Friday, March 29, 2013

Home care better for Chen: Veterans hospital chief

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - Page 1

Confirming that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has been diagnosed with cerebral atrophy, Taipei Veterans General Hospital superintendent Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁) yesterday said it would be better to have caregivers look after Chen at home rather than in the hospital.

However, the Ministry of Justice still has to make an assessment and the final decision, Lin said.

Lin said Chen has been doing well after his hemorrhoid surgery on March 14.

‘Free Economic Trade Zones’ favor China, likely to increase dependence: lawmakers

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Pan-green lawmakers yesterday expressed concern over the government’s plan to establish “Free Economic Pilot Zones” to promote trade liberalization, saying that the zones could increase the nation’s economic dependence on China and hurt Taiwan’s competitiveness.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference that the relaxation of regulations on investment and personnel in the proposed zones appeared to be tailor-made for China, which has been eyeing a way of annexing Taiwan — economic integration.

Lawmakers slam Beijing interference in ICAO bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan has the right to participate in international organizations as a sovereign nation and Beijing’s interference is unacceptable, pan-green lawmakers said yesterday in response to Beijing’s opposition to Taiwan’s efforts to seek participation in the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Yang Yi (楊毅) said on Wednesday that Beijing opposed “foreign interferences that would complicate matters,” referring to the US Senate and House of Representatives’ introduction of bills earlier this month in support observer status for Taiwan at the ICAO.

EDITORIAL: A new Youth Day in the making

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - Page 8

As the nation celebrates Youth Day today in commemoration of the dozens of young patriots who sacrificed their lives for the birth of a new country more than a century ago, Taiwanese should also be proud of today’s young people, who, in some ways, are even more courageous than their predecessors and perhaps deserve their own Youth Day.

Youth Day was designated in memory of the more than 80 revolutionaries killed in the Huanghuagang Uprising (also known as the “Yellow Flower Mound Uprising”) on April 27, 1911. The uprising failed, but eventually led to the Xinhai Revolution later that year that overthrew the Qing Dynasty and led to the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Green energy planned in DPP-administered areas

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said alternative energy generation should be developed in Taiwan to replace nuclear energy, and approved a proposal demanding that the cities and counties it governs develop safer, green energy.

The proposal, initiated by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), suggests that geothermal power could be developed in Yilan County and solar power should be developed in southern cities and counties, such as Yunlin, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung, where sunlight is abundant.

Tsai outlines ‘third stage’ of community development

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday advocated what she described as “the third stage of community development.”

“Especially now, the third stage of community development is important to Taiwan because the current state apparatus is no longer capable of resolving problems such as the wealth gap, democratic disorder and government malfunction,” Tsai told a civic forum on community development.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DPP’s Tsai calls for closer cooperation with Indonesia

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should seek closer cooperation with Indonesia to gain an advantage in regional development in Asia and to “re-engage” Asian countries with comprehensive economic and cultural exchanges, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

The former presidential candidate returned from a week-long trip to Indonesia on Saturday after meeting with lawmakers, academics and businesspeople to discuss democratic, economic and security developments in the ASEAN region.

Jiang confirms FEZ plan, formal announcement today

PILOT PROGRAM:The premier said the zones would be the ‘first major economic task’ of his administration and would liberalize trade and upgrade industrial structure
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday confirmed that a two-phase free economic zones (FEZ) plan, which aims to liberalize the nation’s international trade activity and promote industrial upgrades, would be announced today — with pilot zones established in northern, central and southern Taiwan in the first phase.

Chinese agricultural products would be allowed to be imported and processed in the zones before being shipped out labeled as “Made-in-Taiwan” products, but these products would not be sold in Taiwan, nor would the ban on 830 Chinese agricultural products be lifted, Jiang told a plenary session of the legislature.

Jiang stands firm on referendum plan

NUCLEAR PROPOSALS::The premier said the DPP had pushed for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant for more than a decade — until he suggested one
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - Page 3

A nationwide referendum remains the best available option to determine the fate of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), despite most public opinion polls showing strong opposition to the continued construction of the plant and the use of nuclear energy, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) told the legislature yesterday.

