Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ma erred and ECFA failed to benefit Taiwan, DPP says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) has failed to bring benefits to the people of Taiwan, despite assertions by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that it would, and Ma has “mishandled” and “misjudged” the cross-strait negotiations for the pact, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Ma has failed to deliver on at least eight of his pledges related to the agreement, the DPP said in its review of the pact, which was hailed as a landmark deal by most analysts, on the eve of the third anniversary of its signing at a news conference yesterday.

SERVICES PACT: Survey shows discontent over cross-strait accords

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Almost half of the respondents to a public opinion poll released yesterday said a trade pact signed by Taiwan and China three years ago has not helped their livelihoods, with a similar proportion saying they do not support the recently signed cross-strait service trade agreement.

The survey was conducted on the eve of the third anniversary of the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which was inked on June 29, 2010, and sought people’s views on the ECFA and the follow-up service trade pact, which was signed on Friday last week in Shanghai.

Former premier arrives in Hong Kong for forum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) arrived in Hong Kong yesterday for a two-day forum on cross-strait affairs hoping to foster closer engagement between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The forum, co-organized by Hsieh’s Taiwan Reform Foundation and the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of Beijing’s major Taiwan-related think tanks, will be held today and tomorrow. Academics from both sides of the Strait, as well as nine DPP lawmakers, are expected to attend.

Friday, June 28, 2013

China at a crossroads: rights advocates

TWO-HANDED STRATEGY:China has projected itself as a rising power aligned with the world order, while cracking down on dissent at home, Chen Guangcheng said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Led by visiting Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), human rights advocates yesterday said that China is at a “crossroads” and could collapse if it fails to effectively deal with rising public anger over human rights violations.

The groups, including advocates for Xinjiang, Tibet and Falun Gong, demanded that Beijing respect human rights and release 4,033 political prisoners.

Groups remember first independence martyr

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pro-independence groups yesterday paid tribute to Taiwanese independence activist Chen Chih-hsiung (陳智雄) at a press conference that commemorated Chen’s execution 50 years ago by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.

Chen’s daughter, Vonny Chen (陳雅芳), displayed her father’s final letters written before his execution — which she did not receive until March this year — at the news conference organized by the World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI).

DITORIAL: Cross-strait human rights dilemma

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - Page 8

The most intriguing part of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s (陳光誠) trip to Taiwan so far was his brief visit to the legislature on Tuesday. Lawmakers tangled and disagreed on the podium, but chanted in sync to welcome Chen, without leaving their positions.

When later asked, Chen said he loved it because that was what democracy is all about — there will never be only one voice.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dissident favors giving Chinese a choice

MEETING WITH SU:Chen Guangcheng told reporters that he supported self-determination, but thinks the concept of independence was out of date in Taiwan
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) yesterday said he advocated the “one country, two systems” approach to cross-strait ties, but said rather than it meaning Beijing defines relations, it could be a mechanism used within China to allow people to choose the kind of society they wish to live in.

“I would love to see a poll in the region south of the Yangtze River which allows people to vote on the system of government they want to live under — a democratic and free society or an authoritarian society. After three years we could expand the voting to the area south of the Yellow River and eventually to the entire country,” said the exiled activist, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for an 18-day visit.

DPP vows to resist ‘unfair’ trade pact

CONCERN:The 64 sectors to be opened to Chinese investment could involve more than 1,000 sub-sectors, harming small businesses the most, a spokesperson said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would set up two lines of defense against the opaque and unfair cross-strait service trade agreement, at the legislature and at local government level.

“The legislature, after a negotiation, has said that it will screen and vote on the pact clause by clause. If the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) pushes the pact through the legislature, local governments can take administrative measures to counter the agreement,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting, which leaders of five of the six DPP-governed cities and counties attended.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DPP to keep trade pressure on government

MORE TO COME:The Democratic Progressive Party said the government has shown its poor skills in trade negotiations with China, disregarding the interests of Taiwanese
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

While political parties have agreed to screen and vote on the just-signed cross-strait service trade agreement clause-by-clause, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would keep pressuring the government because more negotiations are on Taiwan’s and China’s economic agendas.

