Monday, April 30, 2012

DPP leadership debates get off to lukewarm start

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - Page 1

The first debate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election campaign ended without an expected war of words yesterday as candidates barely mentioned crucial issues, such as China policy and party reforms.

The 150-minute televised debate between five candidates, held in Greater Kaohsiung, was the first of three debates for the May 27 vote that will elect a leader for the DPP to a two-year term.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DPP caucus pans vicious campaign against Yeh Yi-jin

By Chris Wang and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters
Sat, Apr 28, 2012 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday condemned what it called a “vicious coordinated attack” on DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) by media subsidiaries of the Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團).

CTiTV, China Television Co (CTV) and the Chinese-language China Times have in the past four days launched non-stop attacks on Yeh after the DPP lawmaker barred Chao Yu-pei (趙育培), special assistant to Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), from speaking on behalf of Tsai at a public hearing.

First DPP chairmanship debate set for tomorrow

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The first of three televised debates for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election will be held tomorrow in Greater Kaohsiung, with China policy and party reform expected to be the focus.

The five candidates will each give opening and closing remarks, with a question-and-answer session when they will be able to ask each other questions. The debate will be televised by Formosa TV from 2pm to 4:30pm.

China policy has been at the center of the DPP’s internal discussions, as well as public commentary with it, since the party’s loss in the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, with almost all the candidates agreeing that the party should seek engagement with Beijing.

Freezing prices has priority over stocks tax: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The discussion of an electricity price freeze should be higher on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) priority list than the implementation of a securities capital gains tax, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

“The increase in electricity prices will affect everyone and every sector, with a huge negative impact on the national economy. That is why we think the government should first discuss a price freeze,” DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told a press conference.

“Policies should be implemented in order of priority. The DPP says that the price issue should be considered before the securities capital gains tax,” he said.

Ma’s approval rate slumps after fuel, electricity rate hikes

VANISHING APPROVAL:Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia said Ma’s fall from grace in opinion polls since the election is unprecedented
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rate has fallen 12.5 percentage points, from 38.5 percent to 26 percent, over the past month, following the announcement of fuel and electricity price increases, a survey released yesterday showed.

Only 26 percent of respondents to a poll conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank said they were satisfied with Ma’s performance, while 62.5 percent said they were not happy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lee Teng-hui set to embark on second trip to south Taiwan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will embark on a second trip to southern Taiwan from May 16 to May 18 after a similar visit last week, an aide of the former president said.

Lee, 89, is scheduled to visit Chiayi County and Greater Tainan in his second trip to local communities after recovering from cancer surgery in November last year, according to Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍), director of Lee’s office.

Hsu lays out China policy for young DPP members

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would be prepared to seek active engagement with China, but would not change its policies to achieve that goal if he were elected party chairperson next month, former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) said yesterday.

Hsu, one of five candidates running in the May 27 DPP chairperson election, focused on his China policy during a meeting with some of the party’s younger members yesterday.

Ma must take questions: legislator

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should make a national report and take questions from lawmakers in the legislature because — contrary to what the Presidential Office says — it is constitutional, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.

Past presidents reported to the now-defunct National Assembly, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said, adding that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) also made a report to the assembly and took questions.

US beef ban dependent on OIE report

YOU DECIDE::Officials said imports of US beef and beef products would only be suspend if the World Organization for Animal Health chose to raise the BSE risk status of the US
By Shelley Shan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - Page 3

The government would only consider banning the import of US beef if the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) raised its risk status in the wake of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease) in the US, the Department of Health said yesterday.

Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) made the announcement during a briefing at the legislature’s Health, Environment and Social Welfare Committee on amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) to stipulate a safe level for the feed additive ractopamine in food, as well as related regulations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Media merger rule changes proposed

TIGHTENING:A DPP lawmaker has proposed banning newspapers and TV stations from investing in cable operators in response to Want Want’s bid to acquire CNS’ TV services
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Media monopolization has become a serious concern in Taiwan, legislators across party lines said yesterday as they proposed to amend laws to tighten regulations concerning media mergers and investments.

