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Jun 23, 2007

One thing on Vincient Siew after all...

Came across this in the very pro-green New Taiwan:


Summary: Vincent Siew signed that if the KMT had passed the "the ROC is Taiwan" formulation he advocated in 2004, perhaps the KMT wouldn't' be so harmed by the rhetoric regarding "nativization." He also suggests Ma avoid talking so much about direct flights and put the focus on China as merely a tool for Taiwan's already economy which is strong in its own right and a way to improve Taiwan's competitiveness between the other three of the "four dragons."

Interestingly, this is not Ma's position at all.

Edit and update: I'm not the only one to notice this! The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Chen Ming-tong ( 陳明通 ) also came out today and said that if the KMT would adopt Vincient Siew's position that "the ROC is Taiwan," it could solve the Taiwanese national identity problem.

Personally, I think it takes one more step: the unequivocal acceptance that only the Taiwanese public have a right to determine the future of Taiwan and via referendum.

Someone else will cover KMT VP stuff

So I'll post this about Wang:

1) Wang is a fan of the Ma-Siew ticket, saying his expertise, experience and "native" label will help Ma.

2) Wang mentioned that he has not been tapped yet to be a legislator at large (and Chiu Yi is!?!? Will the KMT ever get with the program?) nor as a legislator in a district. Wang says at this point, he has no plans to run for the legislature again and that for now he simply wishes to take care of current legislative business. What would he do next?

In regards to his future plans, Wang softly smiled and said, "we'll see."

Jun 22, 2007


I haven't updated much for a few reasons:

1) I'm doing marriage paperwork and getting ready for a brief honeymoon next week.

2) I'm not particularly excited by much news related to the legislature except the Farmers' Party stuff, which I will get to writing an English version of soon.

3) I've just been south on a trip to Kaohsiung which sort of put me so at peace, I didn't want to do much of anything in particular except for my job work.

But don't worry, I promise I'm not going off the map forever.

Jun 16, 2007

Great article

Commentary: Beijing's war of words with Hong Kong

As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its handover to China on July 1, a war of words has broken out over how much authority the territory has to manage its own affairs. On Saturday, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of Next Media Group, criticized Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Chinese National People's Congress, calling him "crazy." He was referring to an earlier comment by Wu that Hong Kong had no independent authority aside from that assigned it by the central government in Beijing.

Lai said Wu's comment was nonsensical, insisting that Hong Kong is under the protection of the Basic Law, specially created for the Special Administrative Region, which gives it autonomy over its own affairs.

As chairman of the NPC, Wu is supposed to be an expert on China's Constitution and laws. How could Lai, a Hong Kong businessman, know more than Wu about the law? The fact is that these two people live in different worlds, with totally different views of the nature of law.

Wu's comment exposes the fatal flaw in China's legal and constitutional practices. Strictly speaking, his indiscreet remark amounts to a serious dereliction of duty. This affair reveals the fact that to Wu, the articles of China's Constitution and Hong Kong's Basic Law are both unimportant.

Jun 15, 2007

Budget, Chen, Chen Chu, and Ma

For some reason, the budget news has been utterly eclipsed and I can't find *anything* on if the legislature actually passed it today or not.

The High Court has made a decision that should affect Chen Shui-bian's wife's case: the decision is that the President does not have to disclose secrets on how he spent the money since he does have a right to do so secretly. The exact impact of this decision is not something I know enough to talk about, but it obviously works in Wu's favor. Predictably, the blues whined about the terrible state of justice in this case while greens affirmed it. The presidential office just said they "respect" the decision and are moved.

A lower court also declared Chen Chu's victory in the Kaohsiung mayoral race to be invalid, and at this time it appears there will be a new election. The reason given was that a false rumor of her opponent vote buying was spread before the election. Also predictibly, and almost hilariously because of the contrast with President Chen's case, the greens whined about the terrible decision while the blues praised the decision.

