Freedom House lauds Taiwanese, Japanese media

Freedom House lauds Taiwanese, Japanese media
Bevin Chu
April 29, 2006

Freedom House lauds Taiwanese, Japanese media
Taipei Times
April 29, 2006

Taiwan tied with Japan as the country [sic] with the most free press environment in Asia, according to the latest Freedom House report published yesterday. US-based Freedom House, an advocacy group that compiles political science data, published its 2006 Freedom in the World survey yesterday, ranking countries based on their level of democratic freedom. Among 194 countries or territories surveyed on press freedom, Taiwan ranked 35th, up from 44th last year [ ! ], tying with Japan. [Mainland] China, labeled “not free” in the survey, ranked 177th. The report assessed the degree of interference of law, politics and economic influences on media activities. Taiwan also scored well for its legal, political and economic environments. [ ! ]

Comment: In a previous article, entitled The First Atrocity: Freedom House’s Crimes against the Truth, I wrote:

The target of my criticism at the moment is the Orwellian-named Freedom House, a lapdog of the national security state in watchdog of democracy clothing. Freedom House is apparently determined to play the role of heartless, soulless, conscienceless mouthpiece for America’s global interventionist ruling elite. I have commented on this in the past, but Freedom House is a repeat offender, therefore my remarks bear repeating as well.

In fact, Freedom House is not merely a repeat offender, it is an escalating offender. Freedom House, despite being confronted with a mountain of evidence to the contrary, has become increasingly indifferent to the truth. Consider for example Freedom House’s annual “Freedom in the World” report, which classified Taiwan’s cronyist dictatorship as “Free” in the face of conclusive and damning evidence to the contrary, for at least two years in a row.

You can now make that three years in a row.

Local reporter fined for keeping silent on source
Taiwan News
April 25, 2006

A reporter with the mass-circulation United Daily News was fined NT$30,000 for refusing to provide the source of his information while testifying in court for a case of alleged insider trading that involved some senior government officials. UDN reporter Kao Yi-nien was one of six witnesses summoned by the Taipei District Court to testify … the court was trying to determine Lee’s contacts with Lin Ming-ta, the head of a group of speculators known as “The Vultures” who have been profiting from insider trading based on information provided by Lee. Kao reported in his story last year that Lee gave “The Vultures” advanced information on a government probe of the illegal trading of the shares of a small computer company called Power Quotient International Co. Armed with the information, “The Vultures” profited by “selling short” on the company’s stock. Kao appeared in the hearing, but refused to tell the judges how and where he had gotten information about his story on the grounds that he was obliged to protect the sources of his information.

Comment: The public on Taiwan knows why Kao was obliged to protect his news sources, and from whom. Kao was obliged to protect his news sources from the judiciary.

The judiciary on Taiwan today is not an independent branch of government, but an instrument of the executive branch. It is the Mafia consiglieri for Chen Shui-bian’s imperial presidency. It does not provide checks on the executive branch of government. It provides checks only on the legislature.

The judiciary on Taiwan under Chen regime rule is the guardian angel of the Pan Green kleptocracy, and the exterminating angel of potential whistleblowers who would tear the lid off the pork barrel.

If Kao were to reveal his sources to the judiciary on Taiwan, he would be turning them over to the Chen regime kleptocracy his sources just dropped the dime on. What would be in store for them next is anybody’s guess.

As of April 27, the courageous Kao has been summoned before the bench three days in a row, and fined NT$30,000 three times in a row, making his total fine so far NT$90,000. To his immense credit, he has flatly refused to either reveal his sources or to pay the imposed fines.

In late 1999, early 2000, then ROC president and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui deliberately sabotaged his own party’s assured victory, paving the way for the pro independence DPP to become the ruling party.

Since then, Pan Green legislators, officials, academics, and pundits have changed their tune on every issue under the sun. I don’t mean they have modified their previous positions. I mean they have totally reversed their previous positions, on every issue they ever professed to care about, including limits on presidential power, prohibitions against cronyism, and most relevant to our current discussion, guarantees of “100% press freedom.” Their attitude, stated bluntly is, “The right people are in charge now, so why worry? The rule of law? What’s that?”

The Chinese language Liberty Times and English language Taipei Times have been at the forefront of the Pan Green camp’s betrayal of its once hallowed pinciples.

In an April 26, 2000 editorial entitled “Freedom, principles come at a price,” the Taipei Times tried to rationalize away flagrant Pan Green attempts to silence political dissent. To establish its bona fides, the Taipei Times first paid ritual lip service to press freedom.

