Friday, September 28, 2012

DPP to celebrate 26th anniversary, vows to win trust

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to celebrate its 26th anniversary today, with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) telling foreign diplomatic corps at a reception party yesterday that the party would work hard to win back public’s trust and return to power.

“What Taiwanese wish to see is a government that can walk the walk, that doesn’t skirt its responsibilities and that is capable of governing,” Su told dozens of foreign representatives.

Opposition to stage boycott of premier’s report

TAKING A STAND:The TSU cited the poor performance of public servants in charge of economic affairs as a reason for the boycott
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would again boycott Premier Sean Chen’s scheduled report to the Legislative Yuan today, the parties said yesterday.

The TSU would occupy the podium on the legislative floor and boycott Chen’s report until Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) and Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) are replaced, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told a press conference.

Change in SEF position proves ‘political reward’: DPP

By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) board’s decision to make its chairman a paid position showed the appointment of Lin Join-sane (林中森) was a “political reward,” DPP lawmakers said yesterday.

A SEF board meeting yesterday confirmed the appointment of Lin and amended its organizational regulations, changing the position without remuneration to a paid position, DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who serves as a board member of the foundation, told a press conference.

Former SEF chairpeople, including outgoing Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), worked for the foundation, which functioned as a negotiation institution for cross-strait affairs, without pay.

DPP questions wage hike requirements

PLANNING AHEAD:Former DPP chairperson Tsai said the government should take action to stimulate GDP growth to meet the requirements for a wage increase
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If the government insists that its decision to set prerequisites for a minimum wage hike was legitimate, it should adopt the same requirement for government officials’ ‘salary schemes, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

The Executive Yuan on Wednesday put off a plan to raise the minimum monthly wage by NT$267 (US$9.10), with Premier Sean Chen saying that wages would be raised only if GDP grows by more than 3 percent for two quarters in a row or the unemployment rate drops below 4 percent for two consecutive months.

Poll shows 45.7% would vote ‘yes’ to recall the president

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The credibility and approval ratings of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have dropped to the lowest point since his first-term inauguration in 2008, with more than 45 percent of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday in favor of recalling Ma.

The president’s credibility rating is now at 23.6 percent and his approval rating is at 16.5 percent, both new lows, with 71.7 percent of the respondents saying they were unsatisfied with his performance, the poll conducted by Taiwan Indicator Research Survey (TIRS) showed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DPP should aim for legislative majority, Yu says

KEY POWER:Holding a majority in the legislature will enable the party to determine the direction of the country’s progress, the former premier said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is ready to draw up a plan that would lead to an unprecedented achievement — winning a legislative majority in 2016, the party said yesterday.

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun, a member of the DPP’s Central Standing Committee (CSC), presented the proposal at the committee’s weekly meeting yesterday and received overwhelming support.

The DPP has never held a majority in the Legislative Yuan since its establishment in 1986.

DPP questions Taifer’s procurement practices

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A state-controlled fertilizer company is selling “watered-down” Chinese fertilizer and has become a place where retired officials and former lawmakers can earn huge salaries, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said yesterday.

Taiwan Fertilizer Co (Taifer) sells poor-quality imported Chinese fertilizer despite being the largest fertilizer manufacturer and distributor in Taiwan, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Chen Shui-bian has slight fever, son says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had a slight fever which could be related to an infection, his son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), said yesterday.

Chen Chih-chung broke the news in a Facebook post, saying the cause behind his father’s illness has yet to be determined, but it could be related to a urinary tract infection.

Meanwhile, former Northern Taiwan Society director Janice Chen (陳昭姿) blasted the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH), where Chen is staying for treatment, for not disclosing medical information to a group of physicians who are also the former president’s supporters.

Chen nixes wage hike; minister resigns

TEA EGGONOMICS::The DPP said the government was too stingy to allow a raise that would give people just enough money to buy an additional tea egg each day
By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - Page 1

Premier Sean Chen yesterday turned down a proposal to increase the monthly minimum wage next year, leading to an announcement by Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) that she would step down.

At a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, Wang, in tears, announced that she would resign upon learning that Chen had told a press conference in the Executive Yuan in the afternoon that the minimum wage would remain the same, although the minimum hourly wage would be raised.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

China’s collapse is unlikely: forum

TIED FATE:According to experts, it is unlikely China would impose economic sanctions against Taiwan because 14 million Chinese are employed by Taiwanese businesspeople

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

China’s economic growth is slowing down, but the country’s economy is unlikely to collapse in the near future, nor is the rising power likely to impose economic sanctions against Taiwan or Japan, experts said at a forum yesterday.

China’s economy would not collapse in the near future, because Chinese officials are very much aware of the problems they are facing and have sufficient policy tools and resources on hand to handle a possible crisis, the experts concluded.

DPP ready to see ‘magical things’ happen to economy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If one month was enough to turn the economy around, the past four-plus years were like a wasted dream, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday in response to a comment by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that the Cabinet could “make things happen in a month.”

“If one month is enough, what has the government been doing in the past 52 months? Today is Sept. 25. We’re ready to see magical things happen by Oct. 25,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

Ma and the Cabinet, led by Premier Sean Chen, who survived a no-confidence vote in the legislature on Saturday, have come under heavy fire as the economy continues to languish.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DPP, Cabinet argue over Taiwan’s ‘miserable state’

By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and the Executive Yuan yesterday engaged in a war of words about whether Taiwan had become “the most miserable country in the Four Asian Tigers,” as reported in the media.

After the unemployment rate last month rose to 4.4 percent, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday that Taiwan’s “misery index,” the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate, was now at 7.82, the highest among the four Asian Tigers — South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Its front-page article was headlined: “Taiwan becomes the most miserable country.”

Cabinet holds off wage proposal

WAGE WORRIES::Labor activists yesterday gathered to protest a decision to put on hold a proposal to raise the minimum monthly wage
By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 3

The Cabinet yesterday decided to hold off on a proposal to increase the minimum wage next year, stirring speculation that Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) could resign to “take responsibility” for the turn of events.

“Someone has to take responsibility for this,” Wang said when approached by reporters to comment on the conclusions of a review meeting chaired by ministers without portfolio Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) and James Hsueh (薛承泰) on the council’s minimum wage increase proposal.

Accusations fly at meeting on parole for Chen

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter
Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) yesterday said Taipei Prison counted 22 prisoners who were granted medical parole, most of whom suffered from serious conditions including advanced cancers, intracerebral hemorrhage caused by stroke, heart failure and other ailments, adding that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not suffer from such conditions and was therefore not eligible for medical parole.

Tseng made the remarks at a legislative Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee meeting to answer questions by legislators on Chen’s medical check-ups and treatment.

Greater Taichung LNG vendors urge end to huge fines

READY TO EXPLODE:The vendors are threatening to stage a huge protest after a year that has seen many fined over the transport and storage of liquefied gas
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vendors in Greater Taichung yesterday said they had received huge fines in the past year for extra gas storage and called for the government to stop imposing such heavy fines.

If the government failed to respond, they would consider staging a massive protest on Friday, representatives of the liquefied gas industry from across the country told a press conference organized by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) in Taipei.

Tsai rejects opinion piece

The office of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday disputed an opinion piece by presidential confidant Chen Chang-ven (陳長文), published by the Chinese-language China Times, saying that Chen “did not get the facts right” in his comparison of Tsai and incoming Mainland Affairs Council minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦). In the opinion piece, Chen defended President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) appointment of Wang, 43, as the top China policy-maker and said that criticism which claimed Wang was too young for the job and was appointed simply by virtue of his relationship with Ma was dumbfounded and irrational. Citing Tsai as an example, Chen said that the inexperienced Tsai was 44 years old when she was appointed MAC chairperson in 2000 and “had accomplished nothing during her tenure.” Most criticism against Wang came from the pan-blue camp, not the DPP, and was targeted at Wang’s expertise, not his age,” Tsai’s spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said in a press release. Tsai had more than a dozen years of experience on international negotiations — a crucial skill for a China policymaker — under her belt when she was named MAC chair in 2000, which set her aside from Wang, Hung said.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tsai touts better ties on India trip

NEW PARTNERSHIP:The former head of the DPP said that the south Asian nation could be a key ally, while a source said the alliance could help to counter China-Pakistan ties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

India could become one of the most important partners in Taiwan’s next-generation global strategic arrangement “regardless of which party is in power,” former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in New Delhi yesterday as she continued intensive meetings with academics during her visit to the south Asian country.

Tsai made the comment on Saturday at an evening banquet, organized by Taiwan’s representative office in India and attended by about 100 Taiwanese businesspeople to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Tibetans decry Chinese domination

UP IN FLAMES::A series of self-immoliations by Tibetans are a desperate cry for freedom and should serve a lesson to Taiwan about the dangers of Chinese rule, exiles have said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Sep 24, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwanese should take the capture of Tibet by China to heart and support the Tibetan people’s pursuit of freedom, Tibetan rights activists said yesterday.

“Buddhists in Taiwan in particular should understand that people of the same faith in Tibet are suffering brutal oppression when they’re currently engaged in so-called religious exchanges with China,” Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFT) chairperson Chou Mei-li (周美里) said at a symposium.

Participants at the symposium, organized by the TFT and Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP), yesterday in Taipei said that Tibetans striving for democracy under Chinese domination are being forced into extreme acts such as self-immolation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

DPP unveils ‘sensible economy’ plan

SENSELESS WASTE:The party says the Ma administration has proven it is incapable of revitalizing the ailing economy, whereas it has come up with a comprehensive program
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday unveiled a plan for a “sensible economy” it said would revitalize Taiwan’s stagnant economic development, improve people’s livelihood and rival the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s “out of touch” stimulus plan.

The party proposed measures to strengthen industry, empower local governments, improve household finance and create jobs for young people in an action plan outlined at a press conference yesterday.

Ma’s new appointments an example of ‘inbreeding’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The latest reshuffle of top officials in charge of US and China affairs was another example of “inbreeding” in the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the opposition said yesterday, adding that the inexperienced officials’ ability to handle external relations was questionable.

National Security Council adviser Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) were tapped for the jobs because of their close relationship with Ma, not for their experience and expertise, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said.

Airport plan may be Chinese haven, TSU says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The NT$463 billion (US$157.8 billion) Taoyuan Aerotropolis, one of the government’s flagship projects to revitalize the economy, could become a haven for Chinese capital and labor, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.

Hsu suspects that the government is ready to bring in Chinese white-collar workers and investment to the planned “free-trade economic zone” because it has been tight-lipped about how it will relax personnel and investment regulations for the zone.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cabinet reshuffle is ‘cronyism’: DPP

MUSICAL CHAIRS:The appointment of several of President Ma’s inner circle of advisors fails to address the country’s urgent need for an economic overhaul, critics have said
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters

Saying it was difficult to figure out a sensible explanation for the Cabinet reshuffle that was announced yesterday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demanded a completely new lineup.

“Despite the fact that Taiwanese remain unsatisfied with the performance of those officials in charge of economic affairs, they have been retained. We urge President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to change the entire Cabinet,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said he suspected the change was to allow Ma to appoint his confidant King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) as Taiwan’s representative to the US and to neutralize the DPP’s no-confidence motion against the Cabinet.

Former VP talks to DPP on benefits of cross-strait deals

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Economic development should transcend party lines and political ideology, and Taiwan should transform itself into a “value-added island” to increase its global competitiveness, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said yesterday.

Siew — who served as vice president between 2008 and this year under Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, spoke about Taiwan’s economic policy in front of dozens of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, including former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Chen suffers risk of dementia without adequate medical treatment, doctor says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) could develop dementia within six months if he is not given proper medical attention, a physician said yesterday. Visiting overseas human rights activists have also expressed concerns about Chen’s medical welfare.

Chen, who has been out of prison for medical examinations since last Thursday, is suffering from a stutter induced by brain damage and could develop dementia within six months or a year, National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Annette Lu points finger at Control Yuan over probes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday appealed to the Control Yuan, accusing prosecutors of engaging in a “selective investigation” and malicious prosecution in a corruption case in which Lu was found not guilty.

Lu said she would like to highlight two episodes of misconduct by the Supreme Prosecutors Office’s Special Investigation Division (SID), saying the division’s selective investigations only went after pan-green camp officials and violated the principle of presumption of innocence, adding that its prosecution cases were malicious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DPP communication with public must be reworked, Tsai says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Before it can regain public trust and return to power, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) needs to remaster one thing it did well in the past: communicating with people, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“In the past, the DPP was very good at communicating with the public on critical issues. We need to develop that ability to communicate with the public in terms of public policies,” the former DPP presidential candidate said in an interview with the English-language International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT).

China not turning democratic: experts

NARROW INTERESTS:Academics said it would be a mistake to think a rising number of protests meant China was becoming democratic, saying the CCP was still in control
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A rising number of cases of civic unrest in China do not necessarily mean China will one day become a Western-style democracy because mass protests there have focused on a great number of issues, but democracy has not been one of them, academics said in Taipei yesterday.

While the increasing number of mass protests is an alarming issue for Beijing, “the party-state regime is getting better at containing public anger so it does not threaten the reins of the government,” said Wang Hsin-hsien (王信賢), an associate professor at National Chengchi University.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DPP persists with no-confidence vote

‘INTOLERABLE’:The opposition party says the Cabinet must be held accountable for what it called its incompetency, for which it said the president was primarily to blame
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Calling the Cabinet’s overall performance “intolerable,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it intended to propose a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet on the first day of the new legislative session today, despite a government announcement that it would suspend an electricity price increase planned for December.

The DPP is looking at the proposal from a broader perspective and its move constitutes “an attempt to hold the Cabinet accountable for its poor performance and — most importantly — an effort to avoid a constitutional crisis because it was President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), rather than Premier Sean Chen (陳冲), who had dominated every aspect of policymaking,” DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said after a caucus meeting.

Discontented majority favors Cabinet reshuffle: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 60 percent of participants in a public opinion poll released yesterday are in favor of a Cabinet reshuffle, suggesting widespread discontent with the government.

In a survey conducted by Taiwan Thinktank on Wednesday and Thursday last week, 60.1 percent of those who polled said they would like to see a Cabinet reshuffle, with 19.5 percent opposed to the move change and 20.4 percent saying they had no opinion on the matter, the green-leaning think tank told a press conference.

Human rights team, DPP legislators visit A-bian in hospital to check health

By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - Page 3

Two members of an independent human rights team arrived in Taipei to review the human rights case of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and visit him at Taoyuan General Hospital yesterday.

Human right activists Hans Wahl and Harreld Dinkins visited Chen at the hospital accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Kuan Bi-Ling (管碧玲) and Mark Chen (陳唐山). Leading the group of visitors — though not visiting Chen Shui-bian — is Jack Healey, the director of Washington-based Human Rights Action Center.

Lawmakers, rights group urge retrial of death row man

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers and rights groups yesterday called for a retrial or an extraordinary appeal for death row inmate Cheng Hsin-tze (鄭性澤), who was convicted of murdering a police officer in a case activists called “an obvious miscarriage of justice.”

“No clear evidence proved that Cheng shot a police officer in Fongyuan District (豐原), Greater Taichung, on Jan. 5, 2002, but he was still given the death penalty,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) told a press conference.

There were numerous flaws in the handling of the crime scene and the interrogation, and the judges presiding over the case were ignorant of evidence favoring the defendant, lawyer Law Bing-ching (羅秉成) said.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tsai snubs probe, goes to India

DOUBLE TROUBLE:Despite being cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the Yu Chang Biologics Co case, a Control Yuan probe into her role in the case is still going ahead
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is to leave for India on Wednesday for a 10-day visit to the south Asian country, Tsai’s office said.

“The trip marks the first step of Tsai’s attempt to revisit and to position Taiwan’s status and role in Asia through a series of visits and discussions,” Tsai office spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said.

DPP to propose vote of no confidence

‘TIME TO REBOOT’:The party urged KMT lawmakers to ‘make the right decision,’ while the TSU demanded a freeze on electricity price hikes and aims to recall Ma
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to again propose a vote of no confidence against the “malfunctioning” Cabinet in the legislative session that begins tomorrow.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has endorsed the proposal and is to attend the caucus meeting this morning for discussion with the 40-member strong caucus about the party’s position and strategy.

The DPP proposed a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet led by Premier Sean Chen in the three-day extra legislative session in late July, but the motion was rejected by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ma, Wang betrayed workers, pan-green lawmakers say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pan-green camp lawmakers yesterday said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) should both be held accountable for the reported suspension of a planned minimum wage hike, an action the lawmakers said “betrayed the nation’s workers.”

Wang was reportedly upset about her inability to reverse Minister Without Portfolio Kuan Chung-ming’s (管中閔) opposition to the proposal to raise the minimum monthly wage to NT$19,047 (US$650) next year from the current NT$18,780.

New calls for medical parole for Chen

EXAMS AND SCANS::A DPP lawmaker said an MRI test found evidence of a stroke, but the justice ministry said there was just a minor wound to the brain
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - Page 1

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has had a stroke and has a serious mental disorder, a group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and medical experts said yesterday, renewing calls for Chen to be released from prison for medical treatment and the immediate inclusion of a psychiatrist on Chen’s medical team.

“Judging from Chen’s declining condition and the obvious fact that the Taipei Prison had been dealing with his health carelessly, we think that a release for medical treatment is a necessity,” DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) told a press conference.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Protect fishing rights: Tsai Ing-wen, Lee Teng-hui

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

As a row over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) continued, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday underlined the need to safeguard Taiwanese rights over rich fishing grounds.

Tsai said in a statement issued yesterday evening that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration should be on the alert and stay out of a potential diplomatic conflict between Japan and China as the recent tension over the islands was likely an attempt by the two countries to shift focus away from their domestic political difficulties.

Executive Yuan’s stimulus plan missed the point: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan’s latest project to boost the economy has “missed the point” and looked like a hastily formulated plan that failed to address both short and long-term problems, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“The real stimulus for Taiwan’s stagnant domestic economy would be the promotion of domestic investment, but the Executive Yuan’s project, which was announced on Tuesday, did not present a solution,” Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), convener of the DPP’s economic strategy task force, told a press conference.

Su and Tsai visit A-bian, call for medical parole

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday visited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at a hospital in Taoyuan County and called for Chen’s release for medical treatment.

Chen, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence in Taipei Prison for corruption, was sent to Taoyuan General Hospital on Wednesday night after complaining of dysuria, or pain when urinating.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Diaoyutais a fishing rights issue: ex-president

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Nantou County

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said the dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) was about fishing rights rather than a sovereignty issue and that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent proposal was “thoughtless.”

“This has always been an issue of fishing rights. It is not a sovereignty issue,” Lee said during a question-and-answer session on the second day of his three-day visit to central Taiwan.

Asked by reporters about Ma’s proposal to resolve the controversy in two stages — which calls for holding three sets of bilateral dialogues between Taiwan, Japan and China, before holding a three-party talk — Lee said “no one in the international community would buy into the initiative.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Former president Lee visits areas hit by 921 earthquake

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Nantou County

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has embarked on a three-day trip to central Taiwan where he is to visit areas hit by the 921 earthquake, which killed more than 2,400 people, 13 years ago this month.

The 89-year-old is scheduled to visit areas in Nantou County and Greater Taichung near the Chelungpu fault (車籠埔斷層) , the epicenter of the 7.6 magnitude quake, to inspect post-disaster reconstruction.

Parties urged to tackle China as one

TWO HEADS BETTER THAN ONE::A KMT-aligned expert in Chinese affairs joined a DPP forum and called for cooperation in dealing with the powerful nation’s new leadership
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Sep 12, 2012 - Page 3

A consensus on how to deal with Beijing’s upcoming leadership transition is essential for political parties in Taiwan because they share a common rival in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an expert on Chinese politics said yesterday.

“At the end of the day, both [the pan-blue and pan-green] camps have a common rival — the CCP — rather than each other. We’ve spent too much energy on internal fighting,” Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies president Chao Chun-shan (趙春山) told a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poll shows disapproval of Cabinet members is high

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The credibility of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has dropped back to a key low point, while Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) ranked first in a survey of public opinion on Cabinet members. The survey indicated generally poor approval ratings for the entire government.

Ma’s latest credibility rating of 28.2 percent was the same as in early July and was the lowest on record since he took office in 2008, with 55.8 percent of respondents saying they did not trust him, according to the survey released by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) yesterday.

‘Conflict of interest’ compromising SEF chairman: TSU say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) has failed to avoid conflicts of interest and is suspected of having used his position in a university institution as an “accomplice” in Beijing’s “united front” strategy, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Large donations to the National Taipei University’s Center for Asian Studies, where Chiang serves as chairman, came almost exclusively from Taiwanese businesspeople with investments in China, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

PFP calls for move on Diaoyutais

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - Page 1

The People First Party (PFP) yesterday called for a coordinated move by the legislative and administrative branches to claim sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) as Japan announced it would nationalize the disputed islets, but the proposal received a mixed reaction, with lawmakers urging calm.

The PFP proposed that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) organize a meeting with the Ministry of National Defense, the Coast Guard Administration and other agencies to flesh out a coordinated plan to “demonstrate concrete actions to safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty” over the Diaoyutais, PFP caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) told a press conference yesterday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lawmaker pushes east coast ferry plan

ALL ABOARD?:While the Hualien DPP representative said the cost of such a transport link are potentially prohibitive, the region is desperately in need of a new service
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said she hopes that a proposal to establish a sea lane transportation route along the east coast would resolve the decades-long traffic issue which has plagued the region’s residents.

Hsiao plans to propose the establishment of a sea lane connecting Suao (蘇澳), Yilan County and Hualien by ferry to ease the current railway ticket shortage and also to cut the commute people have to endure when traveling by highway.

DPP chief launches China policy talks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A forum on China affairs organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to begin tomorrow to launch a new round of party talks on what was seen as its “Achilles’ heel” in past elections.

The “Open Studio” policy forum, titled “Facing China,” is to host symposiums for four successive weeks to increase the DPP’s understanding of China “on various fronts from an academic perspective,” DPP spokesperson Wang Ming-shen (王閔生) said.

Friday, September 07, 2012

DPP again calls for new laws on local government funding

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday reiterated its call for the amendment of laws governing the prioritization of funding for local governments, because many local governments are currently in tough financial situations.

“The DPP caucus insists that the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法) and the Public Debt Act (公共債務法) be completely overhauled,” Pan Men-an (潘孟安), director-general of the DPP caucus, told a press conference.

TSU gives warning over ARATS chairman’s trip

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) should be expelled from the country if he makes any comments unrelated to cultural creativity during his upcoming visit to Taiwan, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) party caucus said yesterday.

Chen, who was in Taiwan last month for the eighth round of cross-strait negotiations on investment protection, is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Monday. His 10-day trip was organized as a cultural creativity industry exchange.

