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Dec 29, 2010


This article [CN] shows everything that's wrong with the DPP message on cross-strait relations. President Ma Ying-jeou recently made a big deal about that DPP policy in an interview with media, and there he rhetorically asked Tsai Ying-wen if the DPP accepted the 92 consensus.

Tsai responded by saying how the 92 consensus doesn't exist; just ask President Lee Teng-hui or Koo Chen-fu, Lee's President of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the man who would have been in charge of any talks held under a "'92 consensus."

But Tsai completely misses the larger point, namely, that the DPP cannot accept the '92 consensus because of its definition. The '92 consensus is defined as "Taiwan and China both belong to One China," and the KMT government likes to add a flourish: "The Republic of China is that One China."

No matter which definition you use, it does not reflect reality and it is not at all reasonable. Nor does it reflect the average Taiwanese person's opinion.

If the DPP could remember that not everyone watches their political talk shows every day, maybe they'd realize how few people could tell you off hand what the '92 consensus is. And it's the act of getting that definition out which will win people over to the DPP's side.

Nov 30, 2010

Wikileak memos

The Wikileaks release of the diplomatic cables has been accompanied by lots of government grandstanding, but I get the distinct impression that very few real secrets are contained in these documents. As usual, it seems we classify a lot more things than really need to be classified, just to save face. Mostly our own.

And for me, this reinforces the idea that these "secrets" are open topics between the various governments involved; what upsets these officials is that we normal citizens now see what they're talking about behind closed doors. It goes to show how far removed the people are from their "own" governments.

There may be real security implications, but I can't help but feeling the elite all over the world are mostly just miffed that someone broke through their curtain and showed some mostly harmless backroom dealings and offhand comments.

I plan on reading the memos rather extensively for fun.

Nov 22, 2010

I thought the police were no longer providing crowd estimates like this one for the recent KMT march. But Hau seems happy with the estimate of 70,000 people.

I'm very excited about watching results for the election roll in -- I will probably make a night of it over here in the States. Or at least a very early morning.

Nov 17, 2010


So Honorary KMT chairman and general nitwit Lien Chan (連戰) got to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao at APEC this year; when talking to the media back in Taiwan, Lien had this to say:



In addition, since next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution [the 1911 revolution that established the R.O.C.], mainland Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao also said the mainland will hold commemorative activities.

Lien Chan thinks that although it won't be possible for the two sides of the strait to hold the celebration together, they will arrive at the same destination through different routes, ultimately honoring national father Sun Yat-sen's spirit, thinking and ideology.
Quaint & comically harmless thinking, or ominous?

Nov 3, 2010

Negotiating with a ghost

This is pretty funny:

黃光國:「兩岸最大的問題是中共始終不願意面對『中華民國』仍然存在的事實──你不承認『中華民國』,硬是把我當成『鬼』,但兩岸談判、簽署文件總要有對象,難倒你是在跟『鬼』交涉?!」... -「兩岸智庫如何攜手共創未來」研討會/台大社科院、2010.11.2

"The biggest problem in cross strait relations is the Chinese Communists' consistent refusal to face the reality that the Republic of China still exists. You refuse to recognize the ROC and insist on treating me as a ghost. But cross strait dialogue and agreements ultimately have to be discussed or signed with somebody, unless of course you are negotiating with a ghost!" -- Hwang Kwang-Kuo [NTU Psych professor] at a think tank discussion conference on cross strait relations at NTU, 11/2/2010.
Professor Hwang's comment apparently drew plenty of laughs from the crowd, but sober and silent reactions from the Chinese delegation of intellectuals, whose think-tanks can obviously not suggest recognizing the ROC unless the Party leadership first makes a decision.

Nov 2, 2010

KMT policy: unify ROC territory?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but ...

吳敦義說,兩岸從衝突對立改向和平穩定發展,目的是為降低台灣海峽成為火藥庫的風險。他指出,政府也要捍衛中華民國成為主權完整而獨立的國家,並維護台灣 安全與繁榮,必要的國防武裝力量還是需要 ...

[Premier] Wu Dun-yi said that the two sides of the Taiwan strait had moved from confrontation toward peaceful and stable development, and that the goal of this [policy] is to lower the danger that the Taiwan Strait will become a tinder box. He pointed out that the government also wants to uphold the Republic of China becoming an independent country with complete sovereignty [over its territory] and to protect the safety and prosperity of Taiwan. T do this, the Defense Ministry still requires more weaponry....

What I found fascinating about this, if I"m reading it right, is the implication that the government has the official goal of restoring ROC sovereignty over mainland China. This might be a simple negotiating tactic or it might simply come part and parcel with "One China." Or it might be just as crazy as it sounds.

Or am I reading the Chinese incorrectly?

Oct 19, 2010

Mirror, mirror

The AP interviews President Ma...

Any political union, he said, would require Beijing to adopt democracy and respect for human rights, under special scrutiny following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed China democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo. Because of such concerns, Ma did not cite any timetable for the process, saying it would be a "long historical" transition....

In between the poles of union and separation, Ma said his government is prepared to discuss political agreements, including security issues, as soon as the priority economic issues are dealt with. He suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.

"We are not intentionally delaying the talks on political issues. Certainly the economic ones are more important to people here. People also support the idea (of) economy first, politics later," said Ma. Asked if he would move to political talks in a second term once economic issues are dealt with, Ma said "it depends on how fast we move." Political issues, he said, "will come after all the major economic issues are resolved."

Among the crucial economic agreements that first need to be tackled, Ma said, are those on investment guarantees, ways to resolve disputes and tariff and other barriers to the two sides more than US$100 billion in trade.

There's nothing new or particularly surprising in this interview, yet the Ma administration came out to emphasize there is no time table for political talks, that they will not necessarily occur during his second term, and that economic issues come first.

Ma nearly accuses the AP of putting words in his mouth about the negotiations, because all the focus was on the prospect of political talks. Really, it's just that international news outlets chose the juicy bits about political talks for their edited versions of the AP article, and this created a sort of backlash after Taiwan media saw and yelled, "Look what Ma said to the AP!"

How does this keep sailing under the radar?

President Ma Ying-jeou just reiterated, without mincing words, the KMT position that Taiwan and "the mainland" are both part of the same country, the ROC. This is in line with the Chinese position that Taiwan and "the mainland"belong to the same "One China."

Ma stated that the first set of ROC constitutional amendments defined the relationship as "the free area" (Taiwan) and "the mainland area," and that this definition remains the one the KMT is constitutionally obligated to respect.

What is remarkable is how Ma's archaic definition of an ROC encompassing both Taiwan and China would be wildly unpopular if people knew about it, yet despite repeated public statements and subsequent newspaper articles, the KMT position continues to escape most people's attention.

And yet we see with every passing day that the nebulous status quo is increasingly defined as the "One China" framework and all the agreements that rest on it.

