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Oct 31, 2008

DPP demonstration applications rejected

I would guess political motivation but there could be valid concerns about the venue (outside Chen Yunlin's hotel).

Just great.

I'm ecstatic. =/

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) is negotiating to buy the China Times Group, a newspaper report said yesterday....

If the takeover were to materialize, it would make Next Media the largest media group in Taiwan with two TV stations, two magazines and four newspapers.

Lai — vowing to change the reading habits of people by promoting “serious” news reports — launched the Taiwanese versions of his Hong Kong publications Next Magazine and the Apple Daily in May 2003.

Although criticized by many as full of gossip, the Apple Daily quickly became a bestselling newspaper in Taiwan. Its daily circulation has reached 526,000 and it now threatens the market share of other dailies.

Next Magazine, with a scoop in practically every issue, has become the nation’s most popular news magazine.

The Chinese-language China Times was launched in 1950 and later expanded to become the largest media group but is now facing financial difficulties.

The group owns the China Times, the Commercial Times, the China Times Publishing Co, the China Television Co and CTI TV.

China-Taiwan Common Invest Fund? Premier: More or less.

We'll see how this goes over.

Afternoon delight

Chen Yunlin will visit all the party elders on his arrival: Wu Po-hsiung, Lian Chan, James Soong and Wang Jin-pyng. And oh yeah, of course Ma. The Chinese have asked Taiwan to keep Chen's itinerary secret.

DPP and TSU will both protest near Chen Yunlin's hotel. And 7,000 police will be protecting him.

Meanwhile, Ma responds to claims he's too pro-China by saying he's most pro-Taiwan. Take that.

Wang Yi (王毅), director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), believes that Taiwan and China can begin discussing greater "media exchange" next year. "Media exchange" is code for "I want you to sell a lot of papers/TV commercials in China, become economically dependent on the Chinese market, and follow Chinese rules for content and censorship in both Taiwan and China." Wang Yi also called for student exchanges and greater cooperation catching Taiwanese criminals that hide in China.

Taiwan will allow greater Chinese investment in the island by the end of next year.

China promises tourism to Taiwan will explode soon.

DPP complains about not having an observer in on the Ma-Chen meeting.

More talk of merging Taichung city and county.

Legislators still avoiding a background check on their own citizenship status.

Somehow, cross-strait flights are neither domestic nor international. They're just cross-strait.

Oct 30, 2008

A-bian: Ma ought to be executed.

Along with Chen Yunlin. Talk about rhetorical flourish.

A-bian is claiming that by communicating with the enemy (Chen Yunlin), Ma Ying-jeou will be violating article 104 of the criminal law that reads:

名稱:中華民國刑法 (民國 97 年 01 月 02 日 修正)

第 104 條

The key passage being,
Conspiring with a foreign agent or some other dispatched person, with the intention to cause R.O.C. territory to become part of that agent's country or another country, shall be punishable by death or life in prison.
Don't expect anyone to be prosecuted on this count.

A-bian's just trying to keep himself front and center and remake himself as a hero, which will also make it easier to say all charges against him are purely political. He's also trying to stoke anger before the Ma-Chen summit.

Prosecutors: jail Wang Ting-yu for 1 year, 2 months

Wow. For a shove. Now I have seen video from many angles, and while I think it appears Zhang was pushed, I really don't think Wang did so, because his head is turned away at the critical moment.

Chen Yunlin roundup

Just a few of the stories on ARATS chief Chen Yunlin's (陈云林) upcoming trip and related topics. First, the President is calling for legal demonstrations (as opposed to illegal ones) to help Chen understand Taiwanese democracy. What Ma doesn't mention is the KMT already applied for some of the better parade grounds before announcing the trip time line, so the DPP is going to have to work har dto get Chen's attention.

The DPP will be holding a three day, meditation-oriented demonstration in front of Taipei Main Station (Taipei people: get pictures!) They will also stage a surprise noisy demonstration but can't say when or where exactly as they are going to try to outwit the police. And the police will try to keep Chen's routes and destinations low key and secret.

mum Ma not so mum

When Ma says its "not convenient to say" if A-bian may face further charges that have not yet been made public, he's not helping strengthen belief in an independent judiciary.

Just why would Ma even know what prosecutors may or may not have on A-bian? The cynical answer is that he's directing political persecution of the former DPP administration -- which, given the prosecutors' determination to convict A-bian, may be at least partly true. Second, though, it could be related to things like the national security documents that A-bian took home. You know, things the president would probably notice before the media got a hold of it.

NCC fines erring television stations

Great job, NCC. Go out and do meddlesome and useless media policing. Then again, passing ads off as news isn't very professional. Taipei Times reports:

Several TV stations were penalized by the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday for running false news reports or allowing product placements in their news programs, with the aggregate penalty reaching approximately NT$5 million (US$150,000).

The commission punished, among others, TVBS-N, SET TV (三立新聞台) and ERA News (年代新聞) for failing to verify sources and misreporting that a fireman who tried to find victims of the collapsed Houfeng Bridge (后豐大橋) was dead. Each station was asked to pay a fine of NT$300,000.

The penalty for Formosa Television (FTV, 民視) topped NT$1.6 million, the largest among all TV stations.

FTV's violations included an evening news report claiming that the viewership rating of Niang Chia (娘家), a Taiwanese drama series produced by FTV, had set new records, as well as repeatedly showing fruit juice and ice cream brands during its news reports.

Chinese Television System (CTS, 華視) was asked to pay NT$840,000 for reporting on a brand of women's underwear, an online game and organic food in its news programs.

Peace Accord

Yes sir, we knew that when Hu Jintao said the words as well, the Chinese side is at least as serious as the KMT administration about it. And now further confirmation: more and more news articles about a peace accord in the Chinese press.

Oct 29, 2008

Hu Jin-tao mentions peace accord too

This should be his first mention too. He also took time to call TI the biggest danger to peace:

 胡锦涛强调,实现两岸关系和平发展,基础是坚持一个中国原则,目的是为两岸同胞谋福祉, 途径是深化互利双赢的交流合作。我们要继续促进两岸人员往来和经济文化交流,继续推动两岸直接“三通”进程,也要继续努力争取恢复和进行两岸协商谈判。台 湾任何政党,只要承认两岸同属一个中国,我们都愿意同他们交流对话、协商谈判。谈判的地位是平等的,议题是开放的,什么问题都可以谈。通过谈判,寻求解决 两岸政治、经济、军事、文化、对外交往等重要问题的办法,对未来两岸关系发展进行规划。我们期待,两岸双方共同努力、创造条件,在一个中国原则的基础上协 商正式结束两岸敌对状态,达成和平协议,构建两岸关系和平发展框架,开创两岸关系和平发展新局面。

 胡锦涛指出,实现两岸关系和平发展,要靠两岸同胞共同努力。无论是过去、现在还 是将来,13亿大陆同胞和2300万台湾同胞都是血脉相连的命运共同体。我们真心诚意关心台湾同胞,充分考虑他们的愿望和要求,切实维护和照顾他们的正当 权益。凡是对台湾同胞有利的事情,凡是对维护台海和平有利的事情,凡是对促进祖国和平统一有利的事情,我们都会尽最大努力做好。我们将始终如一地履行对台 湾同胞作出的承诺,既不会因局势的一时波动而有任何动摇,也不会因少数人的蓄意干扰而有任何改变。我们要最广泛地团结台湾同胞,团结的人越多越好。只有实 现大团结,才能促进两岸关系大发展。对于那些曾经对“台独”抱有幻想、主张过“台独”甚至从事过“台独”活动的人,也要努力争取团结,只要他们回到促进两 岸关系和平发展的正确道路上来,我们都将热情欢迎,以诚相待。

 胡锦涛强调,“台独”分裂活动已成为对国家主权和领土完整的最大祸害、对两岸关系发展的最大障碍、对台海地区和平稳定的最大威胁。只有坚决遏制 “台独”分裂活动,才能实现两岸关系和平发展的前景,才能维护两岸同胞的福祉。大陆和台湾同属一个中国,中国是两岸同胞的共同家园。任何涉及中国主权和领 土完整的问题,必须由包括台湾同胞在内的全中国人民共同决定。我们绝不允许“台独”分裂势力以任何名义任何方式把台湾从祖国分割出去。“台独”分裂活动违 背了中华民族维护国家统一的坚强意志,是没有出路的,是注定要失败的。尽管两岸关系和平发展还面临阻力和障碍,今后也难免会经历曲折和起伏,但我们推动两 岸关系和平发展的信念坚定不移,决不动摇。

Taipei City starts removing ROC flags

These flags normally dot the city on both sides of National Day and "Retrocession Day," but apparently this year the city is in a slightly bigger hurry to start taking them down. Work started last night, mere days before Chen Yunlin's arrival.

