Saturday, August 31, 2013

DPP doubts reports about AIT chairman’s remarks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it doubted the accuracy of media reports about American Institute in Taiwan Chairman (AIT) Raymond Burghardt’s remarks about the cross-strait service trade agreement, adding that it hoped that Washington would refrain from commenting on Taiwan’s domestic politics.

“We have taken notice of Burghardt’s remarks and believe that they were taken out of context in the reports,” said Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the DPP’s representative to the US.

Pact risks financial autonomy: expert

SECURITY CONCERNS:A former FSC chairperson said that under the service trade agreement, Chinese investors could seize control of eight financial holding companies
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A former government official warned yesterday that Chinese investors could become majority shareholders of up to half of Taiwan’s 16 financial holding companies and almost 40 percent of the banks in Taiwan under the cross-strait service trade agreement.

“The question is whether the nation wants to hand its financial autonomy to a country which claims that Taiwan is part of its territory and does not rule out taking it by force,” former Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) chairperson Shih Chun-chi (施俊吉) said.

Hau supports call for national affairs conference to facilitate reconciliation

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said he supported holding a national affairs conference to promote reconciliation and resolve the standoff between the government and the opposition.

“Reconciliation is the top priority, as political division has become the most serious setback for the nation, with the administration unable to implement its policies and the legislature unable to engage in meaningful discussion,” Hau said on the sidelines of a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Taiwanese divided on China ties, arms sales

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Public opinion is divided on a meeting between Taiwan’s and China’s presidents and how Taiwan should react if the US reduces its arms sales, a poll showed yesterday.

Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) said 37.9 percent of respondents said Taiwan should buy fewer weapons from the US if China pledges to abandon the use of force against Taiwan.

NSB accused of compiling watch list of protesters

BAD OLD DAYS?One DPP legislator said the people on the list included film directors, student leaders and professors. The bureau has denied the accusation
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday accused the National Security Bureau (NSB) of monitoring hundreds of students, academics and activists involved in protests over land expropriation in Dapu Borough (大埔), Miaoli County.

“[The monitoring] is a modern-day White Terror. We ask the national security agencies to immediately stop such monitoring,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.

DPP told to renew links with society

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

It is imperative for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to rebuild its relations with society and facilitate closer engagement with China’s civic movments, academics said yesterday.

The DPP has lost its touch in managing social issues and its relations with Taiwan’s civil society have soured, while at the same time it has never fully understood the emerging civil society in China, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at the conclusion of a closed-door meeting on the issue, which she chaired.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yunlin’s farmers demand new flood prevention budget

BIG PROBLEM::The county is one of the most flood-prone in the nation and farmers said their lands are often submerged, leaving them without an income
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - Page 3

Hundreds of farmers from Yunlin County and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians yesterday demanded that the government provide bigger flood-prevention budgets to resolve the perennial flood problem in the county.

Led by Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬), the farmers asked the Control Yuan that the government immediately allocate a six-year, NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) flood-prevention budget, before staging a protest in front of the Executive Yuan in the scorching sun.

Ma, Su to hold trade debate on Sept. 15

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Presidential Office and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday agreed that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will hold a live TV debate on the cross-strait service trade agreement on Sept. 15.

The two-hour debate, to be hosted by the Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation, will start at 2pm. Ma and Su will each ask and respond to four questions and issue four additional rebuttals; there will be no question-and-answer session with the media, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) and the DPP’s Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said yesterday in announcing the debate format at the TV station after a closed-door meeting.

DPP heavyweights to negotiate party primaries

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has designated five party heavyweights to be in charge of negotiations for party primaries of hotly contested constituencies in the commissioner and mayoral elections next year.

According to the party’s Central Standing Committee resolution on Aug. 14, the DPP headquarters is to oversee negotiations in constituencies with two or more aspirant candidates if private discussions between them fail to achieve a result.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DPP’s Liu joins Yunlin vote

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) yesterday announced his bid to run for Yunlin County commissioner in next year’s election, making the county one of the most fiercely contested constituencies in the DPP primaries.

Liu’s announcement made him the fourth candidate in the primary, following at-large DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), former Keelung mayor Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), who is backed by Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬), and former Yunlin County councilor Lin Chin-ting (林進丁).

