Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Attention switches to nuclear referendum

NOT SO THIN BLUE LINE:Dozens of protesters yesterday once again attempted to break into the Legislative Yuan, but were unable to force their way past police
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The focus of the ongoing extra legislative session has turned to a vote on a nuclear referendum proposal on Friday, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus apparently ready to use its majority to push through the proposal.

While civic groups are still staging protests against the cross-strait service trade agreement, the other contentious issue to be discussed in the session — the blocking of the KMT’s possible forcible passage of the pact — has faded in significance after the party realized that approving the agreement in the extra session would not be possible.

Make rabies cases national security issue, DPP urges

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday warned the government against taking a potential rabies outbreak lightly and urged the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make it a national security issue.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a news conference that while no human infections have been reported so far, and only 14 out of 59 wild carnivorous animals have tested positive for the virus — which has been reported in Taiwan for the first time in more than 50 years — the government needs to take pre-emptive measures against the virus’ potential spread.

Trade pact stalls on confidence: poll

PUBLIC TRUST:A majority of respondents expressed concern over the Ma government’s ability to protect the interests of the public and domestic industries
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll released yesterday showed that most people support fair trade and cross-strait trade liberalization, but lack confidence in the capability of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to safeguard Taiwanese interests in its engagement with China.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR), asked respondents about their views on a recently signed service trade pact between Taiwan and China. It found that 58.7 of respondents supported Taiwan’s pursuit of economic partnership agreements in general; only 16.5 percent did not support the move and 24.8 percent declined to answer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Defense chief quits over Hung’s death

NO SOLUTION::Hung Chung-chiu’s family said that Kao Hua-chu was not directly responsible for the conscript’s death and that they only wanted him to solve the case
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 1

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) resigned yesterday amid a snowballing controversy over an army conscript’s death earlier this month. Vice Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) was appointed to take over the position, becoming the first civilian defense minister since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008.

Kao had offered to resign twice to take political responsibility over the death of 24-year-old Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) on July 4, according to a Central News Agency (CNA) report.

Lee released from hospital

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was released from Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday, 18 days after he underwent a vertebral artery stenting procedure, Lee’s office said yesterday in a press release. Citing Lee’s medical team, office director Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍) said that Lee has almost fully recovered from a post-surgery fever and was released by the hospital even though the cause of the fever remains unknown.

Mother speaks out on old military abuse case

SUICIDE:The mother of a conscript who died in 2008 said the family is still trying to find out what happened. A DPP legislator said the military tries to cover up abuse
By Chris Wang, Chen Yan-ting and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The recent focus on human rights abuses in the military has prompted the re-emergence of forgotten cases such as that of army corporal Hung Wen-pu (洪文璞), who died after jumping off a building at the Army’s Aviation and Special Forces Command base in September 2008.

His family have accused the military of hiding the truth of the soldier’s death from them.

DPP office gives KMT lawmakers an ultimatum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) New Taipei City (新北市) branch yesterday warned 10 Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers representing the city against endorsing two controversial proposals in the second extra legislative session, saying that it would immediately launch a recall bid against them if they supported the measures.

The warning covered the cross-strait service trade agreement and a proposed referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Gongliao District (貢寮).

Legislature to tackle trade pact and referendum

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 1

Despite protests inside and outside the legislature, lawmakers yesterday completed voting on the agenda for an extra legislative session starting today, which will include the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and a proposed referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

Issues related to the alleged abuse and death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) earlier this month will also be discussed at the extra session, the second of this summer’s recess and scheduled to run until Friday next week.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Determination the best defense, Tsai says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A determined self-defense and consensus-seeking between political parties would be the key factors determining success in any potential armed conflict across the Taiwan Strait and in dealing with an increasingly powerful China which has territorial ambitions toward Taiwan, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“Our determination to defend ourselves would be more important than any imbalance in military capability,” Tsai told about 100 young people at a question-and-answer session following a speech she gave at a youth camp organized by the Taiwan United Nations Alliance.

Poll highlights loss of faith in military

UNDERMINED::Many respondents said they trusted neither the military’s ability to investigate the controversial death of a soldier, not its ability to defend the nation
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - Page 3

The results of a public opinion poll released yesterday showed that most respondents have little confidence both in the military’s ongoing investigation into the recent death of an army corporal, and in a cross-strait service trade agreement that is set to be reviewed by the legislature this week.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Thinktank, appears to show that the government has misjudged the social impact of army conscript Hung Chung-chiu’s (洪仲丘) controversial death and the service trade deal, which many people fear will jeopardize local service sub-sectors, Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), convener of the think tank’s poll center, told a news conference.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lawmakers want to reform military justice system

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 3

Lawmakers from across party lines, fed up with what they see as slow investigation into the death of army conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), have decided to review the courts-martial jurisdiction covering active-duty service members.

