Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wei Ming-ku wins DPP’s Changhua County primary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) won the DPP’s primary after finishing first in a public opinion poll and is expected to be nominated as the party’s candidate in the Changhua County commissioner election next year, the DPP announced yesterday.

“Wei Ming-ku has won in an accumulated public opinion poll, which included surveys conducted by three companies. As per the agreement of all five aspirants prior to the poll, the numerical result will not be made public,” DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) told a press conference.

DPP supporters are struggling with new China policy: survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters appeared to be struggling with the party’s position toward Beijing as a considerable percentage of them agreed that a revised and more moderate China policy would likely increase the party’s chances of returning to power, a survey released yesterday showed.

Of the respondents who identified themselves as DPP supporters in a public opinion poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR), 39.5 percent said that it is necessary for the party to formulate a “more moderate” China policy, while 23.3 percent deemed it unnecessary and 8.7 percent preferred a more conservative policy.

Discipline Committee clears DPP caucus whip

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan’s Discipline Committee yesterday concluded that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was not guilty of improper lobbying and that he would not be reprimanded.

The resolution was passed by seven DPP lawmakers in a meeting chaired by DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), with none of the eight Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers attending.

Resolution urges air zone protest

STABILITY::The Executive Yuan also issued a four-point statement calling for a peaceful resolution of disputes, but failed to address the legislative call
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - Page 1

The legislature’s caucus leaders, including the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), yesterday approved a non-binding resolution demanding that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration lodge an official protest with China over its unilateral demarcation of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.

The resolution asks Ma to file a stern protest against the Chinese demarcation, which it said has destabilized regional stability, and to take concerted action with the nation’s democratic allies by refusing to submit flight plans as Beijing has requested.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ko Wen-je plans to take year off for campaign

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital’s department of traumatology director Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday that he is taking a year’s leave from the hospital to work on his campaign for the Taipei mayoral election in December next year.

In what appeared to be the strongest hint yet at his determination to participate in the election, the physician said he would take a year’s leave of absence from the NTU Hospital, beginning in January next year, to run his campaign.

Final verdict sets 12-year prison term for Yen

THREE YEARS CUT:Of the four charges, one returned a not-guilty verdict and two were commuted to fines leaving a prison term of 12 years for the former minister
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter Staff reporter

Yen Wan-ching (顏萬進), former deputy minister of the interior in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), received a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence in the final verdict of a corruption case.

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the verdict from the second trial, in which the Taiwan High Court found Yen guilty of accepting bribes totaling NT$1.2 million (US$40,500) from a developer who wanted a construction license for the proposed Beitou gondola project.

Chiang grandson indicted on charges of threatening school

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Andrew Chiang (蔣友青), the grandson of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), was indicted yesterday for allegedly making threats against Taipei American School (TAS) and its vice principal.

The 23-year-old son of Chiang Ching-kuo’s youngest son, Chiang Hsiao-yung (蔣孝勇), was charged with disturbing public peace and threatening to cause injury to others, according to Article 151 and Article 305 of the Criminal Code, Shihlin District Prosecutors’ Office spokesperson Su Pei-yu (蘇佩鈺) said.

Ministry makes light of China carrier’s passage

MAKING WAVES:A DPP legislator urged the president to lodge a protest with Beijing, saying that there was a risk of the Taiwan Strait becoming a Chinese inland sea
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday confirmed that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning passed through the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning — without crossing its median line — en route to the South China Sea, reiterating that the ministry had monitored the entire passage.

The voyage has drawn attention from Taiwan’s military and the international community amid rising tension over China’s demarcation of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea on Saturday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Work with allies on ADIZ issue: DPP

SOVEREIGNTY:The Ma government should demand that China abolish the air defense identification zone in order to restore peace and stability to the region, the party said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should seek to work with its democratic allies Japan, the US, South Korea and ASEAN members in the face of rising tensions in the East China Sea following Beijing’s demarcation of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Taiwanese airlines should not submit their flight plans to Beijing as it has requested, it added.

DPP tells PRC to respect public, party views

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called on China to respect Taiwanese mainstream public opinion and core values, as well as the party’s move to foster more constructive bilateral ties after Beijing publicly denounced its draft China policy.

The DPP arrived at a preliminary consensus earlier this month after months-long discussions on plans to revise the party’s China policy following its defeat in the presidential election last year. Participants at the last meeting agreed that constitutionalism should be the foundation of all bilateral engagement with China.

