Thursday, April 29, 2010

ECFA could marginalize US in East Asia: DPP chair

Taipei, April 29 (CNA) The U.S. presence in East Asia could be compromised as China is expected to emerge as the region's leader if a cross-Taiwan Strait trade pact forces South Korea and Japan to seek closer economic ties with China, Taiwan's main opposition party leader said Thursday.

At a 60-minute press conference, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen addressed dozens of international media members on various political matters, most notably her debate with President Ma Ying-jeou last Sunday on the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).

Ma said the agreement, which he intends to sign before June, would ease cross-strait tension and benefit Taiwan's economy.

Tsai said the pact would pressure regional powers such as South Korea and Japan to actively seek free trade agreements (FTAs) with China and eventually shift the power balance in the region.

"China will be the center of this region and the U.S. will be marginalized," she said.

"We don't have a problem with China leading the region -- if it's a democracy and a market economy, " she added.

Tsai said that her party, which has been widely seen as adopting a "zero-sum" strategy in managing it's cross-strait relations, will pursue a "more stable, consistent and predictable (China) policy." The DPP will use its experience ruling the country from 2000 to 2008 to draw up "10-year policy guidelines" that will improve its ability to manage relations with China as well as the U.S. and Japan, Tsai said.

According to the pro-independence DPP, the guidelines will be unveiled in August and offer flexible strategies for resolving problems facing Taiwan.

In terms of the ECFA, "it's not as urgent as President Ma said and the benefit is not as much as the government claimed," Tsai said.

The ECFA is not necessary to ease cross-strait tensions, Tsai said, adding that cross-strait relations have been relatively stable due to extensive trade activity. The real tensions Taiwan needs to address are domestic economic and social matters, she said.

Tsai said that the World Trade Organization (WTO) would provide enough room, protection and mechanisms for Taiwan to boost its economy and deal with countries all over the world. "There's no need to go beyond the WTO," she said.

While Ma contended that Taiwan will be able to secure FTAs with other countries after signing the ECFA, Tsai added, it will set a bad example and appear that Taiwan needs China's consent before engaging in activities with the international community.

At the same time, trade volume between Taiwan and China is expected to increase after the pact is signed and could cause reduction of trade with other countries, compromising the incentive for them to sign FTAs with Taiwan, she said.

Responding to a question, Tsai said that if the deal is signed and the DPP returns to power in 2012, it could terminate the agreement or adjust its content after receiving public consent through either referendum or legislative discussions.

Tsai said that one of her biggest domestic concerns is the widening wealth gap. Citing a poll, she said that only one-third of Taiwan people stand to benefit from globalization, while two-thirds fail to gain -- or even suffer -- from trade liberalization.

The DPP supports a referendum proposal submitted by a minor opposition party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), that calls for a vote on the ECFA. Tsai said it would give people "an opportunity to make decisions" on major policy issues.

The DPP is still assessing the impact of the referendum on five year-end special municipality elections, she said. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Eight NBA players to meet in dunk competition in southern Taiwan

Taipei, April 29 (CNA) Reigning dunk champion Nate Robinson will head a group of eight National Basketball Association (NBA) players who will take part in a dunk competition in the southern port city of Kaohsiung in late August, organizers said Thursday.

The competition will be the first time an NBA dunk contest will have been held in Taiwan, said Chen Han-chuan, marketing manager of Bros Sports, the sports marketing company that organized the first NBA exhibition game in Taiwan last October.

Robinson, who plays for the Boston Celtics, is the first three-time dunk contest winner in NBA history. He will meet a pair of semi-finalists at this year's NBA dunk competition in Kaohsiung -- Demar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and Shannon Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Other participants include Nick Young of the Washington Wizards, Will Bynum of the Detroit Pistons, Dahntay Jones of the Indiana Pacers, Carl Landry of the Sacramento Kings and Terrence Williams of the New Jersey Nets, Bros Sports announced.

Robinson, who boasts a reported vertical leap of 110-centimeters, won the NBA dunk contest in 2006, 2009 and 2010. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scholars discuss ECFA, arms sales in cross-Strait relations forum

Hong Kong, April 28 (CNA) Scholars from Taiwan and China recognized the positive direction in which bilateral relations are heading but disagreed on U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, at a forum on cross-Taiwan Strait relations in Hong Kong Wednesday.

Highlighting improving relations are negotiations over a proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, hopes to sign in June, according to the speakers.

The agreement would not only represent the normalization of bilateral trade relations but also a needed step before both sides enter a phase of political negotiations, said Chu Shulong, deputy director of the Institute of International Strategic and Development Studies at China's Tsinghua University.

Chu and his Taiwanese counterpart Alexander Huang, a professor in Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, addressed more than 100 media members at the forum, moderated by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt, on the final day of the 2010 International Media Conference, organized by the U.S. Congress-funded East-West Center.

The AIT is the U.S. representative office in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties. Burghardt doubles as director of East-West Seminars in the East-West Center.

Huang described the ECFA as signifying Taiwan's intention to "reconnect with the Asia Pacific region and the ASEAN community, " Huang said.

He also brushed off the concern of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party that it would make Taiwan's economy too dependent on China, saying that "no matter what happened, Taiwan's investment kept flowing to China over the past 20 years." While Chu said Beijing is ready to talk to Taiwan on political issues, including confidence-building measures (CBMs) , after the signing of the ECFA, Huang said the Ma administration is hesitant to do so because of domestic politics.

The subject of U.S. arm sales to Taiwan also popped up at the forum, with Chu saying that Beijing recognized that Taiwan had the right to possess and seek to procure weapons from other contries, but that countries like the U.S. or Japan have no right to sell weapons to Taiwan because Taiwan is a part of China.

Taipei has defended its purchases of weapons because of Beijing's threat to use force against Taiwan, backed by a heavy military build-up that includes more than 1,000 missiles targeted across the Taiwan Strait.

Ma has said that any negotiations on a cross-strait peace pact could not begin until Beijing had removed or dismantled the missiles.

According to Chu, China needs to maintain its military deployment, including the missiles, to prevent against a worst-case scenario.

He said Beijing continues to monitor Taiwan's independence movement, a sentiment it believes still enjoys strong support in Taiwan, and remains prepared for the possibility that the DPP will return to power.

Also, better cross-strait ties have not led to a fall in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Chu noted. The Obama administration still approved the sale of a US$6.5 billion package of weapons to Taiwan in January, a fact that Chu said was difficult for China to accept.

Huang responded that the U.S. is the only country that provides Taiwan the weapons it needs, and Taiwan does not challenge China's military deterrence or posture across the Strait with its weapons procurement and would not attack China.

Burghardt pointed out the paradox of the triangular U.S.-Taiwan-China relationship, which he said the U.S. side "basically wrestles with every day." Any Taiwan government, he said, wants clear U.S. public support before dealing with China, which was why issues like arm sales, extradition, avoidance of double taxation, and visits by Cabinet members have been important to Taiwan.

That helps Taiwan's president show Taiwan's people that he is not ignoring the U.S. as he tries to improve cross-Strait ties, he said.

China, however, constantly objects to U.S. moves that show its support for Taiwan even though the U.S. has warned that cross-Strait relations would possibly grind to a halt if China failed to realize the mindset.

Huang said most Taiwanese people do not oppose better economic relations with China, as almost one-tenth of Taiwan's population live in China to do business. And they want an elected government that is able to manage or nurture better cross-strait relations.

What Taiwanese people need in cross-strait exchanges, Huang said, is a strategic reassurance that there will be no war, and they want to preserve their democratic system so their future generations can enjoy basic freedoms and choose their lifestyles, while also being able to elect their president once every four years. (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Media challenges discussed at international conference

Hong Kong, April 27 (CNA) Media members taking part in an international conference Tuesday discussed possible new models for the media business, which is facing enormous challenges in the Internet age.

Items such as "free vs. subscription, " the fierce competition for readership and advertising dollars and the "rethinking of the media" were discussed by participants in a debate titled "Sustainable Media Models in the Internet Age" on the second day of the 2010 International Media Conference, organized by the U.S. Congress-funded East-West Center.

Joshua Benton, Director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, noted that it is difficult for traditional media to be profitable in an age in which fewer people read print news.

Since 2006, one-third of newsroom jobs in the U.S. have been cut, he said.

While the average time spent on a news website per user averages between 2-8 minutes per month, Benton said, the same stats for the social website Facebook is 7 hours per month.

According to Benton, most news organizations lack technical expertise and their newsrooms tend to insist on sticking with traditions, which hampers much-needed adjustment.