Taipei Times: On Monday, the Taipei District Court fined United Daily News reporter Kao Nien-yi NT$30,000, saying the witness had no proper reason to reject the court’s request that he give testimony. Kao was fined again yesterday for continuing to stay silent about his sources during testimony in a case of alleged insider trading that involved some senior government officials. Kao is the first reporter in this country to be fined for refusing to reveal a source.

Comment: Congratulations. The Taiwan independence Green Terror has set an historical precedent, a negative precedent that even acknowledged dictators Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo never set.

Taipei Times: The judge’s actions have put an end to the unbridled freedom of expression enjoyed since the end of the Martial Law era. When dealing with conflicting values, judges will not necessarily give priority to protecting freedom of speech.

Protecting one’s sources is an important principle for reporters, and an important part of media ethics. It is both a moral responsibility toward the source and the basis for winning the trust of society at large. Once this principle is violated, sources will no longer trust reporters or media outlets, in effect declaring that they have no credibility. The media should not be put in this difficult position. Reporters should be applauded for protecting their sources, not punished.

Comment: So far, so good. But then come the weasel words, the ifs, ands, and buts. Did you expect otherwise?

Taipei Times: Of course, protecting the confidentiality of news sources is not a legal requirement, only a function of the freedom of expression that has long been the norm of the Fourth Estate. Those in the media might see it as an inviolable norm, but for other sectors of society, it is not a sacred standard. When there is a conflict of values, such as maintaining national security, investigating a crime or protecting the public interest, prosecutors and judges might not view protecting a journalist’s source as vital.

Comment: Did the Taipei Times actually trot out the terms, “national security” and “the public interest?”

Taipei Times: Since the end of the Martial Law era, the press has played an important role in the development of Taiwan’s democracy. President Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly stated his unwavering support for freedom of expression and press freedom. The rampant sensationalism and clear bias within local media, however, have caused the public to distrust the profession and its so-called ethical standards. Obviously the judge in the present case shares these doubts.

Comment: We know Chen has repeatedly stated his unwavering support for freedom of expression and press freedom. Nobody’s disputing that. The problem is Chen has repeatedly demonstated utter contempt for freedom of expression and press freedom now that he is the island’s dictator.

So “sensationalism” and “clear bias” justify suppression of press freedom? What constitutes “sensationalism” and “clear bias?” Who decides? Do we really need to ask?

Taipei Times: The media must begin thinking about how to uphold its responsibilities if it wants to maintain its freedoms.

Comment: So the fundamental human right to free expression has been demoted to the status of “freedoms,” i.e., privileges that may be revoked if one fails to uphold one’s “responsibilities.” What “responsibilities?” Responsibilities to whom? Do I really need to spell it out?

Taipei Times: The fines imposed upon Kao are not a violation of press freedom. They are simply a matter of making a decision under the pressure of conflicting values, and the media will have to await the public’s reaction to the case before determining whether the fines were appropriate.

Comment: Have you ever heard a more cavalier rejection of constitutional republican rule of law, and a more uncritical embrace of democratic populist mob rule?

Taipei Times: Reporters should protect the identity of their sources, but when they fail to win the support of the courts and society at large, they and the rest of the media have to make sacrifices in order to uphold their beliefs. This is the price of press freedom.

Comment: And Freedom House has the chutzpah to anoint this government one of two governments that demonstrate the greatest respect for press freedom in Asia?

As I said before:

Freedom House is not a watchdog of democracy, but a lapdog of the national security state. Freedom House helps reverse the roles of victims and victimizers, warmongers and peacekeepers, reactionaries and reformers. Freedom House’s first atrocity, its first crime, is against the truth.

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Defending Taiwan, or Attacking China?

Defending Taiwan, or Attacking China?
Bevin Chu
April 28, 2006

Public split over whether US would defend Taiwan
Taipei Times
April 27, 2006

The public is almost evenly split over whether the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked, an opinion poll suggested yesterday. Political scientist Lo Chih-cheng of Soochow University yesterday said the result showed that the majority of people regard the US as a friendly ally. However, Lo added that this view was at odds with public opinion in the US, as past surveys there on public support for the US sending troops to defend Taiwan averaged at only 30 percent.

Comment: In my previous blog entry, I said that the most striking aspect of this article was the fact that anybody, let alone 52% of the public, expected US “support” should a war break out in the Taiwan Strait.