“Public policy should not — and will not, as far as I am concerned — be decided by public opinion polls,” Jiang said in response to a question from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) in a plenary session.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DPP calls for immediate reform of energy industry

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called for an immediate reform of the energy industry to liberalize the local electricity market and end the monpoly of state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).

As a supporter of the development of alternative energies, the DPP has realized that no steps can be taken toward that goal until Taipower’s monopoly is eliminated, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

TSU files lawsuit over referendum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday filed an administrative lawsuit over the rejection by government agencies of its application to hold a referendum on a cross-strait trade pact, saying that the government’s current referendum proposal on a nuclear power plant adopted the same rationale as the TSU’s rejected initiative.

If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, which supports the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, was allowed to ask people if they support the suspension of the construction of the plant in a planned national referendum, the TSU proposal should not have been rejected for asking a question that was inconsistent with the proposer’s position, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said after filing the lawsuit at the Taipei High Administrative Court.

TSU voices free economic zone concerns

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

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday expressed strong opposition to a policy devised by the Executive Yuan, which could be enacted as early as tomorrow, to promote free economic zones, saying that Taiwanese workers and products could be jeopardized.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday instructed government agencies to prepare for the relaxation of trade restrictions to pave the way for the establishment of a free-trade pilot zone.

Deadlock over Taipower resolution

’OTHER MATTER’::The DPP and TSU’s resolution to freeze the firm’s budget to suspend the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was downgraded by KMT staff confirming the minutes
By Chris Wang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter and Staff writer, with CNA
Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - Page 1

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should follow legislative rules and file a reconsideration motion if it is serious about maintaining Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) budget, rather than asking committee staff to alter the proceedings, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses said yesterday morning after a meeting was suspended for party negotiations.

Members of the legislature’s Economics Committee met yesterday to confirm the contents of the minutes of a committee meeting on Thursday last week, during which the DPP caucus proposed a motion to reject the state-owned utility’s budget request for this year, amid growing public concern over nuclear energy, and immediately halt the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A-bian’s foreign policy ‘underrated’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sun, Mar 24, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not fare as badly in foreign policy, in particular in Taiwan-US relations, during his eight years in office as many have claimed, but recognized that the direction of the party’s future foreign policy would be more trade-oriented.

“Traditionally, security and political issues have been at the heart of the DPP’s approach to Taiwan-US relations. As bilateral trade ties are becoming an increasingly important issue, the party should submit a feasible trade policy and clarify the priority of its trade policy agenda,” the DPP’s Department of International Affairs director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) said.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DPP lawmaker, union official protest ‘double-dipping’ by government retirees

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Public-sector workers who go to work in private education institutions after retiring from government positions can make more than ministerial officials and squeeze young academics out of job opportunities, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday.

A total of 2,548 retired military, government and public-school workers are now employed at private schools as teachers or administration staff, receiving a monthly wage on top of their pension, DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) told a press conference, citing statistics from the Ministry of Education.

Public supports, but wary, of cross-strait media: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

While more than three-quarters of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday support media exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, they oppose Chinese censorship of Taiwanese media, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.

A tracking poll on cross-strait affairs conducted by the council showed that 79.3 percent of respondents support bilateral exchanges on television, film, radio and news, with 72 percent saying that such exchanges would promote media freedom in China.

DPP hits out after its anti-monopoly media bill shelved

DELAYING TACTICS:DPP lawmakers questioned the NCC’s argument that its draft bill has been delayed because it still has to hold several public hearings
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) must step up their efforts to draft a media anti-monopoly bill if they are serious about the issue, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Editorial: The purpose of education

Few among the hundreds of thousands of high-school students taking part in the annual university entrance examinations and the thousands of university graduates entering graduate schools every year can imagine what their life will be after school.

Some of them may end up working in fields unrelated to what they studied in school. They could become another Sung Keng-lang (宋耿郎), a doctoral student at National Chengchi University who quit school after two years in the program and became a chicken fillet street vendor.

Activists renew call for preservation of old Taipei prison

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A group of activists yesterday repeated their call for the government to preserve the remains of the old Taipei prison, even though most of the original compound has been demolished.

