Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 8 News List


Diaoyutai silliness

Here’s my take on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) reaction to former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) remarks on the islands that periodically stir up controversy. From a US perspective, the Diaoyutai (釣魚台) islands (also known as the Senkaku islands) are Japanese territory. The US returned them to Japan decades ago and they have been physically patrolled by Japanese authorities ever since.

Back in June, the Japanese government handled the collision between a Taiwanese fishing boat and a Japanese coast guard more thoughtfully than the Taiwanese government. Japan apologized and offered compensation to the Taiwanese fishermen.

However, the Taiwanese government unnecessarily raised tensions by hinting at military action and recalling its envoy to Tokyo.

The Japanese public should realize the distinction between “Taiwanese government” and “Taiwanese people.” While the people value sovereignty, reclaiming the islands probably isn’t high on their priority list.

Unfortunately, the Taiwanese electorate unwisely voted control of both the executive and legislative branches to the KMT earlier this year. They are now stuck with a Chinese entity that is going full speed ahead to de-Taiwanize and sell out the country to China.

Why did Taipei threaten war in June over an uninhabited rock and risk ruining relations with an ally? As some KMT members have significant financial interests in China, they appear to be willing to do the bidding of communist China.

Why recall its envoy to Japan? The KMT did so not because it stood up for Taiwan, but because it was a convenient way to remove a holdover from the previous pro-Taiwan administration.

While Taiwan and Japan have had disputes before regarding the islands, dealing with the matter rationally is preferable to inflammatory behavior.

Japanese have nothing to fear from Taiwanese. Both are allies with a shared history and an interest in a peaceful and secure future.

Unfortunately, a combination of Taiwanese naivete and KMT greed are poisoning the relations between the two countries.

Until more Taiwanese voters wisen up, the sinister influence of Beijing on the KMT administration will strain the relationship between Taiwan and Japan.


Richmond, California

A million fake degrees

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) plan to recognize Chinese degrees and qualifications should be reconsidered. Even in democratic and moderately transparent Taiwan, there is a tendency among lecturers and universities to “alter” the grades of their students.

The result is that it is not unusual for an entire class to score between 85 percent and 95 percent on an exam, not to mention the number of worthless degrees granted in this country, where students just have to turn up and pay tuition to be awarded a “master’s degree.”

If this behavior is common here, there is reason to believe that a similar phenomenon — likely far worse — prevails in China.

For anyone who has any doubts about the complicity of Chinese officials in doctoring documents, the case of the smallest Chinese gold-medal-winning gymnast at the Olympics, who according to previous official documents was about 14 years-old at the time of the Games, should seal the deal.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), the gold medalist is now recorded as being born on Jan. 1, 1992.

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