Su denies reports he will run for mayor

TAIPEI RACE:An article claimed that Su Tseng-chang may be forced to run because his choice to represent the party is lagging behind Annette Lu in public polls
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday denied reports that he was planning to join the Taipei mayoral race next year and was trying to persuade former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to drop her bid to represent the party in the election.

The remarks came in response to a column posted by political commentator Wu Tsu-chia (吳子嘉) on the online news Web site yesterday which alleged that Su had decided to enter the election and had sent DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to dissuade Lu from running in the party’s primary.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Big business pushes service pact

HANG ON::Groups asked legislators to listen to the people before ratifying the cross-strait service trade agreement and not cave in to any ‘external pressure’
By Lee Yu-hsin and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer
Wed, Nov 27, 2013 - Page 3

Representatives from Taiwan’s six major industrial and commercial associations yesterday urged lawmakers to expedite the ratification of the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement during a visit to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), amid angry chants from groups rallying outside the legislature against what they described as big corporations’ attempts to “sell the nation.”

The six business representatives included Chinese National Federation of Industries chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄), General Chamber of Commerce chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼), Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce chairman Kenneth Lo (駱錦明), Taiwan Federation of Industry chairman Hsu Hsien-rong (許顯榮), Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association chairman Gou Tai-chiang (郭台強) and National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Lin Hui-ying (林慧瑛).

Groups protest ARATS chairman visit

SHARED VIEWS::Students, TSU members and Falun Gong practitioners began their wave of protests against the Chinese official when he arrived at the airport
By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Nov 27, 2013 - Page 1

Activists from various groups yesterday protested against a visit by the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) over concerns about the negative impact of the cross-strait service trade agreement.

Protesters from the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and civic groups followed Chen, who arrived in Taipei yesterday for an eight-day visit, at every stop, including the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the Strait Exchange Foundation’s (SEF) headquarters.

China’s ADIZ not connected to sovereignty: Ma

CONSEQUENCES::The Ministry of Foreign Affairs dodged questions about the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s decision to abide by new rules on airspace set by China
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters, with CNA
Wed, Nov 27, 2013 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over an area of the East China Sea does not involve “air space” or “territorial sovereignty,” but that Taiwan will express its “serious” concern to China and other parties.

It is the first time Ma has commented on Beijing’s ADIZ move, which was announced on Saturday and has generally been viewed as upping the ante in China’s confrontation with Japan over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — known to Japanese as the Senkaku Islands — which Taiwan also claims sovereignty over.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

EDITORIAL: A tale-of-two-cities test for the DPP

Tue, Nov 26, 2013 - Page 8

Next year’s mayoral elections in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市), which will be extremely difficult for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to win unless something extraordinary happens, have been — and will be — worth people’s attention.

The issue appears a hot potato for the party now and could very well be the decisive factor of the unprecedented seven-in-one elections, which will be held in December next year.

On the surface, the mayoral positions are only two of the 22 seats — six special municipality mayors and 16 mayors and commissioners — up for grabs nationwide, but the political implications and complexity go far beyond the numbers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

No assistance to Polish envoy with traffic ticket: MOFA

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday denied using its influence to have a Polish official’s speeding ticket in Taipei voided two years ago, saying that the Warsaw Trade Office had paid the NT$8,000 fine.

A Taipei-based official of the office was fined for speeding at 140kph at about 2am on Oct. 10, 2011 on the Xinyi Expressway, which has a speed limit of 70kph, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a press conference.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

TSU’s Lin confirms mulling mayoral bid in New Taipei City’s election next year

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) confirmed yesterday that he is mulling running in the New Taipei City (新北市) mayoral election next year and said he hopes that a public opinion poll on TSU and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspirant mayoral candidates will be held to determine who will be the best candidate for the pan-green camp.

A TSU meeting on the seven-in-one elections next year accepted Lin’s proposal and asked TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) to meet with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to discuss the matter.

Tainan residents protest project, mayor’s nomination

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Nov 21, 2013 - Page 3

A group of Greater Tainan residents affected by an underground railroad project yesterday protested outside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei as the party officially announced the nomination of incumbent Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) for re-election next year.

“Stop robbing us, Lai! Stop playing dumb, DPP,” the protesters shouted, urging the party not to nominate Lai unless he would talk with them to settle the dispute.