Ma’s APEC motives a cause for concern, DPP says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese would not necessarily support President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) aspiration to attend this year’s APEC leaders’ summit if all he wanted to achieve by such a move was meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Ma told TVBS in an interview on Monday that the necessary conditions are not currently in place for him to attend the APEC summit in October this year in Bali, Indonesia, but he will continue his efforts to create a framework under which he could attend.

Parties to thrash out TV debate format

TV OPPORTUNITY:The DPP said it sees a planned debate as one more chance to bolster the public’s knowledge of the controversial cross-strait service agreement
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that it would send representatives to negotiations with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over a proposed debate between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on the cross-strait service trade agreement.

The first working meeting between the DPP and the KMT is set to be held at the offices of the Public Television Service (PTS), which is organizing the televised debate, at 3pm today, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said.

Power rate hike will affect few: MOEA

‘NUMBERS GAME’::Lawmakers opposed to the rate increase said Taipower should focus on improving its performance rather than shifting the burden to the public
By Amy Su, Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Aug 28, 2013 - Page 1

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday unveiled an adjusted version of its second phase of electricity rate increases, which it said would not affect more than 80 percent of households and small businesses.

The ministry’s new plan, scheduled to take effect in October, showed that 9.85 million households — or 85.7 percent of the nation’s 11.5 million households using less than 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month — would not be affected by the rate increase.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

EDITORIAL: Time for ‘constitutional moment’

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - Page 8

Until recently, neither politicians nor the public had seriously discussed constitutional changes for a long time. That was understandable for two reasons: First, most people have not felt that the need for constitutional change — or even the Constitution itself — is relevant to their daily life. Second, the threshold for amending the Constitution is so high that politicians, especially Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, who were never fond of the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, tired of talking about it.

Constitutional amendments must be initiated by more than one-quarter of all legislators and passed by at least three-quarters of those present at a meeting attended by at least three-quarters of the Legislative Yuan. They must then be put to a referendum and will be sanctioned if the number of valid votes in favor exceeds half of the total electorate.

Taipower rate hike violates resolution, DPP says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

State-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has violated a Legislative Yuan resolution by unilaterally announcing a price-raising scheme for next month without reporting to the legislature and carrying out necessary corporate reforms, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

“The state-owned company should not raise electricity rates without carrying out corporate reforms first and resolving its perennial losses,” DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) told a press conference.

Service pact opacity leaves opposition in dark: TSU

OPAQUE:The TSU said that businesses and even many officials have little idea about what is in the pact. It also said it would support a civic group’s recall campaign
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The pan-green camp yesterday said the opaque nature of the cross-strait service trade agreement has made business owners confused and the scheduled debate next month between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) would be unfair.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told a press conference that Su is already at a disadvantage in the debate about the pact, scheduled for next month, because people outside of Ma’s policymaking circle have received only very limited information about the agreement.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Alliance names lawmaker as first candidate for recall

THRESHOLD::The Constitution 133 Alliance accused KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng of nine ‘bad deeds,’ including opposing the movement against monopolization of the media
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - Page 1

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) was yesterday named as the first candidate for a civic group’s recall campaign because of his consistent alignment with President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) rather than with the public he is meant to serve, according to the group.

The Constitution 133 Alliance, recently established with the goal of recalling legislators it sees as incompetent, told a press conference that it would soon launch a recall campaign against Wu, a former KMT caucus whip who is known to be one of Ma’s confidants.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

More credit deserved for Chen years, panelists say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) deserves more credit for its economic performance during the eight years it was in power, and the common perception that it is less capable of managing economic affairs is wrong, panelists told a seminar yesterday.

The panel discussion was the first of four weekly installments bringing together academics and former government officials to thoroughly review the administration’s performance in 17 policy areas from 2000 to 2008.

DPP reviews past policies

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - Page 3

A seminar organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday questioned whether the foreign and cross-strait policies of the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) were inconsistent — and if so, why.

“The DPP cannot place all the blame [for what it was unable to accomplish] on Beijing’s oppression and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] majority in the legislature,” Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies president Chao Chun-shan (趙春山) told a panel discussion. “After all, tensions across the Taiwan Strait and deteriorating Taiwan-US relations were facts.”

Ma, Su moot service pact debate

TALKING POINTS:After a poll showed that many people are either unaware of the service deal, or know little about it, politicians said a debate would raise its visibility
By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is willing to explain the cross-strait service trade agreement and debate the issue with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday.

