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The Taiwan-China thaw
Politics, trade, and corruption collide in Taipei
 

“The Taiwan Strait continues to narrow,” said The Japan Times in an editorial. Last week, Taiwan hosted its highest-level meeting with mainland China since the two split in a 1949 civil war. Such bridge-building is great for “peace and stability in the region,” but it would have been “unthinkable” before March, when Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou defeated President Chen Shui-bian of the “independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party,” whom China shunned.

That’s nonsense, said Jerome Keating in the Taipei Times. Most of agreements China and Ma’s government signed last week were fashioned under Chen. Nothing historic happened except that “an arrogant, low-level Chinese official deigned to visit Taiwan”—and was met with huge, angry protests that the incompetent Ma should have foreseen and defused.

Well, Chen at least “made history” this week, said Natalie Tso in Time online, becoming the first ex-president sent to jail in Taiwan. The first-ever DPP president and “a symbol of the Taiwanese independence movement,” Chen says Ma arrested him to “appease China” and improve cross-strait relations, but even some former supporters accept the financial corruption charges against him.

Yes, Chen is a “hopeless miscreant” and a “confessed tax evader,” said Michael Turton in The View from Taiwan, but this is still a “political prosecution.” Nine DPP politicians are being held under sometimes sketchy circumstances, and despite prosecutors’ claims, not all of them are involved in the Chen case.

 

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