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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, China's Human Rights, Sixtieth

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0465/01 0600852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010852Z MAR 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4266
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6412
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7656

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000465

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - LLOYD NEIGHBORS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAN, CHINA'S HUMAN RIGHTS, SIXTIETH
ANNIVERSARY OF TAIWAN'S 2-28 INCIDENT


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage February 28 - March 1 on the sixtieth anniversary of the
2-28 Incident, on the sudden tumble of China's stock market Tuesday,
and on the 2008 presidential elections. The pro-status quo "China
Times" carried the results of its latest survey on page four March
1, which showed that former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou remains the
most popular KMT candidate for the 2008 presidential election, while
Premier Su Tseng-chang is the DPP's best hope among the party's four
bigwigs.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "China Times" column
discussed Washington's policy toward Iran and urged the United
States to make a security commitment to Iran and Syria rather than
simply intimidating them. An editorial in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" discussed Chinese President Hu Jintao's personal
approval of Gao Yaojie, a Chinese veteran AIDS fighter, having
received an award in the United States. The article said when it
comes to human rights condition in China as a whole, there is still
ample room for the Beijing government to show more democracy and
more tolerance. With regard to the 2-28 Incident, an editorial in
the limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" said the biggest change for this year is the DPP government's
decision to name Chiang Kai-shek as the "primary culprit" for the
2-28 Incident. Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Randall Schriver opined in both the pro-independence "Liberty
Times," and its sister publication, the English-language "Taipei
Times," that both the American people and U.S. policymakers should
care about the tragic events of 2-28. End summary.

3. Iran

"The United States Should Allow Iran and Syria to Dialogue with It
with Dignity"

The "International Outlook" column in the pro-status quo "China
Times" [circulation: 400,000] noted (3/1):

"... Dr. Hans Blix, [former head of the UN nuclear weapons
inspection,] also mentioned about security commitment [in a recent
seminar], which is in reality the key to the entire matter. Be it
Iraq, North Korea, or even Syria, they have all been listed by the
United States as nations of the 'axis of evil,' against which
Washington can use force anytime it wants. Under such
circumstances, how can they not think of ways to defend themselves?
If the United States can make a security commitment to Iran and
Syria instead of intimidating them, the talks [with them] will come
out favorably. But if Washington fails to elaborate on this point
and just lets Iraq work as white gloves and does only limited
mediation, it is certain that such a dialogue will be meaningless."

4. China's Human Rights

"Another Perspective: Beijing Ought to View and Handle the Human
Rights Issue in a More Proactive Manner"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (3/1):

"... Hu Jintao's personal approval of [Chinese AIDS activist] Gao
Yaojie to visit the United States seemed a move to show regard for
the face of Hillary [Clinton] but, in reality, Beijing also won
itself face. Even though we do not want to come to the sudden
conclusion that the Beijing authorities have tried to become more
flexible or more open, we can at least say that China has gradually
overcome its psychological barrier and will no longer regard
dissidents' public criticisms against the Chinese government as
traitorous actions. We would rather see it as a gratifying change.
... With regard to the matter of Gao Yaojie, Hu has demonstrated
full confidence. But judging from human rights conditions in China
as a whole, there is still ample room for the Beijing government to
show more democracy and more tolerance. The world should applaud
Gao for winning the U.S. human rights award. But it will be a more
significant milestone in terms of human rights if one day she can
get a medal from her own government."

5. Sixtieth Anniversary of Taiwan's 2-28 Incident

A) "Historical Record Is Key to Justice"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000]

"Today is the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident, a political and
social watershed that still has the potential to split the nation.
... This year, the biggest change has been the government's
decision to name dictator Chiang Kai-shek as primary culprit for the
228 Incident. This may bring some comfort to the families of
victims, and it is a credible assertion based on the evidence, but

it has been too long in coming. ... The 228 Incident has come to
crystallize the beginning of a string of tragedies and abuses that
began almost immediately after KMT troops arrived in Taiwan at the
end of World War II. These abuses, including the security census
and the White Terror that followed the 228 Incident, must never be
forgotten if this nation is to arrive at a just reading of the past.
..."

B) "The 228 Incident and American Perceptions"

Randall Schriver, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state
for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a founding partner of
Armitage International, opined in the pro-independence "Liberty
Times" [circulation: 500,000] and the paper's sister publication,
the English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (2/28):

"... By failing to appreciate the tremendous significance of 228 for
Taiwanese to this day, US officials operate in a policy environment
characterized by a huge disconnect between those in Taiwan (for whom
228 continues to loom large) and those in Washington (for whom 228
means very little). This disconnect can be consequential in the
management of US-Taiwan bilateral relations, and in shaping
respective views on the cross-strait situation. ...

"We do know that many in the US government today lack an
understanding of the passion behind such proposals in Taiwan, and
thus tend to take a cynical view of such initiatives. What's worse,
they often tend to learn about policy developments of this nature
from China's demarches and complaints, rather than from an informed
reading of contemporary Taiwanese politics. This is not a lengthy
wind-up in preparation for an apology for US ignorance. Rather,
it's meant as a cautionary note to friends in Taiwan who are
endeavoring to deepen and strengthen Taiwan's democracy, and who
feel that historical rectification should be a part of that agenda.
...

"Where does this leave us? Clearly Americans should care about the
tragic events of 228. And US policymakers certainly should care. I
applaud the efforts of Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans who are
determined to see that we remember the past, and that we are
informed by those events as we endeavor to produce wise policies for
today's challenges. However, Taiwanese leaders must also understand
that their own policy choices will be evaluated by not the Americans
they wish they had but by the Americans they have. The very
necessary work of healing old wounds in Taiwan must proceed. But
Taiwan's leaders should advance their agenda of historical
rectification with a realpolitik appreciation for international
spillover."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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