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Bullets

Chen back in Taipei after shooting


Friday, March 19, 2004 Posted: 9:29 AM EST (1429 GMT)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (CNN) -- Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has arrived back in Taipei after surviving an apparent assassination attempt in the southern city of Tainan.

Chen was released from hospital Friday after being shot and wounded while campaigning for Saturday's national election.

Chen's running mate, Vice President Annette Lu, was also treated for a gun wound and later discharged from hospital.

"Both the president and vice president have just checked out," a spokeswoman at the Chi Mei hospital in the southern city of Tainan, Chen's hometown, told Reuters.

No arrests were reported and it was not clear who fired on Chen and Lu.

Chen was shot in the stomach at 1:45 p.m. (0545 GMT), the Presidential Office said. Lu's leg was grazed by a bullet.

The office said both Chen and Lu had called for calm after the shooting.

"They did not suffer life-threatening injuries. They urge the public to cool down," Chiou I-jen, secretary-general in the Presidential Office, told a news conference.

Chiou said the elections would go on as planned, but the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and opposition Kuomintang party had both temporarily suspended their election campaigns.

Chen and Lu had been riding in the back of a convertible four-wheel drive vehicle in Tainan when an unknown attacker or attackers opened fire.

The crowd was cheering as Chen and Lu waved from the back of their vehicle, and fireworks were being set off along the route as the candidates passed.

Presidential spokesman James Huang told CNN nobody heard any gunshots or initially realized the leaders had been wounded because of the noise from the firecrackers. No arrests have yet been made.

Video from the parade showed a bullet hole in the windshield of the vehicle. Blood can be seen on the president's jacket as someone holds a cloth to the bullet wound on the right side of his waist.

Doctors at the Chi Mei hospital displayed a picture of a wound cutting across the front Chen's belly that was about four inches (11 cms) long and just under an inch (2 cms) deep and wide. Another picture showed a doctor holding the bullet slug in his palm.


"We were shocked and we didn't anticipate this type of event occurring only 24 hours before the election," Huang told CNN.

"I guess most people in Taiwan are shocked and they are very concerned about the security of their president and vice president."

Huang said Taiwan's armed forces had been placed on high alert and the National Security Council held an emergency meeting.

Opposition presidential candidate Lien Chan condemned the shooting and extended his best wishes.

"We are all shocked by the incident ... We all condemn this act of violence. On the other hand, we wish them a quick recovery," he said.

Chen has been campaigning for a second term after four years in office.

Along with the presidential election, a controversial referendum that China considers a harbinger for a vote on the island's independence will be held Saturday.


The referendum will ask voters to consider if China should reduce its military threat against the island.

Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Chen has ignored warnings from Washington and Beijing not to take any steps that could fuel tensions with China.

Chen and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party swept to power in 2000, ousting the Nationalist Party, which ruled the island for five decades and opposes Taiwan independence.


( Source )




Some people are already calling it a staged shooting, calibrated to win swing votes in sympathy for the incumbents.

Edit, 23:30 CST Sun 21 Mar 2004: Well, the initial voting tally shows Chen ahead by a narrow amrgin (fewer than 30000 votes out of 13 million).
Edit, 11:15 CST Thu 25 Mar 2004: There is a great clamor for a recount, complete with rallies, escalation, police crackdowns, etc.

Rather than start a debate (and perhaps a flame war) over the rumors above: what do you all think of the parallels being drawn between this election and Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election?

--
Banazîr

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
koinonia
Mar. 25th, 2004 02:29 am (UTC)
As someone who was IN Florida at the time..I thought the whole Florida vote thing was pretty damn dumb. I mean, I'm disinclined to believe in conspiracy so much as a tsunami of indifference and incompetence that swept the entire peninsula, leaving thousands shellshocked and working as Disney characters.
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 02:59 am (UTC)
Infinite Tsunami of Apathy
tsunami of indifference and incompetence
This phrase strikes me as quite sad.

(And of course, tsunami and apathy don't mix, as jereeza can tell you.

--
Banazir
koinonia
Mar. 25th, 2004 03:15 am (UTC)
Re: Infinite Tsunami of Apathy
It is sad. And maybe I'm just far too cynical. No..no maybe's about it. I am. I think that those that cry conspiracy are a bit off, though. Conspiracy implies organization and intention and what I saw in Florida was a dollop of opportunism and a whacking great pool of duh. Do I think Bush used the problems in Florida for his own ends? Very probably. I think Gore would have too, if he'd had a chance.
The situation in Taipei seems different, more purposeful. Certainly a lot deadlier if people are being shot, whether or not it's for real. Though I have to wonder why he checked himself out so early if he's got an ouch that big. Seems a bit dim. Unless the hospital's just awful.
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 11:28 am (UTC)
My $0.02 on Florida and Taiwan
Do I think Bush used the problems in Florida for his own ends?
Very probably. I think Gore would have too, if he'd had a chance.

Perhaps so; we have not way of knowing for sure, and I am always reluctant to take the cynical "both/all parties such; they are politicians" view when there are real issues and judgements to weigh.

FWIW, I don't think Bush stole the 2000 election. He didn't need to. He was elected by an exceedingly narrow margin, very probably on the strength of poorly-designed ballots and poorly-informed or educated voters. In other words, he was very, very lucky.

I think Gore was right to call for a recount and contest the results, though it obviously could have been handled more quickly for closure, and the dragging-out did more to damage the Democratic Party's reputation than to help it. That said, you live and learn. I remember thinking that it was a good idea to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court as a test case, but in retrospect I would not have sued. As it seems to me now, it was an unfortunate outcome for the Democratic Party and perhaps for the USA (strictly IMO), but I will express my unqualified opinion that it was a good experience for the nation: a lesson to the American voter that every vote counts, and an airing of concerns about every electoral issue from the voting mechanism to logistics to the elctoral college.

*steps off soapbox*

The situation in Taipei seems different, more purposeful. Certainly a lot deadlier if people are being shot, whether or not it's for real. Though I have to wonder why he checked himself out so early if he's got an ouch that big. Seems a bit dim. Unless the hospital's just awful.
I don't think the hospital was awful; I think President Chen wanted to avoid scrutiny, whether his injury was 100% genuine or exaggerated, and whether the shooting was staged or not. I could believe a security argument if it were borne out by his subsequent behavior, but he's been cagey and defensive ever since. I would add that if I were him, I'd add my support to the push for a recount (which apparently will require an amendment to the constitution of Taiwan). It doesn't look as if it's going to make a difference, and it would certainly inspire more trust at any rate even if some spin it as "luxuriant posturing" again.

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 25th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)
Re: My $0.02 on Florida and Taiwan
FWIW, I don't think Bush stole the 2000 election. He didn't need to. He was elected by an exceedingly narrow margin, very probably on the strength of poorly-designed ballots and poorly-informed or educated voters. In other words, he was very, very lucky.
Yes, it was lucky for him that his brother was the one deciding whether or not to allow a recount.
nobuddy69
Mar. 25th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC)
Dou you mean to say that the Pretzel Attack was STAGED??!?

That thing was out to get him!!
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 02:57 am (UTC)
Bha
Pretzels don't shoot ppl;
ppl shoot ppl.

--
Banazir
(filthy gophers!)
hempknight
Mar. 25th, 2004 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: Bha
ppl shoot ppl.

Not true. The government does.

--
Danger is my middle name
borgseawolf
Mar. 25th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: Bha
Falling anvils don't kill cartoon characters. Cartoon characters kill cartoon characters.

(I've ALWAYS wanted to use this phrase in a valid context!)
marm
Mar. 25th, 2004 04:06 am (UTC)
Um, what parallels?

In 2000, a Democrat official in a Democrat county made a ballot, approved by a Democrat government, that was apparently too complicated for Democrats to read. *shrug* Maybe they should outsource their ballot-making to Fisher-Price?

The Democrat candidate then dragged the entire thing into court. His party later whined that courts shouldn't settle the matter. Well, gee, next time don't sue.

It's all sad, and there was a lot of conspiracy-mongering (because people can't be just stupid?), but I don't know how it relates to Taiwan.

And why is this entry showing up on my friends page 5 days late?
gondhir
Mar. 25th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
And why is this entry showing up on my friends page 5 days late?
Because banazir wrote it 5 days late and just slapped a date from the past on it and hoped we wouldn't notice... ;)
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 08:29 am (UTC)
Because banazir wrote it 5 days late and just slapped a date from the past on it and hoped we wouldn't notice... ;)
Bha, toast me!