“The service trade pact is not the last follow-up agreement of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). The service in goods agreement is coming up by the end of the year and it could create a larger impact on local businesses,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

China’s activists need support: dissident

SAME STORY:Chen Guangcheng said Chinese are now fighting for their rights like Taiwanese did in the 1980s, but international pressure on Beijing is crucial for change
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Booming social and rights activism in China will bring change to China someday, in the same way that Taiwanese fought for and brought about democracy to their country, but Chinese rights activists deserve more support from the international community, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) said in Taipei yesterday.

“I also believe that human rights should be the foundation of cross-strait peace,” said the 41-year-old activist, who became the first Chinese dissident to make a speech at the Legislative Yuan.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stand firm on democratic ideals: Chen Guangcheng

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s leaders appear to have a lack of understanding of “the essence of Beijing’s authoritarian regime,” despite Taiwan serving as a role model for democratic development in China, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) said in Taipei yesterday.

Chen, who has been living in the US after fleeing China in May last year, told an international press conference on the first full day of his 18-day visit to Taiwan, that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) refusal to meet him “reflected the fierce competition between a democracy and an authoritarian regime.”

Pan-green camp threaten a recall over service pact

‘COMPLETELY IGNORED’::The DPP and TSU said they would move to recall Ma if the pact was put to a vote as a package, demanding an article-by-article review
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 1

Talk of recalling President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) re-emerged in the pan-green camp as the opposition said Ma had “completely ignored” the people’s interests in the signing of a service trade pact with Beijing that could have devastating effects on local businesses.

“If Ma insists on pushing the agreement through the legislature, which under the Constitution could initiate a recall proposal, it is time to recall him,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after a meeting with representatives of Chinese herbal medicine associations yesterday.

Monday, June 24, 2013

DPP launches meetings to assess trade pact effects

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to begin visiting business sector representatives today to consult with them about the potential impacts of the cross-strait service trade agreement, something President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration neglected to do before it signed the pact in Shanghai, China, on Friday, the party said.

The DPP also proposed employing clause-by-clause screening and voting when the legislature reviews the pact in the extra legislative session to minimize any damage the business sectors may suffer after the implementation of the pact, which will open 64 local industries to Chinese investment and give Taiwan access to 80 of China’s industries.

Partner abuse law change urged

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An increase in reported cases of domestic violence among non-cohabiting unmarried couples shows how society has changed and why such violence should be treated as a crime, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) told a news conference yesterday.

“As the natures of people’s relationships and family structures become more diverse within a changing society, so do the types of domestic violence between partners. However, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法) has not kept up with these changes,” Wu said.

Ma’s ‘one China’ view has left public powerless: poll

SELF-UNDETERMINATION::Of those polled, a majority said the ‘one China’ stance took away their options, with an expert saying it left Taiwanese just one future: unification
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - Page 3

By supporting the “one China” framework, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has stripped Taiwanese of their options to decide the nation’s future, violating his campaign pledge that the nation’s 23 million people would have the power to do so, according to the majority of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Thinktank, showed that most respondents were displeased with Ma’s recent handling of cross-strait affairs and major domestic policies, including the proposed 12-year education program and the planned national referendum to decide the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

Friday, June 21, 2013

EDITORIAL: The right to the Taiwanese Dream

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 8

We teach our children that if they want to dream, then dream big, not only because they have the right to dream, but if they work hard and opportunity allows, one day that dream might just come true.

For most people a dream is an aspiration to achieve something they desire. They work toward that dream, hoping to fulfill it someday.

While the American Dream embodies the possibility that anything can happen with enough hard work and the right attitude, and the Chinese Dream — a phrase popularized by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) — paints the bold picture of the rise of the Middle Kingdom, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) raised the topic of a “Taiwanese Dream” in a recent speech.

ROC Constitution no longer functioning, Lee Teng-hui says

REAL DEAL:Articles added to the ROC Constitution which call Taiwan the ‘free area’ of the ROC reflect the governance and state of the country after 1949, Lee said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Taitung County

The Republic of China (ROC) Constitution is no longer functioning and the real “Taiwan Constitution” is the 12 additional articles of the ROC Constitution, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Taitung County.

