Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pasuya Yao joins DPP primary for mayoral election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) yesterday announced his bid in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary for the Taipei mayoral election, becoming the latest contender on an already crowded list of pan-green camp aspirant candidates.

Yao was the sixth pan-green aspirant to announce participation in the primary, with former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), incumbent lawmaker Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), Taipei City Council deputy speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) as well as National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), an independent, already in the mix.

Former premier confirms intention to run in DPP chairperson election

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday announced he would run for the chairmanship of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in May, setting up a potential three-way race between Hsieh, incumbent DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for the leadership.

Speaking to the media before the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, Hsieh formally announced his bid for the election, saying he could better promote his political vision and initiative and speed up party reform if he was chairman.

Tainan refuses to adjust curriculum

OBJECTIONS:Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai said the revised school curriculum outlines attempted to ‘brainwash’ pupils and presented a distorted view of history
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday that his municipality refused to adopt revised high-school curriculum outlines established by the Ministry of Education, adding that all municipal high schools would keep the current outlines.

Lai’s remarks came in the wake of the ministry’s move on Monday to approve a new high-school curriculum on Chinese literature and social sciences that it said contained “slight adjustments” based on the Constitution.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Highway toll-free hours extended

HOLIDAY SPIRIT::While toll-free hours on the nation’s highways were extended to 10 hours for the Lunar New Year break, traffic managers gave tips for motorists
By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - Page 3

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a resolution extending the toll-free period from seven to 10 hours on highways nationwide during the six-day Lunar New Year holiday and demanding an improvement in the eTag system from the electronic toll collection (ETC) contractor, Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus used its majority to pass the proposal in an extra legislative session, which stipulated a toll-free period between 9pm and 7am the next day from tomorrow through Tuesday for all vehicles on the highways.

‘De-Taiwanization’ of school materials slammed by DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it refused to accept the “opaquely adjusted” high-school curriculum outlines for Chinese literature and social sciences announced by the Ministry of Education on Monday.

“The adjustment of curricula outlines is a ‘de-Taiwanization’ effort that is trying to instill students with a ‘Greater China’ historical perspective. The DPP will not accept such an opaque process,” DPP Policy Research Committee executive director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a press conference.

Recall campaigners pledge river plunge

SIGNATURES WANTED:Tamsui River was nominated as the body of water leaders of Constitution 133 Alliance promised to jump into if they collected 5,000 more names
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Leaders of a recall campaign against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that if the remaining 5,000 signatures are collected for the recall proposal to be put to a referendum, they would jump into the Tamsui River (淡水河) in celebration.

Award-winning writer Neil Peng (馮光遠), co-founder of the Constitution 133 Alliance, posted the idea on Facebook and his blog on Monday to publicize the campaign’s push to collect the 5,000 more signatures that are needed to meet the requirements of the second phase of the recall process.

Legislature’s extra session concludes, food sanitation act passes third reading

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan’s two-day extra session concluded yesterday with a controversial amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) passing its third reading and the legislature approving the Executive Yuan’s veto of the amendment of the Land Administration Agents Act (行政士法).

After lengthy negotiations, parties reached a consensus on legislation that would place stricter regulations on compound additives and labeling, and tracing of genetically modified (GM) foods.

MAC head promises no political talks on agenda

SIMPLE MEETING?:MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi dismissed concerns that his trip to China would pave the way for the president to meet with his Chinese counterpart
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - Page 1

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) announced yesterday that he is to meet with his Chinese counterpart, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijung (張志軍), in Nanking, China, on Feb. 11, and said political issues would not be on the agenda of their talks.

During their meeting, Chang and Wang will address cross-strait issues and seek to improve mutual understanding between the two sides, Wang said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ministry approves new ‘brainwashing’ curriculum

‘TOTAL OVERHAUL’::DPP spokesperson Xavier Chang said the MOE’s adjustments were huge changes, while protesters said they would make classes China-centric
By Loa Iok-sin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter and staff writer
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - Page 1

Groups yesterday protested the Ministry of Education’s bid to “slightly adjust” the national high-school curriculum, calling the move part of a “brainwashing” policy that would see the new curriculum reflect a more China-oriented perspective.