Benton said that a good model for increasing revenues would be to publish newspapers only two or three times per week, charging NT$315 (US$10) per paper. That way, he said, readers would be interested in news content because there would be increasing segregation between printed material and web content.

Thomas Crampton, a former New York Times journalist, said the emergence of social media such as blogs, and services such as Facebook and Twitter, have caused a structural impact, as the barrier of entry has become extremely low, while some advertisers no longer deal with the print media at all.

Charging readers does not sound like a good idea because "a lot of people will be happy with the free alternatives, " he said.

In terms of the negative impact suffered by the emergence of the Internet, the media business is a lot like the music industry, Crampton went on.

He advised the media to pay attention to the three pillars of "print, online and in-person, " which means media companies should provide their news stories online and in print, and should probably organize real-life events to create closer bonds and better communication with readers.

Reginald Chua, editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, said the media suffers because the revenue it receives from advertisements and subscriptions and the costs of news production do not match.

Chua urged the media to think hard about how to generate revenue, how to change its way of telling stories, how the newsroom can help with reporting and how to restructure the newsroom, which according to him has not changed much since the 1950s. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

China's 'most dangerous woman' reenters media world

Hong Kong, April 27 (CNA) Dubbed by Business magazine as "the most dangerous woman in China," prominent Chinese journalist Hu Shuli told the international media Tuesday that she is back in Chinese media circles and hopes, through a new venture, to achieve the goal of independent news reporting in China.

Less than six months Hu left "Caijing, " an influential and profitable business magazine founded by her in China in 1998, she has established "Caixin Media." The new enterprise will be as "outspoken, critical and professional" as before, she told around 300 media workers and international politics experts in a keynote speech at the 2010 International Media Conference organized by the U.S. East-West Center.

"Our future should be in our own hands, " said Hu, 56, who was forced to resign from Caijing last fall amid government anger over the magazine's exposure of a series of scandals in China's stock market and its criticism of the Chinese administration as incompetent.

Her insistence on holding the authorities accountable and on sticking to recognized journalistic standards was supported by almost 200 journalists and employees at Caijing who resigned when she did.

With the establishment of Caixin Media, Hu said, she now envisions a bigger future.

"Political influence and commercial interests should and will be kept out of Caixin Media," she stressed.

The enterprise publishes two Chinese-language magazines, Century Weekly and China Reform, as well as the English-language Caixin Digest.

It also hosts a Web site ( and offers mobile content and electronic magazine subscriptions. It links to online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter for better communication with its readers, according to Hu.

In an era when the media world has changed because of TV, the Internet and mobile devices, Hu said, she is seeking to pursue independent journalism in China via a multimedia platform.

She said that although the traditional media in China, especially newspapers and magazines, is still on the rise, she has decided that her new business should take on the bigger challenge of competing with well-known international media.

"I hope we can find a new business model to catch up with the times before it's too late, " she said.

Asked about her relationship with the Chinese government, Hu described it as "up and down, back and forth." However, she has not given up hope, she said.

She noted that among China's 400 million Internet users, 80 percent of them listed reading news as their favorite online activity as opposed to 20 percent in the Western world.

"All we need to do is grasp the opportunities and never give up," she said. "I don't worry much about difficulties. I always prefer to look for opportunities." Responded to reporters' questions on tight governmental control of the Chinese media, Hu said she doesn't think the media in China is still an instrument of the state.

The Chinese media is now more diversified, especially in the Internet-dominated news market, she said.

"You cannot say there is only one voice (in China), " she added.

Hu's choice of career was in the footsteps of her mother who was a senior editor at Workers' Daily in China. Her father worked in a trade union.

She was awarded the 2003 International Editor of the Year by the World Press Review, and the 2007 Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. In May 2008, the U.S. magazine Foreign Policy named her as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world. (By Chris Wang) enditem /pc

Monday, April 26, 2010

US urges China take steps to encourage Taiwan engaging in dialogues

Hong Kong, April 26 (CNA) The United States would like to see China to take steps to make Taiwan comfortable in engaging in cross-Taiwan Strait dialogues, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell told the media Monday.

"We would very much like to see China to take steps and to encourage Taiwan and to make them feel comfortable (in cross-Strait dialogues) ... We believe that overall process of this dialogue is important, " Campbell responded to a reporter's question in a keynote speech, titled "American Engagement and Asia", in the 2010 International Media Conference.

Campbell acknowledged that there has been a security dimension in the cross-Strait relations and said that the U.S. have urged restraint on both sides.

Reviewing recent U.S.-Taiwan relations, the veteran diplomat said that one of the biggest source of concerns in the past several years was "unintended development" and "accidents, " but there has been an increase of confidence since then.

Campbell reiterated that the U.S. maintains a unofficial relationship with Taiwan, which has been maintained by succession of administrations, and the commitment is legally binding by the Taiwan Relations Act.

"We have confidence in our broad relationship and encourage dialogues between two sides. " he said.

Asked on what role the U.S. will play under the circumstances of the warming cross-Strait ties, Campbell did not give a direct answer but said that "I see no concerns (from the U.S.) of a warming relationship between Taiwan and China." In terms of China, Campbell affirmed in the one-hour speech that the U.S. maintains a stable and constructive relationship with China.

However, he said that current U.S.-Sino relations are no longer a "monotone" and "something like black and white" during the Cold War era. The relations are now multi-layer and more diverse and complicated, containing a wide range of factors from currency to trade, and from Iran to North Korea, all of which make the relations "extraordinary complex".

The bilateral relations suffered certain degree of a setback during U.S. President Barack Obama's second year in office during which China was not happy with Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama and the U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, he recognized.

But at the same time, the U.S. will keep up its cooperation with China on many issues. For example, China could play a role on Korean Peninsula, he said.

Campbell said that the U.S. presence in the Asia Pacific region is still strong and maintains good relationship with its traditional allies as well as several emerging countries, despite a widespread perception of a gradual U.S. power decline in the region over the years.

The U.S. will meet the challenge by increasing high-ranking official visits to the region and interactive with the Asian Pacific countries regularly, he said.

Almost 300 international politics experts and media members attended the three-day "2010 International Media Conference" from April 26-28, which was organized by the East-West Center, established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to promote better understandings of nations of the U.S., Asia and the Pacific, and Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong. (By Chris Wang) enditem

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Media an unseen casualty of game-fixing culture in local baseball

Hundreds of thousands of baseball fans, dozens of honest players, and the game's image have been seen as the main casualties of persistent game-fixing in Taiwan's professional baseball league over the past 15 years.

But they aren't the only ones. Local sportswriters have also been tormented by the continuing scandal, which has led them to question their love for the national pastime, the value of their work and careers in the media, and even their trust and belief in others.

"It is very difficult to accept the fact that those games you covered were fixed, and those stories you wrote were kind of a joke," says Lan Tsung-piao, a sportswriter who has been covering baseball since 1991, a year after the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) , Taiwan's only professional baseball organization, was established.

The game-fixing scandal last year was the sixth in a wave of scandals that has undermined pro baseball in Taiwan since 1996. Similar incidents followed in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. More than 100 Taiwanese and foreign players and coaches have been implicated in those scandals for allegedly taking bribes from local bookies to throw games.

Even big name players, such as former U.S. major leaguer Tsao Chin-hui, the first Taiwanese pitcher to make it to the big leagues, have not been spared, though Tsao was not indicted by prosecutors.

The scandals have generally sent attendance plummeting, with the league never regaining its popularity of the mid-1990s, when it drew more than 5,000 fans per game. The average has lingered between 1,000 and 2,000 in recent years.

According to Lan, media coverage has also been drastically cut back, and reporters are no longer assigned to cover games outside of Taipei.

Former baseball writer Kerry Wu, who decided to quit covering the game he loves in 2000 and now works as a securities analyst, says there were about 30-40 reporters at each game when the league was at its peak in the 1990s.

But as Lan says: "Now you're lucky if you can find more than four (reporters) in the press room." The experienced baseball writer said he did not sense anything wrong until the scandal broke out in 1997, when he was shocked to learn that some players who were his close friends had been lying to him over the years.

"I still love baseball. I really do, but I'm having trouble figuring out who -- including players and coaches -- to believe, " he says.

Lan still vividly remembers the good times, making the repeated debacles even more difficult to fathom.

He recalls seeing a family of four, days before the 1996 scandal broke out, happily talking about the game in the parking lot of a ballpark with the father explaining baseball rules to his children.

"It was such a lovely and inspiring scene. And that's why I never imagined how deeply those players and scandals would hurt the feelings of these passionate and supporting fans in every corner of the country, " he says.

Wu also suffered through the duplicity, remembering a player who one morning blasted the ethical standards and integrity of those who had been arrested, only to be arrested himself in the afternoon.

