Archive for November, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

17th Central Committee’s “Culture Document” – 9: Arranging the Classical Records

This is the 5th chapter of the CCP central committee’s “cultural decision”.  The 4th chapter’s last paragraphs’ translations or explanations can be found here.

Main Link: http://gb.cri.cn/27824/2011/10/26/2625s3413678_2.htm

5) Exerting Great Efforts to Development of Non-Profit Cultural Causes, Safeguarding the People’s Fundamental Cultural Rights

五、大力发展公益性文化事业,保障人民基本文化权益

To meet the people’s fundamental cultural needs is the fundamental task of socialist cultural construction. It is necessary to maintain governmental guidance, and to strengthen the building of a basic cultural infrastructure, to perfect a public cultural network, to let the broad masses enjoy basic public cultural services in accordance with the criteria of non-profitability, fundamentality, impartiality, and convenience, at no costs or or at favorable prices.

满足人民基本文化需求是社会主义文化建设的基本任务。必须坚持政府主导,按照公益性、基本性、均等性、便利性的要求,加强文化基础设施建设,完善公共文化服务网络,让群众广泛享有免费或优惠的基本公共文化服务。

a) Build a public cultural service system. Strengthen the role of public cultural service as the materialization of the people’s fundamental cultural rights. It is necessary to perfect a functional, practical and highly efficient cultural service system which covers the cities and the countryside, with public finances as support, non-profitability as the backbone, the entire people as the object of this service, and by safeguarding that the people and the public watch television, listen to the radio, read books and newspapers, conduct appraisals of these, and have a share in public cultural activities and similar fundamental cultural rights. Process regular budgets for major cultural products and service projects and non-profit cultural activities. Take measures for government procurement, project subsidies, directional [or directed] sponsorship, loans, tax deduction and similar policies to encourage all kinds of cultural enterprises to participate in public cultural service. Encourage the gratuitous use of state-invested, subsidized or copyrighted cultural products within the public cultural system. Strengthen the construction of cultural centers, museums, libraries, art galleries, science museums, memorial halls, workers’ cultural palaces, youth palaces, and similar infrastructure and patriotic-educational model bases, and perfect cultural service open and free for society, encourage other state-owned cultural units educational institutions etc. to carry out non-profit cultural activites, and provide facilities for mass activities in public places. Comprehensively plan and build a cultural infrastructure on a basic level, equally emphasize project planning, construction and management, apply resource integration, and joint construction and use. Strengthen neighborhood and public cultural infrastructure, include neighborhood cultural centers’ construction in urban and rural planning and design, and broaden investment channels. Perfect cultural service infrastructure for women, minors, the elderly, and the handicapped. Guide and encourage forces within society to provide facilities and other forms of participation in public cultural service, by setting up entities, by project funding, and sponsorship. Promote the creation of national cultural service system model areas. Establish index systems for the public cultural service systems and methods to measure their achievements.

(一)构建公共文化服务体系。加强公共文化服务是实现人民基本文化权益的主要途径。要以公共财政为支撑,以公益性文化单位为骨干,以全体人民为服务对象,以保障人民群众看电视、听广播、读书看报、进行公共文化鉴赏、参与公共文化活动等基本文化权益为主要内容,完善覆盖城乡、结构合理、功能健全、实用高效的公共文化服务体系。把主要公共文化产品和服务项目、公益性文化活动纳入公共财政经常性支出预算。采取政府采购、项目补贴、定向资助、贷款贴息、税收减免等政策措施鼓励各类文化企业参与公共文化服务。鼓励国家投资、资助或拥有版权的文化产品无偿用于公共文化服务。加强文化馆、博物馆、图书馆、美术馆、科技馆、纪念馆、工人文化宫、青少年宫等公共文化服务设施和爱国主义教育示范基地建设并完善向社会免费开放服务,鼓励其他国有文化单位、教育机构等开展公益性文化活动,各类公共场所要为群众性文化活动提供便利。统筹规划和建设基层公共文化服务设施,坚持项目建设和运行管理并重,实现资源整合、共建共享。加强社区公共文化设施建设,把社区文化中心建设纳入城乡规划和设计,拓展投资渠道。完善面向妇女、未成年人、老年人、残疾人的公共文化服务设施。引导和鼓励社会力量通过兴办实体、资助项目、赞助活动、提供设施等形式参与公共文化服务。推进国家公共文化服务体系示范区创建。制定公共文化服务指标体系和绩效考核办法。