Located in the city’s Da-an District (大安), the 4.046 hectare prison compound was built by the Japanese in the early 1900s during the colonial period, in response to anti-Japanese uprisings throughout Taiwan.

Motions passed to cease nuclear plant construction

‘AMBUSH’::KMT lawmakers called the vote an ‘ambush,’ saying that the resolutions were passed before they had a copy of the proposals and vowing to counteract them
By Helen Ku, Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Mar 22, 2013 - Page 1

Motions demanding that state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台灣電力公司) suspend construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) and rejecting the company’s budget proposal for the year were passed yesterday by the legislature’s Economics Committee.

The motions, initiated by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, shot down Taipower’s plan to spend NT$11.7 billion (US$392.99 million) on the plant this year, including NT$10.7 billion of construction work that has already been outsourced.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DPP pair voice concerns over VW plant

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers from Greater Kaohsiung yesterday questioned whether the municipality has been excluded from location options for an investment by German automaker Volkswagen — an accusation the central government denied.

Legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) and Hsu Chih-chieh (許志傑) told a press conference that only New Taipei City (新北市) officials were invited to a meeting with Volkswagen representatives, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and government officials on Feb. 1.

DPP plans 1,000 anti-nuclear events

MOBILIZING TROOPS:The party realizes it will have to do battle, as the government is bent on resolving the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue in a referendum
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it plans to organize more than 1,000 anti-nuclear events before June to raise national awareness of the anti-nuclear movement, which would be instrumental in passing a referendum proposed by the government, scheduled to be held later this year.

The events are being organized by DPP members across the country, including by local offices, legislators and local government officials, and they are to be held in various forms, such as outdoor theaters, film screenings, rallies and bicycle rides, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

How Ma Ying-jeou shot himself in the foot

By Chris Wang.

51.6, 13 and three. Those are probably the only numbers one needs to know when examining Taiwanese politics a year or so on from President Ma Ying-jeou’s re-election in January 2012.

Ma, who won the fiercely-contested presidential election in 2012 with 51.6 percent of the votes, six percentage points ahead of his rival Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has seen his approval rating plummet to 13 percent with three years still left in his second term.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The DPP One Year On: Regrouping or Regressing?

By Chris Wang.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) thought it had President Ma Ying-jeou beaten in the presidential election in January last year. But ultimately the party saw its candidate Tsai Ing-wen lose by the margin of six percentage points, or about 800,000 votes. The widespread defeatism among DPP supporters and party members was easy to understand as they figured a victory was within reach. Lackluster governance during Ma’s first term and a brilliant DPP presidential candidate in Tsai was cause for optimism that proved misplaced.

A quick bout of soul-searching after the election concluded that the DPP lost for a number of reasons: its vague China policy, fears that a DPP administration would lead to stagnant trade exchanges with China, several business tycoons’ endorsement of the KMT’s cross-Strait postures and untimely jabs from Washington.

Reopen probe into 319 shooting, Annette Lu urges

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday urged the government to relaunch an investigation into the so-called “319 shooting case” of 2004, on the ninth anniversary of the incident that still divides society.

“I’m asking for [the relaunch] not only because most people do not think the case is closed, but also because the final report on the case has left many questions unanswered,” Lu told a press conference.

Former Chen adviser Wu suing over ‘persecution’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), who was found not guilty in a money-laundering case, yesterday filed lawsuits against two prosecutors and two judges for what he called their abuse of judicial powers and political persecution.

Accompanied by his lawyers, Wu filed lawsuits against former Special Investigation Division (SID) prosecutors Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) and Tsai Tsun-hsi (蔡宗熙) for malicious prosecution and judges Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) and Lee Ying-hao (李英豪) for malicious accusation.

Ministries squandering money on rent, TSU says

FOOTING THE BILL:The TSU said that three agencies chose to spend taxpayers’ money on rent in Taipei, rather than move to a new building meant for them
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers yesterday said that at least three government agencies have refused to move into a new government building and chose instead to pay rent to stay at their current location because they prefer to stay in downtown Taipei.