Some sportswriters were suspicious of the integrity of the game from the beginning and published their observations, Lan says, but it was very difficult to tell who was throwing games and who was not.

"We could not pretend it was not happening. We had to depend on our instincts but we had no evidence. Some writers, me included, received letters from law firms threatening legal action. Some were even sued, " he laments.

The scandals and declining interest in the game was difficult for these writers to take, Lan's wife told the Central News Agency.

"You're talking about a group of guys who covered the game, went home to watch the replay, and played nothing but baseball video games together when they were on road trips, " she says. "Most of them are baseball junkies who are hopelessly passionate about the game to apathetic degree."

A baseball writer who helped a guilty player write his autobiography before he was implicated in game-fixing allegations, said she "felt cheated after the scandal broke out." Wu says he turned his attention to the U.S. Major League baseball after quitting his job as a reporter and has not been following the domestic league lately. Others have decided to cover amateur competition.

Lan, who still covers baseball to this day, says he thinks the league should suspend operations for one or two years, change its name, and start fresh because the fans have endured too many scandals.

"Otherwise, every error, strikeout and fireworks in the outfield (a signal from bookies) will always be suspicious." Kevin Hsiao, a younger reporter who has been covering the game for only a few years, feels differently.

"For younger reporters like me, we grew up with this league. It's hard to imagine that this league would vanish for even one day, " he says, and Lan acknowledges that Hsiao will probably get his way.

"The show will go on. All we can do is cover the game as well and as responsibly as we can. Hopefully there will be no more scandals. Just don't bet on it." By Chris Wang CNA Staff Reporter enditem/ls

Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Chinese Taipei': Ex-Olympic head's controversial legacy

The name "Chinese Taipei, " which allows Taiwan entry in many international events, is one of the most controversial achievements of late International Olympics Committee (IOC) head Juan Antonio Samaranch, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.

The former Spanish diplomat, who died of cardio-respiratory failure in Barcelona, Spain, was instrumental in devising the "Chinese Taipei" formula in 1981 that allowed Taiwan to participate in the Games, after the IOC decided in 1979 that China's Beijing Olympic Committee would become the "Chinese Olympic Committee."

"The clever technical arrangement by Samaranch made possible the co-existence of Taiwan and China in sporting competitions and set up Taiwan's return to the Olympics, " said Wu Ching-kuo, the only IOC member from Taiwan and chairman of the International Boxing Association, in a statement Thursday.

Taiwan first competed as Chinese Taipei under the Chinese Taipei Olympics Committee flag in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Since then it has participated in almost all international sporting events and some international organizations under the name.

Huang Chih-hsiung, a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) legislator and silver medalist in taekwondo at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has said that Taiwan should keep politics out of sports.

But it's not always easy.

As China squeezes Taiwan's international maneuvering room, organizations increasingly refer to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei, " including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, among others.

Taiwan has also been called "Chinese Taipei" at Lions Club International events, the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants, the World Baseball Classic and the Little League World Series.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chai Trong-rong contends that the name "Chinese Taipei" sends an inaccurate message to the international community.

The name, he argues, suggests that Taiwan is happy and willing to accept the arrangement, which he compares to the status of "Hong Kong, China." Samaranch's legacy has caused another problem: translating "Chinese Taipei" into Chinese. While China translated it as "Zhongguo Taipei," suggesting that Taiwan is a part of China, Taiwan translated it as "Zhonghua Taipei, " where the translation for "Chinese" refers to a cultural entity rather than a state.

Chinese President Hu Jintao first publicly referred to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei" when he met then-KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung in May 2009. The unprecedented move signified important political implications in cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Beijing-based researcher Xiao Yongguo wrote in an analysis for China Review News agency.

Hu's remark implied the possibility of mutual non-denial between China and Taiwan and underlined a chance for Taiwan to participate in the international community under the name Chinese Taipei while handling domestic affairs under the ROC Constitution, he said.

Thus, the name "Chinese Taipei" has created a path for Taiwan and China to co-exist in the political arena, Xiao concluded.

IOC member Wu, who described his relationship with Samaranch as "like that of father and son, " said in the statement that the former diplomat left behind a lasting legacy as a mediator between China and Taiwan as well as between South Korea and North Korea.

But Samaranch was not seen by all as a friend of Taiwan, especially in 1995 when the southern city of Kaohsiung lost its bid to host the 2002 Asian Games to its bitter rival -- South Korean port city Busan.

At the time, local media reported that Samaranch interfered with the selection process -- which was changed from a secret ballot vote to a show of hands -- that led some Kaohsiung supporters to withdraw their backing in the final vote. By Chris Wang, CNA Staff Reporter enditem/bc

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scholars debate ECFA's pros and cons

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Scholars debated the possible benefits and disadvantages of a proposed cross-Taiwan Strait trade agreement at a seminar Friday in a possible preview of Sunday's showdown on the issue between President Ma Ying-jeou and the head of the main opposition party.

The seminar gathered university professors and researchers who both support and oppose the signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China, which Ma said he hopes to sign in June to prevent Taiwan from being economically marginalized in the region.

The 150-minute debate appeared to be a warm-up before Ma and opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen meet in a much-anticipated nationally televised debate on the ECFA.

If Taiwan does not take advantage of the China market, the world's biggest market, it will be hard to make up for the "lost decade, " said Daniel Liu, a senior researcher at the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER).

He was referring to the period between 2000-2010 during which Taiwan failed to participate in Asian economic integration, especially in East Asia.

Liu, who supports the trade pact, addressed at length objections raised by the opposition to the deal, such as the possible influx of cheap Chinese labor, its negative impact on agriculture and the pact's potential triggering of lower wages in Taiwan based on factor-price equalization theory.

The ECFA will be able to improve stability across the strait and be the starting point of the institutionalization of cross-strait relations, he said, arguing that the agreement "may not be the only way, but it will be an effective way to improve Taiwan's economy." Wang To-far, a professor of economics at National Taipei University who opposes the ECFA, described it as China's first step toward enticing Taiwan to move toward an eventual "one-China market" and economic integration before reaching its ultimate goal of political integration.

Wang argued that the government had exaggerated the benefits of the deal without mentioning its possible adverse impact on employment and specific sectors, and voiced concerns that the excessive reliance of Taiwan's investment and exports on China's market would compromise the country's "economic sovereignty" in the future.

Lin Chu-chia, a professor of economics at National Chengchi University, was more concerned, however, about the political tone of the arguments on the issue.

"It seems to me that most people who support the agreement support it for economic reasons, and people who are against the pact oppose it for political reasons, " he said.

"As an economist, I think we have to be rational and we have a responsibility to tell the people what they're facing, " Lin said. "Unfortunately, the discussion of this important agreement hasn't been rational in Taiwan." (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

French Institute in Taipei unveils new Web site version

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) The French Institute in Taipei unveiled the new version of its official Web site in a ceremony Friday, hoping the new-and-improved portal will serve as a better channel of communication for its French and Taiwanese users.

Patrick Bonneville, director of the French representative office, introduced the new Web layout of, which showcases the streamlined content and Web design in Chinese and French versions.

"We hope that the new Web site will serve the needs of all users, including French nationals living in Taiwan or Taiwan nationals, " Bonneville said.

The new design allows users to find anything they are looking for on the Web site within three clicks, The content, divided into five major categories, is focused on bilateral exchanges between France and Taiwan and "the French perspective on global affairs, " said Patrick Mansier, chief officer of the Analysis and Information Services.

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) service has been added to keep users posted about the latest news related the office and French-related news, Mansier said, adding that the Web site hopes to be more user-friendly by adding various services.

Alliance Francaise Taiwan, devoted to promoting French language and culture outside France, also announced the launch of its official Web site ( at the ceremony. (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

Bottle from Taiwan found on U.S. beach after 8 years at sea

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) A bottle thrown into the sea by a Dutch couple in Taiwan has traveled across the Pacific Ocean to be found on the coast of the United States eight years later, a Seattle TV station reported Friday.

According to the report, local resident Catherine Shaw found the bottle, which contained a message from the couple, on a beach near Ocean Shores, a city in Washington State, a few weeks ago.

"We opened it and it was from 2002 and was thrown in the ocean in Taiwan... A couple from Holland were on a cruise ship. He was an officer on a cruise ship and they had gone to Hong Kong. They thought it would be fun to throw a couple of bottles into the ocean, " Shaw was quoted as saying.

"Every time we sail together we throw a few bottles into the sea and hope someone will find it and write to us, " the couple said in the letter, which had been laminated so that it would survive longer in the ocean.

