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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Campaign to Oust President Chen Shui-Bian

VZCZCXYZ5554
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3231/01 2610903
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180903Z SEP 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2187
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5665
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6878

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003231

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - DAVID FIRESTEIN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CAMPAIGN TO OUST PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave
significant coverage September 16-18 to a peaceful high-profile
parade launched by the "Oust Bian" campaign to "besiege" the
Presidential Office and Residence last Friday evening; and to a mass
"Formosa Sunrise" rally initiated by the Taiwan Society on Ketagalan
Boulevard last Saturday "in support of democracy and stability in
Taiwan." The pro-status quo "China Times" ran a front-page banner
headline September 17 that read: "Mark Chen Relays: Bian Guarantees
Completion of his Term." The same paper also ran a banner headline
on page two on September 18 that said "Believing That Prosecutors
Will Likely Seal the Entire Batch of Findings, Bian Has Faith That
He Will Not Be Pulled Down." The pro-unification "United Daily
News," on the other hand, front-paged the results of its latest
survey September 17, which showed that in the wake of last Friday's
"siege," 55 percent of those polled said they support the call for
President Chen Shui-bian's resignation, and 56 percent said they
hope Premier Su Tseng-chang will step forward and participate in the
anti-corruption movement.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, said the
two major mass movements conducted over the weekend demonstrated the
diversity and tolerance of Taiwan's democratic society. A "China
Times" commentary, however, criticized the DPP for its decision to
confront the people who oppose corruption and thus further isolate
the party from the Taiwan public. End summary.

A) "Mass Movements in a Democratic Society Must Maintain Peace,
Rationality, and Tolerance"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (9/18):

"... The two large-scale mass movements [over the weekend]
demonstrated the diversity and tolerance of the democratic society
of Taiwan; they also symbolized the maturity of Taiwan's democracy.
Taiwan's democracy has protected the lives, property and safety of
the majority of the Taiwan people, offering them freedom from fear
and from being beaten by those who hold different opinions from
them. Democracy pays no heed to different political parties or
colors, and the public in a democratic society must be peaceful and
rational. Any careerists or media outlets that attempt to divide
the people by colors, or to incite conflicts and confrontations just
to gain political resources and benefits, are extremely unethical
and will eventually be condemned by the people."

B) "Other Than Supporting Bian, What Else Can the DPP Do?"

Chen Fang-ming, head of National Chengchi University's Graduate
Institute of Taiwan Literature, commented in the pro-status quo
"China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (9/18):

"... The siege on September 15 was a world-shaking incident in the
history of [Taiwan's] democratic movements, and its historical
significance was tantamount to that of the Formosa Incident. This
vast, robust wave of people power, which started with rationality
and ended in peace, has fully demonstrated Taiwan's mature
democratic ideals. In the face of such a highly restrained
gathering of people, how can the DPP authorities not carefully
reflect on themselves and try to take public opinion into account?

"The support Bian movement launched by the Taiwan Society on
September 16 deserves our respect, too. But the DPP's unexpected
lift of its ban to allow the Green legislators to participate in
such a spontaneous movement initiated by the private sector was
naturally a move that was meant to please Bian. When the DPP
mobilized its supporters to fight the anti-graft campaign, it was
akin to acknowledging that President A-Bian has lost everything.
Since the DPP has repeatedly claimed that A-Bian is a popularly
elected president, he is therefore a president for all the people.
But the DPP chose to confront those people who oppose corruption,
and such a move has turned A-Bian into a president for those who
support him only. This move to divide [the party from] the people
has again exposed the crisis of the DPP's increasing isolation.

"The self-isolation of A-Bian and the DPP was by no means achieved
in one day. Over the past six years, all the political party
leaders have given up the desire to engage in a dialogue with
A-Bian. Not only the pan-Blue leaders such as Lien Chan, James
Soong, and Ma Ying-jeou no longer want to communicate with A-Bian,
but the former DPP chairmen such as Shih Ming-teh and Hsu Hsin-liang
also shared nothing in common with him. People such as Lin
Yi-hsiung, whom all Green voters respect, and pan-Green leader Lee
Teng-hui, likewise no longer want to have anything to do with
A-Bian. Given such a fact, does it mean that everyone is wrong
except for A-Bian? When we look around all the democratic countries
in the world, is there any state leader that is as lonely as
A-Bian?
"Now A-Bian is trying very hard to draw a line between himself and
Vice President Annette Lu. The Taiwan Society forced Lu clearly to
state her stance and rejected her from joining the movement to
support Bian. In the face of such inner struggles, A-Bian, Yu
Shyi-kun, and even other high-ranking DPP officials all remained
silent. Dividing Taiwan seems not enough; the DPP is even starting
to divide its own party. The DPP now is no longer the party that
people have known over the past years. It isolates itself from the
outside, and it isolates itself within its own party as well. The
DPP has lost all of its wisdom. As long as such a state of
isolation and division continues, even Su Tseng-chang's attempt to
administer are doomed to failure, let alone the fact that Frank
Hsieh and Chen Chu are both ready to run in the Taipei and Kaohsiung
mayoral races. ..."

YOUNG

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