--
Banazir
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 09:00 am (UTC)
Parallels?
Um, what parallels?
Hi, marm!
I'm speaking (very) colloquially.
The only real parallel here is that a recount is being called for and is garnering popular interest.
There are obviously more differences than similarities:

  • it is the incumbent being challenged

  • the margin here is 0.2% (Taiwan) rather than 0.05% (FL)

  • it's a national election and a national recount being sought rather than one state within a national election

  • there was no assassination attempt in the latter case, putatively real or arranged

  • in the U.S. Presidential Election, there was no tangible evidence of ballot box stuffing (rather the complaints were, as you say, over misvoting or miscounting); I am not sure whether there is any evidence in Taiwan, either (it could just be emotions running high), but the accusers are vocal

  • in the USA, for the most part, there is no clear-cut Democrat vs. Republican bias in the police force; the Taiwanese riot police are (demographically speaking) overwhelmingly green (DPP) supporters, leading to accusations of bias - again, this could just be because it's the incumbent being challenged, but maybe not

  • while there were plenty of civil constitutional issues at stake in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, there wasn't (to at least the popular knowledge at the time) a major foreign policy issue, namely a referendum on a declaration of independence and threatened imminent invasion by the PROC

  • foreign allies are a greater consideration in this case

  • other countries are slow to call with congratulations for Chen (the USA included), perhaps out of consideration for the escalation of protests

  • the other candidate in this case is mainly working to arrange a meeting (where of course he will ask for a recount), but then, there wasn't too much threat of rioting in the 2000 U.S. Presidential elections



All this, of course, doesn't stop most everyone I know in Taiwan (friends, family, acquaintances) and even the news media in Taiwan (you can see broadcasts from Taipei quite a bit on CSPAN-2 this week) from calling it "our Florida". :-P

It's all sad, and there was a lot of conspiracy-mongering (because people can't be just stupid?), but I don't know how it relates to Taiwan.
Assuredly people can be just stupid, and your point about who made the ballots was quite valid, though the question in my mind was indeed not about whether there was an intent to deceive but a "functionally defective" ballot. The courts spoke on that issue: there really isn't much in the way of remedy in the current election for bad design; better to wait for the next, where newer machines (and other ergonomic and user interface problems ;-)) can be introduced. Without putting words in your mouth, my surmise is that if your description of the ballot is "apparently too complicated", it's tough cookies for the underinformed voter - as it came to pass. It's a moot point (I at least have personally moved past it quite a while ago).

And I don't agree that courts shouldn't settle the matter - but then again, I wasn't one of the people pushing the Democrat candidate to sue. For me, though, it's more an issue of what should be on the books to ensure reasonably modern voting equipment: something that has again come to pass, if for political pressure (cf. the recent Diebold debacle in my birthplace, Atlanta, GA) rather than anything else.

I hope my list of differences (which are numerous yet sometimes point to at least procedural parallels) answers your question on how it relates.

And why is this entry showing up on my friends page 5 days late?
Eh-hehehe... :sheepish grin:
Ask masteralida. Something about a meeting in NYC (see the next post from me) in which those wonderful folks included us, not just in spirit but through online and cellular communications.
(Oh, and I've been swamped with an HR issue, but that's neither here nor there.)

Nice icon, BTW.

--
Banazir
zaimoni
Mar. 25th, 2004 04:58 am (UTC)
Staged shooting? That's gross medical illiteracy. Knees are not easily reconstructable, and peritonitis is a medical emergency. Ideally, a staged shooting would be BB flesh wounds to non-vital organs.

My favorite conspiracy theory (not that this is true, but I might take it as credible if carried by both CNN and FoxNews) is a flubbed Red Chinese assassination attempt.
borgseawolf
Mar. 25th, 2004 05:03 am (UTC)
My favorite conspiracy theory (not that this is true, but I might take it as credible if carried by both CNN and FoxNews) is a flubbed Red Chinese assassination attempt.

Well, it's not really a conspiracy theory but an attempt at explanation - there's a difference... (this one's plausible, at least) - someone had to be behind this... hadn't he?
Or is this a plague of individual madmen shooting politicians again? (like Sweden)
zaimoni
Mar. 25th, 2004 05:41 am (UTC)
I call what I mentioned a conspiracy theory because:
  • If false, it's slander/libel. [Thus, I had to qualify that I didn't think it was true.]
  • I have no soft or hard evidence that it's true. Also, I have soft evidence that it's false. Even though Red China does not like Chen (or his political party), visible tensions between Red China and Taiwan have been severely moderated since [2000?] Taiwan started giving Red China 24-hour notice on all public policy announcements. This allows Red China to compose PR speeches based on what is about to happen, rather than their own rather hallucinatory projections of what Taiwan should do next.

banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 09:20 am (UTC)
China and Taiwan
If false, it's slander/libel.
[Thus, I had to qualify that I didn't think it was true.]

