Defense report on China published in comic book version

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - Page 3

While the serious issue of the Chinese military possibly becoming capable of a full-on assault against Taiwan in 2020 was highlighted in the Ministry of National Defense’s 12th National Defense Report released on Tuesday, a slightly more acerbic satire on the issue of corruption in the Chinese government was highlighted in a comic version of the report published by the ministry.

The comic version chose a lighter approach to the issue, portraying the case of fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai (薄熙來) as political infighting and jabbing at the corruption in the higher echelons of Chinese government.

Once a high-flying politician, Bo was sentenced to life in prison by a court on Sept. 22 after a sensational corruption trial that exposed intrigue and lavish lifestyles in the higher levels of the Chinese Communist Party.

The comic points out that there were many uncertainties in China that could affect China’s national defense or cross-strait relations, citing human rights, freedom of speech, corruption, low-quality construction and repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang and Tibetans in Tibet as examples.

The comic appeared to satirize the Chinese government and reported corruption by showing a dam holding back placards about corruption, public menace, rallies and discontent, human rights issues and the growing gap between rich and poor in China.

The comic showed that the dam had cracks in multiple places, with a conversation bubble saying: “At what great cost the maintenance of the dam comes!”

Another jab at the reportedly rampant corruption in China was a cartoon in which high-ranking Chinese officials were seen holding symbols of wealth siphoned from the Chinese people and standing beside a plane.

The pictures were accompanied by a conversation bubble saying: “Goodbye! The wise are [those] that make enough money then take the money [with them] when immigrating to a new home!”

Ministry officials yesterday said the comic aimed to reflect on China’s societal problems, adding that the ministry respects the artist’s method of depicting such issues.