The lawmakers, along with academics, also demanded that the government reject a controversial bid by Want Want China Broadband to acquire 11 cable television services owned by China Network Service (CNS), which they said would create a “media monster.”

DPP, TSU hope to ‘merge’ anti-Ma rallies

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday unveiled their preliminary plans for massive protests against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in Taipei on May 19 and May 20.

While the parties are planning their rallies separately, the protests could become a round-the-clock “two-in-one” event beginning on May 19 and continuing throughout Ma’s scheduled inauguration ceremony the next morning.

Government overlooking parliamentary ties: forum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government has underestimated the positive impact of parliamentary diplomacy for too long, but personnel and a budget would be required if it seeks a more active engagement, former officials said yesterday.

Speaking at a symposium held at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Michael Kao (高英茂), Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Lo Fu-chen (羅福全), former Taiwanese representatives to the EU, US and Japan respectively, all recognized the importance of parliamentary diplomacy, given Taiwan’s unique political situation.

Intervene for Chen, rights advocate urges US panel

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A human rights advocate called for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress to intervene in what he said is Taiwan’s mistreatment of imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

“Using a prison system to kill an opponent is savage and ruthless. The present government of Taiwan must not maim and kill using the slow and painful death by neglect,” Jack Healy, founder of the Human Rights Action Center, wrote in an article published by the yesterday.

Chai to stay in DPP race

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) yesterday refuted media reports that said his candidacy for the DPP chairperson position could be in jeopardy after being found guilty in a defamation suit filed by former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起). Chai said his candidacy for the May 27 vote would not be affected because the case was not related to the DPP’s corruption clause and he had registered his candidacy before the verdict was handed down by the Taiwan High Court on Tuesday. The senior added he plans to file for a retrial or an appeal.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tumors spur calls for Chen’s release

APPEAL FOR COMPASSION::Chen’s family and members of the Democratic Progressive Party joined calls for him to be released from prison to undergo medical treatment
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - Page 3

Doctors found another small tumor on former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) prostate yesterday after he was granted a temporary release from prison for follow-up medical checkups in a hospital.

Chen was transported from Taipei Prison to Taoyuan General Hospital at about 6am.

Dozens of Chen supporters shouted: “A-bian [阿扁, Chen Shui-bian’s nickname] is not guilty, release A-bian” as he arrived in the hospital.

DPP focuses on Lugang’s township chief by-election

‘TEACH MA A LESSON’:The party is hoping that it will capitalize on voter anger over fuel and electricity price hikes, which it called an ‘ambush’ after Ma’s election
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is devoting a lot of energy to winning the township chief by-election in Lugang Township (鹿港), Changhua County, on Saturday, with its latest effort coming from lawmakers who said yesterday they would propose designating the town a national scenic area.

DPP legislators Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷), Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), as well as Huang Chen-yen (黃振彥), the party’s candidate in the by-election, told a press conference that the town, with its rich history, should be designated a national scenic area.

TSU calls for probe into state electricity and petroleum firms

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An investigation by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) into price increases of 23 consumer products has “missed the point,” because Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC Corp, Taiwan were the real catalysts behind the price hikes, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

“What the commission should do is investigate the two state-run companies, which announced a 10.7 percent increase in [-petroleum-based] fuel prices on April 1 and a planned electricity price rise beginning on May 15,” TSU party whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

China has sway over media: DPP

GROWING INFLUENCE:The legislators called on the government to do more in the wake of China paying the ‘China Times’ for reporting and illegally advertising via CNA
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Growing Chinese influence on the Taiwanese media, in particular via embedded marketing, is a concern and the government has not done enough to address the matter, Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers said in the legislature yesterday.

At the meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee, lawmakers accused Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) of doing nothing about embedded marketing by China’s Fujian Provincial Government in local newspapers.

The Chinese-language China Times, a subsidiary of Want Want Group, was reportedly paid to cover Fujian Province Governor Su Shulin’s (蘇樹林) visit to Taiwan last month.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Taiwan should focus on decolonization: academic

PAST TENSE:Bruce Jacobs said that fewer than 2% of respondents in a recent poll had supported unification, making any serious debate on the issue ‘meaningless’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should focus on its colonial history and the issue of de-colonization, rather than the argument over independence and unification, an Australian academic told a symposium yesterday.

