Monday, March 31, 2014

Public shows its support for student-led protests

STRONG SHOWING:A cheer erupted in the occupied legislative chamber when the protest’s leaders announced that the number of protesters surpassed 500,000
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The strong showing at the mass protest in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday has given the students who have been occupying the legislative floor for 13 days the confidence to continue their fight for Taiwan’s democracy, they said.

After protest leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) announced that the number of protesters had surpassed 350,000 — and later surpassed 500,000 — a loud cheer erupted in the legislative chamber, which has been occupied by about 200 students since March 18.

Protest gathers broad support

‘BLACK-CLAD ARMY’::While the majority of protesters were young people, they included a broad spectrum of society, drawn together by concern for Taiwan’s future
By Chris Wang, Lee Hsin-fang and Kan Chih-chi  /  Staff reporters
Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - Page 1

From all walks of life, supporters of the “Sunflower student movement” took to the street in Taipei yesterday, marked by festivity, diversity and order.

An hour before the scheduled start of the event at 1pm, the “black-clad army” — dress code for the protest against the government’s handling of the controversial cross-strait service trade pact — emerged from nearby MRT stations and packed the designated protest site in front of the Presidential Office Building on Ketagalan Boulevard.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Sunflower leader’s secret meeting with official causes furor

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A reported private meeting between a Presidential Office official and a member of the Sunflower student movement’s leadership on Wednesday has drawn criticism that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is attempting to create disunity in the movement.

A report published by Storm Media, a news Web site, yesterday said Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), an assistant research fellow at Academia Sinica, had met with Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑) on Wednesday at a coffee shop in downtown Taipei, a meeting set up by a member of the media with whom both are acquainted.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Jiang accused of false reporting

CRACKDOWN::A lawmaker said that even if it were true that more police were injured, the wounds inflicted on protesters were to the head, a more fragile part of the body
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Mar 29, 2014 - Page 3

Lawmakers and activists yesterday accused Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) of repeatedly lying about injury reports and the violent nature of the crackdown on protesters on Monday, saying that government and police officials in charge of the action should be held responsible.

Jiang has repeatedly cited questionable injury reports in his press conferences and tried to create the perception that police had sustained more injuries than protesters, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.

Majority supports referendum on trade agreement: survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Most people favor resolving the ongoing dispute between the student activists occupying the legislative floor and the government over the cross-strait service trade agreement through a national referendum, a public opinion poll showed yesterday.

The poll, conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR), showed that 74.2 percent of respondents backed holding a referendum to resolve the issue, 16.9 percent were against the idea and 8.9 percent did not give an answer.

DPP says no more interparty talks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday said it would stop participating in interparty negotiations convened to resolve the political stalemate over the cross-strait service trade agreement because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has repeatedly failed to respect the wishes of the public.

“We will stop attending the negotiations because the two sides remain oceans apart,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference yesterday after the breakdown of the fourth round of interparty negotiations, convened by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) at his residence.

Friday, March 28, 2014

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Tsai denies having allowed pacts to escape review

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) denied the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) claim that she was the official responsible for establishing the mechanism that allows cross-strait agreements to be sent to the legislature for reference rather than being reviewed.

The KMT said that its insistence that the cross-strait service trade agreement only needed to be sent to the Legislative Yuan for reference was based on an amendment of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) initiated when Tsai served as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) minister in 2003.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: DPP poll finds majority supports student protest

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a poll by the Democratic Progressive Party support the student protesters’ demands for a renegotiation of the cross-strait service trade agreement, and more than half said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should take responsibility for the current turmoil.

The survey, conducted on Tuesday, found that 71.6 percent of respondents supported the students, who have been occupying the legislative floor since March 18 and demanding that the controversial agreement be shelved and negotiations with China be restarted.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: KMT says open to making concessions

DEMANDS:The KMT said that it would agree to send the pact back to a joint review committee, but the DPP wants a mechanism to oversee cross-strait pacts set up first
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said that he would find a workable proposal to break the deadlock between the government and the student movement over the cross-strait service trade agreement.

After an inter-party negotiation at Wang’s residence broke down for the third time yesterday in as many days, Wang called for party caucuses to submit proposals to resolve the controversy.

Lee urges Ma, Wang to initiate dialogue with protest leaders

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to take positive steps to ease tensions triggered by the ongoing student-led protest at the Legislative Yuan, including convening a citizens’ constitutional conference.

Wang, as speaker, should visit the students in the legislative chamber and initiate unofficial dialogues by offering his personal views and by listening to what the students have to say, Lee said at the Taipei High-Speed Rail Station in response to reporters’ questions.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Council condemns KMT actions over service agreement

By Chris Wang and William Lowther  /  Staff reporters in Taipei and Washington

The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) yesterday said in a press release that it was extremely concerned about and alarmed by the manner in which the cross-strait service trade agreement passed the legislative review stage.

CALD chairman Sam Rainsy expressed concern over the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s decision to cut short a deliberation process in the Legislative Yuan on March 17 and the ensuing student movement that occupied the legislative chamber two days later, calling for Ma to hold a citizens’ constitutional conference, reject the pact and establish a monitoring mechanism for cross-strait negotiations.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Police should be held to account for violence: DPP

INTERNET DISCORD::Postings allegedly made by a Greater Taichung police officer and a member of the China Unification Promotion Party have been criticized
By Chris Wang, Huang Mei-chu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer
Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it wants police officers who allegedly misbehaved or used excessive violence before and during the forceful eviction of protesters from the Executive Yuan on Monday morning to be held to account.

Police officers used batons, shields and water cannons to evict thousands of protesters who were occupying the Executive Yuan compound, injuring dozens of people.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Tsai denies rumor tying protests to her, DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday denied an online rumor about her connection to two leaders of the ongoing protest movement against the cross-strait service trade pact, saying the claims that students Lin Fei-fang (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting’s (陳為廷) actions were politically slanted belittled their efforts.

A list with the names of dozens of student protest leaders and academics supporting the movement publicly has been making the rounds on online forums and social media sites since Sunday, purporting that those listed either worked for Tsai’s 2012 presidential campaign or are members of the DPP.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Minutes of meeting prove pact’s review invalid: DPP’s Kuan

MATTER OF RECORD:A photo of the minutes that the lawmaker put online purports to show that the first review of the service pact was never completed
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Citing a draft of the Legislative Yuan Gazette showing that the March 17 joint review committee meeting at which the cross-strait service trade agreement was sent to a plenary session hardly commenced, let alone being completed, rendering it illegitimate, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said yesterday.

Kuan said this meant the pact needs to be inspected at a fresh committee meeting to complete that phase of the review process.

Officials face questions over bloody crackdown

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislators are set to question the police chief and government officials today in a legislative committee over what has been described as one of the most bloody and violent crackdowns in recent memory when police evicted thousands of student protesters from the Executive Yuan in Taipei and injured dozens early on Monday morning.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), convener of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee, said yesterday that he had demanded that three senior government officials report on the police force’s order-keeping mission during the past week and its crackdown on the protesters, which began on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TRADE PACT SIEGE: KMT rejects ‘ridiculous’ retraction bid

DEALBREAKERS:KMT legislators called the meeting of lawmakers from three opposition parties illegal and ignored its invalidation of earlier legislative actions
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A joint committee yesterday passed a resolution that the Executive Yuan should retract the cross-strait service trade agreement and relaunch negotiations with China, while an inter-party negotiation over the review of the deal broke down.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers did not attend the meeting called by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and refused to recognize the resolution.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Money for ‘NYT,’ ‘Apple Daily’ ads raised by netizens

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Netizens nationwide yesterday raised NT$6.74 million (US$221,000) in three hours on a crowdfunding Web site to pay for advertisements in the New York Times (NYT) and the Chinese-language Apple Daily explaining the opposition to the cross-strait service trade agreement.

