Monday, September 30, 2013

Tens of thousands rally against Ma

POSTAL PROTEST::Dismissal letters were distributed to protesters who were asked them to sign and mail them to the Presidential Office as an expression of their anger
By Chris Wang, Loa Iok-sin, Tsai Ching-hua and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters and Staff writer
Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 1

Tens of thousands of people held a series of protests nationwide yesterday calling on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to step down over a variety of issues, from his failed promises and infringement of the Constitution in a widening wiretap controversy, to a government lawsuit against laid-off workers.

The protests began near the heavily protected presidential residence, where several hundred people, most wearing white, gathered for a protest.

“This is only the beginning of your misery rather than the end of the anti-Ma movement, Mr Ma, because we will be shadowing you wherever you may go,” Shen Chih-lin (沈志霖), spokesperson of the Alliance of Civil Action Against Ma Ying-jeou told reporters.

DPP calls on Ma to step down

‘WORSE THAN WATERGATE’:Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said Ma should face his responsibility to the public and contemplate his fitness to serve as president
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to apologize and step down over his low approval rating and what they said was his infringement of the Constitution amid the ongoing wiretapping controversy involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

“We think that Ma is no longer fit to serve as president,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at a luncheon with Taiwanese businesspeople yesterday.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Legislative Yuan tapped by SID: Ker

UNDER FIRE::Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming apologized for ‘causing social disturbance’ by using wiretapping amid growing cross-party condemnation
By Chris Wang, Mo Yan-chih, Rich Chang, Su Yung-yao and Jack Chu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer
Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday accused the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) of wiretapping the Legislative Yuan.

The legislature’s central exchange number, along with Ker’s cellphone number, were found on lists of tapped telephone lines.

Politicians indignant at new wiretap accusations

By Mo Yan-chih, Chris Wang, and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Legislators across party lines are expressing growing indignation at revelations of alleged abuse of power by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) amid calls for SID Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) to resign.

“The SID’s abuse of power and human rights infringement are outrageous. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] cannot shirk their responsibility and Huang should step down,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in Greater Taichung yesterday.

DPP celebrates 27th anniversary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter in GREATER TAICHUNG

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would have an opportunity to “turn the tables” on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the seven-in-one elections next year, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday as the party celebrated its 27th anniversary in Greater Taichung.

“The DPP wants more than to just win in central Taiwan. We aim to win in all constituencies in mayoral, township chief and councilor elections,” Su told supporters at the anniversary celebration ceremony, which was held at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Greater Taichung.

Taichung mayoral candidacies mulled

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter in GREATER TAICHUNG

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice presidential candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday was reserved about his possible running in the Greater Taichung mayoral election next year, but said that he would “fight with determination” if nominated.

Su, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) running mate in last year’s presidential election, joined DPP lawmakers Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) on the party’s list of possible candidates.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wang-KMT court battle continues

LEGAL LIMBO:The Taiwan High Court could rule on the case today, but even if it upholds an initial court ruling retaining Wang’s KMT membership, the party may appeal
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court yesterday did not hand down a ruling on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) injunction against the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) revocation of his party membership, as lawyers representing both sides continued to hold heated debates.

The court could make a ruling as early as today on the status of Wang’s membership, which was revoked by the KMT on Sept. 11 over his alleged involvement in improper lobbying.

DPP meeting on PRC policy fails to reach a consensus

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) discussion of its Taiwan independence policy again ended without a consensus yesterday, but participants agreed that the party should engage Beijing and establish an inter-party “constitutional consensus,” before forging closer ties with China.

“Participants agreed that cross-strait exchanges should not be monopolized by any party and the DPP should engage China with confidence. The party needs to fine-tune its policy to win the support of more voters and to resolve the ‘imbalance’ phenomenon,” said former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), convener of an enlarged meeting of the DPP’s China Affairs Committee (CAC).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

DPP faces tough battle in central Taiwan: survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The central constituencies of Greater Taichung, Nantou and Changhua counties will be key battlegrounds in the local elections next year, the latest public opinion poll conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) showed yesterday, conforming to most political observers’ expectations.