b) Developing a Modern Mass Media System. To improve the energy and influence of socialist advanced culture, it is necessary to accelerate the development a dissemination system with advanced technology, efficient transmission, and broad coverage. Party newspapers and journals, news agencies, radio and television stations, and important publishing houses must be strengthened; editorial, distribution, and dissemination systems continuously be perfected; and digitization and expansion of effective coverage be accelerated. The building of international dissemination must be strengthened, first-class international media be created, the rate of own news material, of news first published, and effective news1) must be increased. Create a unified, jointly active, safe and reliable national emergency broadcasting system. Perfect the building of a national digital library. Integrate cable television networks, and build a television network company on the national level. Promote the integration of communication networks, broadcasting networks, and the internet, the building of an integrated broadcasting control platform, a pattern of innovative business, bring all sorts of information network facilities into a function of cultural dissemination, and achieve connected, interflowing, orderly operations.

(二)发展现代传播体系。提高社会主义先进文化辐射力和影响力,必须加快构建技术先进、传输快捷、覆盖广泛的现代传播体系。要加强党报党刊、通讯社、电台电视台和重要出版社建设,进一步完善采编、发行、播发系统,加快数字化转型,扩大有效覆盖面。加强国际传播能力建设,打造国际一流媒体,提高新闻信息原创率、首发率、落地率。建立统一联动、安全可靠的国家应急广播体系。完善国家数字图书馆建设。整合有线电视网络,组建国家级广播电视网络公司。推进电信网、广电网、互联网三网融合,建设国家新媒体集成播控平台,创新业务形态,发挥各类信息网络设施的文化传播作用,实现互联互通、有序运行。

c) To establish a transmission system for superior traditional culture. Superior traditional culture condenses the Chinese nation’s restless strife and the spiritual richness of long-standing renewal is the solid foundation of developing the advanced socialist culture, and an important sustenance for the building of the Chinese nation’s common spiritual home. It is necessary to know the motherlands traditional culture, to remove what is useless, to make old things work in our times [or to put the past at the service of the present], to make it newly helpful in development, with equal emphasis on maintaining and protecting what is useful, and on its popularization. [It is necessary to] strengthen the excavation and elucidation of traditional cultural ideological values, to maintain the fundamental elements of national culture, and to let superior traditional culture become the people’s inspiration on their road forward to spiritual strength. Strengthen the arrangement and publication of cultural classics, and promote the digitization of the classical resources. Strengthen the country’s important cultural and natural heritage, the units in charge of protecting major cultural objects, the maintenance and restoration of famous historical cities, towns, and villages, and the transmission of immaterial cultural heritage. Unearth traditional popular festivals’ contents, and broaden the development of superior traditional education’s popularization. Bring into play the fundamental function of popular education in the innovation of cultural dissemination, improve the contents of lessons in superior traditional culture, and improve the establishment of teaching and training bases for superior traditional culture. Vigorously promote and regulate the use of a common state language and and written characters, scientifically protect every nationality’s lettering. Enable the prosperous development of the cause of national minorities’ culture, carry out the work of protecting the national minorities’ cultural peculiarities, strengthen party newspapers and party magazines in the language of the national minorities, radio and television programs, publications and translations. Strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau, and all kinds of cultural exchange with Taiwan, to unfold Chinese splendid2) culture together.

