Tuesday, July 29, 2014

EDITORIAL: Implications of Taipei mayoral race

Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 8

It would not be surprising if the public feels as if the Taipei mayoral campaign has been going on forever.

First there was the raucous and prolonged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary, which resulted in the selection of an independent candidate backed by the pan-green camp’s Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). However, the nine-in-one elections to be held on Nov. 29 are still four months away.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Priorities for legislative session differ

NOMINEES V ELECTIONS:Passage of the Control Yuan nominations tops the KMT’s list for the second extraordinary session, while the DPP is prioritizing an election-related bill
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have different priorities in the extraordinary two-week legislative session that opens to today, with the KMT likely to focus on passing the review of Control Yuan nominees

The review tops the 18-item agenda proposed by the KMT, followed by a special statute on governing the free economic pilot zones and a statute on oversight of the cross-strait agreements.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Penghu Crash: DPP legislator calls for commissioner to vacate position

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

On Wednesday, Penghu Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) was lambasted for a planned visit to China that critics said showed a disregard for the potential damage to lives and properties caused by Typhoon Matmo, which brought fierce winds and torrential rain to the nation, and caused 17 injuries between late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Wang’s scheduled trip to Shenzhen, in China’s Guangdong Province, was not discovered until the commissioner was found taking the first flight back to Penghu yesterday morning after a plane crash in the county killed 48 passengers and injured 10 on Wednesday night.

Chen Chu leads in poll on Kaohsiung: ‘China Times’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who is seeking re-election, enjoys a lead of almost 40 percentage points over Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), a public opinion poll released yesterday showed.

In a rematch between Chen, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and Yang, who ran against Chen four years ago, the mayor routed Yang 58.7 percent to 19.1 percent in the latest survey by the Want Want China Times poll center, the Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stop criticizing Tsai, Chen says

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is asking his supporters to stop criticizing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for not seeking medical parole for him, the spokesperson of his private medical team said.

“[Chen] asked me to stop criticizing Tsai in my articles and public comments. He said that while he did not think what I did was a mistake, it would be better to stop criticizing Tsai and calling for people to cast spoilt ballots in the presidential election in 2016,” Janice Chen (陳昭姿), the spokesperson, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night after visiting the former president in the prison hospital in Greater Taichung earlier that day.

Ko’s campaign to review hiring, amid controversy

By Chris Wang and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters

The campaign office of independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) pledged to review the hiring of a substitute services military draftee as the office’s information technology adviser after a media outlet reported the controversial move yesterday.

Yen Yi-cheng (顏易程), a draftee of the three-year research and development substitute services, has been working as an aide to Ko in charge of the campaign office’s Internet services and security system, the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

EDITORIAL: Freezing the independence clause

Tue, Jul 22, 2014 - Page 8

For the time being, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is able to evade the controversial proposal to freeze the party’s Taiwan independence clause after DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) sent it to the party’s Central Executive Committee for further discussion at the party congress on Sunday.

Rest assured that the issue is set to cause infighting and fiery debate within the party in the future. When it comes to independence, things have always been complex.

Initiators of independence clause hail Tsai’s decision

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Initiators of the controversial proposal to freeze the Taiwan independence clause in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) charter yesterday said that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) reserving the proposal for future discussion was a “wise decision.”

“[Tsai’s handling of the proposal] was good for the party... I respect her move. It was a wise decision,” former DPP legislator Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南), who drafted the proposal with former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮), told a radio interview hosted by Clara Chou (周玉蔻).

Ko defends policy on public housing

‘CAN’T DO’ ATTITUDE:The independent candidate rejected Sean Lien’s criticism that the policy was not feasible, saying his rival lacks the determination to tackle the issue
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that his campaign platform on public housing, which aims to build 50,000 rent-only units in the city, is “workable” and that his main rival’s criticism shows “his unwillingness to tackle the housing issue.”