The Ministry of Culture, the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Council of Labor Affairs would rather pay a total of more than NT$200 million (US$6.7 million) a year of taxpayers’ money on rent than move to a joint government office building that is being built in Sinjhuang District (新莊), New Taipei City (新北市), and which is scheduled for completion in June, TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a press conference.

Xavier Chen donates to CTFA

Taiwanese-Belgian soccer player Xavier Chen (陳昌源) yesterday donated NT$1 million (US$33,600) to the Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA), in the hopes that the donation would help the association organize international friendly games that would promote the game in Taiwan. Chen said the donation was something he could do as an individual to help Taiwan promote soccer, and “there is no reason why Taiwan can not do better at sports.” The CTFA said it is in talks with Canada and New Zealand for an international friendly in Taiwan. Chen, who has a Taiwanese father and a French mother, played for KV Mechelen, a Belgian First Division team in Antwerp Province, until December last year, when he signed a contract with Guizhou Renhe of the Chinese Super League. The rightback made headlines in Taiwan in 2011 when he obtained Republic of China citizenship and joined the national team. He made his international debut and scored the game-winning penalty in a game against Malaysia.

Respect sovereignty: DPP

Visits by Chinese officials would be welcomed under the precondition that they respect Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Policy Research Committee executive director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said. Wu made the remarks in response to comments by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), who yesterday said he welcomed a visit to Taiwan by China’s new Taiwan Affairs Office director, Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), as long as the timing and conditions are right. He did not elaborate. Wu said the government should uphold the principles of “sovereignty, reciprocal and democratic values” when dealing with visiting Chinese officials.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taipower organized failure of electricty price talks: TSU

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) was behind the refusal of nine independent power producers (IPPs) to renegotiate electricity prices with the state-run company, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers said yesterday.

Four of the nine IPPs — which were slapped with a NT$6.32 billion (US$212.5 million) fine on Wednesday for conspiring to refuse Taipower’s request to renegotiate electricity prices — are subsidiaries of Taiwan Cogeneration Corp (Taiwan Cogen), Taipower’s reinvestment company, TSU caucus whip Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a press conference.

DPP’s Tsai to talk trade, security on Indonesia trip

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) left on Sunday for an eight-day visit to Indonesia, where she is to engage in discussions about bilateral trade and regional security issues, her office said in a press release yesterday.

Tsai is scheduled to meet with government officials, academics and business representatives to exchange views on trade prospects between Taiwan and Indonesia, following the launch of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations earlier this month, said Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), the spokesperson for Tsai’s Thinking Taiwan Foundation.

Absentee voting OK if it is just domestic: Cabinet

PRAGMATIC:A Cabinet report delivered to the legislature said that overseas absentee voting would be complicated to set up, so transfer voting was the best option for now
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan yesterday told lawmakers that it supports the implementation of transfer voting for domestic voters in national referendums or presidential elections to increase democratic participation and guarantee civil rights, but added that the matter would be decided by the legislature.

“The Executive Yuan recommends the adoption of transfer voting in Taiwan. For example, people who live in Pingtung County could vote in Taipei by-elections,” Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) told the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee.

Rescind order on Chinese workers: DPP lawmakers

RESOURCES:Easing limits on Chinese workers and their families would affect employment, health and education opportunities for Taiwanese, they said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday urged the Executive Yuan to rescind an executive order that would relax restrictions on Chinese white-collar workers, saying it could squeeze out local job opportunities and social resources.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) decision to allow more Chinese white-collar workers to work in Taiwan, allow their families to receive education and health insurance benefits, and to extend their stay from four months for up to six years was “a violation of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pledges and detrimental to the local labor market,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ma must heed the public, abort Gongliao plant: Su

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday repeated his call for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to “fulfil the people’s expectations” by issuing a direct executive order to suspend construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Tapei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

The anti-nuclear movement has been “a national campaign which transcends competition between political parties and is more than a political issue,” Su told an anti-nuclear symposium organized by the DPP’s Democracy Institute, citing strong public support for the movement against finishing the plant’s construction.

Ex-minister denies leaking military secrets in memoir

SENSITIVE SUBJECT:Michael Tsai, a former minister of defense, defended revelations about a missile program made in his book, saying that they had been publicized before
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former minister of defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) yesterday denied leaking military secrets about Taiwan’s development of medium-range missiles in his autobiography, saying that the information had already been made public.

