Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Beij 3: Political Cleavage

Was there something that Li Yanlin wanted to get off at her chest during yesterday's annual Taipei Audio Fair? The Taiwanese model, singer and actress believes that by wearing the flags of both the PRC and the ROC she was “representing world peace”, reports

Visits by high-level PRC leader Chen Yunlin to Taiwan earlier this month have led many to believe that cross-Strait relations are at their best since the bust up back in 1949. During the ground-breaking talks, the two parties agreed on increased direct flights, more maritime trade, postal services and cooperation in food safety.

Miss Li, who was apparently worried by all the media attention, told reporters “I have no political standpoint”. It seems that in two very different senses of the word, on closer inspection this 23 year-old 32B cup has struggled to pad out this rather empty political statement.


Anonymous said...

is Chen Yunlin

Jez Webb said...

Haha, thanks!

transcendthespectrum said...

The following passage:

"Visits by high-level PRC leader Chen Yunlin to Taiwan earlier this month have led many to believe that cross-Strait relations are at their best since the bust up back in 1949. During the ground-breaking talks, the two parties agreed on increased direct flights, more maritime trade, postal services and cooperation in food safety"

could easily have been written:

"Visits by high-level PRC leader Chen Yunlin to Taiwan earlier this month have led many to believe this is a symbolic attack on Taiwanese sovereignty and perhaps beginning of the end of the Taiwanese dream. During the "ground breaking peace talks" we have seen chaotic protests with both protester and police violence, a student '靜坐' peaceful protest that has been continuing for 11 days now took place and growing rifts in the Taiwanese society between a)those who may be seen as pragmatic and accepting a very likely fate, but recognizing that earning your bowl of rice and looking after your family are most important and (b) those who may be seen as idealists who recognize that in the face of tyranny a freedom, democracy and self determination must be protected for the future generations."

Though perhaps unintentionally neglected, this article could be seen as passively contributing to the new media wave of pandering to the Chinese view of the what should be the new world order.

transcendthespectrum said...

Cowardly journalism or is Jez under 24 hour surveillance by the Beijing media police a guard standing next to Jez holding a gun to the head with a barrel full of puns...?

Jez Webb said...

Firstly, thanks to Guilia for pointing out the boob – I had spelt someone’s name wrong. Secondly, thank you transcendthespectrum for helping to pad out the original “empty political statement”; I hope you don’t feel like too much of a tit. Both comments are from Taiwan. Funny that…

Although I am sure most had no trouble understanding, maybe I should have been clearer. How about: “On a diplomatic level, cross-strait relations are at their best since the bust up”. Nobody would deny that. By not being specific enough, The Peking Order was out of Order, please accept my apologies.

As for the rest of the comment, perhaps the leaders of Taiwan are a little more pragmatic than the island’s hung-over idealistic students:

What do you mean when you say the “Taiwanese dream”? Perhaps you are referring to some “Shangri-la” – a peaceful haven where everyone prospers in isolation. Well, we all know what happened to the last place that called itself a Shangri-La.

To maintain our current material lifestyle (it might not be for you) and develop the lifestyles of the worlds poorest, the world must generate capital. To do this all countries must rely on and compete for resources outside of our borders; we must therefore engage with the outside world. Like it or not, to best prosper Taiwan should trade in comparative advantages with its mainland counterpart – it would be foolish not to. The only way it can exploit the comparative advantages between the two countries is to increase diplomatic and physical links – the exact things that these ground-breaking talks succeeded in strengthening. That is how the world capitalist system works. I don’t necessarily like it but that is how it is.

Taiwan’s leaders are hopefully aware that if they do not proceed along this diplomatic road, another option would see Mao’s original maxim come back into play, peaceful cross-strait dialogue – with or without The Peking Order’s puns – would be replaced by the sort of political power that only grows from the barrel of a gun. Surface to surface missiles would soon put an end to your idealistic reverie.

Anonymous said...