Despite the groups’ opposition, the ministry later formally approved a new curriculum on Chinese literature and social sciences.

EDITORIAL: Online ‘justice’ ignores real history

Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - Page 8

It is only natural that a large percentage of the news stories read and seen each day now are related to the Internet, with almost ubiquitous Web access meaning people can always be online through laptops, desktop computers and mobile devices.

People live their lives online and, if Internet access were taken away, could lose a large part of those lives. However, the convenience has produced arguable results in Taiwan when it comes to social justice.

Jiang says no ‘three noes’ set for Wang-Zhang talks

PRECONDITIONS::The premier denied a report saying that Taipei has agreed that three categories of topics will be off-limits when the heads of TAO and MAC meet next month
By Chris Wang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter and staff writer
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - Page 1

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday denied reports that the government has committed to a “three noes” pledge limiting the topics that can be discussed at the planned meeting between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) next month.

The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday said the government has agreed that three categories of topics — politics, the Republic of China and anything related to human rights, democracy, rule of law and the use of the word “president” — would not be raised during Wang’s stay in Nanjing, China, from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19.

President Ma sets a new high for disapproval rating

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

About three out of four — 74.7 percent — respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday said they were not satisfied with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) performance, a record high disapproval rating for Ma since he took office in May 2008, Taiwan Indicator Survey Research said yesterday.

Ma’s approval rating remained at 12.3 percent, the poll found.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Su stays mum on election plans

RACE TO THE TOP:The DPP chairman said consolidation within the party was a top priority, but former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said party competition would be inevitable
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday played down criticism from his long-time political rival and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) upon his return to Taipei after a six-day visit to Europe, stressing party consolidation in an election year.

Su dodged media inquiries about Hsieh’s criticism against his leadership and intention to run both in the chairman election in May and the presidential election in 2016, saying that the most important task for the party is “consolidation and answering the public’s concerns.”

DPP calls for taxation justice

NO HIDING:A lawmaker said tougher tax rules are in line with the global trend, dismissing concerns that higher taxes would scare away businesses
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday that a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act (所得稅法) would be the party’s main focus in the extra session that begins tomorrow, saying that it is the most important bill to address the issue of “tax justice” in the wake of the revelation of Taiwanese businesspeople’s exploitation of tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

“[The DPP] is proposing this to highlight our call for tax justice and as another test for the Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] core values,” DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told a press conference.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Remove curriculum adjusters: groups

UNBIASED?Protesters said two key members of the Ministry of Education’s task force on curriculum changes were unsuited for the job due to their pro-unification affiliations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Groups yesterday called for the Ministry of Education to remove two professors from its curriculum outlines adjustment task force, amid controversy over what critics perceive as the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s efforts to “de-Taiwanize” the nation’s history by altering high-school textbooks.

National Taiwan University professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波) and Fo Guang University professor Hsieh Ta-ning (謝大寧) should be removed from the task force, a group of protesters told a press conference in front of the ministry.

Chu gives KMT lottery funds: TSU

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus yesterday demanded that New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) step down over what it called the municipality’s misuse of proceeds from lottery ticket sales, but local officials said the city government had done nothing wrong.

TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference that the city’s administration has been financing various peripheral groups affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), such as the Chinese Youth Peace Corps and women’s associations, with revenue from lottery ticket sales.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Annette Lu files injunction over rejected nuclear poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) plans to file a provisional injunction over the government’s rejection of her proposed nuclear referendum in New Taipei City (新北市) in a bid to stop the fuel rods from being installed at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Gongliao District (貢寮).

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled at the Taipei High Administrative Court today over the lawsuit Lu has filed against the Executive Yuan for rejecting her referendum proposal, which had been previously approved by New Taipei City’s Referendum Review Committee.

Poll shows strong support for Frank Hsieh initiative

VOTE-WINNER:Chao Tien-lin said ‘two constitutions, different interpretations’ was favored over the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ because of its pragmatism
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An opinion poll released yesterday showed that former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) initiative of “two constitutions, different interpretations (憲法各表)” has stronger support than the so-called “1992 consensus” advocated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing.