Shaw emailed them and found out that they are Niels and Marije Dekker, who have married and now have an 11-month-old son. She said she plans to keep corresponding with the couple and hopes to meet them in the future. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ex-U.S. minor leaguer Keng sidelined for unusual injury

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) The La New Bears placed relief pitcher Keng Po-hsuan on the injured list after he burned his crotch in an accident at home, the team said in a press release Thursday.

Keng, who played Major League Baseball for a Toronto Blue Jays farm team from 2005 to 2008, suffered injury to his private parts "from boiling water, " the team said without elaborating. He is expected to return in one to two weeks.

The right-handed reliever, who returned to Taiwan and was selected by La New in a Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) special draft in 2009, appeared in seven games this season and registered one win and two saves with a 1.00 earned run average (ERA).

Keng was not the first La New player to suffer such an injury. On Oct. 19, 2007, one day before La New opened the best-of-seven Taiwan Series against the Uni-President Lions, American pitcher Andrew Lorraine had a similar experience.

Lorraine was watching a scouting DVD with a cup of coffee in his hands when he was bumped by a teammate and spilled the scalding hot beverage on his lap.

The former major leaguer, who was later released in 2008, still managed to play in Game 2 as a reliever and started Game 4. La New eventually lost 4-3 in the series. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Taiwan-educated student awarded Fulbright Ph.D scholarship

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) A Taiwan-educated student has been awarded a U.S. State Department-funded international Fulbright science and technology Ph.D scholarship and will enroll in Stanford University this fall to study nanotechnology.

Hsu Po-chun, 25, is the third Taiwan student to have won the scholarship, a flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government that is granted to 45 international students every year in the science and technology category.

This scholarship is regarded as special because Hsu, who graduated from National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in 2007, was educated only in Taiwan and is one of the few Taiwanese students to study for a Ph.D after earning only a bachelor's degree, said Chen Tung-jung, executive officer of The Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) , one of some 50 bilateral organizations in the world established specifically to administer the program outside the U.S.

Hsu told CNA he was surprised to find out that he had been granted the three-year, US$240,000 scholarship last October because he had failed his first bid in 2009.

Hsu plans to focus on nanotechnology and would like to apply the results of his research to the development of solar energy, especially solar cells. He expressed hope that he will be able to use what he learns in the U.S. to help Taiwan's scientific development.

Hsu, a researcher at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institute, does not fit the traditional perception of a "good student" in Taiwan as he does not want to be a "nerd" who does nothing but study and conduct scientific experiments.

As well as taking classes in psychology and journalism, he was also vice president of the Student Association, chief executive of the organizing committee of the locally renowned intercollegiate athletic games between NTHU and National Chiao Tung University and volunteered to work in the emergency room at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Hsinchu City.

Just as he has taken the road less traveled in his research, Hsu's favorite sport -- soccer -- is not popular in Taiwan.

"I appreciate my parents for always respecting me and letting me make decisions for myself. They let me find the uniqueness of myself, rather than just following the herd," he said.

Hsu, who describes himself as a hard worker rather than a genius, said he has only been to the U.S. once, when he was a small child, but added that the experience of being an exchange student at China's Tsing Hua University in 2006 helped broaden his perspective.

Most university students in China work very hard because of fierce peer competition and a strong desire to succeed, he observed. Taiwan's college students, on the other hand, tend to be more animated and creative, to be good at integrating cross-disciplinary knowledge and are better at teamwork, according to Hsu.

"We should leverage these characteristics to gain advantages in cross-Taiwan Strait competition, " he said.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Approximately 294,000 "Fulbrighters " -- 111,000 from the U.S. and 183,000 from other countries -- have participated in the program since its inception. The program awards around 7,500 new grants annually and presently operates in over 155 countries.

Over the past 50 years, Fulbright Taiwan has financed over 1,400 Taiwan Fulbright grantees to the U.S. and more than 1,000 U.S. Fulbright grantees coming to Taiwan. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taiwan boys advance to second round of Junior Davis Cup

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) The Taiwan boys' team lost to India 2-1 in the 2010 Junior Davis Cup tennis tournament Wednesday in Kuching, Malaysia, but still managed to advance to the second round.

Taiwan finished the round with a 2-1 record and advanced with Group 4 leader India to the final eight of the 16-team Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying tournament. Taiwan beat both the Philippines and Pakistan 3-0 in previous competition.

Taiwan's Lee Li-lun and Ho Chih-jen lost in singles Wednesday before winning the doubles match.

According to the Chinese Taipei Tennis Association, Japan has won Group 1 while junior tennis powerhouse Australia is expected to win Group 2. China and South Korea are battling to lead Group 3.

Eight teams in the second round will vie for the three seats for the Asia/Oceania zone in the world finals.

Around 90 nations and 170 teams compete in regional qualifying events around the world every year to reach the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals, to be played from Sept. 28-Oct. 3 this year in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MOFA maintains efforts to assist Taiwanese stranded in Europe

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that it is still trying to offer help to Taiwanese travelers stranded in Europe five days after air traffic over Europe came to a standstill.

Giant clouds of ash spewing from an erupting volcano in Iceland has drifted over large swathes of Europe, rendering flying hazardous.

European Union transport ministers have held an extraordinary meeting via video conference and have agreed on a "progressive and coordinated" reopening of European airspace with full guarantees of safety.

According to a MOFA press release, staff of its 26 representative offices based in European countries have been assisting stranded Taiwanese round the clock over the last five days and have offered help to more than 900 people.

Those who run out of money in Europe as a result of the chaos will be granted an emergency loan of US$500, the press release said, adding that the MOFA is also coordinating an emergency evacuation plan that will arrange flights to transport elderly citizens, children and those in need of medical services back to Taiwan once flights resume.

According to the EU website, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) has divided the airspace into three zones based on the volcanic ash content.

Eurocontrol explained that the first of these zones is the region beneath the volcanic plume, where there is still a strict no-fly zone, such as London and Amsterdam. The second zone, which includes Vienna, covers an area where ash might be present but in which operations will be coordinated by the authorities of member states. The third zone is the area unaffected by the ash and in which there are no flight restrictions, such as Rome.

Eurocontrol was expecting 40 percent to 45 percent of flights in European airspace to resume Wednesday compared to 30 percent Tuesday. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

AIT announces Taiwan finalists for 2010 democracy video challenge

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Three short films were chosen as Taiwan's finalists for the 2010 Democracy Video Challenge, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced at an awards ceremony Tuesday.

The Democracy Video Challenge, a worldwide U.S. Department of State competition, asks filmmakers, democracy advocates, and the general public to create three-minute videos that complete the phrase, "Democracy is..." "We thank these young filmmakers for taking part in the Democracy Video Challenge, and for sharing their talents and perspectives with us, " said William Stanton, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei office.

"Democracy is but one of many key fundamental values shared by the United States and Taiwan, and I am pleased by the level of dialogue on this issue that the Challenge attracted," he added.

Stanton and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy President Huang Teh-Fu presented certificates and awarded prizes of NT$10,000 each to Ho Sen-yi, Lin Yu-sheng and Lai Yu-yao for their films.

According to the AIT, the competition received 17 submissions this year in Taiwan. One of the Taiwan finalists was chosen through voting by AIT's Facebook fans, while the other two were chosen by a panel.

A total of 470 entries from 88 countries were received by the American government this year.

The three films from Taiwan are now being evaluated by a panel of judges in the U.S., the AIT said, and are eligible to be chosen as among the finalists for the East Asia and Pacific region.

The winning videos will be selected by global online voting between May 15 to June 15. The video platform will be provided by YouTube.

The Challenge will honor seven winning videos worldwide, with one winner each from Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Near East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere, and one anonymous video winner. (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

AIT reaffirms safety of U.S. beef imports

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) The safety of U.S. beef, especially new items that were added to the import list this month, is guaranteed, the top U.S. official in Taiwan said Tuesday as he tried to diffuse a new controversy over U.S. beef that he contended was created by local politicians.

"What's now being talked about being imported were not part of the 13 items that were excluded specifically by the amendment that was passed by the Legislature Yuan, " said William Stanton, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office.

The controversy arose after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced last Friday that exports of beef products to Taiwan will include bone-in meat, hanging tenders, tongues, penises, testicles, tails, tendons and diaphragms from cattle younger than 30 months and slaughtered on or after April 1, which are seen as having a lower risk of carrying mad cow disease.

Local politicians and the Consumers' Foundation chairman criticized Taiwan's government Monday for not classifying beef diaphragms as a high-risk internal organ and said the decision to allow the imports of the beef part was "unbelievable."