Oct 28, 2008

Wang Ting-yu: CCP ordered my smackdown

DPP Tanan city councilor Wang Ting-yu, stated today that the mobsters who gave him a good smacking around last week told him the smackdown was on the orders of a high ranking CCP official to extract an apology and in retaliation for Wang's "push" of Zhang Mingqing.

Wang did not report the incident to the police at the time, only putting in a request for greater protection of his family. Ever since yesterday info keeps creeping into more and more media outlets about this incident.

I find the allegation plausible but unsupported by evidence (some mafia here is close to China, certainly unafraid of the police or politicians, and I can see China wanting to exact some revenge).

Tsai Ing-wen decides not to take it lying down

The DPP chairwoman has just floated a trial balloon: holding a referendum that, if passed, would simply require sovereignty questions on Taiwan's future to be decided by referendum.

I think it's a good idea but if it's going to work, I think you need to do two things: (1) NOT even try to hold it around a regular election, in order to reduce partisan wrangling and (2) keep the wording short, simple and appealing and (3) consider if it's worth wording the draft so that something like the peace agreement would also have to go through referendum.

NSB news

China apologized for the melamine scandal rather late, but I think that's not the big news today. Rather, it's this:

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday vowed to block a draft bill that seeks to allow National Security Bureau (NSB) personnel to detain and search anyone who might endanger the safety of an incumbent or retired president when protecting the current or former national leader....

When approached by reporters in the legislature, Chen Ping-lin (陳炳林), director of the NSB’s Law and Regulation Committee, defended the draft bill, saying that the proposal was meant to limit rather than expand the power of NSB officials.

Chen said NSB officials would only enjoy the authority stipulated in the proposal under emergent circumstances or when the security of the incumbent or former president was breached.
Now mind you, this comes on the heels of another piece of NSB news yesterday, namely that the security detail for Chen Yunlin will be headed by the NSB, which appears to violate the law (I think only heads of state are supposed to receive NSB security).

I'm just glad the law won't be passed in its current form.

Oct 27, 2008

A-bian "took home" 400+ intelligence reports

And if this report bears out, I think everyone would have to agree its obviously illegal.

I really feel let down by A-bian. Not for the little president's fund at first. Rather, for what looks like was a wholesale fleecing of his own supporting donors. For potentially taking bribes in shockingly massive amounts. And now for doing something unnecessary and stupid like this that just keeps him in the spotlight forever.

We'll see what the courts say, but I for one am pretty turned off at this point. Thanks for screwing us, A-bian.

Wang Ting-yu kidnapped for 5 hours by gansters?

Formosa News station (民視新聞) is reporting that DPP Tainan city councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) was kidnapped and held against his will by gangsters and has been threatened by both Taiwan and China gangs for his alleged role in the pushing of Zhang Mingqing (张铭清). The gangsters allegedly demanded Wang apologize in public to Zhang. Formosa News says Wang has confirmed these things in a low key way but refuses to apologize.

Given the KMT's previous cooperation with gangsters and most of the gangs' open preference for the KMT, it's no surprise some people are suspecting the KMT of ordering the intimidation of Wang. Though I don't like the racist assumptions and tone in the post I just linked to.

Chen Yunlin, peace agreement round up

Taiwan's China Times believes that recent Chinese mention of moving forward on a peace agreement is significant, whatever it might ultimately look like. And Chinese media is noticing and apparently agrees without saying as much. Lee Tung-hui is not a fan.

Chen Yinlin will be here for five days. The DPP is preparing a multi-phased set of protests for Chen's visit including daily protests and nightly vigils. Chinese media is complaining that TIers want to use violence to derail Chen's visit.

The KMT Taipei branch's-emptive application for demonstration rights (probably prompted by some inside information) is still angering DPP supporters who had hoped to give Chen an earful at whatever venues he would be at. An unnamed DPP source tells Liberty Times that there will be "rapid response" teams of protesters who plan to track Chen's movements; meanwhile, a DPP legislator says those "rapid response" teams will raid the places the KMT demonstration zones if they are empty in order to put up ROC flags.

Another unnamed (non-party) source speaks of grassroots protesters planning on outdoing the Zhang Mingqing protesters, and the pro-Tibet groups will also hold demonstrations.

Quick side note: notice how KMT campaign promises to reform the Parade & Assembly Law have fallen off the radar.

Update: Check out this peace agreement "draft" from Cheyne Chiu which may look a lot like what eventually gets signed.

Best picture yet of parade crowd

And from a HK paper at that. Via ESWN:

Oct 26, 2008

What might a peace agreement look like?

Due to the likelihood that a peace agreement will be passed in the next two years or so, I spent a few hours considering this question and also how I should organize the blog post. I've decided to write it and not just make a table. I think we should examine, from both a KMT and CCP perspective, what the requirements and incentives of such an agreement are. Finally we should look at the realistic scope of any such agreement.

Updated question for discussion: would such an agreement be framed as a formal truce to the KMT/CCP civil war?

Minimum requirements

For China, any peace treaty must institutionalize One China; cannot recognize Taiwan/the ROC as a country; and must be sellable as an intermediate step toward unification, not a final status agreement.

For Taiwan, the treaty must be politically viable at home. That means it must to some degree recognize the "One China, two interpretations" formulation, or at the very least define China in a non-political way; at best (from a green perspective), it would recognize two political entities within One China. Second, the treaty cannot explicitly lock Taiwan into future unification, and it is probably best to not mention that word at all. Third, it will require China to renounce attacking Taiwan (it is a peace agreement after all).


A Taiwan that's signed a peace treaty might stand to gain greater international investor confidence and more fully normalize relations with China. And from the KMT perspective, solidifying China-related policy for the foreseeable future is a Good Thing.TM But really, that's about it.

For China there's even less incentive unless they get to set a few terms. For example, China would only be willing to renounce attacking Taiwan if "splittist" activities are defined and renouncing violence is conditioned on Taiwan not doing anything "splittist." In other words, expect something vague that more or less institutionalizes the "anti-succession law." It would severely constrain any future DPP administration.

Further, China would want a specific mention or direction for future discussions, which they would want to lead to unification. Whatever the text says, it will not mention Taiwan having a choice in that matter, even though it will also not bind Taiwan to future unification.

Realistic scope

You know, maybe all of this is going way too far. Perhaps the scope I've outlined here is unrealistically broad and really, all controversial topics will be put aside as much as possible. What does everyone else think an agreement between the CCP and KMT government would look like?

Oct 25, 2008

ARATS deputy chair calls peace agreement "next step"

Yesterday, Wang Zaixi (王在希), deputy chairman of China's Association on Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), said that after Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan, the next step in relations would be to negotiate a peace agreement on the foundation of the 92 concensus with the aim of establishing a framework for peaceful cross-strait development.

If this is the case, it represents even faster movement by the Chinese side in welcoming Ma's overtures than most US and Taiwan analysts have been anticipating.

My guess is that there were a couple camps of thinking in China on this topic; the first was a group that wanted to wait and see how sincere Ma was, see how likely he'd be to stay in power for a second term, and see just how much he'd give away for free before negotiating.

If Wang's statements represent establishment view, which seems likely given his rank, it means another viewpoint won out, namely that China should work while it still can to consolidate, formalize and solidify the 92 concensus and a framework that would tightly constrain any future DPP administration and help lock Taiwan into a path ultimately directed at unification.

Mind you, I'm largely speculating here, but this is a big statement from a high-ranking Chinese official. As far as I know, this is their first statement on signing a peace agreement. Previously it was just Ma talking to himself. To make such an agreement the "next step," as well, is even more surprising and I think shows a sense of urgency on the Chinese side. They know any agreement would take some time to negotiate and they are probably worried about excessive legislative oversight (LY is trying to gain 'treaty review authority' on cross-strait agreements) and about losing a window of opportunity to lock things in.

If you were hoping to ensure Taiwan's future would be decided by the Taiwanese people alone directly through referendum, I think its time to be afraid.

Live blogging the parade

21:03 Yesterday A-bian said that if Ma's statement that the ROC has sovereignty over mainland China is true, then Chen Yunlin is a traitor and anyone can arrest him when he comes here. Otherwise, Ma's formulation is just BS. I doubt Chinese internet users will take kindly to this formulation.

20:45 Huashi television station estimates 600,000 attendees at the parade, more than the DPP's original goal of half a million and a pretty good showing (Huashi is not a green station). Formosa TV also says 600,000 (green station). TVBS puts the number at "hundreds of thousands" and at about 500,000 total. ERA says 400,000. Police estimate 200,000, but the police have very weird policies on releasing numbers and traditionally underestimate. Reuters' Ralph Jennings calls it "close to half a million." BBC only uses "Tens of thousands" (great job, Gluck!), same as AP and the Boston Globe. I await Michael's analysis once we have better pictures to examine.

16:56 That's it for now. I'll blog more if anything important comes up later. It's time for standing around and making speeches.

16:52 SET-TV is reporting that there were over 1,000 buses from the south coming north, and that the crowd size of half a million has been reached, but I'll wait for Michael Turton's crowd size analysis before I believe it.

16:47 Ma's getting his word out there, pointing out that polices like direct cargo and passenger flights and tourism were pushed under the DPP, though the difference was that the KMT accomplished it. He said people are intentionally using the sovereignty topic as a wedge issue instead of praising the government for getting things done on that front.

16:44 The plan now is to wait for everyone to finish their parade routs and gather at the main stage. This is probably when crowd size will actually be biggest, because people will start trickling off in boredom one everyone's just standing in the square. So it will be interesting to see what the pictures look like from around this time.

16:38 There's 5,000 police officers out today helping to keep control and keep everyone on route.

16:35 The crowd is getting pretty big at the ultimate gathering point, apparently strettching from Renai Rd. to Zhongshan S. road.

16:31 The KMT legislator on SET-TV just took a lot of verbal abuse from a caller.

16:25 There's a KMT legislator as a guest on SET-TV. Nice tough to balance out the usual crowd.

16:12 I wish they could burn Chinese flags at these things.

16:07 A-bian's a focus of all the main stations at this point. Guess you gotta do something different every few minutes. There's also already some musical entertainment in front of the presidential palace and a large crowd thats' more or less skipped the march in favor of being here early and getting good standing room.

16:00 There's plenty of people int he crowd welcoming A-bian warmly when he walks by, but I recall a lot of indifference to him and slogans aimed at supporting him last time I attended a rally on 8-30 last year.

15:58 Looks like some reporter took a verbal beating for their pro-blue bias. This happens regularly at these events, though the confrontations are not physical. But the reporters can get an earfull.

15:53 TVBS is doing their damnedest to find the most agitated parade attendees.

15:50 Formosa TV is saying there was some sort of fight between blue and green supporters over on the east side of the city. Sure it couldn't have been too big. Waiting for clarification. Then again, if nobody got it on camera, I doubt they'll find it worth reporting much.

15:49 The parade will end at 6:30 and will be followed by a three night sit-in at Freedom Square in front of CKS.

15:42 By the way, the official goals of the parade are to get the premier to resign, have China compensate Taiwan over the tainted milk powder, and to have Ma "admit his mistake" in handling that crisis.

15:39 This election also marks a reconciliation between the TSU and DPP. TSU chairman is leading line 3, which opposes throwing away sovereignty.

15:36 Nobody is upping the crowd estimate from half a million, so my guess is they haven't even gotten close enough to that number yet. It's also really hard to count until they come together.

15:33 Su Chen-chang is playing a pretty strong roll leading his group over thre in parade line 5 or whatever. Giving pretty rousing speeches. Hadn't heard from him in quite a while. Additionally, there seems to be ample opportunity for interviews with important DPP leaders during the parade.

15:28 Watch the parade coverage on SET-TV live! Scroll down here:

15:18 Wow, a total of 800 busses were booked by the DPP to send people to Taipei for this event (one day round trip + insurance, each passenger had to pay 600 dollars from Pingtung or Kaohsiung).

15:11 Some cool English signs out there and lots of flags and posters from previous marches. Actually, I'm not sure if they'll be much to report between now and the end of the parade. This isn't a debate or anything. The big question is the numbers that will be present in the end.

15:01 The parade has started, with all five lines beginning their march toward the convergence point in from in front of the presidential office. It's hard to see which line is biggest, but line NO. 1 (oppose dangerous Chinese goods) and No. 5 (oppose the ineffective Ma administration) look pretty big. Could just be the camera angles though.

14:58 Heh. A-bian's wearing a t-shirt from the 2004 "Hands across Taiwan" anti-missle parade, the most broadly attended protest in Taiwan's history to date. Correction:It looked to me like the UN for Taiwan shirt.

14:49 A female police officer seemed to have gotten in a verbal clash with some early arrivals at the parade, apparently because they were yelling some slogans about declaring independence and the female police officer said something about being the PRC. Details are unclear to me but seem relatively unimportant. Either a slip of the tongue on the officer's part... or she's a die hard or very stupid spy, which seems less likely.

14:47 Lee Teng-hui spoke today, basically saying he was too old to march but encouraging people to go on the streets. He called for the abolition of the SAF and institution of direct government-to-government talks between Taiwan and China.

14:45 Too early to estimate crowd size, but both UDN and SET-TV have reported that buses from the south were fully booked coming north, with each major southern county contributing at least 5,000 people. Others would have gone up on their own, not with mobilized groups. DPP is hoping for a turnout between half a million and one million.

14:42 A-bian, who is marching in the anti-defective Chinese products line of the parade, changed the location he was supposed to appear and has gotten out of the car at SOGO. This comes in light of recent assassination threats against him, and because he's not wearing a bullet proof vest as some may have recommended.

14:35 I'll be live blogging today's parade from the in-laws place in Pingtung. I'll be alternating between the main cable news stations on this to let you know how their coverage looks. First, an overview:
+TVBS is trying hard to tie the whole parade into A-bian, spending lots of time discussing A-bian's recent relatively inflammatory comments, asking why the DPP is "letting" him march despite the corruption inquiries, and questioning if A-bian is stealing the thunder of the parade.
+ SET-TV has a panel of the usual commentators and decided on a more focused view of the parade, rarely splitting the screen into too many divisions. Some discussion of both A-bian and Ma Ying-jeou's recent comments, as well as the goals of the parade.
+ Formosa TV News is about as close to a propaganda outlet as the DPP has. They're spending lots of time interviewing people in the streets and focusing on the goals of the parade when commenting. Even during commercials, information about the parade is being displayed (normally SOP for Typhoon days).
+ CTI is trying to show a little bit of everything, and trying to balance the commentary a little. Though most of the commentators seem to be a bit more critical of the DPP agenda.

Oct 24, 2008

KMT trying to tie 10-25 march with A-bian

In order to lower enthusiasm among light greens for tomorrow's parade, the KMT has been consistently trying to portray the event as a pro-A-bian event, which it clearly is not. I'm not sure how much effect, if any, it will have. But remember that right now the blue and green cable news channels are living in different worlds; the blue channels are spending all the time they can on A-bian's corruption case, while the Green stations are spending much more time on Ma and China-related topics. So its hard to say if the message will jump the gap.

Wu Po-hsiung is also playing up the "Greens are violent" hype by asking KMT supporters to steer clear of the parade routes.

DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen: buffers bad, may cause conflict

Most interesting part here:

Tsai pointed out that the DPP is deliberating on how to respond [to the protest buffer zones around areas Chen Yunlin will be], and she hopes the administration will not keep playing games. Otherwise, if the [green protesters] are not able to successfully apply for rights to the road and end up in conflict with the police, the KMT would have to take responsibility.


Chen Yunlin will not leave the North

Good call sir. Stay in Chinatown.

poster ideas

At this point, I'm begging. Since I can't make it to the protest, I would like someone, anyone, to make one of my posters (or modify one of them) and give me a picture of it in use. Scroll down a few posts to see my ideas.

Liberty Times confirms protest buffer zones

This is not good.

Confirming yesterday's UDN leak, today's Liberty Times confirms that the KMT has in fact booked long term rights to assemble at several places Chen Yunlin is likely to visit, as well as in front of the Presidential Palace.

So apparently, once the government knew the timing of the visit, it told the party first, which then had the Taipei party unit book the protest rights, to which the KMT-run city government readily agreed. Then the dates of Chen's visit were publicly announced. The whole thing was done in such a fashion as to make DPP protests near Chen Yunlin sites impossible to book. (Let's say it together everyone: 黨國不分, or probably more accurately, 黨國有分,黨大於國).

Pan Chia-sheng, chair of the Taipei City branch of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said that the the hope of the people is to improve the economy. Therefore the Taipei City KMT branch booked long term use of Ketagalan Boulevard in order to hold a low key event with the themes of "economic improvement, solidarity, respect for law." The objective is to let the voice of the people be heard, and Pan hopes that everyone will cease confrontational protests.

This will not go well. As I said, instead of just having Taipei City reject any protest applications for that period to make Green protests illegal and therefore easy to break up, the KMT is setting up a situation that will invite confrontation as Green supporters flock to sites where KMT people will be gathered.

But I have to say, the KMT has done very well from a PR perspective. First, breaking up illegal green protests and denying permits would have looked very bad for the KMT. Problem avoided! And now, any violence directed at Blues by Greens during Chen Yunlin's visit will look very bad, considering the KMT supporters will probably spend most of the time meditating. Blues will also outnumber Greens, unless there is some very coordinated Green planning, so expect the Green guys to look like crazies.

Oct 23, 2008

Chen Yunlin coming 11/3; legal protests unlikely

The date is set, according to UDN, but no source is named. And here's the kicker: according to UDN, blues have already applied under the The Parade and Assembly Law to have rights to the areas around the two most likely meeting points between Ma/Wu and Chen, namely the Taipei Guest House and the old KMT headquarters, now the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation. And that's been approved, UDN says.

The plan is to use this application to road rights to prevent green protesters from assembling. But as I understand it, if site locations have already had permits approved, that means people CAN go there to assemble or have a protest. You can only keep people out if they DON'T have that permit.

So even the blues flood the area with enthusiastic supporters, which would really only likely lead to scuffles green and blue supporters, I think this plan would be self-defeating. More likely, I think, is that UDN just made this part up.

Update: Looks like 11/3 may only be a suggestion date, though UDN could have a source that confirmed the Chinese agreed.

Taiwan provincial government

Now that the Taiwan provincial government's budget has passed giving it the same allocation as last year, you may wonder what they do. Here's the answer.

Legislative procedure

As everyone knows, I try to keep up with the going ons of the Legislative Yuan. And yesterday there was a bit of an incident that reveals a lot about that body's current situation.

Yesterday during a meeting to discuss a budget proposal in the LY Education and Culture Committee, My least favorite female KMT legislator, Hong Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) [At large], and my second least favorite female DPP legislator, Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) [Kaohsiung City-2], got into a bit of a scuffle.

Here's how it went down:

Three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers held up signs that read “Full control of the government means full authoritarianism” when the meeting began in a bid to boycott the committee’s review of the budget proposal.

The three legislators want to submit a proposal to cut the council’s budget but need another legislator to endorse their request in order to put it on the agenda.

The DPP only has three seats in the committee, however, so their initiative has been put aside.

The council is requesting NT$35.9 billion (US$1.08 billion) for the next fiscal year.

During the review, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) slapped Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) on the face after Hung accidentally injured Kuan’s assistant in the eye as Hung was trying to push a poster away.

Kuan and Hung got into a heated exchange, with Hung accusing Kuan of staging a “show” and Kuan scolding Hung for hurting her assistant.

In the end, the committee cut NT$152.8 million from the budget request before passing it.
After that, Kuan and Hung both held press conferences to condemn each other like little babies. Kuan's aid obviously got the raw end of the deal and had to wear an eye patch.

Besides demonstrating how the whole LY is childish, this incident shows how little power the DPP has when it comes to Legislative Yuan procedures. The DPP cannot vote down, filibusterer, or bottle up in committee and KMT bills; much more seriously, the DPP cannot even raise proposals like amendments. They don't have the committee or floor power.

(Of some importance to this case, but not to the larger issue, the DPP was trying to violate procedure when asking to raise an amendment during this budget discussion meeting; further, the DPP caucus apparently declined a KMT offer to raise the amendment because the KMT wouldn't sign on if the amendment was raised in the DPP caucus' name, and on this point the DPP was perhaps unnecessarily insistent).

In terms of what's best for the LY and democracy, it's best to alter committee procedural rules to allow three (instead of four) members to raise proposals. DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the DPP caucus whip today asked Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to do just that, and Wang while expressed interest in making such changes yesterday, today he told the DPP to control its own people first and worry about procedures later.

So the LY is still a scary and childish place if you ask me.

Wang defends ARATS protest.

I think comments on the blog raise a valid point that Zhang himself and the government he represents threaten Taiwan with war, death and destruction. And Zhang did so when he came to Taiwan.

Of course, I still don't see how pushing him helped anything, though of course we don't know who really pushed him yet (I'm pretty sure there was a push based on a video I saw last night during <頭家來開講>, but I'm also pretty sure Wang Ding-yu didn't do it, and I don't even think he saw it).

From ICRT:

The Tainan City Councilor at the center of the storm over an attack on a
visiting official from the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait
has said that he will not apologize for his actions.

According to Wang Ding-you .... contrary to claims by Zhang Ming-qing he did
not hit anyone and welcomes the A-R-A-T-S official taking him to court.

Wang added that Zhang will have to recognize the legal jurisdiction of the
Republic of China if the Chinese official plans to press charges against a
democratically elected Taiwanese City Councilor.

Speaking to reporters .. Wang said that he had not pushed Zhang, but tried to
help him up after he tripped over ... adding that he was trying to protect
Taiwan's sovereignty and that Zhang's statements of "no Taiwan independence,
no war" was offensive and tantamount to blackmail.

Oct 22, 2008

Poster ideas

For this weekend's parade, in the unlikely event I go up... in any case, you're welcome to use my ideas or add your own in the comments section.

絕不接受 一中原則
永久維持 一邊一國


和平協議 必過公投
台灣之命 由台灣定



Follow up on Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) incident

There is a lot of focus in my blog's comments and other sites on whether Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) was actually physically pushed or not, and whether it was on purpose. Youtube video found by Michael Turton makes it seem unlikely there was actually any intentional physical push. Clearly the media did immediately exaggerate without having the facts precise.

But let's get real people: there was a hostile crowd chasing this guy, yelling at him. This was not just some innocent stumble. If he hadn't have tripped first, I think odds of some physical incident would have been pretty damn high. I don't think it matters if the actual fall was caused by a shove or a misstep. It did not help Taiwan's cause.

So I think that before we go congratulating ourselves on once again proving the media's bias and inclination to jump to conclusions, I think we should remember the context this took place in and understand why people would assume he was pushed. And "he wasn't really pushed" doesn't seem like much of an argument given the crowd's physical intimidation.

You also have to wonder who's brilliant idea it was to go to Tianan on such an unprecedented visit by a high ranking Chinese official.

Oct 21, 2008

This weekend's parade

Get ready, and whichever route you choose, try to wear the corresponding color!

More info, including route distances, in Chinese here.

1,500 dogs poisoned

Not good:

Some 1,500 dogs bred for their raccoon-like fur have died after eating feed tainted with the same chemical that contaminated dairy products and sickened tens of thousands of babies nationwide, a veterinarian said Monday.

The raccoon dogs _ a breed native to east Asia whose fur is used to make trim on coats and other clothing _ were fed a product that contained the chemical melamine and developed kidney stones, said Zhang Wenkui, a veterinary professor at Shenyang Agriculture University. All of the dogs died on farms in just one village.

Chinese official Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) pushed in Tainan

This post will be continually updated all day.

A Chinese official, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清), was possibly pushed/kicked/punched by protesting Green supporters at the Confucian temple in Tainan when visiting today. Made the front page of The Beijing News.

Video 2: I hear this one confirms there was a push, but can't confirm it myself. Can anybody help?
Video 3: BBC's

Update: Media outlets have no consensus on the exact method of assault, but it appears he was at least chased down by protesters. Update: more extensive word on Zhang's injuries from TVBS. And Zhang will sue!

Apparently, his arm was injured and he was kicked a few times on the ground. Update: from Max Hirsch, via Michael Turton:

Local TV footage showed the envoy, his hair and clothes disheveled, struggling to get back on his feet and grasp for his eyeglasses, which had fallen off his face amid the kerfuffle.

At one point, a protester climbed onto Zhang's car and stomped on the roof and hood, while a short elderly woman [swung] feebly at the vehicle with her yellowed crutch. Security personnel appeared in short supply, and sometimes completely absent, as the mob encircled Zhang several times.
Also from Michael Turton's site, more from CNN:
Pictures from Taiwan TV stations showed about a dozen protesters surrounding Zhang at a Tainan temple commemorating Confucius, then toppling him to the ground while shouting anti-communist and pro-independence slogans.

"Taiwan does not belong to China," protesters shouted.

Zhang was helped to his feet by an escort and rushed to a waiting vehicle. A middle-aged man stomped and banged on the vehicle but did not attempt to prevent it from leaving the scene.

The attack on Zhang comes several weeks before a planned visit by Chen Yun-lin, Zhang's boss and the point man in pushing for unity across the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.
The Presidential office denounced the jostling; DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed regret, took responsibility, and will send down a directive to DPP party members to refrain from all violence (no word yet on if the attackers were actually DPP members).

KMT Legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) demanded an apology; DPP legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said there's no need to be polite to "the enemy."

Update: Vice Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏) said that Taiwan's democracy is its greatest weapon, but that this incident showed Taiwan's democratization had resulted in "brutalization," and that if this kind of thing continued Taiwan would have no road left but surrender (I find this logic really confusing).

Update: Tainan city councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) claimed that Zhang just tripped on a tree root and was not attacked (seems implausible to me, but I haven't seen video). TVBS is trying to link Wang as closely with any potentially violent protestors as possible, though he seems to have helped Zhang up the second he tripped/was pushed, according to Maddog.

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) promised this would not affect the coming trip of Chen Yunlin Chen Yunlin (陈云林), chairman of the ARATS.

Further update: AP is on the case, filing a report on this incident in English. It gives a good feel for the protesters' views. Judging from the composition of the article, it looks like the protesters successfully stole the headline from Ma's speech about cross-strait peace today.

Yet another update:
From the way UDN is talking, Lien Chan and UDN itself will not be happy until these people are arrested (the Tainan police are on the case, now questioning DPP Tainan city councilor Wang Ting-yu and the guy who stood on Zhang's his car, Lin Chin-hsun (林進勳), and I do expect some arrests).

China is not pleased either. See comments from QQers on this topic here. TVBS finds a Chinese visitor who calls Taiwan "too free."

I got an email update from Tim Maddog, who is always on top of these things. Here's his perspective:
I've seen the video about a million times so far, and unless somebody used some movie-magic qigong (氣功), Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) was *not* pushed. As usual, most of the accusations against the pro-Taiwan side are being exaggerated.

In fact, Tainan city council member Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) immediately helped Zhang get up. SET News, ignoring their own reporting, is still calling it a "暴力推倒事件" (violent pushing incident) -- exactly the way the government media outlets in China are describing it. "Green media," my ass!

There was, however, one guy who jumped on top of Zhang's car and stomped on the roof and a woman behind the car using a crutch to hit the trunk and/or the rear window.
Some background on this visit from ICRT:
The visiting deputy head of China's quasi-official cross-strait negotiating
body has been followed by protesters and heckled and told to "get lost" and
"go back to China" since his arrival in Taiwan yesterday.

Zhang Ming-qing - the Vice President of the Beijing-based Association for
Relations Across the Taiwan Straits is in Taiwan to attend an academic
seminar at the Tainan National University of the Arts.

The Chinese official was heckled on his arrival at Gaoxiong International
Airport and Sunday evening .. and met with more protests yesterday when he
took to the podium to address the seminar.

Two students from the National Zheng-Gang University tried to disrupt Zhang's
speech .... shouting "Taiwan is independent and not a part of China" before
they were removed from the seminar by security personnel.

In the wake of the protests, university authorities have decided to cancel
all of Zhang's public appearances in Taiwan over the next two days.

Ma: I promise no war for the next 4 years

Considering that any war would be started and perpetuated by China, how can Ma really make such a promise? Some think the answer is "the only way to make such a guarantee is to surrender." I think it's just some attempt to boost his ratings for the short term.

The "reasoning" for this statement is supposed to be explained in a speech today. Will update later.

Oct 20, 2008

McCain: Obama's a socialist!

The rhetorical vitriol out of the McCain camp is completely insane. Both party leaderships supported the recent socialist bailout of major banks.

If the contrast is with completely free markets, both major parties of the United States have, without fail, been promoting "socialist" policies since the founding of the country (before the term was even around!). If the contrast is with at least marginally laissez faire policy, then it's pretty hard to argue we've seen that in the last 60-80 years, depending on how you're looking at it. So I really wish these guys would give it a rest.

Every wealthy modern state is a modern welfare state, a socialist democracy. And every wealthy modern state also allows the markets to operate in a very wide range, with great latitude on free trade and pricing.

Unless you're quite principled about the economic matters and count yourself as a Libertarian or Anarchist, I think the only questions are really (1) what policies are desirable and sustainable (2) who do they help and to what degree, and (3) are the policies encouraging the behavior we'd like to see.

Wu Po-hsiung: foreign relations truce working

In an interview with Reuters, Wu Po-hsiung says China has quietly agreed to Ma's truce in foreign relations, and that China has rejected a few Taiwan allies who were willing to switch recognition, telling those countries to wait for the time being.

On Ma, authoritarianism and the Party-State

There's been a lot of apprehension about Ma taking Taiwan back to the bad old days in the Green-leaning media, DPP leadership and Green voters/sympathizers. Not to mention English blows on Taiwan. I am inclined to believe the media and DPP is reacting with feigned apprehension meant to fan the flames, while the grass roots are genuinely alarmed.

This apprehension is not without cause; Ma has made several mostly symbolic moves that raise these concerns (restoration of the cult of Chiang Kai-shek, reversal of emphasis on the word 'Taiwan', etc). Ma has also made significant rhetorical concessions toward China without any (public) negotiations, all for the purpose of gaining access and currying favor on labor, tourism, and cargo flights, and presumably in hopes of future concessions on a peace agreement, missle removal, etc.

But in discussions I've lately had with light-blue voters, who really ought to be considered the bulk of blue voters (or at least the most critical sector), you will find a sense that:

(1) further economic integration with China is both desirable and unavoidable;
(2) Ma's rhetorical and symbolic changes are relatively insignificant, and can not affect Taiwan's de facto independence and democracy;
(3) Taiwanese people of all stripes would without doubt refuse unification, would fight to defend their freedoms and will not let the KMT roll back the democratic clock.

At this point, while I'm more wary than Blue voters of the symbolic and rhetorical changes of the Ma administration, and while I am suspect of Ma's ultimate intentions, I must agree with my light blue compatriots -- Ma has not been able to change anything fundamental about Taiwan's independence and democracy, and it will be very hard for him to do so.

And I have to say I've been particularly disappointed in Liberty Times and the DPP legislators, who have really just dropped reasonable debate and criticism for all out, bombastic attacks. It seems like an act of pure revenge and certainly does not raise their standing in the eyes of the swing/otherwise disinterested voters.

So perhaps there is not so much cause for pessimism. Perhaps we can dial down our own alarmism, however good the intentions that prompted our rhetorical flares.

Or perhaps I'm preparing to surrender?

Ma: I will try to finish a peace agreement this term

In yet another interview with foreign media (this time an Indian magazine), President Ma Ying-jeou promises to try and complete a peace agreement with China during his term of office, though can make no promises.

More here from Taipei Times.

It's the first such mention of this news since Ma's inauguration, as far as I know.

Oct 17, 2008

A-bian to perform seppuku if he has cash in Japan

A classic Taiwanese political statement.

New government may crack down on underground radio stations

Read about DPP calls for leniency here.

Two notes on the article: first, DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) asserts that pro-Ma stations would be exempt from the crackdown, but I see no evidence of that.

Secondly, the NCC concern about fake drugs being sold on these ads is a very valid one. This is partly just a result of pure economics (that "medicine" probably don't cost shit to make and can be sold at a high price) but also a result of these stations being illegal (can't get many legit ads in that situation, can you?).

I love the underground radio stations here in Kaohsiung.

Oct 15, 2008

Taiwan study book: Taiwan is a "special region" of China

Taiwan was recently labeled a special economic region of China in supplemental textbooks recently prepared for Taipei middle schools by the publishing house Han-lin (翰林出版社).

The book in question, 《贏家滿分圖解試題集—中國歷史》, is one of the supplemental textbooks sold by Han-lin to complement the regular course textbooks, many of which are also published by Han-lin.

Han-lin has apologized for the printing and will accept returns on the books for refunds (no voluntary recall though).

It's not clear how this error could have occurred. Perhaps publishing was outsourced to China. Another possibility is plagiarizing from Chinese material; the chapter that this mislabeling is titled "Development since the Chinese Communist Opening up and Reform" 「中共改革開放後的發展」.

In either case, this will be embarrassing to the Han-lin editors for some time to come.

Oct 9, 2008

KMT taking over the news

"Must read" post of the day from Michael Turton. The politicization of CNA is truly tragic.

Update: CNA has responded to concerns about its integrity, effectively denying any interference; obviously the GIO has said much the same thing.

Oct 8, 2008

Low-level elections to be unified in 2014

The gradual process of democratization in Taiwan left one very ugly legacy: constant elections at one level or another kept politics at the fever pitch other countries only see once every four or five years.

Mayors of Taipei and Kaohsiung were elected at one time; county commissioners and city councils of other places at another; legislators at a third; village chiefs and borough chiefs at yet another; and the presidential contest rounded out the group.

But a law which passed its first reading in the Legislative Yuan today called for future elections of all mayors, county commissioners, city councilors, village chiefs and borough chiefs to occur at the same time starting in December 2014. Terms would all be four years, and the pre-2012 disparity in election schedules means some guys (that's gender-neutral guys) would get their upcoming terms extended or shortened.

According to the current proposal, legislators and the president would still be elected in two additional, separate elections, but both will be held in 2012 as well. So that's some improvement. Just one year of campaigning plus one year of elections.

Well, now that I see I had the date wrong (2012 instead of the accurate 2014), that's not such a great improvement after all. Still, good job, KMT caucus! (I haven't gotten to say that in a long time...)

Thoughts on the TI movement

You know, one of the legacies over the last two decades years of Taiwanese rule was the sort of soft collapse of the Taiwanese Independence movement as such. Most of the institutions are still there (WUFI, the Taiwan Independence Party (建國黨), etc). These groups originally called for terminating the ROC and its constitution and declaring independence.

But after A-bian's election and the end of the KMT's monopoly on governance, the TIer groups weakened considerably. Founding members of the TIP resigned en masse. Most groups started to argue along lines of DPP dogma which claimed Taiwan was already independent and need not even change the country name, even while promoting a new constitution.

And during Chen's term the KMT largely was forced to accept this sort of reasoning. Even when the KMT was refusing to say "one side, one country," they were forced to associate the ROC with Taiwan alone and abandon talk of unification, rarely mentioning "One China" but preferring just "92 consensus." Current VP Vincent Siew even reneged on his own wording of a "One China market" during the campaign, threatening the DPP with a lawsuit if they kept talking about it, despite the fact that Siew himself used the phrase in his own book.

I think that if Ma is able to move any of these "one country, two regions" issues beyond rhetoric, to institutionalize them further, then we're going to see a resurgence of the TI movement. I think he's already gone farther in rhetoric than most people will passively accept, especially given the poor governance. And I think Chen Yunlin will see that on his visit. China will be watching closely.

And this is exactly why a backfire may hurt the KMT's aspirations: as Ma moves to further institutionalize this "one country, two regions" formula in future agreements with China, TIers will gain strength, the DPP will gain strength, and China will back off from signing anything serious for fear of a DPP victory. Because a DPP victory could leave certain benefits in place while giving the chance for the DPP to reject or reinterpret other provisions of agreements.

So I am starting to think Ma won't get his peace treaty this term. China will want to see the KMT win at least twice in a row, probably three times, and see a tamed DPP, before they'll give the KMT that ultimate sweetener. And Ma may not be lucky enough to get two terms.

Preemptive attack

Anyone who has been to Taiwan in October knows that the streets are lined with ROC flags the entire month, to celebrate both the National Day (10-10) and Retrocession Day (10-29).

With ARATS director Chen Yunlin planning a trip here near the end of October, the DPP is calling on the Ma administration not to take down the national flags before Chen's arrival. They would like Chen Yunlin to see the national flag when he's being ferried around.

When elections come close, the KMT uses the national flag a lot while DPP politicians tend to leave it at the wayside; but when it comes to international events or China-related issues, the DPP wraps themselves in the flag much tighter than the blue camp.

Beijing-Taipei Freeway

If you love maps, you'll be happy to see this one (published in China in July 2008) showing a highway directly connecting Fuzhou to Taipei. Click on the link above for more pictures.

Chinese reports indicate plans for this bridge were discussed in April 2007 between the Fujian Province Road Federation (福建省交通协会) and Taiwan's China Road Federation (中華民國道路協會), where various safety issues were reviewed and several proposals for different routes were raised.

Well, at least he's (almost) consistent

Reality be damned. President Regional Administrator Ma Ying-jeou clarified during an interview with Japanese media yesterday that the territory on which the PRC sits is in fact Republic of China territory. This is his first explicit statement to that effect, I believe.


President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said mainland China is the territory of the Republic of China (ROC) in an interview with a Japanese magazine, the first time Ma has made the official claim since he took office in May.

Ma said under the ROC Constitution, the ROC “definitely is an independent sovereign state, and mainland [sic] China is also part of the territory of the ROC.”
This position is in fact rather consistent with (the still vague) ROC constitution and is the only logical extension of Ma's earlier claims that Taiwan and China do not have a "state to state" relationship but rather are "two regions" of the same country.

During the interview Ma also engaged in some revisionist history while praising Chiang Kai-shek's legacy, saying his contributions were greater than his mistakes and he had three major accomplishments -- "returning" Taiwan to the ROC, protecting Taiwan and constructing Taiwan.

UPDATE: If the argument Ma is making is based purely on adherence to the borders originally outlined in the constitution, as it seems to, then recent statements by his cabinet that Mongolia is an acknowledged independent country seem to be contradictory to this position. (Actually, this is slightly complicated, and the argument can be made Ma need not claim Mongolia to claim China on these grounds.)

And it's in line with Ma's claims to Tibet.

This reversal of position also nixes Ma's previous statements that "The ROC is Taiwan." (「中華民國就是台灣。」) See this Monday, Sep 17, 2007 article for those:

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday welcomed his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterpart's statement that "Taiwan is the Republic of China [ROC]."

Oct 7, 2008


Want to see how your congressman voted on the final bailout package? Check here.

I'm happy to say that TX-22 representative Nick Lampson (D) voted "nay" as I (and probably everyone else who wrote him) encouraged him to.

Interesting cartogram map of the vote, too.

The California vote was almost entirely on partisan lines; Texas did little better, but Lampson was among those that broke the mold.


Beijing has SARS virus in its arsenal: NSB chief

National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) said yesterday that the SARS virus has become part of China’s biochemical warfare program.

“We have information indicating that the SARS virus has become a biochemical warfare formula, and United Nations experts have the same intelligence as that obtained by the NSB,” he told the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee....

Late last night the bureau issued a statement denying that Tsai had said Beijing turned the SARS virus into a weapon. The bureau said Tsai had been misunderstood.

How weird is that? I listened to the recording. There was no misunderstanding.

MOI working on limited absentee voting proposal
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said the ministry plans to push for absentee voting next year to better protect the right to vote.

“We are working on amendments to electoral laws to allow absentee voting so that the right to vote of those who cannot make it back to their home electoral districts would not be compromised,” Chien said in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) about the ministry’s plans during a meeting of the Internal Administration Committee.

Chien said the ministry would probably finish its draft proposal and submit it to Cabinet and the legislative next year.
Taiwan, China agree terms of direct flights: official
Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said yesterday that Taiwan and China share a common view on adopting direct routes for existing nonstop cross-strait weekend chartered flights.

Speaking at the legislature, Mao said proposals on the adoption of the shortest possible routes for direct cross-strait weekend chartered flights have almost been drafted by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

“Once the new rounds of SEF-ARATS talks take place and details on the matter are worked out, agreements on the opening of direct weekend chartered flights via direct routes could be signed by the two sides,” Mao said.
No date yet for ARATS chief’s visit: MAC
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) continued to be evasive on exactly when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would visit Taiwan, but confirmed the trip would take place before the end of the year in spite of recent protests over contaminated milk powder from China.

“We have not decided on an exact date but the general direction has been set,” council spokesman Liu Teh-hsun (劉德勳) said.

“We are aiming for the end of October or beginning of November,” Liu said.
Ease job laws for Chinese spouses: CLA
Council of Labor Affairs Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) said yesterday that regulations governing the working rights of Chinese spouses of Taiwanese should be relaxed if the country is to treat this group fairly.

Wang said that since Chinese spouses are “daughters-in-law of Taiwanese elders” and mothers of Taiwanese children, they should be granted the same rights as people from other countries who are married to Taiwanese.

This means that Chinese spouses should be able to obtain work permits immediately after they are granted resident status, Wang said.

Oct 6, 2008

China warns U.S. on its arms deal with Taiwan

Article here ...

WASHINGTON: An announcement that the United States will sell more than $6 billion in advanced weapons to Taiwan elicited strong reactions from leaders in China, with officials in Beijing issuing denunciations and warnings that the weapons deal could worsen relations.

On Saturday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, was quoted from Beijing as saying that the government strongly opposed the deal and warning that it could damage ties between Beijing and Washington if it went through.

A senior officer from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing was summoned by Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei, who issued a protest, according to the official press agency, Xinhua.

There is of course a paragraph with well documented falsehoods:

U.S. foreign policy recognizes only one China, with its capital in Beijing, but stresses that reunification with Taiwan, which split from the mainland in 1949, must be achieved through negotiations. Washington has pledged to support Taiwan in any unprovoked attack from China.

Oct 3, 2008

KMT poll

According to last night's Talking Show, the Executive Yuan did its bi-monthly opinion poll and found a ~24.9% support rating for the Ma administration. But they did not release the results, despite having done so in July and August, probably because they don't like the results.

More on chief justices...

From ICRT:

The Legislature today approved President Ma Ying-jeou's nominations for
five grand justices despite a boycott of the vote by opposition DPP

The minority DPP refused to take part in the vote to protest against
what it described as a failure of the nominations.

DPP Legislator Guan Bi-ling said none of the nominees -- all of whom are
professors at some of the country's most prestigious schools, judges or
fellows at Taiwan's highest-level research institute -- "enjoy prestige
or a respectful status in the academic sector."

Guan claimed that their appointments will turn the Constitutional Court into
a "conservative, reactionary" institution.

She added the DPP rejected the nominations to safeguard the dignity of the

Another DPP lawmaker said while the grand justices are supposed to be
impartial and independent, the five candidates were nominated to the
positions because of their relationship with the ruling KMT or Ma.

The KMT rejected the criticism ... saying all were chosen for their ability
to serve on the Constitutional Court ... and are emminently qualified for the

More on that little scuffle

From ICRT:

Newly installed health chief Ye Jin-quan headed to the hospital for a
check-up ... after a shoving match in the Legislature which caught him in the

Ye headed to the Legislature this morning to join lawmakers at a news
conference for a local business association representing the island bakery

Ye joined lawmakers in assuring consumers that local bakery products are safe.

However, when the news conference ended, DPP lawmakers surrounded the health
chief ... demanding to know why he has ignored a request to visit their
caucus office and report on the tainted milk crisis.

KMT lawmakers stepped in to shield the health chief ... and a shoving match
ensued that turned chaotic.

Ye ... who looked unwell ... headed back to the Department of Health ...
telling reporters afterwards he has high blood pressure and felt very dizzy
... and needed to rest.

Cabinet secretary general Xue Xiang-quan later took Ye to the NTU hospital
for a check-up ... and denounced what he called the violent action on the
part of DPP lawmakers.

The KMT says it plans to seek punishment for the DPP lawmakers involved from
the Legislature's disciplinary committee.

Harris County's default trilingualism

Though the ballot itself was only bilingual, these forms were cool:

Today's biggies

Legislative Yuan is confirming Ma's nominees for the Supreme Court. More on that later.

Some fight between the KMT caucus and a DPP legislator.

And "a draft report by the US Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board says Taiwan will be the biggest threat to US-China relations in the near future."

Oct 2, 2008

Subtitles for last night's Talking Show intro

here you go!

Self-defeating nature of calling Taiwan a "region"

First, the Ma administration position...

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not denigrate the country’s sovereignty or move toward de-Taiwanization by describing Taiwan as a region, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said on Monday.

Wang was referring to Ma’s redefinition of the cross-strait status quo as “a special relationship, but not a relationship between states” in an interview with a Mexican newspaper last month.

Wang said Ma did not create the term “Taiwan region” to blur the country’s sovereignty, saying that Ma’s new characterization of the cross-strait relationship as one between the “Taiwan region” and the “mainland region” was in accordance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.

Based on the constitutional framework, both regions are part of the Republic of China’s (ROC) territory, but only the “Taiwan region” is under the rule of the ROC, Wang said.

The ROC is an independent sovereign state, the spokesman said. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ruled separately and should treat each other equally as defined in the ROC Constitution, which was amended in 1991, Wang said.
OK, let's edit that down to the only two points raised in the argument.
Based on the constitutional framework, both regions are part of the Republic of China’s (ROC) territory, but only the “Taiwan region” is under the rule of the ROC, Wang said....

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ruled separately and should treat each other equally as defined in the ROC Constitution, which was amended in 1991, Wang said.
The first argument is basically true; the constitution for all intents and purposes defines all of China and Taiwan to both be part of the ROC's territory. The second is just a wish. So the Ma government's position is:
  1. There is only China in the world, and one legal government of China.
  2. That legal government is the ROC government.
  3. The PRC exists only as an illegal, rogue regime>
  4. The legal government, the ROC, and the illegal rogue regime calling itself the PRC ought to treat each other equally but not on government-to-government terms.
Now there are a few obvious and stark problems with this formulation.
  1. Going only on national titles, there is clearly not one China in the world.
  2. If there is, the legitimate government is certainly not the Republic of China, neither in terms of international law nor simple common sense.
  3. The PRC administration may be illegitimate (on democratic grounds), but arguing it is an illegal or rogue entity is impossible.
  4. Since when does a legal government ever treat an illegal rival on its own territory "equally?" Only when it already lost the battle and must assent to the rebels' or seperatists' demands.
On its face, this policy is an implicit admission that the ROC has no way to ever control the territory administered by the PRC, but does not wish to continue the battle, so is willing to discuss things on "equal," non-government-to-government terms.

The reality is that Ma is a "One China" adherent, ardently opposed to Taiwan even having a choice of de jure independence, who has formulated this position purely to please China, make this an "internal Chinese" issue and hopefully get some favors out of it in return. Favors still forthcoming. No sign of them yet.

And the darker reality is that, if you are China, and Taiwan is playing the hand Ma is playing, you would adopt the mirror image of Ma's first through third points while treating Taiwan any way you'd like.

If you're China, does it make sense today to treat Taiwan "equally?" Sure, as long as that doesn't involve recognizing or even dealing with Taiwan's non-governmental, illegal rogue regime. But what about tomorrow? Probably not so appealing.

The Ma government has retreated dramatically from the policies of Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. He is repudiating any claims that there are two legitimate governments on China and Taiwan respectively, thus guaranteeing the international community will eventually accept the PRC stance that this is an "internal Chinese problem" (after all, if Taiwan does, who else wouldn't?). Ma is cutting off any hope Taiwan will have of de jure independence by undermining the reality of de facto independence (by arguing that one of the Cs [PRC/ROC] is just a rogue regime).

And worst of all, China sits quietly on the sidelines, waits to see how much Ma will give away for free over his first couple years, and will then use that as the starting point of any negotiations, forcing Taiwan to concede even further.


I wish someone would expose Ma as the king with no clothes using the following yes-no questions during a press conference or interview:
  1. Does the People's Republic of China exist?
  2. Since the Communist Party is illegal in the ROC, will you arrest communists visiting Taiwan?
  3. Are problems between Taiwan and the "mainland" an internal Chinese problem?
  4. Are Taiwanese people Chinese? (wow, would that one ever blow up on him).
  5. Do you hope to see the ROC govern Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang and Beijing again one day?
  6. Do you personally hope for unification?
  7. Do you wish to move the ROC capital back to Nanjing some day?

CCW up in arms about lack of T-SPAN

CCW blasts Wang for not delivering live video feeds

By Loa Iok-Sin
Thursday, Oct 02, 2008, Page 3 Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) staged a demonstration outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday, protesting Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) failure to fulfill a promise to allow public access to the legislature’s video-on-demand (VOD) system.

“Wang promised several times during the past legislative session, and again in August, that he would endeavor to allow public access to live broadcasts of legislative meetings through the legislature’s VOD system as soon as this session starts in September,” CCW chairman Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華) said.

“But obviously, he has failed to fulfill that promise,” Ku said.

ICRT wrap up...

Chinese foodstuff toxins scare

As concern continues about the safety of Chinese produced dairy products and
food products containing vegetable-based protein food additives .... the
Department of Health has said that it will increase control over the sources
of food and beverage ingredients.

According to newly appointed Minister of Health ... Yeh Qing-chuan ... his
office will screen all imported and locally produced dairy products and
vegetable-based proteins for traces of melamine.

Speaking to reporters .. Yeh said that the D-O-H will also step-up random
checks of such products from all countries, especially those from what he
called "risky countries."

Currently only 5-per cent of the food products in each shipment is checked,
but the new ruling means that 20-per cent of all imported dairy products and
foodstuffs containing vegetable-based proteins will be examined.

Yeh added that all Chinese milk powder, dairy products and creamer will
remain banned for an indefinite period of time.
Vice Premier: Transparent mechanism needed for sovereign fund
The Vice Premier has said that the creation of a sovereign wealth fund would
be helpful for Taiwan's economy .... but that a transparent mechanism must be
set up to manage it.

Speaking to reporters ... Paul Chiu said that ... if a "concrete plan" on
the creation of a S-W-F is met in the coming weeks it will be sent to the
Executive Yuan for approval.
Mayor forced to suspend Maokong Cable Care service
A day after Taipei City Mayor Hao Long-bin declared the Maokong Cable Car
safe ..... its operators have suspended services indefinitely due to
questions remain over its safety.

The City Mayor assured the public on Monday that the system was safe even
though a landslide had caused the foundation of a support tower to be washed
away during typhoon "Jangmi."

According to Hao .... the cable car system's consultants C-E-C-I Engineering
Consultants had assessed the cable car and vouched for its safety.

However .... during a visit to the area yesterday ... City Councilors
discovered that the foundation had been washed away . and that serious
erosion was occurring in the area affected by the landslide.

A spokesman for the Taipei City Government has said that the results of a
safety assessment are expected within one month.


RTI continues

More on the RTI situation.

First, today's Liberty Times article has more details on the KMT's press conference yesterday.

Second, four members of the board of directors did resign in protest yesterday at the board meeting. They are Cheng You (鄭優), who apparently was only planning to resign since last Saturday and had not actually left, Luo Chi-cheng (羅致政), Chu Tai-hsiang (朱台翔), Dong Li-wen (董立文) and Liao Chin-kui (廖錦桂).


At yesterday's press conference, KMT legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) brought up some examples of extreme green-bias in the RTI reporting, though apparently no tapes. She said her research people had for some time been closely monitoring Mandarin broadcasts on RTI, and that these programs were slandering the Ma government.

Hung said program content included phrases like "Ma Ying-jeou is just a pawn of the Americans," "The KMT is destroying the Republic of China," and that hosts (not just guests) continually referred to President Ma with a number of disrespectful names including "Stupid Ma," "Liar Ma," "Taiwan-destroying Ma" and a contraction of "President Ma" which is a homonym with "toilet." (「馬笨、馬騙、馬亡台、馬統」)

(A-gu: Again, not the inconsistent position between these legislative claims and GIO claims that no pressure of any kind was exerted on the RTI to alter programing (presumably because it was reasonably fair)).

Hong's claims go beyond even the accusations documents in the fax the Liberty Times reported on yestereday.


That fax was in fact presented during the mass resignation during yesterday's board meeting, and the resigning members used this as evidence to protest GIO director Vanessa Shih's (史亞平) denials of pressure on the RTI.

Cheng You apparently was fighting off tears as he left the board meeting.


My guess is that both the KMT legislators and the RTI board members are at least partially right. I can imagine how programming on RTI grew Greener over the last eight years, though the accuastions of bias are still heresay without any verifiable evidence; and no doubt the RTI board is correct that the GIO put pressure on them to alter programming.

So the GIO is the one who really screwed this one up. If there were real problems with bias, it should have been carefully documented and presented to the board for correction. It should never have taken any articles from PRC mouthpieces and faxed them to the RTI board to "encourage improvement." It should have never denied putting on pressure on the RTI to alter programming, since it apparently did, but should have cautiously documented all such incidents. It should not have acted stupidly enough to cause a mass resignation. And perhaps most importantly, it should not be trying to wipe off green-leaning commentors or critical commentary on Ma initiatives from the airwaves.

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