“I would cooperate with any investigation if the Ministry of National Defense decides to probe the matter,” Tsai, who served as the first civilian minister of defense during the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, said on the sidelines of the launch of his memoir, titled God Bless Taiwan (天佑台灣).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Editorial: After the baseball thrill is gone

Now that the baseball fever that gripped the nation has subsided — at least temporarily until the next time the sport becomes an overnight fad — and the national baseball team has returned after its elimination from the quadrennial World Baseball Classic (WBC), it is a good time to re-examine the status of this popular pastime.

For two weeks, the game that has been described as Taiwan’s national sport was almost the only thing that mattered to the 23 million Taiwanese. The premier’s report to the legislature, the never-ending strife between political parties and even the anti-nuclear movement had to take a backseat to how Team Taiwan was doing in Taichung and Tokyo during the first and second round of the WBC.

Lawmakers urge FTC to probe oil refiners’ pricing

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers yesterday urged the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate CPC Corp, Taiwan, and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPC) over potential monopoly pricing following the commission’s decision to fine independent power producers for collusion.

The FTC on Wednesday fined nine independent power producers a total of NT$6.32 billion (US$213.08 million) for collusion after they rejected requests by Taiwan Power Co to renegotiate electricity prices.

Former president Chen recovering well after surgery

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had successful hemorrhoid surgery yesterday at the Taipei Veterans Hospital (TVGH), TVGH president Lin Fang-yu (林芳郁) said yesterday.

The former president is recovering well, Lin told the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

DPP’s Wu, Hong to seek retrial over recent convictions

MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?A number of DPP politicians voiced support for the pair and condemned what they described as ‘political influence’ in the verdict
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) and Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) plan to seek a retrial over their conviction in a case involving property sales by Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖).

Both said that the verdict was unfair and they plan to request a retrial within 20 days.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

US representative urges taking stand on Chen’s parole

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

A member of the US Congress is urging US Secretary of State John Kerry to “take a stance” on the treatment of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

“I believe it is the duty of the State Department, on behalf of the United States, to address Chen’s plight,” US Representative Robert Andrews said.

Ma son-in-law raises security concerns: TSU legislators

PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?The TSU said Ma’s daughter and son-in-law living in a Chinese territory raised national security concerns, and urged Tsai to perform his military service
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The military service, occupational and residential status of Allen Tsai (蔡沛然), who was revealed to have married President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) eldest daughter, Lesley Ma (馬唯中), are all legitimate national security concerns, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

The Presidential Office called for Tsai and Lesley Ma’s privacy to be respected after their marriage became the talk of the nation over the past few days, with local media reporting on Tsai’s modeling work and not fulfilling his compulsory military service.

Chinese military threat rising: report

CUT OFF:China now possesses the ability to impose a partial blockade of Taiwan and to conduct ‘anti-access/area denial’ operations in certain areas, the review said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday released its quadrennial defense review (QDR) in which the ministry warned of a rising Chinese military threat, but omitted provocative wording that might anger Beijing.

The long-awaited report was the second published by the ministry, which is required by law to submit a QDR to the legislature within 10 months of every presidential inauguration.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ma’s son-in-law should do his duty: DPP

DOUBLE STANDARDS::A DPP legislator criticized Ma as commander-in-chief of the military for having a son-in-law who has not fulfilled his military service
By Chen Ching-min and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer and CNA
Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - Page 1

Lesley Ma (馬唯中), the elder of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) two daughters, and her Harvard University schoolmate Allen Tsai (蔡沛然), who have been dating each other for many years, married in New York last year, the Presidential Office confirmed on Monday night.

The president thanked people for their concern and expressed the hope that the new couple “would be given privacy,” Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said.

Almost 70% back scrapping power plant: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 60 percent of respondents said they would vote in a proposed national referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) and almost 70 percent of those polled supported the suspension of construction and operations at the controversial power plant, a survey released yesterday showed.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Thinktank from Feb. 2 until Monday, found that a majority of the respondents favored the anti-nuclear cause and stood on the opposite side to the government, which supports completing construction of the power plant.

