Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The DPP's Dilemma in Tainan County

The DPP's Dilemma in Tainan County
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 31, 2009

The Ma administration's job performance has been poor. The negative impact of the Chen family corruption and money-laundering case has already been felt. The Democratic Progressive Party sees the year end County Magistrate and City Mayor Elections as a chance for a comeback. But Chen Shui-bian refuses to go away. Over the past few days, rumors suggest Chen Shui-bian intends to run in the Tainan County Legislative by-election. These rumors alone were enough to make DPP leaders wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Picture Tsai Ing-wen at DPP campaign rallies, blasting Ma administration ineptitude, the economic downturn, and rapidly worsening unemployment. Meanwhile everyone's attention is focused on Chen Shui-bian's election prospects in Tainan County. How can the Democratic Progressive Party possibly rally support under such conditions? How can it possibly maintain any political momentum it might get from Su Tseng-chang's campaign for Taipei County Commissioner?

Bad as that might be, it's not the worst case scenario. Suppose Chen Shui-bian is actually elected and becomes a Legislator. Chen Shui-bian, not to mention his followers, can inject billions of dollars into the campaigns of Democratic Progressive Party candidates. As Chen put it, "Which faction doesn't owe me favors?" Also, once Ah-Bian stepped down the DPP descended into factional strife. The "Four Princes of the DPP" are terrified of the damage slanderous accusations might inflict upon them. The party has a leadership vacuum. If Chen Shui-bian becomes a Legislator, given his aptitude for political intrigue, and DPP Legislators' habitual deference toward him, Chen could shatter the traditional separation between the DPP party leadership and the DPP legislative caucus. He could become the leader of the DPP legislative caucus, with his own troops to shield him and to do battle with the DPP party leadership.

In fact, Chen Shui-bian, whose reputation has already plumbed the depths, remains the Shadow Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. He wields more real power than Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen. Never mind that she was elected by the party membership. The entire year end County Magistrate and City Mayor Election is unfolding according to Chen Shui-bian's plans.

For example, the DPP party leadership wants Su Tseng-chang to run for Taipei County Magistrate. They hope he can consolidate the DPP's core support, and build momentum for the entire party. But Su Tseng-chang has his own plans for 2012. Therefore, to avoid offending fundamentalists within the party, Su Tseng-chang is unlikely to make any obvious moves to distance himself from Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian meanwhile, has repeatedly expressed goodwill towards Su Tseng-chang, simultaneously containing him, ensuring that he doesn't dare make any dramatic moves to jettison Chen.

Add to this Tainan County. Ah-Bian first said he wanted Chen Tang-shan to run for Tainan County Magistrate. Later on rumors suggested he might support Yeh Yi-ching for the post, in the process opening up Yeh Yi-ching's Legislative Yuan post for himself. If the DPP is afraid that Chen Shui-bian will act as a spoiler, undermining Yeh Yi-ching's chances, it will be forced to support Chen Tang-shan instead. Ah-Bian would, in effect, have forced DPP party leaders to change their plans, and instead choose the candidate Ah-Bian wanted for Tainan County. Ah-Bian would have completely undermined the candidacies of the new generation candidates the Democratic Progressive Party was grooming.

If the Democratic Progressive Party insists on supporting new generation candidate Yeh Yi-ching, quid pro quo or not, then Yeh Yi-ching will be forced to resign her Legislative Yuan post before the election. If Yeh Yi-ching is elected Tainan County Magistrate, she will leave open a Legislative slot, and Chen Shui-bian will run for certain. If Chen Shui-bian is elected, the DPP's worst nightmare will come true.

How did the Democratic Progressive Party get itself into such a predicament -- one of its own making?

In fact, the harm Chen Shui-bian has inflicted upon the DPP, is hardly limited to his two terms as President. When Chen Shui-bian was President, he indeed had a plan for "long-term rule." During the County Magistrate and City Mayor Elections of 2005, Ah-Bian hand-picked Luo Wen-chia and Lin Chia-lung, in the name of generational change. He forced out Barry Hou, with the intention of grooming Chen Chi-mai for Mayor of Kaohsiung. But when the Chen Shui-bian corruption and money-laundering scandals broke, one after another, the Democratic Progressive Party suffered one defeat after another. An entire generation of younger candidates vanished from the political stage. If they want to make a comeback, they will need extraordinary political skills.

Chen Shui-bian of course has never possessed any political skills other than expediency and trickery. Now, in his own selfish interest, he is no longer trumpeting generational change. He is not even supporting Yeh Yi-ching, who was always extremely loyal to him in the past.

Chen Shui-bian may be selfish, but as long as Chen Shui-bian stirs the pot, Democratic Progressive Party elites will find it hard to escape blame. This is the DPP's moment of truth. The Tainan County Commissioner's Election has put the Democratic Progressive Party on the horns of a dilemma. It may indulge in wishful thinking or self-deception. But its past abetting of Chen Shui-bian's conniving was politically and morally dubious, and also inflicted serious harm upon the Democratic Progressive Party, from which it will have difficulty recovering.

Tainan County has become a litmus test. The Democratic Progressive Party must stand by its own candidates and its own strategy. It must boldly disown Chen Shui-bian. Doing this may put Tainan County at risk. But it may help consolidate other counties and municipalities in which the Blue and Green camps are more evenly matched. More importantly, if Chen Shui-bian does make it into the Legislative Yuan, the Democratic Progressive Party must draw a clear line of distinction between itself and him. It must offer a bold new political platform befitting a major political party. Only then can it avoid becoming Chen Shui-bian's "shadow party."

中國時報  2009.03.31











扁可以自私自利,但是任扁如此翻雲覆雨,民進黨菁英難辭其咎。現在可以說是民進黨的「The Moment of Truth」(說真話的關鍵時刻),看到民進黨在台南縣長選舉的兩難處境,再如何鄉愿或自我欺騙,也應該清楚,過去縱容陳水扁,不但是「同流合污」的政治道德問題而已,也對民進黨發展造成難以復原的傷害。


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Legislative Yuan Cross-Strait Committee's Difficult Birth

The Legislative Yuan Cross-Strait Committee's Difficult Birth
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 30, 2009

The KMT and the DPP always sing a different tune depending upon whether they are in or out of power. Over the past nine years, the Republic of China has had two different ruling parties. The thinking and rhetoric of the two major political parties has always varied depending on whether they were in or out of power. A typical example is their support or opposition to a Legislative Yuan committee on cross-Strait affairs.