While 57.9 percent of the respondents said they supported Hsieh’s proposal, 45.4 percent of those polled supported the “1992 consensus,” Harbor Cities Exchange Foundation executive director Chan Chao-tsung (詹昭聰) said at a press conference in Taipei.

DPP faces three-way election for chair

SHOWDOWN:Most analysts say the possibility of a three-way race is low and that most likely Su Tseng-chang would compete with either Frank Hsieh or Tsai Ing-wen
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday did not rule out running in the party’s election of a new chair in May, setting up a potential competition between three of the DPP’s heavyweights — Hsieh, incumbent DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Hsieh criticized Su in a private conversation and said that if Su entered the election and the DPP’s presidential primary, he would “make Su miserable,” former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) wrote in a column published by the online news Web site yesterday.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EDITORIAL: The myth of Taiwan’s China policy

Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - Page 8

Asked about the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China policy in an interview with Radio Taiwan International last week, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) responded with two concepts: “Seagull on the beach” and “China plus one.”

Su said the cross-strait relationship should be like “a seagull on the beach” because “a man on a beach should learn how to watch a seagull and appreciate its beauty from a distance. If he tried to catch it, it would fly away.” He also urged Beijing to create a “China plus one” situation by stopping the oppression of Taipei’s international space and respecting it in bilateral engagements, so that both sides could coexist in the international community.

Removing ECFA safeguards ‘devastating,’ legislator says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s deletion of a safeguard chapter on Chinese imports could result in an influx of cheaper Chinese products to the domestic market, with devastating effects on local small businesses and the agricultural sector, a lawmaker said yesterday.

“[The deletion] brought me great distress and I found it unacceptable … The government had no reason to retreat from its current position,” Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-shin (許忠信) said at a press conference, calling for a special relief mechanism to protect local businesses from the potentially damaging effects of cross-strait trade liberalization.

No place for egos in cross-strait ties: Tsai

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - Page 3

Take the egos and the politics out of cross-strait exchanges and focus on what is right and good, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

Tsai said exchanges across the Taiwan Strait should not be dominated by specific political parties and individuals.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Koo blasts rival’s appeal to blue camp

CHANGING SIDES?Netizens said Ko Wen-je should not pander to the pan-blue camp nor ignore the things the Democratic Progressive Party had achieved while in power
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) appeal for pan-blue camp support and his comment that People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) might have been a better president if he was elected in 2000 drew a backlash from one of his rivals yesterday.

Ko, an independent who has been trying to secure the pan-green camp’s support for December’s election, on Saturday reached out to the the pan-blue camp in a visit to the Taiwan Hope Engineering Association, a subsidiary group of the PFP.

‘Tsai’s delegation’ visiting Beijing

RETURNING THE FAVOR:Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ying-wen’s office said the trip was a ‘return visit’ for the attendance of two Chinese economists at a forum last year
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The office of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday confirmed that it had sent a delegation to Beijing for an academic exchange on economic issues, but denied that Tsai has decided to run in the DPP chairman election in May as reported by the media.

Storm Media, an online news Web site, on Saturday night published a report on Tsai’s chairmanship bid and another report on the delegation yesterday morning.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DPP’s cross-strait policy has ‘failed’: Frank Hsieh

NO PARTY IS AN ISLAND:The former premier said the party had to stop excluding the KMT’s opinions from its China policy, which it must change to return to power
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that the party has failed to make substantial progress in its relationship with Beijing and must make changes to its China policy as soon as possible.

In an interview with the Chinese-language China Times published yesterday, Hsieh spoke about what he called the DPP’s failed cross-strait policy that appears to have depreciated DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) efforts to see the party progress.

‘Next’ apologizes to Wu Den-yih over damaging articles

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter
Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - Page 3

The Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday issued corrections for four stories about Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and apologized for the damage the false information in the articles did to his reputation.

The four reports appeared in the weekly last year and focused on Wu’s business connections and links to corruption scandals over the course of his political career.