KMT Culture and Communication Committee director Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑) said Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, would defend the agreement if a debate were held.

Friday, August 23, 2013

EDITORIAL: The misinterpretation of stability

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - Page 8

The presence of up to 250,000 people at a protest on Aug. 3 made the government succumb to public pressure with the removal of the military judiciary in peacetime. The protest was billed as a watershed moment for Taiwan as well as the beginning of a new civil movement. Things have begun to change.

There was criticism of the hundreds of people who “ambushed” the Joint Central Government Building and occupied the plaza on Sunday in protest at the Ministry of the Interior’s (MOI) ignorance of numerous land expropriation cases across the country, in particular the one in Dapu Borough (大埔), Miaoli County.

DPP voices concerns over arms discussion reports

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday expressed concerns over reported dialogue between Beijing and Washington about US arms sales to Taiwan, saying that the institutionalized bilateral discussion would be detrimental to Taiwan’s interests.

Guan Youfei (關友飛), director of the Foreign Affairs Office of China’s Ministry of National Defense, was quoted by Chinese media as saying that Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (常萬全) offered to “adjust Beijing’s military deployment in exchange for Washington stopping its arms sales to Taiwan” during a meeting with US Defense Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Lawmaker slams financial policies

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The failure of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to increase tax revenues, while proposing to revitalize or privatize national assets, will hurt the government’s finances, a lawmaker said yesterday.

“The national debt for next year — the annual financial deficit of NT$209.9 billion [US$7 billion] plus the debt payment of NT$64 billion — would likely reach 38.6 percent of gross domestic product, only 2 percent shy of the maximum of 40.6 percent as stipulated by the Public Debt Act (公共債務法),” Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DPP to review Chen administration

SELF-REFLECTION:The party is taking a page from Tony Blair’s books, as it assesses its successes and failures while in power to adjust its policy direction
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will commence its first comprehensive review of its eight-year administration from 2000 to 2008 tomorrow with a series of seminars headed by former government officials, in hopes that the introspection will help the party return to power.

The seminars, organized by the DPP’s think tank, come on the heels of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) rejoining the party, which was approved by the DPP’s review panel on Wednesday last week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Alliance wants ‘incompetent’ lawmakers out

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday accepted letters of commitment submitted by a citizens’ alliance that is seeking to recall incompetent legislators, especially those who prioritize partisan interests over those of the public.

However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus refused to meet with Neil Peng (馮光遠), an award-winning screenwriter and author, and one of the founders of the newly established Constitution 133 Alliance.

Control Yuan must go: DPP lawmaker

CHANGES:Lee Chun-yi proposed transferring the rights of impeachment and censure to the legislature and the right of audit to an independent agency or legislative unit
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) yesterday said he would propose a constitutional amendment to abolish the Control Yuan, saying it was time to change the current system of government with its five branches.

“Given the high threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass, [abolishing the Control Yuan] would be difficult, but I’m hoping that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers would support the proposal to resolve the nation’s biggest problem,” Lee told a news conference.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Protesters occupy government building

‘818 TEAR DOWN’::The sit-in followed a rally that drew 20,000 demonstrators, took the police by surprise, lasting 20 hours, before the protesters left to fight another day
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - Page 1

Hundreds of protesters yesterday evening ended their 20-hour “occupation” of a government building in Taipei to protest against a land seizure in Miaoli County and land expropriation across the country, but vowed more occupation campaigns if the government failed to listen to their demands.

“As the protest draws to a close now, it is, at the same time, only a beginning. [The protest] serves as a warning to all government agencies, which betrayed their responsibility to the people, that they should be ready for people’s occupation at all times,” said Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧), spokesperson for the Taiwan Rural Front, the protest’s main organizer.

DPP to prioritize Land Expropriation Act amendments

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it would make placing the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例) on the legislative agenda of the new legislative session its priority following numerous controversies related to land takeovers.

As protesters demonstrated on Sunday over the demolition of four houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔), the DPP caucus said it was time to address the issue of land justice.

TSU lawmaker to propose abolition of Control Yuan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said it would propose a constitutional amendment in the next legislative session to abolish the Control Yuan because of “incompetence.”

Prompted by the Control Yuan’s failure to impeach Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮), who has been convicted of influence peddling and interfering with police matters when he demanded that a drunk driver be released without charge, TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference that even Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsien (王建?) said the government watchdog “might as well shut down.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

Annette Lu’s office dismisses reports of Taipei mayor bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The office of former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday denied media reports that Lu was interested in running in the Taipei mayoral election next year as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday quoted anonymous sources as saying that Lu was interested in running and has begun visiting communities in the city to garner support.

Su returns from Thailand with full agenda

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) returned from a four-day trip to Thailand last night with a number of urgent issues on his agenda.

During his trip, Su was able to avoid answering questions about the party’s position on several contentious issues, including former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposal for a national affairs conference and a campaign to recall “incompetent” lawmakers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

EDITORIAL: Clear immigration policy required

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 - Page 8

Prosecutor Huang Chao-kuei (黃朝貴) posted a message on his Facebook page on Sunday, saying that tens of thousands of migrant workers, mostly from Indonesia, had inconvenienced passengers and visitors at Taipei Railway Station, where they gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Huang’s posting was immediately blasted by commentators and netizens, but he denied any racist intent. However, his posting was just another example of the numerous little things — be they a look, a gesture or a careless comment — that take place every day in Taiwan and expose the divisions that lie beneath the veneer of Taiwanese society.

Military prisoners transferred to civilian prisons

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A total of 259 military prisoners and detainees were sent from a military prison in Tainan to 11 civilian prisons across the country yesterday as hundreds of military criminal cases were transferred to civilian courts, marking the end of the military judiciary era.

The unprecedented transfer was carried out after an amendment to the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法) was passed by the legislature last week and promulgated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday, which transferred the jurisdiction of military criminal cases from the military to the civilian courts beginning yesterday.

DPP discusses impact of China factor

GUIDING PRINCIPLES:Former premier Yu Shyi-kun said exchanges with China should be conducted with Taiwan’s sovereignty, national security and transparency in mind
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll released by the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) poll center yesterday found that a majority of respondents, or 56.8 percent, agreed that, generally speaking, the “China factor” has brought more negative effects to Taiwan than positive ones, a DPP spokesperson said.

The survey, conducted on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, polled respondents on China’s impact in Taiwan in 10 areas that fell in the categories politics, economy and socio-cultural influence, Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Personal data being sent to Beijing, legislator says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The personal information of millions of Taiwanese smartphone users who have installed Chinese applications could be sent to Beijing, a lawmaker warned yesterday, demanding that the government to ban public servants from using Chinese-designed apps.

Chinese smartphone and Web applications WeChat, QQ, Weibo, Taobao and Alipay — social media and e-commerce platforms that are popular in Taiwan — are required by Chinese laws to send personal information and user-generated content back to servers in China for security checks and for content to be filtered, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.

DPP approves Chen Shui-bian’s application

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) panel yesterday approved imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) application to rejoin the party, ending a longstanding dispute among party members.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), the convener of the five-member panel, announced the decision and reiterated that the DPP supported Chen’s medical, judicial and human rights regardless of his membership status.

Greater Tainan residents protest against DPP’s Lai

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Tainan residents affected by a project to move a railway underground staged a protest outside Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei yesterday, demanding that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) intervene in the controversy involving Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德).

The protesters said that Su’s responsibility was inescapable since he was familiar with the project as a former premier and because Lai is a party member.

Alliance looks to recall ‘bad’ legislators

‘ENEMIES’:Letters will be sent to lawmakers, who will be asked to state their position on several controversial issues, before the alliance makes its recall recommendations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A citizens alliance said yesterday that it is launching a recall campaign against incompetent legislators because President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor governance has reached a level that demands decisive action against lawmakers who place their personal and party interests above everything else.

“We are launching the campaign because recalling Ma would be much more difficult due to the high threshold. Secondly, Taiwanese have never before exercised their constitutional right of recall,” award-winning screenwriter and author Neil Peng (馮光遠), one of the founders of the newly established Constitution 133 Alliance (憲法133實踐聯盟), told a press conference.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ceremony to mark end of Pacific War set for today

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the World War II will be dedicated to the Taiwanese who fought —and died — in the war in a bid to remind people of the true significance of the anniversary.