Broad segments of society have long hoped to participate in formulating cross-Strait policy. During the Lee Teng-hui administration the National Unification Council invited Kang Ning-hsiang and others to participate. These invitations triggered conflicts within the Democratic Progressive Party. In 2000, the ROC underwent ruling party change. Chen Shui-bian immediately set up a "Bipartisan Cross-Strait Group," with Lee Yuan-tse as convener. The purpose of the group was to replace the now hollowed out National Unification Council. Lee Yuan-tse had his own ideas about cross-Strait exchanges. Chen Shui-bian was also aggressive about cross-Strait policy. His bipartisan group went so far as to arrive at three understandings and four recommendations that clashed with the beliefs of Democratic Progressive Party fundamentalists. Among the most important recommendation was that the "One China" issue ought to be dealt with by referring to the ROC Constitution.

But the Kuomintang, which had just lost power, refused to take part in the non-partisan group. It felt the party with a ruling majority in the Legislative Yuan had the right to direct cross-Strait affairs. Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, the highest ranking member of the KMT at the time, first proposed this idea. By the end of June 2000 the "Legislative Yuan Mainland Policy and Cross-Strait Affairs committee" had prepared a draft law. Half a month later the Legislative Yuan issued a version approved by both parties. By the end of the year they were even holding meetings on Three Mini-Links. Not only did Democratic Progressive Party members not reject the bill, their representatives put their signatures to it. But shortly thereafter Chen Shui-bian dropped his "One Country on Each Side" bombshell, immediately putting a damper on cross-Strait exchanges. The cross-Straits committee, whose composition corresponded to that of the Legislative Yuan, found itself promptly mired in a Blue vs. Green partisan dispute. Democratic Progressive Party members boycotted the committee, and even accused it of infringing upon the constitutional authority of the Legislative Yuan's Domestic Policy Committee and the constitutional authority of the President. A bipartisan committee that had alread met with the approval of the Office of the President and the Legislative Yuan was now shut down.

The KMT may have lost the initiative in cross-Strait decision-making, but not the desire to participate. In this context, a KMT/CCP forum was established. Pan Blue leaders visited the Mainland one after another, competing for the right to formulate cross-Strait policy. National Assembly Speaker Wang Jin-pyng was never able to visit the Mainland in his official capacity as Legislative Yuan Speaker. But he never abandoned the idea of strengthening the influence of the Legislative Yuan. From 2000 onwards, he periodically called upon the Legislative Yuan to set up a cross-Strait committee, especially before and after the Legislative Yuan Election.

Wang's hope never became a reality. One reason was that the KMT/CCP forum ignored Chen Shui-bian's "active management," i.e., obstructionism, and bypassed the Legislative Yuan.

Cross-Strait exchanges are of the utmost importance to the Republic of China. During the Chen administration the DPP refused to allow the Legislative Yuan to set up a cross-Strait committee. They were worried about the Pan Blue Camp's greater numbers. They were worried they couldn't control the Chen administration's austerity policy. Unfortunately, after nine years, the KMT, which has regained control of the government, and which enjoys a supermajority in the Legislative Yuan, has completely forgotten how forcefully it argued on behalf of a cross-Strait Legislative Yuan committee, and how it demanded that the government's cross-Strait policy be subject to Legislative Yuan oversight and checks and balances. Wang Jing-pyng once urged the Legislative Yuan to set up a cross-Strait committee. But now the situation is reversed. The Democratic Progressive Party is now calling for the establishment of such a committee. The KMT is now refusing, citing the same reasons as the DPP.

The Ma administration took office on May 20 last year. It has been forced to cope with the global economic crisis. Cross-Strait affairs has become its highest priority. Its responsibilities are varied and heavy. It has also had little time to implement them -- less than a year. Far less time than Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian had -- 20 years. The Ma administration, particularly the President, must incorporate the views of the Legislature into its policymaking process. This includes major and minor cross-Strait policies, including those of life and death importance, providing they don't affect ROC national sovereignty. The right to administer cross-Strait policy does not mean the right to act arbitrarily and unilaterally. These affairs affect everyone. For example, Premier Liu opposes a referendum on a cross-Strait economic cooperation. But besides the Legislative Yuan, what mechanisms do we have to ensure that the policies have been subjected to public debate? Demands that the Legislative Yuan participate in the decision-making process are an integral part of our constitutional system. Besides, the KMT commands a supermajority. What does it have to fear?

Cross-Strait issues are the most controversial of all. The Legislature should be involved. Legislative participation will blunt objections from both the ruling and opposition parties. Providing of course that they reach agreements on key issues such as whether to first sign or first review cross-Strait agreements. The Legislature should take part in the process. Legislative participation will provide a buffer for cross-Strait negotiations. Legislative participation will prevent policy disputes from getting out of control and spilling onto the streets. The Legislative Yuan cross-Strait committee should set up the necessary mechanisms. It must not spin its wheels debating whether they are possible.

What Chen Shui-bian refused to do, Ma Ying-jeou must do. The Legislature must participate in the formulation of cross-Strait policy. A cross-Strait committee set up by the Legislative Yuan is a sensible move.

2009.03.30 03:49 am









Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tsai Ing-wen, Why All the Hemming and Hawing?

Tsai Ing-wen, Why All the Hemming and Hawing?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 27, 2009

Tsai Ing-wen has proposed championing Taiwan by adopting a "New Nativism." In her view, the DPP's "Old Nativism" has become too narrowly exclusive. That narrow understanding of nativism lacks the tolerance that an "immigrant society" needs the most.

