Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 1
The Taipei District Court yesterday found former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former deputy foreign minister Michael Kau (高英茂) not guilty of embezzling diplomatic funds during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) term in office.
The court ruled that Chiou and Kau did not defraud the government of US$500,000 and that the fund was used to ensure that the nation’s designation in an international organization would not be denigrated.
Chiou was indicted on corruption charges for allegedly failing to execute a so-called “An-ya” diplomatic promotion project after asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allocate US$500,000 to the project in 2005.
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) had indicted Kau on a similar corruption charge because he gave the ministry a directive to issue traveler’s checks for the amount.
After lengthy investigations, the district court said in its verdict that all of the traveler’s checks in question were cashed abroad on dates when Chiou was in Taiwan.
According to the verdict, then-NSC deputy secretary-general Ko Cheng-heng (柯承亨) did go abroad on the date the traveler’s checks were cashed, but the receipts were signed by the representatives of the beneficiary. Therefore, the court concluded that the traveler’s checks had been delivered to the beneficiary.
Saying that Taiwan’s name in the international organization in question had not been downgraded, the court ruled that the funds were indeed used for the country’s secret diplomatic efforts.
The SID yesterday said prosecutors would consider appealing the case to the Supreme Court after it received the ruling in writing.
Neither Chiou nor Kau were in court for the ruling. Chiou’s lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said since the case involved secret diplomatic funding, the trial was held behind closed doors.
“Therefore, the public could not know the details of the trial procedures ... but court investigations confirmed that all of the funds in question had been cashed abroad and received by the target beneficiary,” Koo said.
On Chiou’s response to the ruling, Koo said Chiou was an openminded man who could take life’s tribulations in stride.
Chiou was taken into custody on Oct. 31, 2008, and detained for 50 days during the investigation. Koo said Chiou now runs a small fruit and vegetable farm in southern Taiwan.
“He has long laughed off the detention episode,” Koo said.
Commenting on the ruling, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office, his administration had been practicing political persecution through the judicial system by going after pan-green camp politicians.
Now that the court has acquitted the DPP politicians of their charges, it proves that the prosecutors abused their power, Chuang said.
Chuang said that in a democratic country, prosecutors, who are authorized by the state to fight crime, should not show bias when pursuing cases.
Chuang said the public could see that the judiciary only pursues DPP politicians and turns a blind eye to cases involving the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which is why the judiciary’s independence has been questioned since Ma assumed office. Chuang said the DPP would continue to promote judicial human rights as well as judicial independence.
Last week, the Supreme Court cleared Chen of one corruption charge related to embezzling government funds, although he was still sentenced to an additional two years and 10 months on charges of money laundering and forgery.
In a separate case, Chen was cleared of alleged misuse of diplomatic funds during official overseas trips he made as president.
Chen says the legal action against him is a vendetta carried out by the Beijing-friendly KMT government in retaliation for his pro-independence stance while in power.
Additional reporting by AFP
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairpserson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is in no hurry to unveil her vice presidential running mate, with the announcement possibly to be delayed until late October, Tsai campaign spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said yesterday.
The Tsai camp faces no pressure in making an announcement — highly anticipated by the media and DPP supporters — for a number of reasons, Hsu said. The momentum of the presidential race appears to have tipped in Tsai’s favor after her campaign released the party’s 10-year policy guidelines two weeks ago, putting President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election in January’s presidential poll, on the defensive, she said.
The DPP will follow through on this success with another policy offensive next month, when Tsai is scheduled to release her policy white papers, Hsu said.
With Tsai also planning to make a nine-day trip to the US in the middle of next month, the DPP’s upcoming party anniversary and the postponed annual party congress, Tsai campaign officials want to ensure that announcing her running mate will be a “separate climax in the campaign,” Hsu said.
That means the Tsai campaign does not rule out making the announcement in October if it decides that is the best time, Hsu said.
Tsai has begun to hold discussions with prospective running mates from a short list, starting with her priority candidates, Hsu said, but “no deal has been made yet.”
“Regardless of speculation, Tsai will be the solitary and final decision-maker,” she said, adding that her office believed that Tsai would pick the best candidate for the campaign.
Hsu also discouraged the media from speculating that Tsai would choose former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who has reiterated that he has no intention of serving as anyone’s running mate.
“It is not fair [to Su] and it would hurt his feelings,” she said.
Earlier yesterday, DPP spokesperson Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) denied a media report quoting former DPP legislator Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) as saying that Su was the No. 1 pick among six possible candidates in a DPP public opinion poll conducted last month.
Chuang said the DPP has never conducted public opinion polls on who should be Tsai’s running mate.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Tue, Aug 30, 2011 - Page 3
The rhetorical battle over the so-called “1992 consensus” continued over the weekend while Typhoon Nanmadol approached Taiwan, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) taking the lead, accusing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of refusing to accept the consensus.
At a press conference on Sunday, Ma described the DPP and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), his rival in the presidential election in January, as “irrational,” saying they had denied the existence of the consensus simply because they opposed it.
Many officials and academics, including Ma and former representatives to the US Stephen Chen (陳錫蕃) and Lu Yi-cheng (陸以正), labeled the “Taiwan consensus” proposed by Tsai as “ambiguous” and “infeasible,” while underlining the importance of the “1992 consensus” as the foundation of cross-strait engagement.
Ma also challenged Tsai’s cross-strait platform, urging her to clarify whether she supported the “three noes” and to explain “more clearly” what she means by “Taiwan consensus.”
The “three noes” refer to no discussion of unification with Beijing, no pursuit of, or support for, de jure Taiwanese independence and no use of force to resolve cross-strait disputes.
The DPP and Tsai chose to remain silent and refrain from engaging in extended argument while Typhoon Nanmadol pounded the south. Nonetheless, discussions about the consensus were all over the print and broadcast media.
The “1992 consensus” was an “artificial term invented” after a meeting between the semi-official representatives of Taiwan and China in 1992 and “historically speaking, the ‘1992 consensus’ does not exist,” said Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌), a Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman under the former DPP administration.
The consensus, even if it existed, was based on the “one China” principle, he said, adding that “the DPP argues that a new term, a new platform or a new framework has to be established.”
The world has changed so much between 1992 — when China was about to get its feet wet in a market economy — and now, when China has become arguably one of the global powers, Hung said.
“China’s role in the world, its economic power and the global situation, have all changed. That is why the DPP thinks a new platform is necessary,” he said.
China should not panic about the new framework, he said, because Tsai has made it clear that a Taiwan consensus that the DPP proposes would be based on “peace and stability” as the foundation of future cross-strait exchanges.
Hung also advised the Chinese to recognize the goodwill extended by Tsai when she said the DPP “acknowledges” China’s position in insisting on the “one China” principle and suggested that her party would be far less hostile than before, he said.
The “1992 consensus” was an idea accepted by then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary-General Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in their meeting in 2005 under the “one China” principle, and was not authorized by representatives from the two governments across the Taiwan Strait, Hung said.
“When you go back and force Taiwanese to accept the idea, people would think that the KMT is on the same side with the CCP, which I don’t think serves the KMT’s interests,” he said.
“I would say that the DPP should be on the offensive rather the defensive end on the issue [of the ‘1992 consensus’]. The DPP should ask China to explain what exactly the ‘1992 consensus’ is,” said Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), a political scientist at Soochow University and a DPP legislative candidate.
While the KMT claims that the consensus represents “one China with different interpretations,” Lo said the reality in Taiwan now is a “1992 consensus with different interpretations.”
“The DPP, as well as the people of Taiwan, will decide whether to accept the consensus only after it has been clearly defined,” he said.
The demand that Taiwan accept the consensus before a resumption of bilateral dialogue is a precondition, which former AIT director Richard Bush described as the first roadblock to bilateral dialogue in his book Untying the Knot, published in 2005.
While China has made it clear to Taiwan that acceptance of the “one China” principle or the “1992 consensus” — or both — are prerequisites to bilateral talks, Bush wrote that the best way to reduce mutual mistrust is for China to abandon preconditions.
China never enters any negotiations without setting up preconditions and every academic who has done research on China knows it, Lo said.
“I don’t see why Taiwan is willing to walk into this trap,” he said.
Monday, August 29, 2011
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff Reporter
Mon, Aug 29, 2011 - Page 3
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday cited documents to defend the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus” and challenged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “Taiwan consensus,” urging her to offer a “clear” explanation of her presidential campaign platform.
In a hastily called press conference as Typhoon Nanmadol approached, Ma detailed the historical background of the “1992 consensus,” saying that it was reached in August 1992 during a meeting of the National Unification Commission and that “one China” refers to the Republic of China (ROC).
