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China celebrates Tibet's 'liberation'

Sunday, Mar 29, 2009, Page 1

China marked 50 years of direct control over Tibet yesterday, raising the national flag in the regional capital and commemorating a new political holiday honoring what it calls the liberation of slaves from brutal feudal rule.

Testimonials about the misery of life in old Tibet kicked off the short ceremony ¡X televised live from in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa ¡X to mark the end of the Dalai Lama's rule in Tibet.

The Tibetan government-in-­exile said on its Web site that the new holiday, crowned ¡§Serfs Liberation Day,¡¨ is aggravating problems in the region and would be a day of mourning for Tibetans around the world.

¡§Tibetans consider this observance offensive and provocative,¡¨ it said.

Hundreds of Tibetans living in Dharmsala, the headquarters of the Government-in-Exile in northern India, held a street protest against Beijing's rule, carrying Tibetan flags and chanting ¡§Stop 50 years of torture.¡¨ Some wore bandanas reading ¡§Free Tibet.¡¨

March 28 marks the date when Beijing ended the 1959 Tibetan uprising, sending the Dalai Lama over the Himalayas into exile and placing Tibet under its direct rule for the first time.

In China's official version of events, Tibet in mid-century was a remote medieval backwater where most people lived in servitude to the Buddhist theocracy and nobility until the Communist government stepped in.

¡§Just as Europe can't return to the medieval era and the United States can't go back to the times before the Civil War, Tibet can never restore the old serf society era,¡¨ Zhang Qingli (±i¼y¾¤), the Communist Party boss of the region, told the crowd of more than 13,000.

The ceremony followed a host of articles in the state-run media and shows on TV extolling Communist reforms and economic development. They have likened the end of the Dalai Lama's rule to late US president Abraham Lincoln's emancipation of slaves.

Zhang lashed out at the Dalai Lama, vowing a long struggle against his supporters, who the government says want Tibetan independence. China has stepped up its attacks on the Dalai Lama after the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader compared life under Chinese rule to ¡§hell on earth¡¨ earlier this month.

¡§Tibet belongs to China, not a few separatists or the international forces against China. Any conspiracy attempting to separate the region from China is doomed to fail,¡¨ Zhang said.

Beijing has in recent years begun enlisting its hand-picked Panchen Lama, a high-ranking Buddhist cleric, in its campaign to vilify the Dalai Lama.

On Friday he was quoted as criticizing the former regime without mentioning the Dalai Lama by name.

At an international Buddhist conference yesterday in eastern China, he praised the Communist government for protecting religious freedom, indicating the government's intention to make him more of an international spokesman for its Tibetan policies.

¡§This event fully demonstrates that today's China enjoys social harmony, stability and religious freedom, and also shows that China is a nation that safeguards and promotes world peace,¡¨ he said.

Despite Beijing's backing, Gyaltsen Norbu is not widely accepted by Tibetans as the Panchen Lama. Another boy, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, was named as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama in 1995. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.



Outcry over Kuo will last: pundits

By Ko Shu-ling
Sunday, Mar 29, 2009, Page 3

In the wake of the controversy caused by former Toronto-based Government Information Office official Kuo Kuan-ying, protesters hold placards and banners condemning racism in Kaohsiung City yesterday.


President Ma Ying-jeou (°¨­^¤E) on Tuesday broke his silence on former Toronto-based Government Information Office (GIO) official Kuo Kuan-ying (³¢«a­^) after 14 days, condemning his online articles smearing Taiwan and Taiwanese.

Ma at the time said he hoped the controversy would end, but analysts who believe the president¡¦s comment was too little, too late said the controversy was unlikely to end anytime soon.

After repeated denials, Kuo last week admitted that he had written the controversial articles under the pen name Fan Lan-chin (­SÄõ´Ü). The articles say, among other things, that ¡§[China] should spend many years suppressing [people in Taiwan] instead of granting any political freedom [to them] once it has taken Taiwan by force.¡¨

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (¤ý­§µa) said a person whose remarks incited ethnic hatred should be condemned, but emphasized that Kuo¡¦s articles had been published between 2005 and 2007, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in power.

