Monday, December 31, 2012

DPP lost, aimless: Koo Kwang-ming

TOUGH LOVE:The independence activist said he had bit his tongue since the party lost the elections, but now had to break his silence as it had failed to learn from its defeat
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has yet to figure out why it lost this year’s presidential election and remains directionless almost one year later, independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said yesterday.

Koo, one of the most vocal heavyweights in the pro-independence camp, expressed his disappointment with the party in a speech delivered at an event organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

Students, workers to stage new year rallies

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Dec 31, 2012 - Page 3

Hundreds of university students and workers are to “celebrate” New Year’s Eve today in Taipei by protesting against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration as others participate in year-end festivities and countdowns.

Members and supporters of the Youth Alliance Against Media Monsters are planning to stage an overnight sit-in protest today at Liberty Square to urge the government to reject the controversial Next Media Group deal.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Su backs student protest against media monopoly

COME TOGETHER:The DPP chairman also urged KMT lawmakers to stop blocking DPP proposals to amend regulations aimed at preventing monopolies
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said he supported a planned sit-in protest against media monopoly in Taipei on New Year’s Eve by university students.

Su also urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) not to block the DPP legislative caucus’ proposal to amend three legislations on media regulation, which is aimed at preventing media monopoly.

DPP blasts Ma’s ‘non-state’ comment

NON-EXISTENT:Another opposition party said that Ma Ying-jeou has disqualified himself as head of state because he does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The pan-green camp yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of undermining the nation’s sovereignty by describing cross-strait ties as “non-state-to-state” relations and staying silent on China’s controversial new passports.

On Wednesday, China’s Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) dismissed Taiwan’s protest over the inclusion of several tourists attractions in Taiwan on new Chinese passports as “invalid” and said that only “pro-independence activists” had made a “fuss” over the matter.

Friday, December 28, 2012

EDITORIAL: Lawmakers spoil legislature’s image

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - Page 8

If we assume that Taiwanese legislators — who are already notorious for fighting in the legislature — know what should be said and done in the Legislative Yuan by now, then comments made during Wednesday’s session are disappointing.

The comments in question are not those made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who posed questions in English to Taiwan’s Representative to the US, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), and asked him to answer in English during a session of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

Economy needs innovative ‘wings’: Tsai

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan needs a pair of wings to lift its economy and emerge from its current economic stagnation, and improvements to local economies and value-added innovation would serve as those wings, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

The development of local economies with a range of characteristics and job creation potential as well as industrial competitiveness coming from value-added innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial for the creation of a new driving force for the economy, Tsai wrote on her Facebook page.

DPP legislators berate Executive Yuan for its part-time employment practices

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The central government is the largest employer of part-time workers and it has implemented measures to nominally reduce the number of part-time employees to avoid criticism, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

“The government should be ashamed of the fact that it employed 10,836 part-time workers as of the end of the third quarter and is now the largest employer of part-time workers in the country,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hsieh’s cross-strait forum still in ‘primitive stages’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) office said yesterday that Hsieh’s plan to organize a cross-strait forum next year was still in the “primitive stages.”

The Chinese-language China Review New Web site yesterday reported that Hsieh’s Taiwan Reform Foundation would organize a forum for academics across the Taiwan Strait in March next year and that he would visit China again in April.

DPP moves ahead with Jan. 13 protest plans

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it has begun mobilizing for a planned protest against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration on Jan. 13, even as it reiterated its demand for a Cabinet reshuffle, the Next Media deal to be rejected and a national affairs conference to be held.

“We have made the appeals so many times that our tongues are tired, but the president will not listen. That is why we are organizing this protest for the people to have their voices heard and to express their fury at the government’s poor performance,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

King grilled on US, sexual orientation

TONGUE LASHING::Lawmakers interrogated the US representative on everything from his knowledge of key players in Washington to his sexual orientation
By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - Page 1

In his first appearance at the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday, Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) was confronted by lawmakers who seemed more interested in his sexual orientation than on the future of US-Taiwan relations, which many saw as a missed opportunity to discuss the state of relations with the nation’s main ally.

King, who assumed his duties in Washington on Dec. 1, was presenting a report on the prospects for US-Taiwan relations.

At the meeting, questions posed to King, a long-term right-hand man of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), were more focused on his role in shaping the Ma administration’s policies and his partisan character than on US-Taiwan relations.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Legislator points finger over military promotions

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) yesterday said she suspected President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had favored individuals with close personal ties to him in the latest round of military promotions, citing Wang Hsuan-chou (汪旋周), chief aide-de-camp to the president, as one of four brigadier generals promoted to the rank of major general.

“The promotions, in particular Wang’s, appear to be Ma’s attempt to reward his confidants, but they will cost taxpayers a lot of money,” Yeh told a press conference.

Poll gives Cabinet officials thumbs down

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Approval ratings for three Cabinet officials in charge of economic affairs failed to reach double digits and more than 40 percent of respondents said they should be removed from office, a public opinion poll showed yesterday.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) received an approval rate of just 9 percent, but that was still higher than Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford’s (張盛和) 7.9 percent and Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiing Chii-ming’s (尹啟銘) 6 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Indicators Research Survey.

DPP and TSU to propose constitution committee

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucuses yesterday said they plan to jointly propose establishing a Constitution Amendment Committee in the next legislative session.

“Amending the Constitution would be the most important task for politicians of our time, as the Constitution is the root of all Taiwan’s problems,” DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Citizen journalists want rights

CITIZEN PAIN:Civic and citizen journalist groups slammed rules barring them from legislative sessions and demanded that their rights be upheld
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A group of citizen journalists yesterday demanded that the legislature uphold the Constitution by recognizing citizen journalism and allowing the public to attend legislative sessions after their attempt to cover legislative affairs was rejected.

As the nation’s top legislative body, the legislature should not violate the Constitution by barring citizen journalists and legislation session visits, several citizen journalists and dozens of representatives from civic groups said during their protest in front of the legislature in Taipei which coincided with Constitution Day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lawmaker lashes out at state firms’ bonus policy

UNFAIR DISTRIBUTION:A legislator said the bonuses that state firm workers get are almost equal to a year’s pay for about 850,000 private-sector employees
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A lawmaker yesterday accused state-owned companies of distributing high year-end bonuses regardless of the companies’ performance.

Employees of state-owned enterprises — such as CPC Corp, Taiwan, Taiwan Power (Taipower) and Taiwan Sugar — often received a year-end bonus of up to 4.6 months of salary regardless of how the companies performed during the year, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said.

Ma failed on economy, reshuffle needed: DPP

SENSELESS:The party said that Ma’s ‘sensible economy’ measures had failed to improve livelihoods, with growth anemic and unemployment the highest among the ‘Tigers’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gave President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) an “F” on his year-end economic scorecard yesterday, urging people to hit the streets to voice their anger and demanding Ma reshuffle his Cabinet.

“Ma has bounced another check that promised to make a ‘sensible’ economic recovery in three months. The President and his Cabinet have flunked in their economic performances,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pro-China stance risks Japan ties: Koh

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The man likely to become the new prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, could turn out to be Taiwan’s biggest enemy if Taipei chooses to maintain the pro-China stance it has adopted under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, former representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (許世楷) said yesterday.

Known for his friendliness toward Taiwan, Abe has also been aware of Taipei’s gradual tilting toward Beijing, which poses a strategic threat to Japan, Koh said at the launch of his new book yesterday.

Ma’s policies out of touch with public: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said the conditional approval of a controversial resort development and the carrying out of six executions on Friday showed that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is not communicating with the public, nor implementing well considered policy.

The construction of Miramar Resort Village at Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) gained conditional approval from a seventh Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) meeting on Saturday, despite heated debate over the legitimacy of the project and the EIA meeting.

People pessimistic and unhappy with Ma: poll

NOWHERE TO TURN::Despite leading the KMT in approval ratings, dissatisfaction with Ma did not translate into support for the DPP, with only 30.7% saying they supported the party
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Dec 24, 2012 - Page 1

Most Taiwanese are unhappy with almost every aspect of the nation and are pessimistic about the future, as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) remains highly unpopular, an opinion poll shows.

The year-end survey, conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank between Wednesday and Friday, polled people on a wide range of topics and the results reflected the “collective anxiety and pessimism” of Taiwanese, Citizen Congress Watch executive director Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華) told a press conference yesterday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Editorial: Taiwanese call for help

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 - Page 8

It has been a long time since the Taiwanese public and the opposition parties came out in force and called for attention and assistance from the international community to improve the nation’s human rights and political situation.

The last time it happened was during the 1970s and 1980s, the latter part of the White Terror era when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government cracked down on all opposition and imprisoned political dissidents. Taiwanese had no choice but to reach out to foreigners, including human rights advocates, lawmakers, journalists and various organizations, hoping that their influential voices would put pressure on the authoritarian regime.