Oct 15, 2010

The Flag

That old battle is raging again: who loves the ROC flag the most?

Typically, as elections approach, the ROC flag becomes a symbol of the KMT campaign; this year, however, we had a Chinese basketball team panic when they saw a bunch of ROC flags that had been strategically placed by some Green-style nationalist leaning students.

And that means that while the Green camp is berating the KMT for hiding national flags in Taiwan to please China, the presidential office is mocking the DPP, saying they should really love the flag.

If this comedy didn't repeat itself so often, you might think it was all a big joke.

Oct 7, 2010

Sounds about right to me

中廣新聞網╱戴瑞芬 2010-10-06 10:04


... 根據主計處「薪資與生產力統計年報」調查,台灣員工「平均週工時」僅次於新加坡與香港。在台灣,「上班打卡制、下班責任制」的工作形式,儼然成為現代的職場文化。


...According to the results of a statistical survey, the "Annual Statistics on Salary and Production Strength," Taiwan workers spend more time on the job than people in any other country in the world excepting Singapore and Hongkong....

According to the survey's, commissioned by the 1111 employment services website, Over 78% of people reported working overtime in a salaried position, and thus ineligible for over time pay. The monthly hours of unpaid overtime at work averaged 32.92 hours per week.

Sep 30, 2010

Tsai Ing-wen's Apple Daily interview

There's much less buzz about it in the bloglosphere than I expected! First, an article about the interview and later related remarks:

On Friday last week, she suggested in an interview with the Chinese-language Apple Daily that the DPP would most likely continue Ma’s cross-strait policies and that any changes would have to be supported by public consensus and legislative approval.

In a previous meeting with the international press in May, she also insisted the DPP had learned from its eight years in office and would work on a more predictable China policy. She has said that stable cross-strait relations would form a key component of the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines....

While she acknowledged that, compared with the Ma administration, there was a general expectation the DPP needed to be firmer on sovereignty and national security-related issues in the face of growing Chinese pressure, she said the issues could be overcome through greater cross-strait interaction.

However, she maintained increasing cross-strait exchanges would not be conducted at the expense of Taiwan’s ties with the rest of the world.

“This is distinct from the KMT government approach, which embraces China as a [corridor] to the world,” she said.

The Presidential Office has responded by saying DPP cross-strait policy is opportunistic, inconsistent and disingenuous; after all, they say, if the DPP intends to keep the ECFA and other policies in place, why are they attacking the KMT policy? China's Taiwan Affairs Office has shrugged, claiming they don't know if this is simply election language or a sincere change of course.

I have to agree with the criticism of Tsai's remarks, although I sense she's responding to the tendency of the ever-important moderate voter; I also note she wasn't terribly specific. But if the only difference she wants to highlight between DPP and KMT policy is that last paragraph in the quote above, I have to say that's not much of a distinction. Mostly rhetorical.

My question for Tsai would be: would the DPP continue to negotiate with China under the "one China" framework currently in place?

If the answer is yes, isn't the battle for Taiwan's independence essentially over? If the answer is no, will the DPP stand a chance at the polls in 2012?

Sep 28, 2010

GG Caijing

For a clearly pro-China but reasonably well measured analysis of the Senkaku dispute, see this Caijing article. Its ultimate conclusion is that neither China nor Japan have much room to back down on the dispute, but this makes negotiations and cool heads all the more critical, especially now that setting aside the dispute is becoming a less realistic option.

Sep 9, 2010

There you go

Some time ago, I advised the DPP to head Howard Dean's example (the 50 states strategy). It seems the GOP has beat them to the punch.

Sep 6, 2010


I'm going to ask you to take an absolutely wild fucking guess here.

Do you think the Executive Yuan's Referendum Committee, with a set of appointees all chosen by Taiwan's current president, will reject or allow the TSU-backed referendum which aims to "eliminate the Referendum Committee?"


This article [ZH], a China Times editorial, shows just how completely out of touch the China Times is -- and why they're clearly going for the role of official Chinese propaganda machine ($$$$$. They can't get it from sales).

It's a short one, so I've decided to give it to you nearly in full and without further comment.

On the day memorializing the sixty-fifth anniversary of the war against Japan [WWII], The Chinese Communist Party's organ, the People's Daily, carried an editorial talking about the victory over the Japanese, saying "the Communist party lead and pushed" [the fight]. Our Presidential Office and Defense Ministry responded strongly, saying these statements were "not in accordance with reality." It appears that even as cross-strait relations are warming up, the government has no choice but to struggle to clarify historical truths.

In reality, although KMT policies such as martial law and the lack of implementation of democracy created controversy, historical researches within the country [in Taiwan] conclude that in the eight years of struggle before victory over the Japanese, the main fighting force was the ROC army under the lead of President Chiang Kai-shek. Even on the sixtieth anniversary of that struggle, the Chinese Communist leader Hu Jin-tao acknowledged the KMT's contribution to the war against the Japanese....

The funny thing is, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has never agreed to recognize the Republic of China, and as a result has not accepted this part of history. But the green [DPP] legislators are still eager to take advantage of Ma Ying-jeou, mocking the Presidential Office for an inadequate response [to Chinese claims]. The Presidential office responded by saying the DPP is simply opposed to anything that China does. In reality, they are opposed to anything that Ma does. The DPP does not care a lick about this part of history; it is simply using the opportunity to attack Ma Ying-jeou.

The problem is, although the KMT and CCP have been opposed to each other for so long, they must still make peace in the end, and therefore they must resolve questions of how history is to be explained; in contrast, despite the DPP having been in power and having participated in the electoral system, [that party] still refuse to acknowledge the ROC. The DPP's rejection of the history of the Battle Against Japan causes them to be unable to reconcile their historical memory with the masses'.

Due to the influence of politics, it is always difficult to make an accurate reading of history. But this is not simply a KMT problem. It is a problem also for the largest opposition party, the DPP, which must face the ROC's history.

Aug 31, 2010

China: not nearly as capitalist as you think.

Aug 23, 2010

Special Political Zone, with vague details

From the "press release" version of the political reform announcement


Not only must we continue reforming the economic system, we must also engage in reform of the political system. Without the security brought about by political reforms, the fruits of the economic reforms [of the last three decades] will slip through our hands and the goal of achieving modernization will be impossible to reach.

We must protect the people's right to democracy and their legal rights & interests; we must, on the largest scale, mobilize and organize the people to manage the country's affairs and economic, social and cultural development, in accordance with the law; we must solve the systematic problem of overly-concentrated, unrestricted power; we must create [a space] for people to, with certain restrictions, criticize and oversee the government, in order to resolutely punish & control corruption; we must build a fair and just society, and must especially protect the impartiality of the justice system; we must place importance on protecting and helping the disadvantaged; We must provide the people with a sense of safety in their lives, and they will have confidence in the country's development.