[Translator's Note: Referring to the Taiwan region as an "immigrant society" or "society of immigrants" is politically misleading. The term "immigrant" denotes movement from one nation to another. Taiwan is a region of the Republic of China. ROC citizens who migrate from the Mainland to Taiwan are migrants, not "immigrants."]

Why is tolerance necessary? Tsai Ing-wen says the Democratic Progressive Party must adhere to its ideals, and that the difference between the DPP and the KMT is in their ideals. To achieve its ideals the DPP must expand its political base by becoming more tolerant. Tsai Ing-wen effectively conceded that the DPP's "ideals" were not inclusive enough. She spoke repeatedly about "ideals," but she never made clear what those "ideals" were. All that hemming and hawing. She obviously had something to say, but just couldn't spit it out.

In fact, amidst all of Tsai Ing-wen's rhetoric, her so-called "ideals" was merely a euphemism for Taiwan independence. The Democratic Progressive Party has used many euphemisms for Taiwan independence. Tsai Ing-wen can hardly deny that the Democratic Progressive Party's ideal is Taiwan independence. But she apparently hopes to lead the Democratic Progressive Party away from the constraints of "narrowly defined Taiwan independence." Hence her euphemistic invocation of "ideals." As for her affirmation that "what an immigrant society most needs is tolerance," she was unwilling to openly state that "an immigrant society must not divide people according to tribes." She wanted to avoid criticism from members of her own party. Her rhetoric was sufficiently convoluted to resembled a pretzel.

Put simply, Tsai Ing-wen's "New Nativism" can be understood as no further resort to dividing people by provinicial origin, i.e., "tolerance," in the pursuit of independence, which will remain the DPP's "ideal," but which will no longer be spelled out.

This kind of thinking was intended to be a kind of breakthrough. But frankly, it offered nothing new. The DPP's "Resolution on the Nation's Future" and "Resolution on Ethnic Groups" covered these issues long ago. The problem is the DPP's past actions have already made Taiwan independence and a "Taiwanese ethnic identity" two sides of the same coin. One can no longer advocate Taiwan independence without dividing Republic of China citizens into "Native Taiwanese" and "Mainlanders." Perhaps Taiwan independence is a phony issue. Perhaps the DPP's real forte is dividing people into tribes.

Tsai Ing-wen deserves affirmation for being sensitive to the problem. But she has not offered much of a solution. If Taiwan independence is still the DPP's ideal, it will remain mired in a double dilemma. It will remain incapable of achieving Taiwan independence in the global arena, even as it continues to divide Republic of China citizens into "Taiwanese" and "Chinese" in the domestic arena. Taiwan independence, by its very nature, divides people. A "Taiwan independence ideology that tolerates diversity" is a logical impossibility. Why else would Tsai Ing-wen avoid the term "Taiwan independence" and substitute the euphemism "ideal?"

The fact that "Nativism" is considered compatible with tolerance is due to the DPP's past efforts. But Taiwan independence is, on the face of it, anything but tolerant. After all, its goal is to overthrow the Republic of China. It is tolerant neither in name nor in substance. And since it is not even tolerant in name, how can it possibly be tolerant in substance? Yet Tsai Ing-wen would make a conceptual leap from "Tolerant Nativism" to "Tolerant Taiwan independence." That is akin to expecting a strawberry patch to yield apples.

The DPP's problem is its adherence to Taiwan independence. Its increasingly narrow definition of "Old Nativism" was the inevitable result of its stubborn adherence to Taiwan independence. But for the majority of people on Taiwan, if the DPP refrains from advocating Taiwan independence, "Nativism" is not an issue. Apart from the DPP, most people assume that "new and old immigrants, regardless of provincial origin, are all Natives." The above is a quote from Tsai Ing-wen. But it is something that Tsai Ing-wen knows the DPP cannot possibly either endorse or achieve.

Take Fan Lanqin for example. Fan's remarks can be characterized as an isolated extreme. Criticism from within the Pan Blue attests to that. By contrast, for the DPP ethnic demagoguery is second nature. Ethnic demagoguery is the DPP's defining characteristic. Fan Lanqin referred to himself, in self-mockery, as a "high class mainlander." Overnight the DPP twisted his meaning and transformed it into a politcal codeword. They even mocked Ma Ying-jeou and Liu Chao-hsuan as "high class mainlanders," attempting to equate them with Fan Lanqin. Meanwhile Tsai Ing-wen was trying to use euphemisms such as "Tolerant Nativism" to clean up the Democratic Progressive Party's image. She appears to be a slow learner.

The Democratic Progressive Party has long equated Taiwan independence with Nativism. Taiwan independence is Nativism. Nativism is Taiwan independence. The DPP uses Nativism to dress up Taiwan independence. The DPP uses Taiwan independence to distort the meaning of Nativism. Now Tsai Ing-wen wants to distinguish between the two. She wants to use "Tolerant Nativism" to achieve their "ideal," i.e., Taiwan independence. She can talk about "Tolerant Nativism." She can avoid talking about Taiwan independence, by referring to it euphemistically as their "ideal." But this is akin to "covering one's ears while stealing a bell."

If the DPP does not resolve the issue of Taiwan independence, it will never resolve the issue of Nativism. As mentioned before, the main reason "Nativism" has been so narrowly defined is Taiwan independence. Without Taiwan independence, Nativism need no longer be so narrowly defined. A "Tolerant Taiwan independence" is a contradiction in terms. That is why the Democratic Progressive Party has never been able to emancipate liberate itself from narrowly defined Nativism. If one is determined to overthrow the nation, how can one possibly avoid tearing society apart?

Has Chairman Tsai thought this through?

2009.03.27 04:37 am













Provincial Origin is a Non-Issue, Legislation is Superfluous

Provincial Origin is a Non-Issue, Legislation is Superfluous
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 25, 2009

Two days ago the Government Information Office fired Kuo Kuan-ying for making inappropriate remarks. President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu Chao-hsuan rushed to quench any fires. President Ma's remarks were basically feeling oriented. He said "We are all one people. We should accommodate and care for each other." He made a low-keyed appeal for ethnic harmony. Premier Liu, on the other hand, proposed the passage of an "Ethnic Equality Act." He wanted a law promoting ethnic equality. [Translator's Note: On today's Taiwan "ethnic" and "ethnicity" are misleading terms that actually refer to provincial origin.]

