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Friday, December 8, 2006

Conspiracy theories 共謀の見解

This morning's Japan Times has an editorial on the continuing difficulties being faced by Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian. What struck me were the opening lines:

“Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has dodged yet another bullet. Unlike the failed assassination attempt during his last election campaign, this attack was metaphorical.”

The JT editorial staff obviously accepts that an assassination attempt occurred on March 19, 2004 against Chen and his running mate on the eve of the presidential election. Compare this with the editorial in today's China Post, entitled “Finding out the truth of the 3-18 shooting incident” (interesting how they got the date wrong). The column is full of statements implying the assassination was staged. Some examples (sorry, I couldn't find the editorial online):

“…Tang Shou-yi, who supposedly made and sold the gun used to shoot President Chen Shui-bian…”
“…the mystery-shrouded shooting incident…”
“…Chen and Lu were reportedly injured by bullets fired from the gun of a would-be assassin…”
“…one of the bullets which supposedly…hit President Chen and Vice-President Lu.”
“…(the would-be assassin) had drowned himself…10 days after the alleged shooting”.

It's clear the China Post thinks the shooting was staged so as to prevent the police and military “who were traditionally supportive of the blue-camp coalition” from voting in the election. What the China Post fails to explain, however, is why the pro-KMT police (in the paper's own words) would be involved in a plot to ensure the re-election of a president they oppose. The China Post has been around since 1952, which means it was the English-language propaganda mouthpiece of the KMT during Taiwan's long authoritarian period. It still trumpets the line that Taiwan is an intrinsic part of the one-China fantasy. So it should come as no surprise that the Post believes Chen was re-elected due to some shadowy conspiracy. Of course, to really prove the whole thing was staged, why not have the losing candidates from 2004, Lien and Soong, re-create the shooting by using their own bodies to show how it was done? With live ammo of course. Then the matter might finally be settled :)

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