I also learned that these reforms will include elections for candidates in senior political positions, but the nominating process will of course be dominated by the Party, and the actually voting will be done by the municipal party committee after nominees have been vetted by the powerful organization department (also a wing of the party, not the government).

Aug 22, 2010

Special Political Zone

Word has it that Beijing intends to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Shenzhen's "Special Economic Zone" status by turning it into a "Special Political Zone" (Reuters article here).

What does that entail? Most articles I found were short on specifics, but "like Singapore, like Hong Kong" is a common refrain. It seems the idea is to figure out how to get a more effective and less corrupt administration rolling.

The article above takes as an example a 2003 Shenzhen policy of dividing responsibilities for formulating policy, executing it and maintaining oversight among three different groups [update: that plan was abandoned because the press "misunderstood" it as a checks and balances system]. The reforms seem likely to focus on this "practical" end of improving policy execution without too greatly increasing public oversight or elections.

This seems to be part of an overall pattern of stepping up "intra-party democracy" and "Chinese style democracy" slogans.

We'll see what, if anything, actually happens. But I would like to speak to the general wisdom of undergoing political reforms from a position of strength. I hope for the best.

Aug 3, 2010

Rumors abound

I won't go into the rumors circulating within the local and Chinese media about the odds of an unexpectedly early "withdrawal" of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan. Someone else can cover that.

I'll even leave the fascinating possibility of unification of Chinese character education in Taiwan and China to someone else.

What I really want to focus on today is Vice Chair of ARATS, Zhang Mingqing (張銘清), who is apparently in Taiwan again with much less fan fair than his first visit (video below).

In any case, on this visit to Taiwan, Zhang was a speaker at the 15th Conference on Chinese Scientific Modernization (中國現代化學術研討會). The conference is hosted by the very pro-"Greater China" Academic Foundation for Advancing Chinese Modernization (促進中國現代化學術研究基金會).

Zhang spoke words he meant to show brotherly affection but which, in my mind, mask a threat. As he put it, the two sides of the Strait have in the past two years already forged a common destiny based on blood ties. The ECFA, he said, is aimed at promoting the common interest of the Zhonghua Minzu, and the next and most urgent step is to establish a feeling of recognition about Taiwan and China's common destiny.


Probably three or four years ago a business savvy, light-blue voter I knew (with a family business in China) sat through a less-than-sober rant of mine about the importance of preventing Taiwan from becoming overly economically intertwined with China. Otherwise, I railed, Taiwan would have great trouble maintaining its de facto political independence.

She listened politely and responded quietly and much more soberly. "It is probably already too late to do anything about that," she said, and those words shook me then, because they forced me to consider a possibility I had always preferred to ignore or dismiss.

Zhang's words shake me now.

Jul 29, 2010

Warp Zone

For some reason, I occasionally find myself reading editorials in the KMT's mouthpiece, the Central Daily News. Perhaps it's because the paper sometimes says what the Ma administration won't announce from the podium. Here is the article I read today.

The editorial mocks DPP positions on the ECFA; denigrates Lee Teng-hui's "two countries" and Chen Shui-bian's "one side, one country" formulations as "not only completely unworkable but bound to bring about disastrous consequences;" and finally notes that shooting for de jure independence is sure to bring economic ruin and war.

But what really caught my eye was the final paragraph, where the writer throws a curve ball:

Up to this point, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have had the wisdom to define their relations as a unique, non-international and non-domestic relationship. Thus agreements have been signed on the principles of equality and mutual respect by [Taiwan's] Straits Affairs Foundation [SEF] and [China's] Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits [ARATS]. The agreements have been mutually beneficial and won the praise of the international community, just as the ECFA has. Taiwan independence supporters, though, continue to blow hot air about dealing [with "the mainland"] on a nation-to-nation basis. The Taiwanese people have already experienced the tangible benefits of setting aside political differences, fostering warm economic relations, and reducing the danger of a military conflict. If the independence supporters keep mouthing the same old platitudes, they will not win any hearts or minds.

 兩岸如今都有智慧把雙方關係定位為非國際、亦非國內的特殊關係,故以海基、海協兩會來進行協商簽署,合乎對等、尊嚴原則,互蒙其利,亦獲國際社 會讚賞,ECFA也是一樣。獨派卻仍鼓吹以國與國來處理兩岸關係。台灣人民已體驗到了兩岸政治上擱置爭議、經濟上合作互惠、軍事上化解危機的實際利益,獨 派再唱其陳腔濫調,是不會有市場的。
It is obviously and pointedly false to suggest that China views relations with Taiwan as anything other than domestic, unless you ignore everything they say about the subject.

But far more baffling is when the CDN tries to suggest the KMT defines relations [with China] as a unique, non-international and non-domestic relationship.

When was that the definition? Certainly not in 2008 when Ma drew a firestorm of criticism for saying relations were "a non-international, special relationship." Certainly not today, when fantasies of China recognizing a "shared sovereignty" situation are the domain of deluded academics. In fact, there's not a peep about "non-domestic" anywhere.

To prove the point, go search for the Chinese phrase "non-domestic special relationship" (非國內的特殊關係). That search turns up only this CDN article. Even when broken up into two phrases,"non-domestic" and "special relationship," we see nothing else about this topic on the internet. This terminology is newly minted, not official policy, and certainly not the policy of both China and Taiwan.

Why would the official KMT mouthpiece make up one definition of a policy -- one where nuance in phrasing matters a lot -- when the KMT has a different official policy? Is the editor simply living in la-la land? Does he have access to insider information about progress in negotiations with China? Is he making an effort to fool the public in Taiwan (presumably because people don't actually have the stomach to accept relations with China as "domestic" yet)? Or what?

Jul 28, 2010

Vaguely Familiar

It seems the Legislature has figured out what we long knew. It's amazing how the timing works out -- this report about the ECFA comes out soon after the ECFA's signing, meaning the negative results would not be in the news to influence the legislative vote. But on to the meat of the post...

This week, a report out of the Legislative Yuan's think tank-like organization, called in Chinese the Lifayuan Fazhiju ji yusuan zhongxin (立院法制局及預算中心), said that China will strictly adhere to a "One China" policy (imagine that) and block Taiwan efforts to sign other FTAs.

The report ominously concludes that "in the future, it is possible that Taiwan's survival and development will require walking the road to integration with China."「將可能使台灣生存與發展僅先有一條與中國大陸結合之路」。

Back in Nov. 2008, I said:

"I also think [Ma's] policies will lead Taiwan not directly into unification, but to a point of no return, where economic and political relations are at a point where China will be have even such enormous leverage in both the cross-strait and international sphere that the CCP will be able to push for a unification time table of its own choosing and Taiwanese leaders will have few options but to comply and negotiate for minimal concessions."
Obviously, my prediction was somewhat more descriptive and uses KMT taboo words like "unification." But it is clear that the Ma administration's policy may well put Taiwan in a position where unification is the only peaceful option.

