Friday, September 15, 2000

The Orvillian Newspeak of Orville Schell

The Orvillian Newspeak of Orville Schell
Bevin Chu
September 14, 2000

Journalism Theory 101A: Quotations from Chairman Schell

"Nine-tenths of good journalism is writing a piece over and over until you get it right... Journalism is in peril... but what is possible is to send young journalists out into the world with at least the ability to know what writing with integrity is."
-- Orville Schell
"Schell set to beef up journalism school"
San Francisco Examiner, Sunday June 16, 1996

Journalism Practice 302B: Orvillian Newspeak

"The news is whatever I say is the news."
-- David Brinkley, former NBC Anchorman and media industry icon

"What is news? You know what news is? News is what you news directors interpret it as. News is what we at CNN interpret it as. The people of this country see the news that we think they oughta see."
-- Ted Turner, Founder of CNN

"We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with issues and subjects that we choose to deal with."
-- Richard M. Cohen, former Senior Producer of CBS News

"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
-- Richard Salant, former President of CBS News

Who is Orville Schell?

Orville Schell is dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and Vice-chairman of Human Rights Watch/Asia.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes Schell as a

"China expert, journalist, cattle rancher, human rights activist... Schell grew up on the East Coast in a well-to-do family with a commitment to social justice. His father started Helsinki Watch, the precursor to today's Human Rights Watch, and his brother Jonathan wrote ``The Fate of the Earth,'' an apocalyptic account of nuclear devastation, in 1982."

In other words, Orville Schell is both a journalist and an advocate. We should not be surprised therefore to learn that Schell is an "advocacy journalist," what libertarian media analyst Edith Efron termed a "News Twister." And an old money, east coast limousine liberal, to boot.

And why is He saying those Terrible Things about China?

Let's examine what "China expert" Schell has been saying about the subject of his purported expertise.

In an opinion piece entitled "China's Dysfunctional Public Relations Barrage," New York Times, September 2, 2000, Schell writes:

"As Beijing sees it, the reason China's diplomatic and trade relations with the United States don't always go smoothly starts with unfair American press coverage and hostile politicians in Congress. Still believing in the efficacy of political propaganda, the Communist Party hopes to change things with [a] public relations offensive.

China's leaders... export blame for China's less-than-perfect global relations, obscuring two crucial facts: China is no longer being preyed upon, and the means to solve many of its key international problems are actually in the hands of the government itself... suggesting that "hostile foreign forces" are the problem in hot spots like Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong is a curious abdication of the very sovereign power that Chinese leaders aspire to protect.

And externalizing the cause of problems preempts... initiative at home on their own... there is a larger ailment that this dose of public relations will not cure, and that is Beijing's anachronistic but stubborn tendency to see China's national progress as obstructed by foreign interference."

From Orvillian Newspeak to Ordinary English

Let's translate Schell's patronizing, innuendo-laden Orvillian Newspeak into plain English, the kind of unsubtle, unadorned text professional actors refer to as "on the nose."

Schell says American press coverage is not unfair and politicians in Congress are not hostile. And if they are, what of it? It's China's own fault. If the Chinese would just pay attention to us and do what we tell them, we might cut them some slack.

Schell says only Beijing is clueless enough to still "believe in the efficacy of political propaganda." Our own Pentagon/CNN Military-Media Industry Complex would naturally never attempt to "change things with public relations offensives."

Never mind that in 1995 Cassidy and Associates, retained by ROC president Lee Teng-hui for the princely sum of $4.5 million, greased enough palms in Congress to clear the way for Lee's politically-motivated "private" Cornell University trip, that Cornell admits receiving a $2.5 million donation from a "friend" of Lee Teng-hui afterwards.

Never mind that in 1992 Ruder Finn Global Public Affairs, hired by Croatia, Bosnia, and the Kosovo Albanians successfully circulated fabricated reports of massive rapes of Moslem and Croat women by the Serbs.

Never mind that in 1991 Hill and Knowlton, hired by Kuwait, successfully circulated "Wag the Dog" horror stories of Iraqi soldiers looting Kuwaiti incubators leaving Kuwaiti babies to perish on cold hospital floors, stories uncritically parroted by CNN, Amnesty International, and get this, Orville Schell's own Human Rights Watch.

Are the Serbs Demons? by Benedict Neumann

Whom does Professor Schell think he's talking to? Does he imagine we are suffering from amnesia? Does he imagine we are like goldfish, who don't remember from one moment to the next how far we've swum?

A Chinese official introducing China's new exhibit suggested that "understanding between peoples is the most important thing to stress when discussing the relationship between two nations.''

China brings its PR message to US, The Straits Times Interactive: East and SE Asia, September 7, 2000.

Uncontroversial, right? Platitudinous maybe, but hardly controversial, right?

