Thu, Jan 01, 2009 - Page 8

Mapping a grim future

Only seven months into the new government’s administration, it appears that the monolithic party-state of the 1945-1996 era has been reanimated, albeit dressed in the emperor’s new clothes. If there was the slightest movement toward a separation of powers during the Chen administration, the direction now is away from it, and at a gallop.

Unacceptable is the barefaced arrogance of refusing to take responsibility for errors such as the Maokong Gondola fiasco, wasting money on again renaming the Post Office, police removing the national flag to please Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), the kangaroo court/media trial of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the obviously politicized and grossly mishandled prosecutions of Democratic Progressive Party officials and the astounding insouciance of foreign interloper Diane Lee (李慶安) in the face of concrete evidence of her mendacity and fraud.

Rule of law in Taiwan is undermined when the most senior and authoritative leaders not only breach basic standards of political ethics but also adopt a diversionary strategy of denial and tit-for-tat mudslinging, especially when guilt is almost incontrovertible.

Most offensive, though, is the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) mission to “localize” Taiwan and downgrade its national sovereignty, heedless of the wishes of a majority of residents. “Regional President” Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) absurd and unsupportable claim that Taiwan is a region of the Republic of China (ROC) that includes China and Mongolia is a clear attempt to “internalize” the “Taiwan issue” within a China framework as a prelude to the merging of Chinese and ROC administrative borders and jurisdictions.

J.B. Harley describes a map as a partisan assertion on the nature of space concealed beneath a veneer of representational veracity, an assertion often deployed to subject space to particular social and commercial interests.

Both Japanese and ROC occupations of Taiwan are classic examples of hegemonic cadres attempting to impose a map upon a territory by force in the hope that, given enough time, it will reify into permanent economic, cultural and political institutions.

It is the ongoing tragedy of Taiwan that foreign powers such as China, the US and the KMT continue to refuse to allow the Taiwanese to choose for themselves. In 2006, Ma stated that it was his goal “to shape domestic conditions for unification and plant the unification idea deep in every sector of society in order to move from an anti-independence strategy toward a pro-unification push.” Evidence suggests that this process is well under way.

The KMT is pursuing peace at any cost regardless of the wishes of the electorate, whose sense of “local-national” belonging the party seems to regard with contempt and disdain. One can only hope that a semblance of democracy, human rights and self-determination remains by the next presidential election in 2012, or at least enough for Taiwanese to be able to repair the damage caused to their nation, state and sovereignty by the actions of greedy, short-sighted, reckless and blithe champagne-swilling surrender-pandas.

Here’s to the hope of a happier new year.


Taihsi, Yunlin County

No more tantrums

I have been reading and appreciating the Taipei Times for several years, but your recent editorial (“China’s growing leverage on Israel” Dec. 30, page 8) appalled me.

Your statement, “as has happened countless times since the first Intifada, with full US backing, Israel feels no compunction in razing neighborhoods or killing innocent people in its efforts to defend itself” shows not merely an ideological bias, which is acceptable in an editorial, but a scholarly laziness and ignorance that is inexcusable for a newspaper that purports to be Taiwan’s newspaper of record.

You write as if Israel were a monolith. Is it your contention that hundreds of civil society and aid organizations, which include martial as well as peaceful extremists, every soldier, every member of parliament, every government agency and all 7 million citizens of Israel (one third of whom are of Arab ethnicity) are all as cold-hearted as you have described them in one meager sentence?

I would go further and ask what the purpose of your editorial is. Is it to condemn Israeli “aggression” or make a reasoned argument on the relationship between Israel and China?

You would do service to your readers by providing balanced perspectives on one of the world’s most complex sociopolitical conflicts instead of using your editorial to throw tantrums.