DPP aims to win half of election zones

AMBITIOUS:The party introduced its first seven candidates for next year’s seven-in-one elections, while primaries are to be held to determine the rest
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday set an ambitious goal for the mayoral and commissioner elections next year — to win at least half of the 22 administrative zones across the country — as the party announced its first batch of candidates for the elections.

“The DPP hopes that it can win in at least three of the six special municipalities and eight of the 16 cities and counties,” Su told a press conference after he introduced the DPP’s first group of seven candidates for the mayoral and commissioner elections.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Culture minister has three offices: lawmaker

PUBLIC WASTE?A ministry official defended Lung Ying-tai, saying that the minister only uses one office and that the other two serve other functions
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) yesterday accused Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) of wasting public funds by maintaining three offices in various locations in metropolitan Taipei.

Lung has offices in the Ministry of Culture building, the now-defunct Government Information Office (GIO) building and the Taipei office of the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, Huang told a news conference.

Lo drops out of DPP New Taipei City mayor race

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) yesterday announced his withdrawal from the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) New Taipei City (新北市) mayoral primary, saying he did not have enough time to prepare for the campaign.

Lo’s withdrawal left the primary with two aspirants, former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) and former DPP legislator Chuang Shuo-han (莊碩漢), with Yu regarded as the odds-on favorite.

DPP to ask grand justices to rule on nuclear plant

‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’:The Ma government’s insistence on resuming construction in spite of public opposition goes against the spirit of the Constitution, the party said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it would request a constitutional interpretation on the controversial construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, adding that the government’s decision to resume the construction is a violation of the Constitution.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has turned a blind eye to public concern about the safety of the plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), and the environmental threat and pollution it poses, which all constitute violations of the Constitution, the caucus told a press conference.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Taiwan declares ties with the Gambia ‘terminated’

CASH GRAB?:Gambian President Yahya Jammeh ‘made a financial request’ in January, said to be for US$10 million in cash, which went against Taiwan’s policy on foreign aid
By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - Page 1

The government yesterday declared diplomatic relations with the Gambia had been terminated as it could not accept the country’s “exorbitant demands” for aid, which went against the principles of the nation’s foreign aid policy, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday.

David Lin did not elaborate on what Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had asked for from Taiwan that was deemed “unacceptable,” but in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), he confirmed that Jammeh “made a financial request” in January.

Activists call for action by president on Diaoyutais

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Activists yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to take action on the disputed sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) by the end of the year before they take the issue to the International Court of Justice.

The activists, led by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏), said they were concerned about a possible war between China and Japan, both of which also claim the islands, as Japan recently conducted a large-scale military exercise in the region.

Tsai’s office has no further comment on chairperson election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) office yesterday said it had no further comment on a “groundless” report that Tsai would run for the DPP chairmanship in May’s election.

In a story headlined “Tsai to run for DPP chair,” the Chinese-language China Times yesterday quoted an unnamed DPP member as saying that Tsai had decided to run for the party’s top post, while quoting Tsai’s spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) as saying that the speculation was incorrect.

MOEA’s ‘trade ploy’ criticized

‘BACK DOOR’ MOVE:Legislators said the government was trying to evade oversight of trade pacts and investment rules by ‘secretly’ amending Chinese investment rules
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has opened a “back door” for Chinese investment to be exempt from restrictions in the planned free economic pilot zones (FEPZs) before the zones are established and the cross-strait service trade agreement clears the legislature, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

“It is illegal. It is like a false start in the 100 meter dash,” DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) told a press conference.

EDITORIAL: Awaiting the DPP’s China policy

Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - Page 8

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced last week that it expects to finalize the preliminary conclusion of its latest China policy in early January, after months of discussions following its bitter loss in the presidential election last year.

A new China policy, the party said, is necessary to convince voters that it can manage cross-strait relations better than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), something that former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) failed to do in her presidential campaign. The discussion has also somehow become a tradition, as the party has always fine-tuned its China policy before every presidential election in the past.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Honesty is top priority: Ko Wen-je

OPTIONS OPEN:The physician said he is preparing for the Taipei mayoral race at his own pace, but did not comment on whether he would join the DPP
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Outspoken Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), director of National Taiwan University Hospital’s Department of Traumatology, yesterday showed no remorse for his outspokenness, saying that honesty is the No. 1 priority for a politician and he was still taking things on his own pace in preparation for the election.

