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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Ap and Cnn Incident with Vp Annette Lu;

VZCZCXYZ0022
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0555/01 0710814
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120814Z MAR 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4405
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6454
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7703

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000555

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: AP AND CNN INCIDENT WITH VP ANNETTE LU;
PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN'S "FOUR WANTS" REMARKS


1. Summary: Taiwan's newspapers March 10-12 focused their coverage
on a KMT decision to revoke the party membership of National Defense
Minister Lee Jye for agreeing to remove statues of late KMT leader
Chiang Kai-shek from military compounds.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" editorialized that that the government should
proactively market of Taiwan's democratic image in order to
highlight the differences between a democratic Taiwan and an
authoritarian China. The pro-unification "United Daily News" asked
whether the DPP request to deport an AP reporter in Taiwan is moving
Taiwan's status back to that of an authoritative regime. The
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" said, however,
that Vice President Annette Lu has been useless in promoting legal
reform and awareness of civil rights in Taiwan but has brought media
outlets such as CNN and The Associated Press (AP) to their knees for
quoting abusive language from Beijing. The pro-unification "United
Daily News" questioned in its editorial why the eradication of the
ROC would be in the interests of Taiwan people. Commentator Sun
Ching-yu opined in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" that President
Chen Shui-bian's remarks of "Four Wants and One Without" are his
style of child's play and there is no need to bother paying
attention to them. An editorial in the pro-unification "China Post"
said that Washington's reaction to President Chen's "Four Wants and
One Without" was unexpectedly mild and amounted only to a gentle
slap on the wrist. End summary.

3. Report on Annette Lu's Feud with AP and CNN

A) "The Government Should Proactively Market Taiwan's Democratic
Image

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (3/10):

"One thing worthy of paying attention to is that, although the
inappropriate words against Vice President Annette Lu came from
China's propaganda, they appeared in [the reports of]
internationally famous media such as the Associated Press and CNN.
The phenomenon indicates that some international media, perhaps
influenced by China's propaganda, or perhaps because they have
recruited more Chinese employees, or maybe both, have unconsciously
shown China's uncivilized ideology in their reports. ...

"... We believe that related government agencies in charge of
Taiwan's image should proactively market the image of Taiwan's
democracy. Especially in wide-ranging international affairs, there
are several opportunities to highlight the differences between a
democratic Taiwan and an authoritarian China."

B) "To Protest or to Oppress: The Sense of Propriety in the Dealing
with the Associated Press Incident"

The pro-unification United Daily News [circulation: 400,000] noted
in its editorial (03/10)

"... In the [Associated Press] incident, the most noticeable thing
is not the anger of Vice President Annette Lu but the radical
reaction of the DPP. It is unimaginable that the political party
elevated the 'protest' to 'deportation' within two days. Let's put
aside whether it is too severe to 'deport' a journalist whose report
is hardly vicious; how can a political party that has experienced
the oppression of press freedom by an authoritarian regime and has
claimed to 'insist 100 percent press freedom,' speak so easily of
'deportation?'

"... Since the DPP cannot discern the difference between 'protest'
and 'deportation,' it shows that the political party does not
understand the sharpness of the political sword in hand. ...
Compared with the deportation of an AP reporter 26 years ago, is
Taiwan moving backward to the status of an authoritarian regime?"


C) "Annette Lu Tames the World Press"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] said in its editorial (3/10):

"You've got to hand it to Vice President Annette Lu. As the nation's
most powerful woman and a self-declared feminist, she has been
useless in promoting legal reform and rights awareness in a country
that this week received another battering in a US State Department
report over its failure to punish physical and sexual abusers of
women and children.

"But she sure can bring media outlets like CNN and The Associated
Press (AP) to their knees for quoting abusive language from Beijing.
In the week that she announced her push for the Democratic
PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN'S "FOUR WANTS" REMARKS

Progressive Party (DPP) nomination for president, Lu pounced on two
of several news outlets that recycled the expressions "scum of the
nation" and "insane" just when she was looking to make an extra
headline out of her campaign launch.