In this blog entry, I want to comment on another striking aspect of this article, and that is the claim that “the majority of people regard the US [government] as a friendly ally.”

I question this claim. I took part in the post 320 election protests, from the desperate beginning to the bitter end. When the Bush II administration rubber-stamped Chen’s “re-election” instead of doing the right thing and demanding that the election be declared null and void, I experienced first hand the Pan Blue camp’s sense of betrayal at the hands of the US government. Considering how the Pan Blue camp constitutes a 53% majority on Taiwan, the 52% number is highly suspect.

Even more to the point is the Taipei Times’ suggestion that because over half the public believed “the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked,” this “showed that the majority of people regard the US [government] as a friendly ally.”

The Taipei Times’ faulty premises can be broken down into three parts.

One. The Taipei Times presumes that if the ruling regime on Taiwan were to provoke mainland China so severely that mainland China felt it had no alternative but to intervene, such provocations would amount to a “defense of Taiwan” or a “defense of the ROC.”

I consider such provocations treason against the Chinese nation.

Two. The Taipei Times presumes that if mainland Chinese authorities were to live up to their obligation to defend the territorial integrity of the Chinese nation, they would be “attacking Taiwan,” i.e., committing an act of agression.

I consider such actions on the part of the mainland authorities patriotic acts in defense of the Chinese nation.

Three. The Taipei Times presumes that US government military intervention in such an event, would constitute the act of “a friendly ally.”

I consider such intervention the act of a malevolent neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist aggressor intent on “dividing and conquering” or “dividing and weakening” the Chinese nation.

Finally, Lo Chih-cheng considers the fact that only 30% of the public in the US favors sending troops to “defend Taiwan” evidence of an unfriendly attitude toward Taiwan. Lo considers the 70% of the public in the US who oppose sending troops to “defend Taiwan” to be indifferent to the fate of Taiwan.

I prefer to think of the 70% figure as reassuring evidence that an overwhelming majority of the American public harbors a benevolent attitude toward China. I consider the 70% of the public in the US who oppose sending troops to fight in an unjust war of aggression against China to be American patriots who understand what’s in the common interest of both America and China.

Unlike Lo, I don’t consider the “Taiwanese, not Chinese” glass 7/10 empty. I consider the “American and Chinese” glass 7/10 full.

Public Split over whether US would defend Taiwan

Public Split over whether US would defend Taiwan
Bevin Chu
April 27, 2006

Public split over whether US would defend Taiwan
Taipei Times
April 27, 2006

The public is almost evenly split over whether the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked, an opinion poll suggested yesterday. The poll conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank on the meeting last week between US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao indicated that 52 percent of the public expected US support should a war break out in the Taiwan Strait. Political scientist Lo Chih-cheng of Soochow University yesterday said the result showed that the majority of people regard the US as a friendly ally. However, Lo added that this view was at odds with public opinion in the US, as past surveys there on public support for the US sending troops to defend Taiwan averaged at only 30 percent. “There is an obvious gap between what the Taiwanese people think they can get and what the American public are willing to give to Taiwan,” Lo said.

Comment: Having read the above passage, what would you say is the most striking aspect of this article?

Many people would say that it is “[the] obvious gap between what the Taiwanese [sic] people think they can get and what the American public are willing to give to Taiwan,” i.e., the 22% gap between 52% and 30%.

I would say it is something else entirely. I would say it is the fact that anybody, let alone 52% of the public, expects US support should a war break out in the Taiwan Strait.

I’m assuming of course that the 52% figure conveniently offered up by the Taiwan Thinktank is not a “factoid.” Pan Green NGOs on Taiwan are notorious for casually disseminating “factoids” and unscrupulously conducting “push polls.”

A “factoid,” as Wikipedia explains, is a spurious (unverified, incorrect, or invented) “fact” intended to create or manipulate public opinion. The term was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. Mailer described a factoid as “facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper”. Mailer created the word by combining the word “fact” and the ending “-oid” to mean “like a fact”.

The alleged 30,000 “Taiwanese” dead from the 228 Incident is one such factoid. Pan Green spinmeisters know perfectly well that the actual number is fewer than 900.