(三)建设优秀传统文化传承体系。优秀传统文化凝聚着中华民族自强不息的精神追求和历久弥新的精神财富,是发展社会主义先进文化的深厚基础,是建设中华民族共有精神家园的重要支撑。要全面认识祖国传统文化,取其精华、去其糟粕,古为今用、推陈出新,坚持保护利用、普及弘扬并重,加强对优秀传统文化思想价值的挖掘和阐发,维护民族文化基本元素,使优秀传统文化成为新时代鼓舞人民前进的精神力量。加强文化典籍整理和出版工作,推进文化典籍资源数字化。加强国家重大文化和自然遗产地、重点文物保护单位、历史文化名城名镇名村保护建设,抓好非物质文化遗产保护传承。深入挖掘民族传统节日文化内涵,广泛开展优秀传统文化教育普及活动。发挥国民教育在文化传承创新中的基础性作用,增加优秀传统文化课程内容,加强优秀传统文化教学研究基地建设。大力推广和规范使用国家通用语言文字,科学保护各民族语言文字。繁荣发展少数民族文化事业,开展少数民族特色文化保护工作,加强少数民族语言文字党报党刊、广播影视节目、出版物等译制播出出版。加强同香港、澳门的文化交流合作,加强同台湾的各种形式文化交流,共同弘扬中华优秀传统文化。

d) Speed up a united urban-rural cultural development. Add to the quantity of cultural services in the countryside, reduce the gap between urban and rural cultural development – to build a new pattern of united [or concerted] cultural development between the cities and the countryside is of major significance for the advancement of the new socialist countryside. With the countryside and the China’s western regions as key areas, the building of county-level cultural palaces and libraries, combined township cultural stations, rural cultural rooms must be strengthened, rural infrastructure must be deepened in terms of radio and television broadcasts, shared use of cultural information resources, rural film screenings, farming book rooms and other cultural projects which are beneficial for the people, with broadened coverage, and the elimination of blind spots, increased standards, perfected service, and improved management. Support and assistance for cultural services in old liberated areas [or early revolutionary base areas, 革命老区], national minority areas and poor areas must be intensified. The entire people’s reading, sports, and cultural scientific hygiene sanxiaxiang3) must be deepened and promoted, and scientific and educational writing styles, law and hygiene, the “Four Communities” (四进社区), giving pleasure to the grassroots and other activities must become regular.  Companies, communities [or neighborhoods] must be lead to carry out activities beneficial to migrant workers, and migrant workers be in the best possible ways be integrated into the urban cultural service systems. Joint mechanisms between the cities and their rural hinterlands must be established, cultural resources be allocated between cities and the countryside in a reasonable way, cities be encouraged to support the countryside, and helping the countryside must become a fundamental indicator of a city’s civilizational level. Cultural units must be encouraged to provide mobile services, network services, media be encouraged to arrange publication and frequency supply in the countryside, and the work of having party papers and magazines be subscribed and read for free at the rural grassroots levels. Cultural enterprise must be supported in building chains of cultural networks at the grassroots and in the countryside, cinema chains be promoted, and performing arts be extended into cities and counties, and performing artists be supported in going deep into the grassroots and the countryside to perform. Special funds are to be established at the central, provincial and municipal levels, and the allocation of certain amounts of centrally-provided funding to the building of culture in [rural] towns and villages be guaranteed.

(四)加快城乡文化一体化发展。增加农村文化服务总量,缩小城乡文化发展差距,对推进社会主义新农村建设、形成城乡经济社会发展一体化新格局具有重大意义。要以农村和中西部地区为重点,加强县级文化馆和图书馆、乡镇综合文化站、村文化室建设,深入实施广播电视村村通、文化信息资源共享、农村电影放映、农家书屋等文化惠民工程,扩大覆盖、消除盲点、提高标准、完善服务、改进管理。加大对革命老区、民族地区、边疆地区、贫困地区文化服务网络建设支持和帮扶力度。深入开展全民阅读、全民健身活动,推动文化科技卫生“三下乡”、科教文体法律卫生“四进社区”、“送欢乐下基层”等活动经常化。引导企业、社区积极开展面向农民工的公益性文化活动,尽快把农民工纳入城市公共文化服务体系。建立以城带乡联动机制,合理配置城乡文化资源,鼓励城市对农村进行文化帮扶,把支持农村文化建设作为创建文明城市基本指标。鼓励文化单位面向农村提供流动服务、网点服务,推动媒体办好农村版和农村频率频道,做好主要党报党刊在农村基层发行和赠阅工作。扶持文化企业以连锁方式加强基层和农村文化网点建设,推动电影院线、演出院线向市县延伸,支持演艺团体深入基层和农村演出。中央、省、市三级设立农村文化建设专项资金,保证一定数量的中央转移支付资金用于乡镇和村文化建设。