The physician said he did have second thoughts about his recent comments about imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), when he stated that Chen is now a “wreck” and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should not fear the former president’s political re-emergence and grant him amnesty.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Academics raise issues over a DPP return to power

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Academics yesterday raised questions about a “pan-Chinese identity” consensus and unchanged cross-strait relations if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) returned to power in 2016 — the findings in a series of seasonal public opinion polls.

The Taiwan Competitiveness Forum, a think tank known for its pro-unification stance, yesterday summarized the findings in four seasonal polls, conducted by Apollo Survey and Research Co Ltd, a polling firm under Want Want China Times Group, which asked Taiwanese about their perception of connections with China.

DPP denies Su Tseng-chang plans to run for Taipei mayor

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters yesterday denied that Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has been mulling participating in the Taipei mayoral election next year.

The Chinese-language United Evening News reported yesterday that Su, persuaded by party members, has been weighing up a decision to run in the election and has recently “shown interest” in throwing his hat into the race.

DPP’s PRC policy to be out in January

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) new China policy is expected to be finalized in a China Affairs Committee (CAC) meeting on Jan. 9 next year, the party said yesterday.

However, the party was reluctant to call it a “new” China policy as the core values of safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty, among others, would remain unchanged and there would be only minor tweaks in its strategy in dealing with Beijing, CAC spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said in a press briefing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chang Chi boss released on bail of NT$12 million

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co (大統長基) chairman Kao Cheng-li (高振利), a central figure in the recent tainted oil controversy, was yesterday released on a NT$12 million (US$405,000) bail after a preliminary proceeding at the Changhua District Court.

Prosecutors demanded Kao be detained for not giving details about the origin of the copper chlorophyllin substance Kao’s company added to its oil products and to prevent possible collusion, but the court rejected the demand.

President’s approval rate hits new low

WORSE AND WORSE:The latest Taiwan Indicators Survey Research poll has the president’s rating at 12.8 percent and the premier’s at 17.8 percent
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has recorded the lowest approval rating since his inauguration in 2008, with his Cabinet members also struggling to win approval, a public opinion survey released yesterday showed.

Ma’s latest approval rating of 12.8 percent was the lowest yet in a tracking poll that began when Ma took office in May 2008: 75.2 percent of respondents said they were not satisfied with the president’s performance, according to the Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) poll.

FDA confirms oil warning from Spain

‘NEXT’ ISSUE::The FDA director said the agency had not been able to carry out tests on the Taisun Enterprise and Fwusow Industry products when Madrid notified Taipei
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer
Thu, Nov 14, 2013 - Page 1

The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday confirmed a media report that Spain had notified Taiwan as early as in 2009 about possible illicitly mixed oil products, but that officials did not take action at the time.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine edition published yesterday reported that the Spanish government notified Taiwan in 2009 and 2011 about some products manufactured by Taisun Enterprise Co (泰山企業) and Fwusow Industry (福壽油品) it suspected had been adulterated. The firms allegedly mixed imported olive pomace oil with other low-quality oil and sold the mix as pure olive oil.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ma criticized for rushing service pact

SLOW DOWN:A civic group and lawmakers spurned the president’s call to accelerate public hearings on the deal, saying that an issue that affects so many requires time
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Activists and legislators yesterday panned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call to speed up the public hearings being held on the cross-strait service trade agreement, saying that the government and the public should take their time examining the potential impact the pact may have on the nation.

Although Ma blamed the legislature for stalling the agreement’s passage by being slow in organizing the hearings, the slow pace of progress is due to government agencies’ reluctance to provide the information that needs to be discussed at the hearings, the Democratic Front Against Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement said in a press release.

State must speak against China in UNHRC: parties

SELF-HARM:Staying silent on Beijing’s nomination to the UN rights body would undermine Taiwan’s ‘soft power,’ said 22 lawmakers from three political parties
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislators from across party lines yesterday demanded that the government publicly announce its opposition to China joining the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) due to what they said were Beijing’s notorious human rights violations.

The Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are advised to issue official statements opposing China’s acceptance on to the council and calling for UN members to vote against Beijing’s nomination, a proposal tabled by the lawmakers said.

