Archive for June 20th, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hardtalk Interview in 2006

It was Hardtalk >> , a weekly BBC TV series, in February 2006, more than two years ago, and a controversial visit by KMT senior party leader Lien Chan to mainland China led to the following Q & A exchange between BBC’s Stephen Sackur and then KMT chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (who wasn’t the KMT’s presidential nominee and hadn’t declared his intention to run at the time). Were Ma and Lien going too far in accommodating China?

SACKUR: Let me put it this way: we know that China is suppressing freedom of speech

MA: Yes.

SACKUR: They are closing down newspapers, they don’t allow, for example, BBC Online to be seen inside China, we know that, according to Amnesty International, dozens of people are still in prison as a result of the events in Tian An Men Square, over fifteen, sixteen years ago. We know also that in August 2005, one journalist working in China was arrested, now faces charges of spying for — Taiwan! Amnesty International express deep concern about that. Are you telling me that China, and the Chinese authorities, are people that you can do business with?

MA: Well, I think Great Britain also do business with China. Could you do business with China when they do all these human rights violations?

SACKUR: But with due respect, we don’t have 780 missiles pointed at our island!

MA: No matter if they are hostile to you or not, they are having some human rights violations you disagree with. But Great Britain still trade with them, and recognise them. They don’t recognise Taiwan.

Not the BBC’s finest eight minutes…

Update (May 09): a video of the interview is here.

%d bloggers like this: