Monday, June 29, 2009

台灣人權景美園區 Jin Mei Human Rights Park

These video clips are were shot last weekend in Taipei at the Jin Mei Political Prison, which is now a human rights park. The KMT want to turn it into a cultural park where artists can dance and perform. It is a dark, but important part of Taiwanese history. The KMT wants to turn it into a cultural park so that they can ERASE their (KMT) ugly history in Taiwan.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

My interview with FAPA-YPG

1) Where were you born? /Where did you grow up?


2) Are you a Taiwan citizen?

I wasn’t when I first moved back to Taiwan, but I just got my citizenship a few years back.

3) When and how did you first get involved with Taiwan issues? What else since then has contributed most to your passion for Taiwan's democracy?

I didn’t really start to think about Taiwan issues until I attended Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF) and was able to meet other ABTs for the first time. Meeting other ABTs gave me a sense of belonging, but it also made me realize I was lacking in understanding of what it really meant to be Taiwanese especially in terms of history. I wanted to come back to Taiwan so I could improve my Taiwanese, learn more about the culture, and basically make some Taiwanese friends.

After having lived in Taiwan now for almost 8 years, I’ve been able to see first hand the incompetence and influence of the KMT. For over 60 years now, the KMT has used manipulation, murder, imprisonment, cooptation, and propaganda to maintain control over the Taiwanese public. There are so many Taiwanese people that have been brainwashed by the KMT system, that I feel that every voice, no matter how small, can have an influence here in Taiwan as long as you speak out against the system. I think due to Taiwan’s size, if you’re willing to just let your voice be heard, you can really make a difference. Seeing everyday Taiwanese people, old and young, speak and demonstrate their love for Taiwan contributes most to my passion for Taiwan.

4) What are you studying in school right now?

Political Economy

5) We know you've been doing a podcast on Taiwan politics targeted to the younger generation. What are some of the ways you try to engage their interest?

Currently, I’m trying to present politics in a more humorous manner. The things that politicians and the KMT say here in Taiwan are borderline ridiculous and rarely if ever based in fact. Just pointing these things out is funny enough. I’m also experimenting with some stand up comedy to try to introduce politics and news to Taiwanese youth in a funny, indirect way. I just wish my Taiwanese was better.

I also want to start interviewing people for my show and well as trying to record some shorter podcasts. The problem with my web show now is that it’s too long. Most young people in Taiwan don’t have the patience to listen to me rant for two hours every show. I’m going to need to get creative and up the production value a little bit too. I’m definitely going a little too ghetto-style now. I would love to eventually get a show like the Daily Show started out here, but that’s just a dream right now. But when every news channel out in Taiwan is like FOX News, you can’t help but think how successful a show like that could be in Taiwan.

6) How would you describe young people’s general outlook and knowledge about the political situation?

Extremely apathetic and dangerously lacking. Too many Taiwanese youth watch the TV news or read the garbage papers out here without even thinking about where these messages are coming from (KMT). The Taiwanese have also been trained since a very young age by the KMT to not get involved in politics.

7) We can see in some videos you weren't the only one. Who else protested with you?

The day I went to protest, one of my friends went with me as well as three friends from DPP city legislator Wang Ding Yu’s office. One guy was filming while the rest of us protested.

8) What happened after you were ushered out of the room? How did security react? Did you get into any legal or administrative trouble?

After I was pushed out of the room, all the media ran out after me to get a quote and my information, leaving Chang Ming Qing all alone. There was a heavy police presence that day, but they had all went to the school main gate because Wang Ding Yu had taken protestors to protest in front of the school to create a distraction. The police didn’t think anyone was actually going to go in and protest, so they left Chang Ming Qing guarded by only three security guards. After they ushered us out, they immediately returned to the auditorium to protect Chang Ming Qing. Nothing happened legally or administratively to me. The cops were harassing me for awhile (checking my household registry and calling me) until Wang Ding Yu told the Tainan chief of police that I was going to lodge a complaint with AIT. Since then, I haven’t heard from the po-po.

9) What gave you the courage to speak up?

I don’t think what I did in anyway was courageous. I just did what any Taiwanese person would have done if given the chance. When I think of courageous Taiwanese people, I think of the tens of thousands of people that had their lives taken during 228 and the White Terror (Chiang Ching Kuo’s Terror). People like, Deng Nan-rung, who in 1989 took his own life by setting his office ablaze after 71 days of self-confinement to protest the right for freedom of speech, are truly the courageous people of Taiwan. Speaking out just a few decades ago in Taiwan probably meant the end of your life, yet look at how many Taiwanese still spoke out, that’s courage. Without our parent’s generation of discrimination and sacrifice, I would have never been able to do what I did.

10) Many of us admire you for your bravery in the states. What was the Taiwanese public's reaction to your action? Have Taiwanese come to speak to you personally?

Overall the reaction was very positive. Right after my protest, I was interviewed by SET, and then Min Shi actually came to my house to do an interview. Min Shi mentioned my blog during their interview so after it aired a lot of people visited my blog. At first, most of the comments were all giving me support, but then I noticed a ton of haters leaving comments telling me I was crazy and that I should go back to the States. I was also asked to appear on Min Shi’s Boss Talk and was given a chance to speak at the DPP 10/25 rally as well. I also got free food for a week because all the restaurants I ate at saw my news and treated me.