The money will be used for a front-page ad in today’s Apple Daily, which will cost about NT$1.5 million, and a full-page ad in the Times’ international edition, which costs US$153,014, according to, a Taiwan-based crowdfunding Web site.

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Politicians, civic groups lash out over crackdown

‘PEACE’::Two members of the US Congress urged the Ma government to ensure a non-violent, peaceful resolution to the raging conflict over the trade pact
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 3

Opposition parties, civic groups and academics yesterday condemned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration — notably Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) — for ordering a bloody crackdown on students occupying the Executive Yuan, as part of a student movement now known as the Sunflower Revolution.

At about 1am yesterday, riot police and Taipei police, equipped with shields, truncheons and water cannons, carried out a five-hour eviction of thousands of protesters — who began occupying the Executive Yuan compound at about 7:30pm on Sunday — resulting in scores being injured.

EDITORIAL: A sad yet great day for Taiwan

March 24, 2014, is guaranteed to go down as one of the days permanently etched into the history of Taiwan’s democratic movement. It was a very sad, but also a great day for the nation.

In a crackdown on thousands of students and citizens who occupied the Executive Yuan compound, riot police evicted the protesters with water cannons and excessive force, injuring dozens.

Monday, March 24, 2014

LEGISLATIVE SIEGE: Violations of justice ‘cause protests’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The ongoing “Occupy Legislature” student protest against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the conviction of former prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) share the same root cause — the violation of procedural justice, academics and lawyers said yesterday.

Huang resigned immediately after he was sentenced to 14 months in jail on Friday in the first trial of his case for leaking information to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in an ongoing investigation into claims of influence peddling last year.

DPP, campuses pledge protest support

VIOLATION::The DPP, academics and members of the public yesterday panned the president’s response to students’ demands as lies, sophistry and unacceptable
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), students on campuses and academics yesterday pledged their full support for the “Occupy Legislature” student movement after the protesters denounced President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) response to their demands in an international press conference.

“There was nothing but lies and sophistry in the press conference. That is not acceptable to the DPP. I believe the students and the people of Taiwan find it unacceptable as well,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

LEGISLATIVE SIEGE: Reporter’s notebook: New generation of activists steps forward

By Chris Wang  /  Staff report

Hundreds of students surprised the nation on Tuesday night when they broke off from an overnight sit-in and occupied the legislature in protest against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ handling of the cross-strait service trade pact.

After successfully fending off several evacuation attempts by the police and garnering national support over the past five days, the protest, which the media have dubbed the “Sunflower movement” — the largest student movement since the Wild Lily movement in 1990 that propelled legislative reform.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

LEGISLATIVE SIEGE: DPP throws its support behind student protests

WRONG PLATFORM:The DPP’s introduction of its election candidates was criticized, with some saying the party was using the rally as a campaigning platform
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday at a rally threw its support behind the students in the “Occupy the Legislature” movement and said it would refuse to negotiate with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) until President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) apologizes for his handling of the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement.

Almost every senior DPP member attended the rally and called for national support for the student movement, with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) saying that the occupation was “a right thing to do” and not “a violent act,” as claimed by the KMT and several media outlets.

Friday, March 21, 2014

LEGISLATIVE SIEGE: DPP worried about air quality in chamber

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The air quality in the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber has reached a hazardous level and could endanger the hundreds of students and activists who have occupied it since Tuesday night, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday, urging that the air conditioners in the room be turned on.

“With about 300 students and dozens of reporters packed inside the chamber since Tuesday night, air quality — a basic human requirement — has become poor. We call on the Legislative Yuan to deal with the issue immediately,” DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) told a press conference in Taipei.

Ma should apologize for pact: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday issued an ultimatum demanding that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) apologize to the public about the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and renegotiate the deal.

“If it were not for Ma’s grave mistakes in his handling of the agreement, the students would not be here,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told an international press conference, referring to the hundreds of protesters — mostly students — occupying the legislative chamber since Tuesday evening.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

SIEGE OF LEGISLATURE: DPP voices its support for action

REVERSAL REQUIRED:The party said the president had to send the pact back for review and called on the government to stop using police to handle protesters
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday pledged its full support to the student protesters who have occupied the legislative chamber since Tuesday night and called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to apologize and send the cross-strait service trade pact back to a joint committee for review.