A “push poll,” as Wikipedia explains, is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. [Some push polls] are attacks on another candidate. These attacks often contain information with little or no basis in fact. Perhaps the most famous use of push polls is in the 2000 United States Republican Party primaries, when it was alleged that George W. Bush’s campaign used push polling to torpedo the campaign of Senator John McCain. Voters in South Carolina were asked “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”, an allegation that had no substance, but planted the idea of undisclosed allegations in the minds of thousands of primary voters. McCain and his wife had in fact adopted a Bangladeshi girl. The main advantage of push polls is that they are an effective way of maligning an opponent (“pushing” voters away) while avoiding responsibility for the distorted or false information used in the push poll.

The Orwellian “Defensive Referendum” Chen Shui-bian unconstitutionally and illegally forced upon the voters in 2004 was a form of push polling. The two referendum questions were not serious questions to which serious answers were expected. They were merely a means by which an incumbent who knew he was about to handed his hat could demagogue the independence vs. reunification issue in the hope of getting “four more years.”

Consider the referendum questions:

1. The People of Taiwan [sic] demand that the Taiwan Strait issue be resolved through peaceful means. Should Communist China refuse to withdraw the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan and to openly renounce the use of force against us, would you agree that the Government should acquire more advanced anti-missile weapons to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities?

2. Would you agree that our Government should engage in negotiation with Communist China on the establishment of a “peace and stability” framework for cross-strait interactions in order to build consensus and for the welfare of the peoples on both sides?

Anyone familiar with the political context on Taiwan knew that disingenuous “referendum questions” such as these were really about planting negative ideas in peoples’ heads about “Pan Blue camp Chi-Com fellow travelers selling out Taiwan.”

Fortunately, more politically sophisticated voters, largely Pan Blue but also independents, upon learning that the ruling Pan Green regime intended to demagogue the issue at Pan Blue taxpayer expense, reacted by boycotting the referendum altogether, ensuring its defeat.

Unfortunately, Chen Shui-bian’s 319 Wag the Dog “assassination attempt” and 320 election fraud were eventually rubber-stamped by the US puppetmaster, and Chen squeaked by anyway.

But returning to my original point, the most striking aspect of this article is the expectation on the part of anyone, but particularly Pan Green supporters, that the US military will come riding to the rescue in the event the Taiwan independence nomenklatura goes too far and precipitates a shooting war between Beijing and Taipei.

As I have underscored countless times before, and will undoubtedly underscore countless times again, “Taiwan,” according to Taiwan independence Quislings, “is a sovereign and independent nation, with its own government, its own territory, its own military.”

That being the case, why in the world should any other nation come riding to its rescue, and more to the point, why would any “sovereign and independent” citizen of such a “sovereign and independent” nation cling desperately to the hope that another nation will come riding to its rescue? What the hell kind of “sovereignty” and “independence” is that?

As I wrote in my 2004 article Scrap the Taiwan Relations Act:

Independence: The state or condition of being free from dependence, subjection, or control. Political independence is the attribute of a nation or state which is entirely autonomous, and not subject to the government, control, or dictation of any exterior power.
— Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition

Chen Shui-bian and fellow Quisling Lee Teng-hui shrilly insist that “Taiwan is an independent nation.” Independent means not dependent. An independent nation is a nation that is not dependent on other nations. An independent nation does not depend on another nation for its military defense. A political entity that depends on another nation for its military defense is not an independent nation. It is not a nation at all. It is a colony, dominion, mandate, possession, protectorate, satellite, or territory of another nation.

If the Taiwan independence nomenklatura genuinely wants the US government to treat Taiwan as an independent nation, they should act like an independent nation. They should stop clinging to America’s apron strings, stop hiding behind America’s skirts, stop being dependent on the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet. They should assume responsibility for their own independent national defense.

If Taiwan independence fellow travelers genuinely consider Taiwan an independent nation, they should treat Taiwan as an independent nation. They should stop treating Taiwan as if it were Guam or Puerto Rico. Taiwan is neither an American protectorate nor an American commonwealth.

Power is What They Want

Power is What They Want
Bevin Chu
April 26, 2006

Postings at weblogs, in contrast to postings at websites, are often short takes and random thoughts, not fully developed articles.

In Snow Job: Is More Power worth Less Pay? my short take and random thought was a reminder that what motivates the Political Class is not a selfless desire to ensure liberty and justice for all, but a selfish desire to enjoy power and privilege reserved for the few.

Too many libertarians fail to realize that psychology is a more fundamental determinant by far of one’s consciously held values than one’s political ideology, or even philosophy. An individual’s psychology determines an individual’s philosophy and ideology. A collective’s psychology determines a collective’s philosophy and ideology. Not the other way around.

