Thursday, January 31, 2013

PENSION REFORM: DPP unveils its plan for reform of pension system

ALTERNATE PLAN:The party proposes lowering income replacement from 80-90% to 60-70% and a retirement age of 65, in line with private-sector retirees
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday unveiled its pension reform proposal with a focus on lowering retirement payments to civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel, as the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) announced its own proposal on the same day.

Highlighting social solidarity, the DPP proposal aims to bridge the gaps between various social groups and make pension programs sustainable for future generations while benefiting employers and employees, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference.

PENSION REFORM: Pan-green camp slams pension reform

DANCING ELEPHANT?:The DPP said that Ma’s plan did not address core issues of fairness and said that private-sector workers might ‘storm the legislature’ in response
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - Page 3

The pan-green camp yesterday called President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pension reform plan a “pseudo” reform, adding that his announcement that he would give up his right to the 18 percent preferential interest rate given to state employee pensions as “a selfish act to try and fix his reputation.”

Ma has flip-flopped and failed in all his reform plans during his time in office, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said, citing as examples the capital gains tax on securities transactions, the year-end bonuses for retired civil servants and the amendment of media regulation laws.

DPP urges president to grant Chen Shui-bian medical parole

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to grant former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) medical parole after a magazine reported on the deterioration of Chen’s health.

The DPP Central Standing Committee yesterday reached a resolution to demand that Ma grant medical parole for Chen, who is serving an 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, but has been hospitalized for treatment of various complications.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Filmmaker files suit over bird flu

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Citizen journalist and documentary filmmaker Kevin Lee (李惠仁) yesterday morning filed a lawsuit against eight government officials, including Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基), over the alleged cover-up of three recent avian flu outbreaks.

Lee’s lawsuit, filed at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, accuses incumbent and former council officials of malfeasance and document forgery in connection with three avian flu outbreaks last month and this month for reporting the highly pathogenic cases to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as “of a low pathogenic level.”

Tsai voices concern over pension reform progress

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday expressed concerns about the transparency and completeness of the government’s pension reform proposal, which is due to be announced today.

“I haven’t seen the entire government proposal [on pension reform], but from what I’ve read in the newspapers, it seems to lack transparency and government efforts to communicate with the public on the matter are questionable,” Tsai said yesterday in Taipei.

DPP members split over Ma’s handling of dispute

DIAOYUTAIS:While agreeing that a Taiwanese boat protest must have the president’s tacit approval, DPP members differed on its effect on international relations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members are split on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of an incident last week in which a group of Taiwanese activists tried to reach the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), with some saying it was a highly questionable approach, and others saying it was well-calculated.

Early on Thursday, a fishing boat carrying seven crew and activists, and escorted by four Coast Guard Administration vessels, sailed from Shenao Port (深澳漁港) in New Taipei City (新北市) to the Diaoyutais — known as the Senkakus in Japan — to assert Taiwan’s claim over the islands, but was blocked by Japan Coast Guard vessels.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lu urges president to clarify nuclear energy policy

TALKS:The former vice president said she was considering organizing a rally on May 20 on Ketagalan to demand an open dialogue with Ma
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to hold an open dialogue with people petitioning for an anti-nuclear referendum to explain the government’s policy on nuclear energy.

“If more than 100,000 people signed the petition, Ma would be obligated to publicly explain his policy,” Lu, who had initiated an anti-nuclear referendum in New Taipei City (新北市), told a press conference.

DPP pushes candidate for Jhunan by-election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has turned its focus to the Jhunan Towship (竹南) mayoral by-election in Miaoli County on Saturday, following a bittersweet loss in a Greater Taichung legislative by-election over the weekend.

The party is calling on voters in the township to support its candidate, Lee Chen-hua (李震華), and to ignore other candidates’ smear tactics, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said.

