Pan Green's Mentality Behind the CSB Case -- And a Replay in Kaoshiung

The CSB's case - either what he did or didn't do, or the way the Taipei judiciary system fixed the case - has been haunting Taiwan in the past whole year. People with justice in mind couldn't stop asking why it could be possible, or wondering how the KMT could pull out the conspiracy so successfully to persecute the officials (and their families) of previous government in such a blatant way (see J. Michael Cole's Mobilize Now!).

From my understanding, one of the answers - a very critical one - lies in nowhere else but the green camp itself.

We Taiwanese haven't quite get to know how to be masters of own fates yet. Most still think like servants in the old time, that we go to the voting booth to "pick the Savior." Hoping that the Savior alone can right every wrong for us, we all go back home to wait for out dream to come true, without paying much attention to watch if the Savior does follow the promises he made.

Or even some do pay attention, they keep silent because they insist on "solidifying the leadership," based on the belief that not criticizing the Savior is the only means for the Savior to lead us to the promised land (I pointed this out in a post (in Chinese) when discussing the case of DPP's controversial pick of Tainan County candidate back in April, 台灣派的枷鎖:鞏固領導中心).

So, in contrary to the continuous attacks coming from the blue camp on very single policy our the Savior made, we keep very low profile, making it look like that we can take it whichever way it goes. As a result, the leader will only see and feel mounting pressure from the blue camp.

It won't be hard to picture what a person in the position of the Savior will do under that situation.

It thus drifts, step by step, farther away from our dream, until one day the situation is rotten to a point of no return.

Even at that point, we fail to recognize that the failure is the result of aggressive attacks from the blue camp, of our silence in response to those attacks, and of our ignorance thinking that the fate of a country relies solely on the shoulders of a single the Savior.

One man rises, the country is saved; one man goes down, we are all dead. So we all rush out to blame the Savior for all the fall. We claim that the so-called Saviorlied to us, that the Savior is not a savior at all. We forget that when one goes to the public announcing that he was lied to, he is announcing that something goes wrong in his intelligence.

As such, by laying all blames upon the falling guy, we wipe out the guilt of choosing a wrong leader (which in wrong), and free ourselves from the responsibility of letting the situation go worse and worse without intervening with the mind of masters.

This is probably the primary mentality of all those "anti-Bian" hatrid in the green camp -- coming from people ranging from general populate to highly educated elites, including some pronounced scholars and professors, domestic or overseas.

Very very few Taiwanese realize that, when things go wrong in a democracy, people -- the masters -- are those who are responsible. Because Taiwanese are unwilling or unaware of the need to play the role of a responsible master, that we have no courage to carry the burden, upon failure we blame everyone -- the non-green voters, the KMT, and their own falling leader -- but ourselves. That mentality is the key reason KMT is able to play the CSB card so well --- they must have known that if they pull CSB's legs to an extent, the green camp will follow up with much harsher attack against our own leader all by ourselves. In that sense, I would argue that we somehow conspire with KMT to allow the judiciary operation to go down so quickly.

Wandering around forums/blogs of both Chinese and English, I witness how much effort the English circle put on the judiciary injustice on CSB's case in the past year -- analysis, criticisms, open letters, endorsements ... one after one. In contrary, the attention of green camp on CSB's human right is almost none -- most major players or elites were dwelling in the anger of "we are cheated; we are hurt; it's all his fault." The attention from the green camp to care about the justice in CSB's case didn't show up until early May this year, when DPP politicians suddenly woke up and went to visit CSB in jail one by one during the week before DPP's 517 protest. It is at least 6 month of total negligence on the judiciary unfairness that will definitely hurt all Taiwanese in the future. Even after then, the hatred and anger keep coming from the green elites (hey, I just got one email of this sort today). It is so intense that it looks like wiping out CSB from our memories is the only thing pan green cares in the world, and as long as we do this but nothing else, we will reach our wonderland automatically.

The unbelievable ignorance toward the immediate danger right in front of us, and the shocking contrast between the Taiwanese and English circles lead me to a painful realization that the real source of major failure of green camp is most probably embedded deep in the green camp itself, not in the blue camp. Without fixing those internal problems, pan green will not gain any advantage even Ma government and the KMT fare much worse then what have done now.

But how? I am not quite sure, yet.

Taiwanese retested in Kaoshiung

But, the way Kaoshiung City handles Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer's documentary "The 10 Conditions of Love" in the Kaoshiung Film Festival is a "CSB government in a smaller scale" that provides us a real chance to relive what happened before, as well as to rehearse what is to come in the future. (See Kaoshiung Folds under China's Pressure to Kick Rebiya's Film out of the Festival)

Every single administration head has to face public opinions, and act accordingly. There's no doubt that pro-China power will be very aggressive to give pressure to stop the screening of Kadeer's movie. If we don't play the role of asking what should have been done with at least the same caliber of pressure the pro-china voices asking Chen Chu (陳菊, Mayor of Kaoshiung City, who approves the decision to exclude the screening of the film from the Festival) to stop filming it, then Chen Chu will only face one-sided pressure from the pro-China camp. She will have no choice but follow what "the louder voices" wants. The compromising on the free speech issue will encroach further step by step, as what happened during CSB's era.

