filibustering or obstructing legislation. This would effectively kill the only speedbumps the DPP can put in front of KMT bills.

Speaker Wang Jin-pyng would be the one authorized to call in the police force, but as I recall he's not a fan of doing this -- this sort of proposal has come up before and he was always cold to it.

Meanwhile, the legislature has sent the four cross-strait agreements recently signed by Chiang and Chen to appropriate committees for review.

One China

As APEC's conference approaches, Beijing's reiteration that "there is only one China in the world" and attempts to force the international media to not refer to Ma as "President" should not surprise anyone who's been paying attention to their unchanging policy.

Nov 20, 2008

Perspective on vouchers

Read this FEER article on Japan's plan to give everyone vouchers in a similar amount to the ones being proposed in Taiwan; they roundly condemn the effort as cynical, populist and completely ineffective.

Ma offers to discuss national matters with Tsai

President Ma Ying-jeou believes this weekend would be a good time for such discussions with DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen. Sadly, Tsai is unlikely to accept give the political climate; she'd probably get hammered for meeting even if she wanted to.

Insane: President Ma asked to sit down and have a meeting with DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen after he had already met personally with China's ARATS chief. Not once previous to that did he think it meeting with Tsai would be productive.

One of the more bizarre aspects of Taiwanese democracy is the complete lack of high level contacts between the parties. In say, the US, legislative leadership from both parties meet frequently with the President, and aids and lower level people are maintaining contact and conducting negotiations almost constantly. Otherwise, stupid policies like the bailout would never have a chance of passing Congress and winning the president's signature. Things are similar in most European parliamentary systems, where the majority and the opposition have frequent exchanges (not shouting matches). The lack of this level of contacts in Taiwan is one of the major reasons you so rarely see bi-partisan legislation, compromises or even

But not so in Taiwan. First, note the relative importance of the party apparatus here (a relic of Leninist party organization). The most important person in the DPP is the party's chair, not the secretary-general of the legislative caucus. In a case like the KMT's, which has a similar organizational structure, the fact that Ma Ying-jeou is president while Wu Po-hsiung is party chief has caused friction or different stances at various times, despite efforts to work together.

Second, there's such fundamental ideological opposition to each other, it's little wonder the parties have trouble even coming together at a dinner party. At least as importantly, boycotting the other party and minimizing dialog are political tactics used to demonstrate strength, while offering to have talks at inappropriate times is used to feign sincerity.

Intent vs effect

I don't believe Ma Ying-jeou is intent on selling out Taiwan to China or making unification/annexation a reality in his life time. I think he believes his policy of "no unification, no independence, and no violence" is a middle-of-the-road path that will improve Taiwan's security and economy while improving relations with China, which he sees as a win-win situation. I think he's genuinely frustrated with accusations directed at him for trying to sell out the island.

I also think his 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.

I think Ma probably is aware of a "point of no return" possibility, but he likely foresees a cooperative, mutual reconciliation and believes China has no motivation to force a political capitulation of the Taiwan authorities. Naturally, I think he's wrong.

Of course, all of this is speculation, as the only person who knows what Ma Ying-jeou really thinks is Ma Ying-jeou. And that is the point I'd like to raise in this post. We are quick to assign the worst motivations to those carrying out policies we believe will be destructive, when they likely believe they are working for the greater good.

So I'd rather see the rhetoric of the Green camp retreat from the emotionally laden attacks of Ma "selling out" Taiwan or Ma's eagerness to bow to China, and instead focus on both the genuine dangers of his vision and presenting constructive alternatives.

Ruh roh

Likud opens up a big lead over Kadima.

Green paper interviews Ma

Liberty Times interviews Ma Ying-jeou in four parts (1 2 3 4), and although the questioning is pretty hostile, I'd say Ma holds his line pretty well. But you also get the sense he is very frustrated with the questioning as well. He is at his weakest when talking about the police taking flags and taking banners from Green protesters' hotel rooms as Chen Yunlin was going to arrive. He has a hard time defending the detentions if you ask me, too.

Also, I believe the Liberty Times failed to ask the kind of questions I'd like to see more of, and instead kept the thought process within the bounds of the media-defined idea of what the issues are. Also, the interviewer makes a critical factual error, claiming the Lien-Hu Joint Announcement (連胡公報) specifically mentions "One China." It does not. But Ma didn't seem to know that either (that's how gotcha questions work sometimes, though; as a politician, you'd rather just not answer the question directly than challenge its premise, for fear of being factually wrong).

Roundup, 11/20

Liberty Times reports that the Culture Ministry, which helped print a large number of CDs carrying Song of Taiwan 《台灣之歌》, claims that all of the current copies have been sold out and no more can come to market (it's been selling like crazy since the Chen Yunlin visit and the incident surrounding the song at a music store).

Problem is, a source inside the Ministry told Liberty Times there's at least 5,000 copies left in stock.

Ma’s approval rating cut in half since coming to power (Taipei Times)

Taisugar chairman Wu abruptly resigns position (Taipei Times)

Wu’s abrupt departure was reportedly triggered by pressure from Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung’s (江丙坤) desire to install his nephew Chen Ching-bin (陳清彬) as company president.

Ma's photo removed from APEC website (Taipei Times)
Ma on Tuesday acknowledged the organizer of this year’s APEC summit for using his photograph and referring to him as “president” on the Web site and official documents, saying it indicated his more conciliatory cross-strait policies were working.

It marked the first time that the country’s president was introduced in an APEC document and the first time since Taiwan became an APEC member economy in 1991 that a host country published a picture of a Taiwanese president on the Web site.

Ma’s photograph and other information, however, were later removed from the Web site. Critics suspected China of interfering in the matter.