At leat four conditions (to my knowledge; correct me if I am wrong, marm must be met to reach the criterion of slander/libel:

  • specifically about a person (which is why it is hard to prosecute conspiracy theorists if you are so inclined; it's always about those pesky them)

  • demonstrably false (again, difficult)

  • spread by the accused (and especially not propagated by the object, which is another source of ire in, say, elections and celebrity tabloid issues)

  • demonstrably defamatory and injurious to the material property (including reputation) of the object



So, I could point out that the first three of these are met in the case of Lien (the KMT candidate) being painted as a wife-beater. Of course, I don't know his personal history enough to refute the fourth, nor am I professionally qualified.

I have no soft or hard evidence that it's true. Also, I have soft evidence that it's false. Even though Red China does not like Chen (or his political party), visible tensions between Red China and Taiwan have been severely moderated since [2000?] Taiwan started giving Red China 24-hour notice on all public policy announcements.
I have no hard evidence either, but if this is your soft evidence that goes to motive, I have a reamful of soft evidence that it is true. Unfortunately, it's too much for the margin of this book, so to speak, though I will just say that the DPP agenda is iffy at best, despite Chen's assurances to the contrary. It is an election year, after all, and in cross-strait relations it's always an election year, so to speak.

Long story short: People have habituated to sabre-rattling, but the threat of invasion and the unpredictability of Chen's future behavior are a volatile combination. It remains to be seen if his actions will match his words. That's trite, but I'm still advising family members in Taipei to avail themselves of their U.S. citizenship and permanent residency as they see fit, at least for the time being.

This allows Red China to compose PR speeches based on what is about to happen, rather than their own rather hallucinatory projections of what Taiwan should do next.
"Hallucinatory" is an understatement, or perhaps it is better to use the phrase "strongly biased and postured". Did you hear of the Chinese head of central intelligence talking about a nuclear strike against Taiwan and advocating both it and "guerilla cyberwarfare"?

--
Banazir
zaimoni
Mar. 25th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
That's trite, but I'm still advising family members in Taipei to avail themselves of their U.S. citizenship and permanent residency as they see fit, at least for the time being.
I have no reason to believe a Red Chinese invasion of Taiwan by 2015 has been permanently derailed. Something like that is a given in my science fantasy's future history. [Note: the U.S. does not retaliate with holocaustics. We have more devastating weapons by then....]

I just think it wouldn't have a precursor (like this). I also haven't seen Western reporting of internal control problems similar to the last time a serious military buildup was happening in normal-media.
Did you hear of the Chinese head of central intelligence talking about a nuclear strike against Taiwan and advocating both it and "guerilla cyberwarfare"?
Yes. If that had happened in 2000, the EMP would have eradicated ~60% of the CPU manufacturing capacity on Earth. An earthquake that year temporarily knocked out ~5/6ths of the Taiwanese CPU manufacturing capacity, i.e. ~50% of global CPU manufacturing capacity.
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
I have no reason to believe a Red Chinese invasion of Taiwan by 2015 has been permanently derailed. Something like that is a given in my science fantasy's future history. [Note: the U.S. does not retaliate with holocaustics. We have more devastating weapons by then....]
Ehh, you're a regular Harry Silverberg, my friend, but I'm really speaking in the here and now. I'd trot out the "I've heard things you probably haven't, and from authoritative sources on the mainland", but I really can't quote them, so you'll have to believe that what I'm saying is based on what I know of a certainty. Problem is, you have no way of independently verifying how reliable my source is.

I just think it wouldn't have a precursor (like this). I also haven't seen Western reporting of internal control problems similar to the last time a serious military buildup was happening in normal-media.
We shall see. Please keep praying, at any rate.

If [cyberwar] had happened in 2000, the EMP would have eradicated ~60% of the CPU manufacturing capacity on Earth.
I'm not just talking about EMPs, though - there was a "call to glorious revolution", the gist of which was (as I gathered) to incite private citizens (insofar as the PROC has them) to root, mount DoS attacks against, and otherwise disrupt Taiwanese information infrastructure.

