The Neihu household’s in an uproar, and the Chicoms are to blame.
It started with an invitation to yours truly, addressed as “Tongbao Johnny,” to come on an all-expenses paid junket to Crazyland (read: China).
Per the invitation, I and my family would stay at the best suites of the choicest hotels, get chauffered around in limos by local Party hacks, and slurp up shark’s fin soup at the finest restaurants Province X had to offer.
Or, if I wished to leave my family behind, I’d enjoy the “highest class” entertainment (wink, wink), including the best single-malt Scotch that money can buy and the company of top-caliber Mongolian escorts.
I have to admit, they really had my number on that one. Tempting. But no cigar.
Then it got worse. Came the letter addressed to the old lady Cathy Pacific, inviting her on an all-expenses paid shopping trip to the flagship Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai.
After I faxed that letter to a post office in the middle of nowhere down in the southeast, the rumblings from my normally stone cold sober, wayward beloved began — as did the rationalizations for accepting the offers (“We should see the real China for ourselves,” “But isn’t it a polite invitation!” and “But it’s been so long since I had a new LV bag!”).
The final straw came when a package of gourmet dog chow appeared mysteriously at our door with the note, “To Punkspleen. There’s more where this came from — lots more. Hope to see you soon in Zhongnanhai! Wang, wang! — Comrade Hu.”
Now I’m no spring chicken when it comes to China’s “United Front” strategy, but this is getting ridiculous.
What’s going on here? Simple. The Chicoms have ramped up their campaign to win over “real” Taiwanese.
They’ve already got the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in their pocket. Now it’s time to co-opt those greens who can be co-opted … and it’s heat-seeking missiles for the rest.
As former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hotshot Parris Chang (張旭成) put it in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: “The Communist Party’s United Front Department is actively recruiting potential fellow travelers inside the DPP, hoping to sow discord in the party and play one faction against the other.”
One example: “Beijing has discreetly sent out a feeler to former Vice President Annette Lu [呂秀蓮], inviting her to visit China ... While she has not yet announced whether she’ll go — she may wait until her publishing venture is more firmly established — the invitation itself has created waves within the DPP.”
That ain’t the half of it. According to my sources, which include but are not solely limited to the guy who hands me my morning youtiao, these kinds of “feelers” have of late been going out by the mailbag-full.
Forget the 1,000-plus missiles pointed at the “separatists” here. It’s the 1,000-plus junket invitations lobbed over by the Chicoms that are the real problem.
A flurry has gone out for an upcoming cross-strait forum in Fujian Province (May 15-May 22), my sources say.
According to the Chicoms’ International Press Center Web site, the forum will include a “Gala Evening with the theme ‘China Passion and Straits Connection’ in Xiamen, ‘Exhibitions on Fujian and Taiwan Family Tree and Cultural Heritage,’ a ‘Fujian Women Dancing Competition’ in Quanzhou [sign me up for that one], and on Monday, May 18, a ‘Match-making of Cross-straits Trade Union (Fuzhou).”
All fine and good. The catch: The Chicoms are aggressively recruiting a few token “greens” to attend the forum, so they can make a big deal out of how inclusive they’re being.
Speaking of offers that are hard to refuse, Taiwan’s special prosecutors this week added a few more bribery charges against ex-prez Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). As if the existing pile of charges — already sufficient to put him in jail for life if he’s found guilty — weren’t enough.
According to The Associated Press (AP), the new charges related to NT$290 million (US$8.8 million) in bribes allegedly taken by the president and his wife in seven installments from 2002 to 2005.
The best part: Prosecutors’ spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) said the businessman who coughed up the cash — Jeffrey Koo, Jr (辜仲諒) — “is considered to be the victim of the crime” because the first family demanded he pay the money.
Koo has denied allegations that he bribed the first family, “saying the money was a political donation to Chen’s Democratic Progressive Party.”
So let me get this straight: The money was a political donation until A-bian and his wife got their paws on it, at which point it turned into a bribe.
But then again, why believe The Associated Press?
After all, if the government is to be believed, AP’s coverage is the journalistic equivalent of bleach-soaked Chinese chopsticks.
Why? The AP reported on the Shuaige-in-Chief’s news conference about the World Health Organization’s invitation to Taiwan to join this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA).
Anyone who’s been following Taiwan news knows that for more than a decade, objections from Beijing and its proxies in the UN have sunk Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHA. Sadly, the only way our dear island could win observership is if Beijing either tacitly or directly gave Geneva the green light.
But AP’s headline obviously touched a nerve.
Said Deputy Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言), according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur: “The AP story’s headline reads: ‘Taiwan president: China approves island WHO role.’ This is totally untrue, therefore, the Presidential Office should ask AP to run a correction and AP should apologize to the Taiwan government.”
Government spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) piled it on, saying “it was not the first time AP had made a similar mistake and added that he hoped AP would improve the quality of its news coverage.”
The foreign ministry then “reiterated that Taiwan’s accession to the WHA as an observer was the result of direct consultation with the WHO and not via Beijing,” according to the rag you’re holding in your hot little hands.
Apparently, the government wants us to believe that we got in the WHA this year because the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government worked harder.
Right — so why then did Ma himself give partial credit for the breakthrough to “China’s goodwill,” according to several media outlets?
Embarrassingly for the government, WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham chimed in.
“Abraham said the WHO understands that the use of the name Chinese Taipei and other issues have been ‘mutually agreed to by both parties across the Taiwan Strait. And the agreement has been conveyed to the director-general.’ Abraham denied that the WHO played any role in the negotiations leading to the outcome.
“‘There’s no negotiation with the WHO. The WHO was not involved at all,’ the spokesman said, noting that [Director-General Margaret] Chan [陳馮富珍] was simply notified of the consensus and proceeded to issue the invitation.”
Awkward. So what did the government have to say to that?
The ministry does not comment on media reports, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政), in response to the poo-storm that began when his own deputy minister commented on a media report.
As the old big nose saying goes, the truth hurts.
Or, to paraphrase former US vice president Al Gore, sometimes the truth is bu fangbian.
Got something to tell Johnny? Get it off your chest: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, but put “Dear Johnny” in the subject line or he’ll mark your bouquets and brickbats as spam.
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