Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) A local Filipino party chapter voiced its fierce opposition to embattled Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's
declaration of a state of emergency and called for Arroyo's ouster in a protest Tuesday.

Members of the Migrante Sectoral Party-Taiwan Chapter (MSP-TC) and local human-rights activists staged the protest to accuse Arroyo of corruption, election fraud, and failing to make the Philippines a better country in front of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the de facto embassy of the Philippines in Taiwan. The group plans to return Sunday for another protest.

Arroyo declared the state of emergency in a desperate move to cling to power, said Gi Estrada, Taiwan Coordinator of the Asia
Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) and Secretary-General of the MSP-TC.

Aside from arresting military officers suspected of opposing the Arroyo government, Arroyo has banned protests and started cracking down on the opposition. According to the Philippine National Police, there are more than 200 people who are to be arrested -- with or without a warrant.

"The state of emergency is essentially martial law, which gives Arroyo the power to do whatever she wants," Estrada said, adding that two congressmen -- Crispin Beltran and Joel Virador -- have been arrested, and a newspaper, the Daily Tribune, was raided.

"We are disappointed at the current government," said Gil Lebria, who was among a dozen protesters holding cardboard signs
reading "Never again to Martial Law," "Oust GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo], " and "Resist GMA's state of emergency."

"The Taiwanese experienced the tragic '228' massacre on this very day 59 years ago, and that's why we oppose any dictatorship or
tyranny. It's sad to know Filipinos are having to go through the 'White Terror' and martial law just like us," said Lennon Wong, Deputy Director of the Department of International Relations, Chinese Federation of Labour.

Tang Shu, head of the Labor Rights Association's policy department, urged the Philippine government to release the two
arrested congressmen.

The Philippine government should immediately stop suppressing human rights groups, said Chen Jau-hua, a Philosophy professor at Soochow University. Chen estimated that more than 4,000 human-rights activists were killed in the Philippines last year.

Gloria Arroyo declared the state of emergency in Philippines on February 24 after stamping out a coup attempt.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology helps marathon organizers to keep the most accurate records, a research institute said Saturday on the sidelines of the 2006 24-hour World Challenge taking place in Taipei.

RFID also helps cycling, triathlon and speed skating, sports that determine winners by their times, said Chang Bo-kuang, Director of the RFID Technology Center under the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

The technology was first used in the 1994 Berlin Marathon but has not been widely used in Taiwan until recent years, said Sunny Chen, Secretary-General of the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association (CTRRA) -- organizer of the 24-hour marathon.

"It helps us to ensure the fairness of the competition, as runners at the front and back of the starting line will compete on an
equal footing. And it helps us to present the latest records online in real time, " she said.

The CTRRA has set up four 40-inch LCD TVs on-site to show the latest times when the runners pass through sensor areas.


Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Although none of them are ranked in the world top 50, Taiwanese marathoners still had high hopes on the eve of the 2006 24-hour World Challenge and believed the warmer weather would be an advantage for Taiwanese runners.

"The weather has been getting warmer in the past two days. I believe it will be an advantage for us, " said 45-year-old Wu
Sheng-ming, who set his goal for the competition at 240 km, 14 km more than his personal best.

Last year in the Soochow 24-hour marathon, which was also held in Taipei, the temperature dropped to as low as three degrees Celsius, which hurt the performance of local runners, Wu said.

More than 200 runners from 23 countries were participating in the 24-hour marathon, which began in the Yuan Shan park Saturday.

Not every runner is as ambitious as Wu. Yang Hsin-fu, 60, said he would be satisfied to break his personal best of 184 km.

"The most gratifying moment for me in the 24-hour marathon is seeing the sun come up. It's worth everything, " said Yang Mei-lian, who entered the event against her son's wishes.

"My son, a medical college student, thinks the marathon is not good for my health, " Yang said, adding that she will be proud to finish the run.

The key to running for 24 hours, Wu said, is to take the proper nutrition supplements at the appropriate time.

"As the host team, we will do our best. Hopefully we will not let the local fans down, " Wu said.


Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) The 2006 24-hour World Challenge will be a test of will for runners from 27 countries this weekend in Taipei as 229 participants will run for a day and night to vie for the honor of world's best ultrarunner.

Also known as the World Ultramarathon Championship, the 24-hour World Challenge requires runners to run around the Yuan Shan Park for 24 hours from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. The male and female winners will be the ones who run the longest distance within that time.

Russia is regarded as everyone's toughest competitor, featuring three runners ranked in the world's top three -- Anatoliy Kruglikov, who is No.2 in men's world rankings; Lyudmila Kalinina, No.2 in women's world rankings; and women's No.3 Irina Reutovich.

Taiwan is sending 10 runners to the competition -- five men and five women -- with Chen Jun-yan leading the way. Chen, 40, holds Taiwan's 24-hour marathon record of 244 km.

A six-hour relay competition of public officials will start at 6: 30 a.m. Saturday, in the run-up to the ultramarathon. Each team
comprises 12 runners, with each one running for 30 minutes.

Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and Deputy Mayor Yeh Ching-chuan, who will run the first and second leg respectively for Taipei City, are among more than 80 public officials from seven districts that will participate in the competition.

Yeh is also hoping to run as a candidate in Taipei's mayoral election and has been endorsed by Ma.

In addition to the 24-hour marathon, more than 2,000 local runners will participate in the open race group. A 12-hour open race and a 10-km open race will also be held.

The event, organized by the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association, is the first world ultramarathon championship held in Asia. The first three took place in Europe.


Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) A love of running, the travel and always looking for a challenge are reasons why Roy Pirrung has found himself in every 24-hour and 100km ultramarathon he could enter -- and he doesn't mind being considered a madman for it.

"People do call me crazy. But when you love running so much you could run forever," said Pirrung, 57, who has completed 72 marathons, 116 ultramarathons and won 12 world championship medals in his 25-year running career.

"To be a good ultramarathon runner, it takes dedication and motivation," said Pirrung, who didn't start running until the age of

"My fellow runner challenged me to go farther. And I found I was good at it," he said.