People assume those days are long gone because Taiwan has built connections with the international community through the power of globalization, as well as the means enabled by improved communication technology.

DPP urges lowering voting age, longer poll times to guarantee right to vote

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday proposed extending polling times, making election day a national holiday and lowering the minimum voting age from 20 to 18, citing the just concluded South Korean presidential election as an example of the importance of having a vibrant electoral process.

“Voting rights are protected by the Constitution. However, election laws and regulations have kept many people, blue-collar workers in particular, from voting,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

TSU to promote bid for participation as ‘Taiwan’ in UNFCCC

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said it would promote a bid for Taiwan to participate in the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under its sovereign name with the collaboration of civic groups.

“President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pro-China position and his shelving of Taiwan’s sovereignty have resulted in people being confused about Taiwan’s sovereign status, which is why this initiative is imperative,” TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a press conference.

DPP congratulates South Korea’s Park on election

PRIME EXAMPLE:Party heavyweights praised the country’s advances in transitional justice and said that this and its democratic fervor made it a good example for Taiwan
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday congratulated South Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye for her victory in the presidential election on Wednesday and expressed admiration for South Koreans’ passion for their country and democracy.

The high voter turnout showed South Koreans’ passion and concern for their country’s future, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, adding that the behavior of the rival camps during the campaign was a good example of democracy.

“It appears that North Korea is no longer a major influence on South Korea’s elections.

Cities, counties urge fair budgets

SPECIAL:Commissioner Helen Chang said the special municipalities would be given 5.07 times more debt capacity than other cities if a Public Debt Act amendment passed
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Commissioners and mayors of seven cities and counties yesterday signed a joint letter demanding that the central government adjust its loan capacity structure and debt ceiling limits so that local governments can avoid potential bankruptcy, amid a proposed amendment to the Public Debt Act (公共債務法).

Led by Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠), the seven cities and counties urged the central government to increase the debt limit for 16 cities and counties, excluding the five special municipalities, from 1.43 percent of the average GDP of the previous three years, to 2.63 percent.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DPP legislators call for suspension of Transglobe merger

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus is set to propose suspending Transglobe Life Insurance Inc’s merger with Kuo Hua Life Insurance Co tomorrow in the legislature, because it says the company’s operations and the actions of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) are both questionable.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference that Transglobe’s winning of the auction for the insolvent Kuo Hua with a bid of NT$88.37 billion (US$3 billion) on Nov. 27 posed many questions that need to be answered.

Minister urged to explain meeting Lee Chao-ching

COLLUSION?:Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu has denied a ‘Next Magazine’ report he met the former Nantou County commissioner the day he was implicated in a graft case

By Chris Wang and Rich Chang  /  Staff reporters

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 - Page 3
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday demanded that Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) explain allegations that he met with former Nantou County commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) on the day Lee was implicated in a graft case, and said he should step down if the reports are true.

In an article yesterday, the Chinese-language Next Magazine said that Tseng met Lee, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), in Nantou on Nov. 20, the same day the director of the county government’s public works department, Huang Jung-te (黃榮德), implicated Lee in a corruption case.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DPP calls for SEF head to quit over Chinese passports

AGAINST THE TREND:Lin Join-sane invoked the DPP’s wrath by saying China assured him maps showing Taiwan as its territory were just ‘trendy’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that it was “furious and shocked” to learn of remarks Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) had made about China’s controversial passports and demanded Lin step down for his inappropriate comments.

Lin on Monday said he had expressed Taiwan’s concerns on the passports, which show areas Beijing has no jurisdiction over — including Taiwan — as part of China’s territory, in his recent meeting with Beijing officials in China.

Tourism industry urges action on Suhua Highway

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Members of the tourism industry in eastern Taiwan yesterday called for immediate action by the government to improve the transportation situation and relieve their imminent loss of business from the closure of the Suhua Highway.

A section of the Suhua Highway between Suao (蘇澳) and Tongao (東澳) was closed on Saturday after a road collapsed because of heavy rain, resulting in mass cancellations of hotel reservations for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Legislator warns against academic ghostwriting

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
A growing number of companies are offering to ghostwrite dissertations for graduate students, PhD candidates and professors, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said yesterday, describing the practice as potentially harmful to education in Taiwan.
Huang told a press conference that his office found at least eight companies on the Internet providing ghostwriting services to academics.

The ghostwriters charge about NT$70,000 for a master’s thesis or a thesis for publication in periodicals; more than NT$100,000 for a National Science Council (NSC) report; NT$350,000 for a thesis at Science Citation Index or Social Sciences Citation Index level; and more than NT$400,000 for a doctoral dissertation, Huang said.

Military sorry over tank death

SAFETY ISSUE:A DPP lawmaker said that three accidents involving M60A3 tanks — in 2003, 2005 and in June — were all related to brake system failure

By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

The military yesterday apologized for an accident on Monday evening in which one marine was killed and four injured when they were run over by a tank, saying the tank driver might not have seen the soldiers on the roadside because of low visibility.

The accident occurred at the 66th Marine Brigade base in Hukou Township (湖口), Hsinchu County.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

US rights advocate Cohen visits former president

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Dec 18, 2012 - Page 1

Jerome Cohen, a law professor at New York University and human rights advocate, yesterday visited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at a hospital in Taipei and was said to be planning to establish a committee to review Chen’s human rights.

It was the first time Cohen had met Chen since the former president was imprisoned for corruption.

During a 60-minute conversation Chen was eloquent despite speaking weakly, Cohen, 82, told reporters outside the Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday morning.

DPP announces candidate for by-election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced its nomination of Greater Taichung Councilor Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱) as its candidate in the Jan. 26 legislative by-election.

Chen will be running against Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) to fill a position in the second electoral district of Greater Taichung left vacant by Yen’s father, Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), a former Non-Partisan Solidarity Union legislator who was found guilty of corruption.

TSU urges government to deport TAO official for misstating travel purposes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A senior Chinese official in charge of Taiwan affairs should be deported for practices inconsistent with his travel purposes and his pro-unification comments, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

Sun Yafu (孫亞夫), deputy director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), visited Taiwan to attend a forum on cross-strait issues held on Monday and Tuesday last week, but has been allowed to stay until Tuesday next week, TSU caucus whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference.

Former councilors found guilty of slandering Hsieh

PLAYING DIRTY:Former DPP premier Frank Hsieh filed the lawsuit against the councilors after they said Hsieh had asked them to release a secret audiotape
By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung City councilors Chen Chun-sheng (陳春生) and Lin Hung-ming (林宏明) yesterday were convicted in a final ruling by the Supreme Court for slandering former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) during the 2008 presidential election.

In 1998, Chen released an audiotape suggesting that Hsieh’s rival in the Kaohsiung mayoral election at the time, now Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who was seeking re-election as mayor, had had an affair with a female reporter.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chen’s trial unfair, FAHR mission says

SEEKING TRUTH::A Taiwanese rights group conducted a probe into the ex-president’s trial and incarceration which concluded that his judicial process had been compromised
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - Page 3

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not receive a fair trial and could be seen as a de facto political prisoner, a fact-finding mission sent by a Taiwanese-American organization concluded in its preliminary findings after a two-week investigation in Taiwan.

The way Chen, who is serving an 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption and is currently in hospital receiving medical treatment for various ailments, has been treated in prison and the way his trial was handled have not been seen even in some dictatorships, the two-member mission told the Taipei Times in an interview.

DPP holds second anti-Ma rally

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday staged the second and third demonstrations in its 10-rally campaign in Taoyuan County’s Jhongli City (中壢) and Greater Taichung to protest the poor performance of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration demanding the president apologize and calling for a Cabinet reshuffle.

The DPP launched a one-month campaign titled “Fury” (火大) to express its anger over what it perceives as the Ma government’s incompetence. The first rally was held at Longshan Temple in Taipei on Saturday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Editorial: Debate reveals cross-strait issues

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 - Page 8

It might be difficult for most Taiwanese, in particular those with a strong Taiwanese identity, to hear Chinese academics and officials preaching Beijing’s rhetoric and ideology. However, such moments could also be good opportunities for Taiwanese to ponder the fundamental issues of cross-strait relations.

One of those moments occurred at the recent Taipei Forum, organized by the pro-unification Chinese Integration Association, with more than 150 academics from the pan-blue and pan-green camps and China participating.

DPP calls on KMT to take action against corruption

FIGHTING FIRE:The DPP also unveiled the title of a series of rallies which are to be held before a mass demonstration to protest the Ma administration
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should take responsibility for cases of vote-buying during elections involving KMT members and for the negative impact political corruption has had on Taiwan’s democracy, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The KMT was slapped with a fine of NT$45 million (US$1.55 million) last year and the vote-buying cases in which KMT members were involved accounted for 57 of the total of 68 cases — or 84 percent — reported to the Central Election Commission, according to a report given to the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DPP planning 10 local rallies from Saturday

BY-ELECTION:The DPP will also hold a public poll that will form the basis of its decision on who would represent the party in Taichung’s poll on Jan. 26
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is organizing up to 10 local rallies beginning on Saturday, as a warm-up to a massive protest planned for next month, and is to announce its candidate for a legislative by-election on Monday, the party said yesterday.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after the party’s Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting that the first rally would be held at Longshan Temple in Taipei on Saturday.

