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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Political Situation

VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2870 2300901
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180901Z AUG 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1720
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5551
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6767

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002870

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - SCOTT WALKER
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: TAIWAN'S POLITICAL SITUATION


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to
focus their coverage August 18 on former DPP Chairman Shih
Ming-teh's efforts to oust President Chen Shui-bian, and
investigations into the Presidential Office's special state affairs
expense account. The pro-status quo "China Times" front-paged the
results of its latest survey, which showed that the approval ratings
for both President Chen Shui-bian and the DPP fell to new lows of 18
percent. The newspaper also ran a banner headline on page three
that read "54 Percent of People Polled Want Bian to Step Down, a
Historical New High."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, criticized
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou and his pro-China, anti-Japan stance as he
is about to complete his first year as the party chairman tomorrow.
An editorial in the pro-unification "United Daily News," on the
other hand, regarded former DPP Chairman Shih's campaign to oust
Chen as a no-confidence vote on him. End summary.

A) "Ma Ying-jeou Shows His Real Face"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (8/18):

"... During the period when Lien Chan was the KMT chairman, both the
ruling and opposition parties were engaged in irrational
confrontations in the Legislative Yuan, which basically stalled the
entire government's operations. After Ma Ying-jeou took the helm at
the KMT, his practices did not match the rational, gentle image that
he claimed to have created, and bills related to arms sales and
appointments of Control Yuan members were boycotted [by the pan-Blue
camp] as before. Pointless infighting and spinning remained the key
notes of Blue-Green confrontations over the past year. What the
outside is concerned with, in particular, are Ma's ethnic ideology
and his positions on unification and independence. Ma seems to have
shown his real face within just one year. Over this past year, Ma,
who used to label himself as one of the 'new Taiwan people,' brought
up the discourse about [Taiwan's] 'ultimate unification [with
China]' without any hesitation, showing his 'pro-China and
anti-Japan' tendency. ... In short, to put it bluntly, Ma's goal to
run for the chairmanship of the KMT was to pave the way for his
presidential campaign in 2008. As to whether Ma is capable of
running a country, and whether he has the determination and courage
to consolidate the Taiwan-centered values, his performance over the
past year has provided sufficient material for the voters to examine
[and decide]."

B) "A Million People Each Donating One Hundred New Taiwan Dollars Is
A No-Confidence Referendum on President Chen"

"... This campaign [of collecting NT$100 each from a million Taiwan
people] is not merely a warm-up for the movement to oust Bian; it is
in the meantime a campaign for the Taiwan people to save themselves.
What the Taiwan public wants to save is the national machine that
has been controlled by meritless politicians, and Taiwan's
democracy, which has been eroded by a corrupt head of state. To put
it more concretely, since the campaign of collecting NT$100 from
each person can reach out to the grass roots and thus has its
universality, it can be viewed as the Taiwan people's alternative
'no-confidence vote' on President Chen Shui-bian. ... What's most
important now is to transform the public's passion for donating
money into energy for mass street rallies, and to get ready for any
possible counterattack forces. It will be a tough battle to try to
win back Taiwan's democracy from those rascal politicians."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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