Wrong. Beijing's "A Close Look at China" is what got Schell into his barely controlled snit, what provoked him to launch his preemptive strike against China even before the exhibit opened.

What was Schell's problem?

Schell's problem was Beijing had the cheek, the effrontery, the gall, to suggest that there might be a way to perceive China other than the way Schell's media/academia/government elite has ascertained is the correct way, the approved way, their way for Americans to perceive China.

What right did China have to cast doubt on The Gospel according to Schell? What right did China have to confuse the American public with half-truths? That was a right reserved for Schell's opinion-making elite. Schell actually entitled a June 29, 1997 New York Times article of his "What to Think About China." I kid you not.

Humanitarian Interventionists fancy themselves not only as "holier than thou," but also as "more conscious than thou." Certainly infinitely more conscious than the "clueless gerontocracy in Bejing."

In fact they flatter themselves.

Most media establishment insiders such as Christiane Amanpour and the good Professor are intellectual conformists, mediocrities who have never formulated a truly original concept in their life. Their value systems were absorbed unconsciously and uncritically from the intellectual mainstream around them. Their timidity when challenged to "think outside the box" is rivalled only by their defensiveness when other, more original minds confront them with heretical alternatives outside their zone of comfort.

The notion that perhaps the wisest, most farsighted policy for America might simply be to leave China alone, to allow China to succeed or fail, on her own terms, is simply unthinkable to these post-Woodrow Wilson, post-Teddy Roosevelt Babbit busybodies.

If Schell is as convinced that our American system of government is the finest in the world, as his Human Rights Watch moralizing implies he is, libertarian anti-interventionists challenge him to redirect his energies toward getting our own house in order, so that our American Experiment might offer a more convincing example to the rest of the world.

"Rogue nations," excuse me, "nations of concern" might even fall over each other in their rush to emulate us, without any need for us to hold a gun to their heads to persuade them of the error of their ways.

Who knows? Schell could experience a Road to Damascus conversion. But you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

Schell says China "is no longer being preyed upon." When Chinese complain about foreign meddling in China's internal politics, they are merely diverting attention from their own failures. There are no hostile foreign forces creating problems for China in Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.

No longer being preyed upon???

If you did a double-take here, if you're still picking your jaw off the floor, you're not alone.

Never mind that as recently as 1959 CIA black ops types supplied weapons, training and "advisors" to the "pacifist" Dalai Lama and instigated a violent uprising in China's Tibetan region.

Never mind that as recently as 1996, four short years ago, our Humanitarian Interventionist commander in chief dispatched two carrier battle groups to the Straits of Taiwan and in a brazen display of 19th century gunboat diplomacy sided with a separatist elite in a Chinese Civil War.

Never mind that as recently as 1999, just last year, he provided an encore by "accidentally" bombing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade with precision laser-guided smart bombs delivered by a state of the art B-2 Stealth Bomber.

As the Wizard of Oz put it, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

Schell says for China to complain when meddlesome foreign elites [which mind you, don't exist] persist in interfering in China's internal affairs is an "abdication of sovereignty." Presumably not complaining when foreign elites interfere in ones' domestic politics constitutes an "affirmation of sovereignty."

To top it off, Schell says Chinese who object to foreign interference "have an ailment," in other words, they are sick in the head. Chinese presumptuous enough to dispute Dr. Schell's diagnosis and demand a second opinion are being "stubborn" and their perception "anachronistic."

Just Shut Up and Bend Over

Schell warns us that, "Old notions of sovereignty are changing, and to gain permanent normal trade status with the United States, coexist successfully in a changed world and win global respect, China needs to look at new ways of relieving tensions."

Translation: China had better wise up to the way things are going to be under the New World Order. Or else.

As Strobe Talbot put it in a now infamous July 20, 1992 article "America Abroad: The Birth of the Global Nation" in Time Magazine, "The internal affairs of a nation used to be off limits to the world community. Now the principal of "humanitarian intervention" is gaining acceptance."

Jiang Zemin's speech at the United Nations Millennium Summit declaring that "Without sovereignty, there will be no human rights to speak of, that respecting the right of nations to run their own internal affairs is the principle of democracy as applied to world affairs" is sure to receive a failing grade in Professor Schell's compulsory course on "Human Rights under the New World Order."

As the good professor puts it, "Instead of trooping over to New York to engage in transnational propaganda, its leaders might better serve their country by staying home and seeking ways to reframe its relations, on its own, with both its own constituent parts and the larger world."

Translation: "Just shut up and bend over."

As Madeleine Albright told the NBC Television 'Today' show on 19th February 1998, "If we have to use force it is because we are America! We are the indispensible nation. We stand tall, and we see further into the future."

No translation needed.