"Secondly, I love to set goals for myself. When I realized I was obese -- 200 pounds at the time -- I decided to change my life
and began running, " said the Sheboygan, Wisconsin native, now 130 pounds.

Travelling was the icing on the cake when he took up running -- in numerous countries including France, Argentina, The Czech Republic and Taiwan. Pirrung is now on his second trip to Taiwan, where he won the gold medal for the 55-59 age group in the 2003 World Masters Athletics 100km marathon in the southern city of Tainan.

Speaking on why ultrarunners are relatively older compared to other running events, Pirrung said: "As you get older, you lose your speed. You don't run as fast. But you still love it [running]." Older runners try to challenge themselves in a different way,
which is why there are a lot more older runners in ultramarathons, he added.

"I even enjoy running for 48 hours," Pirrung said. "A lot of things ran through my mind when I was running -- religion, family,
politics ... everything. Your body frees up your mind."

Pirrung, a newspaper columnist for the Sheboygan Press, has a personal best of 248km in the 24-hour marathon and hopes to finish 240km in Taiwan this weekend.

He was elected into the USA Track and Field Masters Hall of Fame in 2001 and named USATF Masters Ultrarunner of the Year in 2002.


Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) China prefers opposition Kuomintang (KMT) leader Ma Ying-jeou to win the 2008 Taiwan presidential election, which means Taiwan's independence will be almost unachievable even if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regains power in the future, a Hong Kong political analyst said in Taipei Wednesday.

Willy Lam, a Hong Kong citizen who has been a political analyst on China relations for nearly 20 years, was invited by the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT) to give a speech at its monthly luncheon.

Speaking on the future of Taiwan-China relations, Lam said China would prefer Taiwan's opposition leader, KMT chairman Ma
Ying-jeou, to win back the presidential office in March 2008. And China expects Ma to endorse the "One China" idea, he added.

"One or two years afterwards," he said, "China expects the 'three direct links' to be established, after which Taiwan's economy
will depend even more on China."

"Even if the DPP manages to return to power [in 2012], it will be very difficult for even the party's radical wing to achieve
independence because the basic weapon, or basic ingredients, will be diminished," Lam said.

Lam previously worked with the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong but was forced to leave the post by the Chinese government's influence. Later he worked for CNN's Asia-Pacific headquarters.

He is a professor at Japan's Akita International University and a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington D.C. foreign policy think tank.


Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) China has learned its lesson on how to react to provocation by Taiwan, which is why it has chosen to remain relatively mum on recent Taiwan-related issues, a Hong Kong political analysts said Wednesday in Taipei.

China has learned lessons through past experience and decided to stay calm and not to ruffle feathers after Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian said he would consider abolishing the National Unification Council and its Guidelines, said Willy Lam, a guest speaker at the monthly luncheon of the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT).

Lam previously worked with the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and with CNN's Asia-Pacific headquarters. He is a Professor of China and Global Studies at Japan's Akita International University, while also a Senior Fellow at Jamestown Foundation, a Washington D.C. foreign policy think tank.

Concentrating on winning over all fronts in Taiwan will be China's main focus, Lam said. The U.S. sending a special envoy to Taiwan is the latest example of China's tactics, Lam said. China has waited for the U.S.' response before delivering an overly dramatic reaction.

China is implementing the idea of "Three Harmonies" -- peace, reconciliation and harmony -- advocated by Chinese President Hu Jintao in handling the Taiwan issue and international affairs, he said.

In addition to the Taiwan issue, the same mindset also applies to how China shapes new foreign policy.

"For China to continue its [economic] development, it knows it must ensure a peaceful environment. And they must pursue a good neighbor policy, " Lam said.

Beijing is also looking for a new relationship with the U.S., by becoming stakeholders in international affairs instead of "strategic
competitors," a term that current U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used to describe U.S.-China relations several years ago.

China has used its influence in handling North Korea and Iran to seek better relations with the U.S. and prove its interest in
participating in international affairs, Lam said.

In trade and economic relations, Lam claimed that Beijing has come up with a Robin Hood-style of operating as it runs up a trade surplus with the rich countries while it increases investment and aid to the poor.

Hu has also replaced the "New Three Principles of the People, " which he advocated shortly after being named president three years ago, with the "Theory of the Three Harmonies," Lam said.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) More than 100 squash players from 12 Asian countries will compete in the 13th Asian Squash Championship that opened Monday in Taipei, the Squash Rackets Association of Chinese Taipei (SRACT) announced at the opening ceremony.

Squash, a sport most Taiwanese are unfamiliar with, will be an official event of the 2009 World Games, which is to be held in the southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung.

"The championship will be a warmup game for the 2009 World Games," President Chen Shui-bian said in his opening remarks.

Players will compete over eight days for four titles in men's and women's individual and team competitions at the Taipei Arena's squash court and the central squash court.

Leading the way will be Nicol David, dubbed as Malaysia's pride and currently ranked the world's No.1 in women's squash. David, 23, is the youngest woman player in history to be No. 1 in the world, and has won four Asian championships, an Asian Games gold and a silver medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Malaysia features four women's squash players who all rank in the Top 50 internationally and the highest ranked men's player in the championship: Ong Beng Hee, who is currently 15th in the world.

Pakistan men's team, however, is the strongest in the field and favored to take home the gold. Hong Kong's women's team will be Malaysia's toughest adversary.

For host team Taiwan, the championship will be a good learning experience as Taiwan is relatively new to the game, said Pierre Chen, President of the SRACT.

There are about 170 squash courts in Taiwan and people are picking up an interest in squash. Taiwan didn't establish a squash association until 1995, although it sent its first squash team abroad in 1989.

Countries entering the competition include Hong Kong, Iran, India, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and host Taiwan.


Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) New immigrant women whose husbands have died and those who have been abandoned or have suffered from domestic violence should be granted permanent residence, a human rights group said Monday in a press conference held to urge the Taiwan government to establish better protection for foreign spouses.