Asian council calls for medical parole for Chen

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) has called on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to grant former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) medical parole, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The DPP raised the issue of Chen’s case in the recently concluded CALD Conference on Challenges to Fundamental Freedoms in Singapore and won support from the council, the party said in a press release.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

College of Medicine dean elected university president

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Medicine dean Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) yesterday was elected president of the university, beating five other candidates to the position, including one who, earlier in the day, faced tough questions from legislators over his alleged endorsement of the so-called “one China” principle.

The six candidates included former National Science Council minister Cyrus Chu (朱敬一) and NTU professor Yang Yong-bin (楊永斌).

TSU urges transparency in TIFA talks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government has failed to make information about the bilateral trade talks between Taiwan and the US transparent, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday as it reiterated its call for maintaining a ban US pork imports containing residues of the livestock feed additive ractopamine.

While the government said it had kept its pledge on maintaining the current ban on US pork in place during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations that concluded on Sunday in Taipei, the TSU said the revised meeting schedule was suspicious.

DPP to counter KMT with anti-nuclear legislation

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would focus on passing legislation to counter the government and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) efforts to promote nuclear power.

The “anti-nuclear legislation” includes proposed amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法), and the enactment of a bill promoting a nuclear-free homeland (非核家園推動法), DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Annette Lu submits local referendum proposal

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday submitted a proposal that aims to prevent fuel rods from being installed at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to the New Taipei City (新北市) government.

Along with the proposal, Lu submitted 51,353 letters and a list of reasons why the fuel rods should not be installed to the city’s election committee.

Majority oppose Gongliao plant: survey

TWO ISSUES:Despite 58 percent of respondents being against the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, more than half were not against keeping the three operational plants
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion survey released yesterday showed that Taiwanese are more opposed to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) than the use of nuclear energy in general, with nearly 60 percent of respondents saying they opposed completing the construction of the plant and 50 percent saying they were against nuclear power.

The survey was conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research between Wednesday and Thursday last week, and focused on nuclear issues. The poll followed nationwide anti-nuclear demonstrations that drew 200,000 participants over the weekend and was released yesterday on the second anniversary of the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tibetans remember 1959 uprising

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - Page 1

Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters yesterday took to the streets of Taipei to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising and the 110 Tibetans who have self-immolated to protest against Chinese occupation, while calling for an end to Chinese repression of Tibetans.

“Free Tibet! Tibet belongs to Tibetans! China, get out of Tibet!” demonstrators chanted in Tibetan, Mandarin and English as they marched from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station to Taipei 101.

A-bian’s trials show justice as political tool: academics

‘CRUEL POLITICAL VENDETTA’:Legal experts, physicians and activists said the same judge treated Ma and Chen very differently, despite the similarities in their trials
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The judicial system in Taiwan, in particular the way prosecutors and judges conduct investigations and trials, has long been used as a “shameless” tool for political persecution, of which the best example is the case of imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), activists said yesterday.

A group of law professors, physicians and activists made the comments at a book-launching ceremony, organized by the publisher Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP).

Anti-nuclear activists inspired by Japanese women

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Female leaders of the anti-nuclear power movement in Taiwan said they became involved in the issue and the development of the movement because they were confident that women could play a “pivotal” role in the campaign that has swept the nation.

“I am glad that so many people stepped up and took action to voice their opinions on this important issue, but this is just the beginning. The road ahead is still long,” Irene Chen (陳藹玲), Fubon Cultural and Educational Foundation board director and founder of Mom Loves Taiwan, an association for mothers against nuclear power, said yesterday.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Tibetans call for Taiwanese solidarity

GET UP, STAND UP:Saying Taiwan also suffers China’s oppression, Tibetans urged a show of support ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tibetan government-in-exile Finance Minister Tsering Dhundup visited the Legislative Yuan yesterday to promote better bilateral ties ahead of a demonstration tomorrow to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Accompanied by the president of Tibet Religious Foundation of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Dawa Tsering, the official appealed for Taiwanese to support Tibetans’ fight for freedom in a 60-minute meeting with lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Nuclear Power Debate: Lawmaker points finger at Taipower over nuclear tender

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

State-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has violated a legislative resolution by putting out a new construction tender for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, a lawmaker said yesterday.