DPP confirms Yu as pick for New Taipei City race

CAMPAIGN VOW:It was rumored that the ex-premier’s candidacy may be revoked due to poor ratings and his age, but after being confirmed, Yu vowed to fight for the youth
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday confirmed former premier Yu Shyi-kun as its candidate for the New Taipei City (新北市) mayoral election in December, ending widespread speculation that it would replace Yu with someone else due to his poor showing in public opinion polls.

The party also selected legislators Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) to contest the races in Greater Taichung and Changhua County respectively, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference after the party’s Central Executive Committee approved the nominations.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

‘Second democratic reform’ should be next: Lee Teng-hui

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A “second democratic reform,” which focuses on decentralization, privatization of state enterprises and promoting civil political participation is necessary to address the country’s economic woes and stalled political reform, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday.

Lee, who helped orchestrate Taiwan’s democratization in the early 1990s, later described as the “silent revolution,” said it was time for Taiwan to take another giant step forward to lift the country out of the mire.

Former official complains over wiretaps

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A former government official in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration yesterday said the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) had improperly monitored his mobile phone from 2005 to 2010.

Former Hsinchu County commissioner and Taiwan Provincial governor Lin Kwang-hua (林光華) told a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei that the SID had wiretapped his mobile phone for five years, but did not notify him until last month, which was a violation of the law.

DPP chairman reiterates Taiwan policy

METAPHORS GALORE:In affirming his party’s position on the nation’s sovereignty, Su said it was like a seagull on a beach and like a man who knows that he is a man
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said he disagreed that the party’s recently concluded review of its China policy was unimpressive and conservative and called on Beijing to win over Taiwanese with encouragement and “observation from a distance.”

Addressing the DPP’s China policy review for the first time since it was announced on Thursday, Su yesterday reaffirmed that the party considers Taiwan to be a sovereign and independent country during an interview with Radio Taiwan International, a state-funded station, which has a mainly Chinese audience.

China benefiting more from improved ties: survey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than half of Taiwanese feel closer cross-strait engagement and Taiwanese investment in China have benefited China more than Taiwan, a public opinion poll released yesterday found.

More than half, or 54.8 percent, of the respondents said China had received more benefits from increased bilateral engagement, while 18.4 percent said Taiwan was the beneficiary, 7.9 percent said the two sides benefited equally and 18.9 percent declined to comment, the Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) poll found.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interior ministry asked not to appeal Dapu ruling

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Members of four Dapu Borough (大埔) families who won a landmark land expropriation case yesterday urged the Ministry of the Interior not to appeal the verdict.

The Taiwan High Court on Jan. 3 ruled that the demolition carried out in Dapu in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) last year, whether partial or complete, of the families’ homes to make way for the expansion of a science park project had been unlawful.

Freeway toll firm failed collectors, lawmakers say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers yesterday accused Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (FETC) of failing to deliver its employment referral promise to hundreds of fee collectors after the new electronic toll collection system took effect last month.

“Among the 947 toll fee collectors in the country, 313 wanted FETC to refer them to other job opportunities, but only 56 have been referred as of now,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a news conference.

EDITORIAL: Ma should get used to disobedience

There was no political comment made over the past week that was more incomprehensible, insensible and shocking than what President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said at a university presidents’ forum at Kun Shan University in Greater Tainan on Thursday — a remark that reflected Ma’s personality and the characteristics of his administration.

Ma urged the university presidents to boldly carry out their plan of raising tuition fees, citing as an example his policy of increasing electricity and fuel prices. He said the controversial energy policy was “a matter of habit,” and that people were unhappy when it was introduced but have now become used to the weekly changes in the floating fuel price mechanism.

TSU raises questions over KMT’s 2012 donations

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of a lack of transparency in its political donations and said that Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) had been involved in a remittance of NT$600 million (US$20 million) in 2012.

Huang made the allegations at a press conference called to urge the Ministry of Justice to draft an anti-corruption law governing political party and civil associations.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Migration to northern Taiwan raises concerns

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

People have continued to migrate to northern Taiwan from the south in large numbers in the past six years, raising concerns over imbalanced population migration and regional development, according to the latest migration statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior.

More than 160,000 people migrated to northern Taiwan from abroad or other parts of the country between January 2008 and December last year, while central, southern and eastern Taiwan all experienced net population outflows, the statistics showed.

