The ECFA ads, Who is Paying for Them? Taiwan's Taxpayers? the KMT or China?

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Sunday March 28, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

It is two years into the reign of Ma the Incompetent and it appears that the one-trick pony is getting desperate to defend his ECFA efforts and drag Taiwan into economic dependency on the People's Republic of China (PRC). The latest effort of Ma and his combination hired gun/snake oil salesman King Pu-tsung are expensive TV ads saying how the country will totally lose its competitiveness if it does not give the government a blank check to sign ECFA. Allegedly if the people don't sign this blank check by June, it is all over for Taiwan. Can you believe such absurdities?

For almost two years Ma's Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) dominated government has been preaching that not only is ECFA absolutely essential, but that it is being completely transparent about ECFA. Why then after two years of alleged transparency does no one still not know what ECFA contains? Why then after two years of alleged transparency does no one really know what its commitments are? Why do negotiations remain so secret and why is there an absolute rush to get it all through and signed as quickly as possible? Bottom line, if ECFA is so absolutely essential and so obvious that it should be plain as the nose on one's face, why then does the Ma government need to be sponsoring high-powered TV ads to sell this obviousness?

At first Ma's government had taken the position that ECFA was not a matter of concern for the Legislative Yuan (LY); this was strictly matters of trade to be arranged by the government. It was something like the secret trade negotiations on US beef done by Su Chi that were supposed to be for the good of the nation. Everyone knows where that ended up. Now when Ma's go-it-alone tactics on ECFA did not work, Ma as grudgingly bowed to pressure and said that his government would pass the matter before the LY for its stamp of approval, after it is signed.

Other questions arise on this so-called obvious need and rush by Ma. Ma's government has also said that it would be willing to meet with anyone at anytime to explain this matter, yet Ma continuously avoids an open discussion/debate with Tsai Ing-wen leader of the opposition DPP party and certainly won't put ECFA up before the referendum hurdles created by the KMT. All that has come of the government's meet-anyone-at-any-time proposals is the continued propaganda that this is absolutely necessary. Necessary for what? Secret commitments to China?

The latest is that Taiwan's TV stations are being bombarded with ads reminiscent of the late Qing era politics saying how the country must absolutely sign ECFA or it will sink. The ad states that if Taiwan does not sign ECFA it will be marginalized like North Korea, a country that is already dependent on China. This all does not compute? Two questions arise. First, why are these ads so necessary to "sell" what Ma claims is so obvious? Second, and perhaps more important, who is paying for these ads? The KMT or the Taiwan taxpayers, or what is worse, the PRC? These are the troubles that beset Taiwan as the one-trick pony refuses to let the people vote on a deadly referendum for their future. These are the matters that Ma insists must be decided before June. Does Ma have a two year marker from China that is coming due at that time?