Nov 19, 2008

Great post on military instructors issue

At Claudia Jean's.

It's a rose god damn it!

After the KMT held their open forum caucus meeting on amending the parade law (good article in Taipei Times here), where most heavyweights basically agreed to change things only in name and not in form, and where all the NGOs were KMT shrills that nobody has ever heard of before, we were expecting some cosmetic changes to the law without any change in substance.

And that's what we're getting (hat tip Rank MT):

The Executive Yuan has raised the issue of revisions to the Assembly and Parade Law recently. However, the new version adopts a “compulsory notification system” whose content preserves restrictions including “assembling without notification is illegal”, “establishing forbidden areas”, “police have the right to alter the time, place, and form of the parade”, “the [police] can command dissolution of the parade without explicit standards”, and “the criminal and administrative sanctions relating to assembly”. Namely, the revision contains no practical improvements, only the change of name from “permission” to “notification”.

Police pressuring journalists


The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) demanded yesterday that the National Police Agency (NPA) stop pressuring photojournalists to help find potential suspects in the rallies that ensued during a controversial visit made by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林) earlier this month.

“The police have put the reporters in grave danger by demanding that they rat on their interviewees,” ATJ president Leon Chuang (莊豐嘉) said.

“Such requests disparage the reporters’ right to work safely,” he said.

The ATJ said many photojournalists had filed complaints saying that the police have sought their help in identifying suspects who allegedly took part in the violence.

When the reporters refused to provide the pictures, the police went directly to heads of the news outlets to pressure the reporters into giving up the photos, ATJ said...

The police yesterday said the accusation was groundless, arguing that it is customary for the police to solicit the media’s help in gathering evidence.

Taipei City Policy Bureau media contact Wang Wen-shen (王文伸) shrugged off the accusation saying: “Do you really think the police have enough power to force reporters to do anything?”

Nov 18, 2008

Korean textbook controversy not unlike Taiwan's internal debate

While the DPP administration and reputable publishers never went so far as to actually teach children that the KMT constituted an occupying foreign power, that is in fact how many people on the Green side feel. Take a look at this IHT article on a Korean textbook controversy.

To conservative critics, a popular textbook's version of how U.S. and Soviet forces took control of Korea from Japanese colonialists in 1945 exemplifies all that's wrong with how South Korean history is taught to young people today.

The facts no one disputes are that, at the end of World War II, the Soviet military swept into northern Korea and installed a friendly Communist government while a U.S. military administration assumed control in the south.

But then the high school textbook takes a direction that is raising hackles among conservatives. It argues that the Japanese occupation was followed not by a free, self-determining Korea, but by a divided peninsula dominated once again by foreign powers.

"It was not our national flag that was hoisted to replace the Japanese flag," reads the textbook published by Kumsung Publishing. "The flag that flew in its place was the American Stars and Stripes. Our liberation through the Allied forces' victory prevented us from building a new country according to our own wishes."

The article continues.

Two reports to start off your afternoon

I saw a related article in the Liberty Times yesterday, and the Taipei Times carries a related article for us today with some more information:

KMT legislator says he was threatened by COA

By Flora Wang And Meggie Lu
Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008, Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) yesterday accused the Council of Agriculture (COA) of asking gangsters to threaten him over a proposed freeze of the council’s budget requests.

Legislators have proposed freezing a NT$2 billion (US$60 million) COA annual budget request intended for subsidies to farmers’ associations or agricultural groups.

KMT Legislator Hsiao Ching-tien (蕭景田) said he had found that the COA could decide whom to give the grant to without having to invite public bids and that COA officials or retirees served as board members of 35 of the organizations that had received grants in the past.

Hsiao then proposed that the COA be required to establish a complete set of screening processes for the grants and oblige the council to report the screening mechanism to the legislature before the budget request would continue to be reviewed....

“The council asked gangsters to threaten to withdraw election support [for me] if [I] didn’t withdraw my proposal,” Chang said.

“The council should do what a government branch has to do and persuade legislators that the budget would be spent on taking care of the public,” Chang said.

Hsiao, who also said he had been pressured, criticized the council’s actions as “inappropriate,” saying the council should communicate with lawmakers through “normal channels.”
As Maddog pointed out to me, Chang seems to have accidently admitted that gangsters have regularly supported the KMT caucus secretary-general in previous elections. The Chinese language report from CNA, the fairest wire on the island, bear this theory out (他說‧‧‧怎麼可以去找外面的「兄弟」恐嚇立委若不撤凍結案,選舉時就不支持立委?). Chang also said here that this sort of thing used to happen under the DPP administration, but he's just shocked a KMT-led Executive Yuan council could do the same thing. Good job, KMT-gangster complex!

Second: Chinese-language blogger Tseng Wei-chen (曾韋禎) has found the map of the route devised by the SEF/ARATS team, which renegotiated the line the DPP had been planning with the stated purpose of "replacing the roundabout path with a more direct path." Result? A path that's actually 42 nautical miles longer, and doesn't even LOOK more direct.

Nov 15, 2008

On corruption

Taiwan recently made a slight drop in the Transparency International corruption index, ranking 39th on a list of 180 countries (vs. 34th last year).

One thing you often hear from people in Taiwan is that "every politician is going to be corrupt." And of course to some degree this is true, but there seems to be an inadequate public understanding of the current lack of oversight and the frequent conflicts of interests politicians have.

This is where the Sunshine Laws come in, and why they can be very useful -- if they have teeth. And the KMT and Mr. Clean Ma Ying-jeou has been promising to make them a top priority since 2006. Again, some background on these bills from the Taipei Times:

The "sunshine bills" refer to a series of proposed anti-corruption laws, namely, draft laws on the disposition of assets improperly obtained by political parties, a lobbying bill, a bill covering political parties, a statute governing the Ministry of Justice's anti-corruption bureau, amendments to the Act on Property Declaration by Public Servants (公職人員財產申報法), the Legislators' Conduct Act (立法委員行為法) and the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法).

