Cablegate: Media Reaction: The Chinese Crackdown On the Demonstrations
DE RUEHIN #0374/01 0771029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171029Z MAR 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8389
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7957
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9211
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000374
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: THE CHINESE CRACKDOWN ON THE DEMONSTRATIONS
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage March 15-17 on China's brutal suppression of the
demonstrations in Lhasa; on the presidential election; and the DPP's
and the KMT's respective campaign rallies on Sunday. Beijing's
bloody suppression of demonstrations in Tibet received extensive
editorial attention in Taiwan's newspapers, especially in
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, besides condemning the
Chinese government's violent suppression of the unrest, most
newspapers tried to use the incident in Tibet as a mirror of
Taiwan's future, especially if Taiwan elects KMT presidential
candidate Ma Ying-jeou as president. A satirical cartoon on the
opinion page of the pro-independence "Liberty Times" on March 17
depicted Chinese President Hu Jintao standing on a tank calling KMT
Ma Ying-jeou and telling Ma to learn from him how to deal with
riots. A commentary in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
criticized China's ruthless suppression of the Tibetan unrest,
saying that Tibetans want freedom and to retain their culture. A
column in the "Apple Daily" implied that the DPP is going to use
recent incidents in Tibet as leverage to make Taiwan's public
opinion more favorable to itself before the presidential election.
An editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" urged the
Taiwan people to see the true face of the Chinese Communists in
light of the violent suppression in Tibet. An editorial in the
pro-independence, English-language daily "Taipei Times" suggested
that China will not have an easy time of it, since the Beijing
Olympics are approaching while the Tibet issue has broken out
unexpectedly. End summary.
3. The Chinese Crackdown on the Demonstrations in Tibet
A) "Blood-stained Tibet: A Mirror of Taiwan"
Weng Shih-chieh, the Deputy Secretary-General of Taiwan-Tibet
Exchange Foundation, opined in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
[circulation 520,000] (3/17):
"... With the bloody suppression of Tibetans juxtaposed to China's
self-proclaimed peaceful rise, ... what is left to this regime
besides the essence of violence? The Chinese Communists use state
violence to destroy the state of Tibet and makes it hard to revive
and re-establish [Tibet], which is the highest guiding principle of
its Tibet policy. This explains why China will resort to anything
and all costs to continue trying to annihilate Tibet, consistent
with the Chinese authorities' way of "assimilation or annihilation."
If China has done this to Tibet, will it have a different strategy
toward Taiwan? A bloody Tibet absolutely needs our compassion and
support. At the same time, it is the best mirror for Taiwan."
B) "The Distant Drumbeats"
Antonio Chiang, a political analyst, commented in his daily column
in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
"... In fact, the Dalai Lama is the Chinese Communists' last chance
to resolve the Tibet issue peacefully. Once the Dalai Lama is no
longer alive, the Tibetan independence [activists] will be more
radical, because no one will be able to restrain them. One day, if
the Tibetan and the Xinjiang independence [movements] integrate and
fight together, half of mainland China will be engulfed.
"The Tibetan uprising and the KMT's one-China market have no
correlation. But to the DPP, it is like a distant drumbeat bringing
inexplicable encouragement in the last days of the election
C) "The Apocalypse of [Chinese] Suppression and the Tibetan Uprising
- Taiwan Should Recognize the True Face of the Chinese Communists"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
"... Nonetheless, Taiwan is in a circumstance more disadvantageous
than that of Tibet in those years [1950s]. First, there is an
internal divergence in national identity; some people [implying KMT
presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou] advocate ultimate unification
and agree with the one-China principle. These all undoubtedly
provide China the legitimacy to invade Taiwan. These people, in the
overall roadmap for ultimate unification, even propose an
interactive structure [with China], such as a 'one-China market,'
'cross-Strait common market,' or 'cross-Strait peace agreement,
[with policies] from [encouraging] industries to look west,
recognizing the Chinese [educational] credentials, allowing Chinese
investors to purchase real estate in Taiwan, opening up Taiwan to
Chinese tourists and Chinese goods, etc. and will make Taiwan
integrate into China without notice and [make it] hard to separate
[from China]. In other words, when the one-China market is
achieved, it is not far from political unification as well. Tibet
was forced to make peace [with China] under military disadvantage in
those years, but Taiwan at the moment has a significant force
leaning towards China. Therefore the circumstances in Taiwan are
more dangerous than those of Tibet [in the 1950s]. ..."
D) "Tibet: Now the Debacle Starts"
The pro-independence, English-language daily "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (3/15):
"... With the British government already expressing concern over the
unrest in southwest China, it remains a matter of time before more
conscientious governments in the West -- especially those in
northern Europe -- begin to juggle the implications of recommending
an Olympic boycott to the national Olympic committees. ...
"There are five months until the Olympics. With this early outbreak
of public anger against despotism, the time ahead is bound to
increasingly rattle Olympic sponsors, frighten the Chinese
government and unnerve even the most mercenary of International
Olympic Committee bureaucrats.
"For everyone else with a trace of conscience and a grasp of
diplomacy, the truth is out: The Beijing Olympics debacle has