The week after it happened, many Taiwanese people of all ages came up to me to shake my hand and just talk a bit about Taiwan. Surprisingly, when I went up to Taipei there were even some KMT supporters that said they respected what I did. What meant the most to me, were all the young Taiwanese people that came up to show their support.

11) What inspired you to protest in the way you did, as opposed to a different way of being heard?

Basically, I just used what I had at my disposal, my loud mouth and my incorrectly spelled banner. Taiwanese people need to be inspired to make a change from within. We can not keep looking to the rest of the world for help and guidance when we as a people are so divided. We need to come together and stand as one. Young people in Taiwan need to wake up and realize that we are the ones that will be responsible for Taiwan’s future. We must now collectively take a stand and let our voice be heard.

Friday, February 06, 2009

No Communication Commission

The National Communication Commission (NCC-
國家通訊傳播委員會) was established on February 22, 2006 under the pretense that it would regulate the information, communications and broadcasting industry. The NCC claims to be an independent agency; however it is a part of the Executive Yuan and its members are appointed according to the ratio of the legislative seats held by each party. Since the legislature has always been dominated by the KMT, the NCC has been nothing more than a tool for the KMT in silencing opposing voices. The latest report by the NCC, which was then followed by proposed draft regulations, puts into serious question the effectiveness and impartiality of the agency.

Statistics released on Monday (2/2) by the NCC show that Da Hua News (
大話新聞) received the most complaints from TV viewers about its content and statistics, while Boss Talk (頭家來開講) came in second. Amongst pan-green viewers, both shows are highly popular and allow the opportunity for some alternative programming and news. These two shows are in sharp contrast to the shows regularly seen on blue stations such as TVBS, CTI (中天), ETTV (東森), or ERA (年代). The NCC claims that complaints included shows inviting pundits who had no background in finance or economics that gave "inflated" or "false" statistics about the economy and made "sensational remarks" without citing evidence. The NCC did not provide any specifics, but it's safe to assume that the NCC probably did not check financial or economic backgrounds of the TV viewers that lodged the complaints. Sort of makes a difference if the person complaining has two PHDs or is just a viewer with an opposing political view.

The NCC said that last year it received about 1,300 complaints concerning public broadcasts. More than 1,100 of them dealt with TV programs. Amongst the cable news channels, according to NCC numbers, SET News (
三立新聞), ETTV News (東森新聞) and CTI News (中天新聞) received the most complaints. SET, which happens to be one of the two pan-green channels, had more than 60 complaints. ETTV and CTI had 31 and 20 complaints respectively. The NCC did not make public the nature of the complaints.

Using these complaints as an excuse the NCC on Monday (2/2) approved a draft amendment to the Satellite Radio and Television Law (
衛星廣播電視法). The proposed amendment plans to set stricter regulations on TV news and comments during talk show programs. The NCC said news and talk shows must "follow fact-checking procedures and the principles of equality." Under the new law, channels would be required to remove programs if they were decided by the KMT, sorry, NCC to have repeatedly broken the law. The original law previously penalized both channel and cable TV service providers if programs made violations. The new regulations would only have the channel penalized.

One of the only positive aspects of the proposed changes is the plan to limit the use of "placement marketing" or "embedded marketing." Placement marketing refers to the practice of the government, political parties, or the military footing the bill for programs that are in support of a specific government policy or political candidate. The NCC has proposed that embedded marketing be prohibited in news channels and channels for children or young adults. If the amendment passes, TV stations will be required to inform viewers prior to the broadcast if the program is produced or sponsored by any government organization or a specific political campaign.

So basically, a KMT proposed amendment from a KMT dominated NCC must now pass through the KMT infested legislature. Wonder what the outcome will be? The new changes would see channels be fined between NT$400,000 (US$11,800) and NT$2 million. If channels disagree with the KMT's NCC and choose to appeal, the channels would have to present evidence to the contrary of wrongdoing. The NCC has said that no particular program will be targeted, but it does not take a brain surgeon to see that Da Hua News (
大話新聞) and Boss Talk (頭家來開講) are going to be in for a turbulent ride. Former cabinet spokesman, Hsieh Zhi-wei (謝志偉), host of Boss Talk, had said the new changes would not affect the way he speaks in anyway.

From its conception, the NCC has been nothing more than an extension of the KMT media propaganda control mechanism. How can a commission that is based on the ratio of seats held in the legislature be truly independent? If one of the purposes of the NCC is to remove politics from the media, shouldn't we first remove politics from the NCC? Taiwan's once open and free media has already seen the KMT exert pressure and manipulation at the Public Television Service (PTS-
公視), the Central News Agency (CNA-中央社) and Radio Taiwan International (RTI-中央廣播電台). The KMT are in a mad scramble to control all media in Taiwan in an attempt to cover up the fact that Ma Ying Jeou (馬英九) and his administration are completely clueless and lost. Media control or no media control, the Taiwanese have discovered a voice, and this voice can no longer be silenced, communication commission or no communication commission.