Both the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said the issue would be addressed when the legislature holds a second extra session, which opens on Tuesday.

Hundreds of lawyers criticize protesters’ arrests

LETTER OF THE LAW:The attorneys said the public was entitled to freedom of expression, the arrests violated due process and the police had used excessive force
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 500 lawyers yesterday issued a joint statement condemning what they said were unlawful arrests and excessive use of force in dealing with protesters this week.

“We cannot sit and watch law enforcement’s unlawful arrests, which violated due process of law,” they said in the statement, which had been endorsed by 510 attorneys as of noon.

Civic groups plan week of protests

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Consecutive protests against the opaque signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement have been scheduled in Taipei, with a rally in front of the Presidential Office tonight launching the event-packed seven days of action.

The events, organized by various civic groups, are to be held simultaneously with the extra legislative session that begins on Tuesday next week to pressure lawmakers, who are set to screen the pact clause-by-clause and vote on the agreement’s implementation, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Defense minister pledges reform

TIME TO ACT::While the defense minister listed flaws in the handling of the death of corporal Hung Chung-chiu, Hung’s family reiterated they want the truth, not money
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 1

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) yesterday listed three major flaws in the military’s handling of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu’s (洪仲丘) detention and death, and pledged to implement a comprehensive reform on military affairs. However, that did not stop Hung’s family from expressing their disappointment in the ministry.

“The military has committed three major flaws [in handling the case]: Failure to administer by law, mismanagement of the military detention facilities and inappropriate first-aid measures,” Kao told a press conference at the ministry yesterday evening after reporting to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) at the Presidential Office.

Friday, July 26, 2013

EDITORIAL: Time for the DPP to take the lead

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - Page 8

How much is too much? Taiwanese have witnessed what appears to be a rapid derailing of their democratic system — with the government playing the role of destroyer rather than guardian of democracy.

As the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research cut its GDP growth forecast for this year from 3.63 percent to 2.28 percent, Taiwanese cannot possibly be unaware that an important part of their lives has been gradually taken away.

A service trade agreement between Taiwan and China was signed last month with neither an impact assessment report nor prior consultation with local businesses.

Premier orders task force on flaws in military justice

HUNG DEATH FALLOUT::There is growing support for abolishing the widely criticized military judiciary system altogether and trying military personnel in civilian courts
By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - Page 3

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday ordered the establishment of a task force at the Cabinet to oversee reviews of flaws in the disciplinary, appeal and justice systems in the military exposed by the death of army conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).

Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) was designated by Jiang to lead the task force and Minister Without Portfolio Lin Junq-tzer (林政則) will assist with the work, Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) told a press conference.

Lai indicted for bribery

TAIPEI TWIN TOWERS:The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleges Lai Su-ju made a NT$10million deal with the consortium that won a major construction project
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) was yesterday indicted on corruption charges for allegedly receiving a bribe of NT$1 million (US$33,400) in the Taipei Twin Towers project.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday told a press conference that it had wrapped up its investigation, which began in 2010, and that Lai had been indicted on three charges: demanding and taking bribes by an act that is part of her duties, an inconsistent increase in income without reasonable excuse and concealment of bribery income.

KMT beyond ‘1992 consensus’: DPP

MOOT POINT?:The DPP held a forum on how to deal with the ‘1992 consensus,’ but participants said the KMT has already moved on to accepting a ‘one China’ framework
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - Page 3

The so-called “1992 consensus” has been abandoned by both the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing, as both are now adhering to the “one China” framework (一中框架), members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) told a forum yesterday.

The closed-door meeting on how the party should deal with the “1992 consensus,” which was widely considered the primary reason behind its loss in the presidential election last year, was the second of nine scheduled forums on major China policy issues the DPP has arranged.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Police told to use force, professor says

‘GHOST OF KMT’S PAST’::Protesters and the DPP say that national security agencies have ordered police to arrest people for merely shouting slogans at protests
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 1

A university professor who was arrested on Tuesday during a protest over the forced demolition of houses in Dapu Borough (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) accused national security authorities of instructing police to use excessive force against protesters and urged President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to stop enforcing repressive controls over its people.

“Most of Taipei City’s police officers were nice to me and I believe they were forced by national security authorities to handle the protest with violence. It’s the national security authorities that are uncivilized,” National Chengchi University professor Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮) said at the Taipei City Council.