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Notes

1) This is about Chinese international media (such as China Radio International, CNTV, etc.) should begin to set the global news agenda, with news which a) hasn’t been published elsewhere before, and b) actually catches international interest. The intention probably is to make not only such media’s newscasts internationally relevant, but their editorials, too.

2) Just as in the previous lines, when translated as “superior”, the adjective used in the document is 优秀 (yōuxiù). However, I chose “splendid” as a translation here, because the intended meaning of “superior” isn’t necessarily “superior to other cultures”.  A discussion of what yōuxiù usually stands for might be useful here.

3) san xia xiang refers to the three activities mentioned above, and seem to involve stays by college students or graduates in the countryside to “spread science” there, especially in these three fields.

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Related

» Propaganda will Set You Free, Aug 9, 2009

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Continued here »

Monday, November 28, 2011

17th Central Committee’s “Culture Document” – 8: Online Guidance of Public Opinion (网上舆论引导)

[Previous leg of this translation: Beautiful Melodies.]

We are still within the 4th chapter of the Central Committee’s “cultural decision” document – i. e. the chapter on Comprehensive implemention of the “Erwei” Direction and the “Shuangbai” Policy, to Provide the People with Even Better and Even More Spiritual Nourishment. For the meaning of Erwei and Shuangbai, see footnote 2 at the end of this post. For an explanation of what the “cultural decision” is about, see this post.

I’ve seen a number of comments across the internet which refer to the document as self-defeating, in one or another way, and especially for the belief that the CCP’s ham-fisted approach to “culture” will stifle cultural or civilizational development.

This belief may actually be true – but it depends on your concept of culture, or civilization. If a “Tibetan dancing troupe” is – in your own view – a true reflection of what Tibet is about, you may find the concept perfectly reasonable. Besides, while a “prosperous” cultural development with a consequential growth in international “soft power” is certainly one of the CCP leadership’s wet dreams, it will – in case of any conflicts of objectives – need to take second or third seat to an overall priority – the perpetuation of China’s totalitarian system. From that perspective, putting a flattering international image first, and thus risk losing political control, would be more self-defeating than anything else.

But above all, it doesn’t seem to make sense to discuss the effects of the document without having read the document itself. I’ve seen many referrals to and discussions about it in English-language threads on the internet, but no full translation of it in English. If you are aware of one available on- or offline, please let me know.

The following para is e), or para 5 (五) in the fourth chapter’s Chinese original.

e) A healthy internet culture needs to be developed. To strengthen the ideological and cultural front online is an urgent task within the construction of socialist culture. The directives of positive use, scientific development, legal administration and security must be conscientiously implemented, the building of internet management be strengthened and improved, online guidance of public opinion be strengthened, and the ideological mainstream be brought into play [literally: be sung, 唱响] online. The project of building online content, the promotion of disseminating traditional cultural gems and fine contemporary works, production of works which suit emerging media such as the internet and mobile phones, and netizens must be encouraged to create works of a healthy style online. Accelerated development of key news websites, the building of a number of domestically and internationally influential, comprehensive and characteristical websites, the positive role of major commercial websites, and cultivation of online contents production and companies which serve as a service backbone must be supported. A new mode of business needs to be developed in the field of internet technology, covering the high grounds of online communication and dissemination. The building of civilized websites must be broadly carried out, a civilized internet, civilized online behavior, insistence on service providers (运营服务企业) performing their legal duties and responsibilities must be promoted, so that they will not serve as channels for harmful information. The building of the internet in accordance with the law, an accelerated formation of legal standards, administrative supervision and management, self-discipline within the industrial sectors, technical safety, public supervision, social education, i. e. a combined system of internet administration must be strengthened. Guidance,  management and standards of social networks and instant messaging tools must be strengthened, and a civilized and rational internet environment be cultivated. The behavior of spreading harmful information must be punished in accordance with the law, particular action to control and ban pornographic and vulgar information be developed further, and internet crime be cracked down upon seriously. Protection of individual online information must be increased, a system to assess online security be established, and public interest and national communication security be increased.