DPP’s Tsai advocates five-point plan to aid economy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should change its economic priority from achieving maximum growth to providing maximum well-being to its citizens, while adopting new, creative ideas to tackle the unprecedented challenges brought on by globalization and the rise of China, former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“The goal [of maximum well-being] cannot be achieved without creating more job opportunities, raising wages, striking a balance between exports and the domestic consumption, and avoiding overdependence on one market,” she said as she delivered the keynote speech at a forum organized by the Taiwan Venture Capital Association.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

INER wasting public funds: lawmaker

PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING?Hsu Chung-hsin questioned the nuclear research institute’s focus on China, instead of countries that have advanced nuclear technology
By Chris Wang and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

A Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker yesterday accused the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research’s (INER) of squandering public funds, questioning the sharp increase in budget allocated for inspection trips to China over the past five years.

The annual budget for China visits allocated by the institute under the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has increased about sevenfold since 2010 — from NT$440,000 (US$14,900) in 2010 to NT$2.75 million for next year, TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a news conference.

Su demands impact assessment report on FEPZs

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday demanded that the Executive Yuan present an impact assessment report on planned “free economic pilot zones” (FEPZ) to gauge the pros and cons of the policy.

“The current scheme of the ambitious plan has gone beyond its original experimental nature, while the potential damage that local municipalities and sectors might suffer remains unknown,” Su said after an internal party meeting that focused on the zones.

DPP mulls change in picking top prosecutor

‘INFORMATION LEAK’:Lawmakers are planning to remove the prosecutor-general’s security of tenure amid accusations that he has refused to cooperate in a probe
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it was considering an amendment that would give the power to appoint the prosecutor-general to the minister of justice, rather than the president, and to remove the top prosecutor’s security of tenure.

The Organic Act of Courts (法院組織法) states that the prosecutor-general is appointed by the president and is guaranteed a four-year tenure.

EDITORIAL: Taiwan losing patience with Ma, KMT

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) were supposed to respond — either through a heartfelt apology or a grand scheme to address flawed national policies — to the hundreds of protesters who threw shoes near the KMT congress venue in Greater Taichung on Sunday.

These actions are long overdue. For more than five years, Taiwanese have lived through a persistent crisis: slow economic growth, rising living expenses, backsliding democracy and human rights. Meanwhile all that has been on their president’s mind has been eliminating his political foes and rivals.

Monday, November 11, 2013

KMT heavyweights call for party unity

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter, in Greater Taichung
Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday renewed his pledge to reform the party and defended a controversial change to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) charter to make a KMT head of state automatically party chairman to enhance party-state cooperation at the KMT’s 19th national congress in Greater Taichung.

“I ran for KMT chairman twice over the past four years to deepen party reform and unity… The new system will enhance close cooperation between the party and the government, and I will be cooperative even it means my chairmanship will be cut short in one-and-a-half years,” he told the convention.

Time to end affair with Chiangs, look ahead: Ko Wen-je

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

It is time to sever the entanglement between Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) family and the public because the nation needs to move forward instead of dwelling on the past, National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko, who is the director of the hospital’s Department of Traumatology and a potential aspirant for next year’s Taipei mayoral election, made the comment in response to media queries about the recent controversy involving Chiang’s great-grandson, Andrew Chiang (蔣友青).

DPP’s Su touts success of Manila trip on return

VALUABLE:The DPP chairman said the party’s profile had been raised and its links to overseas parties strengthened by the trip, during which he attended a regional summit
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday returned from a three-day visit to the Philippines, a trip he said had boosted the party’s international exposure and reaffirmed its shared democratic values with other Asian and European parties.

Su led a delegation that included 10 DPP legislators on the trip, the primary aim of which was attending the 20th anniversary and annual meeting of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats in Manila.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Vendors, wholesalers ‘helpless’ amid food safety scare

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Vendors and wholesalers have been helpless and forgotten amid the snowballing controversies over tainted edible oil products and public concerns over food safety due to the government’s inaction, business owners told a press conference organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday.

“Thousands of vendors and wholesalers across the country have been on the ‘front line’ dealing with returned merchandise and refunds to consumers since the tainted oil controversy broke out, but we don’t know if we can get our money back from the upstream manufacturers,” store owner Chen Nian-tien (陳年添) told reporters.

Chen Shui-bian’s health deteriorating fast, his office says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The speed of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) brain degeneration is 17-and-a-half times of that of an ordinary person, Chen’s office said yesterday, calling for the immediate granting of home care for the imprisoned former president before his health deteriorates further.

Citing the findings of Chen’s private medical team and an expert panel convened by Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), the office said in a press release that Chen’s trembling, stuttering and incontinence were signs of deteriorating brain functions.