The Alliance on the Amendments of the Human Rights Protection Law (AAHRPL) also asked the National Police Administration (NPA) to clarify the administrative procedures used in considering whether to grant extended residence to foreign spouses.

"Most foreign spouses whose husbands have died have been having trouble trying to stay in Taiwan. Either the husband's family has refused to apply for extended residence for them or their applications have been rejected with no reason given by the foreign affairs police, " AAHRPL spokesman Hsia Hsiao-chuan said. Hsia is also a professor at Shih Hsin University.

Most families don't want to apply for extended residence for the foreign spouses out of fear that they may fight to inherit their late husband's assets, Hsia claimed.

A Vietnamese spouse surnamed Pham who attended the press conference said she doesn't want any money. "I just want to stay in Taiwan, my home, " she said. Pham was originally granted a one-month extension by the local police department, but the extension was later canceled for no apparent reason.

Chheang Navy, a foreign spouse from Cambodia, said: "Most people don't realize that new immigrant women, who preferred to be referred to as such instead of as 'foreign brides, ' are not here for money. This is our home. This is where we want to be." Navy is working for the TransAsia Sisters Association (TASA), an organization devoted to the rights of Southeast Asian women in Taiwan.

Another women, surnamed Le, said her family agreed to apply for extended residence for her, but the application procedures proved far too complicated for them to handle. In the end, they were exploited by an agency and, after waiting for over a year and a paying more than NT$26,000, the application has still not been approved.

TASA Secretary-General Shawn Wu cited Article 29 of the Immigration Act and Article 11 of the Regulations Governing Visiting, Residence and Permanent Residence of Aliens and said: "According to Taiwan law, foreign spouses who have lost their husband or who have children have the right to obtain residence, but local police departments have sometimes not enforced the law and bowed to pressure from the local people."

This is why the AAHRPL has urged the legislature to amend the Immigration Act as soon as possible, Wu said, adding it is hoped that the AAHRPL's ideas will be adopted in the amendment.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) A charity photo exhibition by a young photographer is taking place in Taipei from Feb. 18 to March 11 to raise funds for Cambodian children.

A total of 38 photographs taken in Cambodia by Jack Lee will be displayed in the show, "Angkorel's Smile 2." All proceeds will be donated to the Field Relief Agency of Taiwan (FRA), a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) devoted exclusively to humanitarian relief work in Cambodia.

This is the second exhibition Lee has set up to raise funds for children in Cambodia, where Lee twice visited in 2004 and 2005. Lee, a print media photographer, went to Camdodia for a sightseeing tour in 2004 and said he was "touched beyond words" by the suffering of Cambodians.

"I didn't realize until then there was such a war-torn country in this world where people couldn't even afford to have the basic needs in life, such as food, accommodation and education. I was shocked," Lee said.

"So I decided to do something for them, " said Lee, who after the first trip set up a charity photography exhibition titled "Angkorel's
Smile, " which means "angelic smile of Cambodian children" by combining the words "Angkor" -- a famous Cambodian city -- and "Angel."

Lee, now an FRA volunteer worker, visited Cambodia again with the FRA last September. Most photographs were taken in Poipet, a poverty-stricken border town in northwestern Cambodia.

"Jack has a big heart. What he did helps us understand that it makes no difference whether we are Russians, Americans or Taiwanese -- we feel a lot happier when we extend a helping hand to people, " said Galya Kharitonova, a Russian exchange student at Tamkang University who has known Lee for two years.

The photography exhibition takes place at Nook Cafe, 7-1, Lane 123, Songjiang Rd., Taipei.


Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) A total of 304 Taiwanese gamers will vie for top honors at the Taipei Digital Game Championship, a national competition at the Taipei Game Show 2006 (TGS 2006), this weekend.

The gamers from north and south, already the cream of the crop, winning their respective regional tournaments that saw a total of 36,443 competitors, gathered in Taipei for the national championship tournament. Winners of the six different online games will be determined Sunday.

"We hope to promote the digital content industry through this competition, the first computer games tournament sponsored by the government, " Deputy Director General of the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) Shen Jung-jin said.

"Governmental assistance has stimulated the energy of the digital content industry," said Henry Hsieh, marketing manager of Electronic Arts Taiwan (EA Taiwan) . EA Taiwan is presenting "NBA Live 06", one of the most popular games in Taiwan, at the competition.

"Online games are becoming more and more popular among those of the younger generation who are familiar with computers, as evidenced by the increasing number of visitors at this event, " Hsieh said.

Organizers have estimated that more than 100,000 visitors and industry professionals will visit the TGS 2006, which ends on Sunday.

Hsieh envisions booming success for the industry in the coming years. "Computer game sales were down approximately 10 percent in the past year because of the transitional period between the old and new consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 2 (PS2) and PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360. Most users are waiting for the new models. But the future is looking good, " Hsieh noted.

However, he also expressed some concerns. "Piracy is still the biggest concern for us. Most gamers are students who are more than willing to try as many computer games as they can but don't have enough money to buy the software. That's why they download illegal software," he said.

The TGS, organized by the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), is the second largest international PC/console game show in Asia and attracts an average of 500,000 visitors annually. This year's event features booths hosted by over 150 of Asia's leading PC/console game developers.

The Taipei Game Show 2006 is being held at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I.


Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) Bobby Chen, one of the most celebrated singers in Taiwan, will lead three local underground bands performing on the penultimate night of the 2006 Taipei Lantern Festival Saturday, a rock 'n' roll evening destined to lighten up the annual Chinese tradition.

Main act Bobby Chen is slated as the biggest attraction of the evening, with three alternative rock bands -- Neon, Coach and La Petite Nurse -- also brightenening up the show, which is titled "Taipei Go Go Go," and takes place 7-10 p.m. Saturday night on the main stage of the lantern festival.

Over one million citizens have visited the lantern festival the first eight days, according to the Taipei City government. The 10-day festival is being held at the Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall complex and ends Feb. 19.


Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) A 16-member delegation of young politicians from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) visited the headquarters of Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Friday.

The delegation, composed of 14 prefectural council members andtwo LPD staff members, exchanged opinions and views on a variety of topics with KMT political figures at a seminar held at the KMT headquarters.

The delegation was led by LDP Youth Division central standing committee chairman Baba Seishi, who also serves as councilman of Kumamoto Prefecture, in Kyushu. The visiting council members, most of whom work in youth and women's issues, came from Tokyo and seven prefectures.

"The LDP and the KMT have been enjoying a close relationship over the years. And both parties share the same idea that the younger generation is the driving force behind political reform, " said Chen Shu-jung, KMT's Director of the Youth Division.

"The LDP's landslide victory in the last parliament election proved that the Japanese people approved of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's reform plan and youth movement, " Chen said in the opening remarks of the seminar, which focused on the political organization
of youth and women's groups.

KMT established the Kuomintang Youth League, which is also known as the "Young KMT, " last November in an attempt to cultivate new talent in the youth movement and a generational transition within the party.

Seishi said the LDP also has been trying to move in a similar direction with setting up seminars countrywide, having more student representatives and encouraging young people to participate in politics.

Regarding political organization, youth and women, the electoral system, social welfare and declining birthrates were among topics discussed in the 90-minute seminar.

The visiting Japanese council members came from Tokyo and the prefectures of Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Ibaraki, Chiba, Hyogo, Tochigi and Hiroshima. More than 25 KMT members attended the seminar.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) University basketball teams from South Korea, Japan and Malaysia have been invited to participate in an international basketball tournament from Feb. 21-23 in Kaohsiung County, organizer Shih Chien University (SCU) announced at a press conference Wednesday.

A total of seven men's and women's teams will play nine games in the SCU 2006 International Basketball Tournament that will be held on SCU's Neimen township campus in southern Taiwan.

Kyong Hee University of South Korea, National Kaohsiung Normal University and host SCU will play in the men's competition in a round robin format.

Four teams in the women's competition, also a round robin, include Long In University of South Korea, Ohka Gakuen University of Japan, the Malaysian Women's National Team and host SCU.

Shih Chien University has been trying to build up its basketball program and has seen gratifying success. The women's team finished in the top eight in the first division of the university league last season, while the men's team currently competes in the men's second

Kyong Hee University is led by Julian Kim, who played in South Korea's national team in the World University Games. A perennial power in South Korean college basketable, Kyong Hee University won two runner-ups last year.

Long In University and Ohka Gakuen University are both traditional powers in women's college basketball in South Korea and Japan.


Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) More than 2,000 runners from 27 countries will participate in a 24-hour marathon to be held in Taipei from February 25-26, the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association (CTRRA) announced at a press conference Wednesday.

"The 2006 International Association of Ultrarunners 24- Hour World Challenge will be held in Asia for the first time after taking place in Europe for the last three years, " said Sunny Chen, Secretary-General of the CTRRA, which is organizing the event.

The tournament will be the ultimate test of stamina and endurance for runners, who are required to run non-stop for 24 hours around the Yuan Shan Park. The winner will be the one who runs the longest distance within 24 hours.

A total of 229 runners from 27 countries will compete, while more than 2,000 local runners will participate in the open race group. In addition, a 12-hour open race and a 10-km open race will also be held.

Notable World Cup participants include Russian runner Anatoliy Ruglikov, who is currently No. 2 in the world rankings, and Valmir Nunez of Brazil, who ranks third.

Taiwan is sending 10 runners to the competition -- five men and five women -- with Chen Jun-yan leading the way. Chen, 40, holds Taiwan's 24-hour marathon record of 244 km.

"We're glad to have the chance to host this event after winning the bid in September 2004, " Chen said. "In 2000, we introduced the 100-km and the 24-hour marathon to Taiwan. After all these years of hard work, we have finally reaped the reward by successfully bringing the event here," he added.


Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) American poet and singer Toni Blackman, one of the most influential people in America's hip hop culture, is visiting Taiwan as the "U.S. hip hop ambassador" with her group Hip Hop Ensemble to give two free concerts and a lecture.

The visit is a part of the American Music Abroad Program arranged under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State in co-operation with the Lincoln Center and the last leg of the group's Asia tour, which has also included stops in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

"The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is bringing the `American hip hop ambassador' here to provide our Taiwan friends with a sample of modern day American hip hop culture, " said Nicholas Papp, Director of AIT's American Culture Center, which is organizing the events.

A Taipei concert will be held at the Taipei Metropolitan Hall Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., while a Kaohsiung concert will take place at the Sun Yat-sen Hall of the National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Known for her contagious stage presence, Blackman also published her first book, "Inner-Course, " in 2003. She is highly respected as the founder and director of Freestyle Union, a workshop that uses freestyling as a tool to encourage social responsibility. She has shared stage with famous artists such as Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots and Wu Tang Clan.

Hip hop is a strong art form that extends to music, dance, poetry and visual arts, Blackman said in a press conference Tuesday. "It is not music, not DJ-ing, not rhyming. It's not beat, not windmill, not 12-inch vinyls, not 16-ounce cans of paint. It's a feeling. It's within, " she said.

Blackman encourages mainstream hip hop artists to shoulder more social responsibility to help the younger generation build positive perspectives on life.

Hip hop is a unique American phenomenon and cultural movement that originated in urban African American and Latino urban slums and ghettos in the South Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s.

The movement has the greatest impact on poor, young urban people and on others who feel they live on the frayed margins of society.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Relationship advice and counseling is the most needed form of assistance among the gay community in Taiwan, mostly because they have no one to turn to, an advocacy group said at its annual press conference Monday.

The Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association (TTHA) , which set up a telephone hotline for counseling homosexuals, received more than 900 telephone calls in 2005, with 39 percent of callers seeking counseling for relationships-related issues, said Wu Hsu-liang, who serves as TTHA's director of public relations.

Wu said the issue has been the primary reason for calls made to the hotline for five straight years, indicating that gays are concerned about discrimination in society and aren't receiving the support they need from family and friends who are heterosexual.

