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Nov 15, 2008

On corruption

Taiwan recently made a slight drop in the Transparency International corruption index, ranking 39th on a list of 180 countries (vs. 34th last year).

One thing you often hear from people in Taiwan is that "every politician is going to be corrupt." And of course to some degree this is true, but there seems to be an inadequate public understanding of the current lack of oversight and the frequent conflicts of interests politicians have.

This is where the Sunshine Laws come in, and why they can be very useful -- if they have teeth. And the KMT and Mr. Clean Ma Ying-jeou has been promising to make them a top priority since 2006. Again, some background on these bills from the Taipei Times:

The "sunshine bills" refer to a series of proposed anti-corruption laws, namely, draft laws on the disposition of assets improperly obtained by political parties, a lobbying bill, a bill covering political parties, a statute governing the Ministry of Justice's anti-corruption bureau, amendments to the Act on Property Declaration by Public Servants (公職人員財產申報法), the Legislators' Conduct Act (立法委員行為法) and the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法).

The DPP's nine sunshine laws cover more ground than the KMT's four sunshine laws. The DPP's proposals regulate not only public servant exercise of power but also conflicts of interests after retirement or in subsequent employment, the acceptance of political donations and lobbying in the legislature. They are stricter and more sophisticated, and extend to party assets and political donations as well as campaign spending.

So if you have any more informatino on the specific ways the sunshine laws would make things better here, please post in them in the comments section.

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