Five years ago a number of legislators proposed ethnic equality draft laws. Four or five different versions were put forth. The laws would punish speech the incitement of ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination. Five years later, none of them have become law. Yesterday, the head of the Executive Yuan again proposed the passage of legislation promoting ethnic equality. We contend that we must be concerned about ethnic issues, but that we must do not rush to pass laws. Before speaking, the Premier should also be careful and do some homework.

First of all, if we want to discuss ethnic harmony, we must first understand a few concepts from cultural anthropology. And if we want to promote ethnic equality, we must first appreciate the relevance of political philosophy. Human civilization is dynamic, and is undergoing evolution. Although each nation's development varies, humanism has been ascendant ever since the Middle Ages. Human society has steadily moved away from the Law of the Jungle, in which the strong bully the weak, and to the victor belong the spoils. It has steadily moved towards civilization, toward mutual respect, mutual concern, and mutual tolerance. The United States liberated black slaves. South Africa abolished Apartheid. Many nations elevated women's status. The international community imposed sanctions against race wars. These trends were inevitable. In other words, given humanist concepts of mutual respect and mutual concern, social evolution was already tending toward ethnic equality.

We now have a clearer understanding of when a nation should use political or legal means to intervene in social evolution. Unless a nation's culture makes it naturally resistant to equality, unless the move toward equality is so sluggish that disadvantaged groups are unlikely to receive equal treatment in the foreseeable future, the government should refrain from intervention. It should refrain from forcibly imposing an "Ethnic Equality Act" on the public. The United States' affirmative action laws and South Africa's racial equality laws or domestic gender equality laws are examples. Legislators should first take note of a nation's speed of evolution. Only then are they justified in using political force to provide an extra push. Philosophers in the United States who favored equal rights laws pushed for an equal rights law only because long-oppressed black people found it difficult to improve their social status in the short term. They promoted equal rights laws only to prevent the adverse socio-economic environment of earlier generations handicapping the development of later generations.

But let's return to Taiwan. We see no need for such legislation. Taiwan's so-called "native" and "mainlander" groups are hardly comparable to blacks and whites in the US, with their highly visible genetic differences. One can hardly distinguish who's who with the naked eye. Marriages between "natives" and "mainlanders" is widespread. Decades later, unless one digs out the family tree, one has no way to determine one's ethnic background. Not only is provincial origin difficult to determine, it is even increasingly difficult to distinguish between Han Chinese and Aborigines. Moreover, Taiwan's educational standards are high. The public is cultured. People seldom encounter ethnic antagonism or discrimination in their daily exchanges. Kuo Kuan-ying is a rare case, and constitutes only a minute part of Taiwan's cultural evolution. He has no affect on the overall trend toward social harmony and equality. To pass a law with great fanfare in response to something that has no impact on the overall situation is unnecessary and may even be counterproductive. It may create ethnic stereotypes where none existed.

The real lesson to be learned from Kuo Kuan-ying's inappropriate remarks, is to seek improvement. The crux of the problem is politicians, not laws. These problems arise within the halls of parliament and at political rallies, rather than amidst civil society. These problems are incited by extremist talking heads, not by ordinary people in daily life. In short, almost all ethnic frictions are incited by a tiny minority of extremists with political axes to grind. Over the past decade, such terms as "Chinese Pigs," and remarks as "We reserve the right to rape Chinese women" have emerged, along with Kuo Kuan-ying's "tai ba zi" and "dai wan." Behind all of these are reunification vs. independence political agendas. A tiny minority have falsely equated ethnicity with advocacy of reunification or independence. The source of ethnic frictions on Taiwan today is the result of narrowly defining ethnicity in order to attack another's ' political stance.

Given the rapid integration of ethnic groups on Taiwan, and the social harmony that prevails within civil society, any troubles have been stirred up by a tiny minority of politicians. Why pass laws to constrain speech relating to ethnicity? If one really wishes to constrain such speech, the Legislative Yuan Disciplinary Committee should constrain demagogues in parliament. If these disgusting individuals cease their demagoguery, ethnic equality will naturally prevail. Do we really expect these demagogues to enact an "Anti-Ethnic Demagoguery Law?" Spare us.

中國時報  2009.03.26
社論-族群本無事 立法惹塵埃




有了這樣的了解,我們就能清楚掌握國家是否應該以政治或法律手段介入社會演進,去強行推動「族群平等法」。大體而言,除非社會文化自然趨向族群平等的速度極為緩慢,使得社會上的弱勢族群難以在可見未來得到平等的待遇,否則國家都不該以立法手段介入。以美國的平權法案(affirmative action)、南非的種族平等法案或國內有關兩性平權的法案為例,立法者一定要先看到平等文化演變的滯慢,才有理由以政治力強推一把。事實上,美國諸多贊成平權法案的哲學家更明白指出,正因為在短期內黑人久經壓抑的社會地位難以改變,為免前一代不利的社經環境繼續影響下一代的發展,才會去推動平權法案。




Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Use Your Ballots to force the KMT to pass the Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act

Use Your Ballots to force the KMT to pass the Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 25, 2009

The "Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act" has remained stalled in the Legislative Yuan for a full year. Now suddenly, we hear it has been scheduled for consideration tomorrow. But whether it will actually become law remains uncertain.

Responsibility for failure to pass this law is rests with the KMT. The KMT is the largest party in the Legislature. It commands a supermajority. It is the ruling party. A simple law which ought to have been passed, hasn't been passed. If the responsibility is not the KMT's, whose is it?

Fine. If the KMT doesn't want it to pass, so be it. But the year-end County and Municipal Elections are coming up. The electorate has ways of dealing with the KMT. Think about it. If centrist voters amounting to 10% of the electorate support the KMT's opponents instead of the KMT, or stay away from the polls, they could conceivably cause the KMT to lose in every county and every municipality.