"The hotline tries to provide a discreet atmosphere and professional counseling to those who need help but can't find someone to talk about it with in their daily lives," Wu added.

TTHA statistics showed 52 percent of calls came from repeat callers.

"No one is supposed to get over relationship problems overnight. It's a continual process that might take a while, say six months," Wu said.

At the same time, the incidence of sex identity-related phone calls has dropped to its lowest number in five years, which TTHA considers an encouraging sign.

"This tells us that Taiwan -- considered the leading country in Asia when it comes to open attitudes about homosexuality -- has been making substantial progress in sexual equality, " said Cheng Chi-wei, TTHA's Director of Social Work.

Meanwhile, the percentage of callers who are parents of homosexual children has increased to an all-time high of 9 percent -- another promising sign, according to TTHA.

"Having gay kids places a lot of pressure on parents. I'm glad to see that more parents are trying to help their children through professional counseling, " said a woman surnamed Kuo who provides private counseling for parents with homosexual children.

"Education is key in the promotion of understanding about homosexual relationships and gender equality. In the coming year, we will be working to promote the idea of pluralist thinking, or `Multiple Intelligences, ' in schools, which is something lacking at this time, although the Gender Equality Education Law was passed by the Legislative Yuan in 2004, " said TTHA Office Director Lai Kang-yen.

In 1998, TTHA became the first registered LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) association in Taiwan, and was established to provide counseling and support for gays and lesbians.


Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) The majority of homosexuals in Taiwan want same-sex marriage to be legalized and hope their relationships will one day be protected by law like heterosexuals, the results of an online survey released by a gay rights advocacy group on the eve of Valentine's day showed.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Tongzhi (Homosexuals) Hotline Association (TTHA), showed 89 percent of homosexuals in the survey wanted same-sex marriage to be legalized in Taiwan, with 57 percent of respondents saying they would marry once same-sex marriage is

"Only a handful of countries have legalized same-sex marriages, including Canada, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and some states in the U.S. We hope Taiwan will join the list soon, " said Cheng Chi-wei, TTHA's director of social work.

A large majority of respondents -- 81 percent -- said same-sex marriage should be legalized because "it is a civil right." And 90 percent of those polled who wanted to marry said they wanted to be protected by the law and have the same income tax benefits and health insurance coverage as heterosexual couples.

However, only 37 percent of respondents wanted to have children. Thirty percent responded that they did not want to have children while 37 percent said they were unsure.

There were 300 participants in the online survey, with 47 percent identifying themselves as gay, 28 percent as lesbian, 14 as bisexual and 11 percent as transsexual.

In 1998, the TTHA became the first registered LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) association in Taiwan, and was created as a source of support for gays and lesbians.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) Taiwan is ready to boost its cooperation with India on all fronts with the help of the Taiwan-India Cooperation Council (TICC), the chairman of the new organization said Saturday.

"The TICC is aimed at strengthening economic, trade, parliamentary, artistic and cultural ties between Taiwan and India," TICC Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said at the private association's inaugural ceremony.

"Establishing the new council also complements the government's 'Go South' policy. Taiwan and India share a common focus as 'India's looking east and Taiwan's going south, '" said Yu, who concurrently serves as chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) .

Speaking on the same occasion, Arun Sahgal, deputy director of Research and head of the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation of the United Service Institution of India, said India is now seeking a closer engagement with East Asia and attaches great importantance to its ties with Taiwan.

Both sides will benefit from the enhanced cooperation, Sahgal said. Sahgal also believes India has great advantages for attracting Taiwanese investors because of the size of its labor force, lower production costs and enormous market potential.

The development of Taiwan-India relations has attained a rapid and steady growth, as bilateral trade reached US$1.93 billion in 2004, five times higher than 1990 figures, Yu said. Also, the number of Indian engineers in Taiwan has reached over a thousand. Parliamentary visits and direct flights between both sides have steadily increased in recent years.

"India is seen as having the most potential among the four golden 'BRIC' (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries," Yu said. Besides Taiwan and India's collaboration on software and hardware, India's overall economic strength will provide even more opportunities for Taiwan-India economic and trade cooperation, he noted.

Yu came up with the idea to set up a Taiwan-India association after Taiwan Thinktank organized a seminar on "India-Japan-Taiwan Trialogue" in Taipei in November 2004 when Yu was still Taiwan's premier.

Information technology and infrastructural development are two sectors Taiwan and India could work on together, and India will serve as an important springboard for Taiwanese business to extend its market to Europe, former Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh
said at the TICC inaugural ceremony.


Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) Economics currently drive the Taiwan-India relationship and that is the way it should be, an Indian scholar said Saturday on the sidelines of the founding ceremony of the Taiwan-India Cooperation Council (TICC).

"The relationship between Taiwan and India will primarily be [based on] economics. The economics will drive our relationship for now, and that's how it should be, " said Arun Sahgal, deputy director of Research and Head of the Center for Strategic Studies and Simulation of the United Service Institution of India, and a retired Indian brigadier.

"Through enhanced bilateral ties, we hope that eventually it will lead to more Taiwanese investment in India," he said.

And as a developing country, India can learn from Taiwan's experience, said Sahgal, who attended the ceremony on his second visit to Taiwan.

Asked about the relationship between Taiwan, India and China, Sahgal said: "We don't want to bring Taiwan into a balance of power [between India and China] issue."

"We're trying to improve bilateral ties with China and have been making progress. But we also have disputes with China, such as energy resources, that have not been settled. As for the future of India and China, I will describe it as 'constructive co-existence.'"

Is it possible for Taiwan and India to establish a strategic partnership and military cooperation in the future?

"We'll see, " Sahgal replied.

The newly established TICC is aimed at strengthening economic, trade, legislative, artistic and cultural relations between Taiwan and India. Yu Shyi-kun, chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , was elected chairman of the Board of Directors of the new private association at its first board meeting held Saturday morning.


Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) The Chinese government hasn't eased up in its oppression of Tibet 40 years after the ravage of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese writer Wang Lixiong said Friday at a book launch in Taipei.

Wang is well-known for his books "Yellow Peril, " which is one of the best-selling books in the Chinese-speaking world but banned in China, and "Sky Burial: The Fate of Tibet, " which is about Tibetan culture.

"Forty years after [the cultural revolution], a shadow remains over Tibet. And the Chinese government hasn't restrained its control and oppression of Tibet, putting a lot of limitations on Tibetans," said the controversial writer who was briefly arrested in the early 1990s.

Wang's wife Woeser is a perfect example. Woeser, one of the few women Tibetan writers who writes in Chinese, lost her job as an editor after publishing a book in which she praised the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The book launch featured three books by Woeser. One of the books, "Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution," includes almost three hundred pictures never before published. The photographs were taken by her father, a Chinese military officer in Tibet during
the cultural revolution.

"Looking at those pictures brought back a lot of memories and made me pretty emotional," said Tsegyam, Representative of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The foundation is the de facto office in Taiwan of the Government of Tibet in Exile, which is led by the Dalai Lama.

"Aside from numerous deaths, the greatest harm the cultural revolution has brought to the Tibetans is its destruction of the spirit and religious beliefs of Tibet," said Tsegyam, who experienced the cultural revolution as a little boy and years later fled from Tibet to India. "The revolution may have ended 30 years ago, but the suffering within the Tibetan culture is not over yet."

"Let's not forget what China's president Hu Jintao did in Tibet. He won the approval of his seniors and became the designated leader of the Chinese Communist Party because of what he did there," said political analyst Yang Hsien-hong, referring to Hu's political crackdown in early 1989 on Tibetan activists when he was Party Committee Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Tibet issue will not be solved before there is a democractic, autonomous and free China, Wang Lixiong said. "If we don't have a democractic and highly autonomous China, how are we supposed to believe China will respect human rights and autonomy in Tibet?"


Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) The success of digital publishing requires respect for copyright by the public, the development of a "killer application" and the cooperation of government, enterprises and academia, publishers said Friday on the sidelines of the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE).

"Obviously, digital publishing is a future trend that every country is working on at the moment, " said Felix Chu, president of Transmission Books & Microinfo Co., Ltd., a company that focuses on digital publications.

"The success of digital publishing ultimately lies in the public's respect for copyright, " Chu said. "With the technology nowadays, you can duplicate and distribute anything in the blink of an eye. Piracy can hurt any business related to digital content."

For digital publishing to be successful, people also have to change the misconception that they can get any information for free, Chu said. "Although well-known portal Web sites such as Google and Yahoo are trying to provide as much free digital content on the Internet as possible, they still have to deal with the copyright issue. Someday you have to pay for information you need, " Chu said.

Asked about the future for hard copy publications, he said: "Paper format will be there forever, as some people still love the feel of holding a book in their hands, " said Yvonne Huang, marketing specialist of ANiceBook Company.

"But we are exploring all the possibilities of digital publishing. If we can cut the cost of digital publishing, which is still pretty high right now, I believe the future will be bright. Paper and digital formats will co-exist harmoniously, " Huang said.

The most common file format used by digital publishing now is the PDF format, while the reading software and devices vary. "When a 'killer app' does come out and a more efficient file format is agreed upon globally, it will take the digital publishing business by storm," Chu predicted.

Taiwan's digital publishing, however, "did not ride on the back of the booming success of Taiwan's information technology, " Chu said. He urged the government to provide more help for small- and medium-sized enterprises in the digital publishing field.

TIBE, an annual book exhibition, is held at the Taipei World Trade Center. It will close Sunday after a six-day run.


Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei denied Thursday an accusation by a regional non-government group and media reports of questionable financial accounting and involvement in a Philippines election scandal.

"We categorically state that our financial accounts are all in order and that we were not involved in any way in any 'election scandal, '" Carlo L. Aquino, head of Assistance of Nationals, MECO-Taiwan, said in a statement.

The statement was in response to a Feb. 2 press release by the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) , which is based in Hong Kong, in which APMM Managing Director Ramon Bultron claimed that MECO transferred 30 million pesos (US$580,832) to the office of the president in August 2003, nine months before the 2004 presidential election. Bultron also accused MECO of failing to take care of Filipino workers in Taiwan.

MECO said in the statement that it funds itself entirely from the fees it collects for its consular services and does not collect any fees from workers, while MECO financial accounts are audited on a regular basis.

"MECO, in collaboration with the Philippine Department of Labor, deploys over 25 personnel in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung to look after our workers, " MECO-Taipei Labor Representative Reynaldo C. Gopez said in the statement.

MECO represents Philippine interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.


Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) Taiwan will meet Pakistan in the 2006 Davis Cup tennis tournament Asia/Oceania Zone Group first round starting Friday, hoping that this year, the home court advantage will help it avenge its loss to Pakistan last year.

Taiwan lost 4-1 to Pakistan last year in the Asia/Oceania second round, while Pakistan advanced to the world group playoffs and was swept by Chile -- it's the best-ever performance.

Led by Wang Yue-tzuoo, who ranks 87th in the latest ATP world rankings, Taiwan will benefit from the hard-court surface most of its players are familiar with instead of the grass courts they had to face last year in Pakistan.

Two singles matches will be played Friday, with Wang Yue-tzuoo taking on Aqeel Khan and Chen Ti meeting Pakistan's best player Aisam Qureshi, who boosted his profile after defeating Paradorn Srichaphan in a first round upset for Thailand last year and currently ranks 429th in the world.

Wang will team up with Yi Chu-huan in the doubles Saturday and meet Quereshi and Khan. On Sunday there will be two reverse singles matches.

The matchup applies the best-of-five format, as the team who wins three points first advances to the second round, where it will meet either South Korea or India.