(五)发展健康向上的网络文化。加强网上思想文化阵地建设,是社会主义文化建设的迫切任务。要认真贯彻积极利用、科学发展、依法管理、确保安全的方针,加 强和改进网络文化建设和管理,加强网上舆论引导,唱响网上思想文化主旋律。实施网络内容建设工程,推动优秀传统文化瑰宝和当代文化精品网络传播,制作适合 互联网和手机等新兴媒体传播的精品佳作,鼓励网民创作格调健康的网络文化作品。支持重点新闻网站加快发展,打造一批在国内外有较强影响力的综合性网站和特 色网站,发挥主要商业网站建设性作用,培育一批网络内容生产和服务骨干企业。发展网络新技术新业态,占领网络信息传播制高点。广泛开展文明网站创建,推动 文明办网、文明上网,督促网络运营服务企业履行法律义务和社会责任,不为有害信息提供传播渠道。加强网络法制建设,加快形成法律规范、行政监管、行业自 律、技术保障、公众监督、社会教育相结合的互联网管理体系。加强对社交网络和即时通信工具等的引导和管理,规范网上信息传播秩序,培育文明理性的网络环 境。依法惩处传播有害信息行为,深入推进整治网络淫秽色情和低俗信息专项行动,严厉打击网络违法犯罪。加大网上个人信息保护力度,建立网络安全评估机制, 维护公共利益和国家信息安全。

There seems to be nothing particularly striking about paragraph f) – or (六) -, apart from popular satisfaction as the highest standard of evaluating cultural works, and popular assessment, expert assessment and the scrutiny the works undergo in the market as combined features of an evaluation system. Awards and funding, as well as protection of intellectual property and the strengthening of copyright are also mentined in paragraph f). Evaluation, awards and funding had been mentioned earlier in the central committee’s decision, within the third chapter (Promoting the Building of a System of Socialist Core Values, Consolidating the Common Ideological and Moral Foundations of Party and National Unity for the United Battle of all Nationalities), too – see its philosophy and social sciences context here.  Their repetition in the fourth chapter (Erwei /Shuangbai) seems to indicate that the party leaders strongly believe in the allocative function of public – or official – praise. Also see Footnote 2 here, about the Five-One Project.

To be continued.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ups and Downs: Who’s Afraid of Jon Huntsman?

[Links within blockquotes added during editing / translation]

When Ronald Reagan ran for the American presidency in 1980, he announced that he would switch diplomatic relations back to Taiwan: “no more Taiwans, no more Vietnams, no more betrayals of friends and allies.”

Imagine there had been the internet, back then. During a debate in Spartanburg, South Carolina on November 12, and in reply to other Republican candidates for the presidential nomination who addressed China’s trade policies as a major challenge for America, Jon Huntsman, until recently America’s ambassador in Beijing, apparently tried to come across as both China-savvy, and hawkish enough to strike a chord with his potential supporters. America needed no trade war with China. It would only “hurt our small businesses in South Carolina”:

[...] We don’t need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational transition. So what should we be doing? So what should we be doing?We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They’re called the young people. They’re called the Internet generation. There are 500 million Internet users…

Moderator: And Governor…

Huntsman: — in China…

Moderator: — we’re going to have to…

Huntsman: — now 80 million bloggers and they are bringing about change the likes of which is going to take China down.

doooown

Doooown! (Click picture for video)

Moderator: We’re going to have to leave it there.