The Real Problem: China has a Bad Attitude

Schell informs us that, "Anti-foreignism took root and was confirmed by the Japanese occupation in World War II. It was codified during Mao's revolution as Leninist anti-imperialism. In the fever of today's marketplace such revolutionary ideology has been muted... "

A century and a half of naked "might makes right" foreign aggression, summarized in one dry, lifeless sentence. Not even to provide historical context, which might evoke unwanted sympathy for China's point of view, but to establish Schell's controlling premise:

"China has a bad attitude."

Schell speaks of "anti-foreignism." He informs us "anti-foreignism" "took root," "was confirmed," "was codified" and is today "muted." Muted only because Chinese today are afflicted with "marketplace fever," which Schell makes sound like a bad thing.

"Orville Schell," his Berkeley predecessor Tom Goldstein assures us, "has worked at some of the highest levels of journalism for more than a quarter of a century and he is just full of wisdom and terrific ideas."

Either Schell is working at levels too high for us mere mortals, or else Schell has a problem communicating in plain English.

China was minding her own business in 1842 when the British Navy sailed halfway around the world, held a gun to China's head, and said "Buy my opium, or else," and "Sign over Hongkong, or else."

China was minding her own business in 1895 when the Japanese Navy sailed across the East China Sea, held a gun to China's head, and said "Sign over Taiwan, or else."

China was minding her own business in 1900, when the so-called "Eight Powers" held guns to China's head and said "Give us Treaty Ports, or else," and when Chinese resisted, murdered thousands, sacked the Summer Palace and looted it three ways from Sunday.

China was minding her own business in 1931, when the Japanese Army marched into Mukden, held a gun to China's head and said, "Sign over Manchuria, or else."

China was minding her own business in 1937, when the Japanese Army marched into Nanking and in two months slaughtered 300,000 unarmed civilians.

So what if foreign powers invaded China, extorted Chinese territory at gunpoint, murdered millions of her citizens, and treated others like second class citizens in her own land? None of those are the real problem.

The real problem is China has a chip on its shoulder. The real problem is the Chinese have a bad attitude.

Schell may be full of something, but it clearly isn't "wisdom and terrific ideas."

No Clear and Present Danger

During an interview "Is There a Clear and Future Danger?" Thursday, June 26, 1997, former GOP presidential candidate Pete DuPont asked Tom Clancy, author of "Red Storm Rising" and numerous Cold War thrillers:

"Could China be a realistic fear? Ross Munro and Richard Bernstein's book "The Coming Conflict with China," has certainly captured the attention of many in the defense community. What do you think?"

Clancy's sharp, almost testy reply was highly instructive:

"How can we have a conflict with China? The Pacific Ocean's in the way and they don't have a navy."

Is There a Clear and Future Danger?

The Monroe Doctrine and the Golden Rule

As Clancy astutely observes, if we have a conflict with China, it will be because our Benevolent Global Hegemonists deliberately went out of their way and crossed the widest ocean on the planet for the express purpose of picking a fight with a distant nation with which we don't even share a common border.

In other words, we are the ones provoking a showdown with China. China is not the one provoking a showdown with us. We are the aggressors, not the Chinese. We are the ones initiating force, not the Chinese.

Does anybody remember the Monroe Doctrine? Forget the Monroe Doctrine, does anybody remember the Golden Rule?

Neocon hawks posture as devout Christians, but seem to have forgotten Christianity's central ethical tenet, the Golden Rule, namely, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Or as pre-Christian era Chinese ethical philosopher Confucius worded it, "Do nothing to others that you would not have done unto you."

We sent our navy 8000 miles west across the Pacific Ocean in 1996 and threatened China's Fujian coast. We got right up in China's face. We butted into a Chinese Civil War which has no bearing whatsoever on America's national sovereignty or territorial integrity.

China did not send her navy 8000 miles east to threaten our California coast. China did not get in our faces. China did not butt into our American Civil War in 1861, because it was none of China's business, having no bearing whatsoever on China's national sovereignty or territorial integrity.

As Charlie Reese, anti-interventionist columnist with the Orlando Sentinel lamented,

"We ought to be the good guys, and we aren't."

The Pentagon's New Global Enemy for the 21st Century

Andrew Marshall notes in a 30 August 2000 Independent piece entitled "The US is thinking itself into a new global conflict" that "The Pentagon's target, apparently, is China, the new global enemy for the 21st century."

"The US is thinking itself into a new global conflict. This time, it is not in Europe; it is in the Pacific... in a document called Asia 2025... the China threat, a nuclear power, one point two billion people the other side of the world, is satisfyingly Soviet-shaped and justifies... more heavy airlift, more sealift, more attack submarines, aircraft carriers and long-range bombers, not less... Of all of the projects spawned by the new "menace", the really big one is the National Missile Defence (NMD)... America says it is aimed at North Korea and Iran; it isn't, or at least not only at them. It is aimed at China, and maintaining US dominance in the Pacific."