Curb presidential power, activists say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An act governing presidential power should be enacted by the legislature to restrain the president from extending his power at will and the president should not serve as the chairman of his political party, activists proposed yesterday.

In light of what they said was President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent infringement of the Constitution with his “plot” to oust Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) charter revision to have the incumbent president automatically serve as KMT chairman, several groups, among them Taiwan Democracy Watch (TDW) and the Judicial Reform Foundation, made the recommendation at a press conference in Taipei.

Ma’s rating hits rock bottom: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A new opinion poll by the Taiwan Thinktank shows that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating has hit a new low amid widespread opposition to his plan to revise the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) charter so that a sitting president from the party automatically becomes the party chairman.

The think tank said yesterday that almost two in three respondents, or 65.7 percent, said they disagreed with the planned revision of the KMT charter, which is to be voted on tomorrow, and 65.1 percent said Ma, who is the current KMT chairman, should be held accountable if the party loses next year’s seven-in-one municipal elections.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Committee wants Huang out after meeting no-show

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday reached a resolution demanding Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) step down after his absence from an investigative meeting.

Huang, who has been listed as a defendant in a secret-leaking case, refused to attend a meeting hosted by a document request task force under the legislative committee, which was in charge of probing recent controversies involving Huang and the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) wiretapping of the legislature.

President hails ASTEP Singapore free-trade deal

By Mo Yan-chih, Shelley Shan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday hailed the signing earlier in the day of the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), saying it carried great significance and would facilitate the nation’s participation in regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific area.

“The ASTEP is a top-quality free-trade agreement with a non-ally nation. With the economic pacts with the Singapore and New Zealand as a foundation, we will speed up efforts to join economic integration in Asia-Pacific region. We won’t allow Taiwan’s absence from [regional integration],” he said.

Ting Hsin Group chairman released on NT$10m bail

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Ting Hsin International Group chairman Wei Ying-chun, center, leaves the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday morning, having been released on NT$10 million bail over his alleged role in the company’s use of adulterated oil.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團) chairman Wei Ying-chun (魏應充) was indicted yesterday and released on NT$10 million (US$340,000) bail over allegations that his company had produced and marketed adulterated oil.

DPP urges minister to back up promise to remove oils

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday urged Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) to keep his promise that tainted oil products would be completely removed from the market beginning today.

“Chiu pledged on Oct. 24 that Nov. 8 would be ‘D-Day,’ with all tainted oil products removed from the market. If he has failed to deliver on that promise, we urge him to step down,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

DPP attacks president’s plan to raise debt ceiling

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday blasted President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) over his comment that Taiwan’s national debt was a “nonissue” and said the party opposed Ma’s intention to raise the debt ceiling.

“Ma’s comment reflects his ignorance and incompetence as government finances have deteriorated under his leadership. Taiwan will not have the EU to bail it out before it goes over the financial cliff,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

DPP wants Huang Shih-ming to resign and be detained

COLLUSION?A video recording caught the prosecutor-general telling prosecutors to provide him with documents ahead of his court appearances
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) should step down immediately and be detained, especially after he was caught on tape possibly colluding to destroy evidence, the Democratic Progressive Party said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) on Tuesday released an audio recording at the Legislative Yuan of a telephone conversation in which Huang ordered Special Investigation Division (SID) prosecutors to send him certain documents in preparation for his court appearances.

Engineers see risk in trade pact

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese computer engineers would likely be hurt by the cross-strait service trade agreement due to the potential influx of cheaper Chinese workers, computer software representatives said yesterday.

“Young entry-level engineers are likely to be the first batch of victims of the pact because they could be replaced by cheaper, more experienced Chinese counterparts,” computer engineer Shen Chia-hung (沈佳弘) told a press conference organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

KMT committee proposes key charter revision

HOLDING ON:A motion to be voted on during Sunday’s party congress would link the KMT chairmanship with the nation’s presidency when the KMT is in power
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Organization and Development Committee yesterday proposed a revision to party regulations to make it mandatory for the nation’s president to serve as party chairman, part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) plan for closer cooperation between the KMT and the government.

The proposal, raised during a meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee, was presented under Ma’s instruction.

Singer’s PRC concert reportedly at risk

BEIJING BUMP?:Deserts Chang’s agent said they had not heard from the organizers about the Dec. 30 show, while two DPP officials urged young Chinese to show respect
By Chris Wang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter with staff writer and CNA
Thu, Nov 07, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Deserts Chang’s (張懸) concert in China next month might be canceled after scores of Chinese netizens threatened to boycott her over what they said was her pro-independence stance shown by holding a Republic of China (ROC) flag during a concert in the UK on Saturday.