The DPP trails the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) by less than 1 percentage point among voters in Changhua with 30 percent against the ruling party’s 29.1 percent, leads by almost 5 percentage points (34.8 to 30.1) in Greater Taichung and enjoys a more comfortable lead of close to 6 percentage points (34.4 to 28.5) in Nantou, according to a poll conducted by the party’s poll center on Monday and Tuesday.

Opposition slams timing of service pact hearings

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Opposition parties yesterday blasted the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision to hold eight public hearings on the cross-strait service trade agreement in three days, saying it was a strategy to push the agreement through the Legislative Yuan as soon as possible.

Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), one of the conveners of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee (IAC), has arranged eight of the 16 hearings required by an earlier IAC resolution on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a news conference yesterday.

Lawyer confirms mayoral election interest

MAINLANDER BACKGROUND:Pan-green lawyer Wellington Koo said he would look to winning support from voters who would usually vote for the pan-blue camp
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), formerly a long-term legal adviser of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), yesterday expressed his interest in gaining the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination for running in next year’s Taipei mayoral election.

Speaking to reporters in his law firm yesterday morning, Koo said he “is thinking about giving [the election] a shot” after struggling with the idea that it could affect his family and professional career as a lawyer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DPP launches ‘Green New Deal’ to mark anniversary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is coming back “better, stronger and greener” with a “Green New Deal” initiative in its quest to return to power in 2016, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan yesterday.

The Green New Deal, which includes sustainable development, good governance, social justice and alliances with democratic countries, is the DPP’s pledge for Taiwan’s future, Su said in a speech at a reception luncheon to mark the party’s 27th anniversary.

Lu urges Ma to step down over strife

‘INFLUENCE AND COLLABORATION’:A political analyst said the Ma-Wang conflict stemmed from Chinese pressure to pass the cross-strait service trade agreement
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to step down for violating the constitution in the ongoing political strife with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), while political analyst Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) raised the specter of China’s involvement in the case.

Lu accused the president of infringing on the Constitution and said that with his approval rating plunging to a low of 9.2 percent at one point, “Ma should take the initiative and resign,” Lu told a forum organized by her office yesterday.

APEC addition sparks Ma-Xi meeting speculation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 1

In a breach of precedent, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) will join Taiwan’s delegation to the APEC summit next month in Indonesia led by former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), sparking speculation that his trip was a prelude to cross-strait political talks.

Wang yesterday downplayed the significance of the move.

KMT suspends congress due to protests

SAFETY FIRST:Although it had previously insisted that anti-Ma rallies would not disrupt the event, the KMT said it would delay the summit to protect public safety
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it has decided to delay its 19th party congress, which was to begin on Sunday, due to civic groups’ plans to hold a rally against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the same day outside the congress’ venue.

In an impromptu press conference, KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said that the venue for the meeting, the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, is a popular tourist destination, so the event had been canceled to avoid any possible confrontations involving demonstrators that could hurt passersby.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Editorial: DPP burdened by aging leadership

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - Page 8

Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has won praise for his governance and has been described as “presidential.” However, when a 52-year-old politician is tapped as a party’s “rising young star,” the party might be in trouble.

While it is true that New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Lai’s former college classmate, shares the same acclaim as a possible Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate, a deeper examination would find that the DPP has lagged far behind the KMT in terms of developing young talent.

DPP continue boycott of Jiang report, demand apology

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) could not make his report to the Legislative Yuan today until he has issued a formal apology for infringing on the Constitution and making comments that showed contempt for the legislature.

The DPP caucus, which boycotted Jiang’s report on the opening day of the current legislative session on Sept. 17, reached a consensus yesterday after a caucus meeting that it would maintain the boycott if Jiang failed to apologize today, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said.

KMT reforms aim to thwart smaller parties: opposition

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Opposition lawmakers yesterday submitted an initiative to counter the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) plan for legislative reform, saying it was aimed at thwarting smaller parties.

The initiative, endorsed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲), proposed to promote neutrality of the speaker, institutionalize the legislature’s investigation rights, make the legislature more transparent and improve the legislation process.