Protect technology, forum warns

WORRISOME EXODUS:Sensitive technology and the retention of high-tech professionals must be protected by law, academics say, or the brain drain will intensify
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Closer cross-strait economic ties have made protection of sensitive technology a forgotten issue in Taiwanese politics, academics said yesterday in a forum.

While the lack of talent has become a hot topic after government officials issued warnings, the real crisis for Taiwan is the exodus of talent and the outflow of sensitive technology, in particular to China, said Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), chairman of the Taiwan Brain Trust, the organizer of the forum.

All major economies in the world value the protection of their technology and high-tech professionals, Wu said, adding that regulation and monitoring have been lacking in Taiwan, especially after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) returned to power in 2008.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Ministries slammed for inaction

’RIDICULOUS’:Lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang said that the transport and economic affairs ministry had failed to act on a state-owned firm’s possible bankruptcy
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) yesterday accused the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) of inaction over the possible bankruptcy of a state-owned firm.

Taiwan Rolling Stock Co (TRSC) is in danger of declaring bankruptcy if it fails to deliver on a NT$15.4 billion (US$515.7 million) contract to build 256 EMU800 commuter railway carriages for Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA), also a state-owned company, said Tuan, who called the second press conference in as many days about the case.

Tsai urges Hong Kongers to take part in elections

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged Hong Kongers to vote in the semi-autonomous city’s legislative elections on Sunday to “empower” a democracy which was once the pride of the region.

In an editorial piece published yesterday in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, Tsai praised the former British colony and said it once served as the inspiration for Taiwan’s democratic movement.

Government on verge of collapse: DPP

‘DYSFUNCTIONAL’:DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said the judiciary only pursued cases against pan-green politicians and all branches of government had failed in their duties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday that the government is “on the verge of collapse,” citing a string of poorly handled legal cases and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s poor performance on the economy, and demanded a Cabinet reshuffle.

“The judiciary has only gone after pan-green politicians and turned a blind eye toward pan-blue politicians, ignored those cases that should have been investigated and carelessly handled the fabricated cases,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Council blasted for expo subsidies amid cutbacks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Pavilion of Future, originally built for the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo, is shown in an undated photo provided by the Taipei Expo Park.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei Expo Park

The Council of Agriculture’s (COA) budget plan for next year shows that it has failed to protect Taiwanese farmers after the ministry trimmed spending on agricultural-related categories, but kept its subsidy to Taipei City intact, the DPP caucus said yesterday.

Taipei prosecutors find no secret agenda in ‘Dreamers’

NO CASE::The Council for Cultural Affairs did not violate the law by not holding an open tender for the NT$215m musical, or picking Stan Lai’s group
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Sep 05, 2012 - Page 1

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday closed its investigation into the bidding process of the centennial musical Dreamers (夢想家), and said that no irregularities were involved.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) filed lawsuits in November last year against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), then-premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former Council for Cultural Affairs minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁), accusing them of allowing certain performance companies and individuals to profit from staging the musical to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.

Ma to make flying visit to Pengjia Islet this month

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Presidential Office confirmed yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) plans to visit Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼) later this month.

Pengjia is situated just over 30 nautical miles (55km) north of Keelung and 76 nautical miles (141km) east of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). It is the closest Taiwan-held territory to the disputed island chain.

Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said Ma has not inspected Pengjia since taking office, though he has visited many outlaying islands, including Green Island (綠島) and Lanyu (蘭嶼). Fan Chiang said the president planned to visit Pengjia this month to gain a better understanding of residents lives and demands.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Control Yuan votes 6-4 to impeach Su Jia-chyuan

By Stacy Hsu and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter and Staff writer, with CNA

The Control Yuan yesterday voted 6-4 to impeach former Council of Agriculture (COA) chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) for illegally constructing a luxury farmhouse on agricultural land without engaging in any agriculture.

