Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations, Press

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Taiwan dailies June 3 carried reports on President Chen
Shui-bian's intention to meet with China's President Hu
Jintao. Pro-unification "United Daily News" carried a
banner headline on its front page that read: "Bian Expects
to Attend APEC to Meet with Hu Jintao." The banner headline
on the front page of the pro-independence "Taiwan Daily"
read: "Bian is Willing to Meet Hu Jintao in a Third
Country." Both pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's
largest daily, and the pro-status quo "China Times"
downplayed the report with placement of coverage of Chen's
intention on their inner pages.

2. Most of the editorials and commentaries in the June 3
papers focused on local politics: e.g. tax reform, the
National Assembly, etc. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times," however, did look across the Taiwan Strait -- its
editorial said the Taiwan government should not fall victim
to "China fever" and not open the Chinese market to local
companies. The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" also commented on China. Its editorial focused
China's violation of press freedom as a violation of human

1. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "[If the Government Insists on] Any More Plans to
Proactively Open [to the Chinese Market], Any Measure [to
Manage this Trade] Will Be Empty Words."

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 800,000]
editorialized (6/3):

". One cannot understand [why], when China has legislated
the `Anti-Secession Law,' Taiwan government officials still
consider opening the Chinese market to local companies, such
as naphtha cracking plants, IC packaging plants, and LCD TFT
plants that produce panels under four inches. The officials
also plan to enhance the upper limit of the net-value ratio
regarding private investments in China, and to identify
loosely the qualifications for companies that are funded by
Chinese investment. One does not know whether to cry or to
laugh at the fact that these officials obviously accept the
viewpoints of the unification activists to lean toward
China, and to view `openness' and `investment in China' as
`appeals for the economy;' and they totally leave behind
`effective management,' one of the seven conclusions reached
by the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, and the DPP
to counter China's `Anti-Secession Law.'

"We can not agree with Premier Frank Hsieh's statement that
`We can profit from the China fever,' because apparently he
sees only the part where merchants could profit, but he
ignores the consequent loss to society as well as the
country. All that being said, we consider as long as
economic officials, the Presidential Office, and the
Executive Yuan do not change their wrong thinking, the China
fever (in terms of investment) will not be dampened, and the
fever will become more serious. Taiwan's economic growth
will thus surely decline. ."

2. Press Freedom

B) "Beijing Tramples Rights - Again."

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (6/3):

". Many people who hold unrealistic ideas about China often
conveniently forget, or consciously choose to turn a blind
eye, to its notorious violations of basic civil rights -
freedom of the press being just one of them. It should not
be forgotten that in China the news media is state-
controlled and is essentially a puppet, allowed to parrot
government propaganda only.

". If Beijing genuinely wishes to change the impression that
it has absolutely no respect for the rule of law and human
rights, start by according these detained journalists open
and transparent legal due process."


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