An earthquake that year temporarily knocked out ~5/6ths of the Taiwanese CPU manufacturing capacity, i.e. ~50% of global CPU manufacturing capacity.
Err... Eru helpstrasks those who helptrask themelves?

--
Banazir
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 11:38 am (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
I have no soft or hard evidence that [the conspiracy theory is] true. Also, I have soft evidence that it's false.

I just realized that you meant the theory that the shooting of Chen was a botched PROC assassination attempt, rather than that the DPP staged it. Yes, I agree that the PROC has less motive for assassination: Chen is a populist leader and has plenty of successors who would be even more cavalier about declaring independence. The PROC has no ostensible reason to bring those out of the woodwork, unless you subscribe to the theory that they are itching for confrontation and want a pretext to invade. My personal impression is that they are willing to invade, and counting on the USA to stick to its One China Policy support (and declaration that we will not intervene).

That said, the PROC government knows that Chen will toe the line, play a careful game of brinksmanship (much more so that the enemies of the USA have of late). and concentrate on the bigger fish he has to fry domestically. BTW, is everyone in denial about the fact that the DPP has a domestic agenda that (to be blunt) has some "us/them" overtones? I know I had to talk my dad into it, and hardly at that. Additionally, Chen is a bit of an economic lame-duck, more so than Bush at this point.

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 25th, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
Did you hear of the Chinese head of central intelligence talking about a nuclear strike against Taiwan
Err... wouldn't that defeat the purpose?

"Hey, let's nuke Taiwan and then retake it so we can have ourselves our very own radioactive deead island!"
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
Err... wouldn't that defeat the purpose?
"Hey, let's nuke Taiwan and then retake it so we can have ourselves our very own radioactive deead island!"

Are you reading your own words, buddy?
We're talking aboat Chonese people here!

The floks who brought us:

  • The Great Leap Froward: "Hey, let's reinvent agriculture my way, and force everyone to adopt it, so that if I'm wrong, tens of millions of people will starve!"

  • The Cultural ReViolution: "The first thing we do, let's trask all the tronkies." (a seriously effed up idea that is still wreaking its malice on the world today through the children born under that humiliating regime, but don't get me started)

  • The Great Wall: "Let's cut ourelves orf from the Northern Barbarians by building a wall for 200 years." (wlokaz, this wasn't such a terrible idea, but the slave labor that went into it and the overreliance upon it ended up doing enough harm come the Mongol invasion of the 13th century)



There's a lot more, but they won't fit in this margin, or something liek taht.

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 25th, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
* The Cultural ReViolution: "The first thing we do, let's trask all the tronkies." (a seriously effed up idea that is still wreaking its malice on the world today through the children born under that humiliating regime, but don't get me started)
Students of yours? ;)
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)
Re: China and Taiwan
The Cultural ReViolution: "The first thing we do, let's trask all the tronkies." (a seriously effed up idea that is still wreaking its malice on the world today through the children born under that humiliating regime, but don't get me started)
Students of yours? ;)
Trask, caught! :-P

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 25th, 2004 06:51 am (UTC)
Exactly. If I were staging a supposed attempted assasination of myself, I certainly wouldn't tell the shooter to hit me in the stomach but, pretty please, miss everything important...

Hmm, maybe Bush should stage something similar but, to make it more believable, have them shoot him in the head? It shouldn't be too hard for them to miss all major organs...
banazir
Mar. 25th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
Splittist pigdog! (or not)
Exactly. If I were staging a supposed attempted assasination of myself, I certainly wouldn't tell the shooter to hit me in the stomach but, pretty please, miss everything important...
OK, but you aren't getting a traskload of theories about bulletproof vests and blood packs under the jacket and crap.

My own $0.02: even if it was staged, William of Ockham is spinning in his grave at this point. There are enough unnecessarily multiplied entities to fill a Forces of The Empire cloning lab!

But then, you all may not know what lengths we Chinese people go to to explain sutff. Ask yodge! (And you think my explanations are complicated?!) :-P

Hmm, maybe Bush should stage something similar but, to make it more believable, have them shoot him in the head? It shouldn't be too hard for them to miss all major organs...
Ooh, ooh, can marm be bothered to pick this one up and trask you with it?
Fight! Fight!
(Just kidding.)

Seriously, Bush would never be that desperate.
I can tell you that Chen at least has motive.
That's from the word on the street in Beijing (as in let-us-retake-the-insignificant-wayward-splittist-trasks) as well as in Taipei.

--
Banazir
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