The Pakistan team arrived in Taipei Wednesday and expressed satisfaction with the court after practice, although they were worried about the temperature, which had dropped to 11 degrees Celsius in Taipei, said Quereshi.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) A love of reading and a strong lesbian awareness are what helped two publishers embark on the long and difficult journey from readers to lesbian literature publishers, they said Wednesday on the sidelines of the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE).

The two publishers -- the head of Must Muster Publisher, known as "Hsiao-yu, " and Chang Mo-lan, head of Northern Light Publishing Co. -- said there will be no regrets, since it's a self-imposed task they have volunteered to shoulder. Both companies specialize in lesbian literature.

As a lesbian and an avid reader, Hsiao-yu's life path was changed six years ago in a matter of minutes.

"I saw a book titled 'Why homosexuality is a sin' in a bookstore and was shocked. Voices of the homosexuals should be heard, I said to myself at the time," she said.

"If a bookstore is a garden, I would like to see a garden with flowers of all colors," Hsiao-yu said, indicating that lesbian literature should be respected and understood.

With a dream, a mere 700,000NT in capital and two staff members to assist her, Hsiao-yu established Must Muster Publisher in 2000, the first publisher in Taiwan specializing only in lesbian literature. Six years later, the company has published around 50 titles and brought together a network of over 50 lesbian writers.

Chang Mo-lan, a writer for Must Muster, then established her own publishing company in 2004, Northern Light, which has published more than 10 titles.

"It's not an easy road for me. I am prepared to be sued at any time since most of our publications are R-rated and have to be sealed, a demand I refuse to accept and practice. And once in a while I get phone calls from people telling me I am endangering society, but I try to hold my ground," said Hsiao-yu, who used to work part-time as a kindergarten teacher to make ends meet.

Working full-time for her company, Chang Mo-lan feels fortunate that her publications are sold in chain bookstores like Eslite and Kingstone with the help of an agency.

"But I have to stop writing and focus on things like administration and marketing instead," she lamented.

One thing is certain: Hsiao-yu and Chang will continue to be friendly competitors. They promote each other through their advertisement, an uncommon practice in the publishing business.

"We work together to cultivate this tiny market and make it grow, not compete with each other," Chang said.

"My biggest wish is that someday I can close down my company, knowing that every major publisher will be publishing lesbian literature," Hsiao-yu said.


Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) Even though Taiwan is widely viewed as the most socially open-minded about lesbian literature in Asia, publishing it is still an uphill battle in Taiwan, independent publishers said Wednesday on the sidelines of the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE).

"I am determined to spend my last penny on publishing lesbian literature, to make Taiwanese people understand it more and respect lesbian culture," said the principle of Must Muster Publisher, known as "Hsiao-yu." "And we are talking about Taiwan -- widely regarded as the leading East Asian country in lesbian literature."

"It's not easy to be an independent publisher in Taiwan focusing on lesbian literature, which is still struggling to gain the recognition and popularity it deserves," said Chang Mo-lan, the principle of Northern Light Publishing Company.

The nature of lesbian literature makes it hard to be profitable for publishers, Hsiao-yu said. "Lebians and gays buy books written by heterosexual writers. But most heterosexuals don't read lesbian and gay literature."

The best-selling title of Must Muster Publisher sold about 6,000 copies, while Northern Light's bestseller sold less than 4,000 copies. The numbers pale in comparison with titles on the best-seller list, which is compiled by chain bookstores.

The government should do more to help the cause of literature and sexual equality, Hsiao-yu said. "Most of our titles are 'R' rated and have to be sealed ... But how do you expect teenagers who are trying to find out about their true sexual orientation to understand themselves with this measure?"

According to the Measure Governing the Rating Systems of Publications and Pre-recorded Video Programs, restricted publications must be sealed and carry a label on the cover reading "R rated: Not available for those 18 or under."

Most people have the misperceptions about homesexuality, which is why Hsiao-yu and Chang Mo-lan, who both came out as lesbians, try to promote lesbian literature.

"People think about sex and violence when they think about homsexuality. And that really is the wrong perception," Hsiao-yu noted.

"Hopefully, the success of 'Brokeback Mountain' will help people understand more about same-sex relationships and pay more attention to homosexual literature," Chang Mo-lan said, citing Taiwanese director Ang Lee's award-winning film based on the true story of two gay cowboys.

"This is a free world, where I think everyone -- including homosexuals -- have the right to voice an opinion, and where all kinds of human relationships should be respected, " Hsiao-yu concluded.


Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) Led by star players Tien Lei and Lin Chih-chieh, the Super Basketball League (SBL) all-star game will feature 24 top Taiwanese basketball players and also include a dunk contest and a three-point shootout Feb. 11, game organizer Nike Taiwan announced Tuesday.

The mid-season festival, in its third year, will give basketball fans across the country some early spring excitement before the postseason playoffs start in April, Nike Taiwan public relations director Jessica Hsu said.

More than 100,000 votes were cast by fans to determine 10 starters of Team Red Knight and Team White Knight, which will meet in the main event all-star game Saturday.

Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh and Dacin Tigers forward Tien Lei, SBL's top two leading scorers, will lead Team White Knight. Ho Sho-cheng of Taiwan Beer, Chou Jun-san of ETSN Antelopes and Lo Hsing-liang of YMY complete the White Team 5-man starting lineup.

Yulon Dinos dominate the Red Team starting lineup with three players: center Tsun Wen-din, forward Chou Shih-yuan and guard Lee Hsueh-lin. Lee Chi-yi and Yang Che-yi, both from Videoland Hunters, fill out the remaining spots.

Fourteen players will participate in a three-point shootout competition, while six players will compete in a slam dunk contest. A friendly game that matches up old-timers and rookies will also be played before the all-star game.

The all-star game will be played at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium.

SBL, Taiwan's top basketball league, consists of seven teams and is in the middle of its third season.


Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) German and French independent publishers suffer minimal impact from globalization and modern chainstores and survive thanks to help from government law and subsidies, independent publishers from Germany and France said Tuesday.