If the Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act is not passed, we intend to remind the public to use their ballots to demand its passage come election day.

The Chen corruption and money-laundering case is a living example. Sacks of cash were piled high all over the Presidential Mansion. Yet the Chen family passes it off as "campaign contributions." The Chen family picks a few names out of hundreds or even thousands of wealthy contributors, and creates its "Great Reservoir." The Special Investigation Unit then subpoenas these alleged contributors one by one. Some of them admit having contributed money. But the vast majority deny having contributed money. Some of those who denied contributing money may have lied, But some may have contributed money to the Democratic Progressive Party, only to have it pocketed by the Chen family. Some may have been falsely accused by the Chen family. The Special Investigation Unit should send questionnaires to both parties, asking them to answer according to their consciences. As long as the Chen family refuses to spit out the truth, as long as those who contributed funds refuse to admit doing so, existing laws are powerless against both. Without the sanctions provided by a "Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act," how can one possibly ensure justice?

Forget big fish like the Chen family. Even the likes of Lin Wen-yuan could buy five luxury condominiums in a single breath. Lin's payments were nearly 2 million dollars a month. When asked about the source of his financing, all he said was, "I financed it myself." This apparently marked the end of the interrogation. Is this the Ma administration's position on the law? Is this the KMT's notion of criminal justice?

In fact, the draft law under consideration by the Legislative Yuan is toothless compared to the law in other regions. In Hong Kong for example, as long as a public official's "lifestyle is inconsistent with his income" he risks conviction. Twelve years ago the Chinese mainland passed its "Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act." Recently, the National People's Congress (NPC) increased the maximum sentence from five years to ten years. Moreover, the draft law provisions currently in the Legislature would apply only in the event of suspected corruption. What excuse is there for not passing such a modest law? In the absence of a "Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act," dark clouds will continue shroud the peaks. In which case, why bother talking about "Sunshine Laws"?

Such laws touch upon issues of presumption of innocence and self-incrimination. But this law applies only to powerful public officials. Besides, existing asset declaration laws and campaign contribution laws already provide public officials with the means to establish their innocence. Aren't such crime-fighting mechanisms also a means of protecting oneself by establishing one's innocence? Today's society persecutes the virtuous and kowtows to the corrupt. Public officials suspected of corruption must account for their unexplained wealth. Costs should be weighed against the benefits. If laws are not passed today, tomorrow we will be confronted with more of the likes of Chen Shui-bian and Lin Wen-yuan.

The laws must include certain provisions. Campaign contribution laws must be updated. Running political parties and waging political campaigns are expensive propositions. Current limits on campaign contributions are so low as to be unrealistic. The limits should be substantially increased. We may wish to reduce the limits on contributions to individuals, while increasing the limits on contributions to political parties, Under certain circumstances we could allow political parties to collect a percentage from individual party members. This would support political parties while suppressing individual candidates. It would prevent cheating, and ensure fairness. We might even consider legal standards for the management of party assets. Having political parties operate openly would help prevent such abnormal phenomenon such as Chen Shu-bian becoming the biggest party operated corrupt enterprise.

In short, campaign contribution laws should be changed. Instead of strict limits with lax enforcement and punishment, we need generous limits with strict enforcement and punishment. Any violations would be subject to heavy penalties. The situation must not be allowed to degenerate into what we have today: contributors who deny having contributed, and recipients who cannot prove having received. A Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act would make such a farce impossible. By the same token, large and illegal campaign contributions would be punished according to a "Unaccounted For Large Contributions Act."

The KMT may demonstrate indifference to calls for a "Public Servants' Unaccounted For Assets Act." But election day is here. Has it already forgotten the lesson of Miaoli?

2009.03.25 05:53 am












Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fan Lan Ching, Lin Cho-shui and Chen Shui-bian

Fan Lan Ching, Lin Cho-shui and Chen Shui-bian
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 24, 2009

If someone were to tell you that Fan Lan Ching, Lin Cho-shui, and Chen Shui-bian have a lot in common, would you believe it?

First let's look at Fan Lan Ching and Lin Cho-shui. Fan Lan Ching wrote an article dealing with 2/28, in which he argued on behalf of Chen Yi. He wrote, "Chen Yi was an upright official who cared for the people." Lin Cho-shui, in his new book, "The Theater of History" wrote, "Chen Yi has long been the designated villain. Corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, and brutal, all rolled into one. Most people think he is the chief culprit behind the 2/28 Incident. But this is not Chen Yi's true face. I found myself unable to go along with this view of him, and was surprised to find that Chen Yi and his administration were good officials seldom found in Chinese politics." Lin Cho-shui agreed that "Chen Yi was extremely honest and never violated the law.'

Fan Lan Ching and Lin Cho-shui have different views on the overall significance of the 2/28 Incident of course. But the two men actually share many views about Chen Yi. Not every view, but some of the most important views. Lin Cho-shui said that after intensive reading and interviewing many respected elders, he was surprised to learn this. Fan Lan Ching probably knew all this. Lin Cho-shui and Fan Lan Ching, a.k.a. Kuo Kuan-ying, are about the same age. Both have conducted in-depth investigations of Taiwan's politics and history. Yet both have arrived at the same conclusion about Chen Yi. Is that not surprising?

A proper evaluation of Chen Yi's place in history is difficult. But how one perceives Chen Yi and 2/28 need not bear any relationship to whether one advocates Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence rhetoric distorts the meaning of 2/28 in order to justify independence. In order to distort the meaning of 2/28, Taiwan independence advocates attribute all manner of evil to Chen Yi. Lin Cho-shui wants to reverse this distorted assessment of Chen Yi. He wants to correct Taiwan independence advocates' perception of 2/28. He says "2/28 was a predestined historical tragedy." This is Fan Lan Ching/Kuo Kuan-ying's view as well. He too considers 2/28 an "historically predetermined tragedy," a legacy of the Opium War and the KMT vs. CCP Civil War.

