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.