Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Learning from the Losses of Other Nations - Scotland

Joel Linton writes ....

[Scotland's famous poet Robert Burns penned a lament for the loss of nationhood of his native Scotland, "Farewell to All Our Scottish Fame." Notice verse 2: "What force or guile could not subdue - Thro' many warlike ages, Is wrought now by a coward few, For hireling traitor's wages. The English steel we could disdain, Secure in valour's station; But English gold has been our bane - Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!" Burns analysis: Military force did not cause Scotland's downfall, but rather some of Scotland own people did. Too many did not value their freedom and independence but only focused on increasing their individual wealth. The allure of economic ties and integration proved a potent bait.

Take heed Taiwan! Missiles and threats from China will never conquer you. But selfish interests of a few traitors in power and the people who vote them in and cannot see beyond individual greed might mean the loss of your nation. Your freedom is at stake. Money is never worth the loss. What could China give you that you would barter away your freedom? When once the deed is done, China would take your freedom and your money and leave you a lap dog whining for your meal.

Perhaps Taiwan's film directors, music artists, composers, writers and poets can pen preemptive works that will instill in the Taiwanese a cultural grass-roots understanding of looking beyond short-term greed to the enduring value of the freedom of conscience, of expression, of assembly, of movement, of life decision that is integrally tied to a free and independent nation of Taiwan.

Where are Taiwan's high school teachers and university professors who will give assignments to Taiwanese students to explores these values? May it never be that a poet will have occasion to pen that Taiwan is "bought and sold for Chinese gold!"]

Fareweel To A'Our Scottish Fame
by Robert Burns (1791)

Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae famed in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
And Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O, would or I had seen the day
That treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration:
We're bought and sold for English gold -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The KMT Ma administration's new vote-buying scheme

In the nation of Taiwan, instead of giving a simple tax cut, the currently extremely unpopular Ma Ying-jeou administration is trying what in essence amounts to buying votes for the KMT for the next election. The KMT will hand out money to people in the form of "consumer coupons" -- citizens just have to go to the polling stations to pick them up. At the polling stations!

Herein you can see an example of social conditioning to make Taiwanese think: voting for Ma Ying-jeou's KMT party means you can get money later on from the polling place where you cast the ballot for them. Every high school student studies Pavlov's experiment: ring the bell while you give the dog food. The dog eventually associates food with the sound of the bell. Finally, when the bell rings the dog will salivate whether there is food there or not. Ma has applied Pavlov's experiment on a grand scale to a grand new way of generalized vote buying. It will also make people more susceptible to accepting fully-fledged candidate-targeted vote buying come election time.

The Ma government and KMT legislators ran campaigns in the past election cycle on how much the DPP had bungled the economy and how much supposedly the KMT had masterfully run it during its dictatorship era and also in the 1990s. However this latest vote-buying scheme in all but name shows that the Ma government has no clue how to manage or improve the economy. But they are slick at propaganda and so have figured out how to turn a weak spot into political benefit. The only skill the KMT seems to exhibit is how to grab power and try to hold onto it (oh yes, and also take money from Taiwanese citizens via government and somehow transfer the assets into KMT party coffers or even individual KMT party leaders pockets, but avoid any corruption charges in the process.)

Taiwanese need to realize that the money they might get is not the KMT's money but instead their own money -- it is money taken from the very Taiwanese people who now are receiving it in the form of "consumer coupons." It is like the magic trickster who asked for a NT$1000 bill, waves it around, folds it up, and pulls it out of the volunteer's ear and ends up giving it back to the volunteer who produced it for the magic demonstration in the first place. If the volunteer leaves the place dazzled and feeling that he has walked away with a prize of NT$1000, he has been truly bewitched. People who love Taiwan will need to put extra effort in convincing coworkers, neighbors, family and friends of the true nature of this "handout" and exposing these kinds of KMT lies. Otherwise democracy will further be eroded as the KMT uses their propaganda tricks to keep a hold on power -- and on your money.