Lin Cho-shui is the "Master Theoretician of the Taiwan independence Movement." Yet decades later, he has made these surprising discoveries about Chen Yi. Alas, the Taiwan independence movement long ago decided to make Chen Yi the designated villain. It has used 2/28 as an excuse to divide society and the nation. Fan Lan Ching's thinking is different because he has a different understanding of history. He does not think Chen Yi was so villainous. He does not think hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of people died during the incident. Fan made note of 800 mainlanders and 1000 Taiwanese killed or wounded. He also disagrees with the Taiwan independence movement's spin on 2/28. Differing perceptions about the truth of 2/28 hardly end with Chen Yi.

Even more surprising is the fact that Chen Shui-bian shares many of the same views as Fan Lan Ching. Fan Lan Ching says the "Republic of China" is merely "Chinese territory occupied by the US." He says "Taiwan is a renegade Chinese province. It has no existence. It is not a province, because the provincial government has been dissolved. Still less is it a nation. It is a mere apparition." On the one hand, such arguments constitute opposition to Taiwan independence. On the other hand, they sing the same tune as Taiwan independence. They too repudiate the Republic of China. Chen Shui-bian denies that Taiwan is part of China. But he agrees with Fan Lan Ching when he says "What the hell is the Republic of China anyway?" and "The Republic of China is dead!" Their language is nearly identical. So why has Fan Lan Ching been removed from office, while Chen Shui-bian still enjoys the privileges of a former President?

Fan Lan Ching's views regarding 2/28 have been characterized as "insults to Taiwan." But if so, what are we to make of Lin Cho-shui's nearly identical views? Furthermore, if we can change our view of Chen Yi, why can't we change our view of 2/28? Why can't we perceive 2/28 in the same light as Lin Cho-shui, as a "predestined historical tragedy?" If we make the 2/28 Incident a hostage to Taiwan independence mythology, we will never learn the truth about 2/28, and Chen Shui-bian and Fan Lan Ching will dog us forever.

For mid-level civil servant Kuo Kuan-ying to discuss state affairs in such terms under a pen name is indeed questionable. But it hardly compares with President Chen Shui-bian open declaration that "The Republic of China is dead!" Chen makes Fan look like a piker. Tit for tat. You want to destroy the Republic of China, and I will show no mercy towards Taiwan. Emotions run higher and higher. The language becomes more and more outrageous. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Chen Shui-bian and Fan Lan Ching are two mutually destructive extremes.

Fortunately, Chen Shui-bian and Fan Lan Ching constitute a tiny minority. Apart from the likes of Kuan Bi-ling, few people want to use the Fan Lan Ching incident as an excuse to take sides.

Most people hope that Taiwan and the Republic of China can coexist.

2009.03.24 04:47 am











Monday, March 23, 2009

ECFA: Prior Deliberation, or Prior Negotiation?

ECFA: Prior Deliberation, or Prior Negotiation?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 23, 2009

When President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Wen Jiabao talk about CECA, they treat it as a fait accompli. They act as if the arrow is already nocked and the bow already drawn. Some people have proposed that ECFA be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation prior to negotiation with the other side. Their proposal presents serious problems, both for the rule of law and for practical negotiations.

Prior deliberation by the Legislative Yuan reverses normal procedure. It also presents practical obstacles. A consensus has yet to be reached with the other side. The Executive Yuan does not even know the other side's views. All that can be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation at the moment is a rough draft. That is all the Legislative Yuan would have to deliberate on. Any such deliberation would have no real significance. Also, if one insists on prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation, any version that has undergone prior deliberation by the Legislative Yuan would bind the Executive Yuan hand and foot. The Executive Yuan would have to force the other side to accept its terms, lock, stock, and barrel. If this is the case, how can one possibly negotiate?

If one insists on prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation, any disagreement with the other side over anything, even tiny changes in the language, would require the submission of the measure to the Legislative Yuan for another round of prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation. How can one possibly negotiate while going back and forth in such a manner? Also, prior deliberation by the Legislative Yuan would allow the other side to see all our internal contradictions, to see whether they had any room for bargaining. It would present a serious obstacle to practical negotiations.

Prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation is contrary to constitutional jurisprudence, and inconsistent with the principle of the separation of powers. Leave aside for the moment whether the setting of mainland policy is the prerogative of the President. At least the negotiation of mainland policy is an Executive power. That much is certain. Similar examples include negotiating treaties with foreign countries. These are of course negotiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The results of talks, i.e., draft treaties, are then submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval, in accordance with the Constitution, and go into effect only upon adoption. This separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature is part of the constitution's checks and balances. If the Legislative Yuan insists on prior deliberation of the government's treaties with foreign countries, that constitutes an infringement of the Executive by the Legislature.

By the same token, suppose negotiations with the other side must be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for prior deliberation, then turned over to the Executive Yuan for "negotiation" with the other side. Suppose any disagreements must be sent back to the Legislative Yuan for further deliberation. That would be tantamount to the Legislative Yuan conducting negotiations with the other side through the Executive Yuan. That would be tantamount to the Legislative Yuan replacing the Executive Yuan. That would be unconstitutional and would undermine the principle of the separation of powers.

Based on existing ordinances pertaining to cross-Strait relations, prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation also conflicts with the law. In other words, such a proposal would be illegal. Article V, Item 1, of the Articles on Cross-Strait Relations, states that "agencies authorized to sign draft agreements will send them to the Executive Yuan for approval." Article V, Item 2, states that the content of such agreements shall be classified as legal or illegal. Those classified as illegal will require amendment by the Legislative Yuan. Those classified as legal will be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation. The law is crystal clear on this. It contains no provision for prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation.

Furthermore, if the outcome of negotiations over cross-Strait economic and trade cooperation agreements involves direct trade or the introduction of mainland workers, all resolutions must be sent to the Legislative Yuan before implementation, regardless of whether the law has been amended. Article 95 of the Articles on Cross-Strait Relations states that the Legislative Yuan's failure to pass a resolution within one month shall be construed as consent. Our previous agreement to allow direct flights was handled in accordance to just such procedures. They involved prior negotiation and subsequent deliberation, not prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation. Furthermore, according to the Organic Law of the Legislative Yuan and the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan`s Power, prior deliberation and subsequent negotiation has no basis in law.