Bruce Jacobs, a professor at Monash University in Australia, discussed the democratization of Taiwan at a symposium held at the legislature and organized by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP Legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山), the Institute of National Defense and Strategy Research and the Association of Taiwan University Professors.

DPP delegation leaves for five-day Japan trip

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) delegation left for Japan yesterday for a five-day visit to exchange information on post--disaster rebuilding, nuclear energy and political party collaborations.

Led by spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌), the 10-member delegation is scheduled to visit northeastern Japan, which was hit by a deadly tsunami in March last year, and Tokyo, before returning to Taipei on Thursday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ma insincere on rights: groups

‘HEAR NO PROTEST’:Critics said freedom of the press was deteriorating, people’s voices are stifled and there has been little progress on Aboriginal rights or capital punishment

By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) first human rights report, which he released yesterday, is full of empty boasts and obfuscations, opposition legislators said, while local advocacy groups said Ma was not sincere about making human rights improvement a priority.

Ma yesterday released a human rights report based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Taiwan ratified three years ago.

Lee mourns people who perished in Siaolin village

‘HEARTBROKEN’:Lee Teng-hui praised the rebuilding efforts of the Kaohsiung Government after the landslide sparked by Typhoon Morakot in 2009 that killed 462 people in the village

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Greater Kaohsiung

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday mourned those who perished in the village of Siaolin (小林), Greater Kaohsiung, in 2009 and reiterated the government’s responsibility to care for people’s well-being as he concluded his three-day visit to southern Taiwan.

Lee, in a ceremony held at Siaolin Memorial Park yesterday morning, mourned the 462 people killed at Siaolin, which was wiped out in a landslide when Typhoon Morakot devastated the south of the nation in August 2009.

Friday, April 20, 2012

DPP to hold protest march on May 19

PUBLIC WOES::Former president Lee urged Ma Ying-jeou to report to the legislature to inform the public better about the status of the nation and government policies
By Chiu Yen-ling and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters, in Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung
Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to hold a large-scale march on the eve of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) second-term inauguration to protest against what the party called his inept governance that has fueled public anger.

DPP sources said that some party members had suggested that the march be held on the day of Ma’s inauguration. However, the party’s Central Standing Committee said that as some participants would be coming from southern and central Taiwan, the inauguration ceremony would have concluded by the time the protesters arrived in Taipei on May 20.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NCC to hear more on CNS deal

‘MEDIA MONSTER’::The NCC said it wanted to hear all opinions on Want Want’s bid to absorb CNS, a deal critics say could lead to a monopoly and threaten media freedom
By Shelley Shan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - Page 2

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it would hold another public hearing early next month on a controversial bid by Want Want China Broadband to acquire 11 cable television services owned by China Network Service (CNS), adding that Want Want Holdings chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) would be invited to attend the hearing.

The commission has already held two hearings — one administrative and one public — on the controversial bid.

DPP has no need to formulate new China policy: Wu

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wu Rong-i, a candidate in the Democratic Progressive Party chairperson election, speaks at a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not need to change its China policy and it should not give up on Taiwanese independence if Beijing asks it to do so, DPP chairperson candidate Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said yesterday.

Ma has history wrong: Lee Teng-hui

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Pingtung County

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday reiterated that the “one country, two areas” proposal was President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inaccurate interpretation of Taiwan’s history and its decades-long democratic development.

“The proposal was a reaction against democracy and a sign of the re-emergence of authoritarianism,” Lee said in Donggang Township (東港), Pingtung County, on the first day of his three-day visit to southern Taiwan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

‘Aerobic diplomacy’ shows up Ma: DPP

MISSED OPPORTUNITY:DPP lawmakers yesterday accused the president of not solidifying Taiwan’s presence in Africa on his trip, saying he misunderstands diplomacy
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) visit to Africa has been an example of his faulty perception of the essence of diplomacy, as well as his failure to recognize the threat posed by China, lawmakers and academics said yesterday.

