Archive for October 25th, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wu Sike on his Way to Syria: Understanding and Support

Apparently one day after a press conference on Monday – as covered by China National Radio (CNR, the domestic radio service), foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu reappeared in a regular press conference, and commented on Syria, according to a China Radio International‘s (CRI) Chinese service report of today:

CRI report, correspondents Zhai Lei, Wang Ce: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu reiterated in Beijing on October 25 that China hoped that all Syrian parties would solve their differences by dialog and peaceful means, thus resolving the conflict.

国际在线报道(记者 翟磊、王策):中国外交部发言人姜瑜25日在北京重申,中方希望叙利亚各方通过对话以和平方式解决分歧,化解矛盾。

On that day’s [October 25] regular press conference, Jiang Yu, mentioning the situation in Syria, said China hoped that the relevant parties in Syria would be able to attach most importance to the state’s and the people’s interests, dismiss violence, and avoid clashes and bloodshed. She said the Syrian government should actively implement its promised reforms, respond to the people’s legitimate demands, and all Syrian parties should take part in a peaceful process with a constructive attitude.

在当天的外交部例行记者会上,姜瑜谈到叙利亚局势时说,中方希望叙利亚有关各方能以国家和人民的利益为重,摒弃暴力,避免流血冲突。 她表示,中方认为叙利亚政府应该积极落实改革承诺,回应人民的合理诉求,叙利亚有关各方都应该以建设性的态度来积极地参与和平进程。

Jiang Yu also pointed out that in order to ease the situation in Syria, the international community should promote solutions of the differences through dialog and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the entire Middle East.


Xinmin Net (Shanghai) republished the report sixteen minutes after CRI.

Another four hours later, German news magazine Focus (Munich) put an article online:

Syria is getting under growing pressure from its remaining ally, China. On Tuesday, the People’s Republic asked the autocratic government in Damascus to end the bloodshed and “to comply with the legitimate demands of the people”. Shortly ahead of a visit by a an envoy from the communist country [to Syria], a spokeswoman of the foreign ministry in Beijing said that China hoped for an end to the violence and a peaceful dialog. No details about the [envoy’s] visit were given.

Syrien gerät immer stärker unter Druck seines verbliebenen Verbündeten China. Am Dienstag forderte die Volksrepublik die autokratische Regierung in Damaskus erneut auf, das Blutvergießen zu beenden und den „gerechtfertigten Forderungen des Volkes nachzukommen“. Kurz vor dem Besuch eines Gesandten des kommunistischen Landes sagte eine Sprecherin des Außenministeriums in Peking, China hoffe auf ein Ende der Gewalt und einen friedlichen Dialog. Details zum geplanten Besuch wurden nicht genannt.

China was moving away from its previous position, writes Focus. Less than three weeks ago, China and Russia had blocked a UN resolution which condemned Syria’s brutal action against the protest movement and stipulated sanctions.

According to Reuters, a Chinese envoy, Wu Sike (吴思科), will visit Egypt and Syria, from Wednesday through Sunday.

Wu Sike is an old expert when it comes to violence, and avoiding it.

Islamic countries from government to the people, all understand and support the measures the Chinese government took to maintain stability,

he said in August 2009, on a news briefing after a tour of Qatar, Algeria, Syria, and Iran. Back then, he was referring to the “7-5 incident” in Xinjiang.



» China urges Syria to positively fulfil…, Xinhua, Oct 25, 2011


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ma Ying-jeou: a Peace Treaty, and a Referendum, definitely, maybe

On October 17, Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou suggested that there could be a peace treaty with China within a decade, provided that there was “a high level of support from Taiwan’s public”.1)

Two days later, oppositional Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen told a press conference that

a peace agreement with China would not necessarily guarantee cross-strait peace and security. Using the 17-point peace agreement Tibet signed as an example, Tsai said that despite promises to ensure genuine autonomy, freedom of religion and Tibetan culture, the Chinese occupation of Tibet only brought repression on the Tibetans, their religion and culture, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959.

Ma then accused Tsai of downgrading Taiwan’s status as a sovereign country, by comparing it with the Sino-Tibetan agreement, which had been one between a central and a local government.

This looked like a game with partly2 reversed roles – the president upholding the banner of Taiwan’s sovereignty, and the opposition leader belittling it. In fact, Tsai had reminded the president of how China views Taiwan – which, after all, is exactly the way it  viewed Tibet, half a century ago.

But by Thursday, one day after Tsai’s press conference, the president himself apparently felt a dire need for a pit stop, and moved to reassure voters over his proposals for a peace treaty with China, saying it would only be signed if it was first approved in a referendum. Channel News Asia noted that observers have so far tended to believe a peace treaty is a rather remote prospect, because it will involve difficult questions, such as who should sign the agreement on either side.

And not only who, but who in which capacity, I’d like to add. If Ma trusted the polls, which seem to show him clearly ahead of Tsai Ing-wen, he may not have triggered this debate. Early this month, Wong Chong Xia (黃創夏), in an article for the KMT-leaning China Times (中國時報), had warned that the pan-blue camp better led by more than ten per cent in the polls to make sure that voter turnout wouldn’t bring about pan-green election victories after all.

On October 19, China’s Global Times quoted a UDN (blue-leaning) opinion poll as showing Ma’s support rating at 43 per cent, some nine per cent ahead of Tsai Ing-wen, his “US and British-educated” rival.

Formosa (美麗島電子報), an internet news website, criticized Ma for not planning before acting on something as big as a peace agreemeent3).

Since his preace talks deliberations eight days ago, Ma had

managed to make a joke of his own proposal and give the DPP not only tremendous election momentum, but huge momentum for referendum law reform,

notes A-Gu, who translated some of the Formosa article. And very much to Wong Chong Xia’s chagrin, Ma Ying-jeou, the should-be winner, still acts the opposition leader,  following Tsai “right at her bottom”.

But it looks as if even that can’t be done steadily.



1) The Voice of America (VoA) added a somewhat sloppy review of cross-strait relations and their history to its report, apparently with some input from AP and AFP.
2) The reversal would only have been only partly anyway, because Ma explicitly kept to the KMT tradition of regarding Tibet from a “Chinese central government’s” perspective.
3) Formosa’s vice chairman is Wu Tsu-chia (吳子嘉), whose political leanings I don’t know, but who doesn’t seem to care which side will like or dislike a news story, so long as it may be considered a story anyway.



If Tsai doesn’t play the ‘Race Card’…, July 5, 2011


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