A Legislative Yuan resolution on Feb. 26 stated that no additional budget for the plant would be allocated before a national referendum on its future is held and placed a moratorium on Taipower placing new tenders and installing fuel rods.

Nuclear Power Debate: Lu presses for local poll on plant

SPENDING WARNING:Annette Lu said that the government should not spend taxpayers’ money to promote the KMT’s position in a national referendum
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday that she would submit a proposal for a local referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant on Monday and insisted that the referendum could still be held despite the government’s plans for a national poll.

The local referendum proposal in New Taipei City (新北市), initiated by Lu with the aim of preventing the installation of fuel rods in the nuclear power plant, has collected 51,349 valid signatures and passed the first phase threshold for a local referendum, Lu told a press conference yesterday.

Friday, March 08, 2013

EDITORIAL: Observations on the nuclear debate

Fri, Mar 08, 2013 - Page 8

It is only March, but when Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said a referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), could be postponed until the end of the year, he indicated that the war between pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear activists, as well as between political parties, could last for an entire year.

While that means the public would probably have to endure more mudslinging between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a delay could be a good thing, as the public would have more time to digest information and assess the pros and cons of the issue.

Wording of KMT referendum proposal a ‘trick’: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Mar 08, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said the wording of the planned referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was a “trick,” because if the vote failed, it would authorize the construction and operation of the controversial plant.

The KMT caucus unveiled the text of its initiative during the legislative session yesterday morning, which asked voters if they agreed “that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it not become operational.”

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Nuclear Power Debate: TSU proposes mandatory referendums in localities

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mandatory local referendums would be crucial in protecting people’s lives, which is the No. 1 priority in discussing the dispute over construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City (新北市), the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

“This is why the TSU would propose to amend the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法) by authorizing a mandatory local referendum to be held in a 50km radius evacuation zone from any installation of nuclear reactors, fuel rods and nuclear power plant operations,” TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told a press conference.

Nuclear Power Debate: Ma has hidden agenda: Lu

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

There appears to be a hidden agenda or secret influence behind President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of the controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the granting of medical parole to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.

Lu said collusion between politicians and businesspeople behind hundreds of construction contracts could be why Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have insisted on the completion of the power plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

Jiang proposes absentee voting in 2016

‘STARTING POINT’::The DPP said that the KMT’s sudden promotion of absentee voting, first in referendums and now in general elections, was politically motivated
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 1

Presidential elections and national referendums could be “good starting points” for the implementation of an absentee voting mechanism, though it would be difficult to implement the system in the seven-in-one elections next year, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday.

Absentee voting would increase political participation in all elections, but the technical difficulties of implementing the system for multiple elections still need to be solved, Jiang told reporters before meeting with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus yesterday.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Activists call for cross-strait media freedom agreement

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Advocacy groups pushing for democracy and media freedom yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to seek a cross-strait agreement on media freedom and called on Beijing to stop censoring news reporting.

The agreement should include protection of the freedom of news gathering, personal safety, news reporting, the Internet, publications, personal actions and no governmental interference in media operations, advocates told a press conference organized by Cross-Strait Agreement Watch (CSAW), Taiwan Democracy Watch (TDW) and the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ).

Nuclear Power Debate: Legislative talks about Referendum Act break down

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Negotiations in the Legislative Yuan over the threshold of the Referendum Act (公民投票法) collapsed yesterday.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), convener of the negotiations, said more talks would be arranged because some ministers did not attend the meeting.

Nuclear Power Debate: DPP officials urge Chu to take stand on nuclear plant

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians yesterday urged New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor (朱立倫) to clearly state his position on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Gongliao District (貢寮), saying that as the head of the administrative zone where three nuclear power plants are located, there should be no ambiguity regarding his position on the issue.

On Monday, Chu said that Taiwan is not qualified to use nuclear energy because it is still unable to deal with the problem of nuclear waste, and that the safety issue should be a priority over the construction of another nuclear power plant.