“Ma should stop his ‘aerobic diplomacy’ and return to Taiwan as soon as possible to deal with the controversial fuel and electricity price hikes,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) told a press conference yesterday.

DPP plans three televised debates for chair hopefuls

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Three televised debates will be held for the five candidates for the party chair position before the May 27 vote, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The decision was reached after talks between the five campaigns were held at the party’s national headquarters yesterday afternoon.

Koo Kwang-ming calls for Ma to resign immediately

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to resign because of his dismal approval rating and after a re-election win that he said was “heavy with US and Chinese interference.”

“How does a president with an approval rate of 19 percent lead a country? What legitimacy does he have?” Koo asked a press conference.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TSU seeks end to overtime work exploitation by firms

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The system of job responsibility has been abused by management and exposes workers to the risk of death by overwork, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

The party plans to propose amending Article 84-1 of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which lists the system as applicable to several sectors, because the law has failed to protect labor rights, TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

DPP unity may be at stake, Su Huan-chih says

‘UNITED WE STAND’:Su said he was the top choice to lead the DPP because he is not affiliated with any faction and does not plan to run for president

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) unity will be at stake if the party’s chairperson election next month becomes a “prelude to the 2016 presidential election,” former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said yesterday.

“The election appears to be heading in the wrong direction with most of the attention focused on the 2016 presidential election,” Su, one of five contestants in the May 27 election, told a press conference.

DPP accuses Taipower of wasting cash

COSY CABAL::Taipower has been buying unneeded electricity from its subsidiaries — staffed by its retired senior officials — at inflated rates, wasting billions of dollars
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Apr 17, 2012 - Page 1

Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower, 台電) has wasted tens of billions of dollars on unnecessary reserve capacity and failed to avoid conflicts of interests with its subsidiary companies, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) alleged yesterday.

“If the reserve capacity rate had been reduced to 16 percent — a target adopted by the previous DPP administration — or lower, Taipower would be profitable, so that it wouldn’t have to raise electricity prices,” former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), the DPP presidential candidate in 2008, told a press conference.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Constitution a starting point for talks: Hsieh

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

The Republic of China (ROC) Constitution could serve as a basis for the development of domestic consensus and ending partisan bickering, even if people do not agree with everything in the Constitution, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“I am making this proposal because the Constitution is the foundation of a sovereign and independent country,” Hsieh said at a press conference held to informally promote his recently published book Taiwan Next (不一樣的台灣).

The Constitution offers a platform that includes such constitutional essentials as freedom and equality, Hsieh said, adding that these could provide an “overlapping consensus” that different political parties could accept.

Ma’s approval rating at 18.7%: survey

HONEYMOON IS OVER:The Taiwan Brain Trust survey found Ma would have lost the election if it were held today, and 78.7% polled were dissatisfied with the new Cabinet
By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) latest approval rating was its lowest in nearly three years at 18.7 percent and he would not have won his re-election bid if the presidential election were held today, according to a public opinion poll released yesterday.

Ma’s approval rating was the lowest since August 2009, when he received a 16 percent approval rating after mishandling relief work after Typhoon Morakot, which killed hundreds of people, Taiwan Brain Trust (TBT) chief executive officer Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) told a press conference yesterday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hsu, Chai formally join DPP chairperson race

POWER PLAY:Hsu Hsin-liang said winning the next presidential election is key and his main policy is to get the DPP to endorse Tsai Ing-wen as the party’s candidate
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The registration period for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election closed yesterday as former DPP chair Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) and former DPP legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) completed their registrations and made the election a five-man race.

The 76-year-old Chai became the oldest candidates in the field, with former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) not far behind at 72 and Hsu at 70. Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), seen by many as the favorite in the May 27 election, and former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) are 64 and 55 respectively.

Friday, April 13, 2012

AEC, Taipower deny nuclear waste plan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) yesterday denied allegations that Sioulin Township (秀林), Hualien County, had been selected as a location for nuclear waste storage.