DPP rejects anti-shoe-thrower remarks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) has shown a lack of democratic values and arrogance in her criticism of a man who threw a shoe at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in protest, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

Lung yesterday described as “bullying” the behavior of some protesters, who threw shoes and bags at Ma when he addressed a commemoration event for White Terror victims at the Jingmei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park in New Taipei City (新北市) on Monday.

Labor, environment not sacrificial tools for progress: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The National Conference on Industrial Development that concluded on Tuesday proposed sacrificing the rights of local workers and the environment for the sake of corporate gains and failed to lay out a vision for the nation’s industrial transformation, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

“We did not see any vision in its final report. What’s worse, the government appears ready to sacrifice local workers and the environment to benefit corporations, which is what no other advanced economies would do,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Awards or concert, Beijing has hidden agenda, TSU says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday condemned the government’s conditional approval of a Chinese event to be held at the end of this month in Taipei and said it would mobilize people to protest during the concert.

An interagency meeting gave the go-ahead on Tuesday for the controversial Chinese Music Chart Awards (中國歌曲排行榜), to be held on Dec. 29, although it will be limited to performances only, with no awards ceremony permitted, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said.

Radar tracks North Korea rocket: MND

EYE ON SKY::The Ministry of National Defense said the powerful EWR in Hsinchu came online on Tuesday, the first confirmation that the billion-dollar system is active
By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter, with CNA
Thu, Dec 13, 2012 - Page 1

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday for the first time publicly confirmed that its US$1.3 billion long-range early-warning radar (EWR) system in Hsinchu was operational and said it had tracked a highly controversial rocket launch shortly after it blasted off in North Korea.

In a statement, the ministry said it closely monitored the launch and that the rocket’s flight did not pose any threat to national security.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ministry fund all going to mogul: legislators

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Show business producer Wang Wei-chung laughs during the final of the Super Copy King variety contest TV show on Aug. 5.
Photo: Sean Chao, Taipei Times

Opposition lawmakers yesterday accused the Ministry of Culture of disproportionately allocating money from its creative industry investment fund to projects in which show business mogul Wang Wei-chung (王偉忠) is involved.

Wang, one of the most influential agents and producers in the nation’s entertainment industry, received at least NT$83 million (US$2.85 million) of the National Development Fund’s (NDF) total investment of NT$300 million in the industry for his projects, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a joint press conference.

Policy on fallow land use needs revamp: legislators

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If the Council of Agriculture (COA) fails to develop a sophisticated program for utlilizing fallow land, its well-intentioned policy could end up destroying Taiwan’s agricultural sector, opposition legislators said yesterday.

“The coucil’s policy to utilize fallow land across the country, which aims to rejuvenate the agricultural sector, is commendable, but is undermined by its lack of policy deliberation,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Talk of Kaohsiung’s debt unfair and political: DPP

‘NUMBERS GAME’:Lawmakers said the debt came from unfair allocation of subsidies from the central government, which was using it to divert attention from its own debt
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The central government’s repeated highlighting of Greater Kaohsiung as the city with the highest debts was unfair and likely politically motivated, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

“We suspect that the government and the media have intentionally emphasized Kaohsiung’s debts to shift the focus from the central government’s skyrocketing debts,” DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), who represents a Kaohsiung constituency, told a press conference.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TSU to protest at Chinese award ceremony review

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday criticized what it said was the opaqueness of the review process of a Chinese event planned to be held in Taipei and said it would stage a protest at a third reviewing meeting today.

Controversy over the Chinese Music Chart Awards (中國歌曲排行榜) arose after the Chinese organizers unilaterally announced the event would be held in Taipei on Dec. 29, despite not having received approval from the Taiwanese government.

Activists urge focus on China rights violations

REFORM:Democracy advocates like Wang Dan called for support for Liu Xiaobo and the more than 4,000 people who have been locked up without a proper trial in China
By Loa Iok-sin and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

Human rights advocates urged the government and the public to show more concern to human rights violations in China, saying that only when China is genuinely democratized can an authentic peaceful relationship be maintained across the Taiwan Strait.

As the government organized various events to mark International Human Rights Day yesterday, several human rights advocacy groups called on the government to show its concern over imprisoned Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) — as well the more than 4,000 people jailed without proper trial in China.

TSU caucus to propose inviting the Dalai Lama

RESOLUTION:The party is to propose a legislative motion demanding the government officially condemn Beijing’s brutal oppression of Tibetans
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said its caucus would put forth a proposal in the legislature today to invite exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan after the government refused to grant him a visa last month.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration denied the Dalai Lama a visa to speak at the Asia-Pacific regional conference of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, saying the timing was not “opportune.”

Ma rates low on policies, human rights

DISSATISFACTION:From rights protection to utility rate hikes, pension reform and corruption, over 60 percent of the public voiced their disapproval, two surveys show
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A majority of Taiwanese are unhappy with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policies and how his administration has handled human rights development, public opinion polls released yesterday on International Human Rights Day showed.

Almost two in three respondents, or 62.3 percent, were not satisfied with his administration’s protection of human rights, with only 31.1 percent giving Ma positive reviews on the issue, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, told a press conference.

Erosion of rights requires international attention: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The erosion of human rights under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, in particular regarding the judiciary and media, has placed Taiwan’s proud democracy in jeopardy and requires attention from the international community, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“The worsening situation of media development and judicial bias, along with the increasing impact of the ‘China factor,’ have all been serious threats to democracy in Taiwan. We call for the international community’s attention on the ongoing democratic crisis in Taiwan,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told an international press conference called on Human Rights Day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

DPP set to attend forum with Chinese officials in Taipei

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and pan-green camp academics are to attend a two-day forum on cross-strait relations today, with a senior Chinese official responsible for Taiwan affairs also due to attend.

The party will have its first opportunity to engage in face-to-face communication with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials at the forum in Taipei.

Ma backsliding on rights: DPP

MA’S FLAWS:The party will address what it says are Ma’s many failings on human rights in an international press conference it will hold today, which is Human Rights Day
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to highlight what it says is the serious backsliding on human rights under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration in an international press conference today, which is Human Rights Day.

DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the party had decided to call the press conference because of Ma’s inaction and inappropriate practices on a wide range of issues, which have led to the erosion of human rights during his presidency.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Editorial: Taiwanese owe a debt to protesters

Fri, Dec 07, 2012 - Page 8

Putting aside the heated discussion over student protesters’ attendance and courtesy (or lack thereof) at a legislative meeting for a moment, Taiwanese, regardless of political affiliation, should feel happy with what appears to be a new student movement in the making. This is because what the students are fighting for is not political ideology, but fairness, justice and a brighter future for this nation — the same goals as many student movements before them.

Student activism in Taiwan blossomed at a relatively late stage, with the most notable example being the Wild Lily movement of the 1990s. Before that, students were encouraged to focus only on their studies rather than on what was happening around them. The last thing that students or their parents wanted was to tangle with the then-authoritarian regime, which during the White Terror era could cost them their lives or see them jailed for years.

Chen not setting up new party: family

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The family and friends of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday denied a media report saying he had instructed his followers, known as the One Side, One Country Alliance (OSOCA, 一邊一國連線), to set up a new political party.

The Chinese-language China Times yesterday reported that Chen, who is serving an 18-and-a-half year prison sentence for corruption and is currently in hospital being treated for various ailments, told visiting friends on Monday that he was not happy with the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) efforts to get him medical parole and that “the time is ripe” for establishing a party.

DPP urges parliamentary reform

ENGAGING:As the government received its mandate from the public, it would be ‘ridiculous’ to prohibit the public from entering the legislature, a DPP legislator said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday called for the Legislative Yuan and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to immediately engage in reform which would empower the legislature with the right to investigate and to hold legally binding hearings.

In the wake of controversies surrounding students’ attendance at a legislative session, the lawmakers urged the legislature to ensure citizens’ right to attend all legislative meetings.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Taipei leads the nation in erroneous traffic tickets

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taipei leads the country with more than 46 percent of the nation’s invalid traffic tickets issued by the Taipei police, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus said yesterday.

The errors came in all sorts of “ridiculous” forms, such as fining a nine-year-old boy for drunk driving, citing a driver for speeding at more than 1,000kph and fining a motorcyclist for not wearing a seat belt, TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference.

Economic zone may open door to China: lawmaker

IN THE BACK DOOR:The legislator said firms and workers from China could swarm Taiwan due to the financial perks of the zone, hurting local industries
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A free economic zone which the government said would be established to facilitate participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could serve as a “backdoor” for Beijing that may harm Taiwan’s economy, a lawmaker said yesterday.