One of Ayn Rand’s most egregious blunders was to invert the importance of psychology and philosophy as factors in determining an individual or a collective’s ideological beliefs. Ironically, her lack of psychological self-awareness merely proved that even the most brilliant of intellects are seldom “masters of their own destiny,” but are instead slaves of their own darkside. The barbaric, even savage rantings of warfare statists at the Ayn Rand Institute are disturbing evidence of the Objectivist movement’s abysmal lack of psychological self-awareness.

Only when we understand the Political Class’s collective psychology, can we expose their philosophy and ideology for what they are, rationalizations for vanity and greed, and not allow our energy to be squandered rebutting them on matters to which they might pay ritual lip service but are in fact utterly indifferent.

Democratic universalists, for example, are motivated at their core not by selfless altruism, but by selfish egotism. At best they are motivated by patronizing missionary zeal, a desire to “bear the white man’s burden.” At worst they are motivated by naked colonialist greed, a desire to plunder the resources of militarily weaker nations.

Taiwan independence Quislings meanwhile, are motivated at their core not by reverence for “freedom and democracy,” but by a lust for power and a determination to acquire as much of it as possible via race-based identity politics. Anyone who doubts this need only look at how the ruling DPP has behaved in the six years since it seized power.

Taiwan independence ideology and pseudo-history are not the source of Taiwan independence Quisling psychology. Taiwan independence Quisling psychology is the source of Taiwan independence ideology and pseudo-history. Taiwan independence ideology and pseudo-history are artificial phenomenon reverse-engineered to validate the neurotic emotional and psychological aspirations of the Taiwan independence Quisling mindset. I exposed this sad fact in my 1999 article, Taiwan Independence and the Stockholm Syndrome.

False ideological claims need to be rebutted. But one must never forget that, as Butler Shaffer put it, Power is What They Want. Only then will one’s rebuttals strike at the root of the problem.

Snow Job: Is More Power worth Less Pay?

Snow Job: Is More Power worth Less Pay?
Bevin Chu
April 25, 2006

Snow Weighing White House Spokesman Job
Time Magazine
April 25, 2006

If conservative pundit Tony Snow gets the okay from his doctors, he may become President Bush’s third press secretary — and a rare outsider in an insular administration, By MIKE ALLEN/WASHINGTON

Tony Snow, the conservative commentator and Fox News host, is awaiting a follow-up report from his oncologist before deciding whether to accept an offer to become President Bush’s third White House Press Secretary. Snow, 50, had his colon removed when he was diagnosed with cancer last year. One of his doctors initially approved him to take the grueling job, joking that the post wouldn’t give him cancer, although it might give him heartburn.

Comment: All joking aside for the moment, those familiar with the principles and practice of holistic medicine know that lying to others on a continual basis, then repressing the negative feelings one cannot help but experience about such lying, can very well give one cancer, in addition to ulcers and heartburn.

Time Magazine: The offer to Snow is a departure for Bush, who has rarely elevated outsiders to top jobs, let alone an outsider who brings his own celebrity and authority. But with his polls at historic lows for an historic length of time, the President has decided to make a few fundamental changes while sticking to his guns in other areas, notably retaining Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Comment: What “fundamental changes” has Bush decided to make? President Bush, like “president” Chen Shui-bian, who is also suffering from low ratings, has defiantly chosen not to make any fundamental changes, only cosmetic changes. If changing the White House’s PR flak is genuinely considered a “fundamental change” by the US major media, then the Fourth Estate and by extension, the nation is in worse trouble than libertarians thought.

Time Magazine: White House officials said Bolten has made communications a priority and has calculated that it is in the President’s interest to engage reporters. The appointment could be expected to buy the White House at least temporary good will with the White House press corps. White House aides have generally been excited by the idea and view it as a breath of fresh air …

Comment: Wow. Toss the White House press corps a scrap from the table by appointing a celebrity pundit, “one of theirs” to the job and their hearts are all aflutter. To characterize the job Tony Snow has been offered as a “snow job” is not a cheap shot, but a depressing truth. HL Mencken, where are you when we need you?

Time Magazine: Saying he was concerned about the loss of family time and the “massive cut in pay,” [Snow added]: “The up side is that for somebody like me who’s been a pundit for many years, you sit around and you think about the way the world should be, you become part of something that’s very rare, which is an inner White House circle, where you’ve got to make decisions. So there is something that has a sort of perverse attraction, which is it’s a meaty, substantive job with real responsibilities.” The question for Snow, and his doctors, is whether the excitement is worth the hassle.

