Share this

Jul 30, 2007

Selling cigarettes to minors

This article gives you a taste of how likely Taiwanese are to obey the law. Even when it's a reasonable law everyone supports.

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) Nearly a decade [that's it?] after the sale of tobacco products to minors was outlawed, a high percentage of stores continue to sell cigarettes to people under the age of 18, according to the results of a recent survey released Monday.

The survey, conducted by the Tainan City Department of Health between June 16 and July 20, found that about 90 percent of mom-and-pop shops in residential communities in the southern Taiwan city have sold cigarettes to teenagers.

A total of 136 stores which sell tobacco products were surveyed, including convenience stores, supermarkets, mom-and-pop shops and betel nut vending stands.

According to the survey, some 40 percent of FamilyMart and 7-Eleven convenience stores have sold cigarettes to teens, while about 50 percent of Hi-Life convenience stores have done so.

Meanwhile, between 50-60 percent of supermarkets have sold cigarettes to teenagers, while some 80 percent of betel nut vendors have done so, the survey found.

Analyzing the results of the survey, Tainan city health officials said that a lower percentage of convenience stores sell cigarettes to teenagers probably because staff receive training concerning government regulations and social responsibilities when they are hired and therefore tend to have a stronger "sense" of the notion of protecting young people from forming the habit of smoking.

Jul 28, 2007

Hsieh does damage control

Hsieh shot down the idea of having any independence referendum as part of his plan to have a chance of getting elected.

His rationale was that Taiwan, being a soverign independent country, would only need a referendum on unification issues and never on independence.

Frankie also said Yu was not actually talking about an independence referendum but just having the president use his power to hasten holding the UN bid under the name Taiwan referendum. That's clearly not what Yu was saying.

Taiwanese culture: 足俗 (tsiok sông)


足俗 (tsiok sông), also heard as a Mandarin/Taiwanese mix 很俗 (hen3 sông) is an adjective that is something like a cross between redneck (working class culture), tacky and cheap.
It's meaning is a lot like 很台 (hen3 tai2), but tsiok sông is used in more derogatory situations and hen3 tai2 includes bling-running lifestyles and activities. In other words, tsiok sông is a subcategory of hen3 tai2. Things that are 足俗 are 很台, but not everything that's 很台 can be 足俗.

The word has no proper antonym.

While I can't find any video of dancing or pictures of store names that qualify as tsiok sông (names like 又香又好吃炒麵 "Fragrant and Tasty Noodles," for example), I can come up with some good examples.

Lighters with flashing lights are 足俗. Lighters shaped like Taiwan beer are 足俗. Lighters with barely-dressed girls on them are 足俗. 走馬燈 are 足俗. Dark colored, non-denim shorts are 足俗.

All pictures stolen from a Google image search without credit.


Betel nut:




Jul 27, 2007

Yu suggests independence referendum; Presidential office will consider

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun today called for the Presidential office to hold a defensive referendum and "not rule out" a referendum on the independence topic that if China cites the "Anti-succession law" over Taiwan's UN referendum as reported.

The presidential office will carefully consider the suggestion, and will have to contemplate Taiwan's safety, sovereignty and the proper use of the law.

I'd say this is an unexpected escalation in rhetoric from the presidential office, though I would expect this sort of idea from Yu Shyi-kun (since he's so hardcore). But note that so far, the precondition isn't even met (China has not cited the anti-succession law on this topic. Only an unnamed source in a China Times article has.)

We'll see if this gets any one's attention.

VP Annette Lu said this was just Yu's personal opinion and doesn't exactly represent party consensus; on the CNA wires, you can see a quote from Wang saying this would be a huge step and he'd need to understand more before saying much.

The Taiwan Society is calling for a referendum that asks simply enough, "Is Taiwan part of the People's Republic of China?"

Chen discusses new constitution referendum again

But points out any referendum on the constitution would not be a move for de'jure independence. I'll just link you for now.

Today's a little crazy on the referendum related topics and I don't want to post any thoughts until more info is out.


Jul 26, 2007

China Times: America can't guess China's next step

A China Times article cites an unnamed source, presumably in the US government though that's not explicitly stated only stated in the headline, as saying the US is not sure what China might do in reaction to this UN referendum, that the US therefore must consider a worst case scenario and that the US believes Taiwan has underestimated the threat the referendum could spark.

The article also says the source thinks holding the referendum would make the situation more tense than 1996.

Edit: I actually suspect the reason the article doesn't even cite the source as an American in the article is because the opinion being attributed to the American is being passed THROUGH a Taiwanese guy. The idea is to give the impression it came directly from an American source without actually saying so. Am I paranoid?

Hsieh meets with Powell

This is very interesting.

Washington, July 25 (CNA) Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh met with former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

According to Hsieh, Powell reiterated during the meeting that the U.S. policy remains that Washington opposes any unilateral action to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

However, Hsieh admitted that there are differences between Taiwan and the United States over the definition of the "status quo."

Also during the meeting, Powell mentioned that China has been waging psychological warfare against Taiwan over the past 50 years, and he encouraged Taiwan to be more confident in itself.

Powell expressed the hope that Taiwan can continue to strengthen its democracy and enjoy more freedom. However, he said this does not mean Taiwan should challenge the status quo.

According to Powell, although the fairness of the United States' "one China" policy is being questioned, the policy remains the most effective and feasible in terms of avoiding an escalation of tensions in the region.

Hsieh told reporters that the purpose of his current visit to the United States is to get across his campaign platform to the U.S. side and exchange views with American friends on important issues such as Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on whether to apply to join the United Nations under the name of "Taiwan."

Officials at the U.S. State Department have expressed disapproval of the plan, saying the United State "opposes any initiative that appears designed to change Taiwan's status unilaterally."

During his stay in Washington, D.C., Hsieh has met with officials at the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House's National Security Council. (By Huang Jui-hung and Y.F. Low)

Doing something for one day makes you an expert

I love this part of Ma's long stay. Yesterday he went down to farm in Changhua County. Sanlih had footage of a farmer telling him he'd kill the rice with his planting technique.

Ma went out into the field, sweat a little bit, got yelled at for planting poorly, came out to recite a Tang dyanasty poem about how hard being a farmer is (had he memorized that a long time ago or just for this occasion?) and announced his plan to help the farmers, a "third stage of land reform" (a phrase chosen thanks to the success of earlier land reforms) that includes massive spending.