“The zone could be flooded by Chinese white-collar workers, investment and products if the current design of the Council for Economic and Planning Development’s (CEPD) plan is adopted,” Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

Hsieh OK with not being DPP’s China head

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) reiterated yesterday that he did not hold a grudge against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) for not appointing him to head the party’s China Affairs Committee (CAC).

At a question-and-answer session after giving a speech to about 200 students at Shih Hsin University, the former premier said that although he and Su had different visions for the committee — Hsieh thinks it should be a decisionmaking body for the DPP’s China policy and Su thinks it should serve as a communication platform — “I agreed with [Su’s] decision of doubling as the CAC convener because it would be less controversial.”

DPP to hold series of protest rallies

SILENT ON SUFFERING::The DPP said that while people lament their poverty, the Ma administration has instead focused on whether to pay bonuses to public-sector retirees
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Dec 06, 2012 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday it would hold a series of rallies this month and stage a mass protest next month against the “inaction and incompetence” of the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and to let the voice of the people be heard.

“The DPP’s Central Standing Committee has passed a resolution to hold a series of events with the theme: ‘Needed: livelihood, democracy and reform,’” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after the committee meeting yesterday.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

DPP’s passport stickers to show Taiwan, not China

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

In response to what it called the government’s inaction over Beijing’s recent move to include Taiwan as part of its territory in its new passports, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday issued passport stickers as a countermeasure to highlight Taiwan’s sovereignty.

“We would like to let the international community know that Taiwan is not part of China,” DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said.

DPP plans mass action against Ma’s inaction on a range of national affairs

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it is planning an international press conference and mass protest in front of the Presidential Office in response to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inaction on a wide range of national issues.

The party is scheduled to call an international press conference on Monday, which is International Human Rights Day, to address its serious concerns over the erosion of human rights during Ma’s presidency, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said.

DPP lawmakers defend students’ rights

STANDING UP::Yeh Yi-jin said the public should appreciate the students’ courage, adding that their criticism certainly did not amount to ‘contempt of the legislature’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Dec 05, 2012 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday maintained that students have every right to attend meetings of legislative committees and expressed concern over one media outlet’s criticism of students’ behavior toward the education minister on Monday.

The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday dedicated its front page and another full page to criticism of a group of university students — who, on a visit to a legislative committee meeting, had told Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) to his face that he was not qualified for the job — and DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) for turning the committee meeting into a “private courtroom” for the students to “grill” Chiang.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

KMT split on bonuses represents a crisis: DPP

NO CONFIDENCE:The opposition panned the KMT caucus for going against the premier’s plan despite support from Ma and the bonuses’ lack of legal basis
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reaffirmed its support for Premier Sean Chen’s plan on year-end bonuses and said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ refusal to support Chen was a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet.

The DPP said it supported Chen’s plan to cut 90 percent of the original budget allocation for the bonuses of retired civil servants and public workers, which would bring down the cost to less than 10 percent of the original NT$20.2 billion (US$690 million) budget.

Activists look back on start of FAPA

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pioneering democracy activists yesterday reminisced about the establishment and the achievements of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) ahead of its 30th anniversary and said the organization’s main goal would be safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty.

“In terms of diplomacy and protection of human rights in Taiwan, the association has done more in the past 30 years than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration has,” former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) and former foreign minister Mark Chen (陳唐山), FAPA’s first and second presidents, told a press conference.

Music event to go ahead, TSU says

FALSE NOTE:A legislator said the party considered the way the Chinese event divided awards into two groups unacceptable and that it belittled Taiwan’s sovereignty
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration will conditionally approve a controversial Chinese music event to be held in Taipei as a result of a consensus reached in the so-called “Chinese Nationalist Party-Chinese Communist Party (KMT-CCP) platform,” the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus said yesterday, citing unnamed sources.

“Sources told us that everything had already been worked out in the KMT-CCP platform beforehand and the government is set to conditionally approve the event’s application,” TSU whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference.

Tsai calls on Ma to focus on nation

REFOCUS:The DPP heavyweight said that the president needs to stop thinking about his legacy and shape his mandate around the best interests of the nation instead
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should focus on what he can do to better serve the country instead of worrying about his presidential legacy all the time, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in an interview released yesterday.

The former DPP presidential candidate made the comments in an interview with EraTV’s Face News, which was recorded last week and aired last night.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Tsai speaks out on music awards row

STRIKING THE WRONG NOTEThe former DPP chairperson said President Ma Ying-jeou has failed to resist China’s forceful drive to suppress Taiwan since he took office
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

People should pay heed to China’s disregard of Taiwan’s sovereignty and government over a wide range of issues, former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

Tsai’s comments were directed at a unilateral announcement on Thursday by organizers of the Chinese Music Chart Awards (中國歌曲排行榜) that this year’s event would be held in Taipei, despite not having received official approval from the Taiwanese government.

Academics protest over MOE e-mail

CONCERNING ‘CONCERN’:The university professors say the ministry’s reaction to recent student protests represented a views held during the White Terror era
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Dozens of university professors yesterday launched a petition to protest against the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) “concern” for student protesters, demanding the ministry apologize for its implicated threats to student activists.

Representatives of the 36 university professors who signed the petition expressed grave concerns at a press conference over “the re-emergence of the White Terror” embodied in an e-mail from the ministry, which asked universities to “show concern” for students taking part in anti-media monopoly protests last week.

DPP legislator to support Sean Chen on bonus plan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) has announced that she plans to support Premier Sean Chen’s plan on year-end bonuses for retired civil servants and public workers today.

Most Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers oppose Chen’s plan, which would cut 90 percent of the original budget allocation for the bonuses to quell the public outrage that has arisen against the bonuses in light of the nation’s financial situation.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

TSU questions volunteer armed forces readiness

WEAKNESS IN NUMBERS:By the end of October only 8,684 volunteers for military service had been recruited, a mere 57 percent of the total target figure of 15,311
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislators yesterday questioned the readiness of the nation’s all-volunteer military, saying the Ministry of National Defense had failed to recruit sufficient service personnel and that increasing the military budget would likely prove difficult.

The scrapping of conscription, which is scheduled for implementation in 2015, has faced many different challenges, including inadequate funding and low recruitment rates, which could make it difficult to build a potent combat force, lawmakers told a press conference.

Lu set to open women’s conference

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is set to open the 2012 International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference today in Taipei.

Lu, founding president of BPW Taiwan, said yesterday that the conference with the theme “Empowered Women Leading Business and the Green Economy” marks a step in Taiwan’s international participation.

DPP delegation to visit US as part of ‘party diplomacy’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) delegation is scheduled to visit the US this month as part of its “party diplomacy” effort, the party said yesterday.

The delegation, which includes DPP Representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Department of International Affairs Director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), former National Security Council deputy secretary-general Antonio Chiang (江春男) and former deputy representative to the US David Huang (黃偉峰) is scheduled to visit Washington on Monday.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Editorial: Taiwan’s lack of self-confidence

In the late 1990s, the Chinese Basketball Alliance — the only Taiwanese professional basketball league to date — engaged in heated debates toward the end of each season about how to give out the Most Valuable Player award and the selection of the league’s best five players. The reason was simple: If the league did not set any restrictions on the awards, the MVP would have been a foreign player who posted Shaquille O’Neal-esque numbers and the best five players might also have been foreign players.

All the awards going to foreign players was not going to cut it in a Taiwanese league, the league management figured, which was why imported players were ruled ineligible for the awards.

In 1999, the league folded — not exactly because it refused to hand those trophies to foreigners, but rather because of mismanagement.

Hundreds of university students gather in Taipei to protest Next Media deal

By Chris Wang and J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Page 1

Hundreds of young Taiwanese from around the nation yesterday continued to put pressure on the government to act against media monopolization and reject the sale of the Next Media Group’s (壹傳媒集團) Taiwanese businesses to two consortiums with a six-hour protest outside the Joint Government Office Building, where officials from the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) and academics were holding a public hearing on the sale.

Next Media Group signed an agreement on Tuesday to sell its four Taiwanese businesses — the Chinese-language Apple Daily, Next Magazine, Sharp Daily and Next TV — for NT$17.5 billion (US$600 million) to two consortiums comprised of Chinatrust Charity Foundation (中信慈善基金會) chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒), Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) chairman William Wong (王文淵), Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), Lung Yen Life Service Corp (龍巖集團) chairman David Lee (李世聰) and Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance Co (台灣產物保險) chairman Steve Lee (李泰宏).

The sale has raised fears of a media monopoly and undue influence from China on Taiwan’s media, in light of the investors’ major business operations across the Taiwan Strait. Critics of Tsai, Taiwan’s wealthiest person, who made his fortune in China, have accused him of interfering with editorial matters at his other media outlets.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CPC pricing misled public: study

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) has deceived the public with its claim that the nation enjoys the lowest fuel prices among its neighbors, because there are several “untold secrets” in its pricing calculations, a think tank said yesterday.