He also said that the controversy over Kuo¡¦s remarks was the result of ¡§provocation by some politicians.¡¨

Criticizing Wang as ¡§arrogant,¡¨ Hawang Shiow-duan (¶À¨qºÝ), a political science professor at Soochow University, said Wang was implying the DPP was to blame for the articles.

Hawang said she believed there were more government officials like Kuo who have not ¡§come out of the political closet.¡¨

Hawang said the legislative by-election in Taipei City¡¦s Da-an District had been among the factors contributing to Ma¡¦s decision to come forward.

¡§Ma might have seen that the matter has gotten out of hand and that it was necessary for him to come out and say something,¡¨ Hawang said.

While Ma said he would like to see the controversy end here, Hawang said that whether it would end would hinge on Kuo¡¦s attitude, pointing out that Kuo had continued to make contentious remarks in Toronto, as in an interview with ETTV on Wednesday in which he called himself a ¡§hero.¡¨

Chao Yung-mao (»¯¥Ã­Z), a political science professor at National Taiwan University, agreed that yesterday¡¦s Da-an by-election ¡§more or less¡¨ played a role in Ma¡¦s comments.

Following the KMT¡¦s defeat in a legislative by-election in Miaoli, it sought to court centrist voters and KMT sympathizers, Chao said.

The controversy over Kuo¡¦s articles was not over, he said, because the issue would be mentioned repeatedly in elections and the investigation into the matter was not finished.

Career civil servants must remain politically neutral, Chao said, adding that Kuo would have had full freedom of speech had he not been a civil servant.

Joseph Tsai (½²ºa²»), a political science professor at National Chung Cheng University, said Ma¡¦s decision to denounce Kuo had more to do with his own sliding approval rating.

¡§Most politicians are selfish. They usually do whatever is best for them. His approval rating has dropped to 28 percent, so it would be a good idea for him to do a little bit of damage control here, or he will be held responsible if Kuo continues to stir up controversy,¡¨ Tsai said.

Tsai said he believed Kuo was not the only ¡§Fan Lan-chin¡¨ in the government.

Although Kuo was free to advocate unification with China, racist remarks could not be tolerated, Tsai said.





Saving Taiwan, one letter at a time

By Strong Chuang ²ø¬î¶¯
Sunday, Mar 29, 2009, Page 8

On Dec. 15, 1978, then-US president Jimmy Carter abruptly declared the switching of diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China (ROC) to the People¡¦s Republic of China. This move shocked Taiwan and Taiwanese-American communities. Many other Americans who cared for the US and its international relationships were also shocked.

Fortunately, less than four months later, on April 10, 1979, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The act effectively bridged and sustained the interrupted US-Taiwan relationship.

Section II-c of the TRA included an important paragraph concerning human rights in Taiwan.

This paragraph reads: ¡§Nothing contained in this chapter shall contravene the interest of the United States in human rights, especially with respect to the human rights of all the approximately eighteen million inhabitants of Taiwan. The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States.¡¨

Many Taiwanese activists who subsequently struggled for democratization and were involved in the Kaohsiung Incident credited that paragraph for compelling the tyrannical Chiang Ching-kuo (½±¸g°ê) ¡X then-chair of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taiwanese president ¡X to ¡§grant¡¨ an open trial to the arrested activists, saving many of their lives.

I have also heard many say the existence of TRA¡¦s paragraph on human rights substantially emboldened Taiwanese freedom fighters to more courageously stand out in protest against Chiang¡¦s dictatorial rule to fight for Taiwan¡¦s democratization. Therefore, replacing formal US-ROC diplomatic relations with the TRA might have actually expedited Taiwan¡¦s democratization process.

I believe it important to recall my own efforts to express my concern for human rights violations in Taiwan 30 years ago.

That concern led me to a person-to-person diplomatic action that may have encouraged the inclusion of the human rights paragraph in the TRA.

Hopefully, it will inspire Taiwanese-Americans today to undertake person-to-person diplomatic efforts to save Taiwan from being further betrayed and encroached upon by China.

When Carter ceased official recognition of the ROC in 1978, I was working at Proctor & Gamble. Owen Bradford Butler, then the company¡¦s vice chairman of the board, was one of the people worried about how this sudden change might affect the mutual interests of the US and Taiwan.

