There are usually several perspectives you can take, when judging a political event. “Many people just feel that a political campaign was being waged against Taiwanese presidents”, Focus Taiwan (apparently CNA‘s English-news website) quotes Tsai Ing-wen, the DPP’s chairwoman and presidential nominee.
No big deal, the English translation might suggest. But if Focus Taiwan referred to the same statement as nownews, and if nownews quoted Tsai correctly, it looks as if it could have the makings of a more controversial statement: “政治追殺台灣人總統，是許多人的感受”.
Ma Ying-jeou is the incumbent Taiwanese president. However, 台灣人總統, literally translated, reads Taiwanese-people president. Taiwanese-born, that is. Ma generally counts as a KMT mainlander, and was born in Hong Kong. Chen Shui-bian (DPP) and Lee Teng-hui (formerly a KMT member and chairman, before he was expelled) are Taiwanese-born. Tsai made her comment in a United Evening News (UDN, 聯合晚報) interview.
Yin Wei (殷瑋), a spokesman for the president’s campaign office, accused Tsai of “inciting ethnic emotions” and “hurting Taiwan’s democracy” by resorting to such comments, reports Focus Taiwan.
Hadn’t Tsai’s position been more inclusive in the past, indeed? In her concession speech after losing the Xinbei mayoral elections in November last year, she said:
[W]e haven’t lapsed into the pattern of a blue-green showdown, and not even been unto the shadows of ethnic antagonism. We have striven for the spirit of citizen participation, to find a consensus everyone could agree to.
But then again, what nownews or Focus Taiwan gave us wasn’t the exchange between the UDN (a pan-blue aligned newspaper) reporters and Tsai in full.
Q: There are pan-green friends [of yours] who say that this is a political campaign against Taiwanese-born presidents – do you agree with that wording?
A: No matter if this is the intention [of Chen’s and Lee’s indictments or trial], this is how many people feel about it. Many Southern Taiwanese think that way. I have studied some opinion polls these days, and they show that many people feel that this case [charges against Lee Teng-hui] were sort of linked to politics. There are even supporters of the pan-blue camp who believe that it is connected with political manipulation.
The remainder of the interview was about how investigations against pan-blue and pan-green officials repsectively should be conducted, and about judicial reform.
Apparently, if Tsai herself fails to play the “race” or “ethnic card”, the pan-blue camp will have to.
Unless, that is, if Yin Wei’s reaction was reported out of context, too.