MAC slammed over press adverts

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An advertisement placed in local newspapers yesterday by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to promote the recently inked cross-strait service trade agreement was “a bad example” of democracy in Taiwan, as the ministry had violated its function as a public policy communicator, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The MAC placed the advertisement, titled “10 growing strengths,” in a number of local newspapers, pledging that the service trade pact with China would bring benefits to service sub-sectors such as catering, retail, film, laundry, beauty, e-commerce, online gaming, banking, life insurance and futures trading.

Alliance urges action on China rights

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An alliance of Taiwanese civic groups yesterday launched a global petition campaign to support the “new civic movement” in China and dissidents detained over their involvement in the movement.

“We are saddened and disappointed at the Chinese government’s persecution of those involved in the movement — a movement that represents a maturing of civic awareness and political participation in China, and the healthy development of Chinese civil society,” the alliance said in a press release.

Ma apologizes, vows action on Hung

SAFEGUARDS::As well as vowing no effort would be spared in probing the soldier’s death, the president sought to reassure families of young people serving in the army
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 3

Amid unrelenting attention over the death of army conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), who died under suspicious circumstances earlier this month, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday bowed and apologized for the incident and instructed the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to coordinate efforts with the civil judicial system to facilitate the investigation.

Ma also instructed the ministry to examine the military’s disciplinary and appeals systems and present a report on human rights protection in the services by tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tsai speaks on issues, but not her plans

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) reiterated yesterday that it was still too early to talk about whether she would run in the DPP chairmanship election next year or if she would visit China.

Responding to inquiries from the media, the DPP heavyweight, who many think will run again in the 2016 presidential election, was noncommittal about her future plans, a topic she has been asked about in almost every public appearance she has made recently.

DPP to propose civilian oversight of military abuse

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it would propose amending military laws to have military abuse cases investigated and tried in the civil judicial system rather than by military prosecutors and judges, amid the snowballing controversy over the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).

The proposal to amend Article 8 of the National Security Act (國家安全法) and Article 1 of the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法) would see soldiers on active duty who violate articles 44, 45 or 26 of the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍刑法) — which cover the mistreatment of subordinates — investigated and tried by a civilian judiciary, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told a news conference.

Anti-service pact protests to be held this weekend

CROSS ABOUT PACT::The back-to-back demonstrations both aim to underline what their organizers say are the agreement’s democractic violations and potential damage
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 3

Consecutive protests against the cross-strait service trade agreement are to be held by various civic groups this weekend to highlight what critics say are the pact’s violation of democratic principles and the potential harm it may cause to the local service sector.

More than a dozen groups, led by the Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Association, yesterday announced they planned to protest against the pact between 6pm and 10pm on Sunday in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, one day before the beginning of an extra legislative session during which the deal is to be reviewed and voted upon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ma tilts to China’s consensus: DPP

‘LATEST RETREAT’:Ma Ying-jeou wrote to Xi Jinping to say the two sides ‘reached a consensus in 1992’ to insist on the ‘one China’ principle in a reversal of earlier interpretations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) interpretation of the so-called “1992 consensus” has been tilting toward Beijing’s definition, as evidenced by his latest message to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), and that could spell trouble for Taiwan’s future, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

In his reply to Xi’s congratulatory letter for his re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman on Saturday, Ma wrote that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait reached a consensus in 1992 to express each other’s insistence on the ‘one China’ principle.”

Lawmakers inspect army detention facility

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Seven lawmakers yesterday inspected the detention facility of the army’s 269th Brigade in Gaoshanting (高山頂), Taoyuan County, as the controversy over army corporal Hung Chung-chiu’s (洪仲丘) death began focusing on missing sections of the surveillance video at the facility.

The lawmakers were only able to briefly examine the environment and the surveillance equipment at the camp, where Hung was forced to do punishing exercises and died in hospital on July 4 due to heat exhaustion.

Lee to miss court date

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will miss a court date for oral arguments scheduled for today over his indictment on charges of embezzling state funds because he is still recovering from a vertebral artery stenting procedure performed on July 12, Lee’s office said yesterday. Lee is still suffering from fever for unknown reasons and has not been released by Taipei Veterans General Hospital although the surgery was a success, office director Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍) said in a press release. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division on June 30, 2011, indicted the 90-year-old and his aide, Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英), accusing the pair of siphoning off US$7.8 million from secret diplomatic funds to establish the Taiwan Research Institute.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sinicization of textbooks panned

TERMS OF EDUCATION::Civic groups and academics urged the MOE to uphold its rejection of textbooks that say ‘Japanese occupation’ as it is a China-centric distortion
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 3

Historians and civic groups yesterday warned about recent attempts to Sinicize the content of history textbooks in Taiwan, saying that if the Ministry of Education (MOE) compromises on the issue, students would be taught to adopt worldviews from the authoritarian era.