Comment: No, the question for Snow is whether more power is worth less pay.

As Butler Shaffer astutely observed in his recent article, “Power is What They Want”:

We do not pay sufficient attention to the fact that statists are less interested in either the substance of their specific “problems,” or the merits of their proposed solutions, than in retaining and aggrandizing control over the lives of others. We spend far too much of our time giving credence to statists’ issues by making reasoned or empirical responses to their proposals, and too little time addressing the underlying power ambitions.

What Snow said was:

“The up side is that for somebody like me who’s been a pundit for many years, you sit around and you think about the way the world should be, you become part of something that’s very rare, which is an inner White House circle, where you’ve got to make decisions. So there is something that has a sort of perverse attraction, which is it’s a meaty, substantive job with real responsibilities.”

What Snow meant was:

Merely commenting on government policy for all these years without being able to make government policy was frustrating. Now I’ve got a chance to be part of the “inner White House circle” that issues commands that 290 million Americans must obey. Now that’s what I call a “meaty, substantive job with real responsibilities!” Now that’s got a real “perverse attraction” for me! In fact, it’s got me tingling all over!

Destroying "Taiwan’s Credibility"

Destroying “Taiwan’s Credibility”
Bevin Chu
April 24, 2006

In tracking the winners and losers in the ongoing struggle between Pan Green Quislings and Pan Blue patriots, one really has to know how to read the scorecards.

For example, Pan Green critics of the Pan Green camp’s leadership have lately been lamenting the fact that Chen Shui-bian and the DPP, through their flagrant corruption and appalling incompetence, have destroyed “Taiwan’s credibility,” both at home and abroad.

By this of course they don’t mean “Taiwan’s credibility.” They mean the Taiwan independence nomenklatura’s credibility, and the appeal of Taiwan independence as a political “ideal,” among both the Chinese people on Taiwan and foreign observers.

Pan Blue talking heads will often chime in with Pan Green critics when they express their dismay over the fact that unprincipled and opportunistic Taiwan independence Quislings have, true to their unprincipled and opportunistic nature, sold the Taiwan independence movement down the river.

Every time I watch Pan Blue spokespersons do this on TV talkshows, I can’t help doing a double-take.

Do these purported defenders of the Republic of China really want a clean, competent Pan Green regime to do a good job of governing Taiwan, thereby enhancing the domestic and international appeal of Taiwan independence as a political goal?

These Pan Blue spokespersons remind me of Colonel Nichols, the captured British army engineering officer in “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957, directed by David Lean, novel by Pierre Boulle, screenplay by Michael Wilson, Carl Foreman), who having gotten caught up in doing a professional job of building a railway bridge for his Japanese captors, completely loses sight of his larger purpose, to defeat the enemy.

Sometimes, I have to admit, I feel a little bit like Commander Shears, frustrated at Colonel Nicholson’s failure to see the bigger picture.


The Bridge on the River Kwai


British Army Engineering Officer Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guiness)


US Navy Commander Shears (William Holden)

The Name Game: From ROC to ROT?

The Name Game: From ROC to ROT?
Dream On!
Bevin Chu
April 23, 2006

According to an April 22, 2006 Central News Agency (CNA) news report entitled “ROC, PRC titles should be abolished, says legislator”:

NAME GAME: A DPP legislator said that a gaffe made in Washington was caused by the similarity between Taiwan’s and China’s official names. A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday that both Taiwan and China should change their national designations to avoid confusion. Speaking during a meeting at the Legislative Yuan on affairs of state, DPP Legislator Chen Chung-hsin said that when US President George W. Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the lawn outside the White House for an official meeting on Thursday, the People’s Republic of China was incorrectly referred to by the announcer as the Republic of China prior to the playing of the national anthems. Chen attributed the fiasco to the fact that Taiwan’s official title of the “Republic of China” was too similar to China’s. Chen suggested that both countries discard their confusing national designations altogether and simply call themselves China and Taiwan. Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lo Chih-ming said the mistake by the announcer at the White House reflected the fact that it was imperative and justifiable for Taiwan to change its official name.

Taiwan independence Quislings are, as usual, exactly wrong. How so? Let’s subject their disingenuous Taiwan independence spin control to systematic Reality Checks, one point at a time.