A Taiwan Thinktank study conducted by several academics says that fuel prices had been underestimated because the state-run oil refiner has left out the fuel tax in its pricing calculation and its floating pricing mechanism is not adjusted based on global oil prices.

Stop new NHI premium, capital gains tax: DPP

‘BAD POLICIES’:The supplementary premium policy would only cause confusion and injustice, while the tax would cause market instability, the opposition said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday urged the government to cancel a supplementary insurance premium policy and a securities capital gains tax that will take effect on Jan. 1.

“We have reminded the administration of [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) many times about bad policies, such as the price increases for fuel and electricity. Today we would like to urge Ma to call off policies that would create more public outrage,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

Su looking to fill DPP’s China body

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday continued his search for members to fill up the party’s China Affairs Committee after former premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Shyi-kun declined to join the new body.

With Hsieh and Yu — both prominent members of the opposition — refusing, the only seasoned politician on board is former party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Kuan clarifies Golden Horse comments

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) yesterday denied reports that she had apologized over her proposal to scrap the Golden Horse Awards after Taiwan’s poor showing this year.

Earlier in the day, Kuan said she would shoulder all the responsibility for the comments, adding that the organizing committee, as well as the Ministry of Culture, should also be scrutinized for their performance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Next Media deal close to signing

NOT SOLD::The deal has not been confirmed, but the outlets’ unions called on their new bosses to vow to respect editorial autonomy, which they said could not be bought
By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA
Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 1

A cloud of secrecy yesterday surrounded the expected signing in Macau of a deal between Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) and a consortium of three Taiwanese business leaders for the acquisition of Next Media’s four outlets in Taiwan, a deal that raises the specter of increased Chinese influence over Taiwanese media.

According to reports by the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily, a consortium led by Chinatrust Charity Foundation (中信慈善基金會) chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒), Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) chairman William Wong (王文淵) and Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) was to sign a contract to buy the media outlets from the Hong Kong-listed Next Media at 3pm in Macau.

Students vow to keep fighting media deal

By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 1

Students, academics, civic group representatives and opponents of the planned sale of Next Media Group’s (壹傳媒集團) four Taiwanese outlets to a consortium yesterday vowed to keep fighting for the nation’s freedom of speech and media diversity as the controversial deal was set to be inked in Macau.

About 100 university students from the Youth Alliance Against Media Monsters ended their overnight protest in front of the Executive Yuan in Taipei shortly after noon after clashing with police twice as the students tried to enter the building.

Pension funds a ‘major national crisis’: TISR poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A majority of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday said the potential collapse of government pension funds is a “major national crisis” and that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should collaborate with the opposition to find a solution.

With several pension programs facing bankruptcy in the next decade, 74.2 percent of respondents in a Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) poll said it was a major national crisis, while only 15.2 percent disagreed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Party quits blue camp, urges cross-strait unity

‘VICIOUS INFIGHTING’:The New Party’s chairman said pan-blue and green camp squabbling and CCP aversion were impeding Taiwan’s economic recovery
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The pro-unification New Party yesterday vowed to pursue grass-roots actions to push for the opening up of Taiwan to China on all fronts to build a “new China where people enjoy freedom, democracy and equal prosperity,” as New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) announced the party was leaving the pan-blue camp.

“We must end the vicious infighting between the blue and green camps to revive Taiwan’s economy and rid ourselves of the fears, aversion — or even antagonism — toward the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] to create a good future for our descendants,” Yok said.

Think tank proposes use of islands as ‘gateway’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A bold proposal by a pro-Taiwan independence think tank to make the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu a “gateway” for further cross-strait integration received a mixed response yesterday.

The recommendation, presented by Taiwan Thinktank earlier this month, suggested allowing dual currencies, direct transportation links and resource sharing on the islands, adopting the same format that exists between Hong Kong, Macau and China.

DPP voices opposition to easing agricultural rules

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday voiced its strong opposition to further relaxation of rules governing Chinese agricultural imports, which it said could cause a loss of more than NT$11.1 billion (US$382 million).

“When most countries are setting up a firewall to protect their own agricultural products from the impact of globalization, Taiwan’s government is doing the opposite,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Students hold Next Media deal protest

VERY DEMANDING::The students were joined by other activists in presenting a list of demands on the deal to the Cabinet, saying they would not leave until these were met
By Lee I-chia and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 - Page 1

Several dozen students yesterday protested in front of the Executive Yuan, calling on the government to carefully review the plan to buy Next Media Group’s (壹傳媒集團) four Taiwanese outlets, to avoid the concentration of media in the hands of the few and to protect freedom of the press.

The demonstration was held one day before the consortium led by Chinatrust Charity Foundation (中信慈善基金會) chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒), Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) chairman William Wong (王文淵) and Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) are to sign a contract to buy the media outlets from the Hong Kong-based Next Media.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Many fear economy may become like Greece’s: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll published yesterday found that the majority of respondents were concerned that Taiwan’s fiscal problems could lead the nation to face an economic crisis similar to Greece’s and felt pessimistic about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pension reforms.

Asked if they were concerned that the nation’s debt crisis could turn it into another Greece, 70.7 percent of the respondents said yes, a survey conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank from Wednesday to Friday showed.

Court urged to reject Want Want appeal

CONDITIONS CONTESTED:Experts said that the stipulations put on the media giant’s bid to buy cable TV services by the NCC were key to safeguarding freedom of the press
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics yesterday urged the Taipei Administrative Court to reject the Want Want China Times Group’s appeal of the conditional approval of its acquisition of cable television services, citing concerns about media concentration.

With three suspension clauses and 25 additional clauses, the National Communications Commission (NCC) on July 25 conditionally approved the group’s NT$76 billion (US$2.61 billion) acquisition of cable TV services owned by China Network Systems, a deal that many fear would create a media monopoly.

DPP denies Su has overturned Tsai’s grass-roots policy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday denied a media report that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had overturned one of the policies of his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), that encouraged legislators-at-large to inaugurate local offices to strengthen the party’s grass-roots connections.

In a press release, DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) dismissed a Chinese-language report in the China Times yesterday which said that Su intends to terminate the policy and that the party had stopped funding several of its local offices.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Taipei protests China’s new passports

TERRITORIAL CLAIMS::Pan-greens blasted the government’s slow reaction, saying Manila and Hanoi had already protested against Beijing’s inclusion of disputed areas
By Mo Yan-chih, Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters, with Agencies and Staff writer
Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 1

Taipei joined a number of governments in the region yesterday in severely criticizing Beijing for the inclusion in newly revised passports of an outline of China that includes the entire South China Sea, hemmed in by dashes, as well as depictions of scenic spots in Taiwan — Nantou’s Sun Moon Lake and Hualien’s Chingshui Cliffs.

The change, which was first reported by the Financial Times on Wednesday, highlights China’s longstanding claim to the South China Sea in its entirety, though parts of the waters are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

Tsai to join China Affairs Committee

POSITION:Former premier Frank Hsieh has declined an invitation to join the DPP’s committee, reportedly saying that he wanted to leave room for other party members
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has agreed to join the party’s China Affairs Committee, while former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has turned down the same offer as the DPP’s search for members of the controversial committee continued.

In a press release issued late on Thursday, Tsai accepted the invitation extended by DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is to be the committee’s convener, to serve as one of the committee members.

Legislators set up cross-party human rights focus group

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 50 legislators established a cross-party human rights group yesterday in the legislature to promote human rights and to collaborate with overseas parliamentary counterparts on the universal value.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), the chairman of the group, announced the official establishment of the Parliamentary Cross-Party Group on International Human Rights at a press conference.

Dalai Lama visa rejection draws more fire

CHINA FACTOR::The DPP ramped up its criticism of the visa denial, saying it has damaged Taiwan’s image as a democracy that values human rights
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 1

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday lambasted President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government for denying a visa to the Dalai Lama, saying this was another “proof” of Ma’s pro-China position.

“President Ma, what are you afraid of? What do you want to do? Your denial of the Dalai Lama’s visit has hurt Taiwanese and Taiwan’s international image,” Lu told a joint press conference with the DPP caucus in the legislature.

Friday, November 23, 2012

EDITORIAL: The DPP must go on the offensive

Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - Page 8

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has echoed criticism that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is a “bumbler” and attacked his refusal to set aside political antagonism and call a national affairs conference to resolve the nation’s problems.

However, when the party looks at itself in the mirror, it sees another Ma.

The DPP has mostly bumbled along since losing the presidential election, and meaningful conversation between party heavyweights seems too much to ask.

Groups slam denial of Dalai Lama visit

NOT NOW::Officials did not give an explanation for the government’s decision to refuse the Tibetan spiritual leader a visa, other than to say it was not the right time
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - Page 1

Acting on the president’s instructions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has again denied a visa to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who had been invited by an international group to attend its annual regional conference in Taipei next month, sparking outrage among various organizations in the country.

