Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pan-blues endanger the Taiwanese people again and again

Two problems currently exist in Taiwan and are greatly hampering our ability to accurately show how stable of a country we actually are. The first is the KMT dominated legislature and the second would be the KMT dominated media. The first group has been able to successfully do almost nothing the entire 6 years that Chen Sui Bian has been in office. Of course, it's with a purpose that the KMT refuse to discuss anything of substance on the legislative floor. That is unless it pertains to opposing the DPP and TSU. Their whole game plan is to push all the blame of society's woes on Chen Sui Bian and make him look incapable of improving Taiwan. The KMT friendly media , with their multiple news channels, papers, radio stations consistently try to fool the entire country into thinking Taiwan is on the brink of collapse and the only people to blame are the DPP.

On Tuesday (9/26), the PFP placed a second motion to recall the president of Taiwan. The first heavily touted KMT recall happened just earlier this summer in June. In case you haven't heard, nothing came of it except a lot of TVBS and CTI media hype. KMT legislators refused to talk about flood relief packages that were much needed throughout Taiwan due to torrential rains occurring at the time, until the recall was discussed. The recall was the KMT's only focus. But was it the focus of the people of Taiwan? No, it was not. And these are the people that are supposed to be representing the Taiwanese people. Give me a break. The KMT mention the people in every public speech and every interview, but their actions and criticisms hardly back the people let alone help them out in anyway.

The main reason that this second recall should worry the Taiwanese people is not that the KMT would waste national resources on another highly improbable recall. What Taiwanese should be worried about is that the new weapons procurement package totalling NT$6.3 billion (US$197 million), a revision from the previous arms package deemed too expensive by the KMT, was once again excluded. Let me be clear about something. I don't support violence and I don't think guns are the solution. But let's be realistic, in today's US dominated world guns and ammo are still important. Taiwan needs arms not because we want to go to war, but because we want to protect ourselves. Taiwan needs US manufactured weapons as a deterrent to China's increasing threats, not for first strike capabilities. And let's be honest, if we want our relations to improve with the US, buying that many US weapons, new or outdated, will make their ears much more open to what we have to say. We can't expect the US to come and rush to our aide in case China attacks if we don't make some sort of effort on our side to show that we are committed to our defense as well.

The KMT legislature has refused to even discuss the issue of arms procurement on the legislative floor over forty times. Instead of making any sort of plans to improve our safety, which with the creation of China's Anti-Secession Law is now much more in jeopardy, the KMT say that the people want a referendum to see if Chen Sui Bian should step down. The KMT claim to represent the people of Taiwan, when in reality, they only represent an extremely wealthy and corrupt minority with too much power and influence. They use their news channels to make you think that the Reds are everywhere and that our country is about to collapse. They are not and it is not. Do national defense and security effect everyone on this island, green or blue? Yes. Should it be discussed and improved as much as possible? Yes. Will the KMT stop wasting their and our time and money to really help out Taiwan? No. That's why it's left to the real people of Taiwan, people like you and I, to make our voices be heard.

The reds are marching!

So we begin day 19 of Shih Ming Deh's campaign to have the current president of Taiwan, Chen Sui Bian, step down under one-sided allegations from the opposition party KMT. But does this really begin with the KMT? Looking at the bigger picture, it's very plausable that Communist China is playing a large part in this whole fiasco to disrupt the democratic country of Taiwan. In a campaign where colors have so much symolism and meaning, it's interesting to think about the correlation between the red color picked by Shih and the Communists in China. The color red was picked for a reason. Shih pledges to maintain the sit-in campaign until A-Bian steps down.

Just yesterday, the People's First Party (PFP), a party with very close ties to the KMT, within the legislature submitted a motion to recall the president. Does the opposition really think that the Taiwanese people will forget the first failed recall of the president in June? They didn't have the numbers the first time, they won't have the numbers second time. During the push for the first recall, TVBS and CTI news channels made it seem for a month that the recall had potential and was gaining momentum. Of course, it was all a show. The recall failed miserably, and wasted everyone's time, especially those of the average Taiwanese citizen. So with the beginning of another recall, comes the opportunity for TVBS and CTI to fabricate more news because Shih's on going campaign is losing its momentum.

So as Shih's sit-in continues to feed lunch boxes to the homeless in Taipei, the Reds have also proposed a long march around Taiwan using buses. They plan to circle Taiwan and arrive back in Taipei for the KMT's birthday on October 10. As Taiwan spirals down this self destructive path, China is sitting by and waiting for their opportunity. When will Taiwanese people wake up and see that there is nothing that can be gained from reunification with China? We are a democratic society and culturally different people from what we find on the Mainland. If we falter, or make the wrong decision, China will capitalize. If we continue to allow the KMT and the Reds to futher plunge our country into a state of chaos, China can use their Anti-Seccession Law, as ridiculous of a law as it is, to invade Taiwan. That is not an option for Taiwan.

If Taiwan were apart of China, would Shih's campaign even be allowed to exist past one day, let alone 18 days? Would they be able to assemble in front of the Chairman Hu's office and demand that he step down if they were dissatisfied with him? Could they take a media produced bus tour around the country in an attempt to depose Chairman Hu? Would a legislature be allowed to twice attempt a recall? The answer to all of these questions is an obvious no. Members of the government and even more so, regular citizens would be locked up and who knows how many brutally killed if Taiwan were as red as the KMT and Shih hope. Where does the KMT think it can fit into the Communist party? The KMT love to say that they are doing this for the people of Taiwan and for democracy. Don't be fooled. Go out and speak your mind and let the Reds hear Taiwan's true voice. Let's make enough noise to send them back to China!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

And the show goes on?

Last night, on the anniversary of one of the deadliest quakes in Taiwan's history (9/21), I took the chance to attend one of these rallies hosted by the KMT to have Chen Sui Bian step down. Before I left my house, I first watched TVBS and CTI for their coverage on the situation down at Tainan City Hall. The images on TV were not of the KMT rally, but on the massive crowd of Tainan residents in opposition to the KMT. The crowd of local Taiwanese was several hundred strong. Multiple arrests from the two previous nights kept many protestors from both sides at home.

As I approached City Hall, I was astonished at the number of police in riot gear that had been assembled. News figures put the police force at 1300-1400. As there were not enough police in Tainan city, police were also called in from Tainan county. With the huge police presence, I expected a massive KMT turnout. Just entering the KMT side, I must have passed at least 500 police. After all the barbwire, fences, riot shields and batons, I entered the main protest stage. In front of this tiny stage, were about 100 KMT supporters. That's right, only 100 supporters. TVBS and CTI said there were 300-400 supporters.

Standing amidst all the police and fences, I thought that the use of government resources to let this event go on were ridiculous. 1300 police for 100 KMT protestors. So that's about 13 police officers for every one KMT protestor. I don't know about you, but I would rather have at least half, if not more of those police patroling the streets of Tainan city and Tainan county.

TVBS and CTI news have tried to portray Tainan citizens as the bad guys and the KMT as pitiful citizens being bullied by local Taiwanese. Don't forget, the KMT is the one that brought the trouble to Tainan. They are the ones that came to our doorstep and interupted our daily lives. It's our right to go out and protest if we don't want that type of propganda here. People of Taiwan, turn off TVBS and CTI. Get on the internet, read multiple sources, or read more papers written outside of the country. The truth is out there, and it's not what the TVBS and CTI media are feeding you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where have all the journalists gone?

The past few months have not been the greatest for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan. Taiwanese president Chen Sui Bian (A-Bian) has been involved with allegations of corruption from his son-in-law's insider trading scandal to his own mishandling of executive branch funds. By watching the news in Taiwan it seems as if many in the country are asking the president to step down. Protests that were originally started by Si Ming De and his Reds in Taipei, have now begun to spread to southern parts of the island, but with violent results. The color red and the thumbs down sign now represent those wishing for A-Bian to step down, while supporters of A-Bian have naturally taken the thumbs up sign. Isn't the color red Communist China's color?

As a supporter of democracy and the development of the Taiwanese people, it is every citizen's right to express their opinion openly and freely. As much as it pains me to see the country in such a state of civil unrest, the fact that these people are allowed to sit out and protest day, after day, after day, after day is a testament to Taiwan's open and thriving democracy. But it also begs to be asked, don't these people have jobs to go to? The protests are day currently on day 13.

The population of Taiwan is 23,000,000 strong. The number of people that are asking for Chen Sui Bian to step down only represent a very small proportion of Taiwan's population, but from watching many of Taiwan's nightly news channels, it seems as if the entire country is on the virge of collapse, and that all citizens are against the president. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Taiwan is a stable, successful, global economic player that has one of the most democratic governments in Asia.

I'm not upset that some people are protesting against the president. Ruler parties will always have opposition. I'm upset with the extreme lack of quality reporting and lack of professional journalism in Taiwan's media. By definition, journalism is material written for publication in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast that consists of direct presentation of facts and occurences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation. Journalists and news stations in Taiwan SHOULD objectively report the news and keep their personal political views out of their reporting. However, in reality, most Taiwan news channels are about as fair and balanced as America's Fox News. Fox News is media mogul Rupert Murdoch's blatantly rightwing conservative voice in the US. KMT friendly channels routinely blast the president and the DPP government for every problem in Taiwanese society, whilst quickly glazing or flat out not mentioning many of the many mistakes the KMT routinely makes. The same but opposite can be said for the DPP friendly channels.

Surfing through the different TV news channels last night, I was appalled at the complete and utter lack of neutrality shown by these supposed news channels like TVBS and CTI. Just looking at the graphics, TVBS had the Chinese, "Bian" character, from Chen Sui Bian's name, flipped upside down in the bottom left of the TV screen. Other channels had the thumbs down graphic repeatedly giving the thumbs down with the English word, "depose" written underneath. How can any accurate or reliable news let alone information be learned from news agencies so obviously slanted towards the KMT and China? The images and comments they make only represent one side of the story, yet they broadcast under the illusion that they are doing real journalism. It would be like watching CNN or NBC and seeing "Overthrow Bush" written in the corner. It's absurd. The Taiwanese people deserve better than that.

We as a democratic and developed country are setting an example for the rest of Asia to follow. We're not as pitiful and chaotic as the KMT news would have you believe. We have the right to real and accurate information and news. What we have now is nothing more than talk shows and tabloids. I watch those for nothing more than the entertainment and the drama, not my news on world and domestic events. I want someone to present just the facts, so that I can make my own decision and opinions on developments in Taiwanese society. We're not Chinese, we have a right to have access to the truth. So if you want real news in Taiwan, speak up and demand it. Journalists in Taiwan, do your job!