He was also the chairman of the policy/program committee of the National Association of Manufacturers. Under this capacity, Butler quickly formed a fact-finding group including representatives, a senator, a state legislator, a lieutenant governor and individuals from religious, educational, veteran and business organizations.

He led this group on a weeklong fact-finding visit to Taiwan. Upon his return, Butler wrote and published a very thorough report entitled ¡§U.S. cannot negotiate Taiwan out of existence¡¨ published on Feb. 7, 1979, in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Besides recounting the details of their Taiwan trip, Butler¡¦s article suggested and recommended how best for the US to sustain the relationship with Taiwan that had been elaborately built up over years.

I quickly responded to his article with a two-page letter. Besides commending his concerns about the future of US-Taiwan relations, my letter also pointed out that the places they had visited and the people they had met in Taiwan were mostly pre-arranged by the KMT regime. This meant that their visit did not allow them to truly see and understand the real views of the majority of Taiwanese.

My letter also gave a brief Taiwan history emphasizing the stark human rights violations of the KMT against the country¡¦s 85 percent ethnic-Taiwanese population.

As academic proof for my arguments, I attached an article that had recently been written by John Cantwell entitled ¡§Myth of Retaking the Mainland Still Fuels Taiwan¡¦s Repression.¡¨

I also mentioned my wish to meet him to provide more documents and materials related to the subject.

Soon after my letter, I was excited to receive an invitation to lunch with Butler on Feb. 27, 1979.

At that time, I was working with the Formosan Association for Human Rights to help Taiwanese prisoners of conscience.

I prepared many materials related to the KMT¡¦s human rights violations to present to Butler.

We had a very pleasant lunch for about two hours at Queen City Club and Butler treated me to a gorgeous meal.

During lunch, I almost over-enthusiastically and a little bit nervously described to him case after case of the KMT¡¦s human rights violations in Taiwan.

From the 228 Massacre in 1947 to the more recent cases at the time of Pai Ya-tsan (¥Õ¶®Àé), Chen Min-chong (³¯©ú©¾), Yen I-mo (ÃC¥ìÂÓ), Huang Hua (¶ÀµØ), Yang Chin-hai (·¨ª÷®ü), Wang Sing-nan (¤ý©¯¨k), Shih Ming-teh (¬I©ú¼w) and others.

In response, Butler promised that he would ask Ohio representative Bill Gradison to add a human rights paragraph to the draft of the congressional resolution related to the future of US-Taiwan relations.

Butler urged me to understand the hardships of the KMT government and defended the ROC a little.

He also contested my letter by saying that the visiting group to Taiwan had met people in religious and civilian commerce arenas.

He further claimed to have met one relatively young businessman who told him that the real future for Taiwan was to become an independent country.

After further inquisition, I believe it was at a dinner party given by Koo Chen-fu (¶d®¶¨j) and the young businessman may have been one of Koo¡¦s sons.

At the end of our lunch, before departing, Butler once again told me that he would ask representative Gradison to include a paragraph asking for the improvement of Taiwan¡¦s human rights in the soon-to-be-drafted TRA.

Finally, the TRA emerged, and it has a very powerful human rights paragraph indeed.

Soon after, the Kaohsiung Incident happened on Dec. 10, 1979.

I continued to send reports and materials to Butler concerning human rights violations in Taiwan. I received a two-page letter from him dated Jan. 24, 1980.

In his letter, Butler said he would do his best, but he emphasized his limited ability to help. He seemed to advise me not to be excessively demanding.

Butler also expressed his personal philosophy of avoiding excessive pursuit of ¡§personal fulfillment.¡¨ He reminded me there were worse human rights violations in many other Asian countries.

Butler was 57 then (17 years my senior). In my interaction with him, he gave me the impression he was a compassionate, yet conservative person of integrity.

Two years later (1981), he became chairman of Proctor & Gamble and eventually retired in 1986.

He continued to serve society after retirement by asserting and promoting equal opportunity for education to all mankind. I also remember reading an article in Moonbeam (the Proctor & Gamble magazine) reporting that in retirement, he and his wife were raising bison because his ancestors had killed too many of them.