For more reading on this type of manipulation, please see the Taiwan Democracy Movement article on Throwing Off the Slave Mentality

Friday, November 14, 2008

Presbyterian Church in Taiwan speak out about the gravity of the situation

Please get the word out internationally -- events are reminiscent of the Formosa Magazine Kaohsiung Incident in 1979 and following... during the authoritarian era...

台 灣 基 督長 老 教 會 總 會
台 灣 10647 台 北 市 羅 斯 福 路 三 段 269 巷 3 號
3, Lane 269, Roosevelt Road Sec. 3, Taipei 10647 TAIWAN
General Secretary: Rev. Andrew T. C. Chang

11 November 2008


On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and out of unyielding concern for the dignity and selfhood of the 23 million people of our nation, as well as for peace in the Asia region, we sincerely appeal to you our sisters and brothers in Christ to join us in expressing concern and offering prayers for Taiwan.

Ever since the Legislative Elections of January 2008 when the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang KMT) garnered the overwhelming majority of seats and later the KMT candidate, Ma Ying-Jeou, won the Presidential Election on 20 May 2008, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), along with many others in our land, have held deep concerns and reservations for the future of democracy and human rights in our country Taiwan.

Sadly, the performance of President Ma and his KMT administration the past six months has time and again underscored our fears. We in particular express our grave concern for recent events:

1) the detentions of both present and former government officials of the opposition party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused of corruption. We understand one or two detainees have been charged but several accused are still held without being charged and incommunicado, this is a basic violation of due process of justice and rule of law. Furthermore, we are concerned the prosecutor’s office is seemingly leaking information to the press while the accused are unable to defend themselves. This “trial by press” also violates justice and the norm that any accused should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Since only members of the DPP opposition party are targeted this action implies the KMT is “using” the justice system to retaliate the former government under Chen’s administration.

2) the visit to Taiwan (3-7 Nov 2008) of Mr. Chen Yun-Lin, Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) from China; and the signing of the four cross-strait accords between the ARATS chairman Chen and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) represented by its Chairman, Chiang Pin-Kung. This action to develop direct aviation, shipping, market trade and economic relations with China accelerated fears that the methods used by the Ma Administration are costly in terms of the legal process, Taiwan’s dignity and sovereignty as well as being a real threat to democracy in Taiwan.

3) the violation of human rights, freedom of speech and expression, undergirded by the government’s action to deploy more than 10,000 police including riot police officers, to Taipei city to “guard” the visiting dignitary Chen and the sixty people who accompanied him. These measures to “guard and protect” the visiting envoy from China were excessive and disturbingly reminiscent of the dark years under Martial Law.

With this letter we add a brief overview of some of the events of last week that hopefully will help you further understand the reason for our concerns.

On behalf of the PCT and Taiwan, thank you for your support and we ask that you kindly share this prayer request with your church members.

Sincerely yours, in grace and peace

Rev. Chang Te-Chien (Andrew)
General Secretary

Taiwan 3-7 Nov 2008 during the visit of Mr. Chen Yun-Lin, Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) from China and the signing of the four cross-strait accords between the ARATS chairman Chen and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) represented by its Chairman, Chiang Pin-Kung.

We cannot highlight fully the details here but draw your attention to some pointers that will hopefully, help clarify to you our deep concerns. Contrary to the claims of President Ma that he represents the views and interests of all the 23 million people of this country thousands of protestors gathered in Taipei daily to express their deep concern and opposition to the visit of ARATS, the legal process of signing the so called four cross-strait accords and the deployment of thousands of police.

Police prohibited protestors from waving or displaying the national flag and one CD shop was closed for playing Taiwanese music too loud in the vicinity of a hotel where Chen was dined. On the other hand, ironically those wielding the flag of communist China were not approached.