Some would say that the point of no return has already come. There are certainly plenty of people positioning themselves for that time, even if it is not here yet.

Jul 27, 2010


It is, in a way, big news that China's Gao Hucheng (高虎城), Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said the ECFA was signed under the precondition of accepting "the '92 consensus of One China." While this has been the unvarying Chinese policy, it is not often said in one piece. Before the ECFA's signing, the Chinese favored simply "the '92 consensus" and tried to avoid talking about "One China". China certainly doesn't often reiterate their claim that the '92 consensus means "One China," not "one China, two interpretations."

Part of the reason Gao spoke so "boldly" is that his audience was the international community. Reinforcing the "One China" aspect of the deal is a way of trying to undercut and prevent pro-Taiwan ideas from entering the heads of the international community.

Pingtung DPP legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安), quoted in that article, seems to forget (or pretends to forget) that China did not leak a KMT secret. Rather, the Ma administration has a long-standing acceptance of "One China," a policy phrase they also utter as little as possible -- especially in connection to the ECFA. Just check out the MAC Vice-chair Liu Te-hsun's (劉德勳) limp, non-denying response to China's assertion. Liu simply musters the formula stating that the ECFA is apolitical because it is a strictly economic deal.

Apparently, Japan too has little interest in the subtleties of years-gone-by -- the Japanese ambassador to China recently reiterated the rarely spoken fact that Japan has never recognized Taiwan as part of China.

Keepin' it interesting, eh?

Jul 19, 2010

Special Feature

Despite its rhetorical flair, this article brings up some important issues. So I've decided to translate this Liberty Times opinion piece for you.

[Original text]

Hu pins ECFA with label of "anti-independence, one China;" Will Ma go along?

Reporter Zou Jingwen ╱ Special Feature

"The ECFA is purely an economic issue, unrelated to politics."This remark was made by President Ma Ying-jeou."The common political basis for the signing of the ECFA is opposition to Taiwan independence and the upholding of the '92 consensus. "So says Hu Jintao.

These two statements about the signing of the ECFA are contradictory; whose statement is correct? Does Ma Ying-jeou accept the ECFA's "common political basis?"The government's position has resulted in "one ECFA, two interpretations;" this rhetoric is deceptive, to both ourselves and others.

When Ma Ying-jeou says the ECFA is non-politicial, he is talking to the Taiwanese people. He does not say such things to China. So do these words reflect reality or do they not?

Make no mistake: Hu Jintao brought up this "political foundation" in the presence of Ma's special envoy, Wu Poh-hsiung. These words were uttered for all the world to hear. These words are most sincere.

Now that the ECFA is signed, Hu Jintao has opted to set the tone and thereby deny Ma negotiating cover cover, preparing to force future concessions that go further than "opposing Taiwanese independence and upholding 'One China.'" If these two policies are the ECFA's foundation, they become "reality;" Ma's calls for Hu to "face reality" are naive nonsense. Beijing does not intend to let Taiwan avoid further compromise for the next thousand years.

Hu may have hit this ball into Ma's court, but Ma must not sit idly by; 23 million pairs of eyes are watching him. China has "put this hat on your head" [pinned Ma with this label]. Will you wear it? If you will not, you must refuse it; silence will indicate consent, and those in Taiwan who oppose you will have another righteous reason for doing so.

Asking Ma to "wear the hat" of One China and anti-Taiwan independence, regardless of the color of the hat [A-Gu:that is, regardless of its political character], demonstrates Chinese anticipation that Ma would play innocent and agree, since these policy positions are in Ma's DNA.

The problem is, Ma's campaign promised the voters that "Taiwanese independence is a choice." Not only has that choice been removed, but Ma now wants to tie our hands. He has openly repudiated his own election pledge. Yet how can support for Taiwanese independence be made illegal? Is there an intention to set up a Fascist government?

Even more ridiculous is what "opposing Taiwan independence" entails. Basically, "Taiwan independence" has two meanings. One is that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country.The KMT has said that the ROC is on Taiwan, and that the ROC is a sovereign independent country. We should be able to reason by extension that here in Taiwan we have an independent and sovereign country. Does Ma Ying-jeou oppose this position?

If he does not, then let us consider the second meaning of "Taiwan independence." This is a sovereign independent country, and is also a democratic country, and in democracies all over the world, the people have the right to decide major policies which greatly affect national development. This includes the majority's right to change the national title, flag or anthem.

If one day the people of Taiwan decide that the label "ROC" creates international confusion and problems with our self-identity, and jointly decide to change the country's name to "Taiwan", on what grounds is the KMT so slandering this definition of "Taiwanese independence?"

Ma's parroting the Chinese "one China" position and his cooperation with the Communist Party in opposing Taiwan independence is undermining the basis for Ma's own prosperity. Are these efforts aimed at preparing for a denial of the sovereignty and independence of the "Republic of China?"

Hu has branded the ECFA, and topped it with a red cap. How can Ma Ying-jeou ignore this reality?Ma owes the people an explanation.

Jul 16, 2010

High Court corrupt?

I'm sickened by the possibility that four High Court judges and a prosecutor accepted bribes from a (former) KMT legislator. There may be several additional, undisclosed investigations into judicial corruption as well.

This sort of thing is a deathblow to confidence in an institution. If even the High Court can be corrupted, what verdict can escape suspicion?

Jun 30, 2010

Don't despair

Sometimes its hard to follow your own advice. But in this case, it's important. Despite the signing of the ECFA today, there's no need to lsoe hope. There's lots of variables and lots of exciting times ahead.

No matter how fast the CCP intends to force Taiwan into political capitulation, and no matter how fast the KMT is willing to move toward a "path of no return" on unification, the opposition has time and has the ability to freeze or reverse the direction.

It might not be the brightest day, but the sun will again shine.

Jun 8, 2010

Referendum Rejected!

Well, as Michael and David noted, the Referendum Review Committee struck down the TSU-initiated referendum drive on the ECFA. An RTI article explains the Chairman's rational, also noted in this Taipei Times article:

The TSU's application requested a referendum on the question: “Do you agree that the government should sign an ECFA with China?”

“The reason stated for the referendum proposal is to ask if the government has the right to sign an ECFA. However, the question asked in the proposal is about the contents of an ECFA, which is different from the stated reason,” Referendum Review Committee Chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) told a press conference after the five-hour meeting.

The committee had convened at 6pm.

Chao said a referendum proposal should be aimed at changing the status quo, but the government would not have to take any action to change its policy, even if the proposed referendum had passed, because of the wording — asking whether voters agree with the government’s plan to sign an ECFA.

“The referendum proposal, therefore, does not meet the qualification of ‘approving a government policy,’ as stated in the Referendum Act (公民投票法),” he said.
So the response outlines two reasons the referendum is rejected: first, because the "stated reason" for initiating the referendum differs from the content; and second, because even if passed, the referendum couldn't change government policy by the Committee's reasoning.

The TSU has naturally responded unfavorably to the Committee's reasoning:
The TSU yesterday said that the issue had already been settled in a previous meeting by the ­Central Election Committee (CEC), which it said had found that the TSU referendum question fulfilled the requirements under Article 14, Section 1.

In a letter sent to TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on May 5, the CEC wrote that the issue had been discussed in one of their meetings on May 4.

The letter, signed by CEC Chairman Lai Hau-min (賴浩敏), stated: “The 402nd meeting of [CEC] committee members finds that [the proposal] doesn’t invoke any circumstances of Article 14, Section 1 under the Referendum Act.”
And as you can imagine, the Committee chair responded to that:
In response, Referendum Review Committee Chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) said yesterday the committee was entitled to determine whether the TSU proposal complied with Article 14 of the Referendum Act even if the CEC had already reviewed it.

Determining that the TSU proposal was not in line with the article was just one of the reasons that the committee rejected the proposal, he added.
Just one of the two reasons, the other being highly debatable. I would argue that if the ECFA referendum passes and the ECFA is still signed by the administration, the legislature would be obliged to strike down the ECFA.

I think TSU appeals may have some chance of getting air time -- the committee's decision is hardly air tight. But I also agree with David that perhaps a new route is probably needed here, probably one to more thoroughly amend the referendum law rather than just abolishing the Referendum Review Committee.

Time constraints now make further ECFA referendum initiatives pretty useless -- everything is likely to be signed and law before a referendum could even reach the second threshold. Perhaps its time to move on to the larger issue of tackling of the "bird cage" referendum law.

Jun 3, 2010


I'll be gone for the next 4 days, and when I get back, I'll be too late to provide any data on the Referendum Review Committee's impending decision. I'm not optimistic they'll approve the referendum, but I have my fingers crossed anyway.

Jun 1, 2010

The oddest piece...

A CNA article appears today quoting an unnamed official. The very weird part is the unnamed official is supposedly only reminding us of things we know....

The article opens as follows:

On June 3rd, the Referendum Review Committee will review the ECFA Referendum application. [An unnamed] source from [the ruling] party and government administration stated that the Mainland Affairs Council and Economic Ministry have already made the government's position clear: as the ECFA mainly involves land taxes and investment issues, it is not a topic that can be brought to referendum....

At the public hearing [held by the Referendum Review Committee on the 27th], the MAC and MOE argued that the ECFA had provisions related to land taxes and investment, and therefore could not be a topic for referendum [according to the Referendum Act]. Furthermore, once the ECFA is signed, it will be sent to the Legislature for review, and only after its review has been passed will it take effect. The Legislature has complete oversight over the process and there is no need for an additional referendum. The Referendum Review Committee ought to reject the application, they argued.

The source from the party and government administration said that the MAC and MOE had already made the government's attitude clear. As far as the final decision on the ECFA referendum petition went, the government would respect the Referendum Review Committee's decision.


陸委會與經濟部代表在公聽會主張,ECFA包含「租稅」及「投資」事項,不得作為公投的提案;且兩岸簽署ECFA後須送立法院審議,審議通過後才生效,國 會完全監督,沒有再公投必要,認為公審會應駁回公投案。


Why would this source wish to remain unnamed unnamed? That's what puzzles me the most, if they are just discussing a matter of public record. I feel like something else is going on there but can't really pin-point a reason for this odd anonymity.

The government's position is not far-fetched, considering Article 2 of the referendum law states:
No proposal of referendum may be raised for any matters regarding budgeting, taxation, investment, salary and personnel affairs.
The matters subject to referendum shall be recognized by the Referendum Review Commission (hereinafter referred to as "the Review Commission").
If you reject the government's theory, you can't argue that the referendum only deals with the question of whether the government ought to sign an abstract economic agreement with China (regardless of content). If you make that argument, you'll get rejected on these grounds:
Instead, it asks the public to vote on something that has not yet happened — since the ECFA is not a concrete policy yet. Hence, we decided that the petition did not meet the criteria for a referendum as stipulated in the Referendum Act (公民投票法),” committee chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) said....
But you can argue that in theory, any national referendum topic affecting government policy at all would affect the budget-- the KMT's 2008 referendum campaign for rejoining the UN would clearly have required budgeting UN dues if successful, since UN by-laws would require Taiwan to pay. But the intention of the Referendum Law is clearly not to bar all referendum topics; the degree of separation between a referendum topic and the budget/tax/investment details must exempt it from rejection on these grounds. In this case, the topic is on the signing of an ECFA rather than the ECFA's tax or investment related contents -- and therefore the referendum does not touch on the verboten topics.

I don't know if this argument would be taken into account by the committee, but I think 2008 sets enough of a precedent for at least an argument on these lines.

May 28, 2010


The KMT's domestic PR strategy to promote the ECFA is to say, "we need this or our country's economy will be devastated and marginalized."

However, that PR strategy puts the government in a very difficult negotiating position, as China can demand more favorable terms and postpone the signing, as seems to be happening now. The KMT is then left with the choice of caving in to Chinese demands that don't benefit Taiwan or contradicting their own insistence on the ECFA's necessity.


May 27, 2010

State of the party, revisited

Well, one year ago I wrote briefly on the DPP, and at that time I was most pessimistic about the state of the party. I think that many of those problems have been solved. The DPP seems to have moved past Chen Shui-bian, despite a handful of holdouts. The party has consolidated around Tsai Ing-wen's leadership, as well, and these two factors have helped to consolidate the party's message and messenger issues (disclaimer: I'm not watching the DPP Legislative Caucus' press conference clips).

Perhaps best yet, the DPP has re-remembered their strategy of yi difang baowei zhongyang (以地方包圍中央), or to siege the central government [KMT dominated] with local success. I like what I see!Of course, I'd like it even more if they were really going after offices at every level.

Obviously, it doesn't hurt that the party has won a few special elections and has high hopes for the municipalities.

Here's to hope!

May 26, 2010

6/3 baby!

I have to say I'm not paying a whole lot of attention to the political situation at the moment, as I'm waiting for the Referendum Committee to make its decision on the TSU/DPP's ECFA referendum initiative. That should be coming down on June 3rd. In the mean time, there's the ever exciting nominations for the upcoming mayoral elections, being well covered by those heroes of Taiwan blogging that work so hard every day.

You can bet I'll have something to say about the referendum committee's decision, though. I fully expect a rejection on one of the causes for rejection last time:

Instead, it asks the public to vote on something that has not yet happened — since the ECFA is not a concrete policy yet. Hence, we decided that the petition did not meet the criteria for a referendum as stipulated in the Referendum Act (公民投票法),” committee chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) said....

Apr 26, 2010

Winner of the ECFA debate?

Polls are naturally divided on partisan lines, but I have to say I was most impressed with Ma's performance in the ECFA debate. I wasn't expecting him to come out swinging. But instead, he was aggressive and dripped sarcasm, and somehow it worked better than I would have imagined. He was a man on a mission out there.

On the other hand, Tsai Ying-wen had a set of four reasonable questions which she felt Ma refused to answer even after being asked four or five times. She kept bringing that up, and that was making Ma look evasive. She was also amply able to answer questions asked to her, and appeared very competent.

The debate was quite tense. Quite something to watch. Tsai and Ma both became noticeably impatient and annoyed at several points.

I think Ma had the more rhetorically swaying argument even as I tend to personally support Tsai's logic. Tsai asked a lot of questions of Ma in that debate, and a lot of rhetorical questions began, "Didn't you think about...?" That was setting Ma up for homeruns like, "We have thought about it, and here's our awesome conclusion..." I think Ma capitalized on a difference in rhetorical style, and worked it to his advantage.

It wasn't a blow out by any means; quite close really. but I think I would still give Ma the win.

Apr 18, 2010

A point of Blue thinking

I've been wanting to blog on this topic for months, and thankfully, Michael Turton's latest post gave me just the right opening to present my contention.

Michael's post displays some of the worst paragraphs of a China Post editorial, but the line that caught my attention is this:

It is ludicrous to argue that Ma is planning a sellout of Taiwan. Even if he dreamed of presenting Taiwan to the People's Republic on a silver platter, he couldn't make his dream come true.
This sentiment is quite prominent in blue and light-blue thinking. I've had lots of debates with light-blue, anti-unification voters where I don't even raise the idea of KMT intent to sell out the island. Instead, I try to remind them what the Chinese position on Taiwan's future is. These voters, however, simply dismiss arguments about China's intent, policy or rhetoric. "Of course the CCP is going to say and do those things," they'll argue, "but what difference does it make?"

There is a real lack of concern about the Chinese position, and I find that these light-blues are convinced China simply can't force Taiwan's hand. This is why I think they dismiss the China policy/intention part of the equation, and instead believe that Taiwan can engage economically or culturally with China under almost any set of conditions with no threat of being forced into political capitulation. They figure the Taiwanese electorate just wouldn't let unification happen, and China can't force it.

Meanwhile, I find that the deep blue voters -- those with deep ideological bonds to the KMT or institutions it has created -- equally dismiss Chinese intentions for Taiwan's future, but I think they do this for entirely different reasons. First, many of these voters once deeply believed anti-Communist rhetoric from the old days. They believed the KMT line about a constant threat of invasion facing Taiwan, which justified martial law and lack of political freedoms. When Taiwan democratized and these anti-Communist arguments disintegrated, I think these deep blues just came to believe China was never and will never be the threat the old KMT guard made it out to be. And given their receptiveness to some eventual (if distant and mutually agreeable) unification, they see the "closer economic ties" as a great thing as well. Further, I think they see the Chinese "good will" rhetoric as genuine, and they accept that only DPP style "Taiwanese independence" would cause China to try and force unification.

Over all, however, I've always felt that the KMT's success in promoting its China policy depends on not factoring in China's arguments and intentions for Taiwan's future. And that seems foolish and short-sighted, at best. What surprises me is how many blue voters of different stripes are willing to ignore China's role in this equation, as well.

But what do you think?

Apr 13, 2010

ECFA Referendum

The TSU has announced that volunteers collected 120,000 signatures in support of a referendum on the ECFA. As you may recall, the signatures and petition will soon go before the Executive Yuan's Referendum Evaluation Committe -- probably by the end of the month, according to the TSU. As the Taipei Times notes, only 86,000 valid sigs are needed to get past "stage one," so the list should be safe.

Yet that committee, made up entirely of Ma appointees, roundly rejected a similar petition last August. The previously rejected topic was:

「你是 否同意台灣與中國簽訂之經濟合作架構協議(ECFA),政府應交付台灣人民公民投票決定?」

Do you agree that the government ought to put an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) signed between Taiwan and China to a referendum before the Taiwanese people?
This time, the question asks:
你是否同意政府與中國簽訂「兩岸經濟合作架構協議」 (簡稱「兩岸經濟協議」或ECFA)?

Do you agree that the government should sign a cross-Strait economic framework agreement with China (often called a cross-Strait economic agreement or an ECFA)?
The new wording gets around most of the Referendum Evaluation Committee's previous objections, but the committee could still have one excuse it used last time:
Instead, it asks the public to vote on something that has not yet happened — since the ECFA is not a concrete policy yet. Hence, we decided that the petition did not meet the criteria for a referendum as stipulated in the Referendum Act (公民投票法),” committee chairman Chao Yung-mau (趙永茂) said....
We'll see what happens around early May...but don't expect the Committee to rule differently, even if the public is less likely to buy the sole excuse "the ECFA is not concrete policy" this time around.

Apr 10, 2010

Oh yeah right

The DPP, in its preparation for the imminent debate between chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen and President Ma Ying-jeou about the ECFA, has asked for some information from the President's office: namely, a list of the "early harvest" products that China will likely be allowed to import, a working draft of the agreement, and information from government research agencies or think tanks about the expected impact of the ECFA on various industries.

The President's office has responded that, due to the ongoing negotiations, its not possible to provide these materials at this time. In other words, "you [the public] don't even need to have the slightest idea of what we're negotiating until we've signed it. The president's office asked Tsai to "stop evading," while other KMT legislators hinted Tsai is "scared of the exam [upcoming debate]."

Well, I don't think I need to bother actually refuting the Presidental Palace's and the KMT's absurd position on this. But I'll ask: how can it be that nobody of consequence outside the government has even seen a working draft? How can media and professionals be promoting an agreement they are being told is "too sensitive" to even know about? How can even the most basic points of an economic agreement -- not a political agreement, mind you -- need to be negotiated in secrecy? It seems to me the only reason to keep it secret if fear it will not be popular in Taiwan.

I think the DPP's push for a referendum on this subject will continue to gain momentum -- it the referendum idea already has a plurality of KMT voters' support, according to a recent TVBS poll (from 04/01's talking show) -- and likewise, we can be almost certain the referendum review committee will strike down the topic before it can even move to stage two of signature gathering.

Apr 9, 2010

One China, same interpretation

Please find here the translation of an article by Liu Shing-Ren (劉性仁), an NUU part-time lecturer and ROC constitutional scholar, which was featured on the President's website. I believe Professor Liu starts off presenting his views well, but degenerates into a bizarre, whiny patriotic rant.

The article and its translation are rather long, so I've just linked them above. But to sum up Professor Liu's argument:

  1. "One China, same interpretation" is a great idea if each side could accept that the ROC + PRC = One Complete China [quote: "the unified, complete China is made up of a 'Mainland China' and a 'Taiwan China' separated by civil war."]