Ma Ying-jeou secretly met with the Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), and then seemed quite surprised the Singapore government confirmed it. Ma was surprised, since he had tried to duck the question. Hsieh had a classy response, saying the meeting was a good thing but he wishes that Ma would speak up more for Taiwan.

Expect front pages tomorrow stuffed with Taiwan news instead of the normal mix of Taiwan-international news.

Also, Beijing is slamming the DPP referendum on entering the UN with the name of "Taiwan" as successionist while staying perfectly quiet on what amounts to the same referendum being pushed by the KMT to join under the name of "Republic of China" (while recognizing the PRC). My personal feeling and hope is that the DPP will support both referendums, thus increasing the chance of both of their success and demonstrating that the Taiwanese don't care so much about the name Taiwan vs. ROC, but are very interested in joining the UN.

台灣農民黨成立大會 楊秋興前往祝賀

more info in English to follow later.











台灣農民黨正式成立 重申與王金平無關 楊政治任主席
農民黨成立 強調四不六要
台農黨搶不分區 恐難如願

Jun 14, 2007

KMT threatens budget

Some blue legislators are suggesting the DPP most promise to allow the CEC bill to pass before they'll let the budget go (I suppose they could only vote it down at this time, not change the agenda?). I don't believe the DPP has made any such public promise and has even said they'd still block teh CEC bill because it's unconstitutional.

Ma and Hsieh on mutual recognition

On the evening of June 12, while on a trip through India, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) made what amounts to another major policy speech regarding how he would handle negotiations with China.

Remember some of Ma's phrases like "the people on both sides of the strait (including the Taiwanese people) must decide" the future of Taiwan (台灣未來「必須由兩岸人民(包括台灣人民)決定」) ? It contrasts with President Chen's "only the Taiwanese people have a right to decide the future of Taiwan." Or perhaps you remember "one China, two regions" or "One side, one political entity" (「一中兩區」、「一邊一個政治實體」)? It also contrasts with Chen's "one side, one country, with this side being named the Republic of China (ROC)" formulation.

On June 12, Ma said that he would not seek "mutual recognition" while negotiating with China, and he also hoped Taiwan and China could avoid "mutual non-recognition." In other words, he wants "mutual non-denial." As he put it:

"If both sides want to act cutthroat, and one side uses 'signal fire' diplomacy while the other side refuses to yield, then in the end there will only be unending attrition and a never ending creation of even more problems."
This statement is nice, but ignores the obvious fact that DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was willing to make: that Ma seems like he's speaking as a third party, and sounds almost like Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀). Taiwan recognizes China; the problem is that China refuses to recognize Taiwan, and that China keeps applying pressure to shrink Taiwan's international space.

(Related Taipei Times article)

Edit: The thing that bothers me about this most is Ma is trying to run on a platform where he basically doesn't care about being recognized as a soverign nation. I don't think that's going to fly.

And as Feiren at Rank pointed out the other day, China long ago denied the ROC still exists.That was part of the 92 concensus that Ma wants to start with, and that's even in their constitution ("Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China."). So what is Ma talking about?

Quick, buy off farmers!

Not to be outdone by KMT efforts, the DPP is trying now to improve the lot of farmer villages with a NT$100bn bill. And realtors like it too!

To turn the plan into reality, the Cabinet yesterday approved an administrative order -- the "Plan for Rebuilding Farming Villages" and unveiled a proposal for a new law -- to back the plan.

While the proposed law must be submitted to the legislature, the plan can be implemented immediately because it is covered by the administrative order, which does not require legislative approval.

Chang said the plan would help farming villages improve the daily lives of farmers, including new residential buildings, sewage systems, parks and public services.

"We hope to construct more `garden cities,'" he said.

"Our estimates show that more than 500,000 households in farming villages would benefit from the plan," he said.

Chang said that the Cabinet was planning to spend the NT$100 billion within a decade to renovate more than 4,000 farming villages nationwide.

"Now that the high speed rail system is finished, anyone can travel from one place in Taiwan to another within a day. Improved transportation would make it easier for farming villages to become more developed in terms of the environment and public construction," he said.

Good job paying attention just in time for the elections, guys!

small problem for PFP-KMT election cooperation

The two parties were unable to come to an agreement on how to handle three four different districts. At this time, the PFP insists it will run in the elections until the very end. Two PFP legislators even declared total war.

The districts are Taichung City-2, Taichung County-3, Taoyuan County-3, and Kaohsiung County-1. The first three are safely blue while the third is rather green.

Interestingly, the KMT will also not be nominating anyone in Yunlin County-2 because they have two candidates that both insist on running. The KMT just decided to let them both run and nominate neither.

You can always take another look at the legislative map if you want. I won't be updating the names in it again until nominations are complete, though.

Jun 13, 2007

MAC once gave China's Taiwan Affairs Office 2nd Republic Constitution copy

The idea was for Beijing to review the draft and decide if there was really anything in there that crossed the red line, I imagine. It was handed over secretly. Apparently, they didn't like it.

KMT doing damage control on Farmers' Party

The Chinese Nationalist Party (中國國民黨) is working hard to suck up to the Farmers' and Fishermens' Associations (農漁會), sending chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) down to the center of the country to speak at an Agricultural society meeting (中部農業團體).

Wu Poh-hsiung defended the hard-working and clean nature of most associations and condemed recent DPP attacks against to the Farmers' and Fishermen's Association laws. The amendments, which the Executive Yuan had asked the Legislature to reconsider, removed term limits on general-secretaries and required officials to step down only after a final conviction as opposed to an initial conviction.

The pan-blue camp rejected the Executive's request. The KMT is particularly keen not to see its relationship with influencial general-secretaries deteriorate too far, given that some will be forming the Farmers' Party (台灣農民黨) this Friday.

The Farmers' Party goals will focus on bringing greater attention to the situations farmers (and fishermen) face and having a greater influence on national policy. Earlier reports indicated the Party's interest in cooperating with timber and othe rural industries.

Jun 12, 2007

Winston Wong wants Wang Jin-pyng to be Prez

Winston Wong (王文洋), the chief executive officer of the Grace T.H.W. Group (宏仁集團) and son of Taiwan's richest billionare Publish PostWang Yung-ching (王永慶), has come out saying during an interview with CNA that he believes Taiwan needs a knowledgeable, selfless president, and that Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is the man for the job. Winston believes there's plenty of time before the election and that when the time comes, Wang Jin-pyng will come out to run not for himself, but for the people.

Wang Jin-pyng, accepting the compliments, said he would work hard to get Ma elected (at this juncture). The fact is he mostly refuses to entirely rule out the possibility he'll run for president, which I like.

Budget bill will be at top of the list on the 15th

Wang announced a blue-green consensus on the issue.

Jun 11, 2007

Ma suggests putting the budget in the top of the priority list (gasp!)

But he'd like the DPP to then allow the CEC bill to pass right afterward in return. We'll see what comes of this.

KMT's referendum issues

The KMT says they are going to push two referendums to combat the DPP's two. The first is a referendum on direct flights (apparently to counter the party property issue) and to apply for UN membership under the name of "Republic of China" (to counter the 'apply as Taiwan' referendum). They emphasised this was had nothing to do with the 2008 election, when all four referendums are likely to be held. Wang likes the ideas.

The DPP naturally attacked the KMT's referendums, with Hsieh pointing out that the KMT's position has flip flopped between the idea that holding a referendum at the same time and place of an election is illegal, to just trying to stop it from happening, to pushing their own ideas. He says they have no real fundamental values on this topic.

I think that the dueling UN related referendums are counter-productive, since the point of the referendum was more an effort to send a signal to the world, though using the name Taiwan was also clearly aimed at promoting a "Taiwanese conscience."

Jun 9, 2007

Media blackout on Farmers' Party

There will probably be some articles out next week since it's planning on forming next Friday.

Jun 8, 2007

A change of pace

Secret Prisons in 2 Countries Held Qaeda Suspects, Report Says

Published: June 8, 2007, NYT

LONDON, June 7 — Investigators have confirmed the existence of clandestine C.I.A. prisons in Romania and Poland housing leading members of Al Qaeda, contends a new report from the Council of Europe, the European human rights monitoring agency.

Dick Marty, the Swiss senator leading the inquiry, said in a recent interview that his conclusions were based on information from intelligence agents on both sides of the Atlantic, including members of the C.I.A. counterterrorism center. The report is to be released on Friday.

The report says the jails operated from 2003 to 2005. “Large numbers of people have been abducted from various locations across the world and transferred to countries where they have been persecuted and where it is known that torture is common practice,” it says.


Prisoners in the secret jails were subjected to sleep deprivation and water-boarding, or simulated drowning, said Mr. Marty, who also said that the two jails had been divided into two categories.

The main C.I.A. jail was centered in a Soviet-era military compound at Stare Kjekuty, in northeastern Poland, where about a dozen high-level terrorism suspects were jailed, the report concludes. Lower-level prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq were held in a military base near the Black Sea in Romania, the report contends.

Jails were staffed entirely by the C.I.A., and local guards secured the perimeters, the report says. “The local authorities were not supposed to be aware of the exact number or the identities of the prisoners who passed through the facilities — this was information that they did not ‘need to know,’ ” the report said.

Mr. Marty said last month in an interview with the Swiss newspaper La Liberté that the report relied on information from disaffected C.I.A. agents and other intelligence officials on the other side of the Atlantic. Many of the agents said they were surprised that the prisons remained a secret for so many years. “They spoke to me because they found what was happening to be disgusting,” he was quoted as saying.

The report includes more specific conclusions than a study issued in June last year that contended that at least 14 European countries had accepted secret transfers of terrorism suspects by the United States. That report listed a web of landing points around the world that it said had been used by American authorities for its air network.

The new report contends that the C.I.A. took extraordinary measures to cover its activities. When C.I.A. jets flew to the Szymany airport in Poland, they used flight plans with “fictitious routes,” it says, giving no indication that the airport was the destination. Polish air traffic controllers — working with military intelligence — completed the cover-up, the report says.

Although the report singled out Poland and Romania, it said that it could not rule out the possibility that other European countries permitted these jails to operate.

Jun 7, 2007

Farmers' Party update

Nothing really happened on this today; just what you'd expect. China Post noted that Farmers and Fishermens associations would join hands with timber and livestock industries for the party. Also, read Michael Turton's great article on Farmers Associations and rural politics.

Ma Ying-jeou suggested while talking to the media that Wang Jin Pyng be the KMT bridge to the Farmer's Party people and go "communicate with them" (read: talk them out of forming the party). Wang declined, stating:


"I haven't gotten anything [about talking to the Farmers' Party] -- no order, no request, I haven't got anything like that at all. [The Farmers' Party]'s formation has nothing at all to do with me, everybody is very clear on that. So why is it that I must do something?"
Wang also pointed out that there are people in the KMT Central Standing Committee closer to those forming the party than Wang himself is, a hint that there's no reason to automatically suspect him. He said he got no advance notice no this one.

The China Times has an interesting article about how small farmers are not excited. Of course, the China Times is printing this as a preemptive strike to minimize the force of the new party, but it raises a great point -- the people who often run the farmer's and fishermen's associations are generally black gold people who care little for the farmers or fishermen, and those commoners get ignored by both parties until an election is around the corner.

TVBS is reporting that the parties slogans include "We want to destroy the KMT and split the DPP." But I seriously doubt this, as I've seen it nowhere else and it would be extremely provocative.

Here's the English articles on it for today:
Wang Jin-pyng denies link to new political party (Taipei Times)
'Farmers' Party' to be inaugurated on June 15 (China Post)

Jun 6, 2007

The Taiwan Farmers' Party and Wang Jin-pyng (王金平)

The Taiwan Farmers' Party (台灣農民黨) will be officially formed in Kaohsiung. It is being put together by the Farmer's and Fisherman's association (農漁會), a grass-roots organization who's leaders are largely native-Taiwanese and KMT sympathetic. The person in charge of forming the party is Hsiao Han-chun (蕭漢俊), director of the Kaohsiung County Farmers' Association. He is considered part of the "White faction" (白派), which is also what Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is (as opposed to the Red or Black factions).

The announcement instantly sparked KMT outrage and fear of a split in the party.

Wang insists he knows nothing about it and had no hand in it, but says it won't hurt the KMT in particular but would affect all parties; Ma asked Wang to clarify and that he simply can't believe that Wang knew nothing about this; The KMT Central Standing Committee threatened to revoke party membership of anyone who joins the Farmers' Party (something party regulations provide for), though the Party Secretary said the situation wasn't that serious; and other high-ranking CSC people also said they don't believe Wang wasn't involved. KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung also said the KMT would continue to communicate with the Associations to prevent the party from being formed.

The Farmers' Party people say they aren't going to put up a presidential candidate in 2008 and only want to compete for at large seats in the legislative election (now set for January 12th of 2008).

If you are wondering about the significance about Taiwan in the party's name, I would suggest it might not mean very much. Taiwan already has a "Farmers' Party" (農民黨), so the decision could be based on the fact that two parties can't register the same name.

Jun 5, 2007

Hsieh's allowance fund

Frank Hsieh also deposited half of his special allowance fund into his bank account while mayor of Kaohsiung. The investigators would not rule out questioning him or the other 3 DPP heavyweights about their funds by July, once they have a little more information.

The only real difference at this point between Hsieh and Ma on this issue is that Ma has stated on the record that he knew it was a public fund before he changed his mind and called it a private fund; Hsieh has probably made no on-the-record statements.

Top DPP officials may be questioned over special funds

By Rich Chang
Tuesday, Jun 05, 2007, Page 3

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office said yesterday that several prominent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) figures would be summoned for questioning next month over the use of their public discretionary special allowance funds.

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office held a press conference yesterday to report on the progress of its special investigation panel's probe into the public officials' use of their allowance funds following complaints from the pan-blue camp.

The subjects of the probe include Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), former premier and currently DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, former premier and DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and National Security Council Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山).

Ma promises peace accord

KMT nominee Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday afternoon, if the KMT comes to power next year, he will immediately extend his hand to take care of four cross strait problems. First, security; on the foundation of the "92 consensus," he will negotiate and sign an agreement with the other side of the [China], and also establish a mechanism for mutual military exchange in order to end the hostile relationship between the two sides. Second, to improve the cross-strait trade relationship, he will push to normalize cross-strait trade by opening up direct flights. Third, he will promote establishing a cross-strait common market. Fourth, he would talk with the Communist party about the cross-strait "international space" problem.

Ma's laid his cards on the table. And I am not sure the issue can be focused on the fundamental problem, that this is just a reformulation of the "No independence, no attack" deal he has wanted to sign with the CCP. It may well be seen as selling out Taiwan, but on the other hand, it just sounds like a good deal! Such a peace agreement will fundamentally alter the status quo to make unification the only option -- this point will probably not be discussed by the KMT. And notice also that Ma didn't say he would pass these issues to the people in a referendum.

I'm a little worried. I think Ma's plan will sell well. They were always going to talk about the economic part, but Ma has laid low on the peace agreement thing for a while, and I thought he might drop it. Edit: interesting editorial on this in the Liberty Times today which points out the main problem is a lack of a unifying Taiwan identity being a serious problem.

Also, Ma said he would "demand" China withdrawal their missiles before negotiations. Of course, if you're surrendering, that's easy; if you're insisting that Taiwan = ROC , != PRC, then they'll never take the missiles away.

Jun 4, 2007

Shocking Wang rant

While I have yet to see any video footage or hear an audio recording of this event, Wang avoids confirming or denying that he said these things (a sure sign he did).

遭王批評「是什麼東西」 馬尷尬:沒親耳聽到不相信 (ETToday)

Here are the key paragraphs, though it's hard to tell exactly how sensationalized it is:




While giving a speech at the National Changhua University of Education on Saturday, Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), student ask why he had procrastinated on the Ma-Wang ticket issue. As soon as Wang heard this question, his whole person immediately became a whirlwind of anger. Wang first scolded media for attacking him daily for procrastinating on the Ma-Wang ticket for half a year, even though Wang had actually clearly refused Ma's offer back in April: where was the so-called procrastination?

He said that when the KMT had not formally nominated Ma Ying-jeou, Wang said he didn't understand on what authority Ma could come and ask him to be his running mate, and asked, "How worthless is Ma Ying-jeou?"

When it came to the issue of how the Wang-Ma relationship was already tattered beyond description, Wang repaired his previous statement, saying that no matter what, he wanted to see the KMT retake the presidency, so in 2008 he could only hold back his tears and cast his vote.
When questioned on the issue, Ma basically said "Wang wouldn't say anything like that, and I haven't heard it from him." When questioned about the statements the day after he made them, Wang basically said "I'm a loyal party member and want us to win."

I wonder what Wang was thinking, if he was thinking? Could he have been baiting Ma? Is this a sign of things to come? What will happen?

Jun 1, 2007

Results of 2nd round nominations

Both parties have completed the second of three rounds for their nominations. Here are the results. Both graphics came from UDN.

DPP pushes no-confidence vote for own premier

Over half of the DPP legislators have already signed the legislation. Basically, they're pissed about the stall in legislation and are telling the PFP and KMT to put their money where their mouth is.

To be fair, the cabinet and forcing early elections was more the plan of the PFP than the KMT. The KMT was only studying the proposal, while the PFP was pushing it hard.

In response, the PFP has asked why the DPP doesn't propose impeaching A-bian and called the proposal evidence of DPP infighting. He also said the PFP would not fall into any trap and would respond only as a unified force with the KMT.

This makes a no-confidence vote slightly more likely and seem slightly less like noise.

Wang will not run as Ma's VP

Wang declines to join Ma on KMT ticket -- Taiwan News
Wang officially declines to serve as VP -- China Post
Wang turns down joint ticket with Ma -- Taipei Times

DPP's anti-bribery committee suspends poll

By George Liao
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
Page 2
2007-06-01 12:48 AM

The Democratic Progressive Party 's anti-bribery committee decided yesterday to suspend a poll that was part of its legislative primary process after allegations surfaced that one its candidates used call transfers to influence the telephone opinion poll, which was scheduled to be held yesterday.

The DPP also reached a resolution yesterday to look into all the opinion polls in all legislative districts to see if call transfers had been used by some contenders to rig the opinion polls.

According to an article in Next Magazine, the candidate Huang Chien-hui (黃劍輝) applied for 1,000 temporary telephone numbers in mid-May from Chunghua Telecom to boost his rankings in the opinion poll, which accounts for 70 percent in the primary results.

Huang's rival, Lin Shu-fen, on Wednesday filed a complaint with the party's headquarters over suspicions regarding an abnormal increase in the number of telephone installations and call transfers in her district, which she said were an indication that the opinion poll was being rigged.

In response to the allegations in the magazine report and the claims made by his rival, Huang said someone had been trying to use the media to influence the primary.

He said that according to the DPP opinion poll center, only telephone numbers applied for before the end of February will be used in the poll.

:( Obviously, not great news. We'll see what happens.