The best part is you use your day of being a farmer to make your major policy announcement as if going out there for a few hours meant you had new authority to make your suggestions on how to handle the related problems.

As my father-in-law in Pingtung says, Ma is just better off doing what he normally does every day. Because this "long 18-day stay that involves going back to Taipei several times and doing manual labor for a few hours on three of those days" is simply not convincing anyone Ma's closer to the people or understands the Center/South of the country.

Again, he and most politicians ought to be learning what life is like for most people and for the less economically fortunate. But you look out of touch when you come out to recite a Tang Dynasty poem. And worse yet, the poem is just about how hard farming is?. Nothing about the satisfaction, the connection with the land? Well, this is why Ma's in trouble . ;)

Jul 25, 2007

Ma verdict by 8-14?

With final arguments being presented next Tuesday, judges are expected to deliver a verdict on August 14.


President Chen: Taiwan's future should be decided by the people in a referendum

President Chen reaffirmed the longstanding DPP policy that only the Taiwanese people have a right to decide Taiwan's future, and they should make that decision one day by referendum.

While speaking with a visiting Republican party delegation from the US, President Chen expressed that he knows the US does not like plans for the referendum on entering the UN on the name of Taiwan, but that Taiwan is walking along the democratic road and there cannot be limited democracy: Taiwan’s future must be decided by referendum.

The president attacked the way China treats Taiwan, say it’s like “a man with a gun in one hand and the other hand on our throats as we are pushed into a corner. He doesn’t want us to breathe. The 23 million people of Taiwan cannot surrender and cannot simply wait for death. As a result, in the 2008 election the Taiwanese people face an important choice. That is, do Taiwanese want to walk down the “correct” path of Taiwan-centered consciousness, or the “surrendering” path of “greater China” ideology?

Meanwhile, Frank Hsieh has repeated that since Taiwan is already a soverign, independent nation called the Republic of China, there's no need for a referendum on the Taiwanese independence or unification issue. That might not make the Taiwanese Independence people pleased, but it's been Chen's position and makes sense. There's no inherent conflict between Hsieh's and Chen's position. In fact, Chen holds both but only talks about the one at a time.

Ma called on Hsieh not to break his word on this one.

Jul 24, 2007

China makes a threat

According to the China Times, unnamed staff to Communist Party officials who decide Taiwan policy in Beijing as well as scholar Yu Keli (余克禮), deputy director of the Taiwan Research Institute under the China Academy of Social Sciences, have said Taiwan passing a referendum for Taiwan to enter the UN under the name "Taiwan" would be a violation of Chinese "anti-succession law" because it would be a "big change which could result in the seperation of Taiwan from China"「發生將會導致台灣從中國分裂出去的重大事變」 and that Beijing would be forced to react with "unpeaceful means and necessary measures" 「非和平方式及其他必要措施」.

The aide did not specify what "unpeaceful means" could include (firing missles over Taiwan, attacking, a blockade), but said that the "Five nos" promises of President Chen from 2000 wouldn't have been made without the Chinese threat on the eve of the election and subsequent American pressure. He implied the American pressure was related to the US having seen exactly what military measures Beijing was preparing.

At a closed-door meeting at the the Forum on Cross-Straits relations in mid-July between Yu, his associate director Zhou Zhihuai (周志懷) and a number of KMT assistants and scholars in Xining city of Qinghai province, Yu said Beijing is very concerned about the proposed referendum on Taiwan entering the UN now that it's blocked Chen's application. Yu told the KMT they should try and block DPP moves to hold the referendum, but Ma and other KMT officials ignored the CCP's advice because of election considerations and do not understand the sensitivity of the referendum to Beijing. The source says Beijing now feel the situation is grim.

This comes on the heel's of an announcement by Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office that "The soverignty and territory of China will be decided by the 1.3 billion Chinese people."

At the same time, DPP officials like MAC chief Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) suggests that if Beijing wants Taiwan to stop trying to enter the UN under the name Taiwan, then Beijing should recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name).

After the rejection of Chen's letter today, KMT officials said that Taiwan ought to enter the UN with the name Republic of China, a reformulation of tehir earlier stance that Taiwan should enter under whatever name worked. We all know no name works.


So do they mean it? I think not quite yet since it's not an official announcement. If they want this sort of thing to stick they've got to say this exact formulation officially and publically.

So for now, it's just a scare tactic and not official policy, leaked perhaps to influence the blue base and to push the KMT against the referendum. There's room for that to work.

I think they've been careful to leave themselves lots of wiggle room in that bluster. Notice the official didn't say that holding the referendum would be a violation and would not pin down any consequence. I'm sure China doesn't know what it will do yet.

Edit: I suppose another possibility is that the CCP is intentionally giving the KMT room to push their own referendum that would focus on ROC or something. This allows the KMT to look like they're not submissive to the CCP while at the same time accomplishing a main CCP goal, shooting down a entering the UN with the name Taiwan referendum. Then again, this isn't much in line with what Ma Ying-jeou said today, that applying to the UN under the name Taiwan is "legitimate."

Amesty under attack after Professor's murder

On Jun 16, 2007, the Legislative Yuan "passed a long-debated commutation bill granting amnesty to prisoners serving sentences of 18 months or less, among other commutation measures. Although the pan-green camp supported the Cabinet's [12 months or less] version of the commutation bill, the pan-blue version was passed only after a consensus was reached."

And remember this part:

The draft bill proposed by the Cabinet called for an amnesty for prisoners sentenced to less than a year, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus wanted to extend the amnesty to include prisoners sentenced to up to a year and half.

"Eighteen months is within the range of the lowest degree of jail time by legal definition," KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said in a telephone interview.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (賴清德), suggested that the KMT proposal was tailored to benefit KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅).

OK, we're all on the same page. The bill that actually passed was the KMT version of the bill and the DPP proposal was shot down, though of course the whole thing happened because of President Chen's suggestion. The government went on to set up a reaction center because everyone knows some of these guys, mostly drug addicts, are going to immediately go for drugs or steal to get money for drugs.

Yang Chen-tang (楊振堂) -- a mentally ill methamphetamine user with a history of repeat drug offenses and petty theft -- was released in the amnesty after serving about 3 months of a 6 month sentence.