They argued that the new announcement runs counter to a measure passed by the Legislative Yuan in January that banned the import of U.S. ground beef and internal organs and insisted that beef tongue and testicles should also be listed as "internal organs."

Stanton said that in English, all of the items are referred to as offal, while a distinction exists in Chinese between "offal" and "internal organ." Beef tongue, he said, "meets the definition as defined by Taiwan law, by its amendment, and by our agreement, so there really shouldn't be any problem." "It's unfortunate that I think that some people for political reasons are making this into an issue again, and it should not be, " he added.

Stanton said that he himself eats beef tongue, the most talked about item in the controversy, and noted that beef tongue has never being excluded by anyone nor was it excluded by the U.S.-Taiwan agreement.

Taiwan's inspection process is a matter for Taiwan to decide, he said, so long as it is not inconsistent with its agreement with the U.S. Meanwhile, the U.S. is confident that all its beef is safe and passed inspection in the U.S., he said.

Shen Lyushun, Taiwan's deputy minister of foreign affairs, told legislators Monday that the new measure was "a unilateral action implemented by the U.S." In response, Stanton said he "didn't think the particular statement accurately reflected the foreign ministry's point of view." (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

Monday, April 19, 2010

Libya eyes investment from Taiwan SMEs

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Libya is hoping for direct investment from Taiwan's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the North African country seeks to become the region's technology hub, visiting Libyan officials said at a seminar Monday.

Officials from the Libyan Economic Development Board (EDB) briefed dozens of Taiwanese businessmen on potential trade and investment opportunities in Libya, which has maintained warm relations with Taiwan in recent years despite the lack of official bilateral diplomatic ties.

EDB Director-General Mahmoud Gebril said the Libyan government launched a series of ambitious programs in 2007, many of which were designed by the EDB, to develop the country's modern infrastructure and "soft power," including education and technology.

Taiwan's SMEs, especially in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, are welcome to invest in Libya and will play an important role in its national development if they do, Gebril said.

Mike Hung, chairman of the Taiwan-Africa Industry Development Association, said trade with Libya is more viable now that the United Nations (U.N.) has lifted its trade sanctions and bans on aircraft movements, oil exports and arm sales that were originally imposed over Libya's suspected terror links.

But he noted that Taiwanese businesses never stopped doing business with Tripoli during the time sanctions were in force because Libyan businessmen enjoyed good reputations.

Gebril, who insisted that the trip was private because of the sensitivity of Taiwan-China-Libya relations, encouraged Taiwan's SMEs to take advantage of the country's strategic geographic location, connecting the European Union (EU) , Africa and the Arab world and serving as a gateway to the African market.

He added that Tripoli would provide foreign investors with a wide range of incentives, such as tax exemptions in a special economic zone, to create a win-win situation for both parties.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is also hoping to strengthen its exchanges with Libya. Bilateral trade volume between the two countries grew by 2.7 percent last year, one of Taiwan's few trade relationships to show positive growth during the global economic slump, said Chang Shih-chang, Europe and Africa Section manager of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), Taiwan's trade promotion agency.

In May 2006, then-Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian made a surprise visit to Tripoli, where he was greeted by Libyan leader Muammar Al-Gaddafi. Saif Gaddafi, son of the leader, reportedly visited Taiwan prior to Chen's meeting with his father, who has ruled the country since 1969. The visit was dubbed as a "diplomatic breakthrough" by the Chen administration.

In addition to the ICT sector, Taiwan SMEs which specialize in the water purification, solar energy, machinery, infrastructure, hotel, and petrochemical sectors are also encouraged to invest, Hung said.

He also suggested that Taiwan's yacht manufacturers could take advantage of Libya's 1,770-kilometer coastline.

Libya has been keen to diversify its economy away from its traditionally heavy reliance on oil exports, Hung said, which is why Libya has announced plans to privatize more than 100 state-owned companies and encourage more foreign direct investment (FDI).

There are dozens of Taiwanese businessmen in Libya at present, Hung said. Taiwan's state-owned petrochemical giant CPC Corp. has just launched an oil exploration project this month after winning tenders on oil exploration rights in southern Libya, he said.

(By Chris Wang) enditem/ls

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taiwan players dream of hitting the hardwood in China

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Despite limited success, most Taiwanese basketball players who opted to play in China said they didn't regret the decision, which may have alienated them from local basketball but is symbolic and meaningful for their careers.

An all-time high of five players left their teams in the local professional Super Basketball League (SBL) last year to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) . They said the CBA, a growing league of 17 teams, offers higher salaries and better competition.

Local players wouldn't have left if the basketball environment was better in Taiwan, said Lin Chih-chieh, formerly one of the most popular players in Taiwan and a national team regular who spent last season with the China's Zhejiang Lions.

Despite its spot as the second most popular sport after baseball, professional basketball in Taiwan is still said to lack the planning, organization and vision necessary for the game to develop.

In its seventh year, the average attendance at SBL games is under 1,000. Lacking sponsors and advertisers, the majority of team revenues comes from television broadcast fees. The league didn't allow foreign players until its fifth year and at one point considered a monthly salary maximum of NT$120,000 (US$3,826) per player so that teams could keep their budgets down.

Discontented with the current status and unknown future of the league, players started to look for a way out.

Playing in China was an easy and natural answer because of the common language and culture, as well as the fact the Chinese league blossomed in recent years as the country's economic power rose, Lin said. The CBA is now capable of hiring active National Basketball Association (NBA) players, such as former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury.

And there are other Taiwanese players in China. Chen Hsin-an played for the Dongguan Leopards in Guangdong province and Yen Hsin-shu played for the Shanghai Sharks last season, and Hsu Hao-cheng and Lin Kwan-lun both joined Shanxi Zhongyu this year.

It was not the first time domestic basketball lost talent to China. Cheng Chih-lung was the first Taiwanese player in the CBA when he signed with the Shanghai Sharks in 1999, joining current Houston Rockets center Yao Ming in 1999. The Sina Lions became the first Taiwanese team to play in the Chinese league in 2002-2003.

While thousands of American players earn a living by playing overseas, it's unusual for foreign teams to show interest in Taiwanese players. Playing overseas is seen as proof of a local player's skill and talent.

Lin was reportedly paid US$15,000 monthly plus incentives -- about four times what he made in Taiwan. Chen Hsin-an signed a two-year contract for an annual salary of US$340,000, and even second-string player Lin Kuan-lun was signed for US$8,000 a month.

However, part of the Taiwanese players' "China Dream" was not what they had imagined. Although Lin played an important role in Zhejiang, cracking the starting lineup and averaging 11.7 points and four rebounds per game, as well as leading the team to the semifinal, none of the other four played more than 10 minutes per game.

It's disappointing to get big paychecks but sit on the bench, media quoted Chen as saying.

For Lin, he said the training and playing style in Taiwan and China are very different and that he had learned a lot. Most of all, he said, the facilities and treatment of players are much better in China. Every team hires a weightlifting coach, he said.

"You have to do everything yourself in Taiwan, " he said, adding that he will play in China again next season and encouraging aspiring Taiwanese players to do the same.

Lin said that players have to learn to take care of themselves because their careers are short and the local league is not going anywhere.

One staff member from a local team agreed that when it came to money, Taiwan just couldn't compete.

"Of course we would like to keep our players on the team, but the salary the Chinese league is offering is just crazy and we couldn't possibly match that, " said a team representative who declined to be identified.

"I really don't think these players help their careers or skills with such miserable playing time in the games, but they sure make a lot more money," he said. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Friday, April 16, 2010

Process for U.K. passport applications to change: BTCO

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) From May 17, United Kingdom passport applications for British nationals will no longer be handled by the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) and will need to be sent directly by the applicant to a regional passport processing center in Hong Kong, the UK's representative office in Taiwan announced Friday in a press release.

The office will no longer accept passport applications from British nationals, said the BTCO, Britain's official authority in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Previously, the BTCO acted as a middleman for British passport applications in Taipei, accepting the applications, sending them to the issuing authorities in Hong Kong, and then issuing the passport to the applicant.

According to the BTCO, the changes are part of a global initiative to streamline the issuance of passports overseas.

The Passport Processing Center in Hong Kong, which will produce and return passports directly to applicants in Taiwan, aims to issue all new passports within 10 working days, the office said.

If British nationals need to travel urgently, however, the BTCO will still be able to issue emergency travel documents. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Taiwan, Canada ink working holiday MOU

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Canada has become the fourth country to sign a working holiday agreement with Taiwan, allowing young people to travel and work in each other's country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced at a press conference Friday.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on youth mobility, which aims to simplify the administrative process for young people aged 18-35 from Canada and Taiwan who wish to travel and work in each other's territory for up to one year, was signed in the Canadian capital of Ottawa earlier in the day by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada (TECO) early Friday, said MOFA spokesman Henry Chen.