The DPP's nine sunshine laws cover more ground than the KMT's four sunshine laws. The DPP's proposals regulate not only public servant exercise of power but also conflicts of interests after retirement or in subsequent employment, the acceptance of political donations and lobbying in the legislature. They are stricter and more sophisticated, and extend to party assets and political donations as well as campaign spending.

So if you have any more informatino on the specific ways the sunshine laws would make things better here, please post in them in the comments section.

Nov 14, 2008

Immigrants' rights takes step forward

The Premier is announcing plans to abolish the requirement for foreign brides and grooms of showing NT$420,000 in the bank before they could get permanent residence. All right!

The absurdity of "One China, two interpretations"

Related post: 92 all over again
A couple posts back I made this note:

... In May, Global Vision (遠見雜誌) showed nearly 70% support for the "One China, two interpretations" idea when it is defined as follows:
Our constitution states that "One China" is the ROC, while the Communist Party says "One China" is the PRC. Although we have different stances, as long as both sides can respect the other's principle, we can begin cross-strait discussions.
Now just to demonstrate how very insane that formula is, imagine if you put the same question to the Chinese leadership or the Chinese public -- when reversing some key points. Do you think you'd get a positive response?
Our constitution states that "One China" is the PRC, while the Taiwan authorities say "One China" is the ROC. Although we have different stances, as long as both sides can respect the other's principle, we can begin cross-strait discussions.
The question would never be asked, it would be even more absurd on the face of it, and it just goes to show how there is neither parity nor real agreement in this so called consensus.

Nov 13, 2008

Not to neglect the details...

I don't want to give the impression I don't care about or am not following the details of the detentions and court cases. But for those kind of details, i think following the papers is the best way to go about it. Doesn't hurt to read both the Taipei Times and China Post (but I only read China Post online, don't ever buy it). And I certainly don't want to ignore Taiwan News!

Taiwanese public opinion

In case you needed some helpful reminders (hint hint, Ma Ying-jeou), the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has the annual poll summary online for 2007, which nicely condenses Taiwanese public opinion on the status of Taiwan vis à vis China, independence and unification.

  • 70-77% of people believe "Taiwan is an independent soverign country."
  • 65% oppose the idea that "Taiwan and China are part of one country and share a common fate."
  • 80% believe Taiwan's future must be decided by Taiwanese, while 76% oppose the idea that it should be decided by Taiwan and China together.
  • 85% support a referendum on any sovereignty-related agreements between Taiwan and China.
  • 78% support having relations with China, but less than 25% can support "One country, two systems" at all.
In addition, in May, Global Vision (遠見雜誌) showed nearly 70% support for the "One China, two interpretations" idea when it is defined as follows:
Our constitution states that "One China" is the ROC, while the Communist Party says "One China" is the PRC. Although we have different stances, as long as both sides can respect the other's principle, we can begin cross-strait discussions.

This shows the Taiwanese public is pragmatic; it's almost like double think, that they can agree to hold discussions under a "One China" framework while believing Taiwan is sovereign and independent. But it demonstrates their hope for better relations and their unwillingness to let go of their freedom. It also demonstrates how the language of the media can really shape public opinion.

... tails this time.

I posted yesterday on the rhetorical overboard we're now seeing from the Green side as everyone rushes to defend those arrested, especially President Chen. Now for the other side of the coin.

As pretty much everyone in the blogosphere has pointed out recently, the problem isn't that Chen is going to be prosecuted on corruption-related charges. I believe at the end of the day, the trial will be transparent and the evidence should be able to speak for itself.

  • Complete lack of due process, with many of the people rounded up being held incommunicado and without charges, including President Chen himself. Chen was in fact being held the night before the prosecutors even had the court approve holding him incommunicado. This is really the most important of all; due process is too vital to be shoved aside in so many cases.
  • The unevenness of investigations and arrests. It's not just that those arrested have all been higher-level greens; it's that even those blues who are already proven guilty aren't being put in jail, while there's also apparently no investigations going on for Blue country administrators (when we all know they're in one of the best positions to take bribes).
  • The "trial by media" occuring as prosecutors and the government leak information to the press, as well as the denial of any possible political motive (Ma himself called his prosecution political back in the day, and is denying that now as well as saying Chen is 'irresponsible' for making such statements).

Nov 12, 2008

Maybe the law isn't that important...

But what's new?

Article 25 of the Commercial Port Act states that vessels are required to raise the country’s flag along with the flag of its own country when entering and leaving the nation’s harbors.

The cross-strait agreement on sea links did not comply with Article 25 of the Commercial Port Act as it required vessels to raise only flags of their parent companies and not the flags of Taiwan or China when traversing the routes, Liu Han-ting said.

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.

"mutual non-denial?"

Chen beaten by police? No reliable word.

Still no official word, though some stations are leaking information. The hospital says they will report to the court but make nothing public.

New video from Chen Yunlin protests

That include some footage of police actions that may be considered questionable. See them here.

Nov 10, 2008

Pop quiz

Did you know... the Assembly and Parade Law still forbids holding protests that promote Communism or Taiwanese Independence?

Fact Check on KMT claim: "DPP repeatedly killed Parade & Assembly Law amendment efforts"

My memory fails me on this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if this claim is true, since the DPP was not too thrilled about the unprecedented 24-hour Oust A-bian protests. The law is draconian and hasn't been amended since 2002, with the previous revision 10 years earlier (the law was originally passed in 1988.