Policy debate can harm flexibility: Tsai

BE CAREFUL:The former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson said a debate over the sensitive issue of the party’s China policy could eliminate its room for maneuver
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was reserved yesterday about a proposed grand debate on the party’s China policy, saying that a debate could end up taking away flexibility in handling cross-strait affairs if it was not well-planned.

Speaking on the sidelines of a book launch held by her foundation, Tsai responded to a media inquiry about DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) proposal to hold such a debate, which was initiated after the party’s recently completed review of its China policy was criticized by many as “unimpressive” and “conservative.”

Saturday, January 11, 2014

DPP defends its China policy review

‘STUBBORN’ INDEPENDENCE:Beijing said that the DPP’s policies incited hostility and confrontation, but the party said the public backed its stance and it would be flexible
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday responded to criticism from party members and across the Taiwan Strait about its “lame” China policy review, insisting that the review was a responsible move and an ongoing effort, and that the party’s core values and position could stand the test of time.

The provisional review, which was announced on Thursday, made no significant recommendations. It said that the spirit of the party’s 1999 resolution on the nation’s future remained unchanged, but that it would be flexible in the way it engages with China.

Chu ahead of all others in New Taipei race: poll

NOT EVEN TRYING?The incumbent mayor leads Yu Shyi-kun by 45 percentage points, Su Tseng-chang by 23 and Tsai Ying-wen by 17 even though he may not run
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll found that former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would trail New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) by 45 percentage points if the two were to contest the city’s mayoral election, which is scheduled for December.

The senior politician had a support rate of 22 percent while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayor had 67 percent, according to the survey conducted by cable television channel TVBS’ poll center.

Contract with toll firm ‘can be terminated’

By Shelley Shan and Chris Wang  /
Sat, Jan 11, 2014 - Page 3

Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday that the government could terminate its contract with the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (遠東電子收費, FETC) if the company fails to rectify the technical errors in the freeway electronic toll collection (ETC) system.

Earlier this week, Yeh said the contractor must offer additional compensation to freeway drivers for any erroneous transaction appearing in their ETC accounts, as well as refund the charge.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oversight of MAC-TAO meeting urged

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Activists yesterday demanded that Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) report to the Legislative Yuan on his scheduled meeting with his Chinese counterpart and warned him against initiating any political negotiations that could go beyond “the red line of democracy.”

Representatives from the Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Association and Taiwan Democracy Watch said Wang might engage in political talks or arrangements with Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) when they meet in China after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Call to keep farming out of trade pact

TOO CLOSE:Academics said Chinese products were similar to and cheaper than their Taiwanese counterparts so the sector should not be in the service trade pact
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The agricultural sector should be excluded from the service trade agreement with China and manufacturers in the free economic pilot zones should be required to use domestic material exclusively to save the sector from “disastrous annihilation,” academics said yesterday.

“We are not opposed to free trade, but we do not support a system of completely free trade because social fairness and safeguarding the disadvantaged should always go before economic development,” Kainan University professor Wu Ming-ming (吳明敏) told a press conference.

Tsai denies wrongdoing

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday denied any wrongdoing in a controversy linked to Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co when she was vice premier between 2006 and 2007. She said media reports that she supported the company when the government was trying to terminate a contract with it because of poor performance could be part of a politically motivated smear campaign against her. Tsai said she presided over a negotiation session with the company in June 2006, which failed to reach an agreement, but she had no role in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ decision to keep the contract. Tsai office spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) issued a press release yesterday saying the resurrection of the allegations, which had been refuted by the Executive Yuan in 2006, could be an effort on the part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to shift the focus away from its poor performance.

DPP’s review of its China policy lacks major change

WORK IN PROGRESS::More radical proposals like freezing the party’s independence clause did not make the cut, but DPP officials said the new policy would be friendlier
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday completed a provisional review of its China policy without making any dramatic recommendations, saying that the spirit of its 1999 resolution on Taiwan’s future remained unchanged, but that the party would be flexible in the way it engages with China.