Its authority included all of China, but its current governing power was limited to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, he said.
Ma said former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) presided over the meeting in preparation for cross-strait negotiations between the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) in October 1992 in Hong Kong.
Saying that he also participated in the meeting as Mainland Affairs Council vice chairman, Ma added that despite the fact that no concrete results were reached during negotiations, the SEF and ARATS agreed that each side could have its own interpretation of “one China.”
“This is how the two sides agreed to accept ‘one China, with each side having its own interpretation,’” Ma said.
“The term ‘1992 consensus’ was indeed added later [to describe the context], but ‘one China, with each side having its own interpretation’ did exist … It’s irrational to deny the truth,” he said.
Ma challenged Tsai’s cross-strait platform, urging her to clarify whether she supported the “three noes” and to explain “more clearly” what she means by “Taiwan consensus.”
The “three noes” refer to a policy proposed by Ma in 2008 — no pursuit of unification, no Taiwanese independence and no use of force in handling cross-strait relations.
Ma said what Tsai describes as a “Taiwan consensus” must be based on the desire of people in Taiwan and that the majority of Taiwanese supported maintaining the “status quo.”
“The desire of Taiwanese to maintain the ‘status quo’ is the most important basis for my ‘three noes’ policy, and I am hoping that Chairperson Tsai can tell us whether she supports the ‘three noes.’ Can she share her views on the ‘three noes’ policy? Especially, can she support the ‘no independence’ stance?” Ma said.
He challenged Tsai to explain whether Taiwan independence or calls for a name change to the ROC, as well as a new constitution, were behind her “Taiwan consensus.”
“The ROC is our country, and Taiwan is our home … This is a solid truth and there should be no hesitation or fear to love and support the ROC in running for the ROC presidency,” he said.
The DPP refused to respond to Ma’s challenge, accusing the president of playing politics at a time when the nation braced for a typhoon.
“Has President Ma lost his mind? … Calling a press conference on a day like this to explain what the so-called ‘1992 Consensus’ is?” DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told the Taipei Times.
“Our hearts are with those who could be affected by the typhoon. The DPP is not going to call a press conference nor respond to anything unrelated to the typhoon today,” he said.
Ma showed “cold-bloodedness” in calling the press conference, when Nanmandol was approaching and torrential rain and strong winds had started to affect eastern Taiwan, DPP spokesman Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said in a press release.
“It appears that the ‘1992 Consensus’ and an opportunity to attack the opposition leader were more important to Ma than preparatory work for the typhoon,” he said. “The consensus of Taiwanese today is a consensus on disaster prevention, rather the ‘1992 Consensus.’”
Ma did not learn from Typhoon Morakot, the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s history, which killed more than 700 people in 2009, DPP spokesman Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) said in the same press release.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang
By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday canceled its party congress scheduled for yesterday, thereby postponing the announcement of its vice-presidential candidate to focus on the potential impact of Typhoon Nanmadol.
The annual party congress was canceled after the Central Weather Bureau issued a land warning for the typhoon late on Saturday.
The most appropriate date for the congress now appears to be Sept. 10, two days before DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) embarks upon a 10-day US visit, Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青), the presidential candidate’s campaign spokesperson.
However, the final date will be decided at the Central Standing Committee’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, she said.
The party wanted to focus on nationwide preparatory work for the typhoon, Hsu said, adding that Tsai had canceled all her public appearances scheduled for yesterday and ordered local party headquarters to offer assistance to local governments where the DPP ruled, she said.
“The DPP would coordinate with its local headquarters to provide disaster relief if the typhoon causes any damage,” she said, such as relief supplies, logistics and equipment as well as deployment of emergency rescue personnel.
The final date of the announcement of Tsai’s running mate is undecided, Hsu said, adding that since the party congress had been postponed, the announcement could be made either during the congress or before Sept. 28, the DPP’s anniversary.
Some DPP legislators have suggested postponing the announcement until after the congress because the annual meeting is supposed to be a good setting to promote the party’s legislative candidates.
“We understand that the announcement will initiate public discussion and will probably distract voters from concentrating on our legislative candidates and presidential platform,” Hsu said.
She denied that central bank Governor Peng Fai-nan (彭淮南), who was believed to be Tsai’s top choice for a running mate, had declined the offer, saying “anything is possible.”
The DPP has up to now been tight-lipped about its possible vice presidential candidates, saying the decision was up to Tsai and a pool of possible nominees was being considered.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Sat, Aug 27, 2011 - Page 3
Political observers had mixed views on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) recently announced cross-strait policy, with some saying the ball was now in China’s court, while others suggested her attempts to please everyone across the political spectrum could fail.
Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), a former chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and the nation’s representative to the US in former DPP administrations, gave Tsai’s China policy a high score, saying the presidential hopeful is looking to be a different kind of DPP leader with “a moderate approach and a firm position” on China.
While some said Tsai’s policy announcement did not come up with anything new, “fresh or eye-catching ideas” in cross-strait policy have usually been seen as troublesome in the past and ended with bad results, Wu said.
By highlighting “consensus” and “democratic mechanisms,” Tsai pointed out the biggest difference between her policies and those of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), which reflect Ma’s own will and do not go through a democratic process, Wu said.
One point that the public failed to notice was Tsai brilliantly including a “Taiwan Consensus,” a policy formulated by former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) during the DPP presidential primary, in her platform.
“That gives the feeling that she and Su share the same ideology on policy and it helps party harmony,” Wu said.
Wu said the consensus in Taiwan is that “there is no consensus on the non-existent consensus.”
“Whether the DPP accepts the ‘1992 consensus’ or not is not an issue because DPP administrations have reached agreements with China without recognizing the consensus,” Wu said.
The so-called “1992 consensus” refers to what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) describes as a tacit understanding reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that “there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.”
Liao Da-chi (廖達琪), a political scientist at National Sun Yat-sen University, was of the opinion that there was a paradox in Tsai’s cross-strait policy because she tried to appeal to swing voters and pan-green fundamentalists at the same time, which was why she denied the existence of the “1992 consensus,” then later compromised by saying she would not terminate the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).
Tsai appears to be trying to take her party down a different road than her predecessor, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Liao said.
“She is trying to move closer to the middle, but she doesn’t want to abandon the pan-green fundamentalists either,” Liao said.
The US should be able to understand her dilemma and be sympathetic toward her policies, but China has been hawkish by insisting the on the “1992 consensus,” Liao said, adding that if Beijing eventually ends its dialogue with Taipei because of the feud, Tsai could be in trouble.
Tsai could have showed more flexibility in the wording of her views on the “1992 consensus,” Liao said, adding that Tsai could leave herself more room to maneuver if she did not flat-out deny the existence of the consensus.
Tsai avoided angering Beijing by not directly criticizing the country and she has not mentioned “one country on each side” since taking over as DPP chairperson, said Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), a Taiwan Thinktank researcher.
At the same time, she kept warning Taiwanese that the risks of engagement with China need to be managed, as well as pointing out the uncertainty of China’s future development, including its economy and possible social unrest.
In her national security policy, Tsai carefully chose her wording when she said the DPP “acknowledges Beijing’s position and its insistence on the ‘one China’ principle,” which Lai said suggested it was Tsai’s intention to negotiate with Beijing on any issue — including sensitive political talks — with no preconditions.
“She did not demand China abandon its position and she is open to all options, which is different to Ma, who refuses to engage in political negotiations,” said Lai, who previously served as director of the DPP’s Department of Chinese Affairs.
Lai said Beijing could eventually drop the “1992 consensus” because it is simply a tool for achieving its ultimate goal, the issue it most cares about, the “one China” principle.
“If the tool is not working, China will change it anytime,” he said.
Meanwhile, Honigmann Hong (洪財隆), an adjunct assistant professor at National Tsing Hua University’s Center for Contemporary China, said: “Tsai’s policies on cross-strait economic ties and the solutions she came up with were much better than I expected.”
Tsai’s economic and political strategies are consistent, Hong said. She reaffirmed that Taiwan has no intention of viewing China as an enemy, but that it will also decide its own fate at the same time.
“The approach makes her unique, different from other DPP politicians,” Hong said.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday filed a lawsuit against the three judges in charge of the Diane Lee (李慶安) case, accusing them of malfeasance.
The lawsuit was filed against Lee Ying-yong (李英勇), Tsui Ling-chi (崔玲琦) and Pai Kuang-hua (白光華) for their quashing of a two-year sentence handed down to former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee, acquitting her of fraud in a dual-nationality controversy on Tuesday.