But I thought the best way to test it is to go through the record and do some fact checking. What we want to do is check the 6th Legislative Yuan's record (pre-2008 legislative elections), which will let us know just what happened to these bills. Although there was some discussion on the topic before the Oust A-bian movement, no one cared that much.

During the entire 6th Legislative Yuan, there were a total of four proposed amendments to the parade and assembly law. All were raised between September 2006 and December 2006. The first two were KMT led efforts; the third a DPP/TSU sponsored bill; and the last was a PFP initiative. For simplicities sake, we will refer to them in chronological order as the first, second, third and fourth proposals (actually the opposite of how the picture above displays them).

The first proposal passed first reading and was sent on to the Internal Administrative Committee (內政委員會) and the Ethnic Affairs Committee (民族委員會). It hasn't moved since. The third proposal was sent to and has been stuck in the same committees as the first.

The second proposal was eventually sent back to the Procedural Committee (程序委員會), where it died. The fourth proposal, like the second, found itself sent back to the Procedural Committee.

So now we only need to find out what happened to the first and third proposal. And we find that it was promptly ignored by both sides. There appears to be no attempt by either party during the remainder of the 6th LY or early part of the 7th to review either the DPP or KMT verisons.

[Of course, there is very little oversight of these committee meetings (no video recordings available), so it's difficult to judge the accuracy of this statement. But searches through news in 2006, when you include the committee name, don't show up much; if you look for key words that indicate one party tries to block discussion of legislation (like 杯葛 or 封殺), you get even less, and certainly nothing relevant.]

Most surprisingly in light of KMT claims, it appears the KMT legislators made a promise to make this bill their first priority in the 7th Legislative Yuan if they won power; since they've taken the super majority, the bill has just fallen off their radar.

Further, the DPP would have to stop the committee meeting all together with fights, since the KMT still had control of the committies and their review of legislation.

Conclusion: KMT claims that the DPP killed the amendments to the Assembly And Parade Law are flat out lies, but the DPP also made no greater effort than the KMT to push through amendments.

This reinforces recent student efforts to keep their movement non-partisan, because it goes to show you really can't trust either party to do the right thing on this issue without enough pressure.

Two sentiments ...

... that shouldn't be in conflict.

Busy Legislative Yuan today...

They've made it possible for Chinese students to come study in Taiwan, while amendments to the Parade and Assembly Law have been scheduled to be reviewed on the 19th. Meanwhile, the committee in charge of reviewing those amendments has already said it will be put off until next session (in case you didn't know, the committees only meet half a day, though this tradition is possibly illegal and at the very least, amazingly lazy for guys who always make excuses about not being able to review legislation in time).

Government denies China will put hold on official visits

Here. Not sure about credibility.

Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) makes further claim to the success of the "mutual non-denial" policy, this time saying China does not deny the reality of the R.O.C. being a sovereign, independent country. This, the government is claiming, is big progress from the previous "mutual non-recognition" stance (which, by the way, had been abandoned since Lee Teng-hui but was brought back from the grave by Ma Ying-jeou).

To recognize the pure absurdity of this position, which is apparently the new government refrain, please see Chinese rationale for the smackdown of Ma administration-led 2008 efforts to participate in UN special institutions; namely, that (and I quote), "the UN and its special institutions are international organizations made by sovereign countries. The world has only one China, and Taiwan is a part of China," and letting Taiwan in "is an attempt to create 'Two Chinas' or 'One China, One Taiwan,' infringes on Chinese territorial integrity and is roundly rejected by the Chinese government and people."

If that is not an official denial of R.O.C. sovereignty, I'm not sure what is.

Remember, the real Chinese position is simply "not denying mutual non-denial to your face." (不在你面前否認互不否認。) That is why no Chinese official has used the phrase yet, and all official media simply attribute it to Ma. "Dream on," seems to be the message from the Chinese side.

If it were really "mutual non-denial," that would be the same as "not denying 'One Side, One Country," so you can see why China won't do that. Even though "non-denial" is still a long way from recognition.

Progress, sweet progress...

11/10 roundup

The DPP is raising a bill to amend the Parade and Assembly Law (集會遊行法) today, while LY Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) both say the Legislative and Executive Yuan can "discuss" amending it (despite this being a Ma campaign promise, and this being a 100% KMT issue during the red shirt time period). Meanwhile, the Presidential office is backtracking on its previous promise, saying we need a "social consensus" before amendments. The Education Minister Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城), meanwhile, is making plans to visit those students who continue to protest in Taipei.

President Ma Ying-jeou again expresses willingness to meet with DPP Chair Tsai-Ying-wen (蔡英文), while saying that "any violent incident" (such as those of last week in which the DPP played no part) directly results in "the destruction of democracy" and that any "illegal action" (such as last weeks demonstrations, even the peaceful ones) "delegitimize" the DPP. Tsai, for her part, just wants China to recognize that the cross-strait situation is not finalized.

A recent opinion poll indicates 70% of people want cross-straits agreements to become "proceduralized," an apparent reference to review process instead of just singular signings. Finally, the Liberty Times has a collection to how Ma viewed Pan-Blue protests in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) is calling on the US to mark Taiwan as "Taiwan" and not "Taiwan - China" in the green card lottery.

Nov 9, 2008

一個中國各自表述 一樣導致台灣滅國








Nov 8, 2008

Round 'em up!

The KMT may be willing to meet student demands in amending the Assembly and Parade Law, but would likely wait until next session due to budget reviews being a higher priority. The KMT says the police cheif resigning, another student demand, is out of the question, but that the government will deal gently with the students at first and hope the students will follow the law.