CTOT represents Canadian interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties, while TECO functions as Taiwan's representative office in Ottawa.

"Through this arrangement, Canadian and Taiwanese youth can gain a unique travel, work and life experience abroad, enriching their understanding of each other's culture, " said CTOT Executive Director Scott Fraser in a press release. "Such exchanges will also further strengthen the longstanding people-to-people ties between Canada and Taiwan," he added.

Taiwan signed similar agreements with Australia and New Zealand in 2004 and with Japan in 2009. It is the fourth country in the Asia-Pacific region to have made such arrangements with Canada, following Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, according to Chen.

He said the MOU is expected to come into effect July 1. Each side will offer a quota of 200 of multiple entry visas in the first year of the program, increasing the number over the next few years depending on the popularity of the program.

The program is expected to boost bilateral tourism. According to statistics provided by Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, the number of Taiwanese nationals traveling to Canada plummeted from 112,413 in 2004 to 61,893 in 2009.

The existing working holiday programs are going smoothly, Chen went on, with more than 12,000 applicants -- 600 for New Zealand, 2,000 to Japan and more than 10,000 to Australia -- last year.

Meanwhile, Winston Chen, deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of North American Affairs, said the ministry has been working hard toward Canada's granting of visa-free privileges for Taiwanese nationals and will continue to do so.

In terms of Taiwan's potential filing of a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Canada over its refusal to allow generalized preferential tariffs on Taiwan-made textile products, he said this will not have a negative impact on the visa negotiations.

"Bilateral relations between Taiwan and Canada are on the right track and are too good to be damaged by a trade dispute, " he said, adding that Taiwan will still do its best to protect its own interests once the case is in the WTO. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Former NBA player Horry predicts Cavs-Lakers finals

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Robert Horry, an ESPN commentator and retired basketball player who is visiting Taiwan, predicted Thursday that the 2010 NBA Finals will be a matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Horry, who earned the nickname "Big Shot Rob" for his clutch three-point shooting in playoffs during his 16-year career, also told the media that he would pick Oklahoma City Thunder young star Kevin Durant as the next great big shot maker.

The 208-centimeter forward, who retired in 2008, is one of only two players to have won NBA championships with three different teams -- two with the Houston Rockets, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and two with the San Antonio Spurs.

Horry was invited to Taiwan to endorse the official launch of the NBA's traditional Chinese character Web site.

The Web site, a collaborative effort by the local sports Web site Pixnet and the NBA, will be operated by Pixnet starting this month and will present live Internet streaming of games during the 2010 NBA playoff season from April to June.

Doug Creighton, who played for Bank of Taiwan in Taiwan's Super Basketball League (SBL) , said it will be a great way for Taiwanese basketball fans to learn more about NBA players.

Currently, Taiwan cable television channels broadcast three or four NBA games per week, featuring the more popular teams such as the Lakers, Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.

The Hong Kong-based media company TOM Group Limited signed a four-year deal with the NBA in 2008 for the rights to operate the NBA Web site in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

However, Taiwanese fans complained that the company merely converted simplified Chinese text, used in China, into traditional Chinese characters for Taiwanese audiences, in disregard of the differences in Taiwan and China regarding basketball terms and the transliteration of player names.

The NBA playoffs begin Saturday with 16 teams competing in the best-of-seven first round. The best-of-seven finals will be played in June.

Asked about the most memorable big shot of his career, Horry said it would have to be a three-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Lakers a 100–99 win over the Sacramento Kings in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The shot tied the series at 2-2 and the Lakers went on to defeat the Kings in the seven-game series to take their third straight championship.

The 39-year-old veteran, who is on his first visit to Taiwan, told the media that he was very impressed by the local people's knowledge of basketball and with the Taipei 101 tower, which he said is "like a Transformer every time I look at it." Prompted by reporters, Horry picked his "best starting lineup of today's NBA, " which included himself, Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki and Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal.

Horry jokingly said that as both Bryant and Nowitzki like to shoot, he would select the veteran O'Neal as center so "I could get some shots." (By Chris Wang) enditem /pc

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Campaign, TV program to promote ocean preservation

Taipei, April 14 (CNA) A public campaign endorsed by Taiwan government officials will be launched with the screening of a television program to raise awareness of ocean preservation, organizers said Wednesday.

The "Happy Ocean Campaign" aims to draw public attention to the deteriorating ocean environment and pollution in Taiwan ahead of the 40th anniversary of World Earth Day on April 22, the National Geographic Channel announced.

Premier Wu Den-yih underlined the importance of ocean preservation in Taiwan, which he called an "ocean country, " at a press conference to promote National Geographic's program on the beauty of oceans surrounding Taiwan, scheduled to air on cable television in Taiwan from April 19-30.

As an ocean country with the sixth-largest offshore fishing industry in the world, Wu said, Taiwan and its people need to understand more about the ocean and cherish its valuable resources. A Maritime Affairs Council will be included in the government structure reform and will start operation Jan. 1, 2013, he said.

Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen described the ocean as "the heart of the Earth" while calling on the public to protect the environment.

According to the campaign, the extinction of all life forms in the ocean by 2048 is possible if the issues of environmental pollution and overfishing, among others, are not addressed and resolved in time.

The campaign encourages young people in Taiwan to document the ocean with photographs or videos and send their works to the television company, which will display all those works in three local museums starting from June 8, World Oceans Day.

Lin Chiling, one of Taiwan's most popular models, was invited to endorse the campaign as its ambassador. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ex-Latvian president offers political insights

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Former president of the Republic of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga shared her observations on various political topics from her unique point of view as a psychologist Tuesday before concluding a week-long visit to Taiwan.

All countries are advised to use referendums cautiously because in some cases people tend to be misinformed, she told reporters, adding that her training in psychology gave her an advantage as "a good listener" in comparison to other politicians.

Vike-Freiberga, 72, visited Taiwan amid heated local debate on whether to hold a referendum on a proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China aimed at lowering tariffs and relaxing trade regulations.

Citing the example of a failed ratification of the European Constitution in France in 2005, Vike-Freiberga said French voters did not vote for the Constitution not because they did not support the treaty but because they did not like the government led by then-President Jacques Chirac.

The failed first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland in 2008, she added, was a classical case of misinformation because under Irish law the government is not allowed to promote its policy. The opposition gave the electorate false information and successfully prevented the passage of the referendum.

"This is the danger in referendum... It's very easy to mislead them (the voters) . Psychologically this potential of misinformation of the issue of referendum makes referendum, I think, an insecure instrument for finding out the true position of the people, " she said.

Vike-Freiberga was elected president of Latvia in 1999. In 2003, she was re-elected for a second term. During her tenure, she played a crucial role in leading Latvia to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU.

Vike-Freiberga, who has previously been nominated to run for the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations and for President of the European Council, declined to comment any further on Taiwan's political relations and economic initiative with China.

However, she said she saw nothing but a promising economic future for Taiwan because the country has always been at the forefront of innovation, development of high technology, and re-orienting itself to an economy of high value-added products, which she described as "the only way of survival in a modern world of free trade." In a free trade world, "you cannot protect yourself the way you did before, " but at the other end of the spectrum Taiwan is able to gain the access to the huge China market and create a huge opportunity, she said.

In terms of the sensitive agriculture issue, she acknowledged that it has been a complicated issue and "one of the thorniest problems in the world, which everyone has to face." "Any country has to think about having enough food to feed its people in case something happens. To some extent, each country has to produce some food, " she said, adding that this is why farmers in the EU are so heavily subsidized. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

MOFA probing alleged slavery in Costa Rica involving Taiwanese

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that it was trying to collect information on the involvement of Taiwanese nationals in an alleged case of the enslavement of 36 Asians on fishing boats and suspected human trafficking in Costa Rica.

The MOFA was responding to reports from media outlets stating that three men and one woman -- three of which are Taiwanese -- were arrested by the Costa Rican authorities at the port of Puntarenas and accused of using 36 Asians on two fishing boats as slave labor. All the suspects were released under their own recognizance.

The ministry instructed its embassies in Panama and Nicaragua to monitor the situation and collect information, as there are no diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Costa Rica, MOFA deputy spokesman James Chang said.

Costa Rica severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2007 after maintaining official ties for almost 60 years.

"We would like to express our concern from a humanitarian standpoint for the people abused if the case proves to be true, " he said, adding that although the four had been released, the Costa Rican authorities were still investigating the case.