The Hong Kong-based Phoenix New Media Web site yesterday reported that the Chinese organizers of Chang’s Dec. 30 concert at Beijing’s Wukesong Arena have received a cancelation notice and are waiting for an official announcement.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

DPP’s Ker asked to testify

A resolution by the Legislative Yuan’s Discipline Committee yesterday asked Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to testify before the committee on Friday next week to explain his alleged role in an improper lobbying case, which also involves Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平). Ker, who said that he had never asked Wang to lobby for him, reported himself to the legislature and demanded to be investigated. A plenary session at the legislature decided to refer the case to the Discipline Committee, and required the investigation to be digitally recorded and broadcast online simultaneously.

Jiang vows Aboriginal district elections

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday said he would amend the Local Government Act (地方制度法) so that Aboriginal districts in special municipalities could regain the right to elect their own officials.

The act stipulates that officials of Aboriginal districts in six special municipalities — the five current municipalities plus Taoyuan County, which is scheduled to be promoted at the end of next year — are to be appointed by mayors, Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) said during a question-and-answer session with Jiang yesterday.

Tsai, Hsieh deny Saturday meet report

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday denied a report that they had met on Saturday to discuss the DPP’s chairmanship election in May.

Cable news channel Formosa TV on Monday reported that the pair met on Saturday and that Tsai had urged Hsieh to run for the chairmanship against DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is expected to seek re-election.

Pair to vie in DPP’s Taichung primary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) yesterday announced he would seek the party’s candidacy for the Greater Taichung mayoral election next year.

Backed by several fellow DPP lawmakers, Tsai said told a press conference in the city that he was confident he could defeat Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who has held the job for 13 years.

Premier trades trade barbs

NOT ‘ECFA-TIVE’?DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi said that despite government promises, the signing of the ECFA had not led to more trade pacts with other countries
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) yesterday accused each other of distorting facts during a heated debate in the legislature about the impact of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the proposed service trade agreement.

During a 30-minute question-and-answer session, Lee said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration had exaggerated the positive impact of the ECFA and had misinterpreted the meaning of free trade by “putting all the eggs in China’s basket.”

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

EDITORIAL: Civil disobedience in the making

Tue, Nov 05, 2013 - Page 8

Draped on their shoulders were banners with the slogan: “Serving jail terms with pride. No regrets at all,” as labor rights activists Mao Chen-fei (毛振飛) and Lin Tzu-wen (林子文) reported to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday last week over their lead roles in clashes with police at an egg-hurling protest last year.

Escorted by hundreds of supporters in a parade from the Ketagalan Boulevard to the prosecutors’ office, with fireworks set off for “celebration,” there was no expression of sorrow or regret on the pair’s faces.

Join recall petition instead of throwing shoes, Constitution 133 Alliance says

OPTION:Co-founder Neil Peng said that using the democratic mechanism of recalling incompetent lawmaker is a good way for people to voice their anger
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A recall campaign would be a better option for people to vent their anger against the government than throwing shoes at the president, an award-winning author said yesterday, on the completion of the first stage of a campaign to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇).

“Throwing shoes is good, but recalling incompetent lawmakers, a mechanism in the democratic system, is a better way to express your anger toward the current administration,” writer Neil Peng (馮光遠), co-founder of the Constitution 133 Alliance, said in front of the Legislative Yuan.

Su leaves for meeting of liberals

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is scheduled to leave on a three-day visit to the Philippines on Friday, his fifth official overseas trip this year, the party said yesterday.

Su will lead a 27-member delegation, including 10 DPP legislators, for the 20th anniversary celebration and an annual meeting of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats in Manila, Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the party’s Department of International Affairs, told a news conference.

Ministry, DPP table food act revisions

DETERRING DANGER::Both the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s and the DPP’s plans would impose harsher penalties for food safety violators in a bid to curb future scares
By Alison Hsiao and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters
Tue, Nov 05, 2013 - Page 1

The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday proposed increasing the maximum penalties for firms who adulterate food products with illicit substances or falsely advertise them, amid a snowballing controversy over adulterated edible oils.

