Beijing will never allow the tragedy of Taiwan being “split” off from the rest of the country to happen again, state media on Sunday quoted President Xi Jinping as saying, offering a strong warning to the island against any moves towards independence.
The mainland considers self-ruled and democratic Taiwan a wayward province, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.
Beijing has repeatedly warned against any moves towards independence since January’s landslide win by Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
Meeting with Shanghai delegates to the annual meeting of parliament, Xi made apparent reference to the Qing dynasty’s loss of Taiwan to Japan in 1895, who then ruled the island as a colony until the end of World War II.
“We will resolutely contain ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist activities in any form, safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and never allow the historical tragedy of the nation being split to happen again,” Xi said. “This is the common wish and firm will of all Chinese people. It is also our solemn commitment and our responsibility to history and the people,” he added.
Tsai has said she would maintain peace with Beijing, and state-run media have also noted her pledges to maintain the “status quo” with China.
Without making direct mention of Tsai, who assumes office in May, Xi said Beijing’s policy towards Taiwan was clear and consistent and “will not change along with the change in Taiwan’s political situation”.
“Compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait are expecting the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, and we should not disappoint them,” he added.
The past eight years have been marked by calm between Beijing and Taipei, after the election of the Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou as president in 2008 and his subsequent re-election.
Ma signed a series of key economic deals with Beijing and held a landmark meeting with Xi in November in Singapore. But a controversial trade pact has languished in the island’s parliament after protests in 2014 over trade dealings with Beijing.
Xi said both sides should deepen economic and social integration, and enhance the “sense of a community of common destiny.”
Two Canadian newspapers in the Greater Toronto Area have reported with unconcealed sympathy on the solidarity rally with the Palestinian “martyrs” (شهداء) of the al-Quds Intifada a.k.a the Knife Intifada.
On Saturday, February 20, 2016 several dozens of anti-Israel activists, including board members of the Mississauga-based Palestine House and the radical left Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), held a rally at at Yonge and Dundas Square in downtown Toronto protesting against “Israel’s ongoing policy of executing Palestinians.”
The protesters, including children of senior activists affiliated with the Palestine House, held pictures of the so-called “martyrs” of Palestinian al-Quds/ Knife Intifada, a relentless wave of terrorist attacks aimed at Israeli Jews since autumn 2015. The Palestine House accused Israel of “executing” these Palestinian “martyrs.”
According to the Palestinian Gaza-based al-Quds Center for Research, from October 2015 to February 2016 Palestinians murdered 33 Israelis and injured 440 Israelis in 120 stabbing attacks, 90 shooting attacks, 29 car ramming attacks, 1,121 explosive charges and firebombing attacks and 3,321 rock throwing attacks. In addition, 50 stabbing attacks were thwarted.
The following are excerpts from the news reports published by the Mississauga-based “Sakher Sabeel” newspaper and the Scarborough-based “Arab Toronto” newspaper (originally in Arabic):
Sakher Sabeel (Feb. 24, 2016 Issue 42, p. 6): The rally was organized “in order to send a message to the world, to expose the Israeli occupation and to condemn the summary executions of Palestinian children and youths who used primitive weapons to fight the occupation after everybody [Arab countries] abandoned them while looking for Utopian dreams or sectarian wars which lead our [Arab/ Muslim] nation to a dark age. The glory and the future belong to the [Palestinian] youths and appreciation and pride to all those who participated in this rally and protest.”
Arab Toronto (Vol. 1 Issue 18, March 1, 2016 p. 2): The rally was organized “to protest against the policy of executions carried out by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian lands and particularly [the execution of] the children and the adolescent youths. The participants, of whom the majority were not of Arab descent, held pictures of the children martyrs whom the Israeli occupation forces executed.”
The following is a list of terrorists whose photos were carried by the demonstrators:
- Moayyad Jabarin – Killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (left a letter to his parents informing them on his intention to kill two Israeli soldiers to “die as a martyr in the path of Allah”)
- Haitham Yassin – killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (after injuring an Israeli)
- Fadi Khseib – Hamas operative, killed while intentionally tried to run over and kill Israelis
- Odai al-Masalma – Hamas operative, killed while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Taher Fanoun – Killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (Israeli injured)
- Rooqiyya Abu Eid – Killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (attack caught on video)
- Mohammed Abed Nimr – killed while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Bashar al-Jabari – killed while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Eyad Ed’eis – Fatah operative, killed while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Yahya Farhat – Hamas al-Qassam Brigades operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Jihad Al-Obeid – Operative of Hamas’ al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Srour Abu Srour – Fatah operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Yihya Karir – Hamas operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Khalil Amer – killed while trying to run over and kill an Israeli citizen
- Mohammad Ayyad – killed while trying to run over and kill an Israeli citizen
- Marwan Hisham Barbakh – killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Ayman al-Abbasi, Fatah operative, incarcerated in jail for a year after convicted of security charges, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Shawqi Obeid – Fatah operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Abd al-Qader – al-Hussein Brigades (Fatah), killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Mahmoud Hameeda – killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Odai Jihad Irshid – killed during violent clashes with IDF forces; his sister Dania killed two months earlier while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Nasha’t Asfour, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Salama Abu Jame – killed during violent clashes with IDF forces; wished to die “in the path of Allah”
- Wisam Qasrawi – Fatah operative, killed while carrying out a stabbing attack
- Ziyad Nabil Sharaf – Hamas operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Mohammad Zahran – killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (2 Israeli soldiers injured)
- Mohammad Abu Zaid – Hamas operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Adnan Abu Oliyyan – Hamas operative, killed during violent clashes with IDF forces
- Taher Fanoun – Killed while carrying out a stabbing attack (Israeli injured)
- Sadeq Ziyad Gharbiyya, 16, Hamas operative, was killed while carrying out a stabbing attack in a checkpoint near Jenin on November 10, 2015.