The US is thinking itself into a new global conflict

Red Corner? Or Red White and Blue Corner?

Remember "Red Corner," Jon Avnet's "Two Minutes of Hate" propaganda film, starring Richard Gere? Remember how Richard Gere had the premiere deliberately moved up to coincide with Jiang Zemin's state visit to America?

Salon's review of Red Corner

In what has to be the supreme irony, our own federal law enforcement has been treating the hapless Lee Wenho almost exactly the way the Richard Gere character was depicted as being treated by a "human rights violating" Beijing government in "Red Corner."

In fact as American expats in Shanghai or Beijing can testify, American businessmen who run afoul of the law in China are not treated as depicted in "Red Corner," but are simply declared persona non grata and deported.

If Schell is serious about exposing xenophobia, or "anti-foreignism," as a menace to world peace and human rights, he need not look 8000 miles west across the Pacific.

He need only look at the neoconservative National Review and Weekly Standard, where primitive xenophobia and paranoia really do fester just beneath a thin outer skin of "civilized, scholarly discourse."

From Schell's ivory tower perch in Berkeley he need only look a few hundred miles southeast to Los Alamos, where a Kafkaesque nightmare is being visited upon American scientist Lee Wenho in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, where neocon "human rights champions," better known as lynch mobs, have brushed aside all concern for Due Process and Presumption of Innocence, and are shrieking, "Fry the spy!"

Or maybe that's a little too close to home?

Losing Face vs. Losing Territory

Schell writes,

"Far from losing face, China would gain nothing but world respect and gratitude if, for example, it could see its way to unilaterally renouncing the use of force in the Taiwan Straits and evince more respect for the right of Taiwanese to determine their relationship to the mainland. It would gain similarly if it could grant Tibetans a greater quotient of real autonomy and then encourage the Dalai Lama to return to Lhasa, and if it would permit Hong Kong the political latitude to elect its leaders in a truly democratic manner."

Schell's unsolicited advice to China about how she can curry favor with Schell's Humanitarian Interventionist nomenklatura is so Politically Correct and Conventionally Wise, therefore plain wrong, simply figuring out where to begin taking it apart is a challenge in itself.

First, Schell has it exactly backwards. What Schell should have said is,

"Far from losing face, America would gain nothing but world respect and gratitude if, for example, it could see its way to unilaterally renouncing the use of force in the Taiwan Straits and evince more respect for the right of Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to determine their relationship to each other. America would gain similarly if it could acknowledge her individual states a greater quotient of real independence, as is their constitutional right under the original Articles of Confederation."

The Taiwan region of China would not remain separate from the mainland were it not for our Benevolent Global Hegemonists and the Taiwan Relations Act. Taiwan and the mainland are being artifically held apart by active, sustained, ongoing US military intervention. Absent this foreign military intervention, the minority Taiwan independence elite would be forced to compromise and to negotiate in earnest for genuine autonomy, rather than to pay insincere lip service to reunification while stalling for time and plotting eventual independence.

Second, Schell is mighty cavalier about China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. "Just let Taiwan and Tibet go," Schell opines, "Why be such a tightass? What's the big deal?"

Is Schell a champion of Southern Secession? American Indian secession? Of Alaskan independence? Hawaiian independence? Texas independence?

For a real eye-opener on just how the sovereign nation of Hawaii was colonized and annexed at bayonet point by the United States,

The Overthrow of the Monarchy, by Pat Pitzer, Spirit of Aloha, May 1994, the in-flight magazine of Aloha Airlines

Is Schell prepared to allow California, as of this year over 50% Hispanic, to hold a plebiscite, secede from these United States and possibly be annexed by [or restored to, depending on one's point of view] Mexico?

Is Schell prepared to allow south Florida, overwhelmingly Cuban in population, to hold a plebiscite, secede from these United States and possibly even be annexed by a post-Castro Cuba?

Notwithstanding Schell's Strobe Talbot-esque political [as contrasted with economic] globalism, is Schell as cavalier about American national sovereignty and territorial integrity? Is Schell as willing, nay eager, to "just let Alaska, California, Hawaii, Texas go?"

If he is, can we anticipate Schell vocally demanding Alaskan, Californian, Hawaiian, Texan independence or autonomy? As vocally as he demands Taiwan and Tibetan independence or autonomy?

Why do I doubt it?

What's Good for the Chinese Goose is Good for the American Gander

Schell concludes with,

"The truth is that most solutions for what internationally bedevils China will not be found in New York because what needs fixing is in Beijing. What China needs is not better global propaganda, but bold new vision and leadership dedicated to recasting the way it imagines itself in the world. Whether the present leadership is imaginative or strong enough to undertake such a reappraisal is another question. But... China's leaders would have accomplished something to be truly proud of. Moreover, their world stature would soar and they would find that myriad other tensions, around issues like trade arrangements with the United States, would dissolve on their own."