A meeting of the party’s China Affairs Committee yesterday concluded that the resolution — which defines Taiwan as a sovereign country while acknowledging the Republic of China as the country’s formal title — has been accepted by the majority of the public and would remain the DPP’s core value and position.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Poll finds DPP’s Tsai, KMT’s Chu in tie

FANTASY ELECTION:Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu received the most support in a public opinion survey of presidential hopefuls
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The support rates of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are tied at 42 percent apiece if they were to stand against each other in a presidential election tomorrow, a public opinion poll found.

According to the poll, conducted by the poll center of TVBS, a cable television channel, Tsai and Chu received more support than the two parties’ aspirant presidential candidates, beating out DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), among others.

Heated debate expected at DPP meeting

POLICY SHOWDOWN:Senior party members have slammed the draft China policy report as being ‘conservative’ and lacking a conclusion on Taiwan’s political status
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Heated debate is expected in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) meeting tomorrow, despite it having been scheduled as an occasion for the party to finalize and unveil its “new and improved” China policy, with DPP members still arguing about the independence clause and the party’s stance on facilitating cross-strait exchanges.

The moderate wing of the party, led by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), published articles on various platforms ahead of tomorrow’s meeting — the finale of a series of seminars and expanded meetings held in the past seven months — to criticize the party’s “conservative stance” in the draft report.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Taipower, CPC budgets for ‘neighborhood’ panned

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Most of the money earmarked by state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) for environmental protection, has instead gone toward what he called “bribing the community,” Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.

Hsu told a press conference that he would boycott the two companies’ budgets if they refuse to change the way they regulate their combined total this year of NT$3.55 billion (US$118 million) for “neighborhood-relations building.”

Judge, prosecutor review systems panned

CHANGE FOR THE WORSE:In the decade before the act’s passage, an average of 3.7 judges and 4.3 prosecutors were disciplined a year, but the numbers are fewer today
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The review system for judges and prosecutors has failed to live up to the public’s expectations, the Judicial Reform Foundation and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said yesterday, two years after the systems were put in place.

The Judges’ Act (法官法) passed its third legislative reading exactly two years ago, allowing for the establishment of two committees — the Judge Evaluation and Prosecutor Evaluation committees — sitting under the Judicial Yuan, which would handle complaints against judicial personnel.

EDITORIAL: Emergence of a new political force

With the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) busy with nominations for the year-end special municipality elections, the discussion among a mixed group of academics, politicians and social activists about establishing a political group went unnoticed.

The groups and individuals involved included former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), Academia Sinica research fellow Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), activist group Citizen 1985 as well as dozens of civic groups, former Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正) said.

Monday, January 06, 2014

DPP softens position on Ko Wen-je

‘TOLERANT HEART’::DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang hinted at a one-phase poll including the pan-green independent, without requiring him to join the party
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter
Mon, Jan 06, 2014 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) stance toward independent Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) joining the party appeared to be changing at the urging of several party heavyweights and supporters, as DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) pledged to consolidate the opposition to end the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) 16-year governance over Taipei.

Su on Saturday softened his stance that Ko must be a DPP member and win the primary to secure the party’s support, because the DPP would have to nominate its own candidate, saying that the priority in the election would be defeating the KMT.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Ko Wen-je visits Chen Shui-bian in prison hospital

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University Hospital physician and Taipei mayoral election aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) visited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the prison hospital in Greater Taichung yesterday and said that Chen should be allowed to leave prison for the sake of his health.

Chen, who is serving a 20-year prison term for corruption, was sent to Taichung Veterans General Hospital for surgery to treat his sleep apnea and on Tuesday returned to Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital, where a special medical zone was set up for him.

Discussions held on creation of new political group

PEOPLE POWER:Lin Feng-jeng said that the idea was only just forming, but the party would not be the same as the existing parties, instead focusing on social movements
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Social activists, academics and former politicians have held discussions on the establishment of a new political group to maximize people power and to voice their disgust at the way party politics currently functions in Taiwan.

“The idea is still in its early stages, but one thing is sure: The group will not be a conventional political party like the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT),” former executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正), who has been actively involved in the campaign, told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Campaigners complain about ‘stalling strategy’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A recall campaign against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) yesterday entered its second phase, during which the Constitution 133 Alliance would need to collect about 40,000 signatures from residents of New Taipei City’s (新北市) six districts for the recall proposal to pass.