He made the remark during a stop in Luye Township (鹿野) in response to a reporter’s question about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent comment that, according to the ROC Constitution, cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations.

DPP slams Ma’s handling of cross-strait relations

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has mishandled cross-strait relations and the government should respect Taiwan’s sovereignty, safeguard the interests of its people and uphold the democratic process, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

While the DPP has always supported fair and reciprocal cross-strait economic activities, the public, the opposition and most Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians were not informed of the contents of a service trade agreement set to be signed today, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lee Teng-hui says he never applied for membership in CCP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Taitung County

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday sought to dispel a rumor that he had been a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member, saying he had never applied for membership.

“However, to say that I was never involved with the CCP would be an overstatement,” he said when asked about the rumor during a question-and-answer session with reporters during a visit to Green Island (綠島).

Ex-prisoners, Lee visit Green Island park

MEMORY LANE:The former president said Taiwan had been ‘silenced’ during the Martial Law era, which is why he felt he had to make an apology when he was in office
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Taitung County

Four former political prisoners yesterday shared their stories with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) at the Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park and said that the nation’s tragic past should be remembered so that democracy and freedom could persevere.

“We came back here as winners, because they [the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime] did not defeat us. They wanted us to die, but we survived,” said Kuo Chen-chun (郭振純), one of the four.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wu says DPP happy with Su’s ‘successful’ US visit

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) 11-day visit to the US has been successful in consolidating Washington’s support of the party and relaying the party’s policies on various fronts in the US, DPP Representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday after returning to Taiwan.

“We’re very happy with what we’ve achieved in Washington, where we met the people we wanted to meet and engaged in comprehensive discussions covering a wide range of topics,” Wu said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning.

Lee Teng-hui to make symbolic trip to Green Island

POIGNANT VISIT:The ex-president is scheduled to attend a forum today with four former political prisoners at the Green Island Memorial Park
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Taitung County

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) is returning to Taitung County’s Green Island (綠島) for the first time in 14 years where he is scheduled to make a symbolic visit to a human rights memorial park today.

As president, Lee helped raise funds to erect a monument in the Green Island Memorial Park to commemorate the thousands of political prisoners who passed through the prison on the remote island during the White Terror era under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Service pact poses threats: lawmaker

COMPETITION:The pact is slated for signing on Friday in Shanghai, but the government has not released a list of sectors that will be affected, a TSU lawmaker said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The impending signing of a service trade agreement between Taiwan and China is an issue that merits concern, given the opacity of the negotiation process and the long-term threat it poses on the domestic service sector, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.

The agreement — a follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) — is expected to be signed on Friday in Shanghai, but the government has yet to disclose a list of items that will be liberalized, Hsu told a press conference.

Academics set up group to protect, monitor oceans

VALUABLE RESOURCES:The association called on the government to establish an interagency panel to coordinate and promote related laws
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A group of academics yesterday announced the establishment of the Taiwan Ocean Protection and Monitoring Association, an organization dedicated to protecting the nation’s oceanic resources and improving water pollution control.

“Taiwan would no longer be the beautiful island of Formosa if its sea and mountains are plagued by problems,” Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍), the founder of Chi Mei Group, the association’s main backer, told a news conference, referring to the overdevelopment of mountain areas, water pollution and declining fish stocks in coastal waters.

DPP reiterates pensions, cross-strait offices stance

RIGHT TO RIGHTS:A poll found most respondents think the establishment of the offices hinges on Beijing giving Taipei the right to visit Taiwanese detained in China
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Reforming the pension funds of public-sector workers should take priority over private-sector funds, and the proposed representative offices across the Taiwan Strait should be accorded substantial functions, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday, reaffirming its position on a pair of contentious issues to be discussed in the ongoing extra legislative session.

