Reporting 250,000+ “likes” on a suspicious Facebook page and 500 affirming phone calls for a police chief, Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧), on an island of with 23 million people is not newsworthy. Yet, it is being disseminated by the government and being reported in the Taipei Times. This actually suggests that authorities possess undisclosed research data that indicates government support is sinking fast. Bureaucrats in Taiwan clearly feel threatened.
2,000 people wearing white shirts appeared at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei to ostensibly show general support for police—a phantom controversy since there have been no demonstrations specifically against “police”, but against policy. The article included reports from Taipei City‘s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission that a large number of phone calls had come in to support Police Chief Fang, about 500 out of 1,100 calls.
Support for chief Fang seems to be in response to the protest outside his precinct office Friday night. But those protests were not in opposition to police per se, but to broken promises. When Fang apologized at Friday night’s protest, the crowd’s opposition dwindled, further suggesting that the problem was with policy more than with individuals.
Fang’s brand new Facebook (titled: 無限期支持方仰寧、支持警察), created April 11, the same night of the protest, with over 250,000 “likes” on Sunday has many problems. It seems fake, having an excessive number of posts within three days, indicating an internal cooperation of people posting. The profile picture seems to have been taken of a police sign at night—the same time protests were taking place. And the title of the page is not only for Chief Fang, nor for Taiwan’s police, but for both Fang and the police… which is not something real Facebook pages are created for.
President Obama, for instance, has a Facebook page about himself. “Barack Obama, Washington D. C. – Politician” is the title. The page is not about “President Obama and the US Government”. The people see a difference between a politician and their government. Bureaucrats creating fake Facebook pages, however, do not.
Moreover, there has been no research to confirm that the 250,000 and growing “likes” are not robots from one of the many fake social media outlets. Syndicated American radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, has a real Facebook page with over 1.6 million likes. In objectivity, Limbaugh’s “likes” do not demonstrate growing support, but are merely from his listeners. The number of “likes” skyrocketed as he announced the page on his radio show and they leveled off when approaching a number reflecting a comparable portion of his audience.
From Limbaugh, we learn that three-day old Facebook pages do not gain “likes” in the hundreds of thousands without some kind of external support from media, such as a celebrity making the announcement himself or from TV stations mentioning the page during prime time.
The positive comments on this questionable Facebook page seem to come from police or family police, meaning that whatever activity is real surmounts to a “mutual admiration society”, rather than an actual indication of public support. There has been little to no genuine action from the public expressing pure, simple love and thanks to police officers in Taiwan, even as they face great controversy. As for the effect of these proported expressions of “support”, they are more likely to pour salt on an open wound of the hearts of the police who have been largely ignored and the protestors who were beaten by rogue police at the Executive Yuan at 4:00am, March 23.
This “White Justice Social Alliance” is a direct color contrast to the black shirts worn by protesters who gathered for nearly a month to express dislike for “black box” secret talks between Taiwan and China. But with “support for police” as their main talking point, most in the Sunflower movement already agree with them. This raises questions about the real purpose of the white shirts.
The white-shirt’s non-controversial demonstration, supposedly representing a “[very] silent majority” will be more believable if 500,000 people show up in white shirts to show their support for police, as happened in opposition to known government-ethics and trade controversies on March 30.
But there is a bigger problem with the name of the white shirts. Taiwan’s democracy movement often wore black shirts, but do not use “black” in their name; they identified themselves with Sunflowers. The United States democracy movement is known for having “Tea Parties”; they don’t use titles such as “Democracy Justice Demonstration Society” or some other mouthful. By contrast, the name “White Justice Social Alliance” is the type of complex name that bureaucrats create every day. Ordinary citizens with real conviction don’t use spin control. Instead, they usually persevere in the face of spin from bureaucracies that feel threatened by democracy, transparency, and accountability to Constitutional governance.
There are two forms of unintended slander that have come from this surreal, so-called “support”. It implies that the Sunflower movement does not like the police, even though they actually do. This could breed resentment if not responded to with care. More importantly, it suggests that the largest collection of support for Taiwan’s police is from a fake Facebook page when, actually, support for the police is strong everywhere, including within the Sunflower movement’s leadership.Source: Pacific Daily Times – Taiwan’s ‘white justice’ breeds confusion
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