Koo Kuan-min throws support behind William Lai

PASSING THE TORCH:The former presidential adviser prefers the Tainan mayor over Su or Tsai for the nomination, but he supports Su as chairman
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former presidential adviser Koo Kuan-min (辜寬敏) yesterday threw his support behind Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nomination in the presidential election in 2016, saying that it is time to pass the torch to the new generation of politicians.

Koo, 86, told a press briefing that while he was not yet close to the 52-year-old mayor, he “had high expectations” for Lai, who has finished high among local government leaders’ performance rankings for the past few years.

Voters plan to ‘punish Ma with their ballots’: survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could face “the public’s punishment” in the seven-in-one elections at the end of next year, as more than 60 percent of respondents in an opinion poll released yesterday said they intended to “punish Ma with their ballots.”

In a survey conducted by Taiwan Thinktank, 62.6 percent of respondents said they would use the elections to voice their opposition to the president’s poor performance.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tsai office denies report on possible chairmanship bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The office of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday denied a media report about Tsai’s alleged interest in seeking the chairmanship again in May next year, saying that it is “not an option for now.”

“In the most difficult time for Taiwan in recent memory, Tsai is working on standing on the same side with people and consolidating social forces, which is what the DPP itself should be doing.

Academic proposes ‘Pacific identity’

ISLAND MENTALITY:Edwin Yang said that Taiwanese have never developed a Pacific identity primarily because of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s China-centric ideology
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should develop a “Pacific identity” and learn from the experience of Pacific islands’ independence movements as it pursues a future as an independent country, an academic said yesterday.

“While Pacific countries in the so-called Oceania region are all small countries, they appear to have a unique worldview and concept on their own way of survival with a strong identity. I think we can learn from them,” Edwin Yang (楊聰榮), an associate professor at National Taiwan Normal University and expert on Pacific and Asian history, told a forum organized by the Taiwan Society.

Friday, September 20, 2013

DPP to mark anniversary next week

IN THE MIDDLE:The party’s Central Standing Committee will meet in Greater Taichung next week before a two-day tour of DPP-run areas in Nantou and Changhua counties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will turn its attention to central Taiwan next week for a four-day celebration of its founding, despite the political turmoil in the legislature.

Several events have been scheduled in Greater Taichung, Nantou County and Changhua County from Wednesday to Saturday next week to celebrate the anniversary of its founding on Sept. 28, 1986, and to drum up support in a region seen as the key battleground in next year’s seven-in-one elections.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fisherman, officials argue over Manila’s claims of poaching

SEEKING ASSISTANCE:A fisherman said that he was only found trespassing in Philippine waters because of a mechanical problem, a claim that officials refuted
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Government officials and a fisherman detained by the Philippines for eight days earlier this month yesterday argued over whether the fisherman had been arrested for poaching in the Philippines’ territorial waters.

Tsai Po (蔡波), who was arrested by Philippine officials 40m off Ditarem, an islet in the northern Philippine province of Batanes, on Sept. 3 on charges of illegal entry and poaching, told a press conference yesterday that he was only trespassing because he needed assistance due to a mechanical problem on his motor-powered raft.

Trade pact a ‘Trojan horse’: Taiwan Society

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The cross-strait service trade agreement is part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “triangle policy” toward eventual unification with China and should not have been signed, a pro-independence advocacy group said yesterday.

“We believe that the agreement, along with the ‘one China’ principle, and a meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), form a triangle policy of Ma’s goal of eventual unification,” former presidential advisor Huang Tien-ling (黃天麟) wrote in a booklet published by the Taiwan Society.

Ker proclaims innocence, demands review

DO IT RIGHT::The DPP caucus convener said he waited for the new legislative session to ask for a Discipline Committee probe and that the committee be re-established
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday proclaimed his innocence and demanded that the Legislative Yuan’s Discipline Committee review his alleged role in a case of improper lobbying which triggered a national political controversy.