The denial came after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said at a press conference that Taipower had been drilling holes in the eastern township in preparation for the work.

Former legislator Chai to run for DPP chairperson

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) yesterday officially announced his intention to run in the May 27 DPP chairperson election and said his expertise on international affairs and organizational skills would be the biggest assets he could bring to the party.

“Despite my age, I am confident that I am capable of leading this party and Taiwan to a better future,” said Chai, who at 76 is the oldest among the five candidates in the election.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ma makes people miserable: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese are unhappy with life because of the government’s poor performance, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is the person most responsible, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

“President Ma’s incompetence is a big reason why Taiwanese are unhappy,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference, at which he and his fellow lawmakers Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) analyzed the recently published World Happiness Report (WHR).

DPP plans huge rally around Ma’s inauguration day

PUBLIC ANGER:A task force will decide on the date and location given the restrictions imposed by the city government on the day Ma is sworn in
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning a massive protest next month against what it says are President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor performance and his failure to listen to the public.

The DPP’s Central Standing Committee unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the establishment of a “520 task force” to plan for a massive rally around May 20, when Ma will be inaugurated for his second term, DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said yesterday.

Su, Wu register for DPP chief election

FIVE-HORSE RACE:Favorite Su Tseng-chang demonstrated at a press conference that he has what it takes to be president — at least in media-pulling power
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) registered for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election yesterday, with the favored lead, Su, saying he would make the DPP “a larger and better party that meets people’s expectations” if he is elected.

It was also confirmed that the May 27 election would be a five-way race and the most competitive chairperson election in the party’s 26-year history, after former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) and former DPP lawmaker Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) both said yesterday that they would complete their registration tomorrow.

Liu case raises national security fear

POTENTIAL LEAK::The Control Yuan said diplomat Jacqueline Liu’s hiring of a Chinese woman to work in her home violated foreign ministry rules and raised security fears
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Apr 12, 2012 - Page 1

In a surprise twist to the investigation of the foreign labor fraud case involving senior diplomat Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), the Control Yuan found that she had hired a Chinese woman as a housekeeper in a move that “raised national security concerns.”

The Control Yuan on Tuesday impeached the former director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, Missouri, as it completed its probe into her case.

Liu pleaded guilty in the US to US federal charges of mistreating two Philippine housekeepers, in exchange for being deported back to Taiwan.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sean Chen voices support for planned fuel tax reform

By Chris Wang and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters

Premier Sean Chen told the legislature yesterday that he supported a planned reform of fuel charges that would calculate the tax based on fuel consumption rather than per vehicle.

Speaking at a plenary session in response to a question from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), Chen said he supported the move to a consumption-based fuel charge because it would make taxation more fair.

Academics, firms debate hikes

AT ODDS:Critics of the energy rate rises said CPC and Taipower’s pricing mechanisms were outdated, while company representatives said being state-run hindered them
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics and company representatives from state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) yesterday debated recent and planned price hikes for fuel and electricity.

Academics accused the two companies of using opaque pricing formulas when calculating price rises during a public hearing hosted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus.

Su meets with Tsai ahead of registering for DPP’s election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday met with former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ahead of his scheduled registration for the party chairperson election today.

During the 60-minute meeting at Tsai’s office, the former presidential candidate gave Su her blessing and urged the former premier to stress consolidation during his election campaign, according to Su’s staff, adding that Tsai also encouraged Su to focus on policies during the campaign.

Pro-independence groups urge US to stand by TRA

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pro-independence groups yesterday urged the US to firmly stand by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and its commitments, marking the 33rd anniversary of the US law.

Led by 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign convener Peter Wang (王獻極), about 100 representatives of civic groups gathered in front of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) office in Taipei to commemorate the anniversary of TRA being signed into law.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Su Huan-chih registers for DPP vote

MORE COMING:Su Tseng-chang and Wu Rong-i are expected to register tomorrow to run for the DPP chair, with two other potential rivals expected to run as well
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Registration for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chairperson election began yesterday, with former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) the first candidate to register.