French independent publishers are doing well despite the impact of globalization and the invasion of mega publishers and chainstores, said Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens of POL-Gallimard, a French independent publisher, in a European Forum titled "The Development and Transition of the Publishing Industry in France and Germany" at the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE).

TIBE is taking place from Feb. 7-12 at the Taipei World Trade Center with publishers from 41 countries participating.

A big part of the success is attributed to legal protection by the French government that sets fixed book prices and prohibits publishers from advertising, Otchakovsky-Laurens said.
Publishers who publish poems, drama, literature and translated work are also subsidized by the government.

Rene Strien of German independent publisher Aufbau-Verlag voiced a similar opinion. "We have the special situation of a legally protected, fixed book price. Theoretically, that device should allow any bookstore, small and economically weak as it may be, to compete on equal terms with a megastore, " Strien said.

Government subsidies play a big role in helping independent publishers, Otchakovsky-Laurens said. With the subsidies, smaller publishers can focus more on literature, poetry and translated works, subjects that are not so popular with megapublishers, without sacrificing too much financially, he said.

With 25 member countries, the European Union faces language barriers, said Jean-Guy Boin, Director of Bureau International de l'Edition Francaise (BIEF) . "And that makes translation publishing even more important in cultural exchanges."

Independent publishers make great contributions in the translation category, he said. "Publishers who translate French into foreign languages receive government subsidies, and vice versa."

Publishing practices in France and Germany can be a great example for Taiwan, whose independent publishers have also been weathering the impact of megapublishers, said Linden Lin, publisher of Linking Publishing Company and the moderator of the forum.


Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Australia will feature children's literature -- a proud tradition of the Australian publishing business -- at the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE), a top representative of the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO) said at a press conference Monday.

Known for winning global success in its children's literature, Australia hopes to win a place in the hearts of Taiwanese children and adults alike through the display of its picture books and illustrations at the TIBE, which will be held in the Taipei World Trade Center from Feb. 7-12, ACIO top representative Steve Waters said.

Australia and Vietnam will be the only first-timers among the 41 countries that are participating in the annual event, the largest bookfair in Asia.

Among the 22 participating writers and illustrators are Alison Lester, who has been writing and illustrating children's books for 25 years, and Ron Brooks, a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia's Picture Book of the Year award.

"Australia has a strong educational link to Taiwan," said Waters, adding that a third of overseas Taiwanese students study in Australia. It's part of the reason why Taiwan will be a special market for Australia's publishers, he noted.

Australia is a land of contrast -- bustling cities, cultivated farmland, desert, snowy mountains and beautiful beaches, Waters said. Its children's literature reflects the contrasts and multicultural background of Australia, where illustrators and writers get their inspiration and creativity. And Australia hopes to share all of that with Taiwanese readers.

This will be the second stop for Australian publishers in Asia since they attended the 2005 Expo in Aichi, Japan last year.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) China is unilaterally changing the Taiwan Strait status quo by increasing its military deployment and
intensifying its suppression of Taiwan, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu claimed Thursday.

Commenting on Washington's response to President Chen Shui-bian's Lunar New Year's Day speech in which he appeared to do a U-turn on his election promises of 2000 and 2004, Wu claimed that what Chen said reflects the Taiwan people's deep concern about China.

Chen said Jan. 29 that Taiwan should seriously consider abolishing the National Unification Council and the National
Unification Guidelines, which were established more than a decade years ago when the now-opposition Kuomintang was in power.

The U.S. State Department responded that the Washington is opposed to any unilateral move by either Taiwan or China to change the Taiwan Strait status quo.

It is not Taiwan that is trying to change the cross-strait status quo, Wu claimed. "First of all, China increased its military deployment drastically over the past year. Secondly, China kept blocking Taiwan out of the international arena ever since it passed its anti-secession law."

"Third and finally, China insists on its 'one China' policy and keeps asking countries to change their relationships with Taiwan, "
Wu said, claiming that it is China, not Taiwan, that is unilaterally changing the status quo.

On Chen's remark that Taiwan participate in the United Nations (UN) under the name of "Taiwan, " Wu admitted that U.S. policy has been very consistent in opposing Taiwan's participation in the U.N. under that name.

"But this is unfair to the people of Taiwan, who have the right to participate in the international organization like all people from
democratic countries, " Wu said. "And U.S. President George Bush claimed in his inaugural speech and the State of the Union address a couple days ago that democracy is a 'proud product of the U.S.'"

When you apply this "proud product" to the international field and find that Taiwan is excluded from the U.N., "it is very ironic, "
Wu said.


Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Taiwan, the U.S. and China's definitions of "Taiwan Strait status quo" have never been the same and it has become a wrestling ground for the three countries. Taiwan, as a sovereign state, will firmly stand by its own definition, said Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu Thursday.

"Taiwan is a democratic and sovereign country that has the rights to participate in international organizations, such as the World
Health Organization and the United Nations. The fact of Taiwan being a sovereign country is not negotiable. We have our own opinions and will not compromise on some issues," Wu stressed.

President Chen Shui-bian said on Jan. 29, Lunar New Year's Day, that Taiwan should seriously consider participating in the United Nations under the name of "Taiwan" and abolishing the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines, which were established when the Kuomintang was in power and set unification with China as the ultimate goal for the country.

The U.S. State Department responded by saying that U.S. is opposed to any unilateral move by either Taiwan or China to change the Taiwan Strait status quo.

"Taiwan, U.S. and China's definitions of 'Taiwan Strait status quo' have never been the same, " Wu said. For example, he added, Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign country but the U.S. and China obviously disagree. Taiwan and the U.S. have different definitions of "status quo", a term over which Taiwan and China have disputed for years, he said.

"The U.S.'s definition of status quo has been blurry, " Wu said. He quoted former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs James Kelly's report to the U.S. Congress in April 2004: "The U.S. does not support... unilateral moves that would
change the status quo as we define it."

"But the U.S. never really defines it, " Wu noted. He said the U.S. hopes to keep flexibility for all sides involved in cross-strait
relations with this "blurry" strategy, which sometimes does serve Taiwan's interests well.