Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

It's happened. The president of Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian has made a deal with the "devil."

On February 24, President Chen Shui-bian and his long time political rival, James Soong, chairman of the People's First Party (PFP) signed a 10 point consensus .

These two have been arch enemies for over 20 years.

Is James Soong a man to be trusted? Let’s look at some facts about the man’s political career:

James Soong started his political career within the Kuo Ming Tang (KMT) party. He served as Director General of the Government Information Office (GIO), from 1979-1984. At that time the GIO was responsible for tightly controlling the news media and "promotion of Chinese culture" versus other indigenous culture and cultural traditions in Taiwan. During his term at the GIO, there was aggressive media censorship, and excessive use of laws to silence protesters against the KMT, as evidenced by the Kaohsiung Incident, which refers to the culmination of the following events: after a police raid of Formosa Magazine, which criticized the KMT, a peaceful protest was organized in Kaohsiung on Human Rights Day, December 10, 1979. The police were heavy handed with the protesters and the scene turned violent. Soong made a public statement condemning the protesters. Interestingly, amongst the protestors was Annette Lu, the current Vice President, and the defense attorneys for the Kaohsiung Incident case included Chen Shui-bian, the current President, and Frank Hsieh, the current Premier.

In 1981, Soong also revoked the press license of a reporter who violated the GIO's orders not to publish the autopsy results of Professor Chen Wen-cheng who died at National Taiwan University; his death was questionably called a suicide; there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

In 2000, Soong lost the presidential nomination for the KMT to Lien Chan, so he ran as an independent presidential candidate. At this time Soong was accused of embezzling KMT funds. After James Soong and Lien Chan lost the presidential election to Chen Shui-bian in 2000, Soong and his supporters protested in front of the KMT headquarters for days and eventually forced Lee Teng-hui (a former president) to step down as the KMT chairperson in favor of Lien Chan. A few months later, Soong and his supporters formed the People's First Party; Soong soon became Lien Chan's political enemy.

In 2004, just last year, Soong joined forces with his ex-political rival, Lien Chan, chairman of the Kuo Ming Tang. Soong and Lien ran on a joint ticket as vice presidential and presidential candidate against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu. After loosing the election by a narrow margin, Soong and Lien contested the election results due to the suspicious timing of the assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian and the narrow margin by which the DPP won. Soong and Lien led protesters to the front of the Presidential Office, where they remained for over a week contesting the election results. Soong has continued to question the legitimacy of President Chen's reelection, until he and President Chen signed the 10 point consensus on February 24, 2005.

The 10 point consensus may seem benign enough, but it's what it represents and the parties involved that makes it so unsettling.

Staunch supporters of the DPP and President Chen have been disillusioned. Particularly disturbing is point two of the consensus, in which President Chen has agreed not to create a new constitution, not to declare independence by constitutional amendment or referendum, and not to change the country's official name of Republic of China. It is doubtful that President Chen's campaign promise of a new constitution by 2006 and implementation by 2008 will happen.

Other articles offering analysis of the ten point consensus:

A Marriage of Political Convenience

President Chen Betrayed the Voters

Chen, Soong Affirmed "Middle Way"

Reactions to the ten point consensus:

Reactions from Taiwan's deep green DPP supporters

Presidential Advisors Threaten to Quit


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