  2. The Ma government's current position, though, is that One China = ROC.

  3. If the Ma Government tried to adopt a "One China, same interpretation" position, those pesky Greens would accuse him of preparing to surrender to the Communists. So it's politically unwise.

  4. When the election rolled around, the Blues would just fall back on China = ROC to avoid political heckling, and mainland China can't accept that, now can it?

  5. That makes "One China, same interpretation" a great ideal for the future, but impractical for now.

  6. Rather, the top priority right now is to arrive at a Blue + Green consensus -- not by compromising toward a middle ground, mind you, but by convincing the Greens to come on over to the Blue understanding.
Despite some sarcasm on my part, that's a pretty fair portrayal of the professor's argument.

Nevertheless, I find the idea of "One China, same interpretation" as defined above rather interesting, if impractical as the professor does. What do you think?

Apr 5, 2010

Pirate stations

The Liberty Times speculates that recent government efforts to shut down unlicensed radio stations is motivated by the government's annoyance at those pirate station's yelling down of the ECFA, and an attempt to reverse sliding public support for that agreement.

I think the Liberty Times overestimates effectiveness and audience of these underground stations. I am reasonably sure that I was one of about a half-dozen politically-oriented listeners in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, with the rest of the people listening in for the medical programs and medicine ads.

I make my estimate of these station's audience size based on three observations: first, you could hear the same two callers most every day calling in. No problem with clogged lines. Second, I never saw anyone tuning into a pirate station -- the only stations even Taipei taxis had on were Green Peace (綠色和平) or Voice of Taiwan (臺灣之聲). Third, there are just so few of these stations left, especially broadcasting with any frequency or regularity.

Plus, the KMT has been trying to pull the plug on these guys for a long time; ECFA is not the motive. They've just always hated the stations.

I, for one, love the pirate stations so much I would support liberalization of licensing requirements in the industry to keep bands reserved for these sorts of operations. I know some will defy government shutdown attempts. And that's great. And I wish the DPP had done more to help them become legit than just let them slide during their tenure. I just wish the stations would stop trying to sell expensive, ineffective medicine.

Mar 23, 2010

Translation: DPP needs idealistic platform

Below is an editorial published by the Liberty Times on March 21st about the DPP's ideal party platform. My own ideas have been laid out before. Honestly, I think the author's mistaken; the DPP will obviously keep a core independence vision, but this will not win new votes. Any new DPP platform must, as the DPP apparently plans to do, take a much more comprehensive look at Taiwan's political, economic, environmental and social situation.

Cao seems to seriously confuse Taiwanese support for continued de facto independence as an outright endorsement of plans such as a new constitution. This is simply not the case, and the DPP will never get elected on the TSU platform of yesteryear, which revolved around the theme of rectifying the country's name and writing a new constitution (正名制憲). I might like these ideas in theory, but they will not get you elected.

Frankly, should the leaks about the coming platform worry Cao Chang-ching be true, I'd consider it a very good step forward and a good sign of a DPP that's growing into a party again capable of governing, instead of being a party that's just good at shouting slogans about unnecessary and impossible goals that have no resonance with the wider electorate.

Either way, enjoy!

DPP needs idealistic platform

by Cao Chang-ching (曹長青)

The pan-greens are optimistic about their chances in the upcoming mayoral elections following their string of victories in legislative special elections. This has resulted in some intense jockeying within the party.

But whether we are discussing the upcoming five mayoral elections or the 2012 presidential elections, the most important thing for the pan-green movement is not to gain power, but to use power gained to promote the cause of making Taiwan a normal independent state. As the core of the pan-green movement, the DPP's upcoming party congress (to be held in August), will likely be the site of an to launch a "ten year platform," press reports say. The platform is expected to expound "a comprehensive plan for the country's future" and a "vision for the coming decade."

Since their loss last presidential election, DPP heavyweights have failed to spell out a clear plan for handling the problems related to Taiwan's future and status. In the current situation, the DPP's plan to bring forward a clear platform is a responsible move, in respect to both voters and country.

National Identity is Key

The key question is, what will be the contents of the political platform? What important rhetorical points and understanding will be applied regarding Taiwan's future? Although no one has yet seen a draft of the platform, certain points shown to the press by the DPP Policy Committee's deputy executive director are a bit worrying.

The reason they are worrying is that this platform does not make the status of Taiwan its central theme, but rather focuses on "changes in the world's situation; the interaction of Taiwan and China; globalization and economic trends & the evolution of economic and trade relations with Taiwan and China; technological development; energy prices and ideas for the reduction of carbon emissions ; water scarcity and food autonomy; climate changes' coming effects on Taiwan's fragile soil; the aging population and health care changes; and the government's financial discipline & the undermining of the social insurance system due to the possibility of bankruptcy."

Frankly speaking, a KMT political platform could include all of these same elements. It creates no clear contrast with the current Ma administration. The problems that Taiwan faces today do not just include globalization, unemployment, economic development and democratic politics, all of which are problems countries around the world face.

More unique to Taiwan is the question of its status and future as a country, a problem that revolves around three issues. The first is Taiwan's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.On this we should be very clear: Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC, and Taiwan is a sovereign independent state. We should make all efforts to resist China's attempts to promote unification, or any attempt at annexing Taiwan.

The second issue is Taiwan's relationship with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We must resolutely resist the KMT's "two sides of the strait, one China" policy or any other actions which aim to sell Taiwan.

The third issue is the relationship between Taiwan's future and its people. The DPP ought to make a clear promise that should the party return to power, they would be promoting the normalization of Taiwan as a country, including the efforts to write a new constitution (excluding archaic language related to territory, and clearly stating the limiting of that territory to Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Matsu); the adopting of a new national anthem (we must ditch references to the three people's principles and
loyalty to the KMT); and the adaptation of a better national referendum law. We must cast aside the "Republic of China" hat that the KMT forced on Taiwan through violent means, and recognize reality. We must apply to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan. And so on.

The DPP must respect public opinion

Some people will ask: while the KMT remains so strong, can these goals be realized? Do these goals lack realism or practical value? Regardless of how these questions are answered, the starting point ought to be that platform ought to place highest priority on the will of the people, regardless of how idealistic it is, if the party hopes to make strides. These objectives are not castles in the sky, but concrete goals that increasing numbers of Taiwan people strongly desire. Whether under the Chen Shui-bian administration or the Ma Ying-jeou administration, a variety of polls reflect these trends:

A TVBS Poll conducted 30 days after President Ma Ying-jeou took office showed 65% of people support Taiwanese independence, while only 19% were in favor of unification. Sixty-eight precent considered themselves Taiwanese, and only 4% would call themselves Chinese people.

One year after Ma Ying-jeou took office, a Global Visons poll revealed 49% of people supported "eventual independence" while a mere 16% supported "eventual unification," and a solid 69% opposed eventual unification. In July last year, the same magazine's poll showed 82% support for each side of the Taiwan strait now being a separate, sovereign state.

Early last year, a poll by the monthly magazine "Wealth" showed two thirds of the Taiwan people are unwilling to make concessions on sovereignty to China for political or economic benefits; 59% of people worry that Taiwan's economy is too dependent on China, and 55% of people think China is Taiwans' largest enemy militarily.

These polls were not conducted by pan-green media, so their results may be taken to reflect reality and not a pro-DPP political point of view. Today, the question is not whether the DPP ought to present an idealistic platform before the people; rather, the question is whether the party will follow public opinion, subject itself to public opinion, and be in accordance with the wishes of the people on the way forward.

Why Chen Ming-wen won [omitted]

Mar 4, 2010

Ma: Politics w/ China is for my second next term

Which is what "Ma won't touch political topics in his first term" is code for.

By political topics, they mean a peace treaty and possibly military confidence building measures. Everything else, regardless of how it might affect political and security equations, doesn't count as political to them.

Feb 27, 2010

History curriculum

I was up in arms recently about planned changes to the high school history curriculum which would emphasize Chinese history over Taiwan's, and possibly subsume Taiwan history into Chinese history.

These are long standing issues where there is plenty of good faith disagreement, even among those who are for Taiwan's continued independence. Remember that for a long time, Taiwan has never really been taught history in a Taiwan-centric way. It's been either Japan-centric or China-centric, and only in the very last years of the DPP administration did things start to swing the other way.

I was originally alerted to the upcoming changes by Weichen's post here. Taipei Times covers the issue and some of the protests to it, and describes the two proposals being considered:

Chou, who is on the task force making changes to the high school curriculum, said NTU philosophy professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波) and some other task force members had proposed that students spend two semesters learning Chinese history and just one semester studying world history.

On Nov. 15, the task force voted in favor of a proposal by Chou and others to allot one-and-a-half semesters each to Chinese and world history, but task force convener Wu Wen-hsing (吳文星), a history professor at National Taiwan Normal University, resolved to put Wang’s amended proposal up for further deliberation after task force’s term expired on Dec. 31.
For sake of simplicity, here is a chart (translated from Weichen's table) to break down the two proposals in a bit more depth. Please note this is written somewhat from Chou's perspective, and some of the characterizations seem rough; you'd obviously want to see what textbooks came out of the guidelines before deciding how reasonable Chou's proposal is, even if Wang's proposal is wack. And I'm not sure exactly about the last two things in the table, as the descriptions are a bit vague and confusing to me.

Wang's Proposal
Chou's Proposal
Taiwan:China:World History ratio
1: 2: 11: 1.5 : 1.5
Earliest included Taiwan-related historical recordsEastern Wu (~250 CE) and Sui Dyansties (~600 AD)
400 years ago
Japanese Occupation
Emphasizes Japan as colonizers, fact of second-class citizens.
Discuss both modernization and colonization issues
Taiwan in WW II
Place special emphasis on Taiwanese efforts to reunite with China and oppose Japan
No particular details especially emphasized
Post-WW II Taiwan
Describe international relations in such a way as to avoid picking apart the ROC sovereignty (over all of China) argument.
Describe international relations according to the historical record
Post-WW II Taiwan culture
Topics include: Re-Sinization, Taiwan's development of unique features and internationalization
Topics include: Sinization, localization and globalization
Chinese History
China-centric world view
Looks at China's neighbors and the world from the perspective of cultural exchange
Post-war Chinese history
The splitting of One China, discusses both Taiwan and Taiwan
Covers the People's Republic of China [and not Taiwan]
World History
Takes the nation-state and representative events [?] as the main units
Emphasizes a macro-view of schools of thought and frameworks


Feb 25, 2010

This time, a blast from the back to the future

Taipei Times:

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday morning thanked the outgoing Solomon Islands ambassador at the Presidential Office, but referred to his administration as the “Chunghua government” (中華政府) or “Chinese government....”

Realizing his mistake, Ma immediately corrected himself and said he meant the “government of the Republic of China.”
I'm no native speaker, but I'd argue that the Chinese term used here seems really bizarre and forced. “Chunghua government” (中華政府) is not *quite* a coinage, as the phrase appears when searched for online, mostly in relation to some sort of Taiwan military surplus dealer which uses the phrase in their name (though I'd argue the deep structure is different for their title).

So although the phrase isn't entirely invented, it does not roll off the tongue. Frankly, "Chinese government (中國政府) would be not only smoother but probably preferable to this bizarre formation that is riding on the back of Zhunghua Minzu. And there's no reason the good old "Taiwan government" (臺灣政府) should have been avoided here.

However, I'll give Ma the benefit of the doubt and assume this was a misspeak leaving out two words (should have been 中華民國政府), not an attempt to start using new terminology.

Feb 21, 2010

Yea for Ron Paul!

Good job winning the CPAC straw poll . Too bad it means next to nothing. :(

Feb 19, 2010

So, if you run a plane into a building because nobody likes paying taxes, obviously, that's a sign of the frustration that gets Republicans elected to office.

But of course, if you run a plane into a building because you are a jihadist, well, time to strip *every* citizen of basic constitutional rights, and time to strip every non-citizen of basic human rights guaranteed by treaty and common decency.

Feb 17, 2010

Chinese President Hu Jintao's pre-Lunar New Year address to Taiwanese businessmen in China was mostly boilerplate material; no surprises in the speech. However, when reading the speech I was struck by one particular phrase:

...把堅持大陸和台灣同屬一個中國作為推動兩岸關係和平發展的政治基礎... make "insistence that Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of One China" the political foundation for promoting peaceful cross strait development...
Now of course this is nothing new, but what struck me is that for all the KMT's promotion of a constitutional or legal "One China," I don't believe any KMT official has actually used the term "Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of One China." Naturally, the KMT does accept that position (with a different wording preference), or there would be no basis for negotiations at this time.

In fact, I appear to be right about KMT non-use of the phrase. A quick search of the KMT website and other news articles shows that the phrase "同屬一個中國" makes appearances, but always in reference to the "mainland" Chinese position. In fact, President Ma prefers emphasizing that Taiwan and Chinese people "are both part of the Zhonghua Minzu," but does not overtly say they belong to the same "One China."

Here is another example where the DPP rhetoric would be more effective at driving home the KMT's one China policy. If the DPP made sure to mention all the time that "The KMT accepts Taiwan and China are the same country," I think it would strike a bit more of a chord than talking about the ROC legitimacy or theoretical, upcoming "sell outs."

And it would leave the KMT in a rhetorical pickle, as they cannot deny that position but equally, cannot promote it domestically. If you frame the language of the debate in the CCP terms, the KMT can only lose ground.