This is Conor by the way, damn mentioned my name... Jez - that was such a trashy "Transcend the Spectrum" bashing. First of most Taida Students don't drink and are pretty intelligent and sincere in their beliefs, so I think that the "hungover" brush off comment may have been a little misplaced. I can see your point, and i think everyone can acknowlege certain...inevitabilities, but I don't think that laughing at people who are protesting about, what they see at least as, the end of their nation, their nationality, their culture, is very constructive. And the protest was about identity, not about trade, many of the people who were protesting in the Taida protest love chinese culture, are graduates of the Chinese Literature dept and are very much in favour of stronger trade links with China, they were simply objecting to an accusation of heavy handed police tactics, and the perceived banning and seizing of Taiwanese flags at certain places in Taipei, as well as an apparent forced closure of a shop broadcasting taiwanese music. Although others had other motives, the protest is not about China, it's about taiwan. It has been a long journey towards democracy for them, and I don't think you can laugh at someone for trying to protect their hard won rights.
I don't think you understand the perspective of the taiwanese at all. They feel they are losing the vote, losing political stability, and losing their sense of self, whether or not these fears are justified, it's still necessary to put a voice out there. The majority know exactly what may lie in the future but as Nick said they want to take a final curtain call, as "idealists who recognize that in the face of tyranny a freedom, democracy and self determination". This tyranny lies not manifested in the demonization of the mainland chinese people, but rather in the perception that the taiwanese government was compromizing its own peoples identity and rights, and the (some might say misjudged) fear of a return to the police state and 228.
And that "both comments both come from Taiwan comment" seemed a little barbed too - i think it's understandable that people who are living in taiwan, will offer an alternate insight into the taiwanese opinion on the matter. Transcend the Spectrum wasn't even explicitly or implicity supporting the protest, he was just using that description (quite effectively I thought) as an alternate to yours, which skimmed over the matter, whether out of ignorance or political sycophancy, to offer your readers the other side to the story.
"There was an ancient city which, 'tis said, Juno loved above all the lands. And it was the goddess's aim and cherished hope that here should be the capital of all nations - should the fates perchance allow that. Yet in truth she discovered that a race was springing from Trojan blood to overthrow some day these Tyrian towers - a people, kings of broad realms and proud in war who would come forth for Lybia's downfall- such was the course ordained by fate."

conor said...

hey just reread my post and it was kind of obsolete, apologies.

Jez Webb said...

Conor, what was obsolete about your post? I enjoyed it and have taken on board some of what you said. Perhaps you might forgive some of us on the mainland for not knowing the ins-and-outs of the demonstrations.

However, I took issue with a few of your points...

Firstly, there was nothing barbed about remarking how both comments were from Taiwan. It was more a reference to the fact that most of the serious discussion on The Peking Order hails from Taiwan – perhaps my comment was more a tribute to the more complex characters you have over there?

In gallantly rushing to the defence of transcendthespectrum have you not proved him wrong? That particular hung-over idealistic student – a label that he usually wears with pride – linked the talks with the protests. Now you are telling us that they are were over internal issues and that protests had little to do with improving diplomatic relations. Which is it?

In disagreeing with a viewpoint I don’t think I was poking fun out of the people that hold it. Similarly, in agreeing with a viewpoint I don’t think I should be accused of sycophancy. Appearing ignorant is inevitable with my short blog entries and is something that transcendthespectrum acknowledged by saying “Though perhaps unintentionally neglected”. However, sycophantic? No. That was barbed.

Citing poetry from like Virgil (or whoever it was) in a discussion about cultural integration and national identity is a dodgy move. By quoting something similar to Enoch Powel, a few might say you’re in good company… others might think it a little .. err… unfashionable.

And transcendthespectrum, there is only one new world order – The Peking Order!

transcendthespectrum said...

Due to the personal nature of some of the discussion Transcendthespectrum is glad that anonimity has been maintained. But wants to know would this 'new world order' continue protecting the source in the face of Beijing pressure. Or would we have a Google-style revealing of the sources as the Peking Order bows down and becomes assimilated into the Beijing media system, descending into just another sinocentric view on the world - with Jez charachteristics.

Don't descend, Transcend!

Conor said...

Hey Jez, though I have in fact retracted my comment, I just want to clarify a few things. There were two protests, one by taida students and one by the ddp followers. The Taida students were careful to distance themselves from the ddp protests, as they were campaigning about human rights. The general feeling in Taiwan is one of compromise.
TranscendtheSpectrum says that sycophantic is a pretentious word to use, it's quite commonly used in Ireland, so it wasn't intentionally trying to sound clever. I was accusing you -not so subtly - of pandering to the Beijing audience and/or government, which I don't think is so far-fetched.

The quote I used was the last line from "Translations" by Brian Friel, which provides what I think is quite an interesting insight into the situation in Taiwan, by comparison. I think using disinterest as an excuse for ignorance is not what you should do if you are going to be a journalist. If you are going to comment on a situation, then you should know the ins and outs surely.
The...unfashionable comment...I don't know what Enoch Powell says, thus I also don't understand the reference. I think that if you can't learn to emphasize with other situations by looking at your own history then the result will inevitably be callousness.
Hope you're doing well, mate. Excuse me for being argumentative.

Conor said...

sorry - dammit, i've had a glass of wine, by emphasize I meant empathize. Cue, barbed comment from Mr Jez about my alcohol consumption...