The DPP emphasizes social fairness in its reform plans, which is why it is calling for a narrower income replacement rate gap between public and private-sector pensions, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

Monday, June 17, 2013

DPP members to attend Chinese forums

HOT TOPIC:Former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang said he would tout his China Council initiative, which would make the DPP ‘an attacker’ with creative China policy proposals
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The political status of arrangements between Taiwan and China are expected to be hot topics over the next two weeks, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members attending cross-strait affairs forums in Beijing in clusters after a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum reaffirmed the “one China” framework as the basis of cross-strait engagement last week.

Former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chi-kune (洪智坤) and several academics who served in the former DPP administration, are among the Taiwanese participants in a forum to be held in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday.

Activists to sue Japanese PM over Diaoyutais issue

TAIWANESE RIGHTS:A group of activists said they want to get an answer on whether the Diaoyutais are Taiwanese territory or not by bringing a lawsuit today
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A group of activists led by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chang Chun-hong (張俊宏) said they will sue Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the issue of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the Yilan District Court today.

“The lawsuit came as our determination to protect the human rights, sovereignty and fishing rights of Taiwanese because the islands have always been part of Republic of China [ROC] territory,” Chang, who represented the Taiwan Gene Foundation, told a press conference.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wu comments eroded democratic mechanisms: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - Page 1

The pan-green camp and civic groups yesterday criticized former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) for the seven-point statement he made in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on Thursday, saying the political pledge without a mandate jeopardized Taiwan’s sovereignty.

The most controversial part of Wu’s statement included his reaffirmation that the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uphold the so-called “1992 consensus” and oppose Taiwanese independence, his call for the promotion of national identity because both sides share the same ancestry, as well as a reiteration of both sides’ adherence to the “one China” principle and “one China” framework.

Former DPP chair Hsu calls for ‘bold one China principle’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should leverage its advantage and go on the offensive by adopting a “bold one China principle (大膽一中)” rather than staying on the defensive against a more powerful China, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) said yesterday.

“If the ‘one China’ principle was an inevitable development, we should seek the best ‘one China’ framework for Taiwan, such as the establishment of a China Council which is based on the European Council,” Hsu, 72, said at the book launch of his new book, titled What should Taiwan do?

Friday, June 14, 2013

EDITORIAL: Message to lawmakers: Do your job

The Legislative Yuan began its extra session yesterday in what has now become a ritual: For the past few years, no legislative session has ended without the need for an additional session.

In addition, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said that as there were too many outstanding proposals, it has planned not one, but two extra sessions.

Lawmakers not working for public good, survey says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A majority of people believe that legislators, regardless of their party affiliation, place their parties, families, factions or specific interest groups far above the needs of the public, a public opinion poll showed yesterday.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR), found that only 16.7 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the performance of lawmakers, while 61.5 percent said they were unsatisfied and 33.3 percent did not answer.

Legislature unanimously vetoes controversial bill

STORM BREWING:The KMT dominated the vote on the agenda for the extra session, with notable items including the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant referendum
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday unanimously supported the Executive Yuan’s veto of a controversial amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) on the first day of a two-week extra session, temporarily snuffing a political firestorm.

A vote of 110 to zero means that the amendment, which would have exempted city and county councilors from charges of misusing public funds and released hundreds of academics from probes into their use of receipts to claim government funds, will be nullified.

DPP lawmakers criticize Wu-Xi meeting

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The communication platform between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not been authorized by Taiwanese and it is not monitored by the legislature, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

The lawmakers made the remarks as a meeting between former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was being held yesterday afternoon in Beijing, the first such meeting since Xi became president.

Lawmakers criticize education U-turn

ELECTION PLEDGE::Lawmakers across party lines criticized the decision to backtrack on the president’s vow to implement a free-to-all 12-year compulsory education system
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - Page 1

In response to calls by heads of local governments, the Executive Yuan made a policy U-turn and set economic qualification criteria for free tuition under the planned 12-year compulsory education program, a move that prompted opposition from lawmakers.

Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) yesterday presented a draft report on the policy to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers at a KMT caucus meeting, saying the free-to-all policy had been overturned.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DPP legislator gets seven years in prison

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court’s Taichung branch yesterday sentenced Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) to seven-and-a-half years in prison for his part in a land deal scandal.