Costa Rican police Sunday freed the 36 Asians -- 15 Vietnamese, 13 Indonesians, five Filipinos, two Taiwanese and a Chinese national -- from "inhumane" conditions aboard two fishing boats, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and local paper La Nacion reported, adding that the men were allegedly beaten and forced to work for up to 20 hours a day without pay.

The case surfaced after nine Vietnamese men escaped by jumping overboard, swimming to shore and alerting the authorities four months ago.

Two employees surnamed Espinoza and Wang, and a brother and sister by the family name of Tseng who are the president and treasurer, respectively, of the Imperio Pesquero del Pacifico S.A. company, were finally arrested Saturday.

A local newspaper reported that the three Taiwanese and one Costa Rican were charged with human trafficking, which in Costa Rica carries a sentence of between eight and 16 years in prison. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Opinions differ on what metaphors to use for cross-Strait relations

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) While Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has depicted Taiwan-China relations as a "brotherhood" in his recent speech, Taiwanese academics and politicians have also offered their own metaphors for relations across the Taiwan Strait, which academia said would dictate the future cross-Strait development roadmap.

Wen used the term "brotherhood" to describe cross-Strait relations as early as 2008 and did the same again in the closing press conference of China's National People's Congress last month.

Frederick Chien, a senior diplomat who is leading a 39-member Taiwan delegation to the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in the resort town Boao of China's southern Hainan province, echoed the same idea.

"Both sides (Taiwan and China) should be brothers, not enemies, " Chien told the media in Boao, where he is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Saturday.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou responded to Wen's comment by sidestepping the term "brotherhood" and saying that both sides of the strait "belong to one Chinese nation and are both Chinese people." As a political and cultural metaphor, brotherhood in Chinese means that both sides come from the same family, maintain close and friendly relations, will help each other and often share the same values.

Taiwan academia raised similar discussions in a recent forum on cross-Strait relations in which scholars presented different interpretations of their own.

The metaphorical interpretation of cross-strait relations is important, they agreed, because it would reveal and dictate the Taiwanese government's China policy.

Chang Ya-chung, a political scientist at National Taiwan University, agreed with the "brotherhood" description and said that "relations of brotherhood can be uneven, but must be equal." In comparison, he described China-Hong Kong relations as "father and son" and interpreted cross-strait relations in President Ma's "Chinese people theory" as "cousins."

Chang advocates a "One China, Three Constitutions" theory which calls for eventual cross-strait integration. Wen's comment, he said, was like "an opportunity of a lifetime" to promote integration as "China's interior affairs." The pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) always views cross-strait relations as relations between "friends" or "neighbors, " Chang said.

Even some of the heavyweight Taiwan independence supporters accepted the "brotherhood" theory, such as former presidential advisor Koo Kuan-min, who has voiced support for the idea and said that it would be fine if China views itself as the big brother, but then it has to look after the kid brother -- Taiwan.

Political scientist Tang Shao-cheng argued that the brotherhood theory will be difficult to carry out because no one knows who is going to be the big brother. The neighborhood theory, he added, is more practical.

Huang Guangguo, a professor at National Taiwan University, brought up an idea submitted by Chinese academia that described Taiwan and China as different halves of a planet in a political solar system, in which every planet was seen as a country.

The brotherhood theory could result in misunderstanding for foreign countries, said Gunter Schubert, a visiting research fellow of Academia Sinica's Institute of Sociology who came from the University of Turbingen, Germany.

The (brotherhood) theory suggests that it is a family matter unrelated to the outside world, Schubert said, adding that it would be better to promote integration from the stand point of "friends" so that it's easier for foreigners to understand.

The neighborhood theory basically means Taiwan and China are unrelated entities, which marks the regression of Taiwan-China relations and is exactly what the DPP wants, Chang said.

In terms of cross-strait relations, it's obvious that the most important phenomenon at present is the lack of trust between the two sides, Ho Szu-shen, a professor at Fu Jen Catholic University, observed.

"Without trust, any theory wouldn't work, " he said.

Joseph Wu, a political scientist at National Chengchi University who served during the DPP administration as chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) -- Taiwan's top China policy-making body -- and Taiwan's representative to the United States, said that regardless of theories, it's important to consider the possibility of the DPP returning to power.

American and Japanese authorities and academia have both urged the DPP to review and revise its party platform and resolution, which contains support for Taiwan independence, Wu said.

While the DPP always calls for a peaceful co-existence with China and is believed to respect all the documents and agreements signed during the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) administration once it returns to power, it's not likely to accept the "One China Principle" and the "1992 consensus, " he said. (By Chris Wang) enditem/cs

Friday, April 09, 2010

Taiwanese minor leaguers toil their way up

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) As most local fans set their eyes on Washington Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, the most successful Taiwanese baseballer in the U.S. Major League to date, more than 20 Taiwanese players in the U.S. minor leagues are trying to work their way up, hoping some day to make it to the big league.

Twelve of the 27 Taiwanese players in the minors, including former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hu Chin-lung -- now demoted to the Albuquerque Isotopes in the Triple-A -- open their baseball season Friday, the opening day of the 2010 full-season minor leagues, while the other 15 are still participating in extended spring training and have not been assigned.

The 2010 major league season opening day on April 5 was not so exciting for local fans, as they did not have many players to cheer about. Left-handed reliever Ni Fu-te of the Detroit Tigers was the only Taiwanese player to make the 25-man roster on opening day, with Wang and Dodgers left-hander Kuo Hong-chih both still undergoing rehabilitation from injury.

The good news is that there are eight players in the Double-A teams -- a record for Taiwanese players -- who could earn callups to the Majors in the later part of the season if they perform well like Wang, who was called up to the big league in 2005 after six years in the New York Yankees farm system.

Among these major league hopefuls are Hu, who played sparingly with the Dodgers, and right-handed pitcher Lo Chia-jen of the Houston Astros, who made Double-A in his first season and accumulated three saves to go with a 2.10 earned run average (ERA).

Lo has been ranked as the second-best Asian prospect in the minors by Baseball Digest Daily (BDD), a website focusing on baseball coverage. The other three also made the top 10 list, including fifth -ranked Boston Red Sox outfielder Lin Che-hsuan, Cleveland Indians pitcher Lee Chen-chang at No. 6 and Seattle Mariners outfielder Lo Kuo-hui at No. 9 Other players in the Double-A are Oakland Athletics outfielder Chen Yung-chi, Colorado Rockies pitcher Lo Chin-lung, Boston Red Sox infielder Chiang Chih-hsien and Chicago White Sox pitcher Chen Hun-wen.

According to the BDD, the mid-level minors are crammed with Asian talent, which also includes players from Japan and South Korea. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Thursday, April 08, 2010

3 Taiwan fishing boat crew missing in Philippines, 3 rescued: MOFA

Taipei, April 8 (CNA) Three fishermen aboard a stranded Taiwanese fishing boat in the northern Philippines were rescued Thursday while another three were missing, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said later that day.

The Okinawa-registered Taiwanese fishing boat the Cheng Cheng Feng, with a crew of six -- two Taiwanese and four Indonesians -- ran aground early Thursday, the ministry said.

However, a story published by German's Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported that all six had been rescued. The story quoted Chief Superintendent Roberto Damian, a regional police director, as saying that one was rescued by helicopter and the other five were rescued by other vessels from rough waters off Mabudis Island, Batanes Province, 540 km north of Manila.

The MOFA said it immediately instructed Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines to contact the Philippine authorities upon learning that the three men were still missing. After receiving approval from the Philippines, Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration dispatched rescue boats to the area for a joint search and rescue mission with its Philippine counterparts, the ministry said.

The mission to find the three missing men was still ongoing, the MOFA said.

Local authorities suspect that the fishermen were poaching in the area when the accident occurred, Damian was quoted by DPA as saying. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

MOFA raises travel alert for Kyrgyzstan

Taipei, April 8 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) elevated its travel alert level for Kyrgyzstan Thursday over concern about the unstable political situation in the Central Asian country, the ministry said in a statement that day.

The Kyrgyztan opposition said earlier in the day that it had seized power and taken control of the government after a massive protest that began Tuesday, sparked by increases in fuel and electricity rates, against President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was reported to have fled Bishkek, the capital.

The ministry elevated the travel alert level to orange, the second-highest on the MOFA's four-color system.

An orange alert advises travelers against making unnecessary trips to the place in question and to maintain high alert if they do go.

The ministry said in a statement that the massive anti-government protests had led to more than 60 deaths and hundreds injured, and that the political situation was expected to remain highly unstable. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J

Tseng wins Taiwan basketball league MVP award

Taipei, April 8 (CNA) Tseng Wen-ting was named the Most Valuable player of Taiwan's Super Basketball League (SBL) for the months of February and March, the league announced Thursday.