The senior lawmaker, accused of asking Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and high-ranking judicial officials to use their influence to sway a legal case, told a press conference that he demanded the committee review his alleged wrongdoing in “an open and transparent way.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Civic groups call for neutrality, legislative reforms

ACT FAIRLY:The groups said both Wang Jin-pyng and Ker Chien-ming should be suspended, while the legislature should establish a special committee on the case
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) current strife with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) provides a golden opportunity to promote the principle of political neutrality for legislative speakers, but Wang should still be investigated for his alleged improper lobbying, civic groups said yesterday.

Wang’s KMT membership was temporarily reinstated after the Taipei District Court ordered a provisional injunction and he was able to retain his speakership. Taiwan Democracy Watch (TDW) said it was time to review the alleged improper lobbying case that ignited the political turmoil.

Opposition boycotts Jiang’s address

LEGISLATIVE LOGJAM::Citing the premier’s alleged contempt of the legislature, DPP lawmakers and others demanded that he apologize to the Legislative Yuan
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and other opposition lawmakers yesterday boycotted Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) scheduled report to the Legislative Yuan on the opening day of its new session because of his refusal to apologize for comments they said showed contempt for the legislature.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced the meeting adjourned yesterday evening after an inter-party negotiation failed to reach a consensus because of the uproar over the strife between Wang, Jiang and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

I was lobbied for trade pact: Wang

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday denied that he had received a direct telephone call from Beijing over the screening of the cross-strait service trade pact in the legislature, but confirmed lobbying from “a third party.”

Wang was asked about the alleged call on the first day of the new legislative session yesterday after Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference on Monday that the Chinese authorities had expressed concerns about the agreement to Wang in a telephone conversation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

EDITORIAL: Ma must drop personal agenda

Political distraction is no laughing matter. People have quipped that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) latest approval rating of 9.2 percent perfectly reflects his Beijing-leaning tendencies, enshrined in his party’s so-called “1992 consensus,” and that the political battle between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is more entertaining than a prime time soap opera. However, the longer the distractions last, the higher the eventual costs.

Unfortunately, the power struggle within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is entering its second week and seems unlikely to end soon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

DPP split on proposal to impeach Ma

POLARIZED PARTY:Some members worry that the plan may galvanize KMT supporters, while others say Ma needs to be held accountable regardless of political consequences

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members and supporters appeared to be divided over the party’s plan to initiate an impeachment of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), arguing over what took precedence: holding Ma accountable for his actions or the consequences of the proposal backfiring.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday unveiled the party’s plan to counteract what it sees as Ma’s sabotaging of the Constitution by pursuing a political vendetta against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in the form of allegations that Wang was complicit in illegal lobbying.

Ma’s approval rating plunges to 9.2 percent

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating hit a new low of 9.2 percent, the first time the rating has dipped to to single-digits, in a public opinion poll released yesterday amid widespread public dissatisfaction with Ma’s role in ongoing political strife within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Only 9.2 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with Ma’s performance in his second term, which began in May last year, while 80.5 percent of those polled disapproved of his performance and 10.3 percent declined to comment, according to the poll conducted by ERA Survey Research Center, a subsidiary of ERA Television.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

DPP to start presidential impeachment

DUTIFUL::The initiative should not be seen as the DPP supporting Wang Jin-pyng in his struggle with Ma, but as action the main opposition party must take, the DPP said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to initiate an impeachment of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the Legislative Yuan, saying Ma’s political vendetta against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has jeopardized Taiwan’s constitutional order and political stability.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced the initiative yesterday afternoon at the closing ceremony of a DPP-organized forum to review the party’s governance between 2000 and 2008, and called for non-partisan support in the legislature.

DPP forum warned of loss of values

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics yesterday warned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that it had lost touch with its core values and its connection with civil society, saying that was why the party had disappointed the public during the period when it was in power between 2000 and 2008 and why the party is still struggling today to regain people’s trust.

“The DPP would have to be a party built on progressive ideas and values once again and do the little things — such as legislation that truly benefits people — before it regains people’s trust,” Academia Sinica associate research fellow Wu Rwei-ren (吳叡人) told a forum organized by the DPP.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MA-WANG SHOWDOWN: DPP lawmakers want to clarify law to avoid crisis

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Given the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) infighting involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday called for legislative reforms and constitutional interpretations to insure that future speakers would be able to maintain neutrality and autonomy.

DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said he had launched an inter-party petition among lawmakers to demand the Council of Grand Justices issue an interpretation to clarify the status of Wang’s speakership, which the KMT said had been vacated due to his membership in the party being revoked.

Court rules in favor of Wang Jin-pyng

‘VICTORY’:The court said it accepted Wang’s injunction because his loss of position as legislative speaker and a legislator-at-large would be irreversible if it was rejected
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei District Court yesterday ruled in favor of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) provisional injunction seeking to retain his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership and position as head of the legislature.

The court ruled that Wang would be able to retain his membership and rights as a KMT member after submitting a guarantee of about NT$9.38 million (US$314,300), Taipei District Court spokesperson Lai Chien-yi (賴劍毅) told reporters.

The guarantee was calculated based on Wang’s monthly salary and the remainder of his current term of about two-and-a-half years, Lai said.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ma’s treatment of Wang ‘brutal’: Chen Chu

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday described the current Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) infighting as “the worst” she has seen in her 40 years in politics, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “political persecution” of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was “brutal.”

“What was the hurry? Was it necessary to launch the vendetta while Wang was out of the country for his daughter’s wedding? That is not the way people in southern Taiwan treat others,” Chen said on the sidelines of a DPP meeting, referring to Ma’s move to oust Wang over accusations of “illegal lobbying.”

DPP wants more exchange monitoring

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Cross-strait exchanges and agreements are welcome, but a stricter mechanism is needed to monitor them, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“The party will propose a cross-strait agreement supervision act in the Legislative Yuan and the establishment of a mechanism to prevent conflicts of interest between government officials and politicians involved in cross-strait negotiations,” Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦), spokesperson of the party’s China Affairs Committee, said at a press briefing.

Date for all-volunteer military delayed

STINGING REBUKE:DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui said the president was responsible for low morale in the armed forces, which has contributed to recruitment problems
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The implementation date for an all-volunteer military has been pushed back two years from 2015 to 2017 because of recruitment difficulties, the Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday at a press conference.

The military was scheduled to shift to an all-volunteer force by the end of next year. However, the ministry has experienced difficulties recruiting sufficient volunteers in the past 20 months since the Executive Yuan approved the plan last year and has been forced to defer implementation.

Wang takes KMT to court over membership ruling

SPEAKER::Wang Jin-pyng said he hopes to retain his seat to resolve a series of issues that are vital to political and social stability, eg, the budget and service trade pact
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - Page 1

Facing accusations of influence peddling, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday took his battle with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to the Taipei District Court in the hope of retaining his KMT membership and legislative speaker position.

The court held its first session yesterday afternoon to review Wang’s challenge of a KMT decision, which revoked the 72-year-old politician’s membership in the party for his role in alleged illegal lobbying.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MA-WANG SHOWDOWN: President accused of using SID as ‘personal tool’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Civic groups yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of using the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) as his “personal tool” for political persecution and jeopardizing the nation’s constitutional system. They called for the division to be abolished.

While influence peddling by politicians deserved condemnation, Ma’s open attack on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who was allegedly involved in lobbying the judiciary, is a more serious concern, the representatives of various groups said yesterday.

DPP pulls out of debate on trade pact

ON THE BACK BURNER::The televised debate was due to have addressed the cross-strait service pact, the potential impact of which has generated widespread concern
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced it would pull out of a scheduled debate between party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Sunday amid intensified controversy over allegations of influence peddling.

“As Ma has been persecuting Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and jeopardizing the Constitution, we think that it is not a good time to participate in the debate,” DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) told a press conference.

Majority side with Wang against KMT expulsion: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A majority of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should not expel Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and that the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) should be abolished following its conduct in an influence-peddling case involving Wang and other officials.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Thinktank, found that 53.5 percent of respondents thought the division was a corrupt institution, 51.1 percent of those polled said it should be scrapped and 72.6 percent said that the SID had jeopardized the judiciary’s integrity with its investigation into Wang’s alleged influence peddling on behalf of Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DPP mulling boycott of debate on trade accord

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is mulling whether to pull out of a scheduled debate between party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Sunday amid intensified controversy over allegations of influence peddling.