The ceremony tomorrow at the War and Peace Memorial Park in Greater Kaohsiung’s Cijin District (旗津) will be the first time the end of World War II has been commemorated in Taiwan, said Chuang Sheng-huang (莊盛晃), executive director of the Taiwan Extra-patriot Veterans Association (TEPVA), one of the organizers of the event.

THSRC’s price hike proposal panned as unfair and divisive

SOLE PLAYER:As the high-speed rail firm has no rivals, the government should take an interest in its pricing, the director of a consumers’ group said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers and consumer rights advocates yesterday demanded that Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) suspend a ticket price increase, saying that the planned hike is unreasonable and could further widen the North-South wealth gap.

THSRC announced on Tuesday last week that the price of high-speed rail tickets would increase by 9.7 percent from October, which means that the cost of a round-trip ticket between Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung would increase by NT$280.

Tsai, Ma’s office deny national conference rumors

By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Presidential Office yesterday both denied a media report that Tsai and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had spoken over the telephone about a national affairs conference and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Citing an unidentified source, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times ’ sister newspaper) yesterday said that Ma told Taiwanese-Americans in New York that Tsai had called him before he left for the US and set the suspension of the plant’s construction as a prerequisite for holding the conference — which she has proposed that he hold.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lawmakers raise concerns over online ads

DIRTY MONEY:Most obscene texts or graphics were found on social Web sites, with a large percentage of these having been placed by online gaming advertisers
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers yesterday raised concerns over widespread obscene online advertisements on various social media Web sites, especially Facebook, and demanded increased efforts from government agencies to investigate and punish violators.

While the “Watch Internet Network (WIN) single e-window,” established by the Executive Yuan as a one-stop Web site to handle complaints, received 5,227 complaints about inappropriate online content last year, an average of 435 cases per month, the authority had not handed out any punishments, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

Su downplays Tsai differences ahead of Thai visit

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is scheduled to leave for a four-day visit to Thailand on Thursday to meet with Taiwanese businesspeople and review Taiwan’s economic and investment policy toward the Southeast Asian region, the DPP announced yesterday.

Trade and investment will be high on the agenda for the trip against the backdrop of a cross-strait service trade agreement recently signed with Beijing, which is expected to negatively affect Taiwanese businesses and increase the nation’s economic dependence on China, DPP Department of International Affairs director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) told reporters at a briefing.

Luxury tax hurting jobs: yacht builders

ALL AT SEA:Yacht builders said a special sales levy on luxury goods is damaging efforts to revitalize the industry, adding that each order can lead to 100 jobs
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Yacht builders yesterday urged the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop listing yachts as luxury items, saying the government has been shooting itself in the foot by trying to promote the recreational marine industry while levying a special sales levy on yachts.

“Yachts should be considered a consumer product rather than property or a luxury product that can be used for speculative profit. More importantly, the industry creates jobs and could be an integral part of Taiwan’s development of the recreational marine industry,” Taiwan Yacht Industry Association (TYIA) president John Lu (呂佳揚) said.

Taiwanese identity stays strong: poll

GROWING GAP:The survey shows that opposition to unification remained strong at 60.9 percent, while more than half of respondent think Taiwan will stay independent
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The number of people who identify themselves as Taiwanese showed a marginal increase compared with a survey conducted four years ago, while the number of those who identify themselves as being Chinese continues to drop, the Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) said yesterday.

In a tracking poll about identity, wherein respondents were allowed to make multiple choices, 96.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as Taiwanese, an increase of 0.6 percent from a similar poll conducted in September 2008, the survey showed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tsai conference appeal exposes DPP divisions

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to convene a national affairs conference may have backfired, with ramifications that remain to be seen.

Listing seven controversial issues as topics for discussion, Tsai unveiled her initiative at a press conference on Saturday and said a conference was needed amid the backdrop of a national crisis due to what she said was the Ma administration’s poor governance.

Friday, August 09, 2013

EDITORIAL: More than a matter of respect

Fri, Aug 09, 2013 - Page 8

Soldiers are trained to understand a basic fact: that no victory in any war falls from the sky; it has to be earned inch by inch and engagement by engagement. The nation’s military, which has been embroiled in a series of scandals and wondering why no one seems to like it, needs to be reminded of the fact.

Like any other phenomenon, the sentiment was a result of the accumulation of a series of historical events. Given the country’s unique modern history, the Republic of China (ROC) armed forces would have to understand why it has been difficult for the people of Taiwan to have great respect for the nation’s guardians.