Inverting Schell's unsolicited wisdom we get,

"The truth is that most solutions for what internationally bedevils America will not be found in Beijing because what needs fixing is in Washington. What America needs is not better global propaganda, but bold new vision and leadership dedicated to recasting the way it imagines itself in the world. Whether the present leadership is imaginative or strong enough to undertake such a reappraisal is another question. But... America's leaders would have accomplished something to be truly proud of. Moreover, their world stature would soar and they would find that myriad other tensions, around issues like trade arrangements with China, would dissolve on their own."

Amazing, isn't it?

A Remedial Class in American Values for Professor Schell

"Imperialism and nationalism are incompatible notions. A genuine patriotism entails respect for the patriotism of others. It is clearly incompatible with invading other countries, humiliating other countries or subordinating them to one's geopolitical needs. An American patriot loves his country, appreciates its system of government but accepts that it works very well only here. It is not for export, any more than Islamic theocracy or the Eastern Orthodox Church is. This is what differentiates the patriot from the imperialist. The empire builder is sure that his country has reached the pinnacle of civilization and therefore is obligated to impose it on the rest of the world."
-- George Szamuely
"Podhoretz's Paradox"
Decline of the West, July 6, 2000

Got it, Orville?

Why Pick on Schell?

Next to neocon warmongers Robert Kagan and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, or Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, authors of "The Coming Conflict with China," not to mention sundry crypto white supremacist websites on the net, liberal bleeding heart Orville Schell comes across as positively innocuous, a veritable Teddy bear.

So why pick on him?

Because China-baiters who have difficulty repressing and camouflaging their racial animus give themselves away, and thus limit the amount of mischief they are able to inflict.

Schell's cavalier misrepresentations of China's history and lazy stereotyping of the Chinese people, on the other hand, while every bit as biased as that of more strident China-baiters, come across as intellectually respectable, "scholarly."

Given that Schell's "kinder, gentler" China-demonization provides convenient intellectual cover for anti-China, anti-Chinese, and anti-Chinese-American bigotry, the mild-mannered, professorial Schell may turn out to be more, not less dangerous than the "Let's nuke Beijing!" thug with spittle dribbling out one side of his mouth.

Friday, September 01, 2000

Freedom and Democracy disappear in Taiwan

Freedom and Democracy disappear in Taiwan
Bevin Chu
August 31, 2000

Freedom and Democracy vanish from Taipei's "Tiananmen Square"

On August 22, citizens of the Republic of China woke up to discover that a row of familiar signs in front of Taipei's Presidential Palace had suddenly and mysteriously vanished, overnight. The eight giant signs which lined one side of Taipei's counterpart to Tiananmen Square for almost two decades, read "Zhi Yu Min Zu, Tong Yi Zhong Guo,"or "Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China." These eight Chinese characters were clearly visible in the background during Chen Shui-bian's May 20th inauguration ceremony. They appeared in electronic and print media images of the event held in Presidential Square.

What happened to them? Where did they go?

An AFP article which got zero notice outside Taiwan, but which was picked up by the English language China Post noted:

"The removal of the slogans sparked speculation over the new government's political intentions."

Freedom and Democracy are dead. Long live Freedom and Democracy

The removal of the slogans as it turns out, was indeed, "politically motivated." The signs reading "Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China" were demolished by Chen Shui-bian, who only three months ago at his inaugural ceremony stood before them and shouted:

"Long live freedom and democracy!"

Chen Shui-bian stood before them and said:

"The government should rule on the basis of majority public opinion. The interests of the people should reign supreme over those of any political party or individual... [I understand I must put] national interests above those of political parties... from the moment I take my oath and assume the presidency, I will put all my efforts into fulfilling my role as a "president for all people.""

Chen Shui-bian stood before them and said:

"I fully understand that, as the popularly elected 10th-term president of the Republic of China, I must abide by the Constitution... and ensure the well-being of all citizens... I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regard to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, there is no question of abolishing the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council."

Wow. Sounds pretty good. Almost as good as "Read my lips, no new taxes."

Freedom and Democracy, Victims of Collateral Damage

The Republic of China's 1991 "Guidelines for National Unification" read:

"the two sides of the Taiwan Straits should foster a consensus of democracy, freedom and equal prosperity, and together build a new and unified China."

The twenty year old signs A-Bian ordered demolished read:

"Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China."

Does anyone else smell a rat? Does anyone else suspect something is rotten in the State of Denmark? Does anyone else doubt A-Bian's sincerity? Anyone who has not been duped by warm and fuzzy sounding Taiwan independence propaganda knows exactly what happened.

Freedom and Democracy had to be sacrificed. They were hanging out with the wrong crowd, Reunification. One might say that Freedom and Democracy were "collateral damage" in the Taiwan independence elite's Jihad against the Satanic Forces of Chinese Reunification. As Madeleine Albright might argue, Freedom and Democracy were Chinese Reunification's "willing executioners."