A media poll awarded the honor to Tseng, a 204-centimeter center, after he led the Yulon Luxgens to a 10-game winning streak in March as they regained momentum after the Lunar New Year break. Tseng averaged 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.93 steals and 2.3 blocked shots during the month.

"It's a big surprise. I guess I got this award because we did pretty well after the New Year break," the 26-year-old said.

Yulon, a perennial powerhouse in Taiwanese basketball that has won three SBL titles in the league's seven-year history, suffered the first four-game losing streak in team history around the New Year vacation. But now they have a record of 17 wins and five losses, one game behind the league-leading Dacin Tigers.

The season has been especially difficult for Tseng because Yulon is the only team in the seven-team league that did not hire foreign players after the SBL decided for the first time this year to allow all of its teams to hire imports to improve the level of competition.

The decision left Tseng the undesirable task of having to defend against taller and stronger foreign players. Injuries to both of his knees made the challenge even more difficult, but Tseng played through and didn't complain about not getting enough support from the bench players.

"It's not a surprise at all for me because when you look at him (Tseng), you can't just look at the numbers. He has been contributing to the team in a lot of ways and he always plays his heart out and gives 100 percent on the court, " said Yulon head coach Zhang Xu-lei, a naturalized Taiwan citizen who formerly played for the Chinese national team.

Tseng, a Taiwan national team regular, said his goal for the season would first be making the post-season and then hopefully returning to the championship series in June. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Taiwanese runner finishes third in North Pole marathon

Taipei, April 8 (CNA) Braving gusty winds of 45 kilometers per hour and temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius, Taiwanese runner Chen Yen-po finished third in the 2010 North Pole Marathon Thursday after the competition was briefly suspended for severe weather conditions.

Chen completed the 42.195-kilometer route in five hours, 29 minutes and 47 seconds to place third among 26 runners from 10 countries in the competition dubbed "the world's coolest marathon." Chen's mother told CNA by telephone that what she cared about most was Chen's safety, but she was happy to know her son had finished in the top three.

Joep Rozendal from the Netherlands won the men's event in five hours and 58 seconds while Emer Dooley from Ireland took first place in the women's race.

Chen, a 23-year-old graduate student from National Taiwan Sports University, surpassed the top-10 goal he made before the competition.

The competitors arrived at the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island off the coast of Norway April 5. They were flown to an international North Pole Camp called Barneo for the race.

Chen is no stranger of running in extreme conditions, having finishing third in the 600-kilometer Polar Challenge race in 2008 and fourth in the 2009 Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race.

The circuit of 42.195 kilometers meanders among hillocks of ice and incorporates part of an aircraft runway. Participants have to have the nerve and drive to run on Arctic ice floes only six to 12 feet above 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean.

According to Chen's mother, Chen told her by satellite telephone at 5 p.m. Wednesday local time that the race had been postponed due to a severe storm.

The 2010 North Pole Marathon was the seventh edition of competitive marathons in the Arctic, with races previously held in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. (By Chris Wang) enditem/bc

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Taiwanese lovers to cycle around the world in 30 months

Taoyuan, Taiwan April 7 (CNA) A Taiwanese couple are embarking on a cycling trip that would take them to four continents in 30 months to promote the centenary of the Republic of China (Taiwan), as well as environmental awareness and Taiwanese products.

Lin Hsiau-kai, 37, and his girlfriend Yen Yi-hui, 27, began their 55,000-kilometer trip on Wednesday by flying from Taoyuan International Airport to Bangkok, Thailand, where the cycling will begin.

"Ever since I was a high school freshman in 1986, I've dreamt about taking this trip and it has finally come true. But the road is long and there's a big challenge ahead, " Lin told the CNA at the airport.

Lin and Yen plan to travel the world on bicycles from April 2010 to October 2012. During the 30 months, they will cycle across Southeast Asia, Oceania, Central Asia and Europe before flying across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States and then Japan, the final stop.

Lin, who worked at the technical department of the renowned Taiwanese dance troupe Cloud Gate together with Yen before the two quit their jobs, said this has been a dream of his since he read about the story of Hu Jung-hua, the first Taiwanese to cycle around the world in the 1980s, and was greatly inspired.

Interestingly, he said, a coincidence made the trip happen.

"My landlord told us a couple of months ago that we had to move out because he had decided to sell his apartment. I thought about taking a break from work before coming up with the idea to turn the break into a cycling tour around the world, " Lin said.

He thought the year 2010 would be a good time to make the trip because preparations are beginning this year to celebrate the ROC's centenary next year and cycling is a good way to promote awareness of climate change and alternative energy.

Yen joined without hesitation although she had no previous cycling experience. Lin has been a long-time cyclist and cycled across Australia in 1996. Yen said all she wanted was to go out and see the world and cycling is one of the options of transportation.

Yen and Lin said they would like to dedicate the trip to the Republic of China (Taiwan) , which was established in 1911, as a birthday present to the country.

"I guess we'll be somewhere in Australia on January 1, 2011 to celebrate the first day of the centenary. And maybe we can get married on October 10, ROC's National Day somewhere in Europe, " she joked.

Lin drew up the travel itinerary after consulting with a senior cyclist, who advised them which countries to avoid and which countries would be good places to cycle in.

Lin half-jokingly said Wednesday that he was still struggling with whether to make the trip, but also noted that the most important factor of the long trip is not stamina, but determination.

The pair will cycle between 60 to 120 kilometers on average each day, Lin said.

With a budget of around NT$2 million (approximately US$63,400) , Lin said, the trip would not be possible without the sponsorship of several local bicycle companies, which provided them with bicycles priced at NT$200,000 each, and the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which asked Taiwan's foreign offices to provide help.

Cloud Gate founder Lin Hwai-min also encouraged the couple to make the trip with a donation of NT$100,000.

"Mr. Lin jokingly told me that I would have to pay him the money back if I drop out of the trip, " Lin said.

A certified historical sites guide in Taiwan, Lin said he believes that he will be able to share Taiwan's stories with foreigners and "show Taiwan to the world" during his trip.

"And about 90 percent of our equipment are Taiwan-made. We would like to tell people these products are very well-made in Taiwan, " he said.

Cycling is an ideal way of travel, which is faster than walking and slower than driving cars, Lin said, adding that it also makes connecting and communicating with local people possible.

Looking ahead to the trip, Yen said that the place she would like to visit the most is Lijiang in the southern China's Yunnan province, because of the difficulty of the route, which is 2,800-3,000 meters above sea level.

However, Lin acknowledged that it is very much possible that the trip will turn out differently than it was originally planned due to weather conditions, accidents and the situations in different countries.

"We might have to change our plan along the way, " he said.

But no matter how the world tour turns out, the couple said they plan to document their dream trip every step of the way by taking photographs and shooting videos. They also plan to regularly update their blogs and Facebook fan pages to keep in touch with friends.

Lin and Yen are scheduled to kick start the 2,100-kilometer first leg of the two-and-a-half-year trip from Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore from April 7-28.

After that, they will travel to Australia and New Zealand as well as make stops in China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus before entering eastern and central Europe in the second half of 2011. (By Chris Wang) enditem/cs

7-time NBA champion Robert Horry to visit Taiwan

Taipei, April 7 (CNA) Robert Horry, one of only nine players to have won at least seven National Basketball Association (NBA) championships, is scheduled to visit Taiwan next week for the official launch of the NBA's traditional Chinese character Web site, organizers said Wednesday.

Horry, who collected one more championship ring in his 17-year NBA career (1992-2008) than Michael Jordan, will visit Taiwan from April 14-16 and attend the launching ceremony of the Web site, a collaboration of local sports Web site Pixnet and the NBA, Pixnet announced in a statement.

According to Pixnet, basketball-crazy Taiwan at one point ranked third, behind the U.S. and Canada, in visitors to the NBA's official Web site.

One of only three players to win consecutive NBA championships with two different teams -- the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers -- Horry was best known for his clutch three-point shooting in the playoffs, earning him the nickname "Big Shot Bob." The 208-centimeter sweet-shooting forward still holds the record for most career three-pointers made in the NBA Finals and is second on the all-time list for three-pointers made in the playoffs.

Hong Kong-based media company TOM Group Limited signed a four-year deal with the NBA in 2008 for the rights to operate the NBA Web site in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Taiwanese fans complained, however, that the company merely converted text in simplified Chinese characters, used in China, into traditional Chinese characters for the Taiwanese audience, neglecting the differences in basketball terms and the transliteration of player names between Taiwan and China. (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls