Thursday, November 29, 2007

Martial Law? Don't even think about It!

Martial Law? Don't even think about It!
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 29, 2007

Twelve hours ago, our president announced that he was "giving careful consideration to imposing martial law." Twelve hours later, he changed his tune, saying he "absolutely would not declare martial law." This sort of fickle behavior on the part of Chen Shui-bian no longer surprises any of us. But during these 12 hours, what our minister of defense said certainly sent a chill up our spine. While answering questions from lawmakers about martial law, Lee Tien-yu said that if the Legislative Yuan refused to ratify martial law, but the president still considered it necessary, the nation's military would "obey the Command in Chief." He even added that if he were to implement martial law, "The Mayor of Taipei would be replaced by the Commander of the Sixth Regiment."

We were alarmed not because Lee Tien-yu misread the constitution so badly. We were alarmed because the minister of defense of a democratic nation would think that way. When the minister of defense openly proclaims that he would obey orders from the Commander in Chief to impose martial law, even though the Legislature has vetoed it, and even add that "The Mayor of Taipei would be replaced by the Commander of the Sixth Regiment," how can one not be alarmed? Even during the Kuomintang's 40 year long imposition of martial law on Taiwan, it never dispatched a regimental commander to take control of the City of Taipei. How could Lee Tien-yu make such a cavalier statement?

We can dismiss Chen Shui-bian's talk of "martial law" as election rhetoric. But we can hardly dismiss Lee Tien-yu's declaration that "The Mayor of Taipei would be replaced by the Commander of the Sixth Regiment" as election rhetoric. It makes no difference that he said "It probably wouldn't come to that." It makes no difference that he later changed his tune. The fact remains he had advance plans for imposing martial law. He even had backup plans. It makes no difference how "hypothetical" the question might have been. The fact remains that upon being questioned by a lawmaker, he had a ready answer. This tells us his remarks were not off the cuff. He had already gamed the scenario in considerable detail, and this is how the script would play out. Just imagining this scenario is enough to send a chill up one's spine.

What concerns us the most, from beginning to end, is not "whether he mispoke and changed his tune." What concerns us the most is why he was thinking this way from the beginning. Over a 12 hour period, thoughts that should have been unthinkable, were not merely being thought, they were being spoken out loud. They were emerging from the mouths of our president and our minister of defense. Chen Shui-bian later changed his tune. He declared that he "absolutely would not declare martial law" during his term of office. But the question is, why was it necessary to make such an explicit denial at this time and in this place? The fact remains, we all heard Chen Shui-bian declare aloud that he was "giving careful consideration to imposing martial law." It is even more irresponsible to pass the buck for such remarks on to talking heads in the local media. A number of well-known television commentators often speak without thinking. As the nation's highest official, a president cannot ignore the constitution, cannot ignore his own convictions, cannot casually mouth off about "giving careful consideration to imposing martial law" at a political rally. It makes no difference that Chen changed his tune afterwards. That is merely an attempt to change the subject. The fact that Chen made the statement in the first place means he was already thinking about it. There is really no point in him trying to talk his way out of this.

By the same token, before Chen Shui-bian changed his tune, Lee Tien-yu openly declared that even if the legislature opposed a declaration of martial law, he would obey the Commander in Chief's orders. It makes no difference that Lee later changed his tune. The question we must ask is: How could you say something like that in the first place? The constitution makes perfectly clear that any presidential declaration of martial law must be approved and ratified by the legislature. The constitution does not contain a provision saying that if the legislature rejects martial law, the nation's military has the option of backing the "Commander in Chief," right or wrong, to the bitter end. Lee Tien-yu's statement, his "slip of the tongue," is unforgiveable. In any genuinely democratic nation he would already have been relieved of his command.

Do not underestimate the significance of such thoughts that might flash through one's mind. Often the first words to escape one's mouth are the ones that were in one's heart. Do not assume that once one realizes one has misspoken, one can simply change one's tune and say "No harm, no foul." Some words, once spoken, have already caused damage. They are an indelible part of the historical record. Chen Shui-bian, in the absence of any evidence, publicly accused Lien Chan and James Soong of inciting a "Soft Coup." This case is currently under litigation. Is it permissible to dismiss any and all defamatory remarks as "election rhetoric" and get off scot-free?

On the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law, Taiwan was unexpectedly threatened with talk of reimposing martial law. The officials who dropped this bombshell were, surprise, surprise, the president and the minister of defense. No matter how hard they may try to deny making such statements, we have been put on alert. A "declaration of martial law" is a plan to which Chen Shui-bian is "giving careful consideration." Nor can we forget that in the event Chen declares martial law, Minister of Defense Lee Tien-yu has openly declared that "The Mayor of Taipei would be replaced by the Commander of the Sixth Regiment." True, they have since changed their tune. But this does not change the facts. They said what they said. Thoughts that should have been unthinkable, were being casually spoken out loud. Is Taiwan's commitment to the universal value of democracy really so tenuous?

中國時報  2007.11.29
有些念頭 連想都不該想








Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Single Standard for Vote-Buying Prosecutions

A Single Standard for Vote-Buying Prosecutions
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 28, 2007

The State Public Prosecutor General's Office launched its "Project Minefield" with a great deal of fanfare. It boasted that it had cast a dragnet over 3,000 cases of vote-buying. The very next day, ironically, the Kaohsiung District Court announced its ruling on the Kaohsiung Mayoral Race Per Diem scandal from last year. The court ruled that the 500 NT Per Diem the DPP issued to supporters had nothing to do with vote-buying! They were merely "wages" paid to participants in election rallies. Everyone involved was ruled "not guilty." Even the Ministry of Justice was outraged by the court's ruling, and issued a stern warning that same night: Those involved in the Per Diem scandal should not assume they won't be prosecuted.

When the public questioned the handling of the State Affairs Confidential Expense case, the Discretionary Fund case, and other major cases, the Ministry of Justice merely offered explanations and clarified doubts. It did not react as strongly as it has now. For the Ministry of Justice to express a legal opinion on an isolated case is extraordinary. The ministry's reaction underscores its concern about the negative impact this ruling may have on future vote-buying prosecutions.

The Kaohsiung Per Diem decision defied the average person's common sense understanding of what it means to buy votes. For several years, both the ruling and opposition parties have been competing to catch the other engaging in vote-buying. Issuing Per Diem is recognized by both camps as vote-buying. Catching someone red-handed issuing Per Diem has become an effective campaign tactic. To cite a random example, during the Taipei County Magistrate Election two years ago, Democratic Progressive Party candidate Luo Wen-chia's election campaign was videotaped issuing its supporters 300 NT in Per Diem. Whether the videotape had a decisive impact on Luo's election campaign and led to his loss is hard to say. Although the Banqiao District Court handed down a suspended sentence, it unequivocally ruled that issuing Per Diem was vote-buying.

The Taipei County Magistrate Election was not the only case. The Kaohsiung Mayoral Election last year was another. A campaign worker for Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator Luo Chih-ming also issued participants in an election rally 500 NT in Per Diem. He was sentenced to three years and two months in prison, and deprived of his political rights for three years. When one compares the sentences doled out to Ku Hsin-ming and Tsai Neng-hsiang, one has to wonder, was there really that much difference between 300 NT and 500 NT in Per Diem for attending a evening election rally?

For several years, the ruling and opposition camps have resorted to large scale mobilization to increase attendance at their rallies. Any large-scale event involving tens of thousands or even thousands of supporters, inevitably necessitate tour buses to transport flag-waving, slogan-shouting supporters. Not all these supporters are constituents from the candidate's own electoral district. Campaign workers responsible for mobilizing these supporters know perfectly well it is impossible to recruit that many people willing to spend hours riding buses, wolfing down brown bag lunches, and shouting campaign slogans, without paying them "wages." The only question is how they are to be paid. One must never get caught. One must never issue Per Diem on the buses, where there is no place to hide.

It is true that some individuals who issued Per Diem in the past have been found "not guilty." The justification given for such verdicts was that Per Diem and voting did not amount to a quid pro quo. Per Diem was merely "wages for work on behalf of the campaign." Admittedly, prosecutors and judges must be discrete before convicting someone of a crime. One cannot convict based on mere suspicions. Whether there was a quid pro quo is something that must be verified. But how did the judge determine that there was no quid pro quo? Elections require secret ballots. Judges cannot demand that people who were issued Per Diem reveal how they voted. Are we really going to check recipients against voter registration lists to see whether they were qualified to vote? Or are we simply going to take one side at its word?

Ku Hsin-ming admitted during his trial that people on the bus said they were voting for candidate number one, and that he replied, "Uh huh." Nevertheless the judge ruled that because so many people were talking at the same time, Ku could not be sure what they meant! If we are to believe the judge, Ku Hsing-ming's testimony and the testimony of supporters on the bus jibe. If we are to believe the judge, these supporters were on their way to a rally, but didn't know whose rally they were going to, and had to verify whose rally they were going to before deciding whom to vote for.

These campaign supporters were recruited by local party bosses. Certainly the local party bosses knew who they were supporting. Rallies have become an integral part of election campaigns. As a result, the staging of rallies has evolved into a profession all its own. Rally organizers have become hired guns able to take on jobs at a moment's notice. If the judges presiding over such cases accept such rationalizations, it will be increasingly difficult to prove that issuing Per Diem constitutes vote-buying. Any vote-buying activity can and will be disguised as Per Diem, as "wages for work on behalf of the campaign," exempt from prosecution. How will the prosecutors who laid down 3000 land mines be able to investigate vote-buying? Will they simply indict everyone and let the judges separate the sheep from the goats? Suppose every candidate who issued Per Diem then lost his election bid decides to file suit? Isn't that a frightening prospect? If public prosecutors abide by this decision, and fail to indict those who issue Per Diem for campaign rallies, how can they indict those who hold fund-raising dinners?

On the eve of the election, at the very moment public prosecutors have promised comprehensive anti-corruption initiatives, the Kaohsiung District Court dropped its bombshell. Just as the legal system must adopt a single standard for the Four Princes Discretionary Fund cases, so it must adopt a single standard for the Per Diem cases. Only then can the public trust the legal system and reconcile its judgments with common sense. Only then will controversy over public prosecutors' vigorous investigation of vote-buying die down.

中國時報  2007.11.28










Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Love for Taiwan should not be a Political Posture

Love for Taiwan should not be a Political Posture
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 27, 2007

Absent comparisons, it is easy to overlook the dramatic changes that can occur over time. Absent comparisons, it is easy to overlook one's own stagnation or even regression. Over the past three months, the China Times has mobilized substantial manpower and resources producing its "Taiwan's Hope 2008" retrospective, which examines Taiwan's progress over the past two decades. We interviewed people from every walk of life, reminiscing with them about the past, and sharing their concerns about the future.

During this process, we rediscovered Taiwan. Sadly, Taiwan has remained stagnant for the past decade, its vitality sapped by an endless political soap opera that repeats and repeats and never goes anywhere. Happily, Taiwan retains its resilience. As a result of their love for this land, more and more people are refusing to be politically manipulated. More and more people are speaking out, voicing their aspirations for the future. We must find our own way. The Chinese people on Taiwan deserve a better life. Those who live on this land, have no excuse to give up and no right to despair. Just as in the past, whenever Taiwan touched bottom, that is when things turned around. Taiwan underwent the White Terror, then the economy took off. Taiwan underwent chaos, then a Quiet Revolution. Taiwan underwent regime change, and the public welcomed the advent of a new era. Tragically, to everyone's surprise, the world continued on its way, while Taiwan stagnated.

During these years, a Taiwan which prided itself on its economic miracle, found itself eclipsed by South Korea in annual GDP. Taiwan's replacement by a rapidly rising mainland China became a global phenomenon that could no longer be ignored. Taiwan, it was once said, was "up to its knees in money." Now it is up to its neck in red ink. The next generation will be born owing money. A formerely egalitarian Taiwan is becoming an "M Shaped Society" in which the middle class has vanished. This M Shaped Society will be the next generation's unwelcome legacy. Children will be born into two different worlds. From the moment they are born, the will start out unequal. We are unlikely to witness another child from a "Category Three Impoverished Household" become ROC president.

When discussing Taiwan's past, many members of the public, including scholars and experts, find themselves imagining Taiwan's future, and feel a deep sense of unease. When asked what worries them most, they sigh and reply, "Everything. Everything worries me." When asked whether Taiwan will be better off in ten years, only 20% of the public says it will be. As many as 34% think otherwise. Such numbers were unimaginable ten or twenty years ago. Taiwan was once a society brimming with confidence. No matter what occupation, give a man a suitcase and he would conquer the world. So how did it all come to this?

To many anxious and angry members of the public, politics is a curse they can't seem to rid themselves of. Reunification vs. independence, Blue vs. Green, so-called "ethnicity," which is nothing more than communal groups, and cross-Straits issues, all involve politics. Put bluntly, ideology is leading everyone around by the nose. Being led around by the nose is bad enough. What's worse is that for the past several years Taiwan's society has been led around in circles, and gone nowhere. Political indoctrination and mobilization have deepened social divisions. Political rhetoric rides roughshod over the Rule of Law and fills people's hearts with hatred. Opposition between "us" and "them" helps justify cronyism and corruption. Professional expertise is treated with contempt. As a consequence public works and tax policy become means of buying votes and winning elections. Cross-Straits policies are impossible to implement. Direct Links have become a chimera. The 40% upper limit for investments on the mainland has remained in place. Taiwan's wealth is outsourcing itself at a rate and in a manner the government cannot fathom.

What can Taiwan do? If current trends cannot be reversed, what is Taiwan going to look like ten years from now? Will it look like Brazil or the Philippines? During our investigations, many people said that whether Taiwan can turn things around depends on what we do in the coming year or two. The hour is late. Action is overdue.

The media is a part of the larger environment. It cannot divorce itself from this environment. When politics possesses everyone like a demon, much of the media gets led around by the nose as well. They parrot the politicians, classifying individuals as enemy or friend. They willingly act as the government's mouthpieces and attack dogs. The result is the language of hate trips off the tongues of third rate demagogues and insinuates itself into every household. One turns on the television, and lo and behold, there is the enemy, there is the spectacle of civil war in the guise of democratic elections, a waking nightmare.

The China Times champions freedom, democracy, and openess. It never cozies up to authority. It refuses to divide people into "us" and "them." The "Taiwan's Hopes 2008" retrospective focused on the people of this land. We wanted to hear the people's voices and understand their aspirations. In the process, even though we were subjected to political persecution and smears, we never flinched. Members of the media are society's guardians. We uncover problems and seek solutions alongside the Chinese people on Taiwan.

Our investigation revealed deep skepticism about the government's competence, shared by experts and laymen alike. As many as 75% of the people do not believe the government has the ability to solve society's problems. Such numbers would be enough to leave us deeply pessimistic about Taiwan's future. After all, the government is incapable of even maintaining the status quo, let alone reversing a downward trend. But we feel just the opposite. During our investigation, experts and laymen alike still harbored hope for the future of Taiwan. Most importantly, 80 to 90% of the leaders polled were willing to take action on behalf of Taiwan's future. Even among those ambivalent about Taiwan's future, some 46% are committed to take action.

"Don't always rely on the government!" Taiwan's vitality and competitiveness derives from the people. Taiwan's resilience will be our greatest asset in our reversal of fortune. The people mistrust the government. Yet the government refuses to open its eyes and see the problems. It refuses to open its ears and listen to the people's wishes. It remains drunk with power. It continues to believe that winning elections is everything. The Chinese people on Taiwan need wait for them no longer.

Look to the land. Identify with the people. Every individual can do more. The China Times' "Taiwan's Hope 2008" retrospective is a beginning, not an end. Our efforts show that love for Taiwan is not a short term political ploy. Only selfless love will enable Taiwan to thrive.

中國時報  2007.11.27













Monday, November 26, 2007

Oppose the Anti-Democratic Tide on Taiwan

Oppose the Anti-Democratic Tide on Taiwan
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 26, 2007

Taipei City and other Pan Blue administered counties and municipalities intend to use a two stage balloting procedure. Last night, Chen Shui-bian responded that he was seriously considering four possibilities suggested by his advisors. These include: One, declaring martial law. Two, declaring the results of any plebiscites from counties and cities that use the two stage balloting procedure invalid. Three, firing all election officials in Pan Blue administered counties and municipalities and reappointing new ones. Four, postponing the election until an agreement has been reached. Assuming Chen Shui-bian was not merely running off at the mouth, we appeal to all individuals of conscience on Taiwan. Do not allow a solitary individual to destroy the ROC's democracy. We must not allow the ROC, which is already on the road to democracy, to backslide into authoritarianism and martial law.

The sad fact is an anti-democratic tide is rising on Taiwan. It already threatens the ROC's political framework. Some counties and cities intend to use a two stage balloting procedure. They are protesting the Central Election Commitee's violation of laws mandating secret balloting and administrative neutrality. To everyones' astonishment, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of the Interior, the Central Election Committee, and the Ministry of Justice convened a press conference, threatening to punish any polling station workers who participate in the two stage balloting process. The ruling regime even threatened to press criminal charges against them and take away their pensions. It is resorting to unbelievably thuggish means to increase the number of plebiscite ballots cast. It is threatening criminal penalties and administrative punishments against these civil servants, who have a sworn duty to remain scrupulously neutral. The methods the ruling regime are using to impose its flagrantly biased balloting procedure upon local governments are barbaric. Martial law was rescinded twenty years ago. The DPP boasts of its love for the people. Yet it reveals its contempt for the people, its ostensible masters, by flagrantly manipulating the balloting procedure to ensure the results it wants. How can discriminating Individuals not be distressed?

Several months ago the Democratic Progressive Party, attempting to rationalize its opposition to Central Election Committee reform, obstructed the conduct of official business in the Legislature by means of physical violence. DPP legislators even locked the doors of the Legislature, then physically attacked opposition legislators. Whether the proposed Pan Blue bill for the Central Election Committee reform was ideal can be subjected to rational debate. But it absolutely may not be obstructed by resort to physical violence. In retrospect, the DPP's thuggish, anti-democratic behavior, was to ensure that the Central Election Committee would remain the ruling DPP's regime's reelection committee. The Central Election Committee is supposed to be objective and neutral. It is supposed to ensure free and fair elections, and thereby maintaining the core values of democracy. But Central Election Committee members controlled by today's Democratic Progressive Party, are willing to sell their souls, to betray their consciences, to be stooges for a specific political party. Not one of them understands the value of democracy. The Democratic Progressive Party is the political party which has destroyed the ROC's democracy. It is no exaggeration to say that these members of the Central Election Committee are the executioners of free and fair elections.

The ruling party has violated democratic principles by manipulating the Central Election Committee, in order to promote its Plebiscite to Join the UN. Over the past several months, the Democratic Progressive Party has illegally diverted government funds into promoting its "Join the UN" campaign. It has coerced the media into cooperating. It has resorted to a wide range of executive orders to coerce the public into signing or supporting its Petition to Join the UN. It has used official office hours to hold private meetings. It has stamped or pasted political slogans on private citizens' letters and packages, and on government property. It has filled government webpages with Join the UN propaganda. It has committed all sorts of violations of administrative neutrality. It has violated its obligation to behave like public servants, with a sense of propriety. Its sins truly are too many to enumerate.

The ruling party has turned its back on democratic ideals. The opposition parties and media have not been remiss. They have pointed out the ruling party's wrongdoings and harshly criticized it. But the ruling party has reacted to such criticisms and accusations as if they were Red Guards. Whenever any member of the public faults the Plebiscite to Join the UN for its violations of administrative neutrality or electoral neutrality, the ruling party immediately unleashes its official government media attack dogs upon them. The first thing they invariably do is change the subject. The very next thing they do is accuse any media that uphold media freedom as "pro reunification." They beatify themselves, depicting themselves as nativist defenders of the sacred soil of Taiwan. They use such simplistic dichotomies as cover for the violence they have done to democratic values in the name of the Plebiscite to Join the UN. The balloting procedure affects only the polling station process. Yet the ruling DPP's talking heads began ranting that any ballots cast by means of the two stage voting process would be declared invalid, that any unrest must be put down, and that it may be necessary to impose martial law. What sort of insane logic is this?

Opposition party criticisms regarding violations of administrative neutrality and electoral neutrality are reduced to struggles over reunification vs. independence, love for Taiwan vs. lack of love for Taiwan, nativist sentiment vs. non-nativist or even anti-nativist sentiment. As a consequence, the ruling DPP's thuggish and arbitrary behavior, becomes a necessary evil for these self-styled "lovers of Taiwan." Any criticisms leveled against them, are turned into nitpicking by those who are "selling out Taiwan." These "public servants" have sundered, divided, and hoodwinked their nominal bosses, "We, the People." Frankly, the political atmosphere on Taiwan reminds one of the Chinese Communist Party's "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution."

Chen Shui-bian is not averse to declaring martial law, to nullifying the results of any two stage balloting procedures, to postponing the election, or resorting to other forms of intimidation. Leave aside the fact that Chen Shui-bian once swore he "absolutely, positively would not declare martial law within the duration of his term. Everyone on Taiwan has the right to ask: Is this the way a democratically elected leader ought to be talking? Is this the way a political party that claims to believe in democracy ought to be thinking? This year is the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law. The DPP has long attempted to claim exclusive credit for the lifting of martial law. Now their own party chairman is publicly threatening to impose martial law upon citizens of the Republic of China. Why? Merely because certain counties and municipalities refused to knuckle under to the ruling regime's will regarding balloting procedures. Even authoritarian regimes don't have the chutzpah to impose martial law on such a flimsy pretext. Yet Chen Shui-bian blurted it right out. Even more shockingly, Chen Shui-bian is planning to declare the result of a democratically held election invalid. In other words, after voters of 2/3 of Taiwan's counties and municipalities exercise their right to vote, Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party intend to declare their votes invalid. To paraphrase an infamous DPP political ad, "no matter how barbaric one might be," and no matter how little the voters' ballots might figure in one's hearts, such madness is intolerable.

Our hearts are heavy leveling such harsh criticisms against the ruling party. Taiwan is our home, our only home. However painful, we must point out that any behavior that violates the principle of democracy for the sake of election victories, inflicts harm upon Taiwan. Democratic Progressive Party political figures have long mouthed slogans such as: "Elections are fleeting, democracy is forever" or "[So and so] may lose, but Taiwan must not lose." Today, their hypocrisy grates on the ears. We issue a stern warning to individuals of conscience within the DPP, if any. Whether the DPP will lose next year's election we don't know. But if you refuse to speak out, yet again, Taiwan's democracy surely will lose. We issue a stern warning to all politicians. ROC citizens' eyes are wide open. You may undermine Taiwan's democracy by resorting to deception. But the people will not allow you to win the upcoming elections. Finally, we appeal to everyone on Taiwan, treasure and defend our democratic ideals. Courageously protest, spurn, and resist any anti-democratic behavior. Only by defending democracy can we prevail against the reactionary currents of Taiwan's own Cultural Revolution.

中國時報  2007.11.26









Thursday, November 22, 2007

Taiwan's Brain Drain: A Mortal Wound

Taiwan's Brain Drain: A Mortal Wound
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 22, 2007

Our national leaders are in the habit of reminding us that Beijing has a large number of missiles aimed at Taiwan, therefore everybody ought to remain vigilant. This is not entirely wrong. But Taiwan's biggest threat is not necessarily Beijing's missiles. It is a brain drain that has inflicted a mortal wound upon Taiwan's competitiveness.

Taiwan is experiencing a brain drain. White collar workers are in a hurry to leave. This is no longer a phenomenon that can be ignored. Most of them leave for mainland China, primarily due to Taiwan's internal political struggles. Ruling DPP leaders reason that "So what if we revive the economy? That doesn't mean we'll get reelected." Whereupon they continue their ideologically-motivated Closed Door Policy. They allow industry to wither. Young workers can no longer find work, and must leave to survive.

In the past, most countries did not welcome immigrants. They tried to stop them. Now circumstances are different. Now we have Globalization and the Global Village. Now the World is Flat. To be competitive one must have talented people. The countries of the world now compete for the most talented people. They have launched a "Global Talent Hunt." The nations of the world have one by one revised their immigration policies, and are recruiting foreign students from all over the globe. They offer all sorts of enticements to make them come.

The mainland Chinese economy is growingly rapidly, by double digits every year. It is estimated that next year its total output may surpass Germany's. It will become the world's third largest economic entity. Such enormous productivity creates enormous purchasing power. Transnational corporations are all struggling to be the first to profit from a market of 1.3 billion customers. Taiwan's major corporations have been directly or indirectly entering the mainland. Taiwan's economy has stagnated due to internal political strife. Businesses have had no choice but to seek refuge on the mainland. At first they tested the waters. Eventually they stayed to sink roots.

Taiwan businesspersons who move to the mainland take personnel along with them. The mainland desperately needs business managers and financial managers who understand global markets. According to Taiwan's 104 Job Bank, a head-hunting firm, Taiwan businesspersons and mainland businesspersons alike approach them for workers. The Job Bank invariably asks jobseekers a question: "Are you willing to work on the mainland?" Not long ago National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of Business Administration surveyed 30 students. Forty percent of them said they were willing to work on the mainland

In fact, many white collar managerial and technical personnel have already moved to the mainland. According to estimates by the Taiwanese Businessmen's Association, the Shanghai, Suzhou, and Kunshan regions alone have over 500,000 Taiwan businesspersons. If one adds nearby Guangdong, the number approaches 800,000 to 900,000. Naturally this does not include Taiwan talent recruited by mainland businesses.

Taiwan Media Watch conducted a survey. They asked people why they were willing to work on the mainland. Their answers were illuminating:

One. Rapid salary increases. In some years their salary increased 20% to 30%. Approximately 10% of the increase was due to market growth.

Two. Working on the mainland is a simple way of moving toward internationalization.

Three. Taiwan is no longer a link in the global market. Taiwan businesses have no future. Individuals working for Taiwan businesses have no future either.

Four. Working on the mainland is like participating in the Olympics, One is competing with world class competitors. It is both a personal challenge and a learning opportunity.

Many human resource firms and consulting firms have noted that among the economies of the Asian Pacific region, Taiwan's manpower requirements have been the lowest for five straight years. In October of this year, 100,000 university graduates, including those with masters and doctorates, cannot find work. Therefore the age of those who have gone to the mainland or hope to go to the mainland is getting younger and younger. Now entire families are picking up and moving to the mainland. The children no longer study in foreign schools or bilingual schools. Instead they enroll in local schools. They do so because their future is there. Therefore they feel they must integrate into local society as soon as possible.

Our Ministry of Education recognizes diplomas from third rate universities in the US. But it refuses to recognize diplomas from mainland China's Beijing University, Qinghua University, and other famous schools. As a result, many students from Taiwan who studied and obtained degrees on the mainland, are only able to work on the mainland.

In 1949 Nationalist troops were routed in the Battle of Xu Bang. The government retreated to Taiwan. Acting General Tu Yu-ming was captured by Chen Yi's troops. He was released after "Successful Thought Reform" in a Chinese Communist Party POW camp. On May 26, 1960, he was invited to a banquet held by Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice-Premier Chen Yi in honor of British Field Marshal Montgomery. While introducing Tu Yu-ming, Zhou Enlai said Tu once fought a battle with Chen Yi. Montgomery asked: Who won? Zhou answered: Chen Yi won. Montgomery asked Tu: How many troops did you command during that campaign? Tu answered: One million. Montgomery said: Anyone with a million troops under his command should not have lost. Tu explained: He had two million. Because my one million defected to his side.

This story is not necessarily true. But it is certainly something to think about.

2007.11.22 03:34 am
















Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shen Fu-hsiung's Dream of a Prosperous Taiwan

Shen Fu-hsiung's Dream of a Prosperous Taiwan
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 21, 2007

Confronted with an increasingly ennervated Taiwan, Shen Fu-hsiung said he hoped Taiwan would experience prosperity once again. He suggested that if the Blue camp won over 60% of the legislative seats, Green camp voters should not vote for Frank Hsieh in the presidential race, in order to avoid a recurrence of political deadlock, a situation in which one party controls the Executive while another controls the Legislature.

Shen Fu-hsiung's Dream of a Prosperous Taiwan is something many on Taiwan no longer dare hope for. Taiwan's political dilemma has left many people bereft of hope for a rosy future. But his dream of prosperity is not an irrelevant fantasy. It suggests a way out of Taiwan's political deadlock. Only if this deadlock is broken, can Taiwan's economic engine be restarted.

From the perspective of political theory, Shen Fu-hsiung's hope that the power of the Executive and the Legislature will be held by the same political party, is not entirely consistent with the principle of checks and balances. His former comrades in the Democratic Progressive Party have severely criticized him for this. But from a realpolitik perspective, Shen Fu-hsiung's proposed "exception to the rule" is the result of his understanding that the system of checks and balances has been so thoroughly undermined by politicians, democracy no longer functions. His solution may appear extreme and simplistic. But it reveals this "lone wolf's" detached eye and deep concern for Taiwan's political health.

The implementation of a system of checks and balances on Taiwan, has led to some eye-opening moments. The Democratic Progressive Party championed high-minded ideals before it came to office. Its political posture reflected a reaction to the Kuomintang's attitude back then. The existence of a political opposition provided checks and balances on the ruling party, and advanced democracy. When Chen Shui-bian first took office, the composition of his cabinet and his so-called New Centrist Path, approximated attempts to share power. But within six months, it gave up any such pretense. It arrogated all power to itself, and began acting unilaterally. The Democratic Progressive Party resorted to cut-throat tactics and a scorched earth strategy. It had no qualms about destroying the people's livelihood and dividing Taiwan's society, for partisan political benefit. Its perversion of party politics cast a pall over Taiwan's democracy.

We can now see that the decline of the ROC's system of checks and balances was not due to opposition party resistance, but to ruling party arrogance and bigotry. The DPP was both incapable of ruling the nation and unwilling to accept outside advice. It chose to ignore the complaints of the multitudes, rather than to yield even an inch. Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Wang To criticized Shen Fu-hsiung. He said that Taiwan's problem was that the KMT/PFP coalition, which constituted a majority in the legislature, was unwilling to behave like a loyal opposition party. This is typical Democratic Progressive Party buck-passing. When has the Democratic Progressive Party ever behaved like a loyal opposition party? The minority Chen regime has never accorded the slightest respect to the majority in the legislature. The ruling DPP is unethical, incompetent, and intolerant. It brooks no dissent from ordinary citizens. When have the people ever figured in its calculations? The Democratic Progressive Party has the temerity to accuse the Blue camp of not being a "mature opposition party." When has the DPP ever behaved like a "mature ruling party?"

Shen Fu-hsiung's Dream of a Prosperous Taiwan sounds remote and impossible, but he has written a prescription that can dispell a myth about democracy. The fact is, a political authority that will not allow its power to be checked, is the source of political disaster. For ROC voters, this reminder has a kind of special significance. Because over the years, a kind of self-regulating mechanism has appeared in the ROC's elections. If one camp scores a major political victory this time, the next time swing voters shift their support to the opposite camp. This kind of pendulum effect ensures that a political party which wins will not let success go to its head. Shen Fu-hsiung is now reminding people that this pendulum effect has led to political deadlock and wheel-spinning. Everyone must reject this pendulum effect. Only then can we liberate Taiwan's democracy from the curse of political deadlock.

Taiwan's political polarization, is unquestionably more complex than Shen Fu-hsiung's simple diagnosis. In Shen Fu-hsiung's vision of party politics, the ruling regime and the political opposition have room for compromise, and share a common national objective. But the Democratic Progressive Party makes partisan politics a showdown over reunification vs. independence. Domestic opposition is turned into undying enmity between "Us" and "Them." What room is there for reconciliation between Blue and Green given the DPP's attitude? Chen Shui-bian railed, "The Pacific Ocean doesn't have a lid on it, those who gripe about Taiwan can swim to [mainland] China!" Democracy has been reduced to Mobocracy. The ruling authorities no longer feel any constraints whatsoever. Talk of a system of checks and balances is irrelevant.

Shen Fu-hsiung resigned from his political party at the age of 70. Yet he dreams of a prosperous Taiwan. Is he courageous, or merely naive? The final answer does not depend on the strength of Shen Fu-hsiung's proposal, but on how many people still cling to hope for a prosperous Taiwan. The final answer depends on whether the people of Taiwan can divest themselves of their deeply entrenched cynicism.

2007.11.21 03:20 am









Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Pro Reunification Plebiscite

The Pro Reunification Plebiscite: Chen Shui-bian rails against Tsao Hsing-cheng for 20 Minutes
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 20, 2007

Last week, Tsao Hsing-cheng bought a half-page ad in several major newspapers, promoting his "Cross-Straits Peaceful Coexistence Act." Its main provision was a "Pro Reunification Plebiscite." According to reports, Chen Shui-bian spent a full 20 minutes railing against Tsao, accusing Tsao of "manipulating politics" under the pretext of promoting peace, when his real motive was to oppose independence and to promote reunification.

This newspaper proposed a "Pro Reunification Plebiscite" ten years ago, opening up new possibilities for cross-Straits relations. Its reverberations have been endless. Over the past decade, the Democratic Progressive Party has drafted several "Pro Reunification Plebiscites" as replacements for "Pro Independence Plebiscites." Lee Yuan-tse established a cross-Straits group based on the same guiding principles. While discussing politics Frank Hsieh has frequently raised such a possibility. Tsao Hsing-cheng is an entrepreneur who is highly enthusiastic about such a plebiscite. His current proposal for legislation to that effect is probably the result of years of pondering the possibilities.

Tsao Hsing-cheng's proposal has some points worth considering. Chen Shui-bian's criticisms were rude and inappropriate. He was smearing and labeling Tsao. Tsao Hsing-cheng advocates a "Pro Reunification Plebiscite." Tsao's main assertion was that when the time comes to reunify, the people have a right to decide whether or not to do so. In other words, if the people on Taiwan do not agree to reunify, then they have legal recourse. They have a mechanism that conveys their opinion. Chen Shui-bian quoted him out of context, and leveled false charges against him. Tsao Hsing-cheng said "citizens have the right to decide whether or not to reunify." Chen spun this as "opposition to independence and promotion of reunification." He referred to the "Cross-Straits Peaceful Coexistence Act" as nothing more than a "Cross-Straits Unification Act," a "Taiwan's Forced Reunification Act," and a "Taiwan Surrender Act." Chen sounded like a thug, and nothing at all like a president.

Tsao Hsing-cheng's draft is of course not perfect. For instance, he states that the Taiwan side has the right of approval when the mainland side proposes a "Pro Reunification Plebiscite." This, we feel, is inappropriate. We believe the initiative for any "Pro Reunification Plebiscite" must remain in the hands of the Taiwan side. This must be prescribed by law. The initiative must not fall into the hands of the mainland side.

Tsao's proposal however, is motivated by concern for Taiwan. Every word is filled wtih heartfelt concern for the people's feelings. The ruling regime's response in the face of such opinions, was not to separate the wheat from the chaff, to extract the marrow from the bones, or to be inspired Tsao's earnest patriotism. Chen Shui-bian's response surprised everyone. He used the crudest, most caustic language to blast Tsao Hsing-cheng. Not only did he distort Tsao's statements, he questioned his patriotism. He treated Tsao Hsing-cheng like a traitor. Chen revealed the mentality of a petty tyrant, for whom heartfelt counsel is perceived as intolerable disloyalty.

Leave aside Tsao Hsing-cheng's draft for the moment. Ten years ago, this newspaper proposed its own "Pro Reunification Plebiscite" framework: One. The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent nation that has no need to declare independence. According to the Democratic Progressive Party's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation that has no need to declare independence. If, on the other hand, it needs to declare independence, then by implication the Republic of China (or Taiwan) is not a sovereign and independent nation. Two. Reunification changes the nation's status quo, therefore it requires the agreement of 23 million people. The Democratic Progressive Party's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" says that "changing Taiwan's independent status" by reunifying with the mainland, requires "a plebiscite/referendum by all of Taiwan's residents." Tsao's proposal contains similar stipulations.

In other words, the "Pro Reunification Plebiscite" is not what Chen Shui-bian refers to as an "Anti-independence Plebiscite." Its two main provisions are: One. The Republic of China (the Democratic Progressive Party will want to substitute "Taiwan") is a sovereign and independent nation. That being the case, how is Tsao's proposal "anti-independence?" It might even be considered "a defense of independence." Two. To change the status quo (by opting for reunification), must be decided collectively by 23 million people. That being the case, how is Tsao's proposal "promoting reunification?" It might even be considered "opposition to reunification."

Tsao's proposal contains ill-considered aspects. But its basic concept is that the nation is already independent, that its sovereignty should be defended, and any changes to the status quo must undergo a plebiscite/referendum process. In other words, any pro reunification plebiscite must take place only when the time is ripe. If a plebiscite opposes reunification, then Taiwan's sovereignty can be guaranteed. Such thinking, in the context of a complex cross-Straits strategic scenario, may come across as wishful thinking. But it bears scant resemblance to what Chen Shui-bian made it out to be.

Tsao Hsing-cheng's proposal may not have been completely thought out. But his patriotism does not deserve to be questioned. Any flaws in his proposal do not outweigh its virtues. Nor do they undermine his image as a world class entrepreneur. Chen Shui-bian's remarks were caustic, vicious, and cruel. If we were to compare him to Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we would be flattering him. Chavez and Ahmadinejad are nasty towards foreigners, unlike Chen Shui-bian, who is nasty towards his own compatriots.

2007.11.20 03:59 am










Monday, November 19, 2007

Will the Chen vs. Hsieh Struggle kill the Plebiscite to Join the UN?

Will the Chen vs. Hsieh Struggle kill the Plebiscite to Join the UN?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 19, 2007

Chen Shui-bian and Frank Hsieh have divided the 2008 presidential election into two parts. One is the economy. The other is the Plebiscite to Join the UN. They have equated reviving the economy with the feeding of domestic animals. Frank Hsieh referred to it contemptuously as the feeding of "pigs, dogs, and chickens." They would have us believe that only demagoguing the Plebiscite to Join the UN can uphold the "national honor."

Chen Shui-bian went so far as to say that, "Just because you revive the economy, doesn't mean you will win the election." What he meant was the Plebiscite to Join the UN must trump all economic issues, and will be the DPP's strategy for winning the election.

Chen Shui-bian wants to use the Plebiscite to Join the UN to spark a war over reunification vs. independence. He wants a war over reunification vs. independence to eclipse economic issues. Because in order to stress economic issues, he must improve cross-Straits relations. But improving cross-Straits relations requires undermining the war over reunification vs. independence. Since Chen Shui-bian has already decided that the Plebiscite to Join the UN is going to be the primary issue in the war over reunification vs. independence, he has no choice but to belittle economic issues. He is belittling economic issues because he is unwilling to acknowledge that improving cross-Straits relations is a necessary prerequisite to improving the economy. In other words championing Taiwan independence necessitates clinging to the Taiwan independence Economic Doctrine. Within Chen Shui-bian's strategic framework, reviving the economy and promoting a Plebiscite to Join the UN are either/or propositions.

Once the euphoria of the Plebiscite to Join the UN Torch Relay died down, the defects in Chen Shui-bian's phony dichotomy became apparent. The public soon realized that promoting a Plebiscite to Join the UN could not be simplistically equated with defending the national honor. All it did was rub salt in one's own wounds. All it did was embarrass the Republic of China by underscoring its diplomatic dilemma. All it did was sell people a bill of goods, a Never Never Land called the "Nation of Taiwan." On the one hand it demeaned the Republic of China. On the other hand it failed to establish a Nation of Taiwan. How can this sort of self-demeaning election rhetoric and politically divisive election strategy uphold the "national honor?"

Besides, what is Chen saying? Is he saying that since reviving the economy doesn't mean you will win the election, therefore failing to revive the economy means you will win the election? Is he asking Frank Hsieh to admit that even if he wins the election, he won't be able to revive the economy? Chen and Hsieh are intentionally and maliciously belittling economic concerns by equating such concerns with the feeding of domestic animals. But for ordinary people, "national honor" is the consequence of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If individual citizens are deprived of these rights, how much "national honor" are they going to feel?

To summarize Chen and Hsieh's current situation: First, the people find themselves in dire economic straits. The ruling DPP has deprived people of their dignity. Second, after careful consideration, they have discovered that promoting the Plebiscite to Join the UN simply cannot be equated with upholding the national honor. All it can do is wound the Republic of China's national honor, and sell the public a bill of goods, a fictitious "Nation of Taiwan." In short, the people are deprived of dignity in their impoverished state, and the Plebiscite to Join the UN is destroying any remnants of "national honor."

Frank Hsieh has been abducted. His campaign has been hijacked. The Democratic Progressive Party's Resolution for a Normal Nation compels him to implement the Prompt Rectification of Names & Authoring of a New Constitution, and commits him to the Doctrine of Perpetual Taiwan independence. The war over reunification vs. independence provoked by the Plebiscite to Join the UN compels him to run for election of the president of the Nation of Taiwan. As a result, Frank Hsieh has advanced his incomprehensible "pigs, dogs, and chickens" economic theory. He has caved in to Chen Shui-bian's election strategy. That strategy maintains that reviving the economy somehow sacrifices the national honor, but demagoguing the "Join the UN" campaign upholds the national honor.

But Frank Hsieh recently did an about face. He said that "without Deep Green support, Chen Shui-bian wouldn't have any support at all." He said "if Chen Shui-bian kept it up, Taiwan would wind up with nothing." He said "How does destroying Taiwan's competitiveness constitute love for Taiwan?" He declared that he would "pardon Taiwan businessmen" for the mortal sin of investing in mainland China. He declared that Taiwan "cannot afford to give up the [mainland] Chinese market." Frank Hsieh's positions on these issues have drawn a line in the sand between himself and Chen Shui-bian's Taiwan Independence Economic Doctrine. He has turned back in the direction of policies he himself denounced only a few months ago as Pro Reunification Economics.

Frank Hsieh's dilemma is taking shape. Frank Hsieh now advocates what he himself denounced as Pro Reunification Economics. How will he deal with the Resolution for a Normal Nation and the Doctrine of Perpetual Taiwan independence? How will he complete the Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution within five years? How will he account for his failure to promote the Plebiscite to Join the UN and defend the "national honor?" How will he remove the albatross around his neck known as Chen Shui-bian?

We have repeatedly pointed out that championing a Taiwan Independence Policy requires one to implement a Taiwan Independence Economic Doctrine. Championing a Non-Taiwan Independence Policy requires one to implement a Non-Taiwan Independence Economic Doctrine. Frank Hsieh, who advocates Taiwan independence, has switched back to what he himself denounced as Pro Reunification Economics. He has drawn a line in the sand between himself and the Resolution for a Normal Nation, the Plebiscite to Join the UN, and the albatross around his neck known as Chen Shui-bian. Apparently everything depends on the ability to talk a good game after all.

The Chen vs. Hsieh struggle is heating up. Is the Plebiscite to Join the UN trial balloon losing air? Will it gradually shrivel up in the wind?

2007.11.19 02:15 am



陳 水扁欲以「入聯公投」帶動「統獨鬥爭」。既欲帶動「統獨鬥爭」,即必須壓制貶抑「經濟議題」。因為,倘要強調「經濟議題」,毫無疑問地必須以改善兩岸關係 為前提;但若要改善兩岸關係,「統獨鬥爭」即告動搖。因此,陳水扁既要以「入聯公投」的統獨鬥爭為選戰主軸,即無可選擇地必須貶抑經濟議題;而其貶抑「經 濟議題」,只因不願承認勢須改善兩岸關係的必要前提。也就是說,主張「台獨路線」,即必須堅持「台獨經濟」。於是,在陳水扁二分法的戰略架構中,「拚經 濟」與「入聯公投」遂成矛盾對立之勢。

在「入聯公投」聖火接力的高潮過後,陳水扁的「只拚經濟無尊嚴/專搞入聯有尊嚴」的二分法已漸露破 綻。因為,國人已漸發現,「入聯公投」與「國格尊嚴」之間,根本不能畫上等號。「入聯公投」的操作手法,完全不在追求「國格尊嚴」;反而是在傷口撒鹽,羞 辱「中華民國」的外交困境,並買空賣空地推銷「台灣國」的幻境。一方面醜化中華民國,但另一方面又不能建立台灣國。這種自貶國格的「選舉語言」,與撕裂國 家的「選戰策略」,如何能夠建立「國格尊嚴」?

何況,若謂「經濟搞好,也不一定選得上」,則難道「經濟搞壞,就選得上」,或要謝長廷承認 「選上,也搞不好經濟」?扁謝故意並惡意地將「經濟」貶抑為等而下之的畜生議題,但在一般人民的生活經驗中,「國格尊嚴」的基礎在民生樂利,民生經濟若無 「尊嚴」,尚有何「國格尊嚴」可言?

扁謝走到今日地步,總結戰果:一、民生經濟窘困,不能給人民足夠的光榮與「尊嚴」;二、仔細思量,又 發現「入聯公投」根本不是要提升「國格尊嚴」,而只是要毀傷中華民國的「尊嚴」,並買空賣地推銷台灣國這個「假國家」。總之,民生經濟無「尊嚴」,入聯公 投也是在摧毀「國格尊嚴」。

謝長廷陷於重重的挾持與綁架中。民進黨的《正常國家決議文》,命令他必須執行「早日正名制憲」的「不斷台獨 論」;「入聯公投」的統獨鬥爭,也逼他表態「選台灣國的總統」。於是,謝長廷稍早終於匪夷所思地提出了一套「豬狗雞畜生經濟論」,全面倒向陳水扁「拚經濟 無尊嚴/搞入聯有尊嚴」的大選戰略。

但是,謝長廷最近突然變臉。既說陳水扁「沒有深綠支持,就無人支持」,又說「陳水扁這樣管下去,台灣 會一無所有」、「害台灣沒競爭力,怎是愛台灣」;並宣布「大赦台商」等政見,又宣示「不能放棄中國市場」。謝長廷的這些主張,已經完全脫離了陳水扁的「獨 派經濟」,而竟然轉向了謝長廷自己在幾個月前親口所痛斥的「統派經濟」。


我 們曾一再指出:主張「台獨政策」,即必須貫徹「台獨經濟」;若採取「非台獨政策」,則必須推動「非台獨經濟」。如今,主張台獨的謝長廷竟轉向了他自己所稱 的「統派經濟」,即勢須與《正常國家決議文》、「入聯公投」及「陳純美水扁先生」全面劃清界線。畢竟,這不能只靠一張嘴。


Sunday, November 18, 2007

To the Powers that Be

To the Powers that Be
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 15, 2007

The media has a duty to oversee the government. Unfortunately in the eyes of the government, members of the media who fulfill their duty are agents bought and paid for by the political opposition. According to this logic, are members of the media who willingly act as government mouthpieces, who persecute dissenters, not bought and paid for by the government? Do members of the media bought and paid for by the government have any credibility whatsoever?

Since the China Times began publishing its special column, entitled "Taiwan's Hope 2008," the ruling regime has continually attempted to vilify this paper. It has evaded questions this paper has raised and attempted to change the subject. Review our column and ask yourself: Did any topics fail to accord with the facts? Did any statistics not originate from the government's own agencies? Frank Hsieh is the Democratic Progressive Party's own presidential candidate. To quote Frank Hsieh, no matter how good a job the government does, it is never going to score 100. Even if it scores 80, that still means that it has fallen short by 20. That means it will have to do better. This is how public servants whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers should be thinking. Your salary, your wealth, is the sweat and blood of the people. The government does not exist to serve either political parties or individual politicians. The government exists to serve the peoples' needs.

In our column, we raised the issue of government waste. This is not merely the current administration's problem. It was the previous administration's problem. It is a problem for anyone in current or past administrations. Shouldn't it be a problem for which those struggling mightily to ascend to the imperial throne and wield political power, ought to be seeking solutions?

Sad to say, the Democratic Progressive Party government, which has been in power for over seven years, has nothing to say in its own defense. All it can do is attempt to discredit its critics using political labels. Concerned only about its election prospects, it denies responsibility altogether. Forget the unusable and unoccupied public buildings constructed at enormous public expense. A single, year long national conference of civil servants cost 1.8 billion dollars. Is this normal? Even the Control Yuan Ministry of Audit has urged that such excesses be corrected. Can the Executive Yuan really look us straight in the eye and claim that government officials are right to spend so much money on junkets at luxury vacation spots?

The gap between rich and poor has widened. Taiwan has become an "M-Shaped Society." "The rich get rich and the poor get poorer" sums up our next generation. We see children growing up in two different worlds, starting out from very different stations in society. The wealthy lavish enormous resources on their children, allowing them to develop their innate talents and acquire valuable skills. The poor can't even afford 3000 dollars a month to enroll their children in tutoring classes. Their children bring their school lunches home, to be served as the entire family's dinner.

How can anyone learning of such hardships in our society, not feel a twinge of pain in his heart? Yet our government spokesman have the temerity to say "The China Times is unqualified to report that life is hard." Apparently they weren't aware that the Ministry of Interior is already preparing to revise the poverty line downward, enabling more people to obtain relief, to prevent them from committing suicide. Apparently they weren't aware that the Child Welfare League has confirmed that 3.5% of all children cannot afford to buy school lunches. Of this 3.5%, approximately 30,000 are elementary school children in the fourth to sixth grades. If we include elementary school children in the first through third grades, as well as junior high and high school students, the numbers are staggering.

Those in office refer to 3000cc vehicles on Taiwan as small cars. They tell us "Since produce is expensive, why are you buying them at traditional farmer's markets?" They ask us "If you can't afford to live, what are you doing at a hi fi exhibit?" They obviously have no conception of how hard life is for the poor. They lack first hand experience. Seeing living examples of such suffering, most peoples' response would be, "How can I help them?" Not our government. Its reaction is to point an accusing finger at the media, insisting that the media is unqualified to report that life is hard under its misrule. High ranking political appointees lives are indeed good. Ordinary citizens must work hard and pay taxes. Their taxes become these political appointees' salaries, special allowances, and per diem. We must ask in response: What right do political appointees who live off the people's tax money, have to pass judgment on ordinary people struggling to get by, let alone forbid them to speak the truth?

The ruling DPP regime has accused the Jungli Investment Co and the Kuomintang of making a "Three Chinas" deal, involving the Broadcasting Corporation of China, the Central Motion Picture Corporation, and the China Television Company. It says the China Times has sacrificed its journalistic ethics, therefore it is unqualified to comment on the government's record. Excuse me, but the withdrawal of the government and the military from the media is government policy. The Jungli Investment Company's transactions were carried out under government oversight, in accordance with government regulation. What do they have to do with the China Times' journalistic ethics? The only reason the ruling DPP regime is using the "Three Chinas" deal to smear the China Times, is that it hasn't knuckled under to the ruling regime, but instead embarrassed it by reporting the truth. The real issue is the upcoming elections. The Democratic Progressive Party has decided that its election strategy will be to demand that the KMT account for its party assets. That is why the DPP is treating privately owned and operated businesses as expendable "collateral damage" in its election campaign.

We must solemnly advise the powers that be: The China Times, in contrast with certain other media organizations, will never allow itself to become a government mouthpiece, let alone a government attack dog. The China Times will forever stand with the people and speak for the people. This is the China Times' raison d'etre. As for trading insults in public, we refuse to play that game. Such individuals, who have forfeited their humanity, are unqualified to discuss journalistic ethics.

中國時報  2007.11.15










Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Does Frank Hsieh expect to Talk his Way into the Presidency?

Does Frank Hsieh expect to Talk his Way into the Presidency?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 14, 2007

Frank Hsieh has been lashing back at Chen Shui-bian on a daily basis, for two possible reasons. One. Frank Hsieh wants to draw a clear line of demarcation between himself and Chen Shui-bian. He wants to form his own political camp. He wants to test the ruling Chen regime's tolerance for dissent. If this is the case, then Hsieh is for playing for keeps. Two. Chen and Hsieh are playing a game of Good Cop/Bad Cop. Hsieh is the Good Cop. Chen is the Bad Cop. If this is the case, then Chen and Hsieh are putting on an show for undecided voters.

A third possibility is that their conflict is half fake and half real. If Hsieh pulls on Chen Shui-bian's whiskers, Chen may dismiss Hsieh's impertinence as "election rhetoric." But if Hsieh goes too far and causes Chen pain, Chen Shui-bian may give Hsieh a spanking.

Frank Hsieh is unmistakably pressing forward, probing each step. On the fifth, Frank Hsieh issued his high-minded "Amnesty for Taiwan Businessmen Pledge," stating that "Each president has his own style. As long as one does not violate Democratic Progressive Party principles, we have room for differences." The key phrase was "different styles." The very next day, Chen fired back, opposing the cancellation of the 40% limit on mainland investments, saying that during Hsieh's term as premier and as primary candidate, Hsieh endorsed this item. On the eighth, while speaking before the American Chamber of Commerce, Frank Hsieh said "What Chen did poorly, what Chen can't do, what Chen failed to, I will do. Otherwise, what's the point of running for president?" He even added that "The Pan Blues say that without Deep Green support, Chen wouldn't have any support at all." Hsieh's clear implication was that he himself was not "Deep Green." He openly referred to Chen Shui-bian as "an autocrat whose sole support came from the Deep Greens." He said if Chen didn't have Deep Green support, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Frank Hsieh wasn't finished. He opened fire again on the 11th. "Ma Ying-jeou and President Chen Shui-bian may have unresolved issues, but next May they will both have to retire." Hsieh was referring to Ma Ying-jeou's remark that Chen Shui-bian's "days are numbered." Hsieh said that the most Chen could do is wreak havoc until next May. On the 12th, Frank Hsieh's tone was even harsher. "If the Chen administration continues this way, Taiwan will be left with nothing." He also added that "You (Chen) have destroyed Taiwan's competitiveness, how does that qualify as love for Taiwan?" This was nothing less than an accusation that Chen Shui-bian was Public Enemy Number One, was a detriment to Taiwan, and was leading Taiwan down the road to utter destitution. The language and tone of Frank Hsieh's criticisms of Chen Shui-bian have been far harsher than Ma Ying-jeou's.

Chen Shui-bian's unexpected response to continued attacks by Frank Hsieh was to turn the other cheek. He airily dismissed Hsieh's statements as "Election rhetoric. No need to take it too seriously." But can the sharp opposition between Hsieh and Chen really be dismissed as nothing more than "election rhetoric?" If Chen and Hsieh have real differences, to the point where Hsieh has accused Chen of leading Taiwan down the road to utter destitution, shouldn't the two hash out their differences, and let the Democratic Progressive Party and the people understand where they each stand? If on the other hand, the Chen vs. Hsieh confrontation is a half real, half fake charade, then won't the voters see right through it? Do Chen and Hsieh really think that Hsieh can talk his way into the the presidency next year?

Frank Hsieh wants to draw a line of distinction between himself and Chen Shui-bian. He wants to draw a line of distinction between himself and the "Taiwan Independence Economic Doctrine" advocated by Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party. This is an article of faith for the Democratic Progressive Party. Can Frank Hsieh really say that "With Chen as president Taiwan will be left with nothing, but if I am president everything will be different?" After all, Frank Hsieh is the Democratic Progressive Party's nominee for president. If he is elected president can he really refuse to abide by the "Resolution for a Normal Nation?" Can he really refuse to foment Taiwan independence? Besides, Frank Hsieh pledged to "Rectify names and author a new constitution within five years." Can he really jettison the Democratic Progressive Party's "Taiwan Independence Economic Doctrine" after he is elected president? Has Frank Hsieh really forgotten that after winning the presidential primary, party elders warned him "If you don't promote Taiwan independence after you are elected, we will force you to?" Frank Hsieh may draw a line of distinction between himself and Chen Shui-bian. But can he really draw a line of distinction between himself and the "Resolution for a Normal Nation" and the "Taiwan independence without pause doctrine?" Can he really draw a line of distinction between himself and the entire Democratic Progressive Party?

Eight years ago, Chen Shui-bian was elected president on the basis of his "Five Noes" and "New Centrist Path" platform. His tacit understanding with the Democratic Progressive Party was "Let's first win the presidency, then we can talk about policy." Now however, Chen has become what Hsieh calls a "Taiwan independence autocrat." By contrast, after eight years Frank Hsieh faces circumstances that are completely different. Hsieh must operate within the limits of the "Resolution for a Normal Nation" and the "Taiwan independence without pause doctrine." He has been hijacked by Chen Shui-bian. He is under duress from party elders who are forcing him to promote Taiwan independence, or else. How can he possibly say "If I am president, I will forsake Taiwan independence, and refuse to be a second Chen Shui-bian?"

Can Frank Hsieh really free himself from Chen Shui-bian's captivity with nothing more than a disclaimer or two? Can he really talk himself free of the Democratic Progressive Party's "Taiwan independence without pause doctrine?" Can he really win next year's election on the basis of his fast talk and slick manner?

In the ongoing duet cum duel betwen Chen and Hsieh, both individuals rely on their ability to talk up a storm. Will the Chinese people on Taiwan once again drown in the saliva generated by the Democratic Progressive Party's empty rhetoric?

2007.11.14 03:13 am



謝 長廷確實在步步進逼、步步試探。五日,謝長廷發表「大赦台商」等高論,並稱:「每個人當總統,有不同風格,在不違反民進黨黨綱下,各有空間。」最關鍵的一 句話,是在區別扁謝的「不同風格」。次日,扁即回嗆,反對取消「百分之四十上限」,並稱謝在行政院長任內及初選時皆已為此背書。接著,八日謝長廷在美國商 會又回批,「他(扁)做不好、做不夠、沒有做的,我來做。不然,選新總統有什麼意思。」甚至又說:「泛藍攻擊他(扁),他若沒有深綠支持,就沒有人支持他 了。」至此,謝長廷表白自己不是「深綠」,並公然指陳水扁已是「深綠支持的獨夫」;若無深綠支持,陳水扁就無以立足。沒想到,謝長廷意猶未盡,十一日再開 砲:「馬英九與陳水扁總統有許多情結,但明年五月他們兩人都要退出了。」這更儼然是仿馬英九的口氣指陳水扁「來日無多」,最多只能作祟肆虐到明年五月。進 而,謝長廷十二日的口氣又更加麻辣:「(扁)政府再這樣管下去,台灣將會一無所有。」又稱:「你(扁)讓台灣沒有競爭力,怎麼是愛台灣?」這更不啻是指陳 水扁根本是台灣的罪人,害台灣,要害到台灣一無所有。謝長廷批扁的措辭與力道,已經遠遠超越馬英九。

陳水扁被謝長廷連番砲轟,其反應竟是 唾面自乾;只是輕描淡寫地說:「有些選舉語言,不要看得太嚴重。」然而,扁謝這種針鋒相對的尖銳情勢,豈是一句「選舉語言」即可輕鬆帶過?倘若扁謝確有歧 見,甚至已經到了謝指扁會將台灣害到「一無所有」的地步,二人豈可不就此徹底辯論,向民進黨及國人交代清楚?反過來說,倘若這只是扁謝二人表演的一場半真 半假的政治雙簧,則如何可能不遭眼睛雪亮的國人看穿識破?難道扁謝又想只憑言語機鋒再贏得明年的總統大選?

謝長廷與陳水扁切割,且其下刀 的切割點正是陳水扁及民進黨堅持的「獨派經濟」之肯綮所在。這種歧見,是對民進黨靈魂本質的一種歧見,謝長廷豈能說「他(扁)當總統要把台灣害到一無所 有,我當了總統絕不會像他一樣」?畢竟,謝長廷是民進黨提名的總統參選人,他當總統後難道能不遵行《正常國家決議文》而繼續搞台獨?何況,謝長廷亦承諾 「五年正名制憲論」,則豈有可能在當選總統後即推翻民進黨的「獨派經濟」?謝長廷難道忘了,在他贏得總統初選後,黨內大老已有言在先:「你(謝)當選後, 若不搞台獨,我們會逼你搞!」謝長廷即使可與陳水扁劃清界線,但他豈能與《正常國家決議文》的「不斷台獨論」劃清界線?又豈能與整個民進黨劃清界線?

八 年前,陳水扁在民進黨全黨「先贏再說」的默契下,以「新中間路線」及「四不一沒有」當選總統,如今扁竟然成了謝口中的「台獨獨夫」;相對而言,八年後謝長 廷面對的情勢已全然不同。謝如今是在《正常國家決議文》的「不斷台獨論」之範限下,及在陳水扁的挾持下,又在黨內大老「逼你搞台獨」的要脅下,他豈有可能 說「我若做總統,放棄台獨,不做第二個陳水扁」?



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Modus Vivendi that Embraces the World

A Modus Vivendi that Embraces the World
translated by Bevin Chu
November 13, 2007

Translator's Note: Although I translated the following White Paper by the Ma/Hsiao election campaign, that does not mean I endorse the premises adopted or proposals advanced by the Ma/Hsiao campaign. I agree enthusiastically with some, and disagree vehemently with others.

One. Preface

Long term persecution by the mainland authorities plus eight years of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "scorched earth diplomacy" have left the Republic of China utterly isolated within the international community. The Kuomintang (KMT) champions the adoption of a dignified, pragmatic, and responsive "modus vivendi" that will blaze a new trail for the Republic of China.

Two. The Democratic Progressive Party's Artificially Created Diplomatic Dilemma

Mainland persecution of the Republic of China's (ROC) diplomacy has been a constant for decades. It is nothing new. But over the past eight years, DPP misrule has artificially created a new dilemma for the ROC. The ROC has fewer and fewer international allies. Those that remain feel less and less sympathy for the ROC, which has become more and more marginalized.

The reasons for this are:

-- Diplomatic Amateurism: The DPP regime has no respect for diplomatic professionalism. It mistrusts professional diplomats with years of hard-earned professional experience. Its diplomacy is informed exclusively by Deep Green ideological considerations. Its foreign relations are determined exclusively by domestic election considerations.

-- A Predilection for Confrontation: The DPP regime's impetuous, rash, and confrontational diplomacy has frittered away the last remnants of goodwill other nations might have once felt toward the ROC.

-- Capricious Policy-making: The DPP regime's foreign policy is entirely subservient to domestic political or election concerns. It has obliterated the ROC's international credibility.

-- Stubborn Dogmatism: The DPP regime is pursuing formal independence. The result has been no improvement whatsoever in the ROC's international standing. On the contrary, the ROC has been demoted from "Model Democracy" and "Economic Miracle" to "International Troublemaker."

Three. Principles of Diplomacy

If Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew are elected, the KMT will blaze the following trail for the ROC's diplomacy:

-- Defense of Sovereignty: We will increase contact with nations with whom we lack formal relations. We will attempt to establish formal diplomatic relations, and defend the Republic of China's flag, national title, national anthem, and other symbols of sovereignty on the international stage.

-- Economic Strength: In an era of globalization, diplomacy and economics are inseparable. Economics can help promote one's diplomacy. Diplomacy can help defend one's economic interests. We must learn to make wise use of our economic influence to expand our diplomatic space.

-- Flexibility and Pragmatism: As long as membership in international organizations is in the ROC's interests, the name we use is negotiable. In other words, we don't rule out the use of the "Republic of China," "Taiwan," or other names consistent with our interests.

-- Equality and Dignity: Participation in the activities of international organizations can be under various names, provided we are accorded equal treatment and enjoy equal benefits.

Four. A Modus Vivendi

We must think anew in order to establish new relations with the outside world. If Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew are elected, we will put an end to pointless "scorched earth diplomacy." On the premise of equality and mutual advantage, on the foundation of the "1992 Consensus," which neither side has repudiated, we can begin pragmatic negotiations. Such a search for the greatest mutual benefit is our modus vivendi. Future bilateral relations or participation in international organizations need no longer lead to confrontation and the squandering of resources. Each side will contribute what it can. Both will benefit. Both will contribute to the global community. Such a win/win/win approach benefits both sides of the Taiwan Strait and is favored by the global community.

Five. Bilateral Foreign Relations

1. Strengthen Relations with Allied Nations via Mutually Beneficial Arrangments and Mutual Assistance

Most of our allies are developing nations. We must do more for them. We must provide assistance to them in order to establish mutually beneficial relationships. The Realist Model does not opposed developing relations with allies and other nations or regions, provided the process does not harm the interests of the ROC.

2. Rebuild Trust between Taipei and Washington, Consolidate Bilateral Relations

The US has long been the Republic of China's most important ally. The Bush administration has been the friendliest administration in recent history. After the DPP took office, mutual trust between Taipei and Washington sharply diminished. If Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew are elected, the first thing they will do is restore bilateral trust and firm up bilateral relations on the basis of the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Guarantees. We will be responsible stakeholders determined to bear the burden of our own defense, and to buy the necessary defensive weapons.

We will open up cross-Straits direct maritime shipping and commercial air flights, allowing Taiwan to become the springboard to the Chinese mainland for US and other nations' businesses. We will reach agreements with the US on eliminating tariffs, protecting intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, government purchases and investments. We hope to sign mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECAs).

3. Support the US Japan Security Treaty, Improve ROC/Japan Relations

The ROC and Japan have long enjoyed close and amicable relations. Japan is an economically prosperous, politically democratic, and socially advanced nation. Over the past two decades both the ROC and Japan's political and economic environments have undergone huge changes. A new generation of political figures has debuted. Both nations must compare notes, increase mutual understanding, and develop mutually beneficial new policies. ROC/Japan relations require wide-ranging, in-depth exchanges and cooperation. The ROC and Japan must cultivate talent able to enhance bilateral understanding and improve bilateral relations.

We support the US Japan Security Treaty as an important mechanism for the maintenance of East Asian security. The ROC must establish strategic business alliances with Japan, and together develop the mainland Chinese market. We hope to sign Free Trade Agreements with Japan at an early date. We will adopt an objective, rational, and factual attitude while discussing controversial issues involving the ROC and Japan.

4. Love Thy Neighbor, Expand Asian Pacific Relations

As a member of the Asian Pacific region, we are eager to participate in the region's economic restructuring. We affirm and value ASEAN's recent achievements. We hope to sign separate Free Trade Agreements with its members. We hope to eventually achieve the goal of "ASEAN 10 + 3." We welcome peace on the Korean Penninsula and the development of stable relations between the ROC and Korea. We also welcome Australia, New Zealand, Russia, India and Canada's new orientation toward East Asia. We look forward to increasing bilateral, multilevel cooperation and relations with these nations.

5. Respect the European Union's Achievements, Deepen European Union Relations

We must strengthen bilateral relations with European nations. We must increase our exchanges with the European Parliament, obtain European Union membership and provisions for friendly treatment by the European Parliament. We must provide European businesses with better investment opportunities in Taiwan, and encourage and assist more Taiwan businesses to invest and operate in Europe. We must provide scholarships encouraging youths to study in Europe, and European youths to study in Taiwan. We must establish a "European Information Center" in Taipei, improving contacts with European agencies on Taiwan.

6. Obtain Membership in International Organizations

1. Promote our Return to the United Nations

The Republic of China is a founding member of the United Nations. After losing our right to represent the Republic of China in 1971, the Republic of China continued its struggle in the global community. In 1993, under KMT rule, we promoted our "Back to the UN" movement. We are currently promoting our "Return to the UN Plebiscite." These are merely two examples of the KMT's long-term efforts. We know that returning to the UN will be no easy matter, but unrelenting effort is a necessary ingredient for success.

2. Focus on Three Major International Organizations

Globalization means increasingly closer economic relations between nations. The ROC must aggressively seek membership in purpose-oriented international organizations If Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew receive the peoples' endorsement in 2008, we will make returning to the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Health Organization (WHO) our prime objectives. We will first seek observer status, then official status. The name we use is negotiable, on condition we are accorded due respect.

7. Make Good Use of the ROC's Soft Power

Taiwan's geographical location is an important component of the Republic of China's soft power. So are the Chinese people's cultural values, free economy, open society, emotional warmth, multitude of highly active Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and overseas Chinese distributed throughout the world. Once Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew assume office we must make good use of these resources, injecting life into our modus vivendi. We must adopt an "any man's death diminishes me" outlook and provide humanitarian assistance to nations and peoples in distress.

8. Conclusions

The Republic of China's diplomatic policy must be predicated upon the principles of dignity, pragmatism, and responsiveness, so that we may fulfill our responsibilities as citizens of the world. We hope that the global community will appreciate the ROC's economic development and democratic achievements. That it will give the ROC the opportunity to join like-minded nations in creating a peaceful and prosperous global community.

If Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Hsiew assume office in 2008, we promise to put an end to "scorched earth diplomacy," changing it to a modus vivendi that will blaze a new trail for the Republic of China. We are convinced we can create a win/win/win scenario in which both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the global community can coexist and prosper.