Some argue that although it's not an ideal solution by rescheduling the film to a date 3 weeks ahead of the Festival, we won a little by filming it anyway. To me that argument makes absolutely no sense.

If the case happens in a blue district, we could argue that because the administrative power is in blue's hand, we expect that Kadeer's film be prohibited, so we will "win a little" if we get it screened, even it's not screened during the Festival.

But this is in a green district !!! Screening Kadeer's film DURING the Festival is the rightful state we should have been in. Any other approach is a "loss", thus can only be a question of "losing small" or "losing big." It will never be a "win."

Mistaking a "small loss" as a "small win," simply because what the blue camp wants is a "big loss" from us. This sort of forgetting where we should be has been happening again and again in the past.

That's why I emphasize that it is a "fold" to pro-China's power. We all understand that Chen Chu is taking huge pressure from pro-China camp. But, we will go toward very different directions by choosing from the following two choices: trying to explain away the losing move as a winning one, or trying to build up the pressure from the green side to balance the pressure and help Chen Chu make a real winning move.


Kaoshiung Folds under China's Pressure to Kick Rebiya's Film out of the Festival

Kaohsiung City surrenders to China's pressure and removes Uighor leader Rebiya's film "Ten Conditions of Love" from the upcoming Kaohsiung Film Festival starting from Oct, 16th.

They claim that it is rescheduled to 9/22, 9/23 -- 3 weeks ahead of the Festival program. That is, people who attend the Festival will NOT be able to watch it.

In the mean time, Kaoshiung City still tries to convince people that, by screening it anyway, they show their respect and support to the freedom and independent spirit of art. The Director-General of Kaoshiung City's Department of Information, Li-Ming Hsu (新聞處長許立明) claims in the rescheduling announcement that the decision of rejecting Rebiya's film was made based on the principles of (1) protecting the freedom of creativity, (2) upholding the independence of Festival operation and (3)respecting the right of movie viewers (保障創作自由、策展獨立與民眾觀影權利).

I have hard time following his logic, for that if they are based on those principles, shouldn't Rebiya's film be screened in the Festival as originally scheduled ?

He also claims that Rebiya's film is just one of the 79 films they will screen, so they decide to remove the film in order to protect the creative values of the rest 78 films.

For what I know so far, there's nothing at all indicates that any of the other 78 films is in any way jeopardized by this wave of protest against Rebiya's film.

The next day after the rescheduling was announced, the Festival organizer, which is taking order from the Kaoshiung City, issued an apology, claiming that it's determined by Kaoshiung City government so it's out of their hands. Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who gained wide support and approval with her successful management in the World Games earlier, emphasizes that the rescheduling is "not to please China, but to cease conflicts."

Haven't we heard this kind of arguments - repeatedly - before, from the blue camp ? Which act of "pleasing China" from the blue camp wasn't coated with one sort of something else one way or anyther ? Did Chen Chu forget that the green camp has been criticizing Ma Ying-jeou and KMT for pleasing China?

So it's OK to please China only if it comes from the green camp ?

The hard lesson to learn by all Taiwanese is that the hypocrisy doesn't have boundary.

What more pathetic is, Kaoshiung City reschedules the screening time to prevent Rebiya's film from showing in the Festival in the hope to "cease the conflict." But those who protested are still protesting and requesting that Kaoshiung to surrender completely by not filming it at all (高市府:放映熱比婭 勿政治詮釋).

Being a city that has been the historical sources of democratic development in Taiwan, Kaoshiung city behaves with unbelievably naiveness by thinking that the pressure from pro-china power can be handled by partial compromise.


Ma Ying-jeou becomes the gustiest by wooing China

Regarding the issue of Ma Ying-jeou being selected as one of 5 gustiest world leaders in the Mental Floss (MF) magazine, I found the Q&A in MF's website here:

1. Who are the five leaders profiled for the “5 Gutsiest World Leaders” cover story?
Lula da Silva, Angela Merkel, Yoweri Museveni, Michelle Bachelet, Ma Ying-jeou.

It is presented as the cover story of the current issue, which requires a subscription to access. But the MF outlines the reasons these people are picked in an abstract here:

The World's Gutsiest Leaders
By Jennifer Drapkin

Whether they're healing a tortured nation, conquering AIDS, uniting Europe, galvanizing Latin America, or wooing China, these heads of state are proving that they have what it takes to change the world.

Ma Ying-jeou is among the gustiest because he is "wooing China."