"Beijing's insults are ludicrous and demean every Taiwanese. But
they are dramatic, and to many entertaining, which is why news
agencies and correspondents turn to them when they seek to spice up
their stories. For years, this newspaper has criticized
international news agencies for misrepresenting Taiwan and
portraying it as a "renegade Chinese province" at the expense of the
Taiwanese view. In this instance, however, AP and CNN were simply
playing the same old tune. While objectionable, these kinds of
reports are nothing new."

4. President Chen Shui-bian's "Four Wants" Remarks

D) "Why Eradicate the ROC?"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] said
in its editorial (3/12):

"... There are at least three points opened for debate in President
Chen's manipulation [of 'Four Wants and One Without.'] First, the
shift has moved the statement of Taiwan's sovereignty from
'completed Taiwan independence,' meaning that Taiwan 'is already
independent,' to 'Taiwan independence in progress,' meaning that
Taiwan 'has yet become independent.' Is this shift a move forward
or backward? Second, the 'Resolution on Taiwan's Future' is an
official document passed by the DPP through a democratic mechanism
within the party, while Chen Shui-bian's remarks of 'Four Wants and
One Without' are only his political manipulation. Third, from the
perspective that Taiwan must maintain its relations with the U.S.
and defend against China, will the 'Republic of China in the form of
a completed Taiwan independence' or 'Republic of Taiwan in the
progress of Taiwan independence' be more advantageous to Taiwan?

"... When the United States and Taiwan have drawn their bottom line
on 'de jure Taiwan independence,' they have shown explicitly that
other than 'de jure Taiwan independence,' the status quo and
development of the 'Republic of China' can both be maintained. In
other words, it is okay if the national title of the Republic of
China is not changed; to some extent, this is the realization of
'Republic of China in the form of Taiwan independence.'

"However, the moves of 'name changes and constitutional reform'
adopted by Chen Shui-bian and the DPP have narrowed the definition
of Taiwan independence and moved backward to 'change in the national
title and construct a new Constitution.' These are tantamount to
denigrating the ROC and resenting the ROC, and are digging one's own
grave in terms of politics. 'ROC' is what Taiwan's life depends on;
why expose it to the risk of death?"

E) "Don't Bother to Pay Attention to A-Bian's Style of Child's
Play"

Commentator Sun Ching-yu opined in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily" [circulation: 580,000] (03/10):

"... All in all, the remarks of 'Four Wants and One Without' are
another A-Bian style of child's play. The United States and China
have heard them several times and are therefore reluctant to
respond. Taiwan people and media should not be serious about them
at all. Just take it as the government is supporting a person who
has nothing to do. ..."

F) "A Slap on the Wrist"

An editorial in the pro-unification China Post [circulation: 30,000]
said that (03/10):

"... Washington's reaction was unexpectedly mild. State Department
Spokesman Sean McCormack commented the following day that Chen's
rhetoric was 'unhelpful.' It was a gentle slap on Chen's wrist.

"McCormack was unusually mealy-mouthed. 'The United States does not
support independence for Taiwan,' he reiterated Washington's
position. 'President Bush has repeatedly underscored his opposition
to unilateral changes to the status quo by either Taipei or
Beijing,' he said, adding, 'any rhetoric that would raise doubts'
about Chen's inaugural commitments and guarantees to renounce Taiwan
independence is 'unhelpful.'

"In fact, 'unhelpful' was the only word the State Department had
chosen to comment on Chen's latest utterance. In the lead-up to the
2008 presidential elections, Taiwan's citizens may expect more of
such diplomatic rhetoric from Washington, as our fire-brand
president is bound to make repeated challenges to Washington's
PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN'S "FOUR WANTS" REMARKS

one-China policy and Beijing's red line on Taiwan independence."

YOUNG

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