Archive for October 3rd, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Resignations at the Helm of Taiwan’s State Broadcaster – is it Self-Censorship?

Cheng Yu (鄭優) resigned as chairman of CBS, Shao Li-chung (紹立中) resigned as Radio Taiwan International‘s director-general, and Shao’s deputy, Chang Cheng-lin (張正霖), resigned along with them. Four board members also offered their resignations.

The government’s representative at the meeting, Ho Nai-chi (何乃麒), denied that the government had “mobilized the media to force a mass resignation”, reports the Taipei Times.

Another member of the government, GIO minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平), denied a report by the Liberty Times (自由時報) that the government had demanded less critical coverage on China. In the words of the Taipei Times, RTI had been told by the government “not to denounce China”.

Liberty Times also reports that some of the independent directors ( 獨立董事) had resigned under protest, apparently one year before the actual end of their tenure (I’m not sure if this applies only for Cheng Yu or for all of the directors).

That much about the facts, as far as I could collect them. Before I continue, I should say that I see nothing wrong in the more conciliatory policies towards China which the Ma government has chosen. But if the allegations about government interference into CBS and RTI programs are true, it would shed a pretty bad light on the president and his government.

It actually already does. Just the allegations themselves are very effective. It would fit very well into the Ma government’s policies of not “angering” China – and knowing both Beijing’s position on Taiwan’s sovereinty, and how Beijing tries to influence the political scene in Hong Kong (or actually does so successfully – who can tell?, it isn’t hard to think that they do their best on manipulating politics in Taiwan, too.

Nevertheless – the brawl shouldn’t be judged hastily. To consider the resigning CBS and RTI directors “independent” as the Liberty Times does is a bit excessive. They may be perfectly professional, but there is a total of fifteen members on the board. Does the Liberty Times want to say that those who haven’t resigned are less independent than those who did?

That said, the KMT is no party you can trust unless there is a high degree of transparency. It would be in their interest to establish a maximum of scrutiny and transparancy on the government – if transparency and accountability are their core values. The coming weeks will show how committed the KMT majority in parliament is to these values, and besides, the government can take steps of its own to raise public trust.

That won’t be easy, and one might argue that to achieve this, the KMT must out-perform most – or all – democratic governments worldwide in terms of accountability. But then, which other democracy is as much threatened from outside as Taiwan is? And where else is the public as divided about its country’s future anyway? Any Taiwanese government that wants to negotiate  with Beijing successfully needs durable trust from the public – no matter which particular opinons are prevailing.

With a trustworthy conduct in government, the KMT could also set a good example for the DPP. When in power during the past ten eight years, the DPP acted very much in accordance with their KMT predecessors’ ethical standards, too. It only took it eight years in power, from 2000 to 2008, to get pretty rotten.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tabloid Patriotism

We are one people, says BILD, Germany’s biggest tabloid.

I’m not one people. I have one mother and one father, plus some siblings. I have some friends – not all of them are Germans.

I love my country.

But I’m just recently.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Good Hearty Lie for the Sake of the Good…

A German theologist once said that for the sake of the good and the Church, a good hearty lie was perfectly justified.

He didn’t use the term harmonious, though.

Cai Mingzhao, deputy director of the Chinese State Council’s information office on the other hand does use this term:

为建设和谐网络文化作出新贡献 >> (establishing a contribution to a harmonious internet culture). (found on rconversation.blogs.com) >>

Followed by some complaints about unharmonious things on the internet, here is how his keynote speech started: “In this golden autumn season, colleagues of the internet trade are getting together on the banks of the Qinhuai River…”

The German theologist was Martin Luther. He lived some 500 years ago. Cai Mingzhao made his speech on September 23.

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