Gao was charged with accepting a NT$500,000 (US$16,700) bribe from Dong Feng Ge, a Taichung-based company that operates restaurants, in return for helping the company win the right to lease land belonging to the National Property Administration (NPA).

DPP to propose anti-nuclear, tax bills

INITIATIVES:Democratic Progressive Party caucus convener Ker Chien-ming said tax evasion by large corporations is a key issue that the party is trying to tackle
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus is expected to initiate several anti-tax-evasion and anti-nuclear amendment proposals in the provisional legislative session, despite being unable to ensure their passage, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday.

“We are going to ask the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to clearly express its position on these issues. We will also demand that the Executive Yuan refrain from signing the cross-strait service trade agreement until the Legislative Yuan has comprehensively discussed it,” Ker said after the caucus meeting.

Academics criticize Hsinchu City over probe of foreign academic’s work permit

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics yesterday warned that the Hsinchu City Government’s investigation into Austrian lecturer Max Gufler’s work permit after he criticized the city government was reminiscent of the White Terror era.

In an open letter released on May 10, Gufler, a lecturer at National Hsinchu University of Education and an environmentalist, urged the city government not to sponsor three firework shows in October as part of Double Ten National Day celebrations because the shows would cause air pollution and waste public funds.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lawmaker calls for FTC report on refiners’ prices

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) yesterday said that he would request the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) investigate potential anti-competitive activity by CPC Corp, Taiwan, and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPC) within a month of the start of the upcoming extra legislative session.

Gao told a press conference that he was pleased that the FTC plans to launch another investigation into CPC and FPC, the nation’s only oil refiners, over a potential monopoly.

Su touts DPP’s local, foreign policies

PRAGMATISM:The DPP chairman, who is visiting the US, laid out the party’s goals, including winning in the seven-in-one polls in 2014 and managing cross-strait ties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will be pragmatic in handling domestic affairs and is capable of managing relations across the Taiwan Strait, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told Taiwanese-Americans in New York on Sunday, according to a DPP press release.

Su, who is visiting North America until Tuesday next week, also said in a speech at a dinner banquet that while some people are not happy with the nation’s current name, the Republic of China, as stipulated in the Constitution, “hopefully, someday we could engage the international community using the name Taiwan.”

Accounting Act task force established

AUDIT THE ACT::An amendment that left professors liable for money spent on research while excusing officials spending taxpayers’ money on hostess bars sparked an outcry
By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - Page 1

The Executive Yuan yesterday established a task force to study how to deal with alleged irregularities related to the use and reimbursement of public money involving more than 1,000 academics and elected officials, with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) instructing Cabinet members to study the issue.

Jiang designated ministers without portfolio Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) and Schive Chi (薛琦) to lead an inter-agency panel to prepare an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) after several Cabinet members voiced their concerns at a Cabinet meeting, Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) told a press conference.

Monday, June 10, 2013

DPP’s Su begins US visit, thanks US for arms sales

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) began his 11-day visit yesterday in Los Angeles, California, expressing appreciation for the US’ arms sales to Taiwan, in an apparent reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) request that Washington cease the sales.

Xi raised the issue during his two-day informal summit with US President Barack Obama, which took place near Palm Springs, California, on Friday and Saturday.

Cross-strait offices beneficial: forum

‘BEGINNING OF SECOND PHASE’::KMT-leaning cross-strait relations experts said SEF and ARATS offices represented a transitional phase in the absence of political talks
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - Page 3

The establishment of representative offices for the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in China and for the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in Taiwan would benefit people of both sides and further institutionalize cross-strait relations, experts said yesterday, urging the people of Taiwan and the opposition parties to have confidence in the policy.

“I see [the establishment of offices] as the beginning of the second phase of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) cross-strait policy. It would have a positive impact on cross-strait peace and institutionalize bilateral engagement,” Chao Chien-ming (趙建民), a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) vice chairman, told a forum organized by Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of China Studies.

Friday, June 07, 2013

EDITORIAL: Politics more than performing art

Fri, Jun 07, 2013 - Page 8

The real danger for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is not its persistently poor governance and falling credibility, but its leaders’ perception that they can run the country by putting on public relations exercises and manipulating the media.

