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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Unintentional sobriety

Unintentional sobriety

Since he came to office in May last year, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pro-China policies have become so transparent that a US-based satirical magazine was prompted to compare cross-strait relations to courtship, with Ma “wooing China.”

It would be unfair, however, to look down at the magazine for making a political analogy so absurd as to belittle Taiwan, for in his words and deeds over the past year-and-a-half, Ma has encouraged this very image, especially for those looking in from the outside.

Not only has Ma openly — and repeatedly — praised his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), but he has also credited Beijing for the most absurd ephemera, such as allowing him to open the Kaohsiung World Games.

Undeterred by reality, Ma has gone as far as saying that he hoped the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would one day nurture “its own Hu Jintao.”

Apparently interpreting the magazine’s sarcasm in labeling him one of the “gutsiest” world leaders as flattery, Ma took his “China wooing” even further on Monday.

In a speech at a memorial service for the victims of Typhoon Morakot, “gutsy” Ma went beyond expressing gratitude to the many volunteers, soldiers and foreign governments for their hard work and donations during relief operations by making sure that a certain country received extra praise.

“The Mainland authorities’ and Chinese compatriots’ zealous contributions have so far amounted to donations that exceed NT$5 billion [US$152.9 million], the single-largest donation [Taiwan has received] from overseas,” Ma said.

“This shows that blood is thicker than water among the people across the Taiwan Strait. I hope people across the Taiwan Strait will continue to learn from each other and share experiences in disaster relief and reconstruction work.”

If a donation of NT$5 billion from the world’s third-largest economy can earn China such praise, what about the generosity shown by Tuvalu, Taiwan’s diplomatic ally? Despite the poor state of its economy, the small South Pacific nation donated 1 percent of its GDP, or about US$210,000, to help Taiwan with relief work. To put things in perspective, 1 percent of China’s GDP would represent US$79 billion.

Was Tuvalu’s generosity not worthy of special mention by the president?

If, by Ma’s logic, Beijing’s donations were proof that “blood is thicker than water,” this still cannot explain the 1,500 or so missiles that China continues to aim at Taiwan, nor the new weapons systems that it is acquiring and developing that one day could be used against this nation and its people.

Here we have a president who showers Beijing with compliments greatly disproportionate to the so-called “goodwill” it has shown, while downplaying the threat that China continues to represent to our security and way of life.

If only Ma were an exception in his administration.

Sadly, others, such as Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), have engaged in similar doublespeak, with comments such as “Taiwan owes China a debt of gratitude” because of its donations in the wake of Morakot.

Taiwanese only have themselves to blame if foreign media make fun of a small nation whose leaders bend over backwards to create an illusion of peace in the Taiwan Strait.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2009/09/10

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European lawmakers condemned the WHO in a letter of protest that accused the world body of undermining its own credibility when it referred to Taiwan as a province of China.

In a letter delivered to the head of the WHO, British MEP (EU lawmaker) Charles Tannock said he believed the body’s position on Taiwan to be “politically and morally flawed.”

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍), as a Chinese citizen, “risks calling into question [her] own personal impartiality and integrity” by terming Taiwan a part of China, Tannock wrote in a letter also signed by 20 other MEPs.