The Dalai Lama “is welcome to travel to Taiwan in due course. However, we need to arrange a more opportune time for his visit,” Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said in a letter, dated Friday last week, to Freda Miriklis, international president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International), the non-governmental organization behind the event.

Chinese dissident urges Taiwan to push democracy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Chinese dissident yesterday urged Taiwan to insist on its values of democracy and human rights in its dealings with Beijing and be a partner in the international community’s effort of containing China, instead of taking China’s side.

Expressing concerns over Taiwan’s tilting toward China, former Chinese democracy activist Chen Pokong (陳破空), now a US-based writer, told a symposium that Taiwan “cannot become a gap in the global China-containment strategy.”

Tsai Ing-wen calls for across-the-board budget cuts

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for suspending the implementation of the capital gains tax and slashing the government budget by 20 percent to realize structural change that would resolve Taiwan’s fiscal woes.

The former DPP presidential candidate addressed a wide range of issues in an interview with the Chinese-language Business Today weekly magazine, which was published yesterday, with a primary focus on resolving Taiwan’s deteriorating fiscal problems.

DPP asks for Next Media probe

FREE SPEECH::Lee Kun-tse said journalistic autonomy has often been sacrificed in media deals and the NCC had failed to assert the importance of journalistic independence
By Chris Wang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter and staff writer, with CNA
Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday urged government agencies to launch a probe into the source of funding and the final beneficiary of the sale of Next Media Group’s Taiwanese outlets.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC), the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) should all shoulder their respective responsibility to ensure the deal does not jeopardize freedom of speech, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

DPP says MJIB is spying on its youth camp

CLOAK AND DAGGER:A DPP legislator and the DPP’s youth wing said Kaohsiung police asked for the names of participants, while Tsai’s office said she was also being monitored
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB) has conducted illegal monitoring to spy on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pledge that no spying on political parties would occur under his watch, the DPP said yesterday.

In a press conference, the DPP’s Department of Youth Development and DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) accused MJIB agent Chen Chun-cheng (陳俊成) of collecting a list of the participants at a youth camp organized by the DPP in Greater Kaohsiung.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ma pledges to tackle pension reform

‘PSEUDO REFORM’:The DPP reiterated its call for a national affairs conference to gather together people from all parts of society to deal with their own ‘fiscal cliff’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said the nation’s loss-plagued pension funds could not and would not go bankrupt, as he pledged to come up with a pragmatic, feasible reform program in January amid complaints by opposition parties about his approach to resolving the problems.

After meeting with Premier Sean Chen, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) on the thorny issue, Ma said at a press conference that his administration would tackle the matter in a responsible and cautious manner because many people have a stake in the sustainability of the pension system.

Su to head DPP China committee

HSIEH SHUNTED:Su Tseng-chang said he gave up his plan to have Frank Hsieh as convener because ‘it is the chairman’s responsibility to integrate different opinions’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced the establishment of a China Affairs Committee, ending media speculation about the makeup of the committee by doubling as the committee’s convener.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), whose landmark visit to China last month made him the front-runner to lead the committee, expressed his support.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DPP caucus slams alleged plans for a sovereign fund

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday demanded that the Ministry of Finance abandon an alleged plan to establish a sovereign fund by combining four government funds, saying that such a fund is unnecessary and risky because of a lack of transparency.

The caucus also reiterated its opposition to a reported plan to invest those government funds in China’s stock market.

Union warns HK over Next Media deal

NO CERTAINTY:The Taiwan News Media Trade Union told the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong to inspect huge problems related to the Next Media deal
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan News Media Trade Union yesterday sent a letter to the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong and warned that the pending deal in which a Taiwanese consortium is to buy the Next Media Group could jeopardize the interests of the group’s Hong Kong shareholders.

Given that the deal could be rejected by Taiwan’s National Telecommunications Commission (NCC), and the unresolved labor disputes between Next Media founder Jimmy Lai (黎智英) and his employees, the union urged the commission to conduct the necessary inspections and disclose its findings to the group’s shareholders in Hong Kong.

Groups urge Lanyu radioactivity checks

DODGY TESTS:The Atomic Energy Council said that the devices used in previous radioactivity checks by Japanese experts had been affected by electromagnetic waves
By Chris Wang and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and several academics yesterday told a press conference that the nuclear radiation level in Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island, was a serious concern and demanded a complete investigation into potential radiation threats on the island.

Katsumi Nakao of J.F. Oberlin University and Yoh Kato of Tokyo Metropolitan University, who were invited by the Atomic Energy Council to conduct radioactivity tests on the island on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, decried the detection results announced by the council, saying the real levels were significantly higher than those reported by the council.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DPP invites Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Taiwan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has extended an invitation to Burmese democratic movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Taiwan, the party said in a press release yesterday.

DPP Department of Foreign Affairs Director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) and DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) extended the invitation to a delegation of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party.

DPP denounces Next Media deal

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday expressed its strong opposition to the proposed acquisition of Next Media Group by a consortium, saying the deal could be a “major catastrophe for Taiwan’s democracy” as it would allow China to influence Taiwanese media and jeopardize freedom of speech.

“As a political party that has always pursued democracy in Taiwan, we will not allow the situation to deteriorate and our determination to stop the deal should not be underestimated,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference.

Reform in China is fantasy: dissidents

CHANGE:One analyst said that a change in leadership style was possible, as the incoming Chinese president was from a different generation than his predecessors
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

While many expect Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) to be a reformist when he takes over the Chinese presidency, Chinese dissidents yesterday told a forum in Taipei they were pessimistic about possible political reform in China because of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rigid political framework.

“Regardless of what the outside world expects of the arrival of a reformist in China, all Chinese regimes are bound to be conservative and political reform is likely to be just fantasy,” Hu Ping (胡平), a US-based Chinese dissident, said in a forum which discussed China’s possible political development after Xi takes over from outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

‘Constitutions’ is not a ‘one China’ proposal: Hsieh

SAME DIFFERENCE?Ma said in an interview that Frank Hsieh’s cross-strait platforms ‘added up’ to ‘one China,’ and Annette Lu said he ‘hit the bullseye’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday countered President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) interpretation of his “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) proposal, saying the initiative was intended to highlight that there were two constitutions on either side of the Taiwan Strait, not one.

Ma was quoted in an interview with Chinese-language news magazine Yazhou Zoukan published on Thursday as saying that Hsieh’s initiative “is not different than the Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] initiative of ‘one China with different interpretations’ (一中各表).”

Former US representative visits Chen

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former US representative Tom Tancredo visited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in hospital yesterday and expressed his concerns about Chen’s health.

A former representative from Colorado, Tancredo, 66, arrived in Taipei late on Thursday and visited Chen at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, accompanied by former Democratic Progressive party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).

Survey finds mixed views on foreign policy priorities

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll has shown that more than half of respondents feel that China and the US should be a priority in terms of Taiwan’s foreign relations, but younger people tended to favor China as the priority, a public opinion poll showed.

“The result appears to reflect Taiwanese people’s pragmatism,” Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said in a press release yesterday.

Taiwan to face US trade pressure, analysts warn

BALANCING ACT:The US government is keen to access local markets, while Taiwan will face new challenges as new strategic plans for the Asian region come into play
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan is expected to face heavier economic pressure from the US over access to its markets, but should also work toward playing a more significant role in the US’ grand Asia-Pacific strategy, analysts said yesterday during an examination of projected Taiwan-US relations under US President Barack Obama’s second term.

The challenge for Taiwan in its relations with the US following Obama’s re-election will be two-fold — economic and political — and the economic issue appears to be more urgent, academics told the forum, which was organized by Taiwan Thinktank.

Tsai calls for interparty cooperation on reform

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday proposed holding a national affairs conference and establishing an interparty special legislative committee to resolve the nation’s fiscal problems.

Skyrocketing government debt and a worsening pension crisis have placed national economic security at risk, Tsai said in a press release, adding: “It’s time for us to go back to rational policy discussion without being divided by party ideology, so we can face the problems together.”

Friday, November 09, 2012

EDITORIAL: Human rights key to cross-strait ties

Fri, Nov 09, 2012 - Page 8

Tamding Tso, a 23-year-old woman, self-immolated and died in Amdo region, eastern Tibet, on Wednesday, raising the number of Tibetans who have set themselves ablaze in protest against the repressive Chinese regime since February 2009 to almost 70.

Maybe people read these kinds of stories too often to think that they are significant, or maybe they do not read them at all. Either way, Taiwanese, and in particular the administration of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), have not been paying enough attention.