“[Collecting signatures] will be difficult, and we have to deal with the questionable administrative procedure of the Central Election Commission, but we will fight to the very end,” award-winning writer Neil Peng (馮光遠), one of the campaign’s primary organizers, said in front of the commission’s headquarters, where he obtained a copy of the petition letter for the second phase.

DPP calls for inclusion of China pacts in draft treaty

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Deals with China should be included in the Legislative Yuan’s scheduled discussion on the draft treaty act as “a safety valve” is necessary for the future handling of cross-strait negotiations, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus said yesterday.

“The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus is advised to support the inclusion of China in the deliberation of the treaty act next week because early consultation, better communication and the room for renegotiation are all necessary in cross-strait engagements so that the interests of Taiwanese would be protected,” DPP lawmaker Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a news conference.

KMT denies including mayor in poll

NOMINATION TIME ANNOUNCED::The party said it had not conducted any polls because it has not yet nominated its candidates for the Taipei mayoral elections
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters
Fri, Jan 03, 2014 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday denied including New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) in a party poll on the popularity of potential candidates for the Taipei mayoral election, and said that the party will launch the nomination procedures for the special municipalities after the Lunar New Year holidays.

Chu, who is reportedly eyeing the presidential election in 2016, has not confirmed his re-election bid in the New Taipei City mayoral election.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

President seeks support for liberalization policies

RECURRENT THEME::President Ma Ying-jeou urged opposition parties to support government efforts to implement the proposed cross-strait service trade pact
By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters
Thu, Jan 02, 2014 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledged to boost the nation’s economy in his New Year’s Day address yesterday, while seeking public support for his administration’s economic liberalization policy.

“I am fully aware that everyone is concerned about the economy. On the first day of the year, I promise every Taiwanese that the government is determined to make [improving] the economy the foremost priority, and to make this year a breakthrough year for the economy,” he said.

DPP must change, work with civil society: Tsai

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for the party to make necessary changes so that the DPP would be able to embrace — and be accepted by — the emerging force of Taiwan’s civil society in the new year and beyond.

“We have to understand that it has come down to whether civil society will accept the DPP, rather than how the DPP is supposed to ‘lead’ civil society. Only with that in mind, and only with sincerity, can the DPP foster the public’s trust,” Tsai said in a press release issued by her office, in which she listed her new year’s resolution.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Prosperity tops list of public’s wishes for new year: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The majority of respondents to a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-run opinion poll hoped for a prosperous year this year as well as wishing that construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be suspended and the cross-strait service trade agreement renegotiated.

“The survey found that almost all of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) major policies have gone against mainstream public opinion. Hopefully, that will change in 2014,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a news conference yesterday.

Legislator Lin Chia-lung wins DPP’s Taichung mayoral public opinion poll

OPTIONS:There are several possible contenders for the KMT ticket, even as incumbent Jason Hu remains mum on his plans for the December special municipality polls
By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) beat fellow lawmaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) in a public opinion poll to win the party’s primary for the Greater Taichung mayoral election in December, the party announced yesterday.

“Lin has won in an accumulated public opinion poll, which included surveys conducted by three companies on Monday night and pitted both candidates against Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強),” DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) told a press conference.

Hunger strike honors Tiananmen

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Exiled Chinese dissident Wang Dan (王丹) yesterday announced he would begin a 24-hour hunger strike at 12am today to launch an international campaign to “besiege” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

Wang, one of the best-known of the student leaders of the Tiananmen protests in the spring of 1989, said Chinese dissidents around the world had been planning the campaign for months.

Groups use events to highlight social issues

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Several groups celebrated the new year with an overnight event that began last night in front of the Presidential Office and at Liberty Square in Taipei to promote their stances on various social issues, including the use of nuclear power, land justice and same-sex marriages.

Anti-nuclear activists concluded their 84-day march around the nation with a night rally — for which speeches, film screenings and concerts were arranged — that aimed to highlight civil disobedience and their determination to see nuclear energy phased out in Taiwan.