Huntsman: — while we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic…

Up!

Up!

Moderator: Governor…

Huntsman: — manufacturing muscle.

Moderator: That’s time.

Huntsman: That’s all I want to do as president.

Moderator: I thank you very much.

I’m not searching for angry Huanqiu Shibao comments this time – they will be in tune with what you’ll usually find there in similar contexts. But the Ministry of Toufu has translated some comments from Weibo, plus  some context as the Ministry see it.

Anyway, let’s get back to Ronald Reagan. Supreme communications have always found their way into the enemy’s media, even three decades ago. You may remember that one:

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

That was in August, 1984 – and Reagan wasn’t seeking the Republican nomination. He was the president of the United States.

It was a monumental political scandal, Yuri Zhukov of the Pravda editorial board wrote in his reaction. Reagan had

only trumpeted what is constantly on his mind, anyway.

But only few people in China can see the progressive strides the Republican party has made since. Why should anyone in China be angry? Huntsman just wanted to keep his electorate happy, without spoiling business with China. He doesn’t even want to argue about exchange rates. And if he really believes that he is the right man to “reach out” to Chinese netizens, he should be feared for his ignorance, but not for his “criminal energy”. Huanqiu readers at least have long understood that to make China great, they will have to remain slaves.

Lang Xianping (郎咸平) however does seem to see the headway GOP-totalitarian relations have made. A Chinese financial expert (according to chinaspeech.com) who popularizes economic issues, he appears to be much more concerned about Barack Obama than about any Republican candidate. America had abandoned Bush jr‘s unilateralism (放弃了单边主义), Lang wrote in a blogpost on Wednesday, but that didn’t mean that America had changed its hostile view of China (绝不可能改变对中国的敌视). Nobody should harbor illusions about Obama. Lang paints the picture of a president with unusual self-restraint who shows no emotions, who doesn’t play differences down (using the Jeremiah-Wright controversy as an example), and who doesn’t back down where others would.

Flexibility and “smart power” (or skillful power, 巧实力), rather than uniltateralism:

America has a president with such a strong image – what will be his influence on global trends? Obama’s constant claims on protection for the American economy – what does that mean for China?
那么,全球超级大国形象的美国再加上这样一位强势形象的总统,对于世界局势将产生怎样的影响?奥巴马一直宣称的保护美国经济,对于中国又意味着什么呢?

China was a nation which wanted face more than substance (or entrails, 里子), argues Lang.

Therefore, I believe, Obama will give us face on the surface, but they [America, apparently] will seek benefits [for themselves] in substance.
由于我们中国就是个要面子不要里子的民族,所以我认为奥巴马表面上会给足我们面子,而他们则尽量取得里子的实惠。

I’m not sure if Lang wasted any time on thinking about Huntsman.

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Related

» “Huntsman gives Romney Foreign Policy Lesson”, Huntsman, Nov 14, 2011
» Netizens should tolerate Censorship, March 26, 2011
» The Adequate Adversary, August 13, 2010
» BJRB: Hegemonists should Harbor no Illusions, Febr 6, 2010

Useful links stolen from Adam Cathcart.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Soong Chu-yu’s BBC Interview: Can the Moor go Now?

James Soong Chu-yu

James Soong Chu-yu, 2008 (Wikimedia Commons, click photo for source)

One thing can be said almost for sure: James Soong Chu-yu (宋楚瑜) has no plans to become Taiwan’s next president. You can’t describe both the KMT and the DPP as “unconstitutional” for not throwing themselves behind a goal of “reunification” with China, and expect to outdistance both president Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) and Tsai Ing-wen (DPP), come election day.  That more than 30 per cent of voters haven’t made up their minds yet (that’s what Soong said in his interview with the BBC‘s Chinese service,  published on Friday, GMT) doesn’t mean a lot, when assessing Soong’s prospects. Provided that the undecided are going to cast their vote at all, the  majority of them – be they 30 per cent of the electorate, or more, or less – will make a choice between incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou and opposition leader and presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen.