“Public housing is a difficult task, but a mayor has to have the determination to resolve it and has to be at least aggressive,” Ko said during a campaign stop at the Social Housing Advocacy Consortium, in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) campaign office statement that Ko’s plan was not feasible.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tsai’s allies make gains at DPP congress

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) leadership for the next two years took shape yesterday during elections at the annual congress as DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gained an ability to influence the party’s power structure for the first time.

Tsai, who neither established her own alliance nor became affiliated with any grouping when she served as chairperson between 2008 and 2012, yesterday saw allies voted onto the party’s key decisionmaking bodies — the Central Executive Committee and the Central Standing Committee.

DPP’s Tsai evades charter clause fight

COMMITTEE CURVE BALL:Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen headed off contentious debate by pushing a raft of policy proposals to a committee
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday sent all the proposals in the national party congress regarding the DPP’s China policy, including the widely discussed freezing of its Taiwan independence clause, to the party’s Central Executive Committee without discussion, defusing potential tension surrounding the issue despite drawing criticism from party members.

Citing time constraints, Tsai, who presided over the meeting, proposed to send the initiatives to the committee because there was “not enough time left for a thorough discussion over the much-disputed and important issue regarding changing the party charter.”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

DPP optimistic about Taichung election chances

CHANGHUA DEAL?The party visited the father of an independent hopeful in the county to discuss a partnership, but said it still thinks its candidate can win
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was cautiously optimistic about the Greater Taichung mayoral election in November, with the party’s candidate, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), leading incumbent Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) by almost 20 percentage points in the party’s latest survey.

“In a poll conducted by the DPP three days ago, Lin enjoyed a comfortable lead of 48 percent to Hu’s 29 percent. Moreover, 45.3 percent of respondents favored Lin as the winner, with only 29.6 percent picking Hu, who is seeking re-election,” DPP spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said.

DPP mulls independence clause

FREEZE ENOUGH:In response to protests, Chen Zau-nan said that the nation has been independent ever since it began democratic elections, so declaring it is not an issue
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Debate among Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members over whether the party should freeze the Taiwan independence clause in its charter arose again yesterday ahead of a party congress to be held on Sunday.

A group of pro-independence advocates expressed strong opposition to a proposal to freeze the clause by protesting in front of the DPP’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday and called for the proposal’s initiators, former DPP legislators Julian Kuo (郭正亮) and Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南), to resign from the party.

Ko Wen-je trying to recruit Yao Li-ming for campaign

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday confirmed that he has been trying to recruit political commentator Yao Li-ming (姚立明) as his campaign director to widen the appeal of his efforts to lead the capital, which he says will focus on garnering non-partisan support.

Responding to a report by Chinese-language newspaper the Apple Daily, Ko told reporters that he had offered Yao, a professor in Chinese Culture University’s Department of Public Administration and Management, the position, but no decision has been made yet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Annette Lu vows pursuit of anti-plant referendum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she would not give up her effort to initiate a local referendum to stop the installation of fuel rods in the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant if her appeal is rejected by the Taipei High Administrative Court next month.

Lu filed a provisional injunction in January after the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee in May last year rejected a proposal regarding the plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).

DPP programs aim to involve youth in politics

DEMOCRACY:Two new initiatives — Youth Power and Youth Council — aim to get young people voting and discussing political issues, DPP officials said
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday announced two youth-oriented programs aimed at encouraging the young to participate in politics, which it says is crucial to deepening Taiwan’s democracy and reforming the party.

The first program, Youth Power, encourages people aged 23 to 40 to participate in the November elections for township councilors and borough and village wardens.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

EDITORIAL: Playing the ‘blame the DPP’ game

Tue, Jul 15, 2014 - Page 8

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption, has always been a potent totem not only for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but also many Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters to point to when it comes to what was wrong with his administration.