“We will be on the students’ side as long as the protest continues. And we call on Ma to stop angering the protesters and hold himself accountable for the controversy,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference in Taipei.

SIEGE OF LEGISLATURE: Counterproposal an improvement on trade pact: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Standing Committee yesterday approved a counterproposal that it said would significantly improve the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and show that the party is ready for meaningful deliberation of the pact.

The proposal recommends dropping 18 of the 64 categories of services that Taiwan is to open to Chinese investors and further liberalization of 10 of the 80 categories that China is to open to Taiwanese investment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Opposition, groups protest trade pact

‘COUNTERMEASURES’::Over 300 students and demonstrators took over the Legislative Yuan while the DPP is to propose a ‘better agreement’ than the current service trade pact
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Mar 19, 2014 - Page 1

Opposition parties and civic groups are working together on a full-scale protest that includes legislative boycotts, a “siege” of the legislature and street rallies after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) cut short the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement on Monday and sent the pact directly to the plenary session for its second reading.

At about 9pm, more than 300 students and demonstrators broke from the rally outside the Legislative Yuan, broke into the compound and took over the podium on the legislative floor.

Lu urges new probe into ‘319 shooting’ incident

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she has found new evidence suggesting that the “319 shooting” incident was committed by at least three people and urged authorities to reopen the case for investigation, a day before the 10th anniversary of the controversial incident.

The 319 shooting incident was an attack on Lu and then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in Tainan on March 19, 2004, one day before the presidential election. A bullet grazed Chen’s stomach and left a 13cm wound, while another bullet hit Lu in the knee.

Former DPP legislator wins Chiayi primary

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) has won the party’s primary for Chiayi mayor, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday in Chiayi City.

Twu finished with the best result in a simulated poll, beating Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) 39.8 percent to 29.7 percent. He is to be officially named the DPP candidate after approval by the party’s Central Executive Committee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

EDITORIAL: Decadence or progress for DPP?

Tue, Mar 18, 2014 - Page 8

The stage has been set for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chairmanship election, paving the way for a three-way race in May between Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), after Tsai last week officially declared her bid.

Widely seen as the prelude to the party’s presidential nomination for the 2016 elections, the chairmanship race means more after a deeper look into the party and its strategic position in Taiwan’s future.

Foundation unveils new historical fiction contest

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A private foundation has offered a top prize of NT$1.2 million (US$39,600) for a historical fiction competition that encourages local writers to write about people and historical events in Taiwanese history.

The New Taiwan Peace Foundation, founded by Taiwan independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), announced the competition format yesterday at a press conference.

Protesters slam KMT over pact

STAYING PUT:Opponents of the cross-strait service trade agreement staged an impromptu sit-in in front of the legislature in Taipei and issued six demands
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Advocates and dozens of civic groups yesterday condemned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus for sending the cross-strait service trade agreement to a plenary session without it being screened, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT “have declared war on Taiwan’s democracy.”

In a joint meeting of eight legislative committees to review the controversial pact, yesterday’s agenda was put forth by the KMT caucus, leading the Democratic Progressive Party to criticize the ruling party for “forcing” a final vote on the agreement — one the KMT would be sure to win.

Trade pact review meeting cut short

NO POINTS OF ORDER:Lawmakers spent the time allotted to the service trade pact review meeting chanting slogans and verbally attacking each other
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The controversial cross-strait service trade agreement was sent to the Legislative Yuan’s plenary session yesterday without a single minute of deliberation in a joint committee review meeting that was marred by physical and verbal confrontations among pan-blue and pan-green camp lawmakers as both sides accused each other of lacking “democratic maturity.”

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers had occupied the meeting room’s podium since noon yesterday and prevented Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) from presiding over the meeting, which was called off after three hours without actually commencing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

DPP Taipei mayoral hopefuls round on KMT, Ko

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - Page 3

The second televised debate between opposition hopefuls for the Taipei mayoral election yesterday focused on the aspirant who skipped the event and criticism against what they called the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) princelings’ poor governance of the capital in the past 16 years.

The debate, organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors and televised by Formosa TV, gathered all four Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) contenders and independent Neil Peng (馮光遠), an award-winning screenplay writer, following a similar debate between DPP-only aspirants on March 9.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Su says DPP has become more flexible on China

POLL RESULT::A survey by the DPP poll center found that more respondents were comfortable with what they viewed as the KMT’s stance on China than the DPP’s
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA
Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said the party does not “oppose everything related to China” as many people believe and has begun adjusting its China policy to make it more flexible and able to adapt to the changing dynamics of cross-strait relations.

Su’s comments came in response to a survey conducted by the DPP’s poll center, which found that 40.3 percent of respondents said the DPP’s mentality of “opposing everything related to China” was not acceptable.

DPP to use mechanism to resolve Taipei quandary

TOO MANY CHOICES:DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said using a mechanism to decide on one candidate among the pan-green aspirants was ‘inevitable’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday decided to launch a mechanism to seek integration between its four Taipei mayoral aspirants and a pair of independents, so that the pan-green camp would have the best chance of winning in November.

The independents are National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and writer Neil Peng (馮光遠).

DPP urges upgrading of US ties

TAIPEI FORUM::Academia Sinica research fellow Lin Cheng-yi said US academics appear increasingly worried about Washington’s ‘abandonment’ of Taiwan and ‘Finlandization’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called for a wide-ranging upgrade of relations with the US and urged US President Barack Obama to reiterate Washington’s position under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) when he visits Asia next month.

It would be imperative for the US to reaffirm its commitment to Asia-Pacific allies, in particular Taiwan, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at a forum in Taipei on Taiwan’s role in the US’ rebalancing strategy in Asia against the backdrop of the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the TRA and the ninth anniversary of the introduction of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Violent skirmish, condemnations mark second day

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Mar 14, 2014 - Page 3

The second day of a legislative meeting scheduled to review the cross-strait service trade pact was marked with clashes and condemnations between lawmakers of the two political camps.

“There may be differences in opinion between different parties, but these differences should be resolved through negotiation, not violence,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) told a press conference yesterday. “We condemn the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] caucus for using violence against our caucus office director Chiang Kui-fang [江桂芳].”

Most support line-by-line cross-strait review: survey

NOT IN FAVOR:Of those polled, 44.5 percent said they did not support the trade pact, with 32.8 percent supportive and 22.9 percent not giving an answer
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A clause-by-clause review of the cross-strait service trade pact was supported by a majority of respondents in a poll released yesterday, and almost half said the pact would pose a significant national security threat if passed.

Asked how they viewed the service trade pact — which is awaiting legislative review before taking effect — 73.7 percent said they supported a line-by-line review, while 10.2 percent said the deal should be put to a vote as a package and 16.1 percent did not give an opinion in the survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR).

DPP does not deny latest report on Ko nomination

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) did not reject a media report that said the party would conduct one-on-one polls that pair Wen-je (柯文哲) and DPP hopefuls with potential Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates and that it would not nominate a candidate if Ko finished with better results than the DPP contenders.

Local Chinese-language media, including the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), yesterday reported on the latest development, saying that the decision could be finalized in a meeting of the party’s seven-in-one municipal elections task force, which was initially scheduled for yesterday, but was postponed for today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tsai’s office mum on DPP chairmanship election

NEW TAIPEI RACE:A news Web site said DPP candidate Yu Shyi-kun has significantly cut his deficit against incumbent Eric Chu, who has yet to say whether he is running
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) office yesterday remained tight-lipped on whether she plans to run in the party’s chairmanship election in May, amid media reports saying she would announce her bid next week.

“We urge the media to stop speculating. [The office] will make an announcement when the time is right,” office spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) said.