The Taiwan independence elite's attitude is Freedom and Democracy are nice to have as long as they don't stand in the way of their precious "Republic of Taiwan." As long as Freedom and Democracy were useful in garnering sympathy for Taiwan independence, fine and dandy. After all, "Freedom!" and "Democracy!" go over big with well-meaning, gullible Yanquis. We can be counted on to write our windbags in congress and demand that by golly America is going to stand up for a "Free and Democratic Taiwan" against the Bogeyman from Beijing.

But just let Freedom and Democracy work against Taiwan independence, then watch out.

A Room with a View

Can't you just picture A-Bian, glaring petulantly out his office window at the hated second half of the slogan "Shall Reunify China," dying to take a blowtorch to it, but caught on the horns of a dilemma? Can't you just hear A-Bian, known for his bad temper, ranting at cowering flunkies:

"Am I going to have to see that goddamned slogan every time I look out my window for the next four years?"

A-Bian knew if he ordered only the last four characters "Shall Reunify China" taken down and the first four characters "Freedom and Democracy" left up, even an idiot would realize what he just did.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened next.

"Freedom and Democracy" were immediately torched and hauled off to the scrap heap, right along with "Shall Reunify China."

Chen Che-nan, Acting Secretary-General to the President, [is that a great title for a brown-nosing flakcatcher or what?] then told the press the private industry group which underwrote the construction of the signs had requested they be torn down for safety reasons, a claim promptly and categorically denied by the group named.

Freedom and Democracy vs. What Really Matters

For the past 12 years Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura has had no qualms whatsoever about nullifying the ROC electorate's freedoms and democratic institutions whenever they stood in the way of Taiwan independence. I'm not accusing Taiwan independence elitists of deliberately, systematically, maliciously setting out to extinguish every last spark of Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan. I'm merely pointing out that if one pays attention to what they do, instead of what they say, one quickly learns Freedom and Democracy don't rate very high on the Taiwan independence elite's shortlist of What Really Matters.

If you want to seehow quickly the Taiwan independence elite changes its tune when the Sanctity of the Democratic Process frustrates their Taiwan independence goals, look up "Taiwan's Little Emperors." The dirty little secret about Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura is that its highest priority has never been Freedom and Democracy, but the establishment of a "Republic of Taiwan, Freedom and Democracy Optional."

Their aptly named "ROT" would in fact be a reincarnation of the puppet regime known as "Manchukuo," presided over by Henry Puyi, the "Last Emperor" depicted in Bernardo Bertolucci's epic of the same name. It would be independent in name but in fact a client-state of a rightist dominated Japan hostile to China first, and America second.

Chinese Bankers vote for Reunification

If you want to know what people want, don't waste time conducting surveys asking them "What do you want?" Most of the time what you'll get is not what they want, but their wish list for Santa Claus. What you'll get is what they would order for lunch if they know in advance somebody else is picking up the tab. What you'll get is what free market economists refer to as "moral hazard," irresponsible behavior detached from any serious consideration of the consequences of what happens when it comes time to pay the piper. The only time this rule does not apply is when a free lunch is not involved.

Taiwan Independence and Free Lunches

If you're serious about wanting to know what people really want, don't ask them directly. Simply look at what they're willing to pay for out of their own wallets. "Money talks," as the vulgar expression goes, "and bullshit walks." If one earnestly wants to know how private Chinese citizens on Taiwan feel about Chinese Reunification, one need look no further than the "Freedom and Democracy Shall Reunify China" signs.

The twenty year old signs were a public service sponsored by the privately funded Bankers Association, which paid for their original cost of construction and annual maintenance. Taiwan's banking industry voted, with their NT dollars. Taiwan's bankers know only too well for Taiwan to have any economic future, it will be as an integral part of what American multinationals refer to as "Greater China."

Taiwan's Weighted Index or TAIEX fell another 273 points yesterday. From a 52 week high of 10,393, it closed at 7543, a new 52 week low. Taiwan's shareholders, who are overwhelmingly small, individual investors rather than large managed funds, are voting with their NT dollars, right alongside Taiwan's bankers. They too are casting a vote of "No Confidence." During the Cold War Douglas MacArthur referred to the island of Taiwan as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the western Pacific." Did I hear somebody say "Titanic?"

A Free Republic of Taiwan? Or a Republic of Taiwan, For Free?

If one asks Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura, "What do you want?" They'll reflexively tell you they want a "free and independent Republic of Taiwan." If one asks Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura, "What's wrong with One China comprising two equal but autonomous regions, the ROC and PRC?" They'll turn up their noses and dismiss any such suggestions as "unacceptable."

So far, no surprises.

