Cablegate: Media Reaction: Campaign to Oust President Chen Shui-Bian,
DE RUEHIN #3187/01 2570907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140907Z SEP 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2129
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5655
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6867
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003187
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - DAVID FIRESTEIN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CAMPAIGN TO OUST PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN,
1. Summary: As former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh's sit-in to oust
President Chen Shui-bian continued to stay in the Taiwan media's
spotlight September 14, news coverage also focused on a mass
"Formosa Sunrise" rally planned by the Taiwan Society on September
16 on Ketagalan Boulevard; President Chen's urge to push Taiwan's
bid to join the United Nations under the name of "Taiwan;" and the
first cross-Strait medical charter flight, which will take off
today. The pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest
daily, ran a front-page banner headline that read "To Fight Red Tide
on Saturday, Green Camp Gives Mobilization Order." The
pro-unification "United Daily News," on the other hand, ran a
front-page banner headline that said "Shih Calls for Peace in the
Siege on September 15."
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial criticized Shih's movement, saying it has turned violent
and the Taiwan people must spurn the so-called "sacred war"
manipulated by certain media outlets and politicians. An editorial
in the pro-status quo "China Times," on the other hand, urged the
Blue camp to reflect on the role it should play as an opposition
party in the movement to oust President Chen. With regard to the
war on terrorism, an editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" criticized the war
on terrorism launched by the United States, saying it is doomed to
failure "as the inevitable result of killing or injury to innocent
people only advances the cause of the terrorists." End summary.
3. Campaign to Oust President Chen Shui-bian
A) "Why Intensify 'People's Inner Struggles' to 'Struggles between
Friend and Foe?'"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
"The 'One-Million-Person Anti-Graft Movement' initiated by Shih
Ming-teh has launched protests outside the Presidential Office on
Ketagalan Boulevard over the past few days. Some people stuck to
their course and did not retreat even under the pouring rain; these
people's willpower deserves our respect. But given the open
interference and incitement by certain media outlets and
politicians, this protest, which upholds love and peace and asserts
that its goal is to rebuild core values in a civil society, seems to
have deviated from its original track and is gradually moving
towards the verge of violence. People started to worry whether
conflicts will break out any moment. ...
"If one looks at history, he can find many instances in which human
beings suffered from extreme privation because of the religious wars
they launched. Sacred wars are irrational and destructive and are
fights to the bitter end. Taiwan, on the other hand, is a
democratic country, in which even the most severe infighting does
not need to be intensified into struggles between friend and foe by
raising a sacred war. The Taiwan people, in particular, have to
spurn holy wars manipulated by politicians and media, or they
themselves will become the sacrifices of those politicians who want
to usurp power."
B) "Blue Camp Must Never Overlook Problems That It Confronts"
The pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
"While the deafening voices calling to oust Bian are raging on
Ketagalan Boulevard, the question regarding the role that the KMT
should play seems to have been pushed aside. In other words, when a
major problem is on the boil, people tend to overlook those problems
of secondary importance; this is the situation the Blue camp is
facing now. When the governance of Chen Shui-bian and the ruling
DPP has incurred widespread indignation and discontent, the Blue
camp, which seems to be sure of its victory in the 2008 presidential
election, has obviously failed to see its own problem. ...
"When it comes to its options of strategies, the Blue camp distances
itself from public opinion now as it did before the transfer of
power took place [in 2000]. As of now, the two biggest mistakes
that the Blue camp has ever made are its moves to block the [U.S.]
arms procurement bill and the appointments of the Control Yuan
members. No matter how many professional reasons are offered, [the
Blue camp's moves] are viewed as boycotts with evil intentions. For
Taiwan, national defense is an issue of essential importance. While
China keeps on deploying more missiles aimed at the island, Taiwan's
budget for arms procurement has been blocked in the Legislative Yuan
more than 50 times. The legislators can sit down to review and
revise the way such a budget was allocated or the price tags
earmarked for the weaponry; why do they refuse even to allow the
bill to be sent to the Procedural Committee?
"Frankly speaking, the side effects caused by the long-term blockage
of the arms procurement bill are emerging now. First, relations
between Taiwan and the United States are negatively affected.
Taiwan wants to purchase F-16 C/D fights jets now, but the U.S.
response was: no budget, no talk. Second, Taiwan's progress in its
national defense buildup is stalled, which also results in the
deteriorating balance of military power on the Taiwan Strait.
Grass-roots people in Taiwan have a very bad perception of the Blue
camp's long-term attempt to block the arms procurement bill; they
have no interest in even listening to the Blue camp's explanations.
How can a political party which wants to win elections be so
ignorant of public opinion? ...
"When viewed as a whole, neither the KMT, the People First Party,
nor the New Party has made progress over the past few years. ... It
is easy to criticize the DPP now, but the performance of the Blue
camp over the past few years has also been unsatisfactory. The fact
that Shih Ming-teh's campaign to oust Bian can summon so many people
has somehow manifested the Taiwan people's disappointment toward the
Blue camp. If the Blue camp fails to review and reflect on itself
and thoroughly adjust its thinking, it will be overly optimistic for
it to expect victory in 2008."
"The World after 'September 11'"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] commented in an editorial (9/14):
"... The international community absolutely condemns the killings by
terrorist organizations of unarmed and innocent people, labeling
these actions as crimes against humanity. However, ostensibly to
defend against terrorist attacks, the United States and the United
Kingdom governments in particular have resorted to actions such as
the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, during which far more Afghan
and Iraqi citizens, as well as U.S. and British soldiers, were
sacrificed than the number of who died in the September 11 terrorist
attacks. Moreover, the U.S. government of Republican President
George W. Bush has also resorted to violations of the Geneva
Conventions and the establishment of offshore political prisons,
unconstitutionally monitoring and intercepting overseas and domestic
communications, financial information and other measures which
combined to form another type of state terrorism. Therefore, we
urge the international community to oppose any and all kinds of
terrorism, whether perpetrated by individuals, extremist
organizations or states. ...
"Totalitarian regimes also use politically-motivated violence to
create fear among ordinary people, namely the citizens of their own
country and thus infringe on their human rights. In addition, other
states have used aggressive acts of war to create a universal fear
of loss of life or property among people of other countries in an
even more severe and direct oppression of human rights. For
example, the 'war on terror' launched by the United States
government in the wake of September 11, which cost 2,973 lives, has
cost the lives of at least 62,006 people, created 4.5 million
refugees and more money than would have been needed to pay off the
debts of every poor nation on earth, according to a study conducted
by London's 'Independent' newspaper. It is evident that the use of
violence by terrorist groups cannot realize their political,
religious or ideological goals or solve the problems which spawn
their formation. Similarly, the use of state violence or state
terror by democratic states to conduct a 'war on terror' is equally
doomed to failure as the inevitable result of killing or injury to
innocent people only advances the cause of the terrorists and
simultaneously reduces the human rights of citizens in the
democratic countries themselves. ..."