At separate press conferences, the groups and historians said several textbook publishers and media outlets’ call to change the term “Japan-governed period” to “Japanese occupation period” not only violates the current educational curriculum, approved in 2009, but also espouses a China-centric mindset.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two officers detained over Hung

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - Page 1

Two officers of the army’s 542nd Brigade were detained by the Military High Court yesterday for their suspected roles in the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), a case that has drawn national attention and public outrage amid allegations of widespread bullying in the military.

Major Hsu Shin-cheng (徐信正) and Staff Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐憲), both officers of the 542nd Brigade’s Headquarters Company, were detained on charges of obstruction of personal liberty, unauthorized punishment of subordinates and collusion, the court said.

Dapu houses torn down amid protests

DEMOLISHING TRUST::A demolition squad with hundreds of police in tow destroyed the houses as family members and their supporters were in Taipei
By Loa Iok-sin and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters
Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - Page 1

While protesters against forced demolitions in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) demonstrated in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday, the county government sent in a demolition squad escorted by hundreds of police officers to tear down the Dapu houses, leading to waves of clashes.

“Stop the demolition. Keep the promise. Keep the houses,” almost 100 protesters supporting the resistance of four families in Dapu chanted as they ran through the police line toward the Presidential Office yesterday morning, upon hearing the news that the county government had started demolishing the houses while some members of the families and their supporters were in Taipei protesting.

EDITORIAL: What to make of the nation’s military

Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - Page 8

As a country that uses conscription, it would be a fair guess that Taiwan is one of the few nations where people know about and appreciate their troops.

Taiwanese have either served in the army, navy, air force or marine corps themselves, or had a father, son, brother or boyfriend in the military. Some conscripts have been lucky or unlucky enough, depending on your position, to serve in Kinmen and Matsu, the front line of the Cold War against Chinese aggression in the past.

Despite this familiarity or first-hand experience, the more people see and read about the military, the more confusing their impression of it becomes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Key personnel questioned on Hung

By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 1

Army Commander General Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙) last night bowed and apologized to the public and the family of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), pledging to get to the bottom of the closely watched case and bring all responsible parties to justice.

“The army is definitely not a criminal organization and does not tolerate any criminal-like behavior … The army commander’s investigation task force will conduct a thorough probe into Hung’s case based on the principles of zero tolerance for violations of the laws and regulations,” Lee said at a press conference that was held at the Ministry of National Defense.

Civic groups to rally against ‘opacity’ of service trade pact

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Civic groups yesterday said they are planning to protest against the “opaque” cross-strait service trade agreement on July 27 to express their concerns about the negative impact the pact may have on people’s livelihoods.

The groups said the rally will be held on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office. The organizations involved include the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) and several pro-independence groups, including the Hakka Society, the Northern Taiwan Society, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign.

Hungs demand speed, honesty in investigation

SEEKING JUSTICE::At their first press conference since the corporal’s death, the Hung family said speed was essential to prevent collusion and evidence destruction
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 3

The family of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) yesterday demanded that the Ministry of National Defense handle the probe into his death honestly and work to discover the truth as quickly as possible.

It was the first press conference that Hung’s parents, sister and uncle attended since Hung died from heat exhaustion on July 4 after participating in a training session the day before.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DPP against fast-tracking pact’s review

CAUCUS CONSENSUS:Ker Chien-ming said a thorough review of the agreement could take several months, while colleague Chen Chi-mai was critical of an assessment
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday reaffirmed its opposition to passing the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement in the second extra legislative session and warned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against forcing the pact through the legislature.

The DPP opposes holding a second extra session, which is scheduled to begin on July 29, but the KMT’s legislative majority means it will be able to force the session, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told reporters after the meeting.

Chen’s application for DPP membership to be reviewed

DIVISIVE ISSUE:Five DPP members, including four lawmakers, will review the application from the former president to rejoin the party he quit in 2008
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) panel is scheduled to meet today to discuss imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) application to rejoin the party.

His membership application has drawn a mixed reaction from DPP members and politicians.

Vice commander detained over Hung

‘SERIOUS LOOPHOLE, DEFECT’::Colonel Ho Chiang-chung faces charges of offenses to personal liberty, coercion and punishing personnel beyond regulations
By Rich Chang and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - Page 1

The vice commander of the army’s 542nd Brigade, Colonel Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠), was yesterday detained over his alleged role in the July 4 death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).