But be so impolite as to overstep the polite bounds of "normal" conversation and ask them the personal price they're willing to pay to get what they want, or say they want, and watch their body language.

Ask them if they personally, are prepared to grab an M-16, volunteer for combat, and risk having their spinal column severed by a stray round out of nowhere, or their legs turned into a pink mist by the one antipersonnel mine that escaped their notice.

Ask them if they personally, are prepared to return from the front lines of a Chinese Civil War they provoked in a body bag, or live the remainder of their lives in a wheelchair.

Then watch them shift uncomfortably in their seats as they assure you "Of course I am."

You'll quickly discover that what Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura wants is not a "free and independent Republic of Taiwan," but a "Republic of Taiwan, for free, dependent on the US Seventh Fleet."

Fraudulent, hypocritical lip service to Freedom and Democracy is the rotten tooth Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura places under its pillow at night, with the expectation that a carrier battle group will be there next morning, courtesy the American Tooth Fairy.

Freedom Fosters Chinese Reunification

Citizens of the Republic of China demand freedom. But much to the chagrin of Taiwan's Japanophile elite, Chinese on Taiwan use their freedom to "fraternize with the enemy," i.e., their fellow countrymen on the Chinese mainland.

They demand the freedom to travel, ship freight, mail letters and packages directly to any and all regions of their own country, including the Chinese mainland. This freedom, commonly referred to as "San Tong," or "Three Links," is something Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait demand, as is their right as citizens of One China.

The lower 48 states belong as much to American citizens from Alaska or Hawaii as to residents of California or New York. Similarly, the Chinese mainland belongs as much to Chinese citizens of the Republic of China, as it does to Chinese citizens of the Peoples Republic of China.

Amazingly, some DPP politicians may be beginning to see the light. I say "may be" because it's too soon to tell if they really "get it" yet.

Xiamen is a port city in Fujian province, directly across the Taiwan Strait, the mainland province most Chinese on Taiwan hail from. "Taiwanese," so-called, is merely the Chinese dialect spoken in the Minan region of Fujian. Frank Hsieh, incoming DPP Party Chairman and Mayor of Kaohsiung recently declared matter of factly that, "Kaohsiung and Xiamen are two cities within the same nation."

No kidding! Will wonders never cease?

Chinese on Taiwan demand that Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura respect ordinary Chinese citizens' right to invest in the Chinese mainland, build factories on the Chinese mainland, make religious pilgrimages to the Chinese mainland, visit relatives on the Chinese mainland, marry fellow countrymen from the Chinese mainland, bring their husbands or wives to Taiwan from the Chinese mainland. Citizens of the Republic of China demand that Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura respect their right to do all these things and more without official harassment.

This right is being denied them by an arrogant political elite.

No, not by Beijing, which earnestly wants to bring the two sides closer together. But by Taipei's Quisling Nomenklatura, which does not, and which is determined to keep the two sides apart by hook or by crook, the will of the people be damned.

Lee Teng-hui's cross Straits "policy," euphemistically dubbed "jie ji, yong ren" or "avoid haste, be patient" has served no other purpose than to hinder, impede and obstruct the spontaneous reconvergence of the two halves of a divided China.

When Chinese on Taiwan firmly rejected Lee Teng-hui's autocratic "head in the sand" proscription against direct contact with their mainland brethren, Mr. Democracy's all too typical reaction was in essence "If you don't like it, you can lump it." The last thing in the world Lee Teng-hui and Taiwan's Japanophile elite want is for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to spontaneously merge back with each other.

When Freedom conflicts with Taiwan independence, Freedom goes while Taiwan independence stays.

Democracy Fosters Chinese Reunification

Citizens of the Republic of China value "democracy," or to be more precise, what George Washington and most of our Founding Fathers preferred to call "republican government." But much to the chagrin of Taiwan's Japanophile elite, the Chinese people on Taiwan favor reunification with mainland China.

Earlier this week on "Da Jia Lai Seng Pan," or "You Be the Judge," a popular viewer call-in show on GTV, the on-air survey question asked was "Do you favor reunification, independence, or the status quo?"

Out of 6,840 viewers who phoned in and voted, 4,858 voted "reunification," 1,792 voted "independence," and 190 voted "status quo."

That works out to 71% in favor of reunification, 26% in favor of independence, and 3% in favor of the status quo.

On air polls are of course not scientific, but results like this are quite typical, provide useful anecdotal evidence about mainstream sentiment, and are entirely consistent with the results of the March 18 presidential election, when 61% of the vote was split between four candidates who favored reunification.

The 71% figure for viewers supporting reunification is especially revealing, since even DPP officials concede that a substantial percentage of the 39% who voted for Chen Shiu-bian were not endorsing Taiwan independence, but merely wanted to rid themselves of "Mr. Democracy" Lee Teng-hui's rampant corruption. These voters voted for Chen only because Nobel Laureate Lee Yuan-tse, advisor to Chen Shui-bian, assured them Chen would not foment Taiwan independence and reignite a still unresolved Chinese Civil War, but devote his energy to cleaning up corruption.