The Mental Floss article about Ma can be found here. I saw it from this site: Mental_Floss 有關馬英九的報導全文

The article is full of bullshits. Just one example among many: it argues that because of CSB, the trades between China and Taiwan waned, that caused Taiwan's economics to go down, and that caused the Taiwan-USA relationship to go bad. With that kind of nonsense, MF reaches a conclusion that everything is settled after Ma, against all odds, arranged a very difficult marriage between China and Taiwan.

Is it expressed in a sarcastic manner? I don't think so. It is more like a regurgitation of bias against Taiwan we often see in western journalist circle, which only shows how poor the author's knowledge is.


Privilege - the core spirit of Chinese society

J. Michael Cole's article (as usual, worth readying) regarding the critics of China Post on the democracy inspires some discussion about the democracy (or the lack of it) in Chinese society. I am putting my thoughts here (with netters' questions), with the argument that the democracy is impossible in the privilege-based Chinese society.

Chinese society is based on privileges

The most important ingredient in Chinese culture is "privilege." People do whatever they can to get privileged, and the authority uses the privilege to buy loyalty. The entire social structure is built on the give and take of privileges.

That's why the true justice is impossible in Chinese society, because it requires that everybody is equal before the law.

That's why the democracy is denounced by Chinese, especially Chinese intellectuals, because in a democratic society the non-educated share the same political right as the educated.

If you were a member of any of most of Chinese organizations, you would find that they work as much as possible to avoid "rules," because existence of rules means everyone should follow.

Chinese don't like rules, don't like laws, and reject the democracy, because there is no room for privileges.

Understanding this, it won't be hard to see the source of the chaos in Taiwan.

Anonymous: "Any idea of whether such opinion pieces are sincerely based on the author's commitments, or paid advertising for the CCP?"

I can't say if it is paid for, but it doesn't need CCP to pay for this. That's in Chinese culture so they will say it for their own benefits, for free. We will continue to see Chinese intellectuals saying how bad a democracy is.

A democracy comes with laws

Anonymous: "@ Taiwan Echo. you make some interesting points. but if chinese hate rules, wouldn't they like 'chaotic' democracy? if democracy seems to have less structure, then it would allow you more freedom from rules...?"

First of all, "democracy is chaotic" is something deserves review. A democracy comes with laws to ensure that the democracy spirit is established. Without the fair and effective enforcement of laws, the justice cannot prevail, then the democracy will fail. The idea "democracy is chaotic" is thus a distortion. A democracy would turn chaotic only when people want the "freedom" part but disregard the "law" part. When that happens, the apparent democracy is just a formality. Paying attention to the "law" part of a democracy, it won't be hard to observe how often Chinese intellectuals (in Taiwan) undermine the law, and use that to get privileges. That's what brings chaos into the society. The question "won't Chinese love democracy because it's chaotic" is false.

The Confucianism in China is just a facade

Anonymous: "in a way, you seem to be arguing what the CCP has often argued. democracy is a western idea that is necessarily in conflict with chinese (confucian?) culture. Partly relevant is Bell's book 'China's New Confucianism. He argues that chinese will probably prefer some form of confucian rule, may be not democracy. (He also gives an interesting argument why, according to the confucian view on just war, China couldn't attack Taiwan if the latter declares independence.)"

I didn't read the book by Bell, so I can't comment. But I agree that there probably won't be wars if China does follow the Confucianism. I do appreciate the values presented in the teachings of Confucius. However, here is the situation that most westerners fail to see: in Chinese society, the teaching is one thing, the behaviors in the real world is totally different. Powerful people use the Confucianism to teach people (so the students can behave), but their own behaviors violate the teachings in many aspects. Somewhere along the line of Chinese history, Chinese developed hypocrisy as the "living principle" in conjunction with the "teaching principle" of Confucianism. People who learn the Confucianism in their early ages have to grow up behaving the opposite way otherwise they will continue to get suppressed by those who "get privileged by violating the teachings."

Just review the history of foreign encounters of Chinese. There are so many examples that Chinese gain upper hands by breaking their promises. Failing to keep promises is something Confucius criticized heavily. See how Ma Ying-jeou presents himself in a polite and soft-spoken manner. This part fits the teaching. But how many laws has he violated yet he still claims that following laws is his living standard ? How many promises have he broken, which is in complete opposite direction of Confucianism ? Until this time, the western world is still naively believing this biggest hypocrite. The western world just don't get that in Chinese society, "talking sense" is just a tool to gain upper hands.

Again, it all comes down to the privilege. No matter it's law, democracy, or Confucianism (hey, Confucianism is some sort of rules, too), in Chinese-based society, it will be bent and shaped into a tool to ensure that some class of people will hold their privileges. Newer generations will have no choice but become part of it.

Yes, I am arguing - like the CCP is - that the democracy is impossible in Chinese-based society, but obviously based on very different reasons.

vin: "But Chinese and Taiwanese prize stability above all else -- and stability has for so many Chinese centuries has been based on orthodoxy built on privilege."

Right on! That's how Chinese "use" Confucianism, as a tool to ensure privileges. IMO it's not what Confucius really meant.