“We are still evaluating the situation before making a final decision,” DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said yesterday.

KMT’s Lee withdraws nuclear poll proposal

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 1

In an unexpected move, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) yesterday announced that he would withdraw his proposal to determine the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) via a national referendum.

In a short text message, he said it would be “inappropriate” to push forward with the poll at this time.

There has been enormous political upheaval recently and if the referendum were held, it would cause chaos in the legislature, Lee said.

DPP calls for prosecutor-general suspension, probe

PROBING THE PROBER:Civic groups and a former minister filed suits against Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming for violating the law on information privacy
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) should be immediately suspended and placed under investigation while the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office processes accusations that Huang was party to illegal practices in the influence-peddling case involving several government officials, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

Civic groups and former deputy minister of justice Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) on Monday filed lawsuits against Huang and the Special Investigation Division (SID), accusing him of violating the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法), the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法) and the Civil Servant Service Act (公務人員服務法) and leaking information, DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a news conference.

Wang vows KMT loyalty, says Ma ‘misled’ by SID

DECEPTIVE DIVISION::The legislative speaker said the SID had deceived Ma with ‘incorrect’ information, but Ma said Wang was evading the accusations against him
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 1

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday pledged loyalty to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) upon his return to Taiwan and accused the Special Investigation Division (SID) of conducting a one-sided investigation into accusations of influence-peddling against him that have “misled” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Speaking to hundreds of supporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Wang denied that he had interfered with the judiciary and said the division’s investigation and its disclosure and distribution of his telephone records was illegal and unconstitutional.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SID sued over probe into Wang

‘HIRED THUGS’:One lawyer said that the SID has become a political tool and ineffective, while others called for the division to be abolished
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legal experts yesterday filed a lawsuit against the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) for allegedly following illegal procedures in their investigation of alleged influence peddling involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

The SID and Huang have violated the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法), the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法) and the Civil Servant Service Act (公務人員服務法), Huang Yueh-hung (黃越宏), the founder of the Law Times newspaper, said before filing a lawsuit at the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office yesterday morning.

EDITORIAL: Political purging is also a disgrace

It is almost certain that political infighting was involved in accusations of influence peddling against the legislative speaker and the related wiretapping scandal.

Yet, while they have been described by some as a national disgrace, they could be a good thing for Taiwan.

On Friday, the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) had in June telephoned Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), asking him to lobby then-justice minister Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to persuade a prosecutor not to appeal Ker’s case in the Supreme Court after Ker was acquitted of embezzling funds in 1997 from Formosa Telecom.

Influence peddling case ‘persecution’: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has ignited a constitutional crisis with his involvement in a political vendetta against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) that is being disguised as an influence peddling probe, and Ma owes Taiwanese an explanation, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The controversy began when the Special Investigation Division (SID) launched a probe into alleged influence peddling by Wang and two other judicial officials, former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌), in a lawsuit involving DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).

Monday, September 09, 2013

Advocates clarify proof of sovereignty

CHANGED TIMES:The president’s citing of wartime treaties fails to address the fact that Japan has never transferred Taiwan’s sovereignty to any country, an expert said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) repeated citing of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration as proof that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to the Republic of China (ROC) ignores the historical context of those documents and the development of international status, pro-independence advocates said yesterday.

“Taiwan’s status under international law should be based on the Treaty of San Francisco, in which Japan renounced its sovereignty over Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu), but never said which country Taiwan belonged to,” former Academia Historica president Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) told a seminar held to revisit the treaty signed in 1951.

Protesters tear down a MOFA sign

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pro-independence protesters tore down a name board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday and clashed with police on the sidelines of their protest against what they described as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor governance and pro-China position.