Opposition asks Ma to make report

ACCOUNTABILITY:The DPP, PFP and TSU whips said the time was right for the president to be accountable for his policies and actions, and to stop avoiding responsibility
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Three opposition caucuses yesterday invited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to deliver an unprecedented national report to the legislature.

The caucus whips of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) held a joint press conference to urge Ma to deliver a national report and take questions from lawmakers in a question-and--answer session to uphold political accountability.

“The time is ripe for Ma to deliver a report, not only because all opposition parties support the initiative, but also because it is time for Ma to step forward and face the challenge of -accountability politics,” DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Former vice premier announces bid for DPP chair

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) yesterday announced that he would take part in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) election for chairperson on May 27, adding that he was confident he could spearhead reforms that would lay the basis for the DPP’s return to power.

Wu, 72, proposed a “second party-founding movement” to revive a spirit of “selflessness” the party enjoyed in its early days and to restore the party’s long-lost values.

‘Diplomatic truce’ of no benefit to nation: DPP

TRIED AND TESTED:A former diplomat said despite KMT criticism that the DPP government bought allies, the Ma administration behaved in ‘pretty much the same’ way
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “diplomatic truce” with China has not benefited Taiwan as his administration claims, former diplomats from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Ma embarked on a 12-day trip to Africa on Saturday night, visiting the nation’s three diplomatic allies of Burkina Faso, Gambia and Swaziland for the first time since taking office in 2008.

Officials have described Ma’s refueling stop in Mumbai, India, the first ever visit to that country by a Taiwanese president, as a “diplomatic breakthrough” and an example of the benefits that have come from Ma’s “diplomatic truce.”

Ma ‘sold out’ sovereignty: academics

FRIEND OR FOE?A former DPP official said improved cross-strait ties had placed the armed forces in a difficult position because they no longer knew how to view China
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The controversial “one country, two areas (一國兩區)” concept proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could jeopardize Taiwan’s sovereignty, political analysts said yesterday.

The analysts said the proposal, which was touted by former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on March 22 in Beijing, has “sold out Taiwan’s sovereignty in an irreversible way.”

Friday, April 06, 2012

Freedom of Speech Day to honor Deng Nan-jung

FREE SPEAKER:DPP lawmakers want a national Free Speech Day to honor the legacy of the magazine publisher who sacrificed his life to further the cause
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday said they would propose making April 7 Freedom of Speech Day in memory of the late Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), a democracy advocate who committed suicide 23 years ago.

“The DPP Legislative Caucus unanimously supports the proposal to make April 7 a national Freedom of Speech Day to honor Deng’s fight for basic human rights and we call for non-partisan support for the proposal,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said at a press conference held at Deng Nan-jung Memorial Museum.

Wu Rong-i enters DPP chair race

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) yesterday confirmed he would enter the May 27 election for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson, saying he would transform the party with his rich experience and well-thought-out ideas if elected.

Wu, 72, became the second candidate to announce a bid, after former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智). He is set to make a formal announcement in a press conference on Sunday.

DPP attacks government on second-generation NHI

UNFAIR SYSTEM:The DPP legislative caucus demanded a revision of the supplementary premium regime, which would penalize workers in low-paying part-time jobs
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday made three demands for healthcare, asking the government apologize to the people, to revise “unfair” clauses in the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) and for premium calculations to be based on total household income.

“The initial design of the premium calculation was based on household income, before several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators overturned the mechanism overnight,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Lawmaker asks for resolution on Chiang mausoleum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government should find a quick and permanent solution to the fate of the mausoleum of former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), which remain empty six years after their completion, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌), who sits on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, demanded that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) seek a final decision from the Chiang family on the NT$31.42 million (US$1.07 million) building.