Lawmakers get ready to tackle thorny trade pact

CONVENER:The DPP and the KMT are fighting each other’s right to have a party member chair a joint committee that will review the cross-strait agreement
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers are gearing up for battle today at the Legislative Yuan over who should preside over a joint committee meeting to screen the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and whether the pact should be reviewed line-by-line, as stated in a previous consensus.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been arguing over who should serve as the convener of the meeting, which includes all eight legislative committees. The convener, who will also serve as chairman, is expected to gain the upper hand in dictating the meeting’s procedure.

Ministry of Justice mulling reducing authority of SID

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday said the ministry is mulling shifting authority for the Special Investigation Division (SID) from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office.

“After discussions with academics, prosecutors and judicial workers, the Ministry of Justice has concluded that the SID is still necessary, but could be demoted from the final trial-level Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to the second trial-level Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office,” Luo said in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井), who had suggested completely abolishing the division.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

EDITORIAL: No more covering eyes and ears

Tue, Mar 11, 2014 - Page 8

Feb. 28 must be one of the days marked on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) calendar as days on which he must speak carefully and, perhaps, apologize as president and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, for all the wrong reasons — such as the 228 Massacre being “people rebelling against misgovernment.”

It is easy to imagine Ma breathing a sigh of relief when March comes around, since he can then ignore calls for the government and his party to seek the truth behind the ruthless massacre and to apologize for the right reasons for at least another year.

Ko declines invitation to TAUP’s debate

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Independent Taipei mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday declined an invitation to join a televised debate with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspirants on Sunday, saying that it would not be helpful to determining the pan-green camp’s candidate.

The Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP), which is organizing the event, has invited the four DPP aspirants, Ko and independent Neil Peng (馮光遠), an award-winning author and playwright, about their platforms for the November election.

Hung family vows to appeal

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The family of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) yesterday vowed to appeal after the Taoyuan District Court gave 13 military officials tried in connection with Hung’s death what many viewed as relatively light sentences.

The court on Friday last week found the 13 guilty of abusing their power by restricting Hung’s personal freedom by placing him in disciplinary confinement, and sentenced them to between three and eight months in prison.

DPP says trade accord cannot be forced

WORD OF WARNING::The KMT says that under the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Powers, the cross-strait accord could be declared in effect immediately
By Chris Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and activists yesterday warned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against unilaterally pushing the cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature without lawmakers’ monitoring, saying to do so would break a KMT promise and go against mainstream public opinion.

According to a consensus reached during inter-party negotiations in June last year, the legislature is to review the pact clause-by-clause after the conclusion of 20 public hearings held to solicit opinions from various sectors of industry on the potential impact of the pact.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Historians petition over changes

EXPERT VIEW:Historians across the nation called upon the government to respect their academic professionalism and consult them on curriculum changes in future
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 130 historians from universities and research institutions across the country have signed a petition calling for the Ministry of Education to revoke its adjustments to high-school history curriculum outlines due to their lack of academic professionalism and due procedure.

The petition, the largest mobilization of Taiwan’s historians, is still open to signatures and is aimed at voicing historians’ opposition to the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s “ambush” on education, petition initiator Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), head of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan History at National Chengchi University, told a press conference.

DPP hopefuls outline similar goals

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hopefuls in the Taipei party’s mayoral election primary shared the stage in a televised debate yesterday and revealed that their platforms were not significantly different from each other’s as most contenders pledged to tackle high housing prices and improve the employment situation for young people.

The four aspirants — former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and legislators Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) — took part in the debate, which lasted two hours.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

DPP hopeful faces rumors, uncertainty in election bid

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the party’s candidate in the New Taipei City mayoral election, has found himself caught between a rock and a hard place — facing rumor-mongering within the party and not knowing who his election rival will be.

“I’d rather look to the future than dwell on the past... I believe that I will be the DPP’s official nominee ... and I have full confidence that I will win the election,” Yu told reporters yesterday before the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting in Taipei.