The voices of the 23 million Taiwanese are strong, yet sometimes too noisy for the administration, which nevertheless pledged to listen to the people at all times.

People have tended to oppose everything the government proposed in the past five years. However, the Ma administration has not considered this too much of a headache because, as a local proverb says, politics is a performing art, and Ma’s administration has truly believed in the power of the media to sway public opinion from Day 1.

TTL slammed over Chinese imports

’VODKA’:A lawmaker alleged that the state-owned firm imported Chinese-made liquor, mixed it with Taiwanese Kaoliang and then sold the bottles to China for a profit
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Co (TTL) has been illegally importing Maotai (茅台酒), a Chinese-made liquor, before reselling it to China as a TTL product after reprocessing, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) told a press conference yesterday.

The company allegedly imported 60,000 liters of Maotai, labeled as vodka, which is the only Chinese-made liquor granted import permissions after Taiwan’s accession to the WTO in 2002, and mixed it with domestically made Kaoliang liquor to manufacture 240,000 bottles of Yushan Taiwan Maotai, Chao said.

DPP calls for increase in defense budget

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jun 07, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan should immediately increase its defense budget, strengthen its military industry and deepen security dialogues with the US and other democracies, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said in the party’s first defense policy blue paper, released yesterday.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) unveiled the defense policy blue paper, a four-part report that laid out the DPP’s national defense vision based on “three new faiths” of confidence in servicemen, the people’s trust in national defense and assurance for international partners.

Su apologizes over Accounting Act row

MAKING AMENDS::A DPP lawmaker has initiated a signature campaign for a legislative reconsideration as the Executive Yuan is adamant that it would not veto the amendment
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Jun 07, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday apologized to the public for the party’s involvement in the controversial amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法), while DPP headquarters and its legislative caucus launched separate efforts to correct the legislation foul-up.

The amendment, passed at the last minute in closed-door cross-party negotiations on Friday last week before the legislature went into recess, was supposed to exempt research grants given by the government to professors and elected officials’ special allowances from being audited.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

DPP to unveil first national defense blue paper today

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to release its first blue paper on national defense today, party think tank the New Frontier Foundation announced yesterday.

A press conference hosted by think tank executive director Lin Wan-i (林萬億) has been scheduled this afternoon for the announcement of the blue paper on national defense policy, titled “The DPP’s National Defense Agenda,” which consists of four parts.

DPP’s Hsu interested in Taipei mayor bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) yesterday confirmed his interest in running for Taipei mayor next year, while fellow DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said there was no possibility of him running in the election.

The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that Hsu and Tuan had both received strong support to go for the DPP nomination in the Taipei mayoral election, adding that both would be considered “surprise candidates.”

Flawed bill must be vetoed, Su says

ACCOUNTABILITY?DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming, criticized for his endorsement of the bill in closed-door negotiations, said the Executive Yuan should be held responsible
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If the Executive Yuan does not veto an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) to resolve an escalating controversy, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would propose amending the law in an extra legislative session, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.

Speaking after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, Su said measures should be taken immediately to correct the controversial amendment, which has not only decriminalized a former lawmaker jailed for misusing public funds, but also sparked a feud between the administrative and legislative branches because of an error.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Beijing, face up to Tiananmen: DPP

‘CHINA MODEL’:The DPP’s Su said China had to heal its ‘historical wounds’ to realize the ‘Chinese Dream’ and was joined by Wang Dan in criticizing Ma’s silence on rights
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should face the Tiananmen Square Massacre pragmatically and disclose the truth about the brutal crackdown in what would be a first step toward democratization, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders said yesterday.

More than two decades after the repression of pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing on June 4 and June 5, 1989, the CCP is still keeping the truth and all information related to the incident from the public and the victims’ families, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a forum on human rights held in China to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the massacre.

Cabinet, legislature pass buck on Accounting Act

By Chris Wang, Chen Ching-min and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer and CNA

Both the administrative and legislative branches of government yesterday refused to take responsibility for correcting an omission in an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) that means a large number of professors could still face prosecution for allegedly misusing receipts to claim government reimbursements.