It’s not the first time that Soong runs for president. In the 2000 presidential elections, he split the KMT’s electoral base by running as an independent, after losing the KMT’s presidential nomination to Lien Chan. And despite being a rather pro-Chinese candidate, Soong only narrowly lost to Chen Shui-bian (the oppositional DPP’s presidential nominee, and a strong advocate of international recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty). Lien Chan, the KMT’s official candidate, came in third.

Back then, I heard many Chinese – and some Taiwanese – people speculate that all this had been a premeditated plan by outgoing president Lee Teng-hui to pave the way for Chen Shui-bian’s victory, to further the non-Chinese side of Taiwan’s identity. There are no run-off ballots in Taiwan’s presidential elections. It’s first-past-the-post.

Ma Ying-jeou certainly has better chances to get re-elected in January, than Lien Chan had to become president in 2000, if recent opinion polls are anything to go by. And one of the reasons is that Soong won’t come in second this time. He will come in third. But why then did he decide to run for Taiwan’s highest office at all?

Revenge against the KMT could be one explanation. Soong most probably knows how to cultivate old grudges. To spoil Ma Ying-jeou’s chances may mean more to him than “reunification with China”.

Another motivation may be ongoing negotiations with the KMT – they are most probably still going on. The KMT has long accused Soong of having taken NT-$ 240 million of assets from the KMT in 1999. That wasn’t necessarily unauthorized, but the way KMT wealth is allocated among its leading officials is by no means transparent, and judicial means to fight political enemies are routine tools in Taiwan. Soong may also still be seeking concessions in the campaigns for the Legislative Yuan – that KMT legislative candidates should give way for his own People-First Party’s candidates. (I’m not aware of a law or regulation that would bar candidates from throwing in the towel, even last-minute, in favor of another party’s candidate.)

But a more respectable reason shouldn’t be left out of the account either. There certainly are Taiwanese citizens who share Soong’s expressed view that China is “a member of the family”, and therefore “more than a friend”*). Soong’s candidacy will  give these citizens an opportunity to vote for a candidate who seems to be closer to their views on China (no matter if that, or something else, motivated him to join the race).

Another question seems to be if China’s leaders wanted Soong to throw his hat into the ring. If so (but that’s a big “if”, of course), this would suggest that Beijing is much less worried about Tsai Ing-wen becoming president, than what most utterances from Beijing, or their reflection in the international media, would suggest – and that Ma Ying-jeou either never was, or no longer is, quite the cornerstone in China’s Taiwan policy.

Has the Moor done his duty?

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Note

*) 一家親, BBC, November 25

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Related

“Too strong to describe it as pressure”, Taipei Times, Nov 27, 2011

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Ma Ying-jeou: Falling Stock Prices influenced Opinion Polls

In an interview with the BBC Chinese service’s director Li Wen, president Ma Ying-jeou addressed allegations that Beijing supported his candidature for presidency (有关北京支持他参选的说法). These allegations all came from contenders in the election campaign, but none of them had produced any evidence for their allegations, he said.

Ma also called on Beijing to remove the missiles aimed at Taiwan. These were conflicting with the development of cross-strait relations, he said, as they were a major reason for the Taiwanese people to resent the government in Beijing (而台湾民众之所以对北京政府感到反感,对着台湾的导弹是相当重要的原因之一). Asked if he was confident that he could convince Beijing to remove the missiles, Ma replied that the Beijing government should understand the Taiwanese people’s feelings clearly enough -

this shouldn’t need to be discussed. They should act on their own initiative (这个应该不需要谈,它应该主动去做).

You keep targeting missiles at us – do you call that a friendly attitude towards me (你老拿着飞弹对着我,这叫对我好吗)?

There was nothing wrong with trade and deepening exchange across the Taiwan Strait, Ma said, but he could say with confidence that, judging from the current pace of development in cross-strait relations, there would be no meeting between leaders from the two sides (他还表示,从目前两岸关系的发展速度来看,他可以大胆预测,没有两岸领导人会面的可能性).