Yesterday morning, Yang attacked an assistant professor of National Taiwan University, Huann-Ju Hsieh (謝煥儒), murdering him. This is the 27th offender going back to jail after having just gotten out, including 15 drug offenses and 6 robberies as well as 10 overdose deaths. This is also the only murder (so far?).

The immediate reaction, of course, was to blame President Chen Shui-bian for a law he proposed and the Pan-blue legislator passed after extending the amnesty terms. Chen seems to be the only one left defending the policy.

Ma today: "This amnesty was not benevolent governance, but poor governance."
And for reference, Ma before the amnesty: "The effects of post-amnesty follow up [actions by the government?] are worthy of consideration." [note he doesn't' actually say if he supports it or not.]

Professor and WUFI guy Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒): "This policy killed someone."

KMT legislator Alex Fei (費鴻泰): "Every one's saying an NTU alumnus killed an NTU professor. Who's the alumnus? Chen Shui-bian. I don't understand how he could used such a far-fetched reason [i.e., the end of martial law] for the amnesty and then make no preparations before just letting all these criminals go. ... Is the Ministry of Justice awake yet?" (Answer: Justice Ministry agrees they should have done more and will try to fix things now.)

KMT legislator Justin Chou (周守訓): The government's policy has resulted in the death of a professor and the government should immediately apologize to the people.

DPP legislator Huang, Wei-Cher (黃偉哲): "So far we haven't seen much support for the amnesty in our base. A lot of our voters really disliked it."

PFP legislator Lee Fu-tien (李復甸): Chen Shui-bian's pardon was used to just to solve the overcrowding problem at jails.

I find it revolting and somehow hilarious that every one of these guys voted for the bill that actually let the guy out and have found a way to leave responsibility at the President's feet. I have yet to see a single legislator saying anything that would approach taking responsibility. The closest thing was this, also from Huang, Wei-Cher (黃偉哲): "The blues and greens should not try to blame each other for this. President Chen meant for the amnesty to give people a new shot at life, not to let out someone so he could commit a murder."

TVBS will suck tonight.

Latest on Ma case

Taipei Times:

No concrete ruling was handed down by the presiding judge yesterday after lawyers and prosecutors presented their cases for the deposition of a key witness in former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) corruption case.

Judges, Ma's lawyers and prosecutors yesterday examined visual and audio recordings of the interrogation of a witness in the case to determine whether the prosecutor's transcript of the witness testimony was accurate.

Ma's lawyer Song Yao-ming (宋耀明) has accused prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) of forgery, claiming that a deposition of a witness Wu Li-ju (吳麗洳), a Taipei City Government treasurer, was not an accurate record of her statement.

China Post:

The review was carried out in a courtroom, where both prosecutors and lawyers Ma ... shared the view that there was nothing inaccurate or falsified in the records of statements made by Wu Li-ju, a cashier in the Taipei City Government.

But Ma's lawyer Sung Yao-ming demanded that records of the review session replace records produced by prosecutors, but Prosecutor Huang Hui-ming opined that Sung's demand could hardly stand to reason.

In response, chief court judge Tsai Shou-hsun said that whether Wu's additional statements at the review process could be used as new evidence to attest to Ma's innocence or guilt would be dealt with in the verdict, to be issued by the court.

By the way, what's with the discrepancy between those two?

Taiwan News:

After spending more than one hour reviewing the recording, presiding judge Tsai Shou-hsun announced that he wouldexplain whether Hou's written record of Wu's testimony is admissible as a evidence when he issued a verdict in the high-profile case. . . .

Shih Su-mei, the director of the Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics under the Taipei City Government told the judges that she thought that half of the mayoral special allowance fund, which the Taipei mayor was allowed to collect without providing vouchers to account for his spending, should in principle be used exclusively on public affairs.

Shih's statement reportedly surprised Ma, his defense team and even the prosecutors, as her view about the character of the special allowance seemed to be opposite to Ma's.

And here's my favorite line from any of the articles:

Analysts thought that the dispute over whether a prosecutor distorted the testimony given by a witness during interrogation in his written record probably would not have any influence on the district court's ruling, but could deeply influence people's confidence in judicial authorities.

In other words, the main problem with this is every one's going to , forever, that they're right about their personal hunch on whether Ma is guilty or innocent and whether or not the prosecutor forged part of his case.

Update: The "debate" portion of the case will end next Tuesday, meaning the end of the trial is very much in sight. Judge deliberations should not take too long.

Jul 18, 2007

Hsieh - Su ticket after all?

DPP presiential candidate Frank Hsieh and Su Chen-chang did hold a secret meeting (confirmed by Hsieh) , but we haven't learned exactly what it was all about and Hsieh won't say yet. The Liberty Times had reported this morning that there was a "promise" between them.

You can be sure the meeting was held to either finalize or finally nix any Hsieh-Su ticket. We'll probably know in very short order which one.

KMT cashola & the "who's dirtier" contest

Taipei Times has the story on the KMT's latest declaration of remaining assets:

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is nearly 80 times richer -- in total asset terms -- than the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), figures from the Ministry of the Interior show.

The KMT has assets worth more than NT$27 billion (US$821 million), while the DPP's assets amount to nearly NT$339 million.

In a rare peek at hard numbers from political parties' financial statements, some surprising information about the top parties appeared on the ministry's Web site yesterday (

Although it is no secret that the KMT possesses copious assets -- much of which its critics allege it plundered after Taiwan ceased to be a Japanese colony -- it might surprise some to know that the DPP's income for last year was more than double that of the KMT.

The DPP earned NT$661 million while the KMT pulled in a little more than NT$301 million.

In terms of net assets, the KMT boasts 100 times more asset value, or roughly NT$25.5 billion, to the DPP's nearly NT$253 million, the records show.

But the KMT is also saddled with more debt, nearly NT$1.6 billion as of last year, compared with the DPP's nearly NT$86 million.

Now the thing about party assets is people are always talking about different things. You could be talking about what the KMT brought with them to Taiwan from China (its hard to find a good cite-able source including values, but they took all the gold they could).

You could also be talking about what was acquired while on the island, often questionably or outright illegally. You might be talking about all the assets they later sold to friends, occasionally at fractions of the market price. And some people are talking about what's left over.


Also, the DPP is going to try and get Ma involved in a few more scandals. Here's the news from Taipei Times and Taiwan News. I'll quote from Taiwan News:

With the presidential election almost nine months away, the governing Democratic Progressive Party yesterday formed a task force aimed at exposing scandals allegedly involving by Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the presidential candidate of the main opposition Kuomintang.