Taiwan Independence Spin Control: A DPP legislator said that a gaffe made in Washington was caused by the similarity between Taiwan’s [sic] and China’s official names. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday that both Taiwan and [mainland] China should change their national designations to avoid confusion.

Reality Check: The DPP is exactly wrong. Taiwan’s official name, according to the Republic of China Constitution that is the basic law on Taiwan, is “Province of Taiwan.” The DPP is attempting through disingenuous semantic sleight of hand to elevate the Chinese province of Taiwan to the status of a nation. Sorry, but that won’t wash. Taipei, Taiwan is the capital of a political entity known as the Republic of China, but the Republic of China is not “Taiwan.” The government of the Republic of China is located on the Chinese island of Taiwan, but the nation known as the Republic of China does not equal Taiwan and cannot be reduced to Taiwan, or even “tai peng jin ma” (Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen, Matzu). Taiwan is at most a geographical term, or the name of an adminstrative region of China.

In order to better grasp the situation, try this “thought experiment.” Suppose that during the Cold War, a civil war broke out between Australian capitalists and Australian Communists. Suppose the Australian Communists were victorious and seized control of the Australian mainland, and set up an Australian Communist government in the Australian capital of Canberra. Suppose the Australian capitalists meanwhile, retreated to the Australian island of Tasmania, and set up a rival Australian capitalist government in Hobart.

Under such circumstances, would anyone who understood the situation mindlessly refer to the Australian capitalist government on Tasmania as “the Tasmanian government?” Of course not. Both governments are Australian governments, i.e., governments of Australia. The government on Tasmania would not be “the government of Tasmania.” It would be the “government of Australia located on Tasmania.”

Well, guess what? The same is true of the government on Taiwan. It is not “the Taiwan government.” It is not the government of Taiwan. It is the “government of China located on Taiwan.”

Taiwan Independence Spin Control: Speaking during a meeting at the Legislative Yuan on affairs of state, DPP Legislator Chen Chung-hsin said that when US President George W. Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the lawn outside the White House for an official meeting on Thursday, the People’s Republic of China was incorrectly referred to by the announcer as the Republic of China prior to the playing of the national anthems. Chen attributed the fiasco to the fact that Taiwan’s [sic] official title of the “Republic of China” was too similar to China’s.

Reality Check: Again, the DPP is exactly wrong. The “Republic of China” is not “Taiwan’s official title.” The “Republic of China” is China’s official title. Just as the “Commonwealth of Australia” is Australia’s official title, and not “Tasmania’s official title.” The “Republic of China” is the title of one of two rival political authorities, both claiming to be the legitimate government of all of China. It is emphatically not “the official title of Taiwan.” Taiwan’s official title is as Google correctly noted, “Province of Taiwan.”

As far as the DPP’s complaint about the “Republic of China” being “too similar” to the “People’s Republic of China” used by the rival political authority in Beijing is concerned, that ironically, is exactly as it should be. Since both political authorities are rival Chinese political authorities, their official titles ought to be similar. In fact, they ought to be identical. That would reflect even more clearly the fact that both poltiical authorities are Chinese political authorities, and that there is no “Taiwanese” political authority, period. The only “Taiwanese government” that has ever existed is the currently frozen Taiwan Provincial Government.

In fact, it is said that Mao Zedong later regretted his decision in 1949 to change the official title of China from the Republic of China (ROC) to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Some of his advisors allegedly warned him that changing the national title from ROC to the PRC would merely serve to diminish the perception that the CCP had succeeded the KMT as the sole.legitimate ruler of all of China.

Taiwan independence Quislings, who are advocates of democracy, the political system Thomas Jefferson denounced as “nothing more than mob rule,” are in the habit of mocking Pan Blue allegiance to constitutional republicanism, the political system America’s Founding Fathers favored. Specifically, Taiwan independence Quislings are in the habit of mocking the Pan Blue camp’s “strict constuctionist” position that “The Republic of China is China, and includes the Chinese mainland.” KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou correctly reaffirmed this Pan Blue point of constitutional law during his recent debate with “president” Chen Shui-bian, only to be greeted with howls of derision from Taiwan independence Quislings. Ma is too much of a gentleman to lash out at these traitors to the Chinese nation the way they deserve, so I will do it for him.