DPP chief heading to Tokyo next week

ISLAND DISPUTE:The party reiterated its position that the Diaoyutais belong to Taiwan and that the issue should be resolved through diplomatic negotiations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is scheduled to visit Tokyo next week, where he will meet Japanese politicians to discuss a wide range of issues, including the dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), the party announced yesterday.

Su, who will be visiting Japan for the first time since taking the party helm in May last year, is scheduled to arrive on Sunday, Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs, told a press conference. He will return to Taiwan the following Thursday.

DPP waiting to unveil pension plan

CONTENTIOUS::An opinion poll published yesterday revealed that most respondents supported lowering the preferential interest rate for retired civil servants
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has completed its pension reform plan and is ready to unveil it once the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration announces its plan, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said yesterday.

Wang briefed the media after a meeting convened by DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that included party officials and legislators.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

KMT wins Taichung by-election

CLOSE RACE::The DPP’s Chen Shi-kai lost the by-election in Greater Taichung’s second district to KMT candidate Yen Kuan-hen by a margin of only 1,138 votes
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Sun, Jan 27, 2013 - Page 1

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) won the legislative by-election in Greater Taichung’s second district yesterday against his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart Chen Shi-kai (陳世凱) by a small margin of less than 1,200 votes, managing to only just maintain the KMT’s momentum amid low approval ratings for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.

Yen received 66,457 votes in the by-election, while Chen received 65,319 votes, according to the Tai-chung City Election Commission.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DPP to present pension reform plan next week

FAIR SYSTEM:The party’s plan includes changing the income replacement ratio, salary base for calculating pensions and funding for different pension systems
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans next week to unveil its pension reform proposal with its emphasis on “social solidarity,” to rival the Executive Yuan’s reform plan, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.

“The [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s pension reform has dragged on for too long. The DPP has its own version of pension reform, which is based on social solidarity, and will unveil the plan next week,” Su said on the sidelines of a campaign stop in Greater Taichung.

ANALYSIS: Taichung by-election a critical test for DPP and Su

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The by-election in Greater Taichung’s second electoral district today is “a critical election that could shape the national and local political map in the next few years,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

A senior legislator, Ker made the comment with good reason, and many DPP members and political analysts agreed with the observation.

On the surface, a win for DPP candidate Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱) over Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate who is trying to fill the void left vacant by his soon-to-be-imprisoned father, Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), would only increase the DPP’s legislative seats to 41 — still 16 seats short of a majority.

Friday, January 25, 2013

EDITORIAL: The DPP’s unprecedented challenge

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 - Page 8

Just when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) seems to be doing nothing right — which is why he and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are mired in misery — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appears to be experiencing the same problem, something the 26-year-old party has never faced before.

The task at hand for the DPP is unprecedented: How to assure Taiwanese during this two-year period without a major national election that it is trustworthy and reformed, and deserves an opportunity to govern again.

KMT split may give DPP victory in Taichung

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appears to be hoping that a conflict between Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) could help it win tomorrow’s legislative by-election in Greater Taichung’s second electoral district.

“Ma, who is the KMT’s chairman, has not campaigned for Yen, and Yen has not used the KMT’s logo during his campaign, nor has he emphasized that he represents the KMT,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at a campaign stop in Greater Taichung.

Protection of human rights precondition in future cross-strait agreements: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lives and property across the Taiwan Strait would only be protected by the inclusion of human rights clauses in the texts of the agreements between Taiwan and China, and not by lip service, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The response was directed at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) after he said on Wednesday that he hoped cross-strait dialogue could extend beyond economic and trade issues, to encompass human rights and the rule of law.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

‘Potential graft’ in Changhua mugs

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷), who is also the party’s caucus whip in the Changhua County Council, yesterday said a questionable procurement deal might add to the corruption allegations against the Changhua County Government.

The local government’s procurement bid of mugs between 2005 and this year appears to have favored Chi-hong Ceramics, which has close ties with Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), the younger brother of Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), who has been detained on suspicion of corruption, Wei and five Changhua County councilors told a press conference.

DPP plays down its referendum-elections initiative

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday played down a proposed initiative to combine an anti-nuclear referendum with local elections next year, as Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) reiterated that the initiative was not politically motivated.

Su was responding to criticism of a comment he made on Monday, in which he recommended combining the proposed referendum, which aims to stop the construction and operation of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), with the local elections.

DPP to start media monopoly task force

FRESH STRATEGY:The party aims to produce its own version of the National Communications Commission’s non-retroactive anti-media monopolization law
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials yesterday said the party would establish a task force on monopolization of the media and try to submit its own version of a draft law against media monopolization before March to rival a government proposal.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in an internal meeting yesterday morning ordered the establishment of the task force and reiterated that the party would stand on the same side as the academics, social groups and students who oppose media monopolization, said Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee.

Approval of mobile payment service bid draws fire

CONDITIONS::The Fair Trade Commission said the service, a joint bid by five telecoms firms and EasyCard Corp, carried risks, but that it had set rules to prevent a monopoly
By Camaron Kao and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Page 1

The Fair Trade Commission yesterday conditionally approved a bid by five major telecommunications companies and EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡公司) to establish a joint venture to offer mobile payment services. However, opposition lawmakers accused the commission of treating the bid as a joint venture rather than a monopoly.

The five telecoms carriers — Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile Corp (台灣大哥大), Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信) and Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信) — will set up a trust service management (TSM) company with EasyCard.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ma could learn from Obama: DPP

Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday praised US President Barack Obama for displaying compassion and integrity in his inauguration speech and said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) could learn from his US counterpart.

In the speech delivered on Monday, Obama highlighted solidarity and bipartisan collaboration, acknowledging the challenges and difficulties ahead, in addition to talking about human rights and the spirit in which the US was founded, said Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs.

Environmental groups slam DPP

UNILATERAL ACTION:The party has been accused of showing a lack of respect for anti-nuclear groups after a proposal to combine a referendum and local elections
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Environmental groups criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday for its “politically motivated” initiative of combining a proposed anti-nuclear energy referendum with local elections next year.

The criticism was directed at DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who said on Monday that the party fully supported the proposed referendum in New Taipei City (新北市) and recommended combining the referendum with local elections.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lawmakers push for action against soaring food prices

LUNAR NEW YEAR:TSU lawmakers said that the price increases would add about 10 to 20 percent to a household’s spending on food during the break
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers yesterday said that the prices of agricultural products had soared and called on the government to act to stabilize prices before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Data provided by the Taipei City Market Administration Office showed that the prices of 75 of 113 agricultural products this month had risen compared with the same month last year, TSU caucus whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference yesterday.

Su voices support for nuclear referendum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in NEW TAIPEI CITY

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday campaigned in New Taipei City (新北市) for a referendum in the city on nuclear power, suggesting it could be combined with local elections scheduled to be held late next year.

Speaking at a press conference at New Taipei City Council, Su reiterated the DPP’s full support for the referendum initiated by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and urged New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to join the cause.

DPP initiates steps against vote-buying

TAICHUNG BY-ELECTION:The party said it has formed a task force of 600 vote monitors and encouraged the public to record and report incidents of vote-buying
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of attempting to buy votes in the legislative by-election in Greater Taichung on Saturday and offered a reward of NT$10 million (US$344,000) for whistleblowers, while urging the judiciary to crack down on any such violations.

“Rumors of KMT candidate Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) trying to buy votes have been rampant as the by-election campaign for Greater Taichung’s second electoral district enters its final week. The DPP opposes vote-buying and calls for a clean election,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference in Taipei.

KMT denies it will change rules for Ma

RIGGED GAME?:The party said it was not mulling changing regulations to allow Ma to be re-elected chairman. The Ministry of the Interior said that Ma could legally run again
By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA
Tue, Jan 22, 2013 - Page 1

Amid growing challenges over the legitimacy of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) bid for re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) yesterday dismissed speculation that the party was mulling amending its regulations in favor of Ma.

“There is speculation that the KMT headquarters is considering turning its party regulations into ‘self-benefiting rules for Ma,’ but we have never had such a plan,” Yin said in response to media inquiries.

Monday, January 21, 2013

DPP’s Hsu Tain-tsair visits China

TESTING THE WATERS:The move has raised eyebrows because the legislator and former Tainan mayor has long been a staunch supporter of Taiwanese independence
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) left for Shanghai yesterday for a week-long visit to China, becoming the latest high-profile DPP politician to test the waters for possible dialogue between the party and Beijing.

Hsu said before his departure that he would hold talks with Chinese academics and visit financial regulatory institutions in Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen before returning home on Sunday. He declined to reveal his itinerary in detail or confirm if he would meet with Chinese officials during the visit.

DPP offers rewards for vote-buying whistleblowers

AUTHOR AUTHORITY:A Japanese-Taiwanese writer who is a keen observer of cross-strait relations, said that from a long-term perspective, Taipei will be better than Beijing
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taking a long-term perspective is required to make an appropriate assessment of the future development of cross-strait ties and if people took such a view, they would find that Taiwan’s future looks brighter than China’s, a Taiwanese writer based in Japan said yesterday.

“Over the long term, Taiwan would be able to win out over China because of three things: the high level of civilization of its citizens, the maturity of its society and the high incorporation of universal values in society, which is what is known as ‘soft power,’” Ko Bunyu (黃文雄), 74, a Taiwanese-Japanese professor and writer said in Taipei.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Editorial: Little time to rest for lawmakers

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - Page 8

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has made winning the legislature majority one of its primary goals, along with winning the 2016 presidential election, showing that it finally recognizes the importance of a legislative majority. After all, it knew very well how the country could come to a standstill when former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was in office and was handcuffed by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) legislative majority.

That was why President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT, which still holds a legislative majority, boasted about “complete governance” (完全執政), even though the events in the legislature over the past year proved otherwise.

TSU to work with DPP over recalls

HIT LIST:The DPP has not yet decided which KMT lawmakers to recall, but is happy to collaborate with the TSU on the issue, the party spokesperson said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) will collaborate with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in any bid to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said yesterday.

“The TSU is ready to launch the first phase of a recall plan for KMT lawmakers who have ignored the voice of the people and only follow Ma’s instructions,” Huang told a press conference, adding that his party’s eventual goal is to recall Ma.

KMT lawmaker furious over office raid

‘CONTEMPT’:Lu Hsueh-chang accused prosecutors of overstepping their power when they raided his office in the legislature and detained his aide, Hsu Ju-sung
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

New Taipei City (新北市) prosecutors yesterday raided the office of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption involving Lu’s aide, Hsu Ju-sung (徐如松).

New Taipei District Prosecutors Office agents raided 50 locations in the morning and detained 30 people — including Hsu, five Hsinchu County councilors and several Hsinchu County school principals — who are suspected of accepting more than NT$10 million (US$345,000) in kickbacks from school procurement deals.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DPP mulling best approach for recall

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Greater Taichung

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has vowed to recall President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators, but it is still contemplating the best way to do it.

The DPP declared an all-out war with the KMT on Sunday when Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told about 100,000 protesters in Taipei that the party would launch a bid to recall Ma and the KMT lawmakers.

DPP hopes win will boost momentum

RIDING THE WAVE:Although the Greater Taichung district has traditionally been a KMT stronghold, the DPP hopes its candidate can be elected on the back of Ma’s unpopularity
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Greater Taichung

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it hoped that a victory in the Jan. 26 legislative by-election in Greater Taichung would create momentum in the same way a by-election win lifted the party in 2009.

“This will be an important election to answer President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] on their non-response to the people’s voice,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in Wurih District (烏日), Greater Taichung.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

US senator presses Ma on Chen’s health

By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters

While meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday, US Senator Lisa Murkowski voiced concerns over former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) health and the conditions of his imprisonment.

“I have inquired about his [Chen’s] status and his health with President Ma. I think it’s important that, as a former president, he is treated with a level of respect and care,” Murkowski said later yesterday as she took a few questions from local reporters after attending a luncheon hosted by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

DPP lists ‘unfair’ trials of members

‘DOUBLE STANDARDS’:The party compiled a report of probes and cases against its members from its former administration, which said the judicial system was biased
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has released a 40-page English-language report containing a compilation of “unfair judicial investigations and trials” suffered by its members who had served in the previous DPP administration.

The report, which included the cases made against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and dozens of other former or current government officials, was “not a political statement, but a research study which compiled facts and information,” Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, said yesterday.

A-bian has mental breakdown: doctor

‘QUITE DIFFICULT’:A psychiatrist on the former president’s medical team was quoted as saying Chen had tried to kill himself three times and that his recovery would be hard
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Hospitalized former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has suffered a nervous breakdown and should be removed from his current environment, which lacks the support mechanisms that patients with mental illnesses need to recover, a psychiatrist on Chen’s medical team said yesterday.

“The most ideal environment for Chen to make a full recovery would be his home, not the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH), where he is currently staying to receive treatment … and definitely not Taipei Prison,” Mackay Memorial Hospital psychiatrist Chen Chiao-chi (陳喬琪) told the Taipei Times.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DPP members divided on recall plan

TIME TO THINK TWICE?:ome DPP figures have expressed concerns about the political ramifications the move could have and the difficulty of achieving the recall
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday expressed mixed feelings about DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) plan to try to recall President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, which he announced during the “Fury” (火大) rally in Taipei on Sunday. The government said such efforts were unlikely to succeed.

The reasoning behind the plan is legitimate because Ma’s governance has been poor, some DPP figures said, but others were concerned about the political ramifications the move could have and the difficulty of achieving the recall.

Lawmakers approve all FTC nominees

CHINA HURDLE::An NCC candidate whose nomination review was delayed accused the opposition of mud-slinging for questioning her family’s business ties to China
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 3

The legislature yesterday approved the appointments of all seven Fair Trade Commission members and National Communications Commission (NCC) member Chiang Yu-feng (江幽芬), but withheld the review of Wang Yung-ho (汪用和) until the next legislative session next month.

Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus voted against the nominees and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus abstained from voting, the candidates passed the review with the support of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thousands protest against Ma

BIG GUNS::Su Tseng-chang, Annette Lu, Frank Hsieh, Tsai Ing-wen and Yu Shyi-kun all joined demonstrators on the streets of Taipei yesterday
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jan 14, 2013 - Page 1

At least 100,000 protesters yesterday gathered in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei and demanded President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) step down, in the first mass demonstration since Ma was re-elected in January last year, while the leader of the opposition said he had initiated efforts to recall the president.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the organizer of the “Fury (火大)” rally, estimated that about 200,000 people participated in the protest. Police authorities estimated the number of protesters to be about half that figure.

As overnight rain stopped about noon and the weather was warmer than expected, the protest began on time at 3pm at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, with participants marching down Renai Road and Zhongxiao E. Road in high spirits toward the assembly point in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

KMT is escalating island dispute, Su Tseng-chang says

By Chris Wang and J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporters

Although the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration upheld the nation’s claims to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and the South China Sea, two areas that have seen escalating disputes recently, there is a “huge” difference between the policies of the DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in an interview on Thursday.

“Washington assumed that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would promote stable cross-strait relations — until the Diaoyutai dispute took place, when the US realized there has been a great shift in the balance of cross-strait relations,” Su told the Taipei Times.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

INTERVIEW: Su casts light on DPP’s perspective

As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) prepares to hold its ‘Fury’ mass rally against the government tomorrow, many people in Taiwan and abroad are anxious to learn more about the alternatives the DPP can propose to the President Ma Ying-jeou administration’s policies. ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporters Chris Wang and J. Michael Cole discussed those issues with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang on Thursday
Sat, Jan 12, 2013 - Page 3

Taipei Times (TT): You previously mentioned you have changed over the years, especially after the loss in the 2008 presidential election. What has changed and how would you describe your leadership today?

Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌): I have always been a pragmatic person who upholds the values and faith I believe in. On that part I have not changed. However, I am dealing with tasks on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, I hope the DPP will become a dependable and trustworthy party for Taiwanese.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Congressional group did not ask to meet DPP, MOFA says

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday clarified a complaint from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) about it being left off the itinerary of a visiting US congressional delegation during their visit this week.

“Had the visiting guests expressed a wish to meet with the DPP, we would have made the arrangements for them,” Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Department of North American Affairs, said at a regular news briefing. “The ministry would never decline to set up a meeting with the DPP for our guests if such a request is made.”

EDITORIAL: The Constitution: intangible asset

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 - Page 8

The Constitution is a lot like air. We neither feel it nor see it, but it surrounds us at all times and it is involved in every aspect of our lives. That was why a recent plan by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses to propose establishing a Constitution Amendment Committee in the next legislative session was encouraging and appropriate.

Perhaps because Taiwan has been plagued by a sluggish economy for too long or perhaps because of the high threshold for approving amendments to the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, the talk of amending it or writing a new constitution has been on hold since the TSU and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) briefly flirted with the idea years ago.

KMT’s legislative majority no help to Ma: opinion poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 60 percent of respondents to a survey published yesterday said the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) majority in the legislature was hindering President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) governance and that KMT lawmakers have been irresponsible.

Asked whether the KMT caucus, which controls more than 60 percent of the 113-member legislature, has been helpful in crafting and implementing Ma’s policies, 60.5 percent of respondents said it was not, with only 23.8 percent of those polled saying the majority had been helping Ma’s governance, the poll by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research found.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Corruption charges against professors draw mixed views

RESEARCH FUNDS:Some said public school teachers should be charged with corruption, while private school teachers should be charged with fraud
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Politicians and academics offered mixed views on the controversial prosecution of university professors accused of using false receipts to claim research funds, although most of them said they should have been charged with fraud rather than corruption.

The controversy has snowballed after dozens of professors, associate professors and research staff from universities across the country were indicted on corruption charges for allegedly using false receipts to claim research funds as hundreds of similar cases are being investigated.

DPP questions exclusion from US group’s visit

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday protested to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the party’s exclusion from the itinerary of a visiting US congressional delegation.

“Since the ministry did not inform the DPP of the visit, the DPP could not arrange a meeting between the delegation and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌),” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

The ministry told the party it was a careless mistake and vowed that it would not happen again, Lin said.

DPP initiates ‘Fury’ protest countdown, supported by TSU

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday began the 100-hour countdown to its “Fury” (火大) mass rally on Sunday against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, while the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) pledged its support to the protest and called for people to participate.

Speaking at a press conference, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) reiterated the party’s three demands to the government: a Cabinet reshuffle, a rejection of the controversial Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) deal and a national affairs conference, saying that “only a mass protest can awaken the paralyzed Ma administration.”

DPP slams government over executions

INACTION::Lawmakers said Ma not acting when the inmates made amnesty appeals and the Ministry of Justice’s haste in sanctioning their deaths were rights violations
By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jan 10, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of inaction on six death-row inmates’ amnesty appeals and the Ministry of Justice of being hasty in carrying their executions last month.

The Dec. 21 executions became the primary focus of a review of the nation’s implementation of the statutes in the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights yesterday in a special session of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Free speech, media vital to reform in China, Su says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

There will never be real reform in China unless there is freedom of speech and of the press, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday, amid protests in China over news censorship.

The Guangdong provincial government last week blocked a New Year’s editorial in the liberal Southern Weekly newspaper, which called for the realization of a “dream of constitutionalism in China” to protect people’s rights.

Amendment to benefit thousands of disabled students

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An amendment to the Special Education Act (特殊教育法) that was passed in the legislature yesterday will promote educational equality and benefit 115,000 students with disabilities across the country, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.

The amendment legalizes the employment of assistants at schools for the disabled at or under high-school level and authorizes schools to establish special units to offer individual support plan for students with different types of disabilities, Cheng said.

Slowing population growth could hurt the DPP: lawmaker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker yesterday alerted the party to a disturbing demographic trend that could hurt its chances of winning national elections in the future — the decreasing population in southern Taiwan.

“The traditional winning formula for the DPP in a presidential election — winning in a landslide in southern Taiwan, pulling even in central Taiwan and losing by a small margin in northern Taiwan — could be no longer workable in the future,” Julian Kuo (郭正亮) said in an online column.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

DPP slams KMT, Ma for failing to reform pensions

‘PSEUDO REFORMS’:The DPP caucus said the government was not committed to real pension reform, as seen in the only temporary freezing of civil servants’ yearly bonuses
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) insistence on resuming the distribution of year-end bonuses for retired civil servants next year and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) refusal to call a national affairs conference have proven that neither are serious about reforming the pension system, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

“Ma has unilaterally imposed his own will on more than 78 percent of Taiwanese, who — according to a recent survey — support the convening of a national affairs conference to dicuss reforming the pension system and the economy. Ma has forgotten that he is the beneficiary of such a national affairs conference held in 1991,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said at a press event.

DPP announces plan for ‘nuclear-free homeland’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday unveiled a two-step action plan aimed at promoting a “nuclear-free homeland.”

“The DPP intends to tackle the issue by promoting civic participation and continuing its effort to change legislation,” party spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) quoted DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying.

Tsai repeats call for national affairs meet

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is naive if he thinks he can push through pension reforms single-handedly, instead of by building a consensus through a national affairs conference as proposed by the opposition, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“The national affairs conference would be remembered as Ma’s achievement, not as a proposal made by Tsai Ing-wen, but he still won’t do it,” Tsai said in a radio interview yesterday.

China turning to culture to push ‘unity,’ DPP says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

China’s cultural “united front “tactics, its persistent and gradual “brainwashing” of Taiwanese and the government’s indifference to the issue could eventually wipe out Taiwan’s unique culture, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

The hosting of a Chinese music awards ceremony, the widespread use of Chinese terminology in Taiwan and the increasing number of cultural projects in the name of cross-strait collaboration could all be part of China’s efforts to absorb Taiwan, DPP lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Frank Hsieh wraps up visit to US to promote initiatives

PR CAMPAIGN:Hsieh’s office said that the former premier was considering organizing a cross-strait forum in Taiwan aimed at improving bilateral ties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is to conclude his three-week visit to the US to promote his initiative of “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) and return to Taiwan today, Hsieh’s office said yesterday.

Hsieh, who has focused on cross-strait relations since making a landmark visit to China in October last year, championed promoting bilateral ties through private forums during a visit to the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of East Asian Studies on Friday, the office said in a press release.

DPP drums up support for ‘Fury’ protests

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday called for support in the southern cities of Pingtung and Greater Kaohsiung for a protest against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) scheduled for Sunday in Taipei, saying that only “direct pressure from the people” could force Ma to change his “authoritarian” leadership style.

In a pre-recorded radio interview aired yesterday morning, Su said that “it was part of Ma’s personality to resist change until he was faced with enormous pressure.”

The DPP is organizing the protest to make it clear to Ma that it is time to recognize that his governance is failing and that he needs to work with the people through a consociational democratic process, Su said.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Ma’s flaws at root of all problems: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), last year in particular, was full of lies and acted irresponsibly, with Ma’s own character flaws at the root of the problems, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“Ma did not practice what he preached and there was no such thing as responsible politics in the government under his watch. All we can say is: ‘Shame on him,’” DPP Policy Research Committee Executive Director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a press conference in on Ma’s performance last year

Wu said Ma’s performance could be easily assessed by two standards that apply to all politicians — whether he “walked his talk” and how he handled political responsibility.

Government bonuses ‘ironic’: DPP

INJUSTICE:Some agencies received a bonus equivalent to between 3.5 and 4.6 times their monthly salaries despite being non-profit institutions, a legislator said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The central government’s year-end bonuses of NT$130 billion (US$4.47 billion) for last year were a far cry from to the bonuses received by ordinary workers, which is ironic for a government claiming to stress fairness, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“While 48 percent of more than 9 million salaried workers will not receive any bonus for their hard work last year, the government will be handing out a bonus of NT$130 billion to central government employees,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

DPP sets deadline to fix NHI premium

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was still opposed to the National Health Insurance (NHI) supplementary premium mechanism that took effect on Tuesday and said it would give President Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration three months to reconsider the policy.

“The DPP strongly opposes the mechanism because of its unfairness, inconvenience, inefficiency and illegality, which will negatively affect all of society and the NHI,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said yesterday after the weekly meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee.

DPP sets demands for calling off rally

DIFFERENCE OF OPINION:The president’s spokesman defended the Cabinet’s performance and reiterated Ma’s offer to meet Su to discuss crucial national issues
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that his party would call off a mass protest planned for Jan. 13 if President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met the party’s three demands: reshuffle the Cabinet, reject the controversial Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) deal and hold a national affairs conference.

“We hope that Ma will agree to the demands and, if he does, we will not take to the streets,” Su said after the DPP’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Students furious over Ma’s ‘non-response’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Jan 02, 2013 - Page 1

Hundreds of university students voiced their disappointment and anger over President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) continued silence over their anti-media monopoly appeal following an overnight vigil yesterday and vowed to keep on pressing the president for a response and action on an issue that risks undermining freedom of speech in the nation.

The students launched the protest on 7pm on Monday at Liberty Square, followed by a sit-in protest starting at 4am yesterday on Ketagalan Boulevard, right outside the restricted area for the New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony. They demanded that the president clarify his position on the controversial Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) deal and address related issues on media monopoly and Chinese influence over Taiwan’s media.

DPP will always stand on side of the people, Su says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will always stand on the side of the people and will never be a party “waiting for its rivals to fail,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday in his New Year’s Day message.

Su lamented President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor performance over the past year, but had high hopes for the DPP, which he said “has always been a people’s party,” to safeguard people’s rights and alleviate their suffering in the coming year.

Pan-greens lambast Ma’s speech

NO SURPRISES:Opposition politicians across the board panned the president’s New Year’s Day speech, saying he never sticks to his promises and should change himself
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The pan-green camp yesterday blasted President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) New Year’s Day address, in which he pledged to reconcile with the opposition and to redirect Taiwan’s future, as cliched and said Ma should practice what he preaches.

“If Ma was sincere about what he said, he should call a national affairs conference and try to work with the opposition to clear up the mess in his administration,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in response to Ma’s address.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Tsai lauds increasing civil participation

HOPE FOR FUTURE:Expanding public participation should strengthen the nation as it seeks to deal with difficulties brought about by an ineffective government, Tsai said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A new model of political participation, with civil society replacing the government as a dominant force that could enforce substantial changes, would help Taiwan turn over a new page this year, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in her New Year’s message yesterday.

“If everyone began the process by paying attention to their communities and expanded that effort to public policies, the action and efforts would converge and ultimately become a power that could change the country,” Tsai said in a statement published on the Web site of her foundation, Thinking Taiwan Foundation.