Saturday, March 15, 2008

March 22: Upcoming Taiwanese Elections--plus the Sibling Reports on DPP Campaign Headquarters

Just a thought as I brace myself for the inevitable mess that will come with the Taiwanese elections. For one thing, I expect a great deal of ludicrously bad "coverage" from the international news media. Expect "analysts" to be spouting nonsense, particularly nonsense that reveals they haven't a real clue about Taiwan at all -- or that they've somehow become sympathetic with the pan-blues and the photogenic Ma.

BUT! On a more personal note, I received an email a couple days ago from the Sibling in Taipei. He reported on an incident at the DPP campaign headquarters, and then told me to keep an eye on the news to see if the incident appears.

Here is the incident as the Sibling reported it ("Big news here," he says from Taipei). Some KMT supporters (blues) decided to cause trouble for the DPP (greens), and did this by sending some men to the DPP headquarters (they were "suits," according to the Sibling). They then apparently kicked in the door, accusing the DPP of not paying correct rent on the location. Soon dozens of DPP/green supporters appeared on the scene to protest the action of the blues and to deny their accusation. Riot police were called to the scene to restore order.

(Since I have a language policy on the blog, I won't repeat verbatim the Sibling's opinion of the pan-blues, but I can say he called their tactics a very nasty word indeed...and he's usually very polite! Also, the type of rowdy behavior he reports is unusual -- Taiwanese politics can be energetic, but not usually in the forms of fisticuffs like this.)

Here is the first appearance of the incident that I found -- in the BBC. A finance minister and a KMT legislator have now resigned over the fracas at DPP headquarters. Big news indeed.

[Finance minister] Ho Chih-chin said he was resigning to take responsibility for what he called his improper behaviour.

He had accompanied several legislators from the KMT - members of the parliamentary finance committee - to the DPP's campaign headquarters.

They had alleged that the building - owned by a bank which was supervised by the finance ministry - was being unlawfully occupied, claiming that no rent had been paid.

After gaining access, they were blocked from leaving by DPP supporters.

Scuffles broke out, and about 200 riot police were called in to try to maintain order.

The lawmakers were eventually allowed to leave the scene, and were taken to a police station for questioning.

The DPP's presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh, and his aides have strongly condemned the incident.

KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou later apologised and condemned the violence - although his aides insisted his campaign team had no prior knowledge of the event.

One of the KMT legislators involved in the incident, Alex Fai, also apologised and resigned as party whip.

Sorry for the delay in posting this -- I've been rather ill with a cold!

I'll have more news from the Sibling in Taiwan soon. He's heading to Taichung and Sun Moon Lake soon...

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