Two Chinese phrases describe the Ishihara incident and the pan-blue camp's reaction quite vividly. One is " good friends bring charcoal on a snowy day." The other is "foes pull oil onto a house fire" (Value Ishihara's friendship, Oct. 29, page 8.)
In the context of ongoing harassment from China, pan-blue camp politicians and pro-China media don't even try to hide their intention to put oil onto Taiwan's diplomatic house fire. Taiwanese had no part in either the Sino-Japanese war or the Chinese civil war. Yet pan-blue politicians have constantly dragged the country into a hate-mongering game, and used any excuse to sabotage Taiwan's relationship with Japan.
From "Bulletgate" to "sexual harassment by President Chen Shui-bian" and now Ishihara's "special privilege," it appears that even if there's no house fire in Taiwan's diplomacy, pro-China politicians and media are ready to set one at any time.
Isihara's willingness to stand up for Taiwan is not only what a true friend would do, but also runs a considerable risk. Indeed, it may well bring him harassment from China. He has already seen that from Chinese in Taiwan, and with Chinese fans after the fateful soccer Asia Cup match between China and Japan. That makes his friendship not only rare but also treasured all the more.
I can only pray that Taiwanese voters will recognize who is friend and who foe in the upcoming legislative elections. They should recognize the source of their predicament and vote accordingly.