Agreements signed with Chen are on their way to the Legislative Yuan, and don't expect the DPP to let them pass easily. Cross-party discussions are being planned, where the DPP and KMT can try to come to some concensus on cross-strait policy. This sort of discussion is long overdue. I doubt the talks will create a concensus, but I strongly believe it will be a chance fo the DPP to form a coherent message that the public can more easily digest.

Nov 7, 2008


Premier calls for cross-party consensus on cross-strait relations; the legislature will review the agreements signed by Chiang and Chen this Friday and make necessary changes to the law to avoid contradictions; Ma tries to blame the DPP for violence, even for the night of the 5th, despite the crowd gathering on its own spontaneously (some DPP legislators/city councilors later came to ride the coat tails); at his press conference on the morning of the 6th, Ma also accused the DPP of breaking a promise to keep things peaceful the night of the 5th, though the DPP signed only an agreement for the protest ending at 8:00pm on the 6th (and did a pretty good job keeping that promise); NSB chief also accuses Tsai Ing-wen of basically breaking a promise, even though the DPP did demobilize all the people they brought to the protest.

Ma's going public with his "China agrees to 'mutual non-denial'" thing now (just wrote about that; I think it's not true. China's just not denying mutual non-denial in Taiwan's face; but on the other hand, CCP-friendly Chinese media are talking about "mutual non-denial" instead of just saying "Ma brings it up" like they used to. Best phrasing so far? "Mutual non-denial, two interpretations" (各自表述互不否认)).

And by the way, here's a typical Chinese internet BBS criticism of "mutual non-denial:"


What I want to ask Ma Ying-jeou is, what is "facing reality?" Is the reality that Taiwan is "The Republic of China," and the mainland is the PRC? No, reality is that Taiwan is a province of the PRC. What is so-called "mutual non-denial?" You think if you don't deny the PRC, the mainland will recognize the ROC? Are there two China's in this world? Are you just Taiwanese Independence in disguise?
Ma suggests sending Chen Yunlin to meet the DPP chair on a future visit, despite having ignored DPP requests for representatives at the Chiang-Chen meeting;

Has China agreed to Ma's "mutual non-denial" formula?

This CNA article needed a dedicated post, with full translation. It contains some very interesting inside information. Please note the translation is very rushed.

(中央社記者黃名璽台北六日電)總統馬英九與海 峽兩岸關係協會會長陳雲林會面,短短十分鐘,出人意料。消息人士今天說,雙方事前就對會面的方式達成共識,昨天定案,確定不採會談的「馬陳會」,也與總統 一般接見外賓的方式不同,由總統蒞臨致詞慰勉,以「互不否認」的前提,為兩會協商畫下句點。

TAIPEI, Nov. 6 -- The meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and ARATS chief Chen Yunlin lasted only a short ten minutes, surprising observers. According to our source, both sides consented to this format of the meeting yesterday evening, agreeing not hold a discussion, and also agreed to a meeting format that differs from when the president meets most foreign dignitaries. President Ma made his mention of "mutual non-denial" a precondition for this concluding meeting.

A good opening paragraph that lays out what you will learn below.

總統上午在台北賓館西廂,接見海峽交流基金會與 海協會代表。據了解,總統將接見時間提前,主要是因為昨天晚間晶華酒店發生陳雲林被圍困事件,發現民主進步黨領導人無法控制群眾,憂慮今天遊行可能引發更 嚴重衝突,才緊急在凌晨一點左右拍板,透過海基會取得海協會同意,更改時間到上午十一時。

In the West Room at the Taipei Guest house this morning, the President met with the ARATS representative. According to our understanding, the main reason the President called for the meeting time to be moved up because after Chen Yunlin got trapped by protesters in the Changhua Hotel last night, the President discovered that the DPP would not be able to control the protesters and began to worry that today's demonstration would result in violence. Therefore, at about 1:00am last night, the SEF got ARATS agreement to change the meeting time to 11:00am this morning.

Sounds like this "leak" also involves a great deal of spin. But still, reasonably enough explanation.


Our source confirms that the meeting length of ten minutes was negotiated over two sessions and agreement was reached late on the night of the 5th. The source says the 10 minute meeting format was chosen over other plans "not to allow everyone to leave in a haste, but to allow for a perfect ending."

I would think the haste + good looking ending would be a "two birds with one stone" situation.


A person involved in the meeting observes that Chen Yunlin's side hoped that President Ma would not raise the points of "Taiwan's security" and "mutual non-denial," but the President made mention of these along with Taiwan's international space and the "16 character formula" [analyzed here] in any case. Chen Yunlin's side tacitly agreed, and all of this was also negotiated before the meeting. The final results of the meeting demonstrate that "Face reality, mutual non-denial" already exists [or is agreed on by both sides].

Quite interesting. But I will believe China has accepted "mutual non-denial" when they actually use the phrase. Right now, they are really just "not openly denying mutual non-denial directly to your face."


The source said the negotiations over the details of the meeting took a great deal of negotiation and the final consensus was only reached late last night.


According to the source, President Ma was extremely firm on wanting to express his capacity of President, and originally planned on a 1 hour discussion with Chen. Ma had been saying for some time he would be meeting Chen in the capacity as President, and insisted on the principles of equality and dignity, especially considering Ma was in his own country. If the ARATS side did not agree to Ma's requirements on title, then Ma preferred to not meet.

I smell spin here again, but it seems plausible.


The President even believed that in order to protect the dignity of the country, he could cancel the meeting; but if it would be possible to put a final period on the ARATS chief's visit, it would be better for cross strait relations. On the other hand, Chen Yunlin could not accept the use of an official title, and it was also impossible to force Chen to say "President," so this issue initially threatened to shatter the chance of a meeting.

Again, spintastic, but also seems to be true.