In January 2009, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office received confirmation from the US Department of State that Lee’s US citizenship remained valid while she was in office, a violation of a law which states that elected officials are not allowed to hold dual citizenship.
Chou Ni-an (周倪安), deputy director of the TSU’s organization department, described the trio as “dinosaur judges,” saying they ruled Lee innocent, despite her knowing that elected officials are not allowed to hold dual citizenship.
“This is like telling people that it’s OK to cheat,” Chou said of the ruling.
The judgement has drawn widespread criticism from the public, with two petitions against it on Facebook gathering more than 10,000 signatures.
Lee Ying-yong also handed down another controversial ruling in a sexual assault case in September last year, said Chen Te-hsien (陳德賢), executive director of TSU headquarters in Taipei.
Lee Ying-yong ruled that the defendant was not guilty of an alleged sexual assault on a three-year-old girl because there was no evidence to prove the act had been “against her will.”
Meanwhile, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said he was not ruling out filing a lawsuit against the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) for forgery.
The SEF released letters sent by Taipei and Beijing, dated May 26, 2008, to prove that the so-called “1992 consensus” exists after Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) denied its existence on Tuesday.
Almost everyone involved in the cross-strait meeting in 1992, including late SEF chairman Koo Chen-foo (辜振甫), have denied the existence of such a consensus, Huang said.
“However, the SEF put the nonexistent consensus into written documents 16 years after the meeting. It was forgery,” Huang said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
By Chris Wand / Staff Reporter
Sat, Aug 27, 2011 - Page 1
The Taiwan High Court yesterday rescinded previous rulings and found former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) not guilty of corruption, in a retrial of their state affairs fund case.
However, it upheld Chen’s previous conviction for his role in the use of fraudulent receipts to obtain reimbursement for spending from the state affairs fund. On that charge, Chen was given an additional 20-month prison sentence that was cut to 10 months in accordance with a commutation statute.
The court also upheld Chen’s conviction for his role in a money laundering case that concerned a land deal in Taoyuan County’s Longtan (龍潭) and sentenced him to another two years in prison.
The new ruling leaves Chen, who is serving a 17.5-year sentence on corruption charges, with an additional two years and eight months in prison and a fine of NT$3 million (US$103,400).
Wu, while acquitted on charges relating to the embezzlement of money from the state affairs fund, was given a 20-month sentence for forgery in the matter of the fraudulent receipts. This sentence was also cut to 10 months in accordance with a commutation statute.
In the money laundering case, Wu was sentenced to two years in prison. She was also given another sentence of nine years in prison for her involvement in a bribery case related to the construction of the Nangang Exhibition Hall. The court ruled that Wu should be jailed for 11 years and six months, in addition to paying a fine of NT$22 million and being stripped of her civic rights for five years.
Last November, the Supreme Court sentenced Chen and Wu to 17.5 years in prison for involvement in the Longtan case and the appointment of Diana Chen (陳敏薰) as the chairperson of the Taipei Financial Center Corp (台北金融大樓公司).
The court at the time ordered a retrial of the state affairs fund embezzlement, money laundering and Nangang Exhibition Hall cases.
Taiwan High Court spokesman Chen Ching-chiao (陳晴教) yesterday said the court acquitted Chen of corruption in the state affairs fund case because he had spent more than the funds he received during his terms in office and spent all of the money on state affairs, including 21 secret diplomacy programs and bonuses to his staff.
Chen’s lawyer, Shih Yi-lin (石宜琳), said Chen has expressed gratitude about the ruling as well as regret over the sloppiness of the workings of state apparatus in his hasty detainment.
“We would like to think today’s verdict is related to the decriminalization of personal use of the ‘special affairs funds,’ because what the state affairs funds mean to the president is actually what the special affairs funds mean to different levels of government officials,” Shih said.
Personal use of the special affairs funds was decriminalized in May, ending a string of embezzlement cases against dozens of officials.
In its representation, Chen’s legal team also cited President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “reservoir theory,” which Ma used to defend his use of the special funds during his stint as Taipei mayor and which successfully saw Ma through his own embezzlement case.
While Shih said Chen would decide whether to appeal the money-laundering and forgery charges after reviewing the written ruling, the supreme prosecutors’ office’s Special Investigation Division said it would appeal the ruling.
Commenting on the ruling, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the state affairs funds case “contains historical factors” which the DPP believes the judiciary should take into account, while upholding fairness, independence and respect for human rights during the legal process.
Both the Presidential Office and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) said they respected the court’s decision. KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), on the other hand, said he found the ruling shocking and slammed the judges “for selling their souls to the devil.”
The court also sentenced Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), to 14 months and 12 months respectively for their roles in the money-laundering case. Huang was given four-years’ probation.
Chen Chih-chung said he was happy his father had been found innocent, but could not accept the verdict handed down to him and would appeal.
Additional reporting by CNA
Friday, August 26, 2011
By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to launch judicial reforms that would protect human rights and the public interest if elected in January.
However, at a press conference to unveil the DPP presidential candidate’s judicial policy, the media seemed more interested in her opinions on several high profile and controversial cases than her plans for judicial reform.
Tsai chose to sidestep reporters’ questions about whether she would pardon former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence, if she becomes president.
The 54-year-old made it clear she would not comment on individual cases, particularly ongoing ones, saying that would be a violation of judicial independence.
Tsai said she was most interested in to what extent the media and political forces exerted influenced over the judiciary and whether the judicial system was able to stay truly independent.
The president should take the lead in judiciary reform, and she would not shy away from that responsibility, Tsai said, adding that she would organize a national conference — the first of its kind since 1999 — by December next year to lay out a roadmap for reform.
“It requires a political process before judiciary reform can take place and that is why the president has to be involved,” she said.
Tsai’s approach is very different from that of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has always said that the president must remain aloof so as to preserve judicial independence.
Tsai also envisions a “judicial system of the people,” which means public participation would increase, accessibility would improve and the rights of people would be protected.
The appointment, dismissal and evaluation of judicial officials should also be institutionalized and given a legal framework, she said.
Tsai’s campaign maintains that the president’s primary role is to frame a “grand plan” and work on systematic reform, but to stay out of individual cases, said Wellington Koo (顧立雄), an attorney on Tsai’s policy consultation team.
The teaching of law in Taiwan should also be improved, because Taiwanese remain far more interested in the final verdicts than procedural justice and the protection of human rights, he said.
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Saying there are many “olive branches” and good will in her recently announced policy on China, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged China to re-examine and deal with her proposed “Taiwan consensus,” which she said best serves the interests of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
“It serves both Taiwan and China’s interests if China can deal with all Taiwanese and their opinions, which is what we call a ‘Taiwan consensus,’ instead of working only with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in terms of the ‘1992 consensus,’” the DPP presidential candidate said.
The so-called “1992 consensus” refers to what the KMT describes as a tacit understanding reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that “there is only one China with each side free to interpret what that means.”
Tsai made the remarks yesterday in response to China’s criticism of her cross-strait policy.
In a statement on its Web site, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Tsai’s policy, which denied the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus,” was unrealistic and cannot be accepted by the mainland.”
“Once put in place, it would mean there would be no way for cross-strait consultations to proceed, and once more there would be upheaval in relations,” it said, adding that “all the facts show that the DPP has still not changed its ‘Taiwan independence’ position of ‘one country on either side [of the Taiwan Strait].’”
Saying that China’s criticism was not unexpected, Tsai yesterday advised the Chinese government “to review the policy — which actually has many olive branches and goodwill in it — more carefully.”
There must be rationalists in China, she said, adding that the Chinese should look at the cross-strait issue “in a larger context as well as from a higher perspective,” otherwise a solid foundation of exchanges cannot be established.
Tsai also called for the KMT to change its approach to handling cross-strait issues through “sorting out its priorities” and seeking a consensus from Taiwanese through a democratic mechanism before engaging in talks with China.
In the past three years, cross-strait negotiations carried out by the KMT administration under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had always been non-transparent and evaded monitoring by the legislature, Tsai said.
What was worse, was that the KMT then demanded — and even threatened — the opposition party and Taiwanese to accept the agreements they had signed, she added.
“This is not what a democratic political party is supposed to do. The KMT should always stand on the side of Taiwanese,” Tsai said.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday jostled over the so-called “1992 consensus,” with the KMT stressing the consensus does exist, while the DPP contended otherwise.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said the consensus — which the KMT says means “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” — has been the basis of the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and that it would not disappear simply because DPP Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) denies its existence.