The Ministry of National Defense said the Military High Court at 10:40am granted military prosecutors’ request to detain Ho. Ho is the first senior military official to be detained over Hung’s death.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DPP debates possible worker influx

JOBS:Chang Feng-yi of the Taiwan Labor and Social Policy Research Association said at least 220,000 Chinese workers entered and stayed in Taiwan last year
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members and a labor affairs analyst debated yesterday the number of Chinese workers who might come to Taiwan after the recently signed service trade agreement between Taiwan and China takes effect.

The debate began with former DPP legislator Julian Kuo’s (郭正亮) commentary on Sunday, in which he warned the DPP against citing incorrect data to claim that the pact would cause an influx of as many as 360,000 Chinese migrant workers.

Slim chance of Ma-Xi talks: academics

CLOSER TO HOME:One academic said that Taiwan is not high on Xi Jinping’s agenda, with issues such as fighting corruption and political reform taking priority
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

It seems unlikely that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) before Ma leaves office in 2016, but Xi seems to welcome closer engagement and communication with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), academics said yesterday.

While Ma said last week he does not rule out meeting Xi before the end of his term, which would be headline news if it took place, the timing and location for such a meeting would require sophisticated planning, as would nomenclature for the two at any meeting, professors told a symposium on cross-strait relations organized by Taiwan Competitiveness Forum.

Service pact will bring more good than bad: MOEA

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - Page 1

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday released an official report on the impact the recently signed cross-strait service trade agreement could have on the nation’s economy, saying that the pact would yield limited macroeconomic benefits because of the low number of sectors that will be fully opened up.

The service trade agreement, inked on June 21 in Shanghai by the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits as part of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), is expected to raise Taiwan’s GDP by between 0.025 and 0.034 percentage points a year. It is also forecast to create up to 11,923 jobs, which would see employment rise by between 0.15 and 0.16 percent.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tsai urges diverse cross-strait approach

FENCE SITTING:Tsai Ing-wen also said it is too early to say if she would run in the next presidential election, but that she would continue to make herself an ‘option’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Cross-strait relations should be dealt with under a multilateral or regional framework because Taiwan’s small yet advanced economy would very likely be absorbed and superseded by China’s larger economy, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in an interview with Radio Television Hong Kong.

“If we dealt with the issues of free trade or free-trade agreements with a perspective based on the whole of Asia, things would be different. We would see the ‘balance effect’ we want to see in Taiwan’s engagement in regional economic integration,” Tsai said in the interview which aired in Hong Kong and southern China on Friday.

DPP welcomes US support for ICAO observer status

FLYING HIGH:The DPP’s US representative is to pass on the party’s thanks after the US enacted a law supporting Taiwanese membership in certain international organizations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday welcomed the announcement of US support for Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law H.R. 1151, which commits Washington to full support of Taiwan’s membership of organizations where statehood is not a requirement.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Court rejects request to halt Dapu demolitions

By Chris Wang and Jake Chung  /  Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer and CNA
Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - Page 1

The High Administrative Court in Greater Taichung yesterday rejected a request by four house owners in Dapu (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) to halt the pending demolition of their homes by the county government. The court ruled that the demolition would not constitute “irreparable damage” as the residents claimed.

The four families said their forced relocation would not only infringe on their rights of property and residence, but also degrade their dignity as well as infringe on their rights of family, privacy and living.

Ma an ‘over-packaged’ product: poll

CREDIBILITY:Over 60 percent of respondents found Ma untrustworthy, 74 percent disapproved of his performance and 59 percent thought his abilities were exaggerated
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) credibility has hit a new low with more than 60 percent of respondents in a public opinion survey released yesterday saying he is an “over-packaged product.”

The public’s view of Ma’s integrity has dipped further with negative responses about his image increasing by up to 8.5 percentage points on the same survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research last year.

Ex-president Lee had surgery, may be released soon

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) underwent a successful vertebral artery stenting procedure yesterday and may be released from the hospital if his recovery proceeds smoothly, the office of the former president said in a press release yesterday.

The 90-year-old, who has been hospitalized since Wednesday last week for dizziness, accepted the recommendation of a Taipei Veterans General Hospital medical team and underwent a 90-minute surgery yesterday morning at the hospital, the press release said.

Friday, July 12, 2013

EDITORIAL: Integrity ought not be invoked in vain

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 - Page 8

If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) motto of “integrity is my life” — which he has publicly repeated numerous times — were to be taken literally, he would currently be on life support.