Taiwan cool to China’s unification call

‘SAME OLD STORY’::The DPP chairman said that while the party welcomes cross-strait engagement, Hu Jintao’s warnings were a rehash of past comments
By Chen Hui-ping and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Nov 09, 2012 - Page 1

The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday reiterated President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “three noes” policy — no unification, no independence and no use of force — in response to China’s call for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to negotiate and sign a peace agreement.

Speaking at the opening of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th National Congress in Beijing yesterday, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) also warned Taiwan against any moves toward independence and said that China would stick to the principle of “peaceful unification” with Taiwan under the “one country, two systems” model.

“We resolutely oppose any separatist attempt for Taiwan independence. The Chinese people will never allow anyone or any force to separate Taiwan from the motherland by any means,” he said.

Funds wasted on overseas trips, DPP lawmakers say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday said they were amazed and shocked by the way government officials squandered public funds by arranging “meaningless” overseas visits and seminars.

Since 2001, the central government has sent 28,904 delegations on overseas visits, an average of eight delegations per day, and has allocated a budget of NT$1.8 billion (US$62 million) to overseas visits in the budget statement for next year, lawmaker Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) told a press conference.

DPP legislator blasts AEC

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) yesterday blasted the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) after a report confirmed Taipower’s serious nuclear waste repackaging error on Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island.

“If the AEC and Taipower fail to handle nuclear waste well, nuclear safety in Taiwan is over,” Cheng told a press conference in the legislature.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

DPP tells Ma to donate his wages

EMPTY PROMISE?Legislators insisted that the president give a clear itemization of the state affairs fund to clarify how he spent it and if he misused it for private donations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) deliver on his promise to donate half of his salary to charity and disclose how he has spent his state affairs fund in the past four years.

Under mounting pressure to ease the government’s fiscal problems, Ma on Tuesday announced that he would cut the NT$40 million (US$1.37 million) state affairs fund by one-quarter in next year’s budget and said he hoped ruling and opposition parties could stop squabbling about unnecessary issues and work together.

Ma congratulates Obama following election victory

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the government, yesterday offered congratulations to US President Barack Obama on his election to a second term.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) sent a message to Obama to express his heartfelt congratulations immediately after learning the election result, the ministry said.

In a press statement, the ministry said the state of the US-Taiwan relations are in the “best state since 1979,” when the US switched diplomatic allegiance to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hsieh hits back at critics of his recent China visit

NOT RATIONAL:Former premier Frank Hsieh lashed out after an attack on him on Sunday, saying his trip to China has been lauded by independence advocates
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said those who had described him as “Beijing’s minion” and a “devil” over his recent visit to China had lost their demeanor and poise in the discussion of public policy.

Hsieh did not name names in his weekly radio talk show, but his comment was apparently directed at former secretary-general of the Presidential Office Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), who made an attack on Hsieh on Sunday at a forum.

Politician pans agency over files

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday blasted a government agency for not granting him complete access to declassified historical files compiled on him during the White Terror era.

Shih, who served 25 years as a political prisoner for “intention to overthrow the government,” was accompanied by his wife, Chen Chia-chun (陳嘉君), two daughters, Chinese Culture University professor Yao Li-ming (姚立明) and DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) on a visit to the National Archives Administration (NAA) yesterday afternoon.

Forum warns of PRC’s influence

SHADY DEALINGS:China’s fingerprints are everywhere in the local media business, a media reform forum was told, and freedom of speech is being eroded with impunity
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chinese influence over Taiwan’s media has been as serious a concern, if not more serious, than political influences or concerns about a media monopoly, academics and media members said yesterday in a forum held in Taipei.

“Beijing is now able to influence Taiwan’s politics and economy through closer cross-strait integration. The only thing it has yet to control is public opinion. And that is where [Chinese influence] came in,” Association of Taiwan Journalists president Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜) told a forum on media reform organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Ma, premier to cut discretionary funds

FUND FUROR::Sean Chen said heated exchanges about fund related issues have been manipulated to fuel conflict between classes, generations and occupational groups
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Nov 07, 2012 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Sean Chen yesterday said they were willing to pare down their respective discretionary funds to put an end to partisan squabbling over government spending that they said has shifted attention away from more important economic issues.

In his first stop on his itinerary yesterday morning, Ma announced that he would cut the state affairs fund of NT$40 million (US$1.37 million) by a quarter in next year’s budget statement, pending a review by the legislature.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ex-premier says independence is key goal

TAKING A STAND:Yu Shyi-kun said it was not the DPP’s China policy that cost them January’s election and that ‘accepting’ KMT ideology was far more dangerous
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday said that China affairs are not the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) priority and that the party should focus on the economy, winning a legislative majority and securing its long-term goal of making Taiwan an independent, sovereign nation.

Yu also said he encouraged cross-strait engagement, but had reservations toward former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) initiative of “constitutional one china” (憲法一中).

DPP’s Su optimistic US relations can be rebuilt

FRIENDS NOT FOES:Positive responses to visits by DPP officials to the US shows a willingness to pursue better ties with the opposition, a party official said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is optimistic that its sour relations with the US is in the past and would be rebuilt by better channels of communication regardless of who wins today’s US presidential election, DPP officials said yesterday.

Relations with the US have been one of the priority issues since he took the party’s helm and it would continue to be so, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a forum, which previewed the US presidential election, at DPP headquarters.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tsai tells of key threats to Taiwan during trip to US

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been advised to be tolerant and to give the Republic of China (ROC) “more space” in acknowledging that the “ROC is Taiwan and Taiwan is [the] ROC,” former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Friday night in New York.

The former DPP presidential candidate made the remark in a speech at the Taiwan Center in Flushing, New York, the last public appearance of her two-week “thank-you” tour of the US, a press release provided by Tsai’s office stated.

Dissident warns DPP over plans to shift China policy

ISOLATED VOICES::The recent trip to China by Frank Hsieh marks the potential for ‘political suicide’ for the party, writer Yuan Hongbing has said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Nov 05, 2012 - Page 3

A Chinese dissident yesterday warned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over a planned shift in position on its China policy and said former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) would lead the party down a path of “political suicide” in his similar attempts to shift plans.

“Beijing has two grand strategies for its absorption of Taiwan. First, economic integration goes before political integration. Second, making the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] another Chinese Communist Party [CCP] and the DPP another KMT,” Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰) told a forum hosted by Beanstalk, a group founded by former secretary-general of the Presidential Office Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟).

Friday, November 02, 2012

Editorial: Time Ma dropped the numbers game

Fri, Nov 02, 2012 - Page 8

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has always been very fond of numbers, like a scientist or the chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.

He likes numbers so much that when presenting campaign strategies, such as his famous “6-3-3” campaign pledge and the “i-Taiwan 12 projects,” he explained almost everything using 16 Chinese characters or less and tends to describe his achievements using Taiwan’s world ranking according to various reports. This approach makes sense, as numbers are often easier to understand than a 1,000-word text explaining government policies.

Recently, Ma proudly announced that Taiwan ranks 13th in the World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Index and seventh in the International Institute for Management Development World Competitiveness rankings this year, showing that Taiwan has great potential and “there is no reason to hang our heads low.”

Lawmakers slash subsidies

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

Lawmakers yesterday agreed to slash a NT$97.36 million (US$3.3 million) budget allocated to various benefits in response to criticism that the benefits were not backed by law.

As a result, each of the 113 lawmakers will see his or her budget drop by NT$860,000.

The decision was the result of a meeting Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) called with the caucus whips of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People First Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

Former president urges pension program review

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Miaoli County

It will take a complete review and reform of various social insurance and pension programs to resolve their financial difficulties, and high-ranking officials should clearly point out the direction of reform, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said in Miaoli County yesterday.

Speaking to the media during a question-and-answer session, Lee said it would be wrong to individually fix or save financially-challenged pension programs, which have sparked heated public discussion recently.

“It would take a thorough review, planning and reform to adjust those programs altogether,” he said.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

DGBAS revises GDP growth down again

LIMITED MOMENTUM::A DGBAS official said the economy has been in a state of ‘anemic growth,’ while the Cabinet said it was cautiously optimistic about next year
By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Nov 01, 2012 - Page 1

The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday revised downward its GDP growth forecast for this year to 1.05 percent from the 1.66 percent it estimated last month, due to weaker-than-expected momentum in the second half of the year.

It was the ninth straight time the agency has revised downward its forecast for this year’s GDP growth since August last year, when it forecast a 4.58 percent growth rate.

The opposition reacted by saying that a Cabinet reshuffle was now a necessity.

Lee touts vital role of art, religion

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Miaoli County

Art and religion play an equally important role in a country as politics and the economy, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday in Sanyi Township (三義), Miaoli County.

The 89-year-old former president was speaking to a group of woodcarving artists at Sanyi Woodcarving Museum, saying that art and religion are important in the 21st century because “technology cannot solve everything.”

TSU lawmaker says bad investments behind fund’s woes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Labor Insurance Fund’s over-investment in the stock market’s electronics and financial sectors was the primary reason for the fund’s losses, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.