Meanwhile, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) displayed two letters between the foundation and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, as proof that the consensus exists.
Both sides wrote that they hoped to “resume exchanges and negotiation as soon as possible on the basis of the 1992 consensus.”
In response, DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the letters were dated May 26, 2008, a week after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) assumed office.
Citing the autobiography of late SEF chairman Koo Chen-foo (辜振甫), who participated in the negotiations in 1992, the DPP said Koo wrote that no consensus was reached in the 1992 meeting. It was former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) who first coined the phrase on April 28, 2000, wrote Koo, who died in 2005.
Almost everyone involved in the meeting in 1992, including Koo and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), has denied the existence of such a consensus, Chen added, urging Beijing and the KMT to spend time studying Tsai’s China policy instead of dwelling on a phrase which “has not been helpful to cross-strait relations.”
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will formulate its policies on the economy, banking and technology with a new mindset and new approaches to help the nation meet the challenges of the next 10 years, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
The DPP presidential candidate said her party would approach the nation’s development with a dramatically different set of values and views than those of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which believes in GDP-driven economics and has failed to supervise banking and develop the technology sector in a bid to help all Taiwanese.
“We are confident that these policies will prepare Taiwan for the next 10 years, which is expected to be turbulent and rife with challenges from globalization and continual changes,” Tsai told a press conference.
The press conference was part of a series of presentations during which the party’s wide-ranging 10-year policy guidelines — effectively Tsai’s presidential platform — have been unveiled.
If elected president in January next year, Tsai said the DPP would stress macroeconomic management, which has not been successful under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking his second term, by establishing an inter-agency policy formulation and coordination institution.
The new administration would do its best to help blue-collar workers, fishermen and farmers by promoting local economies, creating job opportunities and encourages innovation, she said.
Tsai also plans to boost the domestic economy through a variety of approaches, including large-scale urban regeneration, which she said could be the largest domestic industry in the next 10 years.
Contrary to government-driven technology development in the past, Tsai said the private sector should be able to take the lead in the future.
In the past, technology development throughout the nation was not used to benefit all Taiwanese and a majority of the government’s resources were put into the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, she said.
A strong domestic defense industry, which has been a non-factor in the past, is an essential part of the DPP’s economic plan.
Regarding banking, the DPP is confident that it would be able to encourage development, while maintaining effective supervision of the sector at the same time, said Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉), former chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission.
The DPP would not want to see an over-centralization of the banking sector, nor does it want large conglomerates that are “too big to fail” as well as “too big to save,” Shih said.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang / Staff Reporters
Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 1
The Taiwan High Court yesterday quashed a two-year sentence handed down to former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) by a lower court and acquitted her of fraud over a dual-nationality controversy.
The court said prosecutors could appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
In March 2008, a number of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers sued Lee for fraud and corruption because she maintained US citizenship while serving as a Taipei city councilor and then as a legislator. Elected officials are not allowed to hold dual citizenship.
At the time, Lee claimed she mistakenly believed her US citizenship would automatically become invalid when she took up a public position.
In January 2009, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office received confirmation from the US Department of State that Lee’s US citizenship remained valid.
Prosecutors said that on personnel forms she filled out as a Taipei City councilor in 1994 and during her three terms as a lawmaker starting in 1998, Lee deliberately left blank a field asking whether she held citizenship from a country other than the Republic of China.
In September 2009, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Lee on charges of fraud. Prosecutors accused Lee of intentionally concealing her US citizenship during one term as a Taipei city councilor and three terms as a legislator, during which she was paid more than NT$100 million (US$3 million).
On Feb. 5 last year, the Taipei District Court found her guilty on four counts of fraud and sentenced her to two years in prison.
The Taiwan High Court’s ruling said that although Lee had dual citizenship and her elected status should have been invalidated by the Central Election Committee, the commission had maintained Lee’s elected status, which was an administrative error. Nevertheless, because Lee maintained her position as a Taipei City councilor and legislator, accepting her salary could not be seen as fraud, the ruling said.
The Taipei City Council, the commission and the legislature were obliged to examine Lee’s citizenship status during her terms as a councilor and as a legislator, but those agencies never questioned Lee about her citizenship status, and because Lee was able to keep her status, taking her salary could not be regarded as fraud, the ruling said.
Lee, daughter of former premier Lee Huan (李煥), said in a statement that she felt relieved that justice had been served.
KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said it was “unfair” to accuse Diane Lee of fraud since she had performed well as both a city councilor and as a legislator.
However, the DPP said the ruling went against people’s expectations and common sense.
The ruling was like a “game--fixing call,” said DPP spokesman Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄).
The public was not happy with the Taipei District Court’s ruling in the first trial because it did not charge Lee with corruption and yet yeterday’s verdict was even more shocking, he said.
Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑), another DPP spokesman, said the ruling could set a dangerous precedent because it was the first case involving public servants’ dual citizenship, which is prohibited by the Nationality Act (國籍法).
“By pronouncing Lee innocent, you’re telling public servants they do not commit a crime by holding dual citizenship, although they will be discharged from their duties, and that they don’t need to return their salaries,” Liang said. “You’re encouraging people to commit crimes and cheat.”
Lee’s argument that she thought she had lost her US citizenship the moment she was sworn in as a councilor was unsupportable because she questioned Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), then-deputy mayor of Taipei, about his dual citizenship and demanded he resign in 1995, Liang said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
GOING GLOBAL:：Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would treat China the same way that it treats the US or the EU, and walk ‘toward China through the international community’
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 1
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for a “Taiwan consensus” and the establishment of a mechanism for the nation’s policy on China and peaceful exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
In a press conference to publicize her cross-strait policies, the DPP presidential candidate denied the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus” and said that if she were elected president, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China last year would be reviewed by the legislature and adjusted if necessary.
Tsai said “consensus” and “democratic mechanism” were the crucial elements in Taiwan’s engagement with China, adding that it was a lack of transparency under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is running for re-election in January, that had steered Taiwan in the “wrong” direction.
That was why she has proposed a “Taiwan consensus,” which would be achieved by a democratic, non-partisan mechanism so that Taiwan’s China policies would be consistent and unaffected by regime change.
To build the consensus, the nation can start with “maintaining the ‘status quo,’” which is the most popular approach, despite the different interpretations of the “status quo,” she said.
With a consensus, Taiwan would be able to engage in future dialogue with China, she said.
“Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the mechanism should be established,” she said.
The term “1992 consensus” did not exist until 2000, she said, adding that even the person who coined it admitted it was an “invention.”
Former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had invented the term before the KMT handed over power to the DPP in 2000. China has said the consensus would be the foundation of cross-strait ties.
A responsible leader and political party with vision should be able to “sit down and discuss [the 1992 consensus] with related parties, rather than carry out his own will and drag the entire country along with him,” Tsai said.
The cross-strait situation now is far different from that of 1992, with more exchanges and more complex political dynamics, she said.
“Cross-strait relations should be dealt with in a brand new framework,” the DPP leader said, urging both sides of the Strait to abandon conventional thinking.
Tsai said the DPP would handle the ECFA according to international regulations and democratic mechanisms, but she did not rule out putting the agreement to a referendum “if people think it is necessary.”
In the presentation, which contained few surprises, Tsai and her team explained their policies on national security and cross-strait economy and trade, both of which are part of the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines released on Monday.
Her national security policy as president would be based on universal values, balanced external relations, mutually beneficial strategic thinking, democratic consensus and a defensive-oriented mechanism to safeguard security, Tsai said.
On the economy and foreign policy, Taiwan would treat China the same way it treats the US, Japan or the EU, she said. This meant Taiwan would be “walking toward China through the international community,” she said.
On cross-strait trade relations, Tsai said the nation should seek opportunities to sign free-trade agreements with the US, Japan, India, the EU and ASEAN, adding that Taiwan was likely to engage in regional economic integration by joining the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through APEC.
Taiwan should maintain its economic independence at all times and make sure it is capable of monitoring Taiwanese investment in China, she said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said in a press release yesterday that his party — an ally of the DPP — opposes continued implementation of the ECFA, which he said was “a chain that will eventually constrain Taiwan’s economy.”
“The TSU stands by its firm position that the ECFA should be terminated,” Huang said.
Tsai’s plan to place the ECFA under an international framework was acceptable and praiseworthy, said Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信), who is on the TSU’s legislator-at-large list, but any agreement that has not been screened and authorized by the legislature should not be implemented in a democratic country such as Taiwan.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said he would not be the running mate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is running for president in the January election.