Let's glance at the numbers:

71% - 61% = 10%
39% - 10% = 29%

The 26% who phoned in and voted for independence closely approximates A-Bian's 39% plurality, minus an estimated 10% to 15% who liked the sound of A-Bian's anti-corruption pledges but who do not endorse Taiwan independence.

These figures are all the more astonishing when you consider that fact that Lee Teng-hui has for the past twelve years misdirected the immense financial and political resources of the Leninist KMT party/government machinery into brainwashing the ROC public into thinking of itself as "Taiwanese, not Chinese." Lee Teng-hui, like Mao Zedong before him, learned to his dismay just how persistent Culture with a capital C can be, how badly Culture can trip up the dirigiste ambitions of sundry self-appointed social engineers and "nation-builders."

Four years ago "Mr. Democracy" Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian successfully blocked a New Party election reform bill requiring an either an absolute majority or else a run-off election. This March 18 A-Bian squeaked by with a 39% plurality. A run-off election would have put the immensely popular pro reunification former Taiwan Provincial Governor James Soong in the president's office.

When Democracy conflicts with Taiwan independence, Democracy goes while Taiwan independence stays.

Freedom and Democracy will reunify China

The Taiwan independence elite has been selling Taiwan independence as if Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan justified, even necessitated Taiwan independence. Libertarians who follow Sino-American relations have probably detected a predictable spin imparted to mainstream media news articles and opinion pieces [what's the diff?] dealing with Taiwan independence. Their spin goes something like this:

"Taiwan [never the ROC] is drifting away from China [never the PRC]. Taiwan is developing its own distinctively Taiwanese political and cultural identity."

Sound familiar?

The truth, with almost boring predictably, is just the reverse.

Freedom and Democracy on Taiwan, and eventually the Chinese mainland, will reunify China. Absent artificial constraints imposed from the top down by insolent Taiwan independence "nation builders," the mainland's geographical proximity, the pressures of economic globalization, China's venerable and durable cultural traditions, would draw the two sides of the Taiwan Strait toward each other like a pair of powerful magnets.

The Taiwan independence elite knows this, and doesn't like it one bit.

This is why they have engaged in Orwellian historical revisionism with a Japanese twist for the past decade, frantically rewriting Taiwan's primary and secondary school textbooks to indoctrinate Chinese children on Taiwan into admiring Japan and despising their own country, China. Not even the best aspects of Japan, of which there are many, her fine arts for example, but the worst aspects of Japan, her fanatical militarism.

Neoconservative and liberal Taiwan independence fellow travelers are not going to suddenly pretend they don't appreciate the significance of this kind of control of the public school curriculum I hope?

Lee Teng-hui camouflaged his unsavory neofascist Japanophilia under a garment labeled "Freedom and Democracy," and got away with it for 12 years. Hapless Chinese citizens on Taiwan could only grit their teeth as ignoramuses within our mainstream western media canonized Lee as "Mr. Democracy."

A-Bian has no Room for Error

"A mediator between Beijing and Taipei has revealed that former President Lee Teng-hui was opposed to reunification all along, although he gave the impression that he supported the move."
-- Ching Cheong
"Alas, Beijing believed Taiwan's ex-leader"
The Straits Times Interactive, Aug 20, 2000

Lee is now a fading memory. Now comes A-Bian.

Chiu Yi-ren, one of the younger generation of DPP officials, agrees with what New Party officials have saying for years. After being jerked around by Lee Teng-hui for 12 long years, Beijing has completely run out of patience. Consequently "A-Bian has no room for error."

Let's hope A-Bian understands the destructive folly of his predecessor's example, of paying insincere lip service to peaceful reunification by day, while fomenting ugly separatist hatred by night.

Let's hope A-Bian is not "pulling a Lee Teng-hui" when he says,

"Under the leadership of Mr. Deng Xiaoping and Mr. Jiang Zemin, the mainland has created a miracle of economic openness... Today, as the Cold War has ended, it is time for the two sides to cast aside the hostility left from the old era. We do not need to wait further because there is a new opportunity now for the two sides to create an era of reconciliation together... we believe that the leaders on both sides possess enough wisdom and creativity to jointly deal with the question of a future "one China."

Freedom is making a comeback, and Democracy is making a debut on mainland China

Liberal Democratic former president Jimmy Carter and conservative Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have both traveled to mainland China and confirmed that village level elections on the Chinese mainland are the Real McCoy.

[Not that it's any of our business of course.]

Let's hope Freedom and Democracy don't bow out on Taiwan even as they make their appearance on the Chinese mainland, just because they happen to have "creative differences" with a Quisling elite's dream of Taiwan independence.