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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Us Taiwan Policy and Taiwan Referendum On

VZCZCXYZ0023
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2373/01 2950958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220958Z OCT 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7202
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7378
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8658

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002373

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: US TAIWAN POLICY AND TAIWAN REFERENDUM ON
UN BID

1. Summary: News coverage in Taiwan's major Chinese-language
dailies October 20-22 ranged over a variety of topics, including
Taiwan's arms and alleged nuclear arms development, US arms sales to
Taiwan, and the dispute between the Taipei city government and the
central government over a torch relay to promote the DPP-proposed UN
bid referendum.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" said the majority people in Taiwan
do not accept the "one-China" precondition set by Beijing.
Commenting on the Taiwan government's moves to promote the
referendum on seeking UN membership under the name of Taiwan, both
the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" and the pro-unification
"United Daily News" criticized the ruling DPP in their editorials of
depriving Taiwan voters of their right to freedom of expression.
End summary.

A) "Far More Than 'Part' of the People of Taiwan Cannot Accept
China's Precondition"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (10/22):

"US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas J. Christensen said
in a recent interview with the Singapore-based 'Lianhe Zaobao': We
have noticed that part of the Taiwan people cannot accept [China's]
precondition [that is, the 'one-China' principle]. We hope the two
sides can find ways to resolve their differences. He added that
Beijing should start a dialogue with Taiwan's elected leaders.

"... Christensen's remarks are worthy of much attention, for they
mean that the US government has realized that, after nearly 20 years
of democratic reform, the national identification expressed by the
people of Taiwan when they are able freely to show their will is
entirely different from what was said in the 1972 'Shanghai
Communique': 'The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on
either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and
that Taiwan is a part of China.'

"What the United States acknowledged in the 'Shanghai Communiqu'
is, in fact, the understanding of two Chinese figures, Mao Zedong
and Chiang Kai-shek, and has nothing to do with the people of
Taiwan. This phenomenon surfaced naturally when the outsider KMT
regime ended. In fact, the change of ruling parties in 2000 and the
repeat victory of the native regime have all demonstrated that those
who cannot accept the so-called one-China principle account for not
only 'a part' as described by Christensen, but a majority and even
the vast majority of the people of Taiwan.

"... Therefore, although Christensen's remarks are to be applauded,
the US government should see from the trends of Taiwan's transfer of
political power, the fast-growing Taiwan national identity, and the
fact that the bid for UN membership as a sovereign nation has become
mainstream public opinion in Taiwan, that the fictitious 'one-China
principle' is only a synonym for China's hegemonic expansion. And
the U.S.' China-biased 'one-China policy' should be changed, as
suggested by many Congressional members and US think tanks, starting
with the recognition of Taiwan's sovereign status."

B) "Watch Out! People's Right to Express Opinions Is Being
Abridged"

The KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] said in an
editorial (10/22):

"... By the same token, changing the arrangement into issuing and
casting the presidential and the referendum ballots at the same time
also abridges people's right to express their opinions. The
presidential election and the referendum are by nature two entirely
different voting behaviors. Voters can choose to vote or not to
vote in both, or to vote only in the presidential election and not
to cast the referendum ballot, and of course to vote only on the
referendum. How to choose is the right of a citizen, as he
expresses his desire whether to exercise this voting right. That is
why the original design separates the issuing and casting of the two
ballots into two phases. Forcing the two phases into one would
deprive [voters of] this minimal right to choose.

"... In order effectively to tie in the referendum with the
presidential election, the ruling authorities have long been
disregarding laws and regulations. The ruling party ignores any
criticism or appeal. It is unlikely that the Central Election
Committee will resist political pressure and independently exercise
its power. We can only make the last appeal here: no matter how
important the 'referendum on UN membership' is, it does not mean one
can do anything one likes. To combine the presidential election and
the referendum into one phase to deprive the people of their
constitutional right to free expression. It is a practice that
UN BID

seriously violates human rights protected by the constitution."

C) "Seriously Deal with the Government's Violations of Laws and the
Constitution in Promoting UN Bid Referendum"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (10/20):

"... The DPP government's promoting the 'UN bid referendum' is going
too far, without any concern for violating the Constitution or the
law. As the authorities using every public resource and means to
promote the referendum, there is already prosecutors' opinion that
'if suspected of violating Section 13 of the Referendum Law,' any
such move shall be investigated. The reason is that the
'referendum' is a direct civil right. It is different from the
executive and legislative powers. If the executive branch can use
government money and employees to promote a 'referendum' at will,
then the whole constitutional system will collapse.

"In addition to violating the law, the DPP government, taking
advantage of its ruling power, has been forcing government employees
to accept quotas for referendum endorsements. This is also a
violation of the Constitution. For the Constitution gives people
the right to free expression; the government shall not use any means
to force, intimidate or induce the people to express certain
opinions. ..."

"The authorities openly instruct the post office to stamp a mark
with Taiwan's UN bid slogan on private letters sent overseas,
believing it is helpful for international communication. However,
this also obviously violates the constitutional right to freedom
expression. ..."

YOUNG

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