Despite his repeated comments that he had no intention of running as vice president after losing to Tsai in the DPP presidential primary in April, Su’s name has continued to be raised as a possible vice presidential candidate.
“I have said a number of times that I have no intention of running for vice president. I will do what I said,” Su, who serves as Tsai’s campaign chairman, said before chairing a campaign meeting organized by the DPP’s Taipei headquarters.
Su’s comment took him out of a selected pool of possible candidates for vice president, which is believed to include former minister of finance Lin Chuan (林全), central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南), former deputy premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).
OUT OF THE RING
Lin Chuan also said last week that he would not be a candidate.
Tsai told reporters the selection process was ongoing and that the candidate would likely be announced before the party congress on Sunday.
Almost all DPP heavyweights said they unconditionally supported Tsai’s selection.
“It’s the right of the presidential candidate. I will support whoever she picks,” former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said.
“I want to know who the candidate is, but I really don’t,” former premier Yu Shyi-kun said, adding that the only expectation he has for the candidate is that he or she can win more votes for the party in the election.
The announcement need not be made before or after the party congress, Yu said, because that could take away the real focus of the congress.
“It would not hurt to make the announcement in September or October,” he said.
Tue, Aug 23, 2011 - Page 1
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday denied a news report saying that eight Chinese fighter aircraft had penetrated the airspace around the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) on June 29 and were within range of Taipei for 43 minutes.
The report, published yesterday in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, would, if confirmed, raise the severity of the incident, which was first reported by the Chinese-language United Daily News late last month.
The United Daily News claimed that two Chinese Sukhoi-27 aircraft chasing a US U-2 surveillance aircraft had briefly crossed the centerline over the Taiwan Strait, prompting Taipei to scramble F-16 aircraft to push the Chinese fighters back to their side of the line.
Later reports said that given the high altitude at which the U-2 operates, China was likely to have sent J-11s rather than Su-27s.
According to the Apple Daily report, the incident involved four waves of two fighters and included not only Su-27s, but also the more advanced Su-30. The article said that two Su-30s had penetrated the airspace surrounding the disputed Diaoyutais and were forced to turn back after being pursued by Taiwanese and Japanese aircraft.
The article said that for 43 minutes, Taipei was within range of the Su-30s.
Ministry spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) said the report was false and violated media ethics.
“The ministry protests and regrets the report by the Apple Daily, which seriously violated the ethics and integrity expected of a professional media service,” Lo said.
Using charts, Lo said only two Su-27s had crossed the centerline, adding that after consultation with nearby countries, the ministry was “absolutely certain” there were no Su-30s near Taiwan’s east cost.
There have been no other media reports that corroborate the claims made by the Apple Daily.
Defense experts have also told the Taipei Times it is extremely doubtful that China would have acted so brashly at a time when relations between Taipei and Beijing are at their best ever.
Air Force Command Reserves Training Section chief Wang Hsuan-chou (汪旋周) said the two Su-27s only crossed over the line for two minutes and compared the incident to out-of-bounds errors in basketball and soccer.
The brief time they spent over the line was normal, he said.
If the Chinese fighters wanted to taunt the Taiwanese, they would have headed straight for Taiwan proper, but they turned away after a short time, showing that it was an isolated chance incident, Wang said.
Taiwan’s air defenses are very rigid and well rounded and everyone follows standard operation procedures in dealing with any situation that arises, Wang said.
“There are no blind spots in Taiwan’s air defenses. It would never be allowed,” he said.
While media have the right and responsibility to be concerned about national defense, they have to double-check their facts when they encounter suspicious information, Wang said.
The ministry’s denials did not convince lawmakers.
“It was an unquestionable infringement of Taiwan’s sovereignty and a provocation. It is also a serious issue concerning our national security,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.
For all intents and purposes, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has turned Taiwan’s airspace into its own, Tsai said, adding that if Chinese fighters crossed the centerline over the Taiwan Strait at will and flew beyond Hualien, the effectiveness of the US-Japan Security Treaty would come into question.
Tsai urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to protest to Beijing.
He said Taiwan’s defense budget had decreased annually under Ma, which could be seen as a measure to “silently promote unification.”
DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) called on the ministry to take the incident seriously and to make information about the incident public.
The PLAAF had deliberately taken action to test the Taiwanese military’s response, Huang said.
“I wonder why the ministry has to cover up for China,” he said.
TRANSLATION BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER,
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY J. MICHEL COLE
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
Tue, Aug 23, 2011 - Page 1
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday officially unveiled her party’s 10-year policy guidelines, saying they represented “a commitment to Taiwan’s next generation” and illustrated the contrast between the DPP’s values and those of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
In one of her most important speeches, the DPP presidential candidate said the guidelines, which took two-and-a-half years to formulate and contain 18 chapters on a variety of issues, are a reflection of the party’s experiences and mistakes while in power.
“The guidelines are our commitment to the next generation and they are formulated with the aim of strengthening Taiwan and making it a coherent country,” Tsai said.
The guidelines are built around two core concepts: Taiwan has to put its best face forward internationally and fairness and justice have to be served, Tsai told a press conference with dozens of academics and former officials, who took part in more than 100 meetings about the guidelines with Tsai since June 2009, seated beside the podium.
Between 2002 — the year Taiwan joined the WTO — and this year, the nation has experienced almost a decade of major challenges amid rapid globalization, she said.
However, despite the work the DPP did between 2000 and 2008, issues such as income disparity, regional development, as well as economic and wage stagnation remained unresolved and have even grown worse during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) three years in office, she said.
“With its impromptu and rash policymaking, the Ma administration has been out of synch with society and has become a roadblock to Taiwan’s progress,” she said.
Tsai laid out six pillars for her overall national policy: an economy oriented toward employment, a society with fair distribution of resources, a secure and sustainable environment, a diverse and innovative education system and culture, a democracy deepened by public participation and, finally, a stable, multilateral peace strategy.
The 54-year-old expressed the view that the government should play an active role in national development.
For example, she called for publicly funded, large-scale urban regeneration projects, an increase in the market share of public universities and a state-funded care system for children and the elderly.
The policy guidelines — effectively her presidential policy platform — highlight the essential differences between the DPP and the KMT, she said.
While the KMT insists on a GDP-oriented, pro-corporation economy based on industrial development and an education system based on nationalism, the DPP intends to emphasize job creation and building the domestic economy, improving quality of life, industrial upgrades, good governance, making peace with nature and encouraging diversity, she said.
The differences in policies illustrate the drastically different values of the two parties, she said.
As for the DPP’s China policy, perhaps the most anticipated topic of the guidelines, Tsai said a multilayered and multifaceted exchange across the Taiwan Strait would be welcomed, adding that cross-strait trade should be one part of the nation’s global economic engagement as Taipei seeks to sign free-trade agreements with the US, Japan, the EU and ASEAN members, as well as ensure the benefits of cross-strait trade are shared equally with the public.
More details on her China policy will be discussed today, when Tsai hosts the last presentation of the guidelines before they are sent to the DPP Central Executive Committee for approval tomorrow.
“I was always told that no one paid attention to policies in Taiwanese elections. However, experiences from the past years tell me otherwise,” she said.
She said she hoped everyone would take the policies seriously, rather than engaging in another round of rhetorical battle.
“Taiwan has been idle for three years. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” she said.
Monday, August 22, 2011
By J. Michael Cole / Staff Reporter
Mon, Aug 22, 2011 - Page 1
The controversy over the fate of Ko-suen “Bill” Moo (慕可舜), a Taiwanese businessman who was arrested by US federal agents in Miami in 2005 for attempting to ship sensitive military technology to China, continued to mount yesterday following his deportation from the US to Taiwan last week, with officials saying they have no idea about his whereabouts.
Moo, who was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in a US federal prison in 2005 for seeking to export defense articles — including an F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine for the F-16 — to China, landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday, accompanied by two US officers.
Reports at the time of Moo’s arrest said he had been working with a French middleman named Maurice Serge Voros, who remains at large. Prior to focusing on the F-16 engine manufactured by General Electric, the pair had also sought to acquire UH-60 Blackhawk engines for China. Other items on Moo’s shopping list — all destined for China — were the AGM-129 cruise missile and AIM-120 air-to-air missile.
In a press release on Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency said that upon arrival in Taiwan, Moo was turned over to local authorities. It added that Enforcement and Removal officers had coordinated the removal with the Homeland Security Investigations Office of International Affairs and local authorities in Taiwan.
However, judicial authorities on Friday said they had no information about Moo’s arrival.
In a follow-up by the Taipei Times, Ministry of National Defense spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday that the ministry also was “not aware” of Moo’s deportation.
