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Cablegate: Media Reaction: President Chen's Constitutional Reform

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3361/01 2710916
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280916Z SEP 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2362
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5712
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6928

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003361

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: PRESIDENT CHEN'S CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
PROPOSAL, DPP'S TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage September 28 on the planned meeting between Premier Su
Tseng-chang and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou; on the DPP's twentieth

SIPDIS
anniversary; on the follow-on movements of former DPP Chairman Shih
Ming-teh's campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian; and on the
investigation into the Presidential Office's special fund for state
affairs. The pro-status quo "China Times" ran a front-page banner
headline thaQaid "DPP's New Generations: Rejecting Bian [as their]
Political Leader."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "China Times" analysis
discussed Beijing's attitude toward President Chen's recent
constitutional reform proposal, saying China is working with the
United States to put on a two-man show in an attempt jointly to
restrain Taiwan independence. A "China Times" editorial commented
on the DPP's twentieth anniversary, saying the party has won
political power but has lost its cleanliness. An editorial in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" also strongly criticized the
DPP, saying it has no imagination and is full of deception. End
summary.

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3. President Chen's Constitutional Reform Proposal

"Taking Preemptive Move to Oppose Independence, U.S., China Put on a
Two-man Show"

Journalist Chu Chien-ling said in an analysis in the pro-status quo
"China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (9/28):

"With regard to the DPP's move to push 'provocative' constitutional
reforms when the party itself is in a relatively 'fragile' state
now, almost everyone knows clearly what the DPP's intention was and
what the result of such a move will be. Beijing, however, lashed
out at the DPP's move using harsh language that has rarely been seen
over these past few years, [even] when the entire situation is not
quite clear yet. In addition to taking a 'preemptive' move, Beijing
also intended to put on a two-man show with the United States. ...
Beijing tried to stop Taiwan from moving toward independence in such
a big way, even though it knows very clearly that the chances are
slim for the [DPP] constitutional reform proposal on territorial
redefinition to be passed, mainly because it wants to draw a red
line to indicate clearly and firmly its position toward Taiwan.
Also, Beijing did it to rehearse with the United States regarding
how to work together to restrain Taiwan independence."

4. DPP's Twentieth Anniversary

A) "Does the DPP Still Remember the 'DPP' of Twenty Years Ago?"

The pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (9/28):

"When we look back at the past two decades, [we saw that] the DPP
has spent most of its time fighting an uphill battle. Under an
unfair system and environment, the DPP, with the assistance of
[various] movements over time, has gradually expanded its room for
survival and consequently won political power based merely on its
obsession with ideals and closeness to the public opinion. ... It
is a pity that, after having attained the highest office, the DPP
started to roll downhill at an accelerating speed and with a rather
ugly posture.

"What people feel most evidently was that the DPP got the power but
lost its cleanliness; it became almost the same as the rival that it
wanted to defeat. Many [DPP] members, from the president on down,
took high positions and enjoyed immense resources beyond their
dreams, and they seem to have lost themselves in the dark holes of
corruption without any signs of struggling. ... The party's
previous ideals of democracy and human rights have turned into sharp
irony now. The party that was once designated to pursue democracy
has put aside all the major policy decisions a government should
make; there seems to be only one single opinion inside the party,
with those on the top chanting their support for Bian, while few
down below dare to state the truth. ... Over these years, the DPP
has not transformed itself, grown, or walked out of its past; nor
has it attempted to lead Taiwan forward. This is not simply because
of laziness; the DPP's real problem lies in its aging. ..."

B) "From Imagination to Hoax: Green Political Experiences of
University Youth"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (9/28):

"In the face of the violent waves caused by the campaign to fight
corruption and oust Bian, the DPP will celebrate its twentieth
anniversary today. ... The DPP is a twenty-year-old, sloppy-looking
'old man' now, which has lost its wisdom and ability and is on the

verge of dying. As of now, it is still communicating with the young
men using sixty-plus-year-old hackneyed discourses. The party has
no imagination and is full of deception. If the DPP loses the
support of youth, it will lose its future as well!"

WANG

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