Nuclear Power Debate: DPP mulls absentee voting for referendum

ONE ISSUE:Su Tseng-chang played down calls for people to view a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant as a vote of no confidence in the president
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday began its mobilization preparation for the upcoming anti-nuclear demonstration on Saturday and expressed its support for allowing absentee voting in referendums if it does not include overseas voters.

“The measure should be considered as it would uphold people’s right to exercise their civil rights,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in response to a proposal initiated by New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Lawmakers voice safety concerns over Wugu-Yangmei Overpass construction

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A lawmaker yesterday cited construction flaws and questioned the construction quality management for the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass (五楊高架橋) as government officials reassured the public that it would not be opened before a re-examination had been completed.

The overpass connecting Wugu (五股) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Yangmei (楊梅) in Taoyuan County is about 40km long.

‘Judicial victims’ plan lawsuits

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A group of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration officials who have been proven innocent in corruption cases said yesterday that they planned to file charges against prosecutors of abuse of power.

The self-proclaimed “judicial victims” told a press conference that prosecutorial abuse had no place in a democracy and their cases reflected widespread political persecution after the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) return to power in 2008.

Lower referendum threshold: DPP

CONSENSUS::The DPP proposes that the referendum on halting construction of the power plant be adopted if ‘yes’ voters outnumber ‘no’ voters and make up 25% of voters
By Chris Wang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter with Staff writer and CNA
Tue, Mar 05, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to propose lowering the referendum threshold from half of the electorate to 25 percent in party negotiations over the controversial referendum proposal on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant today in the legislature.

The party reached a consensus after an internal meeting yesterday to adopt DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin’s (葉宜津) proposal as its final position in negotiations with the Chinese National Party (KMT) over an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) today.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Power plant referendum a prank: Lin I-hsiung

By Chris Wang   /  Staff reporter

The government holding a referendum that complies with the Referendum Act (公民投票法) is either a political ploy or a prank on the people, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) wrote in an article about the Cabinet’s initiative to hold a referendum on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

“Unfortunately, the Executive Yuan’s referendum proposal was full of political calculations. It was a cheap trick and a prank that plays the public for fools,” wrote Lin, who has been a staunch anti-nuclear power activist for the past two decades.

DPP to challenge power plant vote

LOWERING THE BAR:The party said it wanted to lower the threshold for referendums ahead of the Cabinet’s proposed referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it is planning to propose an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) to lower the threshold it sets for passing referendums, 10 days after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) unexpectedly announced plans to put the continuation of construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to a popular vote.

Over the past week, the party has been unable to present a unified front on the proposal to ask voters if they support suspending construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

Friday, March 01, 2013

Editorial: Referendum Act needs review

Fri, Mar 01, 2013 - Page 8

The nation has become embroiled in yet another debate on the fate of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

This time, politicians seem to have reached a consensus on resolving the controversy by a referendum, but they have argued over almost every aspect of the poll and the Referendum Act (公民投票法), which used to be described as the pride of Taiwan because of its implication of basic civic rights and democratic values.

President Ma should halt nuclear project: Su, Tsai

By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Mar 01, 2013 - Page 4

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) could suspend construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant by a direct presidential order and is risking paying the political price if the result of a government-proposed referendum violates mainstream public opinion, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights said yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a commemoration march marking the 66th anniversary of the 228 Massacre, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) both said that Ma should respect the wishes of the public and suspend the controversial construction project without putting it to a referendum.

The 228 Incident: Tsai writes open 228 letter to young people across Strait

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Commemoration of the 228 Massacre in Taiwan marked Taiwanese’s long fight for democracy, and China could someday achieve the same dream of democracy, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen wrote in an open letter to young Chinese yesterday.

The article, titled “228: A letter to young people across the Strait,” was her attempt to “do something that no Taiwanese politician has ever done before,” Tsai said.

Marchers tell public not to forget massacre

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Mar 01, 2013 - Page 1

Hundreds of people marched in the streets of Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the 228 Incident, urging the public not to forget the tragedy and ensuing White Terror era, which wiped out almost an entire generation of Taiwan’s elite.

Representatives from various civic groups and victims’ families joined the parade, which started at Yongle Market at 2:28pm and ended at Liberty Square.