A revision to the Accounting Act was rushed through the legislature late on Friday night, ostensibly to exempt more than 500 professors from having to have their government research grants audited by government controllers. The amendment also exempted elected officials from being prosecuted over their special allowances.

PRC dissidents urge democracy

DEMOCRATIC EXAMPLE:Taiwan should make the democratization of China the top prerequisite for cross-strait talks, Chinese activist Wang Dan said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Safeguarding democracy is the only strategic advantage Taiwan has against a rising China and it would serve the nation’s interests to help promote democratization in China, Chinese dissidents said yesterday on the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

“Taiwan’s close attention to the Chinese democratic movement would promote its international image, be welcomed by the US and help win the hearts of the Chinese people. I see all pluses and no minuses in it,” Wang Dan (王丹), an exiled leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests who is now a visiting assistant professor at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, told a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party on human rights in China.

Hospital failed Chen: lawmakers

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taichung Prison hospital failed to provide the necessary medical care to imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) before or after he attempted suicide on Sunday, lawmakers and Chen’s private medical team said yesterday.

The prison hospital did not send a physician to examine Chen until an hour after he was discovered trying to hang himself and the physician “was not aware of what had been going on,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a news conference.

TSU officials miss court, say charges break Constitution

CONTEMPTUOUS CRIME:The officials were indicted for contempt of authority because they called the SID ‘pigs,’ a charge the TSU said was tool of repression
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Three Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) officials who were indicted for contempt of authority refused to appear at their first court hearing yesterday because the party said the charges are unconstitutional and constitute a breach of freedom of speech.

Chen Chang-hui (陳昌輝), the TSU’s Tainan City branch director, TSU Department of Organization deputy director Chou Ni-an (周倪安) and TSU deputy caucus director Liu Kuo-lung (劉國隆) were accused and indicted on charges of contempt of authority after they called the Supreme Prosecutor Office’s Special Investigation Division (SID) “SID pigs” at a protest in May last year.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Tiananmen commemoration planned

MASSACRE MEMORIALIZED:Chinese activist Wang Dan, one of the student leaders at Tiananmen, has launched a new Web site to help seek transitional justice for China
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Human rights advocacy groups and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are to commemorate the 24th anniversary of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre today with a vigil at Liberty Square in Taipei and a forum on China’s human rights situation.

The groups, which include the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, Taiwan Democracy Watch, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and a student group for the promotion of democracy in China, yesterday said this year’s event would have a different focus from previous years.

KMT to blame for controversial vote: DPP’s Ker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should be held accountable for an amendment that decriminalizes the involvement of elected officials, professors and staff at colleges and academic institutions involved in irregularities in the use of public funds, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday.

The public has criticized the DPP for being an “accomplice” in the passage of an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) in the legislature at midnight on Friday, with Ker singled out by fellow DPP lawmakers for “unilaterally offering the DPP’s endorsement without the consent of the entire caucus.”

Chen Shui-bian stable after suicide bid

DEATH WISH?:According to the Ministry of Justice, Chen Shui-bian tied a towel to a bathroom fitting and tried to hang himself, but was stopped by a prison caretaker
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jun 04, 2013 - Page 1

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself with a towel at a prison hospital in Greater Taichung on Sunday night, but was stopped by a caretaker, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said that Chen, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, was distraught that public funds could now be spent legally in hostess bars, while the courts had found his use of them for diplomatic projects to have been a criminal offense.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Ma in ‘international legal suicide’

STATE MATTERS::The president’s insistence on the ‘one China’ framework could signal to the international community that Taiwan no longer needs its protection, analysts said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jun 03, 2013 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent elaborations on the issue of Taiwan’s statehood, given the complex nature of the legal status of the Republic of China (ROC), was likely “international legal suicide” and a deception of the people of Taiwan, academics said in a forum last week.

Ma appears to have been self-conflicting and inconsistent in his interpretation of the cross-strait framework, Brad Roth, a professor of political science and law at Wayne State University in Michigan, told a forum organized by Taiwan Thinktank.