For the KMT and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Chen has always been an easy target, as they seek to remind voters what happened when they cast their votes for the other — read wrong — party and the other — read really wrong — candidate, and strive to convince the public that the DPP is the party of corruption, not the KMT, even though the KMT turned “black gold” into an art form.

No trust in legislators, legal system: poll

DISILLUSIONMENT:About 70 percent of respondents polled do not have faith in the judicial system. President Ma’s approval rating also dipped 6.3 points to 14.8 percent
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A public opinion poll released yesterday showed most people do not trust lawmakers and law enforcement officials, and believe that not even a change of administration would change the situation.

Asked whether the judiciary is able to safeguard social justice and fairness, 69.1 percent of respondents said no, while only 17 percent said yes and 13.9 percent did not give an answer, the poll by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research showed.

Education minister resigns over scandal

Staff writer, with CNA
Tue, Jul 15, 2014 - Page 1

Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) resigned yesterday amid an uproar over his alleged connection to an academic who has had dozens of his papers retracted from an international journal due to suspected manipulation of the peer-review process.

“After reflection overnight, in order to safeguard my own reputation ... I have decided to resign as education minister,” Chiang told a press conference in Taipei.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ko, Chu remain far in lead in public opinion polls

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Public opinion polls released yesterday showed that independent Taipei mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) remain head and shoulders above their respective opponents in the run-up to the year-end elections, while Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) has erased his deficit in the rankings.

The polls in the three constituencies were conducted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

Opposition calls on minister of education to resign

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Opposition parties yesterday called for Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) to step down amid an academic scandal that has made international headlines and urged the nation’s academics to review the system as it places too much emphasis on dissertations.

Chiang was embroiled in the controversy after being listed as a coauthor in five of 60 articles submitted by former National Pingtung University associate professor Chen Chen-yuan (陳震遠) and retracted from the Journal of Vibration and Control over allegations of falsified peer reviews.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Beijing will learn to deal with DPP: Tsai

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

If the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is able to do well in the seven-in-one elections in November, Beijing would have no option but to adjust its strategy toward the party because it has always been pragmatic, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in an interview.

“Simply put, whoever seizes the momentum, others would shift toward the powerful side,” Tsai said in response to a question about the DPP’s relations with Beijing in an interview with the Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine published on Wednesday.

Yuan deposits put banking industry at risk: lawmaker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Increasing yuan deposits in Taiwan without sufficient regulation could exacerbate the nation’s economic dependence on China in the future and leave the banking industry open to Chinese manipulation, a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker said yesterday.

Citing central bank statistics, TSU Legislator Lai Cheng-chang (賴振昌) told a press conference that the total amount of yuan in Taiwan as of May this year was more than NT$290 billion (US$9.63 billion), of which more than 60 percent was deposited at the Bank of China’s Taipei branch.

KMT should apply ‘Keelung standards’ in Taitung, Miaoli

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should apply the same standards when replacing its candidates in November’s seven-in-one elections because they are involved in allegations of corruption, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“If Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰) is to be stripped of his nomination for the Keelung mayoral election due to his role in an alleged corruption case, why are candidate for Taitung County commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) and candidate for Miaoli County commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) able to retain their nominations?” DPP spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) asked at a press conference in Taipei.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joseph Wu subpoena is ‘abuse of power’: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Special Investigation Division’s (SID) subpoena of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) over a case of missing documents during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration was an abuse of power because it fell beyond the division’s jurisdiction, the DPP said yesterday.

After the party on Tuesday accused the SID of violating the law by not stating the origin of the case on its subpoena and said the subpoena could be politically motivated, the division said that it had subpoenaed witnesses, including Wu, for investigation into missing official documents from the Presidential Office.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Joseph Wu subpoena could be illegal

WITCH-HUNT?While the DPP claimed that the subpoena violated the Code of Criminal Procedure, the SID denied its investigation had any pre-election political considerations
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s subpoena of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) could be illegal and politically motivated, the DPP said yesterday.