The Council of Labor Affairs had left out the mismanagement of the fund’s investments when it explained why the fund could go bankrupt in 2016, Hsu told a press conference.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DPP seeks to fix transitional justice mistakes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang, left, and executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee Joseph Wu listen during a forum on transitional justice organized by the party in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) use of transitional justice as a campaign tool to gain favor in the past cost it the public’s support over the issue, a senior DPP official said yesterday.

Lawmakers ambivalent on budget cuts

LEGAL STANDING:The Taiwan Solidarity Union said that it supported the proposal to reduce the subsidies budget for lawmakers because it was ‘unjust and unfair’
By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

A proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) to slash NT$200 million (US$6.83 million) from the subsidies budget for lawmakers yesterday was given the cold shoulder by most of his party comrades.

Tsai recently proposed that nine subsidy payments of NT$1.7 million per year for each lawmaker be cut, saying they were not enshrined in the law.

At a meeting called by the 64-seat caucus to discuss Tsai’s proposal yesterday, only five lawmakers out of 49 present supported the idea.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Independence advocate proposes new framework

FRESH THINKING:Koo believes his new cross-strait framework could be accepted because it promotes relations similar to the US, UK and Canada
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Senior Taiwan independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday unveiled his proposal for a “nations of brotherhood” (兄弟之邦) framework to solve cross-strait relations and establish peace and stability.

The 87-year-old former presidential adviser explained his initiative with a full-page advertisement in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday.

US election will not affect Taiwan: academics

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The result of the upcoming US presidential election is unlikely to impact triangular relations between Taiwan, China and the US, academics said yesterday, but urged Taiwan to take a proactive approach in maximizing its role in the US’ pivot to Asia.

The US’ longstanding position on maintaining the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait is not likely to change regardless of who wins the presidency next month, Joanne Chang (裘兆琳), a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies, told a forum on the impact of the US elections on trilateral relations.

Three ex-officers arrested for spying

SPY GAMES::The DPP and the KMT condemned the incident, saying national security had been imperiled, but defense officials played down the gravity of potential effects
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters, with Agencies
Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - Page 1

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday confirmed that three retired military officers had been arrested on suspicion of spying for China, in what legislators described as one of the nation’s worst cases of espionage.

The Ministry of National Defense said that Commander Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫), former director of the political warfare department of Naval Meteorological & Oceanographic Office (METOC), was indicted by military prosecutors on suspicion of working as an agent for the Chinese.

Poll shows Ma’s approval rating at its lowest yet

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) credibility and approval ratings have hit new lows and very few people give Ma credit for improving Taiwan’s sluggish economy, a public opinion poll showed yesterday.

The embattled president’s popularity continues to slide, with his approval rating hitting its lowest point, 15.2 percent, since he was inaugurated for his first term in May 2008.

Ma’s disapproval rating, 76.6 percent, was also the highest recorded during the same span, a survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Research Survey (TIRS) on Wednesday and Thursday last week found.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tsai talks economy, 2014 election during US visit

‘CHRONIC SUICIDE’:The DPP heavyweight said she had no plans to run in the seven-in-one elections and blasted the government’s ‘suicidal’ China-centric economic policies
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said in Los Angeles on Saturday that she has no plans to run in Taipei during the seven-in-one elections in 2014.

Tsai, who arrived in the US on Saturday for a two-week visit, made the comment in response to media inquiries on the sidelines of a Los Angeles Taiwan Center fundraising dinner, local media reported.

Academics urge wartime research

LEST WE FORGET:Several academics at a forum yesterday stressed the importance of promoting World War II history so a Taiwanese perspective on the war could be formed
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Too little effort has been made in Taiwan to research the role the country played in the Pacific Theater of World War II, wasting an opportunity to establish wartime history from a Taiwanese perspective, academics said at a seminar yesterday.

“There are many relics, preserved or faded away, and stories, told or untold, in Taiwan that preserve the memory of war, but most people often talk about World War II like it happened elsewhere,” National Chengchi University historian Tai Pao-tsun (戴寶村) said at the seminar, which was focused on history in Taiwan between 1941 and 1949.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lawmakers want Orchid Island probe

FIGHTING BACK:An official said that all maintenance and inspection of nuclear waste on Orchid Island has been carried out according to the AEC’s regulations
By Chris Wang AND JAKE CHUNG  /  Staff reporter and staff writer, with CNA

Legislators yesterday demanded that the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) immediately launch investigations into alleged malpractice concerning nuclear waste repackaging on Lanyu (蘭嶼, also known as Orchid Island) and conduct health examinations on the island’s residents over fears of possible radiation leaks.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) and Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) showed a video at a press conference in Taipei that they said showed Taipower’s examination and repackaging of corroded waste drums was carried out in the open, which could lead to radiation leakage.

Tsai lays out her economic recovery vision

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday expressed serious concerns about worsening government finances and outlined her vision to revive the nation’s economy.

The government has to respond quickly and effectively to address short-term as well as medium to long-term crises, because “no one would help Taiwan but itself,” Tsai said in an article posted on the Web site of her Thinking Taiwan Foundation.

EDITORIAL: Cherish this anti-nuclear opportunity

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 8

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) recently spoke on the Diaoyutais dispute and also gave up her NT$270,000 year-end bonus in the wake of the controversy over year-end bonuses for retired government employees. Lu’s actions won praise for setting an example for civil-service retirees, and her assertions and knowledge regarding the disputed islands were clear and admirable. However, it could be her efforts on an anti-nuclear referendum in New Taipei City (新北市) that go down in history as her most important legacy.

The New Taipei City Council’s passage of the Act Governing New Taipei Referendums (新北市公民投票自治條例) on June 25, the first referendum law at the local level in Taiwan, made it possible for residents to have a say on local matters via referendums.

Ex-Cabinet secretary-general indicted

CORRUPTION::Lin Yi-shih, his mother and his wife were charged in the bribery case, but a legislator questioned why investigators had never subpoenaed Lin’s father
By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters, with CNA
Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 1

Former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) was indicted yesterday on corruption-related charges, prosecutors said.

Lin was accused of demanding bribes, pocketing about NT$60 million (US$2 million) in bribes, concealing illegal gains and keeping unaccountable assets, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) said.

Although prosecutors did not seek a specific sentence for Lin, the crime of accepting bribes alone carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DPP, TSU pan Ma over economy vow

FEEL BETTER?Under pressure to revive the economy, Ma said on Sept. 24 the government could achieve ‘improved well-being and a better economic situation in a month’
By Chris Wang, Chiu Yen-ling and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The deadline has passed and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has failed to deliver on his promise to give Taiwanese economic progress within 30 days, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

Under pressure to revive the moribund economy and amid widespread discontent, Ma said on Sept. 24 that the government could achieve “improved well-being and a better economic situation in a month.”

Analysts praise Hsieh’s visit to China at forum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Analysts at a forum yesterday gave former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) China visit positive responses and said it could be the catalyst for the transformation of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China policy and pave the way for Beijing’s eventual recognition of the Republic of China (ROC).

“With the ‘constitutions with different interpretations (憲法各表)’ initiative, Hsieh was the first DPP politician to present an initiative on a framework for cross-strait relations,” former DPP lawmaker Julian Kuo (郭正亮) told the forum, organized by the Taiwan Development and Cultural Interchange Association and backed by Hsieh’s Taiwan Reform Foundation.

Ma touts Chen’s ‘wise’ budget proposal

BONE OF CONTENTION::While the Cabinet has promoted a scaled down year-end- bonus program, the DPP has called for it to be scrapped entirely, saying it is not legal
By Mo Yan-chih  and Chris Wang /  Staff reporters
Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday touted Premier Sean Chen’s proposal to slash the year-end bonus budget for retired government employees as a wise and quick decision in response to mounting calls for a fairer pension mechanism for civil servants.

“Premier Chen presented the adjustment plan within a week after legislators raised the issue last week. It’s a fast and wise plan that was made to uphold the principle of caring for the disadvantaged and the loyal veterans,” said Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, when presiding over the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Media influences judges most, not politics: experts

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

As they face public demand for judicial reform, the most pressing issue for Taiwan’s judges and prosecutors is not how to resist political interference, but how to deal with scrutiny from the public and media, judiciary employees told a forum yesterday.

Contrary to what most people think, political interference in judicial processes is “almost non-existent and impossible” in all but a few cases, a judge, a prosecutor and a former Judicial Yuan secretary-general said.

Premier to slash the budget for divisive bonuses

By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters

Premier Sean Chen yesterday said a provisional plan by the Cabinet would trim the number of retired government employees who qualify to receive a year-end bonus to two categories of people, adding that the revised plan would bring down the budget for the bonuses.

In response to the controversy over the bonuses, Chen said it would only be available to two groups of people — retirees or the family of deceased retirees who receive a monthly pension of less than NT$20,000 and retirees who were killed, injured or disabled in wars or on military exercises.