Su mum on potential bid for DPP chair

WARNINGS:The former premier said that the Ma government should watch out for inflationary risks after it raised fuel prices by 7 to 11 percent on Monday
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) remained tight-lipped yesterday about his candidacy in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election, but said he would speak on a wide range of issues next week.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by his office, the Eball Foundation, Su said he had been “extensively consulting party members recently” on the May 27 election and would make a public announcement next week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

US beef talks break down again

NO PROPOSAL:The opposition is demanding the Cabinet present its plan to relax a ban on ractopamine residues in beef imports, adding that the KMT could implement it
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A plenary session of the Legislative Yuan was suspended yesterday after cross-party negotiations over an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) broke down.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced at about 10am that the session would be rescheduled for a later date after an 80-minute negotiation session over the amendment, which would be crucial to relaxing a ban on US beef imports containing residues of the leanness-enhancing animal-feed additive ractopamine, fell apart.

Su Tseng-chang leaning toward entering DPP race

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The much-anticipated election for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson is set to intensify after former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) indicated on Monday night that he may run for the position.

Asked by the media about his plan to enter the race, Su said he was “pretty close” to registering for the election, which is scheduled to be held on May 27, alongside elections to select an Aboriginal representative and 286 party representatives across the country.

Government, DPP both congratulate Myanmar on vote

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

The government yesterday congratulated Myanmar on conducting a peaceful and incident-free election, and expressed its wishes to increase exchanges and cooperation with the country.

As a member of the Asia-Pacific region, the Republic of China (ROC) welcomed the Myanmar government’s policies to open up the country for reform, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson James Chang (章計平) said.

Taiwan could provide Myanmar with assistance through inte

Students relying more on loans to pay tuition: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Young people are becoming increasingly dependent on student loans, but they are struggling to repay them and an eventual increase in tuition fees poses a serious risk of creating persistent poverty, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Despite the Ministry of Education’s move to maintain a freeze on tuition fees this year, the increasing number of students who are taking out loans to pay for schooling could create a cycle of persistent poverty among young people if the government fails to come up with a solution, the DPP legislative caucus told a press conference.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Social workers are being exploited, rights groups say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The basic labor rights of social workers, such as vacations, working hours and salaries, has been ignored for too long and there is no better time to voice the concerns than Social Workers Day, rights groups and a lawmaker said yesterday.

“The loving hearts and dedication of Taiwan’s social workers have been exploited and abused. People rarely think that the people who take care of the underprivileged need to be taken care of as well,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.

Rights activists push for residency for foreign parents

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Immigrant rights advocates and a lawmaker yesterday called for changes to the Immigration Act (入出國移民法) to grant residency status to foreign nationals who have Taiwanese children.

Many foreign nationals are kept from living with their Taiwanese children and cannot apply for resident visas because of flaws in the system, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and the Alliance for Human Rights Legislation for Immigrants and Migrants told a press conference.

Green camp pans fuel price hike

DISTORTIONS::Almost half of CPC’s employees earn more than NT$1m a year, but the firm’s large operational scale distorts its personnel costs, a TSU lawmaker said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Apr 03, 2012 - Page 1

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) should have first reviewed its high personnel costs and made its oil purchasing contracts transparent, the pan-green camp said yesterday after the state-run firm hiked fuel prices.

The prices of gasoline and diesel products rose by an average of 10.7 percent yesterday, the steepest pace in nearly four years, following a decision by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Sunday to end a cap on fuel-price increases.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Ma involved in traitorous acts: Li Ao

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Outspoken writer and political analyst Li Ao (李敖) yesterday said he supported the proposal of “one country, two areas (一國兩區),” but was concerned about the “pro-US” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who he said had committed “traitorous acts.”

The pro-unification writer told a press conference that Ma is “the most pro-US president in Taiwan’s history” for his lifting of a ban on US beef and his efforts to procure US arms.

Li said he would not call Ma a traitor, but Ma “did commit traitorous acts, by doing everything the US asked him to do.”

Critics blast NHI premium regime

UNFAIR TREATMENT:The health insurance system is still financially sound so it is a good time to talk about revising premiums to base them on household income
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If the government wants to make the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) program fair it should scrap the supplementary premiums mechanism and charge a premium based on household incomes, civic groups and academics said yesterday.

The critics, including former health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良), told a press conference that regulations on premium calculations should be revised so that premium fees are proportional to income.