Friday, November 14, 2008

Taipei Times Interview

Many of Chen’s supporters said the detention was uncalled for because the prosecution has failed to give any evidence or backing for the basis of his detention. From your observation, do you think Chen has been rightfully detained?

I don’t think we can say that things happen in Taiwan because of right or wrong. If there was really this belief in Taiwan, would the police brutality unleashed upon protesting Taiwanese citizens have occurred last week when Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) was here? If we respected what is right and wrong, would the Sunrise records store have been closed for playing a Taiwanese song? What can we say about A-bian’s detainment? The only thing I think we can say now is that it happened.

How do you think Chen’s detention will affect the Taiwanese public sentiment? Could it further fragmentize, or unite the Taiwanese people?

Well, this depends upon what viewpoint you look at Chen Suibian (陳水扁) detention from. If you’re blue-leaning, then A-bian’s (阿扁) detainment is a gift from above. With A-bian back in the news, the KMT-dominated media can continue to talk about things that are not important to Taiwan’s current situation whatsoever, like A-bian and his family. As if A-bian has anything to do with Taiwan’s current economic woes, our skyrocketing inflation, increasing unemployment, the no longer mentioned lack of Chinese tourists, or the exodus of foreign investments. If you’re green-leaning, then it’s a case of putting the blame on A-bian to take focus off the KMT’s incompetence.

A-bian’s detention will most definitely affect the public sentiment, that’s why he’s been detained. Fragmentation of Taiwan’s public has always been one of the goals of the Chinese KMT and the Chinese Communist Party. If Taiwan stays polarized, then it’s easier for the KMT and the CCP to manipulate the Taiwanese public. The last thing the KMT or the CCP want is to see the Taiwanese people united standing together with one collective voice. And why are the Chinese scared of this? Because what Taiwanese people want to say is surely not what they Chinese want to hear, just look at the reactions of Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) and Chen Yunlin.

Some argued that the Ma administration are making Chen out to be a sacrificial lamb as an apologetic offering to Beijing for Chen Yunlin’s eventful visit. However, others believe Chen deserves imprisonment? What is your take on it?

Does Chen’s detainment have anything to do with China? It most definitely does. I mean, just look at the news in China. With all that happens in Taiwan day in and day out, is any of it really newsworthy in China? No way. But as soon as Chen was detained, the Chinese propaganda machine was turned on full speed. They even referred to A-bian as, the former “local area leader” as they ran their story, sorry, propaganda. China actually thinks that as long as they don’t acknowledge the president of Taiwan that he does not exist. The Chinese government still thinks that if you don’t see or hear the opposing viewpoint, than it doesn’t exist. Huh? How can Taiwan’s future possibly lay with a Chinese government as backwards as this?

Do I think A-bian deserves imprisonment? No, but part of me thinks that he should just the serve time no matter if he’s guilty or not, just so the KMT-loving media won’t be able to use A-bian as the cause for all Taiwan’s current problems. With A-bian behind bars, all those blue TV news stations and newspapers will have to start doing something they haven’t done in a long time, report the news.

Do you believe Chen would get a fair trial? Do you think his plight was politically motivated like he claims?

Chen has about as much of a chance of getting a fair trial in Taiwan’s blue leaning judicial system, as a black person had of having a fair trial in the beginning of the civil rights struggle in the 1960’s in the US. I think it would be safe to say that we will probably find the cure for cancer before we will ever see Chen Suibian get a fair trial in Taiwan.

In Taiwan, politics is everywhere. Whether or not you want to admit to that is a totally different matter all together. Every single TV news channel and newspaper in Taiwan is politically biased and motivated. It's only a question of which way they are leaning towards. As Ma Ying Jeou continues to sell this country out to China piece by piece, shifting the focus on to A-bian is the perfect decoy. How could A-bian's detainment not be politcally motivated? The DPP are hardly even represented, let alone given the power to make any significant decisions now in Taiwan. The KMT have control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Taiwan's current problems and power to solve them lie in their hands, not in A-bian's handcuffs.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Have they lost their minds?

Last week, Taiwan was a free country where the human right to free speech and protest were respected. This week, police brutality, unseen since the days of martial law (白色恐怖), has been unleashed upon the citizens of Taiwan on direct orders from Ma Ying Jeou's (馬英九) administration in order to shield Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) from the voice of the Taiwanese people. As citizens have attempted to exercise the rights given to those in a democratic country, they have been met with authoritarian style brutality. Let me make this clear, having a democracy does not insure peace. When the democracy is threatened, citizens need to stand up and be heard. This week, tens of thousands took to the streets to let this world know that Taiwan is not a part of China, regardless of how much barbwire or how many police stood in their way.