Hundreds of supporters of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign (908台灣國) staged a protest on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building and the ministry yesterday afternoon, raising a Taiwan national flag and throwing shoes at the Presidential Office — an annual event of the pro-independence group.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Ma’s sovereignty stance risks nation, TSU lawmaker says

MISTREATMENT:TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin said Ma’s stance of Japan’s WWII surrender returning Taiwan to the ROC is the view espoused by Beijing
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s sovereign status was determined by the Treaty of San Francisco on Sept. 8, 1951, not the Cairo Declaration in 1943, nor the Potsdam Declaration of 1945, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said on Friday, ahead of the 62nd anniversary of the treaty’s signing.

“Only the Treaty of San Francisco — not the two declarations made during World War II — is recognized as a legitimate international law. The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] has been cheating Taiwanese by claiming that Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China [ROC] government,” Hsu told a news conference.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Group urges checks on imported food

TRIED AND TESTED:The foundation said the number of samples of imported food from Japan tested for radiation contamination was significantly lower than in Hong Kong
By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Homemakers United Foundation yesterday urged the government to enforce stricter radiation inspections on imported food.

The group issued the call following the confirmation by Tokyo Electric Power Co, operator of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, that 300 tonnes of radiation-contaminated water from a steel tank had leaked into groundwater and possibly into the sea.

KMT infighting suspected in resignation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Sat, Sep 07, 2013 - Page 1

Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) stepped down last night over his alleged use of influence to stop a prosecutor from appealing a breach of trust case involving Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) allegedly asked a favor of him for Ker.

Tseng’s announcement of his resignation at a 9:47pm press conference came only after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) took the issue to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier yesterday evening, after Tseng expressed no intention of resigning during a 70-minute meeting with Jiang, starting at 3:30pm, sources said.

Forum criticizes DPP’s education, labor policies

NOT SO ROSY::The former DPP administration erred in its Taiwanization education policy, the forum said, while protesters said the administration ignored workers’ rights
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Sep 07, 2013 - Page 3

Non-governmental organization (NGO) members and labor rights activists yesterday said that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) performance in the education and labor affairs sectors during its eight years in power from 2000 to 2008 might not have been as good as it thought.

At the third of a four-part forum to review its eight-year governance and lay out the vision that would boost its hopes of returning to power in 2016, the DPP yesterday gathered former government officials, academics and civic groups’ representatives to examine its performance in the five areas of education, social welfare, labor affairs, health and the judiciary.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Parties trade barbs over flooding

SELF-DEFENSE::Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi rebutted accusations by local governments that his knowledge of flood prevention was not up to scratch
By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Sep 06, 2013 - Page 3

The war of words over the flooding damage caused by Tropical Storm Kong-Rey in southern parts of the country last week continued yesterday, with the two main political parties, local and central governments criticizing each other’s flood prevention efforts.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) accused local governments of negligence in their preparations, with Ma saying on Wednesday at the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting that local governments’ annual budget allocation for sewer system construction was “horrible.”

Ma’s flood detention pools comment sparks ruckus

WATERY FUROR::The KMT accused the ‘Apple Daily’ of distorting Ma’s comments, while DPP lawmakers lambasted the president for claiming the flooding was a success
By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter
Fri, Sep 06, 2013 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended his comments on Taipei City Government’s handling of flooding during the typhoon season, insisting that the flooding of MRT stations in Taipei during Typhoon Nari in 2001 unexpectedly prevented the city from suffering more serious damage.

“Many countries have built water conservancy infrastructure in non-traditional locations, such as in parks or low-lying areas. Of course, we did not design the MRT stations to be used for flood detention. It is just an example of flood detention pools in urban areas effectively preventing flooding,” he said when meeting reporters at the Presidential Office.

Legislators call for restraint from Su and Tsai supporters

INFIGHTING:Talk of a fierce rivalry between the DPP’s Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen has not stopped since Tsai lost last year’s presidential election
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday called for restraint from supporters of DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after a former DPP administration official called on Su to drop his bid for the party’s nomination as its candidate for the 2016 presidential election.

Former Council for Economic Planning and Development vice chairman Chang Ching-sen (張景森) wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday that Su should drop his presidential bid and instead run in the Taipei mayoral election next year to boost the DPP’s morale.

