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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Obama Loses a Round

While the jury is still out on what President Obama’s China visit has achieved for the long term, the president has most decidedly lost the war of symbolism in his first close encounter with China.

In status-conscious China, symbolism and protocol play a role that is larger than life. U.S. diplomatic blunders could reinforce Beijing’s mindset that blatant information control works, and that a rising China can trump universal values of open, accountable government.

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A warning ahead of negotiations

Beijing doesn’t need excuses to do as it pleases, even when violating its own laws — and it certainly is not concerned about the world knowing. The carefully watched case of Huang Qi (黃琦), a man labeled a dangerous dissident simply for trying to help victims of last year’s Sichuan Earthquake, came to a close on Monday when Huang was sentenced to three years in jail.

The court did not even bother to give his family a copy of the verdict, as his lawyer says is required by law. But Huang, long active on social issues, seems to have been targeted because of his calls for a transparent probe into schools that collapsed during the quake. Thousands of children died or are still listed as missing after their schools collapsed, yet China’s investigation into the matter was a whitewash that denied the role of corruption and substandard construction in the tragedy.

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Ma’s ‘pragmatism’ is a sham

After years of blasting the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for “creating trouble” in the Taiwan Strait by seeking admission into the UN — at one point under the name “Taiwan” — the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) vowed to engage in “pragmatic” diplomacy to better ensure the interests of the nation.

One important aspect of this strategy was to seek admission into “specialized” branches of the UN rather than join the world body as a whole, efforts that, under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), always irked Beijing and, some said, caused unnecessary tension, given Beijing’s assured vetoing of any such initiative. The UN’s inflexible “one China” policy, meanwhile, also made this objective unattainable.

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Taiwan: Where's the Beef? It's not with the USA but with Ma. Who Else?

A week past on Saturday November 14, thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets of Taipei to express their growing concern over the present government's continued mismanagement of the nation's international affairs. In line with this, the Legislative Yuan has been deadlocked on an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation. The issue of course has been the recent agreement of President Ma Ying-jeou to the import of American beef. Don't misunderstand this. It is not a matter that Taiwanese do not like American prime rib, T-bones or filet mignon; they love it. What Taiwanese are upset with is the continuing slipshod manner of negotiations and apparent deal-making that the Ma government is trying present as fait accompli for the people and the legislature to accept.

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The UN Snubs Taiwan Again: Who is the Joke of Ma Ying-joke On?

With the recent revelation of the United Nations past snubbing of Taiwan (it rejected in June the two human rights covenants signed by Ma Ying-jeou), the pitiful saga of Taiwan's President Ma continues. It is no wonder that many continue to call him Ma Ying-joke, for despite this and numerous other humiliations, Ma still claims that his China-friendly, China-centric policy is working. But the question or joke for Taiwanese is that it is working for what? This particular snubbing was in June for example, yet Taiwan's public has only been made aware of it now. If the policy is working, why the cover up until now?

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Negotiating Taiwan’s sovereignty

Since taking office last year, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has many times assured the public that his administration will deal with economic issues first and not engage in political negotiations with China until Beijing removes the missiles aimed at Taiwan. However, the Ma administration has reneged on this pledge, just as it has on so many other promises it has made.

In reality, political contacts between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have already commenced in various hidden forms.

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Newsflash

China is intensifying its psychological warfare against Taiwan and appears to be using tourism as a means to collect intelligence in Taiwan, information obtained by the Taipei Times shows.

Reports on various Chinese military Web sites dating back to March last year reveal that the Nanjing Military Region’s General Political Department’s (GPD) 311 Base in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, has been turned into a center of political warfare operations against Taiwan.

Reorganization efforts have seen China’s Voice of the Straits radio, formerly known as the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Fujian frontline broadcasting station, has been incorporated into the 311 Base.