Tung accuses Citizen 1985 of fund fraud

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Ex-convict and debt collector Tung Nien-tai (董念台) yesterday accused activist group Citizen 1985 of fraud before the Criminal Investigation Bureau, claiming that it had illegally raised funds as an uncertified organization.

Tung filed a lawsuit against the group and Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), the sister of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday, saying that they violated the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪條例) by using the corporal’s death to incite the public to protest against the government and force the legislature to amend the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法).

Tsai to repeat call for affairs meet

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The anger expressed by the more than 100,000-strong “White-Shirt Army” at a mass protest on Saturday served as a serious warning on the legitimacy of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and political stability in Taiwan, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“People are the masters of their country. The ‘White-Shirt Army’ movement was a perfect example of why people’s voices matter and showed that citizen participation will feature in policymaking in the future,” she said.

Defendants in Hung Chung-chiu case to remain free on bail

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Military High Court yesterday released on bail three key defendants in the case of the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), saying they had been cooperating with the investigation and that there were no concerns over possible collusion.

After an overnight detention hearing, the court released former deputy commander of the 542nd Brigade Colonel Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠) on bail of NT$500,000, company commander Major Hsu Shin-cheng (徐信正) on NT$250,000 bail and Staff Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐憲) on NT$400,000 bail at about 4pm.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Plagiarism whistleblower denies conspiracy rumor

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician who revealed the plagiarism of former defense minister Andrew Yang (楊念祖), which led to his resignation yesterday, denied a conspiracy theory and said he found out about the plagiarism by chance.

Chu Cheng-chi (朱政騏), executive director of the DPP’s Taipei City Chapter, said he gave the information about Yang to the Chinese-language Next Magazine after accidentally discovering Yang had plagiarized material for a chapter in a book published in 2007.

DPP urges Ma to ‘save’ military

BIG BLOWS:DPP legislators called on the president to take action to stabilize the military, which they said was shaken by the Hung case and military judiciary reform
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday expressed serious concerns about falling morale in the military and urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), as commander-in-chief, to act responsibly and save the national defense force from “an unprecedented disaster.”

“Unfortunately, the incompetence and inaction of the commander-in-chief over the handling of the Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) case has dealt a severe blow to people’s confidence in our armed forces, as well as to the morale in the military after the resignations of two defense ministers in a week,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Military judicial system altered

CIVILIAN JURISDICTION::A consensus was reached in cross-party negotiations in the morning. The Hung case will be immediately transferred out of the military system
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - Page 1

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法) and the National Security Act (國家安全法) that would transfer jurisdiction of all military criminal cases to the civilian judicial system during peacetime.

The immediate result of the vote is that the prosecution of 18 army officers and non-commissioned officers in connection with the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) last month will be passed to civilian prosecutors and judges.

Kaohsiung mayor to leave for China on Friday to promote cities summit

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced that she would be visiting China this week, her second since 2009.

Chen is scheduled to visit four Chinese cities — Tianjin, Shenzhen and the Fujian Province cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen, in six days beginning on Friday to promote the 2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS), which will be held in Greater Kaohsiung from Sept. 9 to 11.

NDC set to become highest government planning agency

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The National Development Council (NDC) is set to become the top government agency in charge of comprehensive planning, coordination and resource distribution, after the organic law of the newly established agency passed its third reading in the legislature yesterday.

The agency is to be a merger of the Council for Economic Planning and Development and the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC), while absorbing some of the functions of the Public Construction Commission and the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

DPP calls for sacking of ‘obstructive’ lawmaker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to remove KMT Legislator Chen Cheng-hsiang (陳鎮湘) after he blocked revisions to military laws to transfer jurisdiction of some military criminal cases to the civilian judiciary during peacetime.

At a press conference, DPP lawmakers also accused Chen, a retired general and legislator-at-large of mishandling at least four cases which were all closed as cases of suicide while he was serving as commander of the Kinmen Defense Command and as an army commander.

Court martial amendment prioritized

CONCILIATORY MOVE:After Saturday’s mass protests over the Hung case, the amendment is to top the agenda of the extra legislative session, rather than the referendum
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Under tremendous public pressure following the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday agreed to make amending the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法) the top item on the agenda of the extra legislative session.