Of course when signing ECFA-related cross-Strait agreements, the government should seek public consensus. On the one hand, the government should take the initiative to explain its position. On the other hand, it should encourage the airing and hearing of public opinions. The Legislative Yuan must not engage in "prior deliberation." But during the formulation of policy, it must respond to the opinions of all people and all parties, and convey these opinions to the ruling administration. Only then can uphold the rule of law while drawing upon collective wisdom.

Cross-Strait economic and trade cooperation agreements are not a panacea for our political and economic plight. Opponents can of course raise objections. But insisting on "prior deliberation and subsequent negotitation," is not merely illegal, it is unconducive to substantive cross-Strait talks.

2009.03.23 03:58 am










Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wu Shu-chen Statement Exposes Shenanigans at the Presidential Mansion

Wu Shu-chen Statement Exposes Shenanigans at the Presidential Mansion
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 20, 2009

The Chen Shui-bian corruption and money-laundering trial officially begins next week. This week Wu Shu-chen and Chen Cheng-hui confronted each other. The court issued a warrant for Huang Fang-yen's arrest. Four charges have been made. The broad outlines of the Discretionary Fund case have been established. Wu Shu-chen's statement will provide the public with an inside look at the shenanigans that went on inside the Presidential Residence.

One's first impression of the Presidential Mansion is that it was piled high with cash. At least 1.1 billion in cash was transported from the Presidential Mansion to the Cathay United Bank. The total weight of the cash was over 600 kilograms, or over 1300 pounds. Packing them into kraft paper bags containing 5 million dollars each, required over 220 bags. Wu Shu-chen said some of the money at the Presidential Mansion was locked in a safe, some was stuffed into a closet, some was locked in an unused room, and some was stuffed into gunny sacks sitting on the floor. With her own eyes Chen Cheng-hui saw sacks of cash taking up the entire floor.

Just imagine. Wu Shu-chen has limited mobility. Boxes and sacks filled with bank notes were moved back and forth within the Presidential Mansion because the First Family was afraid to entrust outsiders to move it elsewhere. Just picture President Chen Shui-bian, Chen Chih-chung, and Chen Hsing-yu, constantly moving the money around. Just imagine, someone who has attained the rank of president, schlepping gunny sacks back and forth, stuffing banknotes into 5 million dollar kraft paper bags.

The Chen family had two billion in cash at home and abroad, that we know about. Chen Shui-bian says he contributed one billion to Democratic Progressive Party candidates. Add to this cash which already converted to real estate, jewelry, and other forms of wealth. No wonder this bizzare scenario, of rooms piled high with cash, would manifest itself at the Presidential Mansion. Visitors have even testified that the air in the Presidential Mansion was filled with the odor of bank notes. Within this money infested den of iniquity, Ah-Bian, Ah-Chen, Chih-chung, Hsing-yu received money, fondled money, played with money, counted money, hugged money, moved money, divvyed up money, bundled money, hid money, obssessed over money, laundered money, laid down in money. How did an entire family become so crooked, to where they no longer bore any resemblance to normal people?

Apparently these four members of the Chen family equated power with money, and the office of the president as a tool for obtaining money. Democracy was a pretext. Politics was merely a game of black gold. On the one hand, the money amassed could be spread around like confetti, sponsoring Democratic Progressive Party candidates, solidifying his hold on the presidency. On the other hand, the billions or even tens of billions of dollars amassed could earn more money, increasing his power. The Chen family business was a business that required zero capital but amassed astronomical profits. It was a uniquely Taiwanese Business Model.

The Presidential Mansion was filled to overflowing with money. Several hundred million dollars of this money was stuffed into vans and driven straight into the Presidential Mansion. Some was collected by the First Lady from various sources, one false invoice at a time, then sent to the Presidential Office. Each alleged "campaign contribution" amounted to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Many members of the public are asking themselves why Ah-Bian and Ah-Chen felt compelled to go after the relatively paltry sums involved in the State Affairs Fund case, the Nankang case, and the Lungtan case? Why did they go after Mrs. Luo and Ah-Ching Shao's monthly allowance of 20,000 dollars?

Ah-Ching Shao was a loyal retainer. Her monthly salary was reportedly only 20,000 NT. Given the Chen family's financial resources, to pay her such meager wages was not merely stingy, it was heartless. The Chen family amassed a fortune. Yet it paid her out of the public treasury. It drew upon an "Intelligence Services Allowance." It had taxpayers support her through the Presidential Office. Such calculation is hard-hearted and unscrupulous beyond belief.

What is Chen Cheng-hui but another Ah-Ching Shao? The Chen family took advantage of Chen Cheng-hui. It exploited her long and dependent relationship. Every month Chen Cheng-hui processed false invoices. On orders from President Chen she kept two sets of books. On orders from Lin Teh-hsing she destroyed receipts. She counted out bank notes in the Cathay United Bank vault. She accompanied armed bodyguards when they transported banknotes. Did Chen Cheng-hui, a Christian, have doubts about what she was doing? Did she wrestle with her conscience? The lid has already been blown off the scandal. Yet Wu Shu-chen still asserts that Chen Cheng-hui, "on her own initiative," asked to take custody of the State Affairs Funds and move it to the Presidential Mansion for safekeeping. We have just one question for Ah-Chen. Just how far do you intend to go in your abuse of Chen Cheng-hui?

The Presidential Mansion had a one-way safe into which money entered but never emerged. This presented a storage problem. Therefore Chen Shui-bian had another safe installed at the Presidential Office. After that vans drove directly into the Presidential Mansion, loaded up with cash, then delivered the bank notes to the Presidential Office. The Presidential Mansion and the Presidential Office sometimes operated independently and sometimes worked hand in han. Lee Chieh-mu personally visited the Presidential Mansion for orders on how to embezzle money. Ah-Bian, Ah-Chen, Ma Yung-chen, Lin Teh-hsung held conferences at the Presidential Mansion on how to evade prosecution. Huang Fang-yen convened meetings in the Presidential Office, attended by Ma Yung-cheng, Cheng Shen-chi, Ku Chung-liang, on how to launder money. Ku Chung-liang personally lugged 50 million NT in cash to the Presidential Office!