Lo’s comment came despite confirmation to the Taipei Times by a senior officer from the National Immigration Agency’s Border Affairs Corps at the Taoyuan airport on Saturday that the American Institute in Taiwan had informed Taiwanese authorities prior to Moo’s deportation of his imminent arrival.
Border Affairs Corps sent officers to wait for Moo at the gate, the source said, but after the flight was apparently delayed, the officers eventually moved to another gate.
“For some reason, we did not meet Moo at the airport,” he said. “We’ve lost track [of him].”
Asked why Moo had apparently slipped away, the officer said the agency “might not have jurisdiction” and that as far as he knew, Moo had never been convicted of any crimes in Taiwan.
The South Korea-born Moo, who was an international sales consultant for US defense firm Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-16, and other US defense companies in Taiwan prior to his arrest in the US, was involved in the Anyu 4 air defense program in Taiwan and was the principal sales agent on the sensitive Po Sheng “Broad Victory” C4ISR project.
Reports at the time said Moo relied on his “extensive connections” — primarily with the Republic of China air force — to consolidate his role within Lockheed Martin’s business unit.
During the decade he worked as a defense sales agent in Taiwan, Moo had reportedly gained an impressive reputation within the arms industry, with reports referring to him as “the air force’s most critical arms broker.”
Insiders saw Moo as a member of the so-called “gang of four” within the air force, which reportedly included three senior Taiwanese generals who dictated many of the weapons procurement efforts.
One of the alleged members of the “gang of four” was former minister of national defense Chen Chao-ming (陳肇敏), sources have told the Taipei Times. The other two allegedly included a former air force deputy commander in chief and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (漢翔航空) chairman, as well as a former electronic warfare section chief at the ministry’s Communication Electronics and Information Bureau.
A source also said the then--country manager at Lockheed Martin, Gus Sorensen, reportedly tried without success to convince senior management at the company to fire Moo, pointing to possible early doubts about his reliability.
Lo said the ministry had learned about the case after Moo was arrested in the US and that it had completed an internal investigation years ago, which found that no ministry or military officials were involved in the case.
“The investigation found that the case posed no threat to Taiwan’s national security,” he said.
The spokesman said the ministry could not comment further or speculate simply because Moo was the principal sales agent on the Po Sheng project, adding that Moo’s conspiracy “has nothing to do with the ministry.”
Weighing in on the possible repercussions of Moo’s return to Taiwan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Herman Shuai (帥化民), a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, said he had never heard of Moo.
However, he said the case was unlikely to have a negative impact on Taiwan’s efforts to secure the acquisition of F-16C/D aircraft and upgrades for its aging F-16A/B fleet from the US.
Given the sensitivity of the case and the exposure of Moo as a Chinese agent, Shuai said, Moo would “no longer be a valuable asset for anyone.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said it was “a disgrace” that both the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Justice were unaware of Moo’s return to Taiwan.
Tsai urged the government to immediately launch a thorough investigation to assess whether Taiwanese officials were involved and national security had been sabotaged.
Moo’s deportation coincides with Taiwan’s efforts to acquire the F-16C/Ds from the US. Unless Taiwan takes appropriate measures to reassure the US on Moo, the case could have a negative impact on the bid, Tsai said.
Another item sought by Taipei whose sale could be compromised if Washington loses confidence in Taiwan’s ability to protect against transfer of sensitive military technology to China, defense experts say, is the electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a key component in plans to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs.
The US is expected to announce its final decision on the F-16 sale to Taiwan on Oct. 1.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHRIS WANG
Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), who was stripped of his position as a Greater Kaohsiung councilor after being found guilty of perjury, yesterday said he remained undecided on whether to run in the legislative elections in January next year.
“I am still listening to the opinions of voters in my constituency and evaluating all possible options,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a fundraising banquet organized by the Taiwan Hakka Society.
“I will not let down those who voted for me,” Chen Chih-chung said.
Chen Chih-chung lost his job as an independent Greater Kaohsiung councilor after the Supreme Court sentenced him to three months in jail last week for perjury in a case related to his father’s state affairs fund case.
Since the verdict, there has been speculation that Chen Chih-chung — or his wife Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) — might decide to run in the legislative election in either Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung or Greater Taichung, where Huang grew up.
If that happens, their participation in the legislative race could have an impact on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has nominated candidates in those districts.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said that her party is unlikely to recruit Chen Chih-chung, who has withdrawn from the DPP, as a candidate because the nomination process has been completed.
Chen Chih-chung has said he will not run in Greater Tainan’s fifth district, where former Tainan County commissioner Mark Chen (陳唐山) has been nominated as the DPP candidate, but did not elaborate on whether he would run in a different district.
The ultimate goal for the green camp is for the DPP’s candidate to win the presidential election and become the majority party in the legislature, DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
By Chris Wang / Staff Reporter
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is preparing for a busy week as the party hopes to spark a shift in momentum in its favor for next year’s presidential election.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is scheduled to unveil her long-awaited China policy tomorrow before the announcement of the 10-year policy guidelines — effectively her presidential platform — which are expected to be approved by the party’s Central Executive Committee meeting the following day.
DPP sources said the announcement of the vice presidential candidate is expected to take place sometime between Wednesday and Sunday’s party congress, which is seen as the first climax of Tsai’s presidential campaign.
Tsai still kept tight-lipped about her running mate, saying in response to questions from reporters yesterday morning that “a considerable number of candidates are still in consideration” and that she was consulting party members about the nomination.
The selection process has been very rigorous and is not just a matter of picking “someone that I like,” Tsai said.
Media speculation has continued regarding possible candidates for the position. Former finance minister Lin Chuan (林全), central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南), former deputy premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) and former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) have all been tipped as possible candidates.
Speculation has also centered on DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who lost to Tsai in the DPP presidential primary in April.
The DPP is hoping that a series of presentations on the 10-year policy guidelines, which Tsai has been working on for two-and-a-half years, would shift the focus of the campaign back to the policy front.
Tsai’s campaign began the presentations on Tuesday last week, starting with its finance and tax policy, and followed by policies on housing, regional development and education.
The string of press conferences have helped boost Tsai’s campaign, which has been described as “passive,” by dominating public discussions over the past week, forcing President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign to be on the defensive.
“We believe the policy front will be the most fascinating aspect of Tsai’s campaign. We also believe that the election culture in Taiwan is changing,” DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
The DPP is not afraid to present policies that could generate controversy, as long as those policies facilitate meaningful discussions, he said.
Tsai’s China policy could be the most controversial aspect of the policy guidelines as critics have described her past comments on cross-strait relations as “ambiguous.”
Tomorrow, Tsai, who served as chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council under the former DPP administration, is scheduled to host the China policy presentation, which DPP sources said will consist of two parts — national security and cross-strait economic and trade relations.
However, there will not be too many surprises, the sources said, as Tsai has always believed that cross-strait relations should be part of Taiwan’s engagement in global affairs through a multilateral framework, such as the WTO.
Friday, August 19, 2011
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff Reporters, with CNA
Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 1
Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), son of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who was stripped of his Greater Kaohsiung councilor position after being found guilty of perjury, said yesterday the court’s sentence amounted to political persecution.
The younger Chen lost his job after the Supreme Court on Wednesday sentenced him to three months in jail for perjury in a case related to his father’s state affairs fund case.
Chen Chih-chung issued a statement saying he could not accept the sentence and he did not believe those who voted for him would accept it either, because the public could not allow political vendettas to be carried out “to such an extent.”
He said although the sentence could not be commuted to a fine, it could be served through a form of community service.
Nevertheless, the Executive Yuan was quick to cite the Local Government Act (地方制度法) and strip him of his councilor position, “so I cannot help but suspect the government’s motives,” he said.
He said he was carrying his “family’s original sin,” a reference to his father being jailed for corruption.
In spite of the “political persecution,” he would be “even stronger,” he said, because the public would support him and justice would eventually prevail.
The unjust regime of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will be overthrown by Taiwanese, who will vote for a third transfer of power, from the KMT to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), next year, he said.
When asked at a press conference later in the day if he would run for a legislative seat in January’s elections, he said he would have to consult with his father first.
Huang Li-hsin (黃麗馨), director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Affairs, said Chen Chih-chung’s eligibility to run in January’s legislative elections depended on when he completes his three-month jail term.
Huang said Chen Chih-chung could appeal to keep his councilor job, but there is no precedent for local government councilors being successful in such appeals. However, there are many examples of city or county councilors being removed from their posts.