“Su used his administrative privileges during his terms as Pingtung County commissioner, minister of the interior and COA chairman to build a farmhouse on an agricultural land as a mansion for his own use. None of the equipment or the remaining land were found to be used for agriculture, which constitutes a violation of the Agricultural Development Act (農業發展條例),” the Control Yuan told a press conference following a meeting to discuss the case.

Lawmakers say electricity hikes should be frozen

POWER TO THE PEOPLE:If implemented, the second stage of electricity price hikes would likely raise the national ‘misery index,’ DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should suspend an electricity price hike planned for December to ease the public’s financial burden and carry out plans to improve state-run power companies as he had promised, lawmakers of the pan-green camp said yesterday.

Citing the huge losses of Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower), the Ma administration heeded the public’s complaints and revised the original one-off price increase plan in May to a three-stage increase, with a 40 percent rate hikes for the first stage beginning on June 10 and another 40 percent increase on Dec. 10.

Data act implementation unconstitutional: experts

EXECUTIVE ORDER:The academics said that the Cabinet’s decision to have the Data Protection Act take effect in two stages violates the principle of separation of powers
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan’s decision to implement the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法) in two stages was unconstitutional and stands in contempt of the Legislative Yuan, academics and civic groups said yesterday.

“The decision has violated the principle of separation of power of the five branches enshrined in the Republic of China Constitution,” Taiwan Democracy Watch (TWDEM) director Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) said.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Taipower budget is a ‘slap in the face’: DPP lawmaker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Power Corp’s (Taipower, 台電) budget for next year was inconsistent with an earlier government review of the state-run company, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.

A task force organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to improve Taipower’s management amid widespread public discontent with rising fuel and electricity prices stated in its initial report, released on June 29, that the company was able to cut the price that it paid for electricity it purchases from independent power producers (IPPs) by NT$5.15 billion (US$1.72 billion), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said.

DPP legislators earn top ranking in watchdog’s report

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators notched up top rankings in all eight committees in the first session of the eighth legislature, a congress watchdog report released yesterday said.

The DPP, which has 40 seats in the 113-seat legislature, dominated the latest performance scorecard conducted by the Citizen Congress Watch (CCW), with 16 lawmakers in the top 24 spots — the top three in each of the eight committees.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which controls a majority with 64 seats, only placed five legislators in the ranking.

DPP considering citizen lawsuit against NCC deal

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is considering filing a joint citizen lawsuit with civic groups against the National Communications Commission (NCC) for refusing to annul a media merger deal that many academics say will create a media monopoly.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) said yesterday that his party “is studying the feasibility of bringing up a citizen lawsuit together with civic groups after the NCC refused a DPP request to void conditional approval of the deal.”

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Ma has broken his vow on assets: DPP

‘LIARS’:The pan-green camp maintains that the KMT — the world’s wealthiest political party — has reneged on a pledge it made to donate its massive profits to charity
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has betrayed his pledge to divest the assets of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as a draft political party act passed by the Executive Yuan will not create a level playing field for all political parties, the pan-green camp said yesterday.

According to the draft approved by the Cabinet on Thursday, political parties must not operate or invest in profit-making enterprises and must transfer ownership of or sell off shares in such enterprises within two years of the legislation being enacted. If they failed to sell off the assets at the end of the two-year period, they would have to place them in a trust within six months.

Media Monopoly Controversy: Reject Want Want plan: legislator

DEAL BREAKER:The DPP and the TSU opposed Want Want Group’s plans and called on their supporters to take part in today’s protest against media monopolies
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) should reject the Want Want China Times Group’s plan to place its shares in two television stations into a trust to meet the requirements of a conditional approval of a major media deal, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.

The group’s plan to place the CtiTV and China Television Co (CTV) shares it holds into a trust should be rejected because the move would not completely dissociate the Want Want Group from the TV stations as the group would still have property rights and right of personnel administration, Hsu said at a press conference.