In a report to the legislative plenary session, Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said he plans to strengthen the punitive measures by amending the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) to counteract illegal acts in the manufacturing and advertising of food products.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Alliance to recall petition

The Constitution 133 Alliance said yesterday that it is set to submit 6,000 signatures, representing 2 percent of the electorate in New Taipei City’s (新北市) first district, that it has collected in requirement for the first phase of its recall campaign against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), who represents the district, to the Central Election Commission today. The campaign, launched in August by award-winning writer Neil Peng (馮光遠) and film director Ko Yi-chen (柯一正), would need to collect another 40,000 signatures — 13 percent of the electorate — to pass the second phase for the recall proposal to pass. The recall campaign against Wu is the first in a series of campaigns to bring down lawmakers committed to partisan voting and who ignored public opinion in the legislature, the alliance said.

DPP proposes a central wiretapping authority

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would propose a centralized surveillance agency in the Taiwan High Court to prevent illegal and political wiretapping in the future, the DPP caucus said yesterday.

The court would be the single institution in charge of coordinating national wiretap assignments, taking over the function from a range of agencies across government, including the Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice (MJIB) and the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) of the National Police Agency, DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) told a press conference.

Ko paints ‘chaotic and dangerous’ DPP

DISAPPOINTING?Ko was unable to downplay Saturday’s remarks and DPP chairman Su said the comments would only probably ‘serve enemy interests and sadden friends’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) comments about the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have intensified an already fierce battle over the party’s primary for the Taipei mayoral election next year.

Ko — who is not a DPP member and has been mulling whether to enter the race — on Saturday cited Confucius’ Analects (論語) in describing the DPP as a “chaotic and dangerous country,” which was why he has been hesitant about joining.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Lien Hui-hsin out on NT$2.5m bail

DEFENSE:Her father’s spokesperson defended her role at a firm that made dodgy weight-loss pills, adding that Lien Chan has been using the product for five years
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lien Hui-hsin (連惠心), daughter of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), was released on bail of NT$2.5 million (US$85,000) early yesterday morning after four hours of questioning at the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office about her role in a case involving her investment in a nutritional supplement company whose weight-loss pills were found to contain unauthorized drugs.

Lien Hui-hsin, who reported to the prosecutors’ office as a defendant at 7pm on Wednesday, did not answer media inquiries when she left the office at around 12:30am yesterday. Her lawyer Fang Wen-shuan (方文萱) said that Lien Hui-hsin was not aware of any wrongdoing by the company.

Experts say fresh strategies required for Chinese threat

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan can only break free from Beijing’s military threat and containment of its international space with stronger national defense and value-based diplomacy due to changing political dynamics and the positions of China and the US, academics said yesterday.

At a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-organized forum on cross-strait relations and regional security, experts said that although Washington remained Taiwan’s main ally, it has become harder for the US to assist Taiwan in the event of Chinese aggression.

Civic groups file lawsuit against business pair

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Civic group representatives filed a lawsuit with the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office yesterday against two China-based Taiwanese businessmen over alleged bribery in last year’s presidential election.

The lawsuit was filed against Kuo Shan-hui (郭山輝), chairman of the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland (全國台灣同胞投資企業聯誼會), and Yeh Hui-te (葉惠德), the association’s executive vice chairman, after the two called for immediate ratification of the cross-strait service trade pact in a press conference in Taipei yesterday morning.

Lu says age no barrier to mayoral ambitions

EXPERIENCE:Attention has been focused on Annette Lu’s age since she expressed an interest in running in the DPP’s primary for its Taipei mayoral candidate
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Age is not an issue in next year’s Taipei mayoral election because experience comes with age, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who is eyeing the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination in the election, said in an interview yesterday.

“Former US president Ronald Reagan, the oldest man elected as [US] president at 69 years old in 1981, has been one of the most popular US presidents, while the incumbent [US President] Barack Obama has not performed exceptionally well,” Lu, 69, said during a radio interview.

Majority favor cross-strait exchanges

BAD TIDINGS:A poll also revealed that the president’s approval rating is a paltry 14.3 percent, while the premier’s disapproval rating has reached its highest level yet
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The majority of Taiwanese favor increased cross-strait exchanges, but appear to be very cautious about a peace agreement between Taiwan and China, the results of a public opinion poll released yesterday showed.

Asked if they support the signing of a bilateral peace agreement, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledging “10 guarantees” in 2011, almost 70 percent of the respondents in a poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) said negotiations for such an accord should not begin before receiving authorization from a national referendum.