The amendment, if passed, would transfer jurisdiction of some military criminal cases, such as abuse, to the civilian judiciary during peacetime.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Public urged to call KMT lawmaker out over military reform

By Loa Iok-sin and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

Civic group Citizen 1985 yesterday published Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Cheng-hsiang’s (陳鎮湘) office telephone numbers so the public can overload the lines to protest what the group said was his blocking attempts to revise the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法).

In a posting on its Facebook page, the group said that while the proposal to transfer jurisdiction of some military criminal cases to the civilian judiciary during peacetime has been listed as a priority on the agenda at the ongoing extraordinary legislative session, amendments to the code “have been referred to cross-party negotiations, making it impossible to adopt any changes during the extra session, all because of Chen’s boycott.”

Forum discusses DPP’s China, 2016 strategy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Comparing the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China policy under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the party’s current policy is hard because of the rapidly changing dynamics of international politics, but there is no doubt that cross-strait policy during the Chen era was more than “eight lost years,” as some say, DPP members and academics said yesterday.

“The years between 2000 and 2008 were not lost years, but eight legendary, glorious years,” You Ying-lung (游盈隆), deputy executive director of the DPP’s think tank, told a forum in Taipei.

DPP calls on Ma to break deadlock at Legislative Yuan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make concessions on a proposal to hold a referendum to decide the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to break the political stalemate on the issue.

As the DPP caucus continued its occupation of the legislative podium to block the proposal to determine whether to complete the plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), through a plebiscite from being put to a legislative vote, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) urged Ma to resolve the political standoff.

Friday, August 02, 2013

EDITORIAL: Hung case defines Taiwan

Fri, Aug 02, 2013 - Page 8

The Ministry of National Defense and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) are probably wondering why the death of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) has become perhaps the single most important news event in Taiwan in the past month, ruffling feathers in every part of society and showing no signs of stopping.

One reason it raised a high degree of public attention was because people imagined themselves in one of the roles in Hung’s family — the son who died from institutional injustice, the heartbroken mother whose grief over the loss of a son was almost too much to bear, or the sister who was determined to find the truth behind her brother’s death and hold people accountable.

Hungs say recording shows flaws

DISSATISFACTION::The family said it has given up hope in the military judicial system, while the new defense minister said he would step down if there was another incident
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Aug 02, 2013 - Page 1

The sister of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) yesterday released an audio recording to back up the family’s claims that military prosecutors had not conducted a thorough investigation and said the family had “given up hope” of military justice after a “flawed and hasty” indictment was announced on Wednesday.

At a press conference in Greater Taichung, Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) played a recording of a July 4 conversation between family members and Army 542nd Brigade Captain Wu Yi-chu (吳翼竹), chief counselor of Hung Chung-chiu’s company.

KMT vows to pass referendum proposal

DPP BOYCOTT::About 40 DPP lawmakers have locked themselves inside the legislative chamber in a bid to prevent the speaker from opening today’s session
By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Chris Wang, Tang Chia-ling and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer
Fri, Aug 02, 2013 - Page 1

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said it would push through the proposed referendum it initiated on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in a vote scheduled for today, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said it would do whatever it takes to block the proposal.

If the proposal passes, a national plebiscite would be have to be held within six months on the question: “Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it not become operational” (你是否同意核四廠停止興建不得運轉)?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Top aide to Frank Hsieh denies report on Macau casino

HIGH-ROLLER?‘Next Magazine’ reported Lin Yao-wen was planning a casino with Chinese partners and lost and won back US$3.3 million gambling in Macau
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lin Yao-wen (林耀文), a top aide to former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), yesterday denied a media report that he had gambled at a Macau casino earlier this year and had planned a joint casino venture with Chinese businesspeople.

In a press release issued by Hsieh’s office, Lin, who is the office’s director, said that the report published yesterday by the Chinese-language Next Magazine was incorrect and he would file a lawsuit against it.

Pan-green camp pans Hung report

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President and commander-in-chief Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has wasted an opportunity to redeem the military’s honor and to regain people’s trust with the investigation report on the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) issued by the military judiciary yesterday, the pan-green camp said.

While 18 military personnel were indicted by the Supreme Military Court’s Prosecutors’ Office on various charges related to Hung’s death, the report and the indictment statement failed to address the motivation behind their behavior, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said.