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Cablegate: Pro-Independence Southern Taiwan Society Joins Forces With

DE RUEHIN #4168/01 3550726
P 210726Z DEC 06






E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Pro-Independence Southern Taiwan Society Joins Forces with
the All-Island Taiwan Society



1.(SBU) Summary: Last June, three leading pro-independence
organizations -- the Northern Taiwan Society, Southern Taiwan
Society and Eastern Taiwan Society -- joined together to establish
the Taiwan Society. With a mission to safeguard a "genuine
Taiwanese regime," the Taiwan Society is a strong advocate of Taiwan
independence and an ally of the pan-Green Camp. However, the Taiwan
Solidarity Union (TSU) claims the Taiwan Society has stepped over
the line of non-partisan groups and should be required to register
as a political party (reftel). Following the recent mayoral
elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, the Taiwan Society is mobilizing
Taiwanese groups at home and overseas to join the Society's "holy
war" to defend the "genuine Taiwanese regime" of the DPP in the 2008
presidential election. End Summary.

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2. (SBU) Taiwan Society Secretary-General Yang Wen-chia recently
told AIT/K that, in addition to its three major constituent
organizations in northern, central and southern Taiwan, the Taiwan
Society is also associated with many Taiwanese groups throughout the
world, including the Taiwanese Sakura Society in Japan, the
Taiwanese Maple Society in Canada, the Taiwanese Association in
England, and three leading Taiwanese groups in North America (i.e.,
Taiwanese Professors Association of North America, Taiwanese Medical
Doctors' Association and Taiwanese Women's Association). The Taiwan
Society is also closely associated with many local professional
groups, including the Taiwan Medical Doctors' Association, the
Taiwan Legal Society and the Taiwan Press Society as well as the
Taiwanese Aborigines Society.

3. (SBU) In a recent separate discussion with AIT/K, National Sun
Yat-sen University Professor Kuo Chih-wen, a leading member of the
Southern Taiwan Society, described the Taiwan Society as an
integrated body of pan-Green social groups that serves as a
discussion forum to brainstorm and reach consensus on "national"
political issues. The Taiwan Society hopes to cultivate a political
environment that focuses on the "localization" of Taiwan's politics
and "national" interest. The Society holds meetings on a regular
basis that are flexible enough to take up discussions of unexpected
and important issues (e.g. relocating Taiwan's capital from Taipei
to central or southern Taiwan proposed by the Southern Taiwan
Society in mid October). Most of its members are professors,
doctors and lawyers.

4. (U) The Taiwan Society has proven the combined effectiveness of
the three societies by proactively countering Taiwan's pan-Blue
forces. In response to large-scale demonstrations by the
Anti-President Chen movement, launched on September 9 by former DPP
Chairman Shih Ming-teh over alleged high-level corruption, the
Taiwan Society on September 16 held a counter-rally entitled "Love,
Hope and Glory of Taiwan" with large numbers of pan-Green supporters
gathering at Katagelan Boulevard in Taipei to show support for
President Chen.

5. (U) On October 25, the Taiwan Society held a rally in Kaohsiung
with a theme to redefine Taiwan Restoration Day and "rediscover
Taiwan values." (Note: Restoration Day, which the DPP government
has dropped as a holiday, commemorates Japan's turning Taiwan over
to the KMT nationalist government on October 25, 1945 after its
defeat in World War II.) According to the Taiwan Society, the
so-called "restoration" of Taiwan was just another form of
colonization of Taiwan, in this case by the KMT.

6. (U) Last July, fifteen pan-Green scholars issued a joint
statement urging President Chen Shui-bian to step down to take
responsibility for corruption scandals involving his family members
and top advisors. Secretary-general Yang Wen-chia criticized the
pan-Green scholars for failing to judge President Chen from a just
and pragmatic standpoint. Yang argued that an important factor
leading to President Chen's leadership dilemma was the unfair and
biased media reporting that favored the pan-Blue Camp while ignoring
its corruption, vote-buying scandals, ill-gotten party assets and
legislative inaction. In defense of a "genuine Taiwanese political
regime," the Taiwan Society has urged President Chen and the DPP to
look into corruption allegations, keep a distance from financial
groups, care for the underprivileged, adhere to political ideals of
justice and righteousness, and respond to public expectations with
pragmatic policies designed to restore public confidence in the DPP
administration. The Taiwan Society has also allied itself with
pro-independence heavyweights in support of President Chen

TAIPEI 00004168 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) In addition to defending President Chen, the Taiwan Society
played an important role in the recently-concluded Kaohsiung mayoral
election. On November 19, the Taiwan Society issued a statement
urging Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) mayoral candidate Lo Chih-ming
to withdraw from the election to consolidate pan-Green votes so that
DPP mayoral candidate Chen Chu could win the election, stressing
that the pan-Green Camp could not afford to lose any of its
strongholds in southern Taiwan. In urging support for Chen Chu, the
Society argued that the outcome of the Kaohsiung mayoral election
would determine the future of Taiwan and the welfare of all
Taiwanese people. On December 3, the Taiwan Society held a
supposedly non-partisan rally entitled "Love Kaohsiung, Cherish
Taiwan" with 100,000 participants standing hand-in-hand along the
Love River to rally support for DPP mayoral candidate Chen Chu. All
DPP political heavyweights, including President Chen Shui-bian, Vice
President Annette Lu, Premier Su Tseng-chang, Chairman Yu Shyi-kun
and former Kaohsiung Mayor and Premier Frank Hsieh participated in
the rally. There is a widespread perception in Kaohsiung that this
rally was an important factor leading to the victory of DPP
candidate Chen Chu. For this action, the Taiwan Society incurred
the wrath of the TSU, whose Vice-Chair called for the Taiwan Society
to register as a political party (reftel).

8. (SBU) In response to TSU anger, Yang Wen-chia said that the
Taiwan Society is devoted to defending a "genuine Taiwanese regime"
for the purpose of advancing freedom, democracy and human rights,
the values upon which Taiwan is built. Concerned that the pan-Blue
force, which it labels "colonial rule in Taiwan" might well return
to power in 2008, the Taiwan Society regards the 2008 presidential
election as a "holy war" to defend Taiwan values and the Taiwanese
regime. Apart from politics per se, Southern Taiwan Society members
have long told AIT/K they consider themselves engaged in "cultural
warfare" with the press and with Education Ministry bureaucrats,
whom they characterize as pan-Blue operatives. Professor Kuo
Chih-wen noted that this "cultural warfare" emphasizes the need for
fair and objective news reporting as well as for the localization of
Taiwan's politics and education in order to create an environment
conducive to civil participation in a democratic society.


9. (SBU) Long lobbying for further democraticization and
localization of Taiwan's politics and education, the Southern Taiwan
Society has now taken a higher profile in local politics since
joining together with other groups in the larger Taiwan Society.
Post will continue to monitor the pro-independence activities of the
Southern Taiwan Society, both individually and in conjunction with
the larger Taiwan Society.



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