More than 10 city and county councilors have also been removed during the current term of office, she said, adding that on average 20 to 30 elected officials were removed in every term of office because they were found to have broken the law.
However, some DPP supporters have questioned why Chen Chih-chung was not given a chance to delay the imposition of his sentence or have it commuted to a fine, either of which would have allowed him to keep his post.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the law needs to be reviewed because Chen Chih-chung was deprived of his status as a councilor for committing a misdemeanor.
In response to a question, she said it was unlikely Chen Chih-chung, who is no longer a member of the DPP, could represent the party in January’s polls because the party has completed its legislative nomination process in Greater Kaohsiung.
DPP lawmakers also described the Executive Yuan’s action as “political persecution” by the KMT.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said both KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) and Independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) were able to serve jail terms without losing their eligibility as legislators.
Noting the quickness with which the Ministry of Interior issued a statement to say Chen Chih-chung would lose his council seat, just a few hours after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Wednesday, DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said: “While the post-Typhoon Morakot reconstruction remains far behind schedule, I’m amazed at the ministry’s efficiency in its handling of this case.”
“Without a doubt, this is political persecution that has created a social divide,” DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said. “Anyone can tell that the judiciary system has become a political tool in this case.”
Meanwhile, KMT caucus whip Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) urged the DPP to respect the judiciary and not to politicize the case.
A three-month jail sentence was too light a penalty for Chen Chih-chung, she said.
“Chen Chih-chung has shown his distain; he’s not ashamed of himself, but has sought to make the case political,” she said.
Executive Yuan spokesman Philip Yang (楊永明) said the Executive Yuan, upon receiving the court’s written verdict, would send official letters to Chen Chih-chung and Kaohsiung City Council to inform them that the younger Chen lost his position as of Wednesday.
“The Executive Yuan respects the independence of the judiciary and will act in accordance with law, which in this case the Local Government Act,” Yang said in response to a media inquiry.
Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 3
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday released a TV spot for her presidential election campaign that focuses on income disparity.
The 60-second television advertisement, titled “The distance between them,” features two young men who live in the same city, but lead dramatically different lives, with one riding a scooter and buying lottery tickets while the other drives a Mercedes-Benz and buys luxuries.
“The commercial tells people that the government should be responsible for a fair social system that allows citizens to enjoy the basic rights of daring to dream and living with happiness,” said Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), spokesperson for Tsai’s campaign office.
Cheng said that with an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent among young people and a housing price-annual income ratio of 16 — compared to 6.1 for New York City — young people feel that they have no future under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
Since Ma is running for re--election, the commercial highlights the hardships facing young people in urban areas and the growing poverty among the middle-class, she said.
Tsai’s economic policy, if she is elected, will focus on creating job opportunities and boosting domestic demand through an innovative local economy, Cheng said.
The TV spot is Tsai’s second official campaign ad.
In her first campaign ad, released early last month, Tsai trumpeted the slogan: “I’m Taiwanese,” which was strongly criticized by Ma’s campaign team and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who accused Tsai of inciting social division.
The administration and the KMT have recently criticized Tsai over her promise to cut the national deficit in half in four years and achieve a balanced budget in eight years if elected, saying she and the DPP were playing a numbers game by using “hidden debts.”
DPP spokesperson Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said the DPP would be able to save a large sum of money simply by completing public projects and programs for less than the KMT government has budgeted.
For example, the former KMT administration had budgeted NT$500 billion (US$17.3 billion), NT$400 billion and NT$150 billion for work on National Highway No. 3, the Datan Power Plant in Taoyuan County and a flood control project on the Keelung River in Taipei respectively. After the DPP took office in 2000, its administration was able to complete the highway job for NT$240 billion, the power plant for NT$110 billion and the river clean-up for NT$32 billion, he said.
“With those three projects alone, the DPP administration was able to save NT$668 billion from the central government’s budget,” Chuang said.
Saving money was a crucial first step in the DPP’s plan to achieve fiscal balance, which it almost achieved in 2007, falling short by about NT$10 billion, he said, saying that the situation worsened after Ma took office the following year.
Ma took a rare step by expanding public spending while offering tax cuts to counter stagnant economic growth, DPP spokesman Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) said.
“I don’t understand how you can achieve fiscal balance when you borrow more money and cut taxes at the same time,” he said, adding that the national debt had increased by NT$1.3 trillion during Ma’s three years in office.
As for Minister without Portfolio Yiin Chii-ming’s (尹啟銘) remark that the DPP had “fabricated” fiscal information by “hiding debt in public funds or government-controlled businesses,” DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said it was the KMT that had mastered the numbers game, adding that Yiin was “barking up the wrong tree” because some funds were “self-liquidated.”
If what Yiin said was correct, he should be able to explain why the debt balance of non-business revolving funds, which was not included in the national deficit, increased from NT$566.9 billion in 2007 to NT$716.5 billion last year, Chen said.
Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 3
A fair property tax system, public housing, development of rental housing and large-scale urban regeneration will be the four pillars of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) housing policy, the party said yesterday in the run-up to January’s presidential election.
In a press conference unveiling DPP Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) vision of how to deal with the housing problem — seen by many as one of the most urgent domestic issues — the DPP said it believed the proposed tax reforms would be able to stabilize Taiwan’s surging housing prices, while well-planned public housing projects would satisfy the demands of young and disadvantaged people.
Tsai has the ambitious goal of increasing the share of public housing in Taiwan to 10 percent, said former Council for Economic Planning and Development vice chairman Chang Ching-sen (張景森), one of the authors of the DPP’s housing policy.
Chang estimated the 10 percent goal represents 250,000 households in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).
Contrary to what the government has been doing in the past, public housing would not be sold to citizens, Chang said, adding that rental housing is the preferred option for most citizens so that affordable housing can be allocated to young people, the elderly and financially challenged households.
The new administration would be more likely to offer government subsidies for rental expenses, rather than mortgages, Chang said.
To do that, Tsai plans to launch large urban regeneration projects, which will be exclusively funded by the central government, to secure land that can be used for public housing, he said.
The much-discussed property transaction income tax is the other critical part of Tsai’s policy, which adheres to the view that a fair tax system can prevent people from making unreasonable profits through speculation on the property market, which is the case now in Taiwan, Chang said.
The tax reform would aim to establish a database of transparent property transaction records and terminate unreasonable tax categories, such as the land value increment tax as well as the luxury tax.
Hua Ching-chun (花敬群), a finance and banking professor at Hsuan Chuang University who is a member of Tsai’s policy-consulting panel, said that Taiwanese shoulder one of the heaviest burdens in the world in terms of housing prices.
“Why? Because the tax rates on property transaction and property ownership are among the lowest in the world, and that encourages speculation,” he said.
Tsai’s campaign does not encourage policies that would create asset bubbles to drive up economic growth, as the current administration is doing, he said.
In response, the Ministry of the Interior described Tsai’s social housing agenda as “impractical” and questioned its feasibility and necessity.
“[Tsai said] that 10 percent of all housing units should be dedicated to social housing. However, I think her idea is impractical,” Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) told a press conference.
“First of all, there are 8 million housing units in the entire country. Ten percent of that would be 800,000 units. If each unit costs NT$5 -million [US$172,000] to build, then the total budget would be NT$4 trillion,” Chien said. “Tsai didn’t clarify where the money would come from — is she going to raise taxes, or is she going to implement the policy on debt if elected?”
Chien said he doubted there was such a high demand for social housing.
“The demand for social housing is greatest in big cities like Taipei or New Taipei City, so do we really need so many social housing units?” he asked.
When reporters asked for the ministry’s estimates on demand for social housing, he said the ministry had yet to conduct a thorough survey on the question.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Government-sponsored seminars on cross-strait relations have been used as promotional tools to assist the KMT in the upcoming legislative elections, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said yesterday.
At least five seminars sponsored by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and organized by various universities were held at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters in Shueishang (水上) and Dalin (大林) townships in Chiayi, as well as Huwei (虎尾) and Beigang (北港) in Yunlin, DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said.
One of the seminars was held at the office of KMT Legislator Lin Yi-shi (林益世) in Gangshan (岡山), Greater Kaohsiung, she said, adding that KMT promotional material was distributed at the seminars.
“Why were such seminars held at party headquarters and the office of a specific candidate? The practice is a violation of administrative neutrality,” Chiu said.
The council must stop holding these seminars immediately, DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said, criticizing the executive branch for blatantly using -government resources for partisan interests.
The DPP would also report the case to the Control Yuan and the Agency Against Corruption, as it believes the council has used public funds to campaign for the KMT and is therefore guilty of bribery, Tsai said.