In the end, both sides agreed that the ceremonial meeting between President Ma and Chen Yunlin was a historic occasion, and wanted to emphasize the symbolic importance over the practical importance of the meeting. In addition, President Ma was not so interested in talking with Chen Yunlin, but rather wanted to speak with Chairman Hu Jintao. In addition, Chen Yunlin had no permission to discuss any political issues, and as a result it was decided to downplay political discussion in the meeting with Chen.

Fair enough. Makes a lot of sense.


Although Chen Yunlin's side did not address Ma as President, our source indicates that at least they could demonstrate "mutual non-denial." Therefore, President Ma had the announcer loudly proclaim "The President is gracing us with his presence" upon entering the room in order to demonstrate his capacity of president. Chen Yunlin's side "listened but did not hear" [that is, made no protest or acknowledgment], and our side read this as "mutual non-denial."

Again, I don't think China is agreeing to "mutual non-denial," just "not openly denying mutual non-denial directly to your face."


The source said that when the President meets with foreign dignitaries, besides the president making a speech, normally the visiting dignitary will also speak. But at the afternoon meeting with Chen, there was only the President's speech and an exchange of gifts. Therefore this was not like your average meeting, and Chen Yunlin's party was quite clear of their role and accepted this this arrangement.

So this was Ma leaving wiggle room for Chen to say he was not treated as a foreign dignitary. But of course since Ma does not believe Chinese officials are foreign, he really didn't have to give anything.

Also, question: if Ma was so insistent on being President for all this, which he seems to have been, why would KMT chair Wu Po-hsiung call him "Mr. Ma" when addressing Chen Yunlin? So he can be on Chinese TV?

As a matter of reality, China will have some say in Taiwan's future, as the China Times points out here. But that does not change the fact that Taiwanese will insist on being asked for their separate consent to any agreement, and by referendum if the DPP has its way.

Very moving post from Haitian

Of today's ongoing and non-partisan protest calling for changes to the Parade and Assembly Law. Just amazing.

A good list of the complaints against the police


Popular protest videos on Youtube

Also check out EastSouthWestNorth's coverage on this stuff.


The KMT will amend the Assembly and Parade Law, but not relaxing it as they promised to before the election; instead they'll tighten it.

Bold prediction, but do you think they'll try it?

Also, Maddog linked me to the following from Taipei Times:

The high speed rail station in Taipei was not able to open for service all day yesterday. Trains were only allowed to operate between Banciao (板橋) and Tsoying (左營).

[...] a thorough investigation would be conducted later.

My thoughts on last night

A couple of things about yesterday/last night's protest I wanted to say.

First of all, there were two instances where the crowd clearly went WAY over the line. At one point in the afternoon the crowd suspected a man in a black shirt of being a gangster sent to make trouble or a police spy sent to collect information. They beat him up pretty bad and ripped his shirt off, presumably to see if he was wearing a wire. Some others in the crowd, including an FTV reporter, helped get keep the violent ones at bay until the police were able to escort him away. The black-shirted man insisted he had just come to protest.

The second incident was the molotov cocktail thrown last night at the scuffle near the Grand Hotel. Could have very seriously injured a number of police officers and scared them for life. Maybe even kill somebody. Not cool.

On the other hand, the police were not the picture of calm law and order either. Some of the riot police were really unnecessarily violent with their billy clubs, really ripping on guys who were running away and who the poliec had no intention of actually arresting or anything.

I also had a friend who stayed until the end of the protest at the Grand hotel last night. He'll have pictures up soon and also has some audio of the police intimidating the protesters. I asked if the police were being reasonable or crossing the line, and he thinks the latter. Will let you know once I have the link.

Nov 6, 2008

Tsai proud of DPP role

DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen today at the protest, after saying she was honored to help defend Taiwan's sovereignty with the people today:


There's something else I'm even more honored by. Wherever China['s officials] go in the world, they can go with ease. But here [in Taiwan] they have to sneak around. Doesn't that make you all proud?

Protests so far in a nutshell

+ A small group of people led by DPP Tainan legislator Wang Ting-yu chases down Zhang Mingqing to tell him "Taiwan is not a part of China!," and Zhang is jostled to the ground (though whether he was pushed down or not is subject to dispute; I lean toward saying he was pushed, but not by Wang). Wang Ting-yu is prosecuted 9 days later, leading to accusations of political motives.

+ Taipei KMT applies for parade ground rights at many key locations where Chen is expected to be, and all conveniently just before Chen's itinerary is publicly announced. Other DPP applications are rejected for various reasons. The DPP has to pick between ignoring this or getting unrelated shitty parade locations. They opt for the former.

+ Police act surprisingly heavy-handed and pay more attention to symbolic displays like flags or Taiwanese music than to protecting Chen physically; arbitrary detention seems to be the order of the day. This agitates the protesters, who become increasingly physical and irate.

+ ON Wed. night (the 5th), the police relax security a little and are rewarded with a protest that locks Chen Yunlin in a hotel for a banquet with Wu until after 2:00am, when the police finally manage to cut a path that will allow Chen's car to leave.

+ Ma and Chen move their meeting up today (the 6th) to avoid the 'big' protest, and obviously the protesters aren't happy their voice won't be heard by Chen (though the rescheduling is probably a smart move, including for safety reasons). The DPP helps keep the protesting crowd from completely exploding, but many police and protesters are injured. CNN picks up on it.

+ After the DPP demobilization, the unorganized crowd begins to move toward Chen's hotel tonight, where they are likely to stay well into the night. Police ring the hotel and prepare barriers to try and keep the crowd at bay.

What next? We'll know soon.

They're moving toward the hotel...

Video and pics here. Police barriers are pretty far out, about a kilometer, and several roads are closed to try and keep the situation from getting too explosive. Riot police await.

DPP tries to calm protesters

Both David Reid of David on Formosa and another observer I know on scene said the DPP helped keep the situation from becoming a full scale riot with its call for calm and physical presence.

Don't expect the Blue media to refrain from calling the DPP a violent party.

As I write this, another police barrier has been broken at the Grand Hotel. The larger crowd tonight will surely be a lot louder than even last night. Chen Yunlin may find himself under siege until his flight tomorrow, and may even have trouble leaving the hotel.

The crowd is now on their own; the DPP leadership has left and many buses have started taking DPP protesters back south. That means the crowd is no longer mobilized nor organized. Some individual DPP legislators and city councilors remain. But there won't be much to do if the crowd gets pissed at the hotel tonight.

By the way, I am honestly conflicted about all this. I don't want anyone to get hurt but I don't mind the protesters trying to get as close to Chen Yunlin as possible; the man should get an earful. And if that means sieging the hotel, that's what it means.

I'm a black bear! No pandas!


Protesters moving back to Grand Hotel; numbering in tens of thousands

They also were able to turn away a fire truck sent to use the water column tactic by stopping it and attacking it. Fire truck decided to go away.

Why Ma is a tool



At the press conference this morning, President Ma firmly emphasized that Taiwan's future will be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan; that he openly promised this before the election; and that there is no debating this topic. Ma was responding to DPP chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen's suspicions about Ma's policy. In regards to protecting Taiwan's sovereignty, Ma said that he had made absolutely no concessions. The President said, "I did not give an inch on protecting Taiwan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. I am the President of the Republic of China, and have made no slip ups on this front at all."
OK now, as I've said over and over again, the one thing Ma refuses to say and actively denies is that Taiwanese can decide their future by referendum, because Ma fully opposes a referendum, and because he knows it would be an unacceptable statement if he wishes to continue negotiations with China.

And there's the point, isn't it? China will talk to Ma if he says "the Taiwanese people will decide Taiwan's future" because China knows Ma means "if the Taiwanese people elect the KMT we'll do what we want in this regard, which is to move slowly toward unification and cut off any hopes of independence no matter what it takes." If Ma even said "the Taiwanese people will decide Taiwan's future by referendum," China would accuse Ma of being a Taiwan Independence supporter, even if Ma took no moves to institutionalize a referendum for deciding Taiwan's future.

Regarding whether Ma has relented on sovereignty, the Green complaint is that Ma wants to have it both ways, trying to suggest Taiwan = ROC when that's politically expedient here, but taking the official position that the ROC includes all of China, both when he talks with the Chinese and in a very telling interview with overseas press.

And of course, the position that the ROC is the only legal government of all of China is as dated as it is blatantly absurd, but it is exactly because Ma accepts this and believes Taiwan and China are part of the same country that China is willing to hold dialogue with his government in the first place, which only reinforces Green arguments that we have already capitulated on all the most important points of Taiwan's sovereignty -- and all we've got to show for it are more charter and cargo flights. It is exactly Ma's acceptance of the "One China principle" that the Greens have called selling out Taiwan; most everyone would be happy to have good normal relations with China, but not at the cost of accepting that the CPP has a legitimate role in deciding Taiwan's fate.

The most hilarious point is that this "One China = ROC" position has no currency with anyone -- the PRC doesn't buy it, Taiwanese don't buy it, the international community doesn't buy it, and I am sure that even the KMT leadership doesn't believe it; they just are willing to say it in order to get closer to China, all while making institutional changes so that Taiwanese Independence can be made impossible and the destiny of Taiwan can be taken out of the Taiwanese people's hands.

Golden quote from Chen-Ma meeting

"What cannot be denied is that between the two sides some differences and challenges still exist, especially on the issues of Taiwan's security and international space," Ma said at the five-minute meeting with the Chinese leader.
Translation: "What cannot be denied is that China is threatening Taiwan with death, destruction and international isolation and demanding we accept that Taiwan and China are part of the same country, which is clearly not the case, but I'm such a weenie that I'll choose to weasel away from that point," Ma said at the five-minute meeting designed to avoid substance or controversy.

Legislative Yuan demands right to approve cross-strait agreements

Not a bad thing. I prefer referendum / Legislative Yuan combo approval though.

DPP calls for calm; crowd continues to try to break police lines


Protest update

In total, 27 police injured in Chen Yunlin visit; Ma says DPP must take responsibility for what happens at their illegal demonstrations; Ma says he's not given an inch on sovereignty; pictures of protesters clashing with police today; the police chief is in tears; DPP legislator Guan Biling wants to be the next truck-ramming Chiu Yi, apparently. Some DPP legislators may have serious injuries.

Ma, Chen meet for 5 min this morning

The 11:00 am meeting involved a gift exchange, handshakes and photos. Chen Yunlin only addressed Ma politely and used no title whatsoever.

Despite the super quick and super sneaky meeting designed to avoid protests, the DPP is going ahead with today's seige plan at the Taipei Guest House, where Chen and Ma met. The DPP hoped to gather 100,000 people. Apparently there have been some injuries, as the crowd has charged the police at least once and has broken through the first line of police defense. More news as details come out later. Some pictures here and here.

Yesterday's news that the police would be stopping and searching buses coming up from the south appears to have been false (or canceled).

Last night protesters surrounded the hotel Chen was in and kept him effectively bottled up until after 2:00 am, when they finally started to trickle off were forced to leave and go home. Various video can be found here.

Chen also canceled his meeting with the NPSU this morning.

Nov 5, 2008

Next step: opening financial services.

So reports Faith Hung.

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan and China are aiming for an agreement to open their markets to the other's banks, insurers and brokers, officials said on Wednesday, in another sign of the new spirit of cooperation and openness between the two neighbours.