“Wu was listed as an ‘interested party’ in a recent subpoena from the SID... on which no details of the case were listed. The division appears to have violated the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法),” DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) told a press conference.

Taiwan should upgrade Japan ties: think tank

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan should seize the opportunity presented by Japan’s recent removal of a ban on collective self-defense and seek to upgrade bilateral relations on economic and security cooperation, a think tank said yesterday.

“As a think tank, we support Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s removal of the ban on collective self-defense rights because it benefits Taiwan’s security,” Taiwan Brain Trust executive director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) told a symposium.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

EDITORIAL: In search of the spirit of Lu Hsiu-yi

Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - Page 8

For those who are familiar with the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) history, the seven-in-one elections in November would be reminiscent of the mayoral and commissioner elections in 1997, when the party defeated the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in terms of the number of elected mayors and commissioners.

To most people’s surprise, the DPP achieved its most successful campaign in local elections to date, going from having six local government leaders to 12. The result put it ahead of the KMT’s eight and left the DPP in charge of 70 percent of the nation’s population.

‘Green split’ has no place in decision on Changhua: Huang

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) yesterday said she had not ruled out running for Changhua County commissioner in November as an independent despite such a move possibly hurting the pan-green camp’s chances of winning the constituency.

“Whether or not a candidate should run in an election should be decided by the voters, not by political parties,” Huang, who was stripped of her TSU membership because she insisted on running, told a press conference.

Chu confirms re-election bid, slams ‘smears’

‘PRINCELING’ TRIO:Mayoral candidate Yu Shyi-kun said New Taipei City’s mayor was part of a group from political families, urging people to vote against them
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) launched his bid for another four-year term yesterday by completing his registration with the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) local chapter, vowing to stay in the race to the end amid speculation that he could abandon the mayor’s office to focus on the 2016 presidential election.

After he completed the registration process, Chu told reporters that his re-election campaign headquarters would be established at an appropriate date, adding that his campaign team would be comprised of people from every sector of society.

Ex-DPP leader Lin launches a reform institute

PEOPLE RULE:Lin I-hsiung announced a foundation that intends to change the laws about referendums and recalls so that ‘people can determine their fate’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) has established a new foundation to promote amending the Referendum Act (公民投票法), the Civil Servant Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) and the Constitution so that “Taiwanese people could determine their own fate through a democratic process.”

The People Rule Foundation (人民作主教育基金會) plans to launch its first official event — a march around the nation — in September, beginning in the eastern counties of Taitung and Hualien, the foundation said in its mission statement issued yesterday.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Tsai rejects mayoral campaign rumors

NOT CHASING CHU:The DPP chairperson said that her role as campaign director for New Taipei City mayoral candidate Yu Shyi-kun was returning a favor to a colleague
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday dismissed a rumor alleging that she is trying to “annihilate” New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) potential presidential campaign two years in advance.

She also made remarks on what she described as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) traditional smear campaign tactics.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Support for Ma and Xi meeting plummets: poll

CROSS-STRAIT EXCHANGES:While support for a Ma-Xi meeting has waned, 62 percent of respondents back regular visits by ministerial-level officials to push peace
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Public support for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) appears to have plummeted in the past year, with the majority of respondents in a public opinion survey released yesterday saying such a meeting was unnecessary.

The poll, conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, asked respondents if they support a meeting between Ma and Xi before Ma’s term ends in 2016, and found that 54.4 percent opposed it, 26.5 percent said it was necessary and 19.1 percent gave no answer.

Zhang’s visit exposes all parties’ weaknesses: forum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Neither the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nor Beijing came out as a winner in the just-concluded visit of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), panelists said in a symposium in Taipei yesterday.

Reviewing the first visit by a Chinese minister to Taiwan in more than six decades, which was dogged by protests during its four days, panelists told the forum organized by the pro-independence Taiwan Brain Trust that the trip was only a “publicity drive” for Zhang, with the Taiwanese government sidelined.