In a blatant attempt to avoid a scheduled protest by the DPP on Thursday 6 Nov. originally arranged to coincide with an afternoon meeting between President Ma and chairman Chen, the government at short notice brought the meeting forward to the morning and what was announced as 40 minutes audience was drastically reduced to 7 minutes before Chen and his entourage were whisked away to their next appointment. Such action did nothing but add fuel to fire.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) also released a statement accusing the government of violating press freedom as they sought to cover the visit of ARATS Chen and there were incidents of news reporters beaten by the police during angry clashes with protestors. Members of the public also believed there were undercover persons mingling among the protestors instigating disruptive behavior.

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) Church and Society Committee to protest the violation of human rights, to express our deep rooted concern for the safeguarding of Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy as well as upholding peace in our society, arranged a separate demonstration on Thursday (6 Nov) walking from Chinan Presybterian Church towards the Grand Hotel where Chen and the ARATS personnel were accommodated though they were not in. As was the practice all that week, inevitably, riot police barricading the road denied us access even to the vicinity of the hotel. PCT protestors simply sat down to sing and after a prayer for the police etc. we dispersed.

At this current time of writing, students in various locations in Taiwan are staging a sit in protest and have issued a written petition demanding (1) the President and Premier apologize for the use of excessive force by police, (2) that two senior police and security personnel step down and (3) that the government scrap the Parade and Assembly Law.

Prepared by The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Incremental Steps towards swamping Taiwan

As part of a Ma Ying-jeou administration implicit policy of incremental moves towards forcing Taiwan to be unified with China, the administration has begun to open up Taiwan's university system to students from China. Unfortunately, there is no way to control quality, to truly verify qualifications or degrees, to check for spies or other communist fifth column subversive PRC government agents, or any of many potential red flag issues.

Newcastle University in the UK recently had to expel 49 Chinese students who were discovered to have forged credentials and certificates.

Rather than rush to swamp Taiwan with Chinese ideologues, Taiwan's government should be careful to assess the societal and sovereignty impacts of these kinds of policies.

The Wild Strawberry Student Movement

An amazing nationwide movement of students in Taiwan began after the KMT government of President Ma Ying-jeou called in several thousand police to suppress freedom of speech, assembly and the press during the visit from China's envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林). Ma's government tried to suppress protests or even any patriotic flag display or playing Taiwan-centric music during the visit of the envoy from the Communist nation of China. In reaction to this grave threat to freedom, democracy and Taiwan's sovereignty students mobilized to form the Wild Strawberry Student Movement. Their blog is action1106.blogspot.com . Their English-language blog is taiwanstudentmovement2008.blogspot.com . Students are holding protests in the large cities of Taiwan including Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

They are demanding:
1. That President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) offer a public apology
2. That National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Tsao-ming (蔡朝明) step down for excessive force by police last week
3. That the government amend the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) to lift the requirement forcing rally organizers to seek government approval before staging a demonstration.

As we find more information, we'll add it to this post.

Taipei Times 2008/11/12

Other Blogs, Articles, and News Sources:

* David on Formosa
* Far-Eastern Sweet Potato

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Taiwan's KMT government taking away democratic freedoms in kowtow to Beijing

On the international wire, you only hear of the "historic" trade agreements signed.

That is just a show being put on by the KMT and the CCP.

The real story:

In a move not seen since the authoritarian dictatorship era in Taiwan, the KMT party which currently has the legislature and executive branches of government has blocked freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press -- during the visit of China's envoy and head of ARATS, Chen Yunlin.

Several thousand policemen, people's flags were confiscated, press were barred from the hotel meetings, private stores off of public streets were forcibly closed (e.g. Sunrise Record Store was targeted by police for playing a Taiwanese song 戀戀北迴線)

Jerome Keating wrote an excellent analysis and insider look at the goings-on at the Grand Hotel where Chen Yunlin stayed.


Meanwhile, the KMT has been stepping up its arrest and detention of opposition leaders -- see the following article


林奐均 Lin Huan-chun's open letter to supporters of the then presidential candidate Ma in March before the election of Ma Ying-jeou now seems quite prescient: pointing to evidence over the past eight years, it warned about how the KMT had not really changed from its authoritarian past. The evidence gets clearer with each succeeding month of Ma's administration.