In his defense, Lin said the seminar was held in the parking lot next to his office and there was nothing wrong with him lending a hand to promote the council’s policy.
In a press release, the council said the seminars were -bipartisan events, adding that at least three seminars this year were held in cities under DPP control, with several DPP politicians in attendance.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday proposed decentralizing fiscal and political power to turn Taiwan into a multi-core nation with balanced regional development that would benefit the next generation.
The main theme of her policy on regional development is to “decompress” Taipei and the congested north and facilitate a “southward economy” that would benefit all Taiwanese, the DPP presidential candidate said in the second of a series of planned press conferences to unveil the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines.
“Taiwan’s export and industrial production-oriented economy has over the years resulted in disparity between urban and rural areas; the northern and southern regions; as well as the eastern and western parts of Taiwan — and it ultimately created income inequality,” she said.
The glaring and worrisome disparity between different regions was the reason Tsai has proposed that the government should not invest all its resources in Taipei and the north, where about a quarter of the nation’s population resides.
The DPP intends to make a dramatic turnaround on national development policy, differing from that of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九), which Tsai said only focused on northern Taiwan and neglected other regions.
The northern and southern parts of Taiwan are facing different problems, she said, adding that while residents in the Taipei area enjoy more social resources and job opportunities, they are forced to endure a below-average quality of life.
Lack of efficiency in government funding under the Ma administration also contributed to the unbalanced regional development, Tsai said.
Tsai proposed transforming Taipei by funding large-scale urban redevelopment programs.
Local governments’ political power and fiscal power should also be expanded, Tsai said, so that they are able to play a lead role in regional development.
The new policy plans to develop key cities along the high-speed rail line into regional hubs and deploy new government facilities, institutions, corporate headquarters and innovative industries in central and southern Taiwan, former vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chang -Ching-sen (張景森) said.
The DPP will also be looking for possibilities to reshape the administrative areas to promote -better regional development, such as merging Hsinchu county and city as well Chiayi county and city, Chang said.
The Ma administration has always focused on development in northern Taiwan and intentionally blocks major projects in the south, Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) said.
“Yunlin County and Chiayi County represent the largest source of agricultural produce in Taiwan, but we always feel like we are the bottom-ranked counties because we have not been treated fairly by the central government,” she said.
Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), a former Cabinet minister who is running for election in Greater Taichung, said central Taiwan “has been completely forgotten” by Ma and he proposed moving the legislature to Greater Taichung to “equalize” regional disparities and shift the center of power away from the capital.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff Reporter
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said the plan to acquire F-16C/D aircraft from the US remained unchanged and that improved cross-strait relations would not affect the government’s efforts to maintain the country’s national defense forces.
Ma said his administration would continue to ask the US to expedite the sale of F-16C/Ds and diesel-electric submarines, promising to build a “small, but strong” national defense force to safeguard the nation.
“We will not engage in a competition for military equipment with mainland China. The government will build the military as a small, but strong national defense force,” he said while presiding over an honors and award ceremony for top-level military officials at the Presidential Office.
Ma’s comments followed a news report that the US government had sent a delegation to Taiwan last week to deliver the news that Washington would not proceed with the sale of the 66 F-16C/D aircraft requested by Taipei, but that it would upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16A/Bs.
The Ministry of National Defense has denied the report by Defense News magazine, saying the government did not receive any such message from Washington.
Ma yesterday said the government was continuing with its plan to accumulate military equipment, and at the same time promote peaceful relations across the Strait to prevent any confrontation.
Ma reiterated what he referred to as “three lines of defense” for the nation, including the institutionalization of relations with China to seek reconciliation, improving the nation’s reputation and seeking international support, and strengthening Taiwan’s national defenses via diplomatic and national defense measures.
However, at a separate setting yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the US’ reported refusal to sell the F-16C/Ds was shocking news.
He singled out Ma as the one bearing “full responsibility for the failure.”
Saying that the former DPP administration had allocated a budget of about NT$16.6 billion (US$574 million) to purchase the F-16C/D fleet in 2007 afte the US had basically agreed to the sale, Tsai said Ma has no one else to blame but himself.
“The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT], led by Ma, who served as its chairman at the time, blocked the sale 69 times in the Legislative Yuan as Taiwan missed the best time for the procurement,” Tsai said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said the Ma administration knew that the US would eventually block the sale, but it has been using a stalling tactic by telling people that negotiations were still ongoing.
KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), on the other hand, said he believed no decision on the F-16C/Ds would be made until US Vice President Joe Biden returned to the US from his three-nation trip in Asia.
Lin also rebutted DPP lawmakers’ charges that the KMT was to be blamed for the opportunities lost to buy F-16C/Ds because of its opposition to the budget earmarked for the aircraft.
The KMT did not boycott the US$475 million and US$592 million written in the budget by the DPP administration in 2007 and 2008 respectively for the F-16C/Ds, Lin said.
“The money was returned to the Treasury at the end of those fiscal years because the request to buy the F-16C/Ds had yet to be approved by the US,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHRIS WANG AND SHIH HSIU-CHUAN
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday lost a lawsuit seeking to invalidate New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) elected status, citing the potential impact from a controversial shooting on election eve in November last year.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) won three of the five special municipality mayoral races on Nov. 27, just hours after KMT Central Committee member Sean Lien (連勝文) was shot at a campaign event.
The DPP alleged that the KMT campaign teams manipulated the shooting to their advantage and that this affected the fairness of the election.
The DPP filed three lawsuits against KMT mayors on Dec. 31.
The DPP’s Taipei mayoral candidate, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), filed a lawsuit with the Taipei District Court against Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), while Tsai, the DPP candidate in New Taipei City (新北市), filed a suit with the Shilin District Court against Chu, and Greater Taichung DPP candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) filed with the Taichung District Court against Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).
The Taipei and Taichung district courts have yet to hear the cases.
In its ruling yesterday, the Shilin District Court said there was insufficient evidence to show that the shooting of Lien was a result of manipulation by the KMT and that the incident had affected the election result.
Lien, one of former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) sons, was shot in the face while participating at an election-eve rally for Chen Hung-yuan (陳鴻源), a KMT councilor candidate in New Taipei City (新北市).
The shooting led to an outpouring of sympathy votes for ruling party candidates the next day, DPP lawmakers said after the incident.
After the ruling, the DPP lamented what it called the court’s inability to get to the bottom of the story.
“We regret the ruling. The DPP filed the lawsuit with the aim of finding the truth behind the shooting incident to offer the victim an explanation,” DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
The initial investigation and trial showed the shooting incident was exaggerated by some people, Chen said.
“However, it’s a pity that the court failed to find out the truth,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHRIS WANG
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and China should understand that Taiwanese deserve more than one option when determining their future, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
“Both sides of the Taiwan Strait should think about how to discuss the future by establishing a platform on a shared basis,” the DPP presidential candidate said in defense of her China policy, which has been questioned by the KMT as well as some DPP members, and is seen by some supporters as “ambiguous.”
Her campaign office and the DPP have devoted a lot of time and effort to explain her China policy to the public, she said.
“Those who described it as ‘hollow’ and ‘ambiguous’ are the people who insist on conventional deliberation,” she said.
Tsai unveiled the central theme of her China policy in late February, using the Chinese phrase he er butong, he er qiu tong (和而不同, 和而求同), which translates as “reserving the right to disagree in seeking harmony, seeking agreement in a spirit of conciliation.”
However, the campaign office of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election in January, urged Tsai to “clarify” her views further.
The policy sounds ambiguous to the KMT because the party has “refused to deliberate on or accept different views [about Taiwan’s China policy],” Tsai said, adding that the KMT and China both limit Taiwanese to one option when determining Taiwan’s future.
For example, Ma and China both say that there would be no further development of cross-strait relations without recognition of the so-called “1992 consensus.”
“Does it exist in the first place? If you want people to recognize something that does not even exist, you have to at least come up with something that makes sense and is understandable,” she said.
The biggest problem for the KMT, she said, is that “the party refuses to accept that people have the right to hold different opinions and values and refuses to accept the fact that half of the population holds different views [on cross-strait -relations] from the party.”
China also needs to understand that Taiwanese have different expectations of cross-strait relations than the Chinese, she said.
Tsai highlighted “peace” and “stability” as the essential goals of her China policy and urged people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to “think about what the best direction for cross-strait engagement would be to benefit both sides.”
The press conference was the first of four press conferences planned to unveil the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines, which cover a wide range of issues. Tsai is expected to discuss her China policy in detail in one of three remaining press conferences.