One of the most disturbing events that transpired this week occurred on Wednesday night (11/5/08) at the Sunrise record store located near the Ambassador hotel where Chen Yunlin was having dinner with two-time presidential loser, Lien Chan ( 連戰). As protestors attempted to protest, they were forced away from the hotel by police. They approached the Sunrise record store that happened to be playing an old Taiwanese song (戀戀北迴線) loudly over their speakers, which last I checked was not against the law. Numerous TV news footage show uniformed and undercover police quickly enter the store, immediately stop the music, and then proceed to close the shop, with no warrant while hundreds of angry citizens demanded an explanation. The store owner, Chang Pi (張碧), was injured by the police and her store damaged during the incident.

So what was the official explanation given by this lame duck government? National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (
王卓鈞) actually said the reason was that the store violated the Noise Control Act (噪音管制法). In other words, just because the music was too loud, Taipei City Police Department Beitou District head Lee Han-ching (李漢卿) had no choice except to throw out all laws concerning freedom of speech and close down a privately owned records store by force. Lee actually said with a straight face that he did not hear what type of music was being played and that he will not apologize for the incident. Did Lee forget the dozens of TV news cameras that broadcast the entire incident nationwide? The one and only reason the music was shut off and the store closed was because the music that was playing was in Taiwanese. What would have happened if the store was playing Chinese, Japanese, or Spanish songs instead? Nothing.

And all this backwardness was for what purpose? To create an illusion for Chen Yunlin and his precious little eyes and ears? Chen Yunlin does not even understand Taiwanese (Aboriginal, Hakka, or Hoklo). What could possibly go wrong if he hears a Taiwanese song? I mean, he even watched the Taiwanese blockbuster movie, Cape No. 7 (
, where they speak and sing in Taiwanese throughout the film. Or did Chen watch a special edited version of Cape No. 7 (Chinese edition, No Taiwanese)?

The point I'm trying to make here is this, the democratic rights that we enjoy here in Taiwan are in grave jeopardy. Just two weeks ago, citizens could wave any flag they pleased in public. Less than a month ago, for the 10/10 celebration the KMT littered the whole of Taipei in R.O.C. flags. But as soon as Chen Yunlin arrived, no R.O.C. flag or Tibetan flag was allowed to be displayed anywhere that Chen Yunlin was scheduled to be. As citizens tried to peacefully express their opinions through the only means they had their bodies and their voices they were met with extreme police brutality. So now there is Taiwanese police beating on Taiwanese citizens for what? So that Ma Ying Jeou can help some Chinese Communist official save some face. The Taiwanese people will not sit idly by as our rights are trampled on by this China loving administration.

So after all the police and all the media hype, Ma Ying Jeou must have had so much to say to Chen Yunlin, too bad he only got seven minutes to talk to him. And after all the guessing as to whether Chen Yunlin would address Ma as president or mister, Chen decided to just use the noun, "you," too bad for "you."

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's deja vu, and not in a good way

My fellow Taiwanese brothers and sisters, what is happening to this country? Taiwan is a free and democratic country is it not? Taiwan is a country that respects the right to freedom of speech, right? Then why did when I just turn on the TV feel like I was looking at a country under martial law. Taiwan already went through the world's longest period of martial law (41 years) during the White Terror (
白色恐怖), it definitely does not need another one.

Today, I sadly watched Taiwanese police officers harassing and silencing with extreme force all Taiwanese citizens that tried to exercise their right to protest and free speech. Any R.O.C. flags or Tibetan flags that were displayed were immediately torn away from the bearers. Many of today's innocent protestors were quickly forced into the backseat of waiting police cars. All this to protect Chen Yun Lin (陳雲林), the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman, as he arrived today in Taipei to perpetuate the myth that relations between Taiwan and China are actually warming. Chen Yun Lin (陳雲林) represents China, the only country in the world that is openly hostile towards Taiwan.

How does Ma Ying Jeou ( 馬英九) and his government deal with a person like this? By deploying 10,000 Taiwanese police just to protect Chen Yun Lin's eyes and ears from seeing and hearing the voice of the Taiwanese people. By the way, the entire police force in Taiwan numbers 70,000 to put the 10,000 into perspective. If Ma Ying Jeou is so worried that Chen Yun Lin might see the R.O.C. flag or hear someone say that Taiwan is independent and not a part of China, then he should just give Chen Yun Lin a blindfold and some ear plugs. Problem solved, and just think of all the money Taiwan could save.

All jokes aside, Taiwanese people really need to take a serious look at the direction this country is headed in. Today it's barbwire fences and police harassment. What's next, jail, torture and murder? Today, by attempting to exercise the democratic rights we cherish in Taiwan, we got a taste of how things are done in China when they are faced with the truth or opposition. They use brute force, media propaganda, and brute force. Do we really want closer relations with a country like this? How exactly can a free and democratic society as Taiwan's fit into Communist China? After all the blood that Taiwanese have had to spill and all the innocent people that spent years upon years in jail so that we can vote freely, are we as Taiwanese willing to give that up?

Even with the extreme police presence, the Taiwanese people will not be intimidated or silenced. Today, I watched brave soul after brave soul stand up against all odds to exercise their rights as free citizens of this great country. I saw girls and boys, students and teachers, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers have the courage to stand and speak for us all. To those Taiwanese, I hold one fist in the air.