For starters, this Taiwan independence Quisling tactic is sophomoric “argument from intimidation,” and as such amounts to an indirect confession that one’s own case is indefensible. As Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation, and a regular contributor to MSNBC once noted: “A good rule of thumb in political debate is that you can judge the seriousness of an adversary’s argument by the seriousness with which he treats yours. If he takes you seriously, it means he’s pretty certain he’s got you beat on the merits. But if he resorts to hyperbole, parody, and sarcasm, then he clearly fears an honest debate.”

In the ongoing political debate between Pan Green advocates of Taiwan independence and Pan Blue defenders of Chinese national unity, Pan Green propagandists seldom if ever treat Pan Blue arguments with any seriousness. As Eric Alterman correctly noted, that merely means the Pan Greens know the Pan Blues have them beat on the merits, and they clearly fear an honest debate.

When Pan Blue defenders of Chinese national unity insist that the Chinese mainland is part of the Republic of China, Taiwan independence Quislings invariably resort to hyperbole, parody, and sarcasm, dismissing the “strict constructionist” Pan Blue position as “Ah Q,” or even “delusional.” But just exactly which political camp’s position is “Ah Q and delusional?” Is it the Pan Blues’, the Pan Greens’? Have Pan Greens already forgotten what their Furhrer Chen Shui-bian blurted out in a moment of rare honesty? He said “Taiwan independence is self-delusion and delusion of others. Taiwan independence is a myth.” That was one of the rare occasions on which a Pan Green leader actually spoke the truth.

Pan Greens argue that because the Chinese Communist authorities on the mainland are vastly more powerful militarily than the Chinese capitalist authorities on Taiwan, any Pan Blue claims that the Chinese mainland is part of the Republic of China are obviously “Ah Q and delusional.” The Pan Greens typically resort to mocking Chiang Kai-shek era vows to “fan gong da lu” (retake the mainland).

Alas, this Pan Green argument proves too much. If, as the Pan Greens insist, the Chinese authorities on the mainland are vastly more powerful militarily than the Chinese authorities on Taiwan, then it is Pan Greens and not Pan Blues who are “Ah Q and delusional.” After all, the vastly more powerful Chinese authorities on the mainland are absolutely unwilling to tolerate Pan Green claims that “Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation which does not include the Chinese mainland,” whereas they are willing to tolerate Pan Blue claims that “The ROC government is the legitimate ruler of all of China.”

Besides, this Pan Green argument completely misses the point, and confuses form with substance. From the Pan Blue perspective, the KMT has already “retaken the mainland.” The KMT has effectively retaken the mainland by winning the ideological war between Communism and capitalism, by making the Chinese Communist Party see the error of its ways and adopt the free market economic policies of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo. The Pan Blues don’t need to defeat the Chinese Communists militarily in order to win the Chinese Civil War. The Pan Blues have effectively retaken the mainland by converting the Chinese Communists into Chinese capitalists. That is not an “Ah Q” rationalization. That is an inspiring historical fact.

Taiwan independence Quislings hate the Chinese Communists not because they are Communists. After all, Lee Teng-hui was once a Communist. Taiwan independence Quislings hate the Chinese Communists because they are Chinese. The Pan Blues, on the other hand, have never hated Chinese Communists for being Chinese, only for being Communists. Now that the Chinese Communists are Communists in name only, Pan Blue patriots have no reason on earth to hate them. Mainland China’s “capitalists in red clothing” are not the Pan Blue patriots’ enemies, they are the Pan Blue patriots’ fellow countrymen. In fact they are the Pan Blue patriots’ comrades in arms against the real enemy, the Pan Green Taiwan independence Quislings on Taiwan.

Taiwan Independence Spin Control: Chen suggested that both countries [sic] discard their confusing national designations altogether and simply call themselves China and Taiwan. Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lo Chih-ming said the mistake by the announcer at the White House reflected the fact that it was imperative and justifiable for Taiwan to change its official name.

Reality Check: Taiwan independence Quislings would like nothing better than to take advantage of the Cold War standoff between the CCP and KMT to conveniently replace the Republic of China with a “Republic of Taiwan.” Dream on. Talk about expecting a free lunch. Unfortunately for the Taiwan independence Quislings, it doesn’t work that way. If Taiwan independence Quislings are serious about wanting a sovereign and independent ROT, they are going to have to fight a war of independence for a sovereign and independence ROT. Taiwan independence Quislings are not only going to have to politically defeat the Pan Blues on Taiwan, but also militarily defeat the Reds on the Chinese mainland. And as they themselves have so smugly reminded the Pan Blues, the Chinese Communist authorities on the mainland are vastly more powerful.