This year’s Global Corruption Barometer report, conducted by Transparency International, dealt a debilitating blow to Ma and his administration, with 35 percent of Taiwanese respondents reported as paying a bribe to the judiciary in the past 12 months.

More than half, or 56 percent, felt that public officials, civil servants and police were corrupt. Also branded corrupt was the judiciary by 57 percent of respondents, the legislature by 75 percent, and political parties by 74 percent.

Court upholds Lin vote-buying ruling

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the ruling of the second retrial and gave People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lin Cheng-er (林正二) a final sentence of a 20-month prison term for buying votes in his legislative election campaign in 2007.

Central Election Commission Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said that although Lin was declared guilty of vote-buying in the election for the seventh legislature, not the current, eighth legislature, he would still lose his status as a lawmaker as soon as the commission receives the verdict, since Lin has also been deprived of his civil rights by the court.

Fuel price formula fires up debate over extra costs

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday blasted the Ministry of Economic Affairs for its new fuel pricing formula, saying that the new calculation is unfair and will increase consumers’ financial burden.

The state-owned oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan, currently uses a weekly floating price scheme pricing its fuel products 70 percent based on Dubai crude oil prices and 30 percent on Brent crude oil prices. The ministry wants to increase the percentage of international crude price changes calculated in fuel pricing from 80 percent to 100 percent and change the calculation base to a split of 65 percent of Dubai crude oil price and 35 percent of Brent crude oil.

Taiwan needs fair trade relations: DPP

NEW ERA:The party’s China Affairs Committee said its basic position has not changed, but the nation should stay competitive by establishing fair trade relations with China
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Trade relations between Taiwan and China entered a new era that requires comprehensive and complicated management, when the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) was signed three years ago, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China Affairs Committee (CAC) said yesterday.

“We reached a two-point consensus that Taiwan should maintain its competitive advantage and establish fair trade relations with China, rather than hope that Beijing will yield benefits [to Taiwan],” committee spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said at a press briefing after the second committee meeting.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chen Guangcheng wraps up Taiwan visit with warning

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese should always be on guard to act promptly against evil or unjust acts when they witness them if they want to protect the nation’s human rights and hard-won democracy, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) said yesterday as he concluded his 18-day visit to Taiwan.

“When you see or sense that something wrong, do not wait, act right away. It is the most important step in defending civil rights,” said Chen, who is set to return to the US today after his first visit to Taiwan.

Service trade workers clueless: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A survey conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) found that more than 60 percent of workers in the industries covered by the new cross-strait service trade agreement were unaware that their sectors have been liberalized.

The DPP’s poll center surveyed five categories of people in the service industry: business owners, high earning white-collar workers, low earning white-collar workers, high earning blue-collar workers and low earning blue-collar workers.

Millions to pay dearly for NZ deal: PFP

INCONSIDERATE::The party said it is not against the ANZTEC, but rather against the lack of consideration for affected industries, which it said will bear NT$3.5bn in losses
By Chen Yen-ting, Jake Chung and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - Page 3

The economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and New Zealand was signed without giving sufficient consideration to the 5,635 registered livestock enterprises in the nation that will shoulder an estimated NT$3.5 billion (US$116 million) in losses because of the pact, People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said yesterday.

Lee criticized President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration for its customary “no notification, no negotiation, no preparation, no discussion” approach to signing pacts like the the cross-strait service trade agreement and the Taiwan-New Zealand agreement, titled the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DPP, TSU lead satisfaction, support survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) finished first and second respectively in a survey of public satisfaction and support rates for Taiwan’s major political parties, a forecasting institution said yesterday in a press release.

With a satisfaction rate of 52.1 percent and a support rate of 54 percent, the DPP led all six parties in the survey, according to, an electronic exchange at the Center for Prediction Markets at National Chengchi University, which uses a methodology similar to that used in futures markets.

Groups call for action on service pact

RUSHED::Groups opposed to the service trade deal said it must be reviewed thoroughly and voiced concern over using extra legislative sessions to pass controversial bills
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - Page 3

The legislature should not review the recently signed cross-strait service trade agreement during an extra session until a comprehensive impact assessment has been made, civic groups said yesterday as they warned Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers against forcing through ratification of the controversial agreement.

“We oppose the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s inappropriate use of extra legislative sessions as well as the hasty passage of the service trade agreement,” National Taiwan University professor Yen Chueh-an (顏厥安), who is also a spokesperson for Taiwan Democracy Watch, told a press conference in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Former mayor declares bid as DPP primaries heat up

LOCAL ELECTIONS:While the DPP is having difficulty drawing up a list of candidates in the north, the tight competition in the south is also a problem, a source said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Keelung mayor Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) yesterday became the latest Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member to join the party’s primary in southern Taiwan, heating up the competition for posts in the party’s traditional stronghold.

