Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild Strawberries evicted: Did Ma lie, or was he kept in the dark?

Hours after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) praised Taiwan as one of the freest democracies in the world, about 200 police officers descended on the Wild Strawberries Student Movement (WSSM) sit-in at Liberty Square in Taipei, putting them, who numbered about 50, along with pro-Tibet elements, on buses and removing banners, placards and other paraphernalia. The time? About 4am.

The WSSM was launched early last month to coincide with the visit to Taipei of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林). Ever since, it has held sit-ins demanding amendments to the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), a relic of the Martial Law era, and that the Ma administration and heads of the state security apparatus apologize for police violence during the Chen visit.

Of interest in last night’s developments is the government's decision to force the WSSM out of Liberty Square at a time when media was unlikely to be present — a strategy with a long history of use by governments wishing to delay bad news. Second is the timing, which could not have been worse, a mere hours after Human Rights Day and Ma’s speech on human rights an democracy.

Which raises the third, crucial issue, of whether Ma knew all along that the state apparatus — in this instance the Ministry of Education, which has authority over the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall grounds, and perhaps the Ministry of the Interior, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and others — intended to end the students’ sit-in, or was kept in the dark.

If the first scenario is true, Ma’s speech on democracy and human rights was hypocritical and would feed speculation that the government is lying to the people. If, on the other hand, he was unaware of the imminent move, it would speak volumes about the compartmentalization of his government and Ma’s leadership abilities. It’s hard to decide which alternative is worst — a lying president or one who is kept in the dark by his subordinates or the various factions within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Either way, last night’s move is sure to inflame the opposition and will likely bring the still disparate and generally disorganized anti-Ma/China factions, which includes pan-green political parties, the WSSM, pro-Tibetans and others, closer together.

With every day that passes, from the (mis)handling of the Chen visit to the detention of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to Ma's (ostensibly unilateral) about-face on allowing a visit by the Dalai Lama to contradictions over a delay in year-end bonuses for employees of state-run companies, the Ma administration never ceases to impress with its proclivity for bad timing and ill-advised measures.

3 comments:

jerome said...

A caricature of the old kmt dictatorship. roc lite for sensitive twenty-first century Formosans. That is what the Ma administration is about.

How long will it take for the Formosans to smell the horseshit and throw a tantrum? Ma is offering them on a platter an opportunity to do just that and a renewed chance at nation building.

And, please, no "taiwan is roc" or “roc on taiwan” bs this time around.

大人しい台湾人よ、今度こそ暴れまくり、あのでたらめな中華台北を陥落させてくれよ!!中華何って、もう要らんぞ!!飽きっちゃった。

李登輝前総統が語っている通り、現時点で、台湾の主権はアメちゃんが握っておる。

未だに日本領だった台湾に亡命に来た途端、即滅びた中華民国がもうとっくのおとぎ話に過ぎなかった。もう63年間もアメちゃんの黒子が恐ろしい中華芝居の人形を巧妙に内緒で操り続けました。

でもアメちゃんがいろんな言い回しを使って中華劇を飽きっちゃったと呟いている。また、台湾と言う国家が未だに誕生していないと念を押す。

さあ!諸君、これからどうするつもりですか?分かったかい?騙しやすくて、大人しい過ぎ台湾人よ!!建国の意向を米国を相手に示して、上手くやれよ!!

念のため、台湾主権の現状についてアメちゃんに直接問い合わせてごらんなさい。何でも台湾中挙って団結と決断で以って騒げば、世界が気が付くだろう?!

では・・・

David said...

Just to clarify one matter. The area in front of the main gate is under the jurisdiction of Taipei City. Inside the gate is the jurisdiction of the Central Government. The protest has mostly been in front of the gate.

MikeinTaipei said...

Thanks for the clarification, David, though the way things are going, I'm starting to wonder if the executive really pays attention to jurisdictions.