DPP reveals new recall campaign targeting legislator

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) New Taipei City (新北市) chapter yesterday said that it was launching a recall campaign against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator and legislative caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池).

“The recall campaign is not what people call ‘vicious competition between the pan-green and pan-blue camps,’ but a question of right and wrong, in which we are trying to steer the country on the right path,” chapter director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) told a press conference held at the New Taipei City Council.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Annette Lu undecided on Taipei mayoral candidacy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she would “begin weighing a decision” on participating in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary for next year’s Taipei mayoral election, but has not made a decision yet.

Lu spoke about the primary for the first time during a Taipei luncheon with the “Friends of A-bian,” a group of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) supporters, after her office denied media reports that Lu was planning to run in the primary.

DPP lawmakers protest entry ban on Japanese man

‘EXTRA ACTIVITIES’:The man was barred from entering the country for five years because he had raised a banner supporting Taiwan independence during a previous visit
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government’s entry ban on a Japanese man who has voiced support for Taiwanese independence is a violation of freedom of speech and ironic given the number of Chinese officials advocating unification who are allowed to visit, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

Kenji Tanabe, 38, was refused entry and deported in September 2010, four months after he raised a banner in support of Taiwanese independence on the peak of Yushan during an earlier visit, DPP Legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山) told a news conference in Taipei.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Reformers urge jury system

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Introducing a jury system would be a vital judicial reform that will eliminate corrupt and incompetent judges, judicial reform advocates said yesterday.

Citing the example of Hu -Ch--ing-pin (胡景彬), a judge at the Taichung branch of the High Court who was recently accused of asking for a bribe of NT$4.5 million (US$150,000) from a defendant in a case he handled, the Jury Promotion Alliance (JPA) and the Taiwan Forever Association told a news conference that the current judge review mechanism has been malfunctioning and it was time to push for a thorough judicial reform.

DPP topped party fundraising last year

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) received NT$132 million (US$4.4 million) in political donations last year, the largest amount of any political party in Taiwan and slightly more than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), statistics released by the Control Yuan yesterday showed.

The government watchdog yesterday released its annual compilation of the political donations received by every political party.

DPP, TSU join Constitution 133 Alliance’s recall bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union have teamed up with the Constitution 133 Alliance for its recall campaign against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), DPP officials said yesterday.

Constitution 133 Alliance, an alliance of civil groups dedicated to the recall of lawmakers they view as incompetent — especially those who prioritize partisan interests over those of the public — named itself in reference to Article 133 of the Constitution, which states that “a person elected may be recalled by their constituency.”

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

EDITORIAL: Fighting the ‘point of no return’

While Taiwan has always been proud of its press freedom and many people in Taiwan would even go as far as saying that Taiwanese media is “too free,” recent developments surrounding in the local media environment suggest otherwise.

This is why those who work in the media industry found Sunday — Journalists’ Day, the annual day that pays tribute to their profession — difficult to celebrate.

Legal mechanism for urban renewal needed: experts

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A mechanism for legally binding hearings should be established to ensure people’s rights would be protected in ongoing and future urban renewal projects across the country, legal experts and lawmakers said yesterday.

“Establishing such a mechanism is important. The Council of Grand Justices’ Interpretation No. 709 provides the way for making hearings mandatory for all urban renewal projects,” lawyer Tsai Chih-yang (蔡志揚) told a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

DPP local governments call for flood assistance

‘FLOODING PLIGHT’:The eight-year flood prevention program initiated under the DPP in 2006 ends this year, meaning projects will be suspended without more funds
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Five mayors and commissioners from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday appealed to the central government for more flood-prevention budget assistance after five cities and counties in southern Taiwan were hit by devastating floods last week.

Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠), Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) and Pingtung County Commissioner Tsao Chih-hung (曹啟鴻) demanded immediate allocation of a special flood prevention budget at a joint press conference in Greater Tainan yesterday, with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) making the same request.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Annette Lu denies she plans to run for Taipei mayor

By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

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

The Chinese-language United Evening News reported yesterday that a leaflet which listed Lu’s three advantages as the DPP’s mayoral candidate has been circulating among local supporters.