Husam al-Jabari, 18, and his cousin Bashar al-Jabari,15, tried to enter through a checkpoint armed with a knife. Both were killed while stabbing an Israeli soldier who suspected them.
Shadi Hossam al-Deen Doula was an operative of Al-Naser Salah al-Deen Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic terrorist organization, the Popular Resistance Movement. In an official statement, Al-Naser Salah al-Deen Brigades said that Shadi Doula was “one of the mujahideen” who was killed on October 12, 2015 “during clashes” with the Israeli military forces.
Mohamad Halabeih, an operative of the terrorist organization Hamas, was killed while trying to attack Israeli forces east of Jerusalem with an explosive charge.
Anas Hamad, an operative of the terrorist organization Hamas, was killed while intentionally driving his car into a group of Israeli soldiers in an attempt to kill them.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), formerly known as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), played a role behind the scenes in encouraging the Toronto Star to start using the term “Daesh” instead of the “Islamic State”, a.k.a the Caliphate, IS, ISIS and ISIL.
Daesh (داعش) is the Arabic acronym of the al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), the original name of a group which split off from Qaeda. Later in 2014 its name was changed to the Islamic State or the Caliphate.
The Toronto Star favored the old long name to be used in the news reports of the paper effective of March 3, 2016.
Michael Cooke, Toronto Star’s editor-in-chief, described the Islamic State/ Caliphate/ Daesh as “multinational gang of killers and rapists” who “have no legitimacy as a state” explaining that the “name change helps emphasize that.”
Olivia Ward, Toronto Star’s Foreign Affairs Reporter, elaborated on the new policy: “That’s because the criminal gang that has murdered, raped and pillaged its way across the Middle East, while sending sycophants to slaughter civilians abroad, is neither Islamic nor an internationally recognized state.”
The Star’s position which denies any connection between the Islamic State to Islam goes in line with the official policy of the Liberal government.
“The Toronto Star has shown tremendous leadership in being the first major Canadian media organization to take such a definitive stand about how it refers to the terrorist group,” said Amira Elghawaby, NCCM’s Communications Director. “We call on other media outlets and independent journalists to consider adopting the term Daesh as well. This may lead the way for parliamentarians to do the same.”
On February 23, 2016, Toronto Star posted Elghawaby’s op-ed article entitled “Want to hurt the Islamic State? Call it something else.” The subtitle read: “How politicians and media refer to the terrorist group may actually help in countering its destructive narratives.”
Arguing that the Islamic State does not represent Islam, Elghawaby said that referring to the Islamic State (ISIS) as an “Islamic” entity emboldens ISIS’ objective to drive a wedge between Western societies and Muslims. She also suggested that there is a correlation between the language use to describe the Islamic State and the increasing number of reports of anti-Muslim attacks and comments. The following are excerpts of her article:
“Besides, such terminology winds up impacting the millions of Muslim citizens who are just as horrified by these terrorists as anyone. “Terms like ‘Islamic terrorism,’ ‘Islamist terrorism,’ ‘Jihadism’ and ‘Islamofascism’ succeed only in conflating terrorism with mainstream Islam, thereby casting all Muslims as terrorists or potential terrorists,” points out the RCMP report.
“And this may actually help “Daesh” achieve its stated aim of driving a wedge between Western societies and their Muslim citizens. We already see an almost immediate spike in anti-Muslim attacks and incidents reported to police, the media, and to organizations like ours following any terrorist attack by any group which purports to have a link to Islam. Never mind the virulently anti-Muslim comments on chat boards and throughout social media that typically ensues in the wake of these types of events.”
NCCM revealed that the NCCM’s Stronger Together Chair Mohammed Hashim also met with the Toronto Star’s publisher John Cruickshank to encourage the change.
“Congratulations to NCCM, Dawanet and the entire #StrongerTogetherCA team for making this happen.
“This is a victory for our entire community and a much needed shift on how we talk about Islam in Canada.’
“thank you The Toronto Star for your leadership.”