Flip-flopper Ma Ying-jeou Changes Tongue on his Cross-Strait Promise

Twisting the meaning of a promise is the way a flip-flopper keeps promises.
~~ Taiwan Echo ~~

Common Wealth Magazine (天下雜誌) had an interview (in Chinese) with Mr. Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on June, 11th, the first interview of Ma after Ma flip-flops on his pre-election promise of not campaigning for the KMT Chairman.

During the interview, Mr. Ma broke another promise on his intention regarding the cross-strait relationship, one that is much more crucial to Taiwan's future.

It is the 不統不獨不武 that Mr. Ma promised to the people of Taiwan before the election. The promise is translated to English by Ma's regime as:

No unification, No independence and No use of force

(See the regime's website for English translation of phrases.)

The words clearly mean "don't push for" or "don't want." It is more so in Chinese language, since the character "統" usually means an "action" (as a verb, like "unify") instead of "state of fact" (as a noun, like "unification"). The character "不" also bares the meaning of determination, means "I don't" or "I won't", but not a simple "no" as shown in English.

So a more precise translation of 不統不獨不武 should have been:

I won't push for unification, I won't push for independent, I won't use force

That's the promise he made at a time he needed trust of Taiwanese to give him the power.

Now, during the above-mentioned interview, Mr. Ma made a drastic twist (see also: 馬英九對統一議題表態引發爭議) on his own words (highlight by me):


My 不統不獨不武 was supported by 80% of the people. The 不統 doesn't mean to exclude the option of "unification." It means that in my term of 8-year presidency we don't discuss the unification, because it's impossible to have an answer (on the unification) in these 8 years, so the discussion on this subject is insignificant.

After convincing most of Taiwanese that he won't push for the unification, he now twists the word into "no discussion." The alarming signal of his twist:

1) Ma's regime can push for the unification between Taiwan and China. As long as no discussion is made, his promise will be kept;

2) It's ok for Ma's regime to push for the unification without discussion with any one;

3) To make sure that his twisted promise is kept, any "discussion" of Ma's attempt of pushing the unification might be suppressed by Ma's regime.

This is a huge, huge turn of direction in terms of Ma Regime's cross-strait announcement. After twisting the meaning of his promise, Mr. Ma can now push the annexation of Taiwan to China and still tell people that his promise is kept.

Lastly, as side note, Mr. Ma has again displayed how he puts himself above the Constitution. In every one of his interviews that I know of, this person keeps mentioning that his term of presidency is 8 years, while Taiwanese only gave him 4-year of presidency, and most importantly, the time span of a president is defined as 4 years in the Constitution.

The interview covers many other subjects that I don't have time to share here.

Update: an English version of Mr. Ma's interview is found here.

Update2: a-gu's view and readers' comments on Mr. Ma's interview : Fallout from Ma interview: probably zero.


STOP Ma [19/6/09 23:22] said...

PandaMa has been playing with words for as long as I can remember. Words serve only one purpose for Ma -- to look and sound good. Other than that, they have no meaning whatsoever.

As I commented at Taiwan Matters, Ma is simply choosing not to call the 500 lb gorilla a 500 lb gorilla. He will ignore it's long term effects on the Taiwanese and will choose to call it "needed change" when it's necessary to do so.

This strategy plays into the Taiwanese vulnerability of long-term blindness. It will probably work, sadly -- especially since the DPP can't seem to get it's act together.