The task force constitutes DPP's legislators and Taipei City councilors, who would examine Ma from his tenure as Taipei City mayor between 1998 and 2006 through his party chairmanship and expose any scandals in which Ma might have been involved.

DPP caucus leader Wang Sing-nan said yesterday at a press conference that it was unfair that while the special investigation team had not looked into any of the numerous alleged wrongdoings that had involved Ma besides the special mayoral allowance case, the team had revived investigations into the old cases that had implicated the DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Such a task force may or may not actually be able to damage Ma's reputation, but I find it rather depressing anyway. I also want the DPP to be able to beat Ma without a lawsuit hanging around his neck. That way it'll be harder for the blue voters to cry foul or think they were cheated.

Jul 13, 2007

Hsieh charged in bribery scandal

玉皇宮案改列被告 謝長廷:經得起考驗 (CNA)

Edit: Correction from Feiren:

Hey A-gu,

Hsieh is under investigation by the prosecutors for accepting an allegedly illegal political contribution from Yuhang Temple. During the investigation phase, parties under investigation can be listed as witnesses or as defendants. Being listed as a defendant is significant because it prepares the way for the person so listed to be indicted at the end of the investigation. hth

Since this started as a rumor, I was ignoring it. But the CNA article is more authoritative and Hsieh has already said he will be able to "withstand the trial." Not sure if he means a legal trial or a more general one or jsut meant to be vague.

In any case, this should start getting ugly in a hurry.

Basic background on the situation:

Prosecutors discovered in January that Hsieh had received a sum of NT$2.8 million from Hsu Wen-liang (許文良), the chief of the temple.

Prosecutors suspect the money was a payment in exchange for Hsieh's approval of the illegal construction of part of the temple.

Whereas Hsieh claimed the money was a political donation during the mayoral campaign, prosecutors suspect the money was a payment for Hsieh's approval of an illegally constructed part of the temple. ...

Regarding the vote-buying scam and the payment from the temple, Hsieh has been vague about whether he knew Wang was helping Chu and about why he accepted the payment from Hsu.

Here's Frankie's interview with the Liberty Times translated into English. Excerpt:

LT: The prosecutors' office revealed that Yu Huang Temple's (玉皇宮) NT$2.8 million political donation to you was made payable in five different instalments to a woman surnamed Lu. What do you say about this?

Hsieh: It's another war of words. The DPP has long had a standard procedure in dealing with political donations. Yu Huang Temple gave the money to Wang and then Wang gave the money directly to my campaign headquarters and informed me of it. I then asked him to report to party headquarters, so the money went from the campaign headquarters to the party system. But I found out in my inquiry afterward that one of the checks had already been cashed by my campaign headquarters. So I have admitted that my campaign headquarters took a political donation from the Yu Huang Temple, and the amount of the money has been verified. These comments do not make any difference.

If I can be frank, a candidate is as busy as can be during the campaign period. Who would have time to care about the donations? Kaohsiung City has 11 districts. We set up a campaign office in each district and there was more than one office in some districts. Headquarters gave NT$ 50,000 to each district office to pay for part of their expenses and each office tried to raise funds to cover other expenses. Some offices couldn't get donations, but that didn't matter.

LT: Why did the Yu Huang Temple (玉皇宮) contribute to your support group but not your campaign headquarters?

Hsieh: This is because of the Election and Recall Law's (選舉罷免法) maximum limit on campaign expenditure. The limit for the Kaohsiung mayoral election is NT$18 million. But would people who are running campaigns spend such a little amount of money? It's inconceivable. For instance, I reported my campaign expenditure as NT$18 million [to the Election Commission], and reported the other NT$68 million as my support group's expenditure. But I will still be punished [for violating the regulation.]

Huang Jun-ying (黃俊英) reported that he prepared NT$9 million for the campaign, and received NT$9 million in donations, bringing his total campaign expenditure to NT$18 million as well. But, do you believe that? I am curious about how [Taipei City Mayor] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reported his campaign expenditure, too.

Jul 11, 2007

Taiwan Farmers Party gets official recognition

They will be holding the first party congress on the 15h of July in Kaohsiung's Chengcing Lake Scenic Area (澄清湖風景區). The party charter, flag and emblem will be finalized on the 28th. Hsieh Yung-huei (謝永輝), president of Yunlin County Farmers's Association, will be the official contact man for the party.

Map update complete!

Legislative Yuan Districts map update complete. Things I've added:

+ An up-to-date list of all nominees in districts (no at large lists yet)
+ Romanization for all nominee names (makes the thing more usefully bilingual, even if it was a pain to look up)

Some extra info for you:

Nearly all nominees are current legislators, and where they aren't it's probably either long shot or squeeker seats.

KMT's non-incumbant candidates total 10:

Kaohsiung City.-5, Taipei Co.-12, Miaoli Co.-1, Changhua Co.-4 and -5, Nantou Co.-2, Yunlin Co.-1, Chiayi Co.-2, Kaohsiung Co.-4, and one Mountain tribe aboriginal seat.

DPP has 15:
Taipei City-5 and -7, Kaohisung City-1, Taipei Co.-10, Taichung Co.-2, Changhua Co.-1, Yunlin Co.-2, Kaohsiung Co.-2, Pingtung Co.-1 and -2, Penghu, Keelung City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City-1, Tainan City-1.

KMT posts nominee list

At the end of last month, the KMT posted their nominee list (MS Word doc) online. You can also see more about their backgrounds in this list.

The PFP says they'll still work with the KMT on "troublesome" districts, so I won't add their information yet.

The DPP has their list as well.

The TSU isn't done, but they're nominal.

I'll incorporate all data into the map over the next few days (the map is officially called Districts for the 7th Legislative Yuan | 第七屆立法委員選舉)

KMT sold at-large seat?

(Reports in Liberty Times, China Times)

New Party legislator Tsao Shou-min (曹壽民) suddenly resigned his post. Taiwanese businessman and KMT central committee member Huang Liang-hua (黃良華) will be appointed to his seat.

Now here's the kicker: KMT/New Party legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) [blog - wiki (Chin.)] said to the media that a "highly placed source" within the KMT told her Huang Liang-hua had tried to buy a seat in the past for NT$10 million. That offer was apparently for the seat of Huang Teh-fu (黃德福), but according to Lei, Huang Teh-fu wasn't willing to give up his seat.

Lei says there is "certainly a possibility" that a third person within the party brokered the deal, going between Huang Liang-hua and Tsao Shou-min to cut the deal. She would not come out directly and say there was any "exchange of conditions," because this is essentially a rumor (no proof, no named sources).

UPDATE: KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤) said that he personally ahd once suggested offering his at large seat to Huang Liang-hua, but since Tsao Shou-min already had his own plans to leave, Chiang got to keep his seat after all and still get Huang LIang-hua on board.

DPP is threatening a lawsuit.

Hsieh: If DPP losses, Taiwan could disappear

Oh dear. I see he's been reading Ma's speeches.

The other annoying thing is he claimed with his election, the KMT would drop its "final unification" plan and thereby end the tension between the unification-independence crowd. Nowhere does he mention that the easiest and most moderate way to end this discussion is to form a consensus that the Taiwanese people have a right to self-determination via referendum, and that the PRC has no right to coerce Taiwan on this topic.

It's your own party position, DPP! Get with the program and promote it!

More on betel nuts

A few different stories. First, a translation of the Liberty Times editorial I was talking about:
Don't promote a betel-nut culture by Chang Chin-wen 張錦文

And another Taipei Times article: Doctors condemn betel nut event
Now one from Reuters: Betel nut cancer link takes buzz out of Taiwan tradition

Jul 10, 2007

The government's only improving the economy to get elected!

That's the TVBS headline, at least. Thanks, Vincient Siew!

But to get a more fully accurate understanding, let's get the quote. In response to the great performance of the stock market recently, Vincient Siew said:

In this time period, the government has spent all its efforts doing things [literally, "stir-frying" a term that refers to manipulation stock markets or day-trader-like attempts to get rich quick; here, I don't think he means the government's manipulating markets, but is sorta dropping a not so subtle hint]. This is because the government hopes that if it can pull the stock market higher, it might help them in an election, but what I hope for is a stock market that reflects the fundamentals."
OK, well obviously the politicians are doing basically everything to try and get elected. That's sorta how it works.

Second, most of the stock market improvement has to do with improved prospects for growth for Asian companies in many countries. Lots of the capital is foreign buyers coming back in. And yes, there is speculative capital. I'm no expert, but the stock market could drop down to 8,000 again almost as easily as it can go to 10,000. Yet the reason the investors are coming is because the fundamentals look good for at least a while (but to be honest, ask me exactly what all those fundamentals are, and I'm not going to have an acceptable answer).

And why point out that we need to worry more about fundamentals without telling us what we're missing? Come on, econ-guru, share your knowledge so that I know what to look at to judge Taiwan's economic strength!

Blue and Green legislators lean towards combining elections

The CEC has pointed out that technically it's not a problem, but only if the current legislature's term must be by two months. Currently, the law says the election has to be held by some time in January (I forget when). Otherwise, the CEC will continue with the original plan of holding the elections 2 months apart.

Jul 9, 2007

Political identity != ethnic identity

Ethnicity in Taiwanese politics is sadly important. Many people raise issues of race when talking about identity. Just because of their political stance on unification or independence, some people here in Taiwan ignore (or, exclusively embrace) any common points between Taiwanese and Chinese.

But the problem is that Taiwan and China could be identical or opposite in every other way, but one thing is unchanged: Taiwan and China are politically two countries [though historically, many Chinese states exiting side by side did not change most Chinese people's thinking that there was only one China, and that was mostly due to cultural unity].

Not nearly enough green politicians -- and I'm not talking about racists because they make so much trouble anyway -- are emphasizing the right of Taiwanese self-determination through referendum. Take comments made at a round table discussion about the Taiwanese People's Party’s 80th anniversary (that was Taiwan’s first political party). Panel members included KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou and his DPP counterpart Frank Hsieh:


Ma Ying-jeou pointed out that Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水) had announced to an international court that “We [Taiwanese] are ethnic Chinese people (中華民族), someting that will never change,” and that people now should study Chiang’s solidarity and ethnic integrity. Frank Hsieh retorted that Chiang Wei-shui was opposed to colonial authority [more directly translated as ‘political authority coming from outside [Taiwan]], and that the KMT government – when it was un-elected by the Taiwanese people -- was fundamentally illegitimate.

Now obviously, both candidates are trying to take Chiang Wei-shui and the TPP’s mantle here to strengthen their own legitimacy. Let’s use the wikipedia entry to learn a little about this party and it’s leaders.

The party grew out of the conflict within the Taiwanese Cultural Association. By the late 1920s that organization had become largely socialist-dominated. A group of its founders met during the first half of 1927 to plan an alternative, more moderate organization. After several of their proposals had been rejected by the Japanese authorities, they finally settled on "Taiwanese People's Party" and a much diluted, vaguely worded party program. Specifically the new party officially disavowed any ambition to promote "national struggle" and declared its intention to use legal means to "affirm democratic politics", establish "reasonable economic organization" and reform "defects in the social institutions". In terms of policy it advocated the rights of Taiwanese to publish newspapers, the need to teach Taiwanese in public schools, abolition of a system of informers known as "Baojia Zhidu", removal of the need for passport when traveling to China, and reform of the farmers' associations and government monopolies.

During the party's short existence its internal politics was dominated by the struggle between the left-wing, led by Chiang Weishui (
蔣渭水), and the right-wing, represented by Peng Huaying (彭華英), to define the party's core values, particularly its position on "the class question". Whereas Chiang's faction sought to define the party as representing the interests of workers and peasants, Peng's faction took the moderate position of "working to improve their quality of life". After Chiang set up the Taiwanese Workers' Alliance as a party affiliate in February 1928, Peng resigned in protest. By early 1930 a number of conservatives had left the party (see Taiwanese Alliance for Home Rule).

By the third party congress later that year Chiang had won control of the executive committee. His proposal for a revision of the party charter was passed the following year. It admonished "bourgeoise" and "reactionary" members for not heeding the international climate, which had "strengthened the consciousness of struggle within the island's masses". The revised charter characterized the party as one to work toward the political freedom and interests of workers, peasants, the urban proletariat, and all similarly oppressed. Chiang believed that the time was ripe for a strategy that combined class and national (anti-colonial) movements.

For the most part the party was not effective in achieving its goals. On July 7, 1927 it put forward a "Statement of Recommendations", given to Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi, that demanded local autonomy for the island and urged freedom of speech. The following year it demanded that the colonial governor institute popular, proportionally representative ballot for some councils. Its singular triumph was in forcing the authorities to set aside budget for establishing treatment centers for opium addicts. The party successfully created international pressure by filing complaints to the League of Nations (of which Japan remained a member until the early 1930s), which then sent a representative to investigate.

So you can get a taste for this guy. He’s not really a nationalist at all, though he obviously feels Taiwan is ethnically Chinese, not Japanese, and he is not at all concerned about Taiwanese independence, much less unification with China. For him, class struggle is the most important issue while his party also supported all sorts of workers’ rights and personal freedoms (points KMT would suppress a short time later).

That leads me to my concluding attack on both Ma and Hsieh’s statements:

For Ma: Chiang Wei-shui might have felt he was ethnically Chinese, but he understood that doesn’t make him politically Chinese. Instead, he advocated rule of Taiwan by Taiwanese. And what is “ethnic integrity,” anyway?

For Hsieh: you’re basically on the mark, but not making things clear enough and doing what most people here would call "looking to the past." Chiang wasn’t just opposed to outside rule-- he was for Taiwanese self-rule. You should be arguing that no matter what a person in Taiwan feels about their ethnicity, they should support political autonomy and self-determination for Taiwan.

Hsieh will pick running mate with opinion polls

Looks like we can't count Su Chen-chang out quite yet! Final announcement won't be made u ntil Aug. 15.

Dual-language classes in Texas stirs debate

This is an interesting, whether you are dealing with it in Texas or Taiwan. What is the best policy for language instruction in school? Texas' situation is entirely different from Taiwan's, so it's also fun to look at.

Here's some of the article from the Houston Chronicle, which they lifted from the San Antonio Express-News.

AUSTIN — Here's the plan: Put young children who struggle with English in a classroom with English-speaking students and teach in two languages.

Soon, both groups of children will become bilingual and bi-literate with the youngsters helping each other develop two languages, say supporters of the dual language immersion program.

But others are balking at the experiment that Texas lawmakers approved this spring, contending it's turning classrooms into laboratories.

With House Bill 2814, legislators created a six-year pilot program that will test a dual language plan in up to 10 Texas public school districts and 30 campuses.

English was not the first language for more than 731,000 children attending Texas public schools last year.

Those children, identified as "limited English proficient," spoke hundreds of foreign languages, although Spanish was spoken by 92 percent.

"We know that dual language works, but we have failed to articulate the benefits of placing native English speakers in dual language programs," said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. "They will learn Spanish or some other language, becoming bilingual and bi-literate. When they are little, you can do that."

Learning multiple languages should always be encouraged, said Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, although she opposes the pilot project approach.

"I think the purpose behind this is to help bring up to speed Spanish-speaking kids and turning other kids into guinea pigs," she said.

Seven of her own nine grandchildren are younger than 6, she said: "They are grandchildren, not grand-guinea pigs."

Children in her suburban school district northwest of Houston speak more than 70 languages, Riddle said.

"I don't care what they are speaking," she said. "They are in America. They need to master the English language. This is not a dual-language country. We speak English in this country."

On the national stage

"The bottom line of life is that we don't all speak the same language," House Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, said, acknowledging that national debate over immigration has triggered deep-seated antagonism.

The Senate voted 28-2 for the pilot project, while the House approved it 106-34. No Democrat opposed the bill.

Riddle said she fears the project will dilute the need to master English.

"I think we are worshipping at the feet of diversity," Riddle said. "There's nothing wrong with diversity, but to minimize English as the primary language of this nation is a mistake, and I think it's a mistake for our kids. Kids need to master the English language, period."

The issue should not focus on immigration because the law requires Texas to educate all children living here, said Jesse Romero, a San Antonio-based legislative consultant for the Texas Association For Bilingual Education.

"If they are going to be educated, let's do it the right way," Romero said. "If we don't educate the children, we're not going to have a viable work force, and if we don't have a viable and educated work force, we're not going to be attractive to the economic development that our state leaders continue to say that Texas is all about."

Eissler said opponents of his bill believe immigrants need to bend to us rather than us to them.

But he views the issue in terms of education.

"The more you know, the better off you are is my theory of life. The more we can teach our kids, the better off we're going to be," Eissler said. "The younger you are, the more adept you are in learning another language, so why do we wait to high school to teach language?"

A growing problem

Previous studies have shown that it costs about 40 percent more to educate limited English students, although the state funds school districts by an extra 10 percent to teach them.

Only 8 percent of limited English proficient 10th-graders passed all parts of the state's assessment test in the 2005-06 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency, and the number of limited English proficient students is increasing. While about 16 percent of all public school children last year were limited-English proficient, more than one-fourth of first-graders struggled with English.

In the state's largest urban school districts — Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth — more than 40 percent of first-graders were limited-English proficient.

"These school districts do represent a growing statewide trend, and it does pose a significant challenge to our educators," Van de Putte said. "The reality is that the numbers are increasing. We can wring our hands and say the federal government needs to take care of this. But that doesn't help us with outcomes."

One success story

The success of dual language immersion programs has been evident in Cedar Brook Elementary in the Spring Branch school district.

Preliminary results show the school will be ranked exemplary following two years of recognized ratings after a federal grant allowing Cedar Brook to test a dual language program.

About half the school's children are limited English proficient, said Catherine Robinson, the former principal at Cedar Brook.

"Most Texans probably are not aware of the challenges facing educators with large numbers of limited English proficient students," she said.

They must learn academic content in addition to a new language.

"When students are acquiring and differentiating a language — when the language is a language other than English — then the challenge of learning in an academically rigorous setting in English is substantial for these students," said Robinson, who is now executive director of Spring Branch's Teaching and Learning program, which develops curriculum and instruction for struggling students.

Jul 8, 2007

Ma: If the KMT looses again, Taiwan is finished

Oh my, what a dire situation.

馬英九:國民黨再選輸 台灣就沒了(中央社

Jul 7, 2007

Ma: No Taiwan without Second Sino-Japanese War

presidential candidate Ma In an effort to reconcile Republic of China patriotism with Taiwan-centric identity, KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou made a rather interesting statement:

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, in response to media questions today about his views on how little attention the DPP is paying to commemorating the Marco Polo Bridge incident, said that history is a mirror and we must mark historical memorial holidays. He emphasized that without the Marco Polo Bridge incident, there would be no Taiwan.
Now. Wow. That's a stretch. But ok, maybe he's not totally crazy. His statements makes more sense with information a little further down in the article. Remember, he was speaking at an event to commemorate 7-7 being held by the Veterans Association of the Republic of China.

Ma said he felt thankful for the price that had been paid by these veterans. It was because of them that Taiwan could be protected, and the government out to take care of them as much as it can while letting the veterans feel they have a country that is loving and just.
OK, at least that's not total nonsense. If Taiwan had no veterans, it would have no army, and therefore would likely be in the hands of another country. Ma goes on to praise retrocession day.

But I just want to point out that this particular incident marks the beginning of the second, more intense phase of hostilities in the war between China and Japan. It happened near Beijing. The battle itself had no immediate or direct effect on Taiwan at all.

There are at least four better candidates for an incident that sets up the modern Taiwan.

+ The Qing creation of Taiwan province in 1887.
+ The treaty of Shimonoseki (馬關條約), which gave Taiwan to Japan.
+ The Japanese surrender of claims to Taiwan on Sep. 2, 1945.
+ The defeat of the KMT in the mainland and the subsequent separation. Let's say starting on Oct. 1, 1949 (the day the PRC was established). Maybe these two days could be combined for a "twofer" holiday.

Hell, even retrocession day. This was a weak one from Ma.

Jul 6, 2007

Betel nut culture

The Liberty Times carried an editorial today criticizing the "betel nut culture" of Taiwan and insisting it was not something Taiwanese should be so proud of (he was writing in response to a recent convention). In particular, he pointed out the health risks (did you know that over 90% of Taiwanese victims of oral cancer chew betel nut, the #4 cancer killer here?) The author recalls the painful death of both his parents from oral cancer, their insomnia, inability to drink water, and the generally painful end. He asks: is this something Taiwan should be proud of, showing off, promoting, and inviting the world to notice?

And what of cultural issues as they relate to the aboriginies and Holo Taiwanese? Betel nut was once given by all Taiwanese, and still by some aboriginies, as an engagement gift. And there is a lot to say for betel nut beauties and vendors in general: how many people are employed just selling this stuff? And people outside of Taiwan do search about it most of the time it pops up in the news.

I'm not trying to say its the pride of Taiwan. But it is a very interesting part of Taiwan for locals and visitors alike. And personally, I enjoy my betel nut in moderation (one bag every 2-3 months on average). But is there maybe a way to appreciate betel nut while not promoting cancer? I think there just might be.

Taiwan Farmers Party (TFP?)

I never did get around to translating all the info from the post on the Taiwan Farmers Party (台灣農民黨), but there was one thing of particular interest from the last UDN article.

Remember, the Farmers Party had hoped to go for only at-large seats, so as to avoid too direct of a conflict with the larger parties and so as to gather support from people's second vote (a very good strategy for small parties, if you ask me).

The problem is that the latest draft of the election and recall law would require any party ont he at-large list to meet one of two conditions: the party must either (a) have gotten 2 percent of the vote in the previous legislative election or (b) be running guys in at least 10 districts.

For a new party, only (b) is an option. And the party seems unlikely to come up with 10 guys willing to be sacrificial lambs just so the party can make an at-large list.

Although the news is old, the bill hasn't yet been passed as the DPP and KMT are still bickering over some (probably unrelated) details of the bill.

Ma, renaissance man: farmer, fisher, laborer

Ma's moving south to Taichung! And he's going to take up farming, fishing and manual labor!

Well, he's only moving for 18 days.

And will work as a farmer, fisherman and laborer for three.

I'm all for politicians trying to understand the lives of normal people, since nearly all of them are so far removed from normal life. But I find this plan to smack of paternalism. Its almost worse than, you know, getting a shovel out and breaking ground for construction only to be shuttled off into your car and moving to the next photo op. Or riding your bike to work -- for one day. Or taking the bus to work -- for one day.

KMT website update

See for yourself!

It's a nice little (splash?) page, actually. I think it's funny they try to have it both ways: a huge Taiwan with 國民黨 written in the most visible area, but a little piece of Fujian Province, China and the full party name of 中國國民黨 (one could argue the China in the map is for the purpose of roughly including Matzu and Jinmen, but then again I dont' see any offshore islands in there). And wait a minute, is that party headquarters, proudly thrusting itself into the strait, perhaps to protect us from China or to act as a useful bridge that will save our economy? In either case, a nice little touch.

I also like the trilingual set up.

CEC will not combine legislative, presidential elections

At least, they said so today under questioning from legislators. They had a very rational reason for the decision: there is no social consensus on the idea, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to make the election itself more contentious.

The PFP completely reversed their previous position on this, now insisting this decision is a waste of money. Good job on principles, guys. And what happened to declaring war on the KMT if they let the arms bill pass?

Nifty color ballots

This is the model for the card that the CEC created for the second vote people have in the upcoming single member, two vote system.

The second vote is for a party, while the first is for a candidate in your single-member district.

The color was added make it easier to tell the parties apart.

Su Chen-chang not interested in VP nomination

Every news station is looking for a scoop on something that hasn't happened, and recent focus has been on who Hsieh will choose as a running mate. Indications had been that Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) was interested, but the big question was what Su Chen-chang's (蘇貞昌) role might or not be.

Su came out today indicated he is not necessary for a successful election in '08 and would be happy to root for whoever is running on the DPP ticket (「成功不必在我」), a strong hint that he won't be the VP nominee and doesn't mind much.

That makes Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) the most likely VP candidate.

Her main asset is that she is Hakka. She does have experience as acting mayor of Kaohsiung, VP of the Executive Yuan , Minister of the Council of Hakka Affairs and -- probably most importantly -- Minister of Consumer Protection and Minister responsible for the Council for Economic Planning and Development. But I think for Hshieh, this particular choice is all about personality. And being Hakka. I don't think it's the same sort of match Ma was looking for.

KMT sold property to cover Lee's bad bills?

Pro-blue United Daily News reports an unnamed "high KMT official" today that the main reason Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) assets went from the Feb. 1987 level of NT$ 91.8 billion (US$2.79 billion) to the mere NT$31.1 billion (US$948 million) of the Ma Ying-jeou era is due to -- you guessed it -- former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

The unnamed official, described as a "core individual" or key player (核心人士), explains that the main reason the property had to be sold was that Lee Teng-hui had left the party with about NT$40 billion in questionable accounts (壞帳), about half of the KMT's total assets at that time.

The source further expresses his believe that Lee Teng-hui had personally planned to pulverize the party property. (Alliteration, here I am!) He gives examples of these questionable accounts, including debts from contracts that went over budget in previous infastructure construction. He also admited other causes for the loss of property, including the losses (not revenue) of most remaining property and the costs of an increasing number of retired party workers, which has cost NT$10 billion alone in recent years.

Update: Whoah, looks like it could be more serious than that -- KMT lawyers will discuss if Lee Teng-hui should be sued over this, but so far they do not plan to press ahead with a lawsuit immediately. Wang Jin-pyng had the best remark, asking if the KMT actually intends to "sue Lee" or "respect Lee," the policy presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou announced this week (but, to be fair, the media coined the "respect Lee" phrase themselves).


I'd like to stake out my position. Teng-hui was a crook as clever and conniving as the best of them. He does whatever he wants when he wants, and thankfully that benefited democratic change. I also happen to believe his leaving Lian Chan in charge -- but not his break with James Soong -- was planned and meant to hurt the KMT for the long run. And I think Wang Jin-pyng is his remaining agent, whose goal is to finish what Lee started and have the KMT become a truly nativized party by adopting the principal of Taiwanese self-determination.

I also can accept the credibilty of the sources charge. If I were Lee and wanted to "right a few wrongs" while I was in charge, this would certainly be one way to handle the party property issue. Another way would be to sell off vast amounts of questionably acquired property before anyone could stop it, so that the party comes away with at least some cash on hand, which Lee, Lian and Ma all did.

But I also am shocked by the total lack of self-reflection by the party on this issue, its total unwillingness to accept the illegitimacy of how it acquired and maintained its assets. And I am wondering, at what point will the KMT be able to blame themselves for their problems, instead of Lee and Chen?

Jul 3, 2007

China strikers 'beaten by thugs'

In China, just like in the old days of KMT rule, the mob is the government -- sometimes local, sometimes national. In this case, probably local.

China strikers 'beaten by thugs' (BBC)

A group of armed men attacked as many as 300 migrant construction workers who were striking over unpaid wages, Chinese media reports.

At least one person is reported to be fighting for his life and six others were injured in the clashes in Heyuan city, in Guangdong province.

China's construction minister has ordered an immediate investigation, Xinhua news agency reports.
"The first batch of about 50 gangsters came with spades in their hands, and the second batch had axes, steel pipes and sabres, and there were more behind them," migrant worker Liu Gangqing was quoted by the Chongqing Morning Post as saying.

Local police were reported to have arrested four Fuyuan employees, while hospital officials said one person was close to the death following the incident.

Fuyuan Group chairman Miu Shouliang denied, in an interview with the newspaper, that wages had not been paid, but would not discuss the attack.

A city government spokesperson played down the numbers involved in the incident, saying it totalled around 30 workers and company staff.

It's about the right to self-determination

Update: On instructions from Rank, I made a closer reading of the article and it a hypothetical situation rather than report that Ma and Siew have a new position. I should have paid more attention to 伺機. Therefore, read everything below with that in mind.
Michael Turton alerted me to a piece over on the China Times website. The KMT announces its position that the ROC = Taiwan, a policy Chen Shui-bian has stated many times for years and the KMT used to vigorously attack.


The 2008 election war over nativization has begun! KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou has fired up the "3 stages of putting nativization into practice," first amending the party charger to get rid of unification references and adding Taiwan; then pushing for a referendum that would get Taiwan into the UN under either the name Taiwan or the ROC; and finally, Ma Ying-jeou and vice presidential candidate Vincient Siew have officially announced that "The ROC is Taiwan," which completes the KMT's transition to being a nativized party.
A couple of things. First, it's very interesting that a paper like the China Times -- which is generally going to publish articles against "de-Sinozation" and generally derides nativization -- hails the KMT's move as part of a massive transition. They seem strangely satisfied that the transition is "complete." And how does this position fit with the 92 consensus that Ma will accept? Certainly that dictates that the ROC = China + Taiwan, right?

Second, this position on the referendum is a shift from Ma and the KMT's old referendum plan of applying under the name of ROC only. This new position is exactly the kind think makes the most sense. It asks for a practical solution and tries to point out that the issue isn't the nation's name, but that Taiwanese people seek to be represented. Good job, even if it is election posturing.

The article goes on to quote a KMT official saying the difference between the KMT and DPP policy is thus: The DPP supports a "Taiwan = Republic of Taiwan" policy while KMT supports a "Taiwan = Republic of China" policy. This is BS, of course. While the DPP does hope to see the eventual establishment of a Republic of Taiwan, the DPP party charter states on the resolution regarding Taiwan's future:
1. Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation and any move to change that independent status-quo must be decided by the entire Taiwanese population by referendum.

2. Taiwan is not part of the People's Republic of China and those Chinese positions unilaterally held by the Chinese side such as "The one China principle" or "One country, two systems" simply cannot be applied to Taiwan.
And earlier:
Taiwan certainly is currently labeled the Republic of China by the constitution, but it is not a part of the PRC. Any attempt to change the independent status-quo must be decided by the entire Taiwanese population by referendum.
Therefore, I'm going to point out what I consider the bottom line.

A truly nativized KMT would hold the following positions:
1. ROC = Taiwan
2. ROC != PRC
3. Any change to this status-quo requires the Taiwanese people to decide by referendum.

The article suggests an impending KMT position that looks like this:
1. ROC = Taiwan
2. Uphold a "One China, two interpretations" policy through the 92 consensus. Ignore any conflict with point 1.
3. China and Taiwan both have a right to decide Taiwan's future, and Taiwan does not have the right to referendum to make its part of the decision.

So you can see how the KMT still needs to go a little farther before I can consider them another Green party, which is what I think they have to be if they hope to win.

Update: Chen has also said that the key is rejecting both "One country, two systems" and the "One China, two interpretations" model.

Jul 2, 2007

Back and ready for action

All right: Thailand honeymoon is over and I finished my weekend in Kaohsiung. Starting tomorrow, I'll be back and ready for action. Sorry for the delay!