Lee officially announced his intention to run for Yunlin County commissioner in the seven-in-one elections next year — one day after Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) confirmed that he would seek re-election.

DPP warns KMT on service pact

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Things would get “bloody” if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus insists on voting on the controversial service trade agreement between Taiwan and China as a package rather than clause-by-clause in the upcoming extra legislative session, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

Led by caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), DPP lawmakers warned their KMT counterparts against putting the service trade pact to a vote in the extra session, scheduled to begin on July 29, as a package, which they said would go against public opinion that the pact be reviewed and voted clause-by-clause.

Keep Hsieh Su-wei in Taiwan, legislator urges

GREENER PASTURES?:Hsieh’s father said a Chinese firm offered her US$1.63m to play in China as a Chinese citizen. She receives only US$50,000 in endorsements in Taiwan
By Chris Wang and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Jul 09, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to do whatever it can to keep Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇), who won the Wimbledon womens’ doubles tennis championship on Saturday, stay in Taiwan.

Lee’s comment came after Hsieh’s father, Hsieh Tzu-lung (謝子龍), said that a Chinese company had offered an endorsement of up to 10 million yuan (US$1.63 million) a year to have her play in the Chinese National Games, which would mean that his daughter could have to acquire Chinese citizenship.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Analysts criticize Ma’s cross-strait pacts

MANIPULATION::Critics said Ma Ying-jeou had allowed China to gain the upper hand by ignoring the WTO’s mechanism option in expanding cross-strait trade
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jul 08, 2013 - Page 3

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the recently signed service trade service agreement were not necessary, because the WTO mechanism would be enough to deal with the cross-strait trade relations, experts said yesterday, adding that the deals were part of a carefully crafted plan by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Beijing for eventual unification.

“The essence of these trade agreements was 70 percent political and 30 percent economic,” former presidential advisor Huang Tien-lin (黃天麟) told a symposium organized by the Taiwan Society.

Friday, July 05, 2013

EDITORIAL: Ma regaining lost trust is paramount

Fri, Jul 05, 2013 - Page 8

The single most important task for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to save his legacy, with three years to go in his term, would not be establishing representative offices across the Taiwan Strait, nor would it be reviving Taiwan’s economy.

His most urgent goal has less to do with hard power, and more to do with soft power: to regain the people’s trust from five years ago, when he won the presidential election in a landslide victory, saying that Taiwan would be a better country under his leadership.

Vocational, tech education must get boost: professors

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The government should offer more incentives and promote collaboration between educational institutions and local industries to increase technological and vocational education’s appeal to students, a group of university professors said yesterday.

While the government is set to implement the 12-year national education system, the direction of technological and vocational education — which was once the pride of the nation’s education system — has been a concern, the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) told a press conference.

TSU chairman files defamation lawsuit against magazine

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) yesterday filed a defamation lawsuit against The Journalist (新新聞) magazine over an article it published, which claimed that Huang took bribes for endorsing certain legislation.

Huang filed the lawsuit against a reporter, as well as the magazine’s chairman and editor-in-chief, at the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office, saying that he had to file the lawsuit because the report had “tarnished his reputation and the TSU’s image.”

DPP holds first China meeting

APPROACH:Participants in the first of nine special meetings appeared to be split on the party’s general strategy on cross-strait relations, a member said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) first of nine special meetings ended yesterday, during which the party reaffirmed its resolution on Taiwan’s future of 1999 and opposition to the “one China” framework as the core values of the DPP’s China policy.

Party members agreed that the party has to be flexible in its dealings with Beijing to vie for domestic as well as international support.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

DPP to brief diplomatic corps on cross-strait pact

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reiterated its concerns about the cross-strait service trade agreement signed by Taiwan and China and said it would brief the diplomatic corps in Taiwan on the subject by the end of the month.

Rather than communicating with local service sectors that could be affected before signing the agreement, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) tried to mobilize Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and government officials for nationwide seminars to calm public concerns after the pact was signed, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

‘Same origin and culture’ comes from DPP: Hsieh

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh, who had just returned from Hong Kong, is approached by reporters before attending the Democratic Progressive Party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) briefed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday on comments he reportedly made during a trip to Hong Kong, saying that he did not invent the phrase “same origin and culture” when referring to Taiwan and China, but that it appeared in a 1999 DPP resolution on Taiwan’s future.