The US government typically uses a ¡§passive approach¡¨ when conducting human rights diplomacy.

In the case of the TRA, Washington seemed to be acting against its tradition, adopting an ¡§active approach¡¨ in including the human rights paragraph in the act.

Thirty years later, I am still wondering whether or not my efforts really had some bearing on the inclusion of that paragraph.

The recent anniversary of the act has made me wonder even more whether my efforts to inform Butler of Taiwan¡¦s human rights violations at that time had an impact on the final appearance of the TRA.

If my input did in any way have some bearing on the inclusion of that paragraph, I hope my story will inspire Taiwanese-Americans today to put more energy into person-to-person diplomatic efforts to save Taiwan.

Strong Chuang is a former chairman of World United Formosans for Independence-USA.



US report shows shift in policy toward PRC

By Richard Halloran
Sunday, Mar 29, 2009, Page 8

A new assessment of China¡¦s military power issued by the Pentagon on Wednesday is notable for a subtle but distinct shift in tone, being more firm and candid than previous appraisals. The review stopped short of accusing the Chinese of being devious or lying but was headed in that direction.

The Pentagon¡¦s evaluation, as before, laments a lack of ¡§transparency¡¨ in Chinese objectives and strategy, saying that the Chinese publish ¡§incomplete defense expenditure figures and engage in actions that appear inconsistent¡¨ with Beijing¡¦s declarations.

Throughout the report, China is more sharply criticized for ¡§creating uncertainty and increasing the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation.¡¨ Graft ¡§remains pervasive, structural, and persistent.¡¨ Corruption in the People¡¦s Liberation Army (PLA) includes ¡§bribery for advancement and promotion, unauthorized contracts and projects, and weapons procurement.¡¨

The annual report has grown to 78 pages from 56 pages in 2002 and reflects the Pentagon¡¦s increased attention to China, the improved ability of US analysts to discern trends in China and a greater anxiety that Beijing potentially poses a serious threat.

An unnamed official who briefed the press on the report in Washington acknowledged the greater apprehension. China¡¦s military modernization, he said, ¡§is of growing concern to us.¡¨

China¡¦s response was swift and bitter. Defense ministry spokesman Hu Changming (­J©÷©ú) was quoted in the China Daily as saying: ¡§China is strongly dissatisfied with it and resolutely opposes it. China unswervingly sticks to a path of peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy which is purely defensive in nature.¡¨

¡§We urge the United States to stop issuing such a report on China¡¦s military strength and immediately take effective measures to dispel the baneful influence caused by the report so that bilateral military ties will incur no further damage,¡¨ Hu said.

Hu said issuing the report would block resumption of military exchanges with the US that China broke off in October after Washington announced the US would sell US$6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan. The US has been trying to get the Sino-US exchanges started again, asserting that dialogue helps to prevent miscalculation.

The new report emphasizes the secrecy in China¡¦s military affairs: ¡§The PLA draws from China¡¦s historical experience and the traditional role that stratagem and deception have played in Chinese doctrine.¡¨

The Chinese have shown renewed interest, the report says, in classical thinkers such as Sun Tzu, who wrote 2,500 years ago: ¡§All war is based on deception.¡¨

¡§There is a contradiction between the tendencies of China¡¦s military establishment, which favors excessive secrecy, and the civilians¡¦ stated goal of reassuring neighbors and existing powers about the peaceful nature of China¡¦s development,¡¨ the report said.

It points to passages in Chinese military writing as examples of the Chinese saying one thing and doing another: ¡§These passages illustrate the ambiguity of PRC [People¡¦s Republic of China] strategic thinking as well as the justification for offensive ¡X or preemptive ¡X military action at the operational and tactical level under the guise of a defensive posture at the strategic level.¡¨

Several commanders at the US Pacific Command have quietly cautioned Chinese military leaders not to miscalculate US capabilities and intentions. The new report brings that out into the open, saying Chinese leaders should realize ¡§that a conflict over Taiwan involving the United States would lead to a long-term hostile relationship between the United States and China ¡X a result that would not be in China¡¦s interests.¡¨

Richard Halloran is a freelance writer based in Hawaii.


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