Ma denied that his campaign was in dire straits, and cited an opinion poll conducted by the KMT itself, according to which his supporting rate was in fact steadily growing (国民党本身进行的民调结果显示,其支持度仍在稳定增长). As Li Wen kept pressing him on as to how the support rate for the KMT could have dropped at all, given that it had all advantages on its side – the presidency, and a majority in the current Legislative Yuan -, Ma replied that many factors, such as sagging prices on the stock market, could influence peoples’ fellings (马英九表示,民调受到许多因素的影响,例如股市下跌,就会影响到民众的感受).

Besides, some of the responsibility for such feelings had to be sought on the side of his opponents, who had made untrue attacks against him, such as trying to blacken his name by accusing him of meeting with a gambling tycoon (此外,还有部分的责任要 归咎于竞选对手“不确实”的攻击,例如说他与赌盘组头见面来“抹黑”他).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tsai Ing-wen: Closing in on the Presidency

If elected, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman and presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen will not abrogate the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), but would, in handling subsequent negotiations, ensure the process is transparent and subject to legislative oversight so that any agreement would not have to undergo a referendum. That’s what she told the BBC’s Chinese service director Li Wen in an interview on Thursday. The two major opposition parties, the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) originally advocated a referendum on ECFA.

Obviously, if Tsai should inherit president Ma Ying-jeou’s desk in May next year – the elections are scheduled in January -, there will be no reset button, and to act as if there was one would suggest that her presidential bid wasn’t serious. It seems that she is  preparing for the details of the job as president, and not merely focusing on getting elected.

Her message to China seems to suggest that, too.

I think better communication will help. Essentially, they don’t know us, because we are not like the KMT. They had a history in the past, either as rivals – now they seem to be less of rivals to the KMT -, and they had this complicated relationship in the past, let me say it that way. And they don’t know us. We are a party that is only twenty-five years old, so it would be good if we had good communications between the two sides, so that they will know us better, and we’d have the opportunity to tell them what we are up to.  We do have a think tank here in Taipei, and we welcome delegations, groups from China to visit us, we give them briefings they would like to have, we answer questions they raise, and I thought that was a good exchange.

If there was an invitation to China, it would come with conditions, Tsai anticipated, in reply to Li Wen’s question if she would accept such an invitiation.

And heaving a sigh that was either tactical, or that genuinely reflected her skepticism about Beijing’s attitude, she added:

I just wish that they can be reasonable.

This was apparently a referral to conditions, not to the CCP leadership itself.

Visits by leaders weren’t the only way to improve communications, she added. Experts, civil society members or party workers could have exchanges anyway.

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Related

» Interviews with Tsai and Soong, Nov 19, 2011
» One ROC, two Interpretations, Oct 10, 2011

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Something Different

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[...] One OWS protester steps in the wrong place, and she immediately has police roping her off like wayward cattle. But in the skyscrapers above the protests, anything goes.

This is a profound statement about who law enforcement works for in this country. What happened on Wall Street over the past decade was an unparalleled crime wave. Yet at most, maybe 1,500 federal agents were policing that beat – and that little group of financial cops barely made any cases at all. Yet when thousands of ordinary people hit the streets with the express purpose of obeying the law and demonstrating their patriotism through peaceful protest, the police response is immediate and massive. There have already been hundreds of arrests, which is hundreds more than we ever saw during the years when Wall Street bankers were stealing billions of dollars from retirees and mutual-fund holders and carpenters unions through the mass sales of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities.  [...]

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, Nov 10, 2011

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Library, Zuccotti Park, Lower Manhattan (Wikimedia Commons, click photo for source)

Library, Zuccotti Park, Lower Manhattan (Wikimedia Commons, click photo for source)

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Related

» Euroland, Aching to Grow, June 14, 2011
» Save the Fourth Amendment, Economist, May 12, 2011

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Living History: All Individuals

Plus ça change, …

… plus c’est la même chose.

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Related

UC Davis General Assembly, The Second Alarm, Nov 21, 2011

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