Dapu residents maintain vigil

By Loa Iok-sin and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Thu, Jul 04, 2013 - Page 1

Residents of Dapu Village (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) continued their sit-in protest outside the Executive Yuan for a second day yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for four families’s homes to be demolished.

“I have brought tofu desserts and sweet green bean soup that I made myself for Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to show my sincerity,” Peng Hsiu-chun (彭秀春), a member of one of the four families that received a demolition order from the Miaoli County Government last month, told Executive Yuan Ethics Office official Chang Shih-jen (張世仁) as she held a bowl of dessert.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

TSU chairman says Lin’s expulsion was necessary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The decision to revoke legislator Lin Shih-chia’s (林世嘉) Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) membership was a tough one for the party, but discipline had to be upheld, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said yesterday.

The party’s Central Executive Committee reached a consensus on Monday afternoon to expel Lin, which meant she lost her position as an at-large lawmaker.

Su, Hsieh downplay anger over Hsieh’s ‘fireworks’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday played down the significance of Hsieh’s comments at a Hong Kong forum on Sunday that had triggered heated debate and criticism within the DPP.

If the new cross-strait service trade pact was as good as advertised, Taiwanese “should have celebrated with firecrackers,” Hsieh told the forum on cross-strait affairs. However, several media outlets reported that Hsieh said Taiwanese “should celebrate with firecrackers,” prompting the criticism.

Wu and Jiang broke pledge to farmers: DPP

DAPU DECEPTION?The DPP used a short video clip to highlight its demand that the vice president and premier keep the promises that they made in 2010
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) have betrayed pledges made three years ago to farmers of Dapu (大埔) in Jhunan Township (竹南), Miaoli County, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

DPP officials told a press conference in Taipei that the party supports the farmers of Dapu, who began a new round of protests outside of the Executive Yuan yesterday morning over a renewed order to demolish their homes.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

TSU revokes Lin Shih-chia’s party membership

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday revoked Legislator Lin Shih-chia’s (林世嘉) party membership, vacating a legislative seat.

In a press release issued in the afternoon, the TSU said its Central Executive Committee (CEC) had passed a proposal to revoke Lin’s membership over violation of party discipline.

Chen Wen-chen to be remembered

WHITE TERROR:The Chen Wen-chen Incident was one of several possible murder cases related to democracy activists or their families which have remained unsolved
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University (NTU) students and democracy activists are to commemorate former Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor Chen Wen-chen (陳文成) during a ceremony today which marks the 32nd anniversary of his mysterious death — a case that remains unsolved to this day.

They are set to gather at Chen Wen-chen Memorial Square on the NTU campus and pay tribute to the supporter of the pro-democracy movement at 6:30pm in a ceremony that has become an annual event.

Chinese media ‘distorted’ comments: Hsieh

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jul 02, 2013 - Page 1

Despite former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) insistence that media reports of his comments about the new cross-strait service trade agreement at a cross-strait forum in Hong Kong had been “distorted,” several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday criticized his remarks.

“If [the pact] was as good as advertised, Taiwanese should have celebrated with firecrackers. However, there has been strong opposition, showing that there must have been communication errors [between Taipei and Beijing]. It was also the result of imbalanced interaction,” Hsieh was quoted as saying in his closing remarks at the forum on Sunday morning in a press release from his office.

Monday, July 01, 2013

HK serves as warning, academic says

WAKEUP CALL:Chen Yi-chi told a seminar that even as Hong Kong is trying to break away from Beijing’s ‘one country, two systems’ lies, Taiwan is throwing itself to China
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The rising localization movement and desperate calls for democratization in Hong Kong serve as a warning to Taiwan, where Sinicization and the weakening localization movement were grave concerns, an academic said yesterday on the eve of the 16th anniversary of the territory’s handover to China.

“The situation in almost every aspect of life in Hong Kong has gotten so bad that Hong Kong independence — for which support remains very weak, however — has been mentioned among the people,” said Chen Yi-chi (陳奕齊), a doctoral candidate at University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Hsieh wraps up cross-strait forum in HK

PROPER CONDUCT:The former premier said that despite the importance of bilateral exchanges, it was important for the DPP and the CCP to keep an ‘appropriate’ distance
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday closed a forum on cross-strait relations in Hong Kong by saying that mutual trust was important between the DPP and Beijing and that all bilateral exchanges should benefit the public and address their needs.

In his closing remarks to the two-day forum titled “Development and innovation of cross-strait relations,” Hsieh reiterated the importance of rebalancing cross-strait interactions, which have been narrowed down to interactions between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).