Cablegate: Media Reaction: Aftaermath of the Presidential Recall
DE RUEHIN #2245/01 1810042
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300042Z JUN 06 ZDK
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0939
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5361
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6569
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002245
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - ERIC BARBORIAK
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFTAERMATH OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RECALL
1. Summary: As the presidential recall attempt came to an end,
Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies began to shift their focus
June 29 to possible discord between President Chen Shui-bian (DPP)
and former President Lee Teng-hui (Taiwan Solidarity Union) and
between the KMT and the PFP, as well as on a speculated alliance
between Lee and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou. News coverage also
focused on investigation into the alleged role of the First Family's
personal physician in First Lady Wu Shu-chen's involvement in the
Sogo Department Store gift certificates scandal, and the probe into
the Presidential Office's special allowance expenditures; and the
year-end Taipei-Kaohsiung mayoral races. The pro-independence
"Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, carried the results of a
latest DPP survey on page two, which showed that KMT Chairman Ma's
approval rating has dropped a sharp 20 percent from 75 percent to 55
percent. The same poll also found that the KMT's approval rating
also dropped from 40 percent to 25 percent, while the DPP's approval
rating rose slightly to 17 percent.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial defined the so-called 'nativist line,' saying it is not
linked to any certain individual or political party. The editorial
said that any regime that identifies with the Taiwan-centered entity
and is willing to carry out ideals such as reforms,
incorruptibility, progress, and prosperity can be viewed as a
nativist regime. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" urged President
Chen to get down to business and work to regain the people's
confidence in the integrity of his DPP administration and its
ability to govern. An editorial in the pro-status quo "China Times"
said the Green camp's corruption is not equal to the Blue camp's
cleanliness, and this is the biggest trial facing Ma Ying-jeou. An
editorial in the limited-circulation, conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" urged the opposition parties to return
to a more moderate path in the wake of the Legislative Yuan's vote
on the presidential recall motion. End summary.
A) "Nativist Line Is to Identify with Taiwan-Centered Entity - And
to Carry out Ideals of Reform, Cleanliness, and Progress"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
"... What is the so-called nativist line? It contains several major
concepts: democracy, reform, incorruptibility, progress,
prosperity, a common destiny, and Taiwan-centered awareness. First,
the reason to start a nativist line is because the totalitarian rule
of foreign regimes over the past few centuries has awakened the
Taiwan people's consciousness to become their own masters. ... As a
result, to identify with the Taiwan-centered entity ranks as the top
key point of a nativist line. But to ensure that the nativist line
will last forever, the move to consolidate and concentrate
Taiwan-centered awareness alone is insufficient; more importantly,
it is about presenting visions about democracy, reform,
incorruptibility, progress, and prosperity. In other words, the
ideal of a nativist line is not simply to pursue an independent
sovereignty; it is more important to build a country of prosperity
and justice, in which all the people can live under a happy, free
and democratic system. ...
"... Having clarified the concept and meaning of the nativist line,
the term 'nativist regime' will no longer be misleading and
distorted. The term will no longer be linked or equal to any
certain individual or political party. Any regime that identifies
with the Taiwan-centered entity and is willing to carry out ideals
such as reforms, incorruptibility, progress and prosperity can be
viewed as a nativist regime, and any regime that violates what the
nativist line and the people have entrusted to it is not regarded as
a nativist regime. ..."
B) "Chen Must Get Back to Business"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (6/29):
"After surviving the opposition's attempt to oust him on Tuesday in
the country's first-ever presidential recall vote, this is not the
time for President Chen Shui-bian to sit back and relax. With less
than two years left in office, Chen needs to get down to business
and work to regain the people's confidence in the integrity of his
Democratic Progressive Party administration and its ability to
govern. ... True leadership shines through difficult times. Chen
has the responsibility to live up to the public's expectations and
focus on pushing ahead with effective policies that best serve the
public and Taiwan's national interests. He should remember that the
public has entrusted him with a precious honor - to go down in
history as the head of the first pro-localization regime in Taiwan.
The rest of his legacy is something that he has to work on now."
C) "A Look at Ma Ying-jeou's Predicament from Several Recent
The pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] noted in an
"As expected, under the DPP's counterattacks, the presidential
recall motion failed to pass in the Legislative Yuan. The Taiwan
people will surely remember that DPP legislators tied their whole
party to Chen Shui-bian's family, and the DPP may have to pay a
price for this in the future. But the people's displeasure with the
DPP is one thing, and whether they will turn their displeasure into
support for the KMT and the PFP is something else.
"Many opinion polls showed that no matter how fiercely the scandals
involving the First Family escalated, 20 to 30 percent of local
people said they still support the DPP. Without a doubt, a minority
of these nearly 30 percent of Taiwan people [do not support the
pan-Blue camp] because of their narrow-minded nativist or ethnic
consciousness, but still, most people also 'do not believe the KMT
is clean anyway.' The many scandals surrounding the First Family
and President Chen's close aides over the past few months more or
less manifested the ruling party's 'corrupt' image. But the Green
camp's corruption does not mean that the Blue camp is clean, and
that explains why the Blue camp has yet to fulfill their hope to
create a comparison between 'cleanliness and corruption.' Frankly
speaking, this is the KMT's biggest problem and the biggest trial
facing Ma Ying-jeou. ..."
D) "The Opposition Should Be Moderate in Action"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] wrote in an editorial (6/29):
"... Ma is said to have decided to take his party back to the
'middle road,' or a moderate course, after the recall attempt.
Soong has expressed dissatisfaction with the plan, but, in our view,
a moderate course will be in the best interests of the opposition.
The campaign to oust Chen has had a negative impact on social
stability. Although it won widespread support, it has triggered
some criticism among independent voters, who are normally annoyed by
political strife. ... If Chen and his family are involved in more
corruption cases and if the DPP continues to disappoint the people
by failing to improve the residents' livelihoods, they will be the
victims of their own actions in future elections. In a democracy,
elections are the best way for the people to put an end to
government corruption and to eliminate incompetent politicians."