Pilot zones draft act ‘flawed’: DPP

TOO MUCH POWER?Party members said the draft act would give authorities in the zones more power than the Executive Yuan and called for public hearings
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The draft special act governing the proposed free economic pilot zones is flawed and could establish a “mini Executive Yuan” at each zone because of its expansion of powers, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday, calling for public hearings before the draft bill is screened.

The Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee, Internal Administration Committee and Finance Committee are scheduled to discuss the proposed act today in a joint session because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) listed it as its priority agenda.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

EDITORIAL: Internal and external media threats

Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 8

Ask anyone their opinion of Taiwanese media and you would get answers of all kinds — from interesting, dynamic and competitive to brain-dead, unprofessional and lacking in global perspective.

The truth may lie somewhere in between, but the discussion of Taiwanese media and its challenges would have to include growing Chinese influence and the local industry’s struggle between commercial success and core journalistic values.

Groups call for new 228, White Terror case probes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Investigations into the 228 Massacre and White Terror cases should be relaunched because recent controversial comments about the massacre showed that some people are still trying to find excuses for the merciless killings and infringement of human rights, advocates said yesterday.

Independence groups yesterday lambasted Shih Hsin University professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波), who said that the killing of 20,000 people by Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Nationalist Army in the 228 Massacre was “a small case” compared with the 400,000 killed during Chiang’s campaigns against the Chinese Communist Party in China.

DPP wants to renegotiate service pact

CROSS-STRAIT TRADE:The DPP set four principles to guide its review of the disputed accord: market reciprocity, fair competition, public livelihood and national security
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

With the legislature set to review a controversial service trade agreement with China during the current session, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was aiming to force a renegotiation of the accord.

DPP officials and legislators set down four principles to guide the review during a weekly meeting between party headquarters and the legislative caucus for discussions of major policies.

Monday, March 03, 2014

DPP to release its defense policy for presidential election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is tomorrow scheduled to unveil its assessment of China’s projected military capability and threat in 2025 as the backbone of its defense policy for the presidential election in 2016.

The report, prepared by the party’s think tank, was a collaboration among 20 Taiwanese and foreign experts on military, technology and information security, including Richard Fisher of the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, online news Web site Storm Media cited an unnamed source as saying yesterday.

Non-KMT Taipei mayoral hopeful debates set for TV

HEATING UP:The DPP will hold a televised debate for its hopefuls on Sunday, to be followed by one to include independents Ko Wen-je and Neil Peng on March 16
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The integration of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independent hopefuls in the Taipei mayoral election remains an unresolved issue, but Taipei residents have an opportunity to listen to what the contenders’ visions are on the next two Sundays in a pair of televised debates.

The DPP is scheduled to hold a televised debate for its five aspirants — former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Taipei City Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) — on Sunday.

Officials draw fire over 228 remarks

OOPS::Premier Jiang Yi-huah called the massacre of 20,000 people ‘an unintentional mistake,’ while Ma still calls payments to its victims ‘compensation’ rather than ‘indemnity’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Mar 03, 2014 - Page 3

Controversial remarks made by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration and pro-unification academics about the 228 Massacre reverberated after the nation observed the 67th anniversary of the tragedy on Friday, drawing strong criticism from a broad spectrum of society.

In addition to remarks by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and National Taiwan University professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波), the public was also angered by a comment from Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺).

Saturday, March 01, 2014

228-67 YEARS ON: 228 Massacre marked by calls for truth

PAINFUL SCARS:Both the bloody crackdown that began in 1947 and a 1980 murder case were commemorated yesterday, while some urged that the past be put to rest
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The truth behind the 228 Massacre remains incomplete after 67 years and only when the whole truth is revealed can there be a guarantee that the tragedy will not happen again, victims, their families and activists said yesterday as they commemorated the anniversary of the 228 Incident.

After the nation’s democratization in the 1990s, it was no longer taboo to talk about the massacre, a watershed incident in Taiwan’s history, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians — many of them intellectuals, politicians and the social elite — and created a climate of fear that left many Taiwanese reluctant to get involved in politics.