The two sides, long bitter political rivals, agreed on Tuesday to more daily direct flights, direct air and sea cargo shipments and early notification of food safety issues as part of the highest-level visit of a Chinese official in 60 years.

Also note the standard cut-and-paste screw up:

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the civil war on the mainland in 1949. Beijing has vowed to bring the island under mainland rule, by force if necessary.

... and arbitrary restriction of movement.

Live update from Taipei source: ALL buses bound for Taipei from other places will be banned from the freeway tomorrow. The move is aimed at blocking DPP mobilization efforts. While there's no news on cars, I expect arbitrary ID checks of drivers coming into the city.

Correction/update: I have yet to find any confirmation of this news which came to me by phone from a reliable source, but he was hearing it second hand too, and so far it hasn't checked out. I don't want to be alarmist, and sorry for potentially misleading. But it did sound worth publishing right away when I heard it.

Update: Janice has commented with a clip that seems to confirm the general plan for restriction, but not the details (buses aren't being told they can't come up). Instead (video), it appears police plan on stopping buses on their way up to Taipei to find reasons to detain some people, turn them around or at least cause significant delays. The source of the info is a DPP legislator, and that Kaohsiung County officials have refused to catch people on their end. Thanks Janice!!!!!!!

Update: Chthonic band lead vocalist Freddy wore a T-shirt with "Taiwanese" written on it; he was said to be wearing a "strange outfit" by the police. He walked on Zhangshan N Rd where Chen Yunlin was having dinner with Lien Chan with a coffee in hand. Of course he didn't just happen to be there, but he wasn't doing anything else other than walking and shopping.But the police stopped him telling him to go away.

And another person was asked to give up his Tibetan flag as the police said it's a "lethal weapon."

Chen Yunlin: Relations can improve slowly but not stop. No progress = Regression

Sounds like a threat to me.

Taiwan, China may discuss uniform industrial standards

Great. Just wonderful.

A national holiday in Kenya


More reports on undeclared martial law

Follow ups on the very scary incidents I reported yesterday. Nothing in English on the music store incident yet, I think, but here's a Liberty Times article. For the filmmaker, see the Taipei Times here:

The Association of Taiwan Journalists, which on Monday accused the government of restricting press freedom, yesterday lashed out again after one of its members was taken into police custody outside the Grand Hotel.

“I went to the Grand Hotel to visit a friend in the morning, after passing through two police checkpoints on the way with no problem,” said the independent documentary filmmaker, who asked to be identified only as “Miss Chen.”

After staying with her friend for around two hours, Miss Chen encountered a convoy of vehicles as she left the hotel.

“I suppose it was Chen Yunlin leaving the hotel — I’m not sure,” she said. “As a filmmaker, I always carry my video recorder with me, so I taped some footage.”

After the convoy had left, police officers surrounded her and asked to see her national ID card and the video she had recorded, she said.

She refused, but police continued to ask her to show her ID. They told her to turn off the video camera and tried to grab it from her, Miss Chen said.

“They told me that it was a restricted area and I could not videotape in the area — but no one told me so at the two police checkpoints on the road leading to the hotel, and there were many tourists taking pictures or videotaping,” Miss Chen told a news conference.

After her firm refusal to show her ID, the police forced her into a police car and took her to a nearby police station.

The police only allowed Miss Chen to leave when DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) showed up.
And one I didn't hear about:
At least two verbal and physical clashes have occurred between local journalists and law enforcement personnel safeguarding Chen and other members of the ARATS delegation since they arrived on Monday.

Cheng Chieh-wen (鄭傑文), a photojournalist affiliated with the Central News Agency (CNA), was dragged away by national security agents at the Grand Hotel on Sunday while he was standing within the designated press area.

Yesterday, reporters engaged in verbal disputes with security officers over press areas that had been changed without prior notice.

“The ATJ strongly condemns security personnel for violently dragging and pushing reporters, and demands that the government explain such incidents and apologize to the CNA journalist,” the statement said.

Nov 4, 2008

The most martial law type incident yet (in my mind)

A lot of these protesters and "passerbys" are getting in trouble with the police, but I've been avoiding saying much because I haven't seen it myself and the administration has insisted they are not concerned about symbolism, but are merely preventing illegal demonstrations and making sure Chen Yunlin will be safe on his trip here.

But a friend of mine with some first hand info in Taipei just called me about an incident that occurred sometime close to Chen's lunch at the Ambassador hotel today (he was shouted at there; someone yelled "Taiwan, China, one side, one country!"), A music store near the hotel, was playing music so that pedestrians might be attracted to drop in (like all music stores do). It just happened to be playing The Song of Taiwan (台灣之歌). The police went into the store, telling them to change the song and shut the doors.

Between that and the detention of a documentary film maker who was visiting a friend at the Yuanshan Hotel (detained really for filming, but officially for refusing to produce an ID, apparently, although foreign tourists nearby were all taking pictures), I think it's fair to say the government really is going WAY too far. The excuse that police are only taking measures designed to protect Chen's safety and avoid illegal demonstrations is simply not true. Martial law really is in the air. Arbitrary detentions and "banned songs" are back from the dead.

The DPP will hold an illegal protest on the night they expect Ma to meet Chen (their permit was denied, but the DPP decided to go ahead anyway). We will see what happens next.

Chen Yunlin's first day

The Taipei Times has a comprehensive list of protest events and those detained or harrassed by police. There's also an editorial critical of police measures which seem to go far beyond protecting Chen Yunlin and are aimed more at making China happy. There's an article about talks progress here. ANd ICRT mentioend that Chen will be watching Cape No. 7 on Thursday.