What sort of Presidential Office is this? What sort of Presidential Mansion is this? What sort of President and First Lady is this? Their crimes are too numerous to list.

2009.03.20 05:23 am





扁家四口的思想顯然是:權力就是金錢,「總統」這個職位就是生財營利的工具,民主就是騙錢的口實,政治則根本只是黑金遊戲。一方面,用聚斂來的錢財,天女散花似地贊助民進黨候選人十億元,以鞏固自己的權位;另一方面自己則「笑納」數十億元甚或數百億元。用權斂財,以錢養權。扁家這個「營利事業」,無本,天文數字的「利潤」,不啻是台灣獨一無二的Business Model。






Mainland Tour Groups Give Tourism a Boost

Mainland Tour Groups Give Tourism a Boost
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 19, 2009

"Sun Moon Lake is so beautiful!" So exclaimed a member of the first Amway Corporation tour group from Mainland China. Local officials personally received them. The Amway tour group "shopped til they dropped," and were full of praise for Taiwan's cultural amenities and scenic wonders. Members of this group, were considered "high-rollers," and offered one surprise after another. Some locals referred to them as financial patrons. Others scoffed at the notion that mainland tourists could save Taiwan's economy. Some politicians sniffed, "So they've got money? Big deal!" The Amway tour group served as a kind of litmus test. They touched a raw nerve, impacting Taiwan in a way that went beyond mere economics.

Both sides of the Strait have psychological issues. Mainland tourists look forward to touring Taiwan. Among other things, they feel a sense of identification with the island. Oddly enough, some Taiwanese find these tourists' feelings of identification offensive. Consequently they may even feel revulsion toward the Mainland tour group's purchasing power. In Hualien alone the group spent over 120 million dollars, making the Amway Corporation tour group welcome wherever it went. Yet some people felt only antagonism. They felt large numbers of Mainland tourists arriving on Taiwan would lower the standards of Taiwan's tourism industry. Some fear these human waves will make Taiwan's tourism industry overly dependent upon the Mainland. Taiwan dependence upon Mainland tourism for economic survival is something many people on Taiwan cannot tolerate. It may not be the best path for Taiwan's development. Therefore the "Amway Model" needs careful evaluation.

Mainland tour groups have inspired considerable optimism. Taiwan's tourism industry appears to have gotten an economic reprieve/ Mainland officials have allowed mainland tourists to visit Taiwan. Mainland tourists are curious about Taiwan. Local businesses look forward to Mainland tourists the way farmers faced with drought look forward to rain. They hope Mainland tourists will give Taiwan's tourism industry and Taiwan's economy a boost. People on Taiwan must become accustomed to seeing more and more Mainland tourists. They must learn to to cater to them. When Mainland tourists are no longer "occasional visitors," how will people on Taiwan perceive them? We can hardly view them with disgust, contempt, and hostility, as we wear false smiles in the hope of making money from them. Treating one's customers with warmth and goodwill is central to the service industry. We ought to have the same attitude toward Mainland tourists.

Some Mainland tourists may make people uncomfortable by flashing their money around. But tour groups from any nation will includes such individuals. We should respond in a manner that is neither hostile nor servile, We hardly need to invoke "ethnic identity" and "national dignity" at every turn. We hardly need to engage in self-abasement or self-pity. The fact is many businesses welcome and need Mainland tourist dollars. How much Mainland tourists are willing to spend on Taiwan, depends in large part on how much of an effort Taiwan businesses are willing to make. Patronage is a form of affirmation. We really have no need to belittle ourselves, by thinking that we are recipients of other people's charity.

We should not perceive Mainland tourists as economic saviors of Taiwan's tourism and service industries. We should characterize Mainland tourism as an opportunity for our tourism and service industries to hone their skills. Large numbers of Mainland tourists will enable us to gauge our maximum capacity, including our hotel facilities, the quality of our tourist facilities, the convenience of our transportation services, and the quality of our customer service. These must all undergo continual improvement in order to make Taiwan a more attractive tourist destination.

If fewer mainland tourists visited, many of Taiwan's tourism industry providers could not afford to upgrade their services. It makes no difference attitude Mainland tourists may have when they visit. They provide us with the opportunity to upgrade the "hard power" and "soft power" of our tourism industry. Our tourism industry is not dedicated exclusively to serving Mainland customers. Mainland tourism allows Taiwan's tourism industry to prepare for increased tourism in general. Mainland tourists allow us to promote Taiwan's scenic and cultural attractions to the entire world, to make Taiwan a destination of choice, and to transform the island into a world-class vacation spot.

The Amway tour group's spending habits were extravagant. But we must not expect all Mainland tourists to spend so much. The Amway Corporation is merely the first tour group to arrive from the Mainland. Its may not reflect the economic wherewithal of future groups. As cross-strait tourism becomes more frequent, mutual understanding and mutual trust will increase. We should expect greater diversity among Mainland tourists. Not all of them will be high-rollers. Other classes of Mainland tourists will appear, including "Average Joes." Therefore, Taiwan's tourism industry and Taiwan's economy as a whole will need to consider how to provide a different mix of goods and services, in order to meet the different demands of consumers. Consumers are not limited to Mainland tourists. Taiwan's tourism service sector should aspire to attract tourists from all over the world.

中國時報  2009.03.19








Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Negative Remarks are Hateful. The Internet Witch Hunt Should End

Negative Remarks are Hateful. The Internet Witch Hunt Should End
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 18, 2009

Taiwan has a diverse society, which often leads to social friction or even social confrontation. Whether such a society is benign or malignant depends upon our commitment to mutual respect and social harmony.

Over the past few days some of the media have milked the "Fan Lan Qing Incident" for all it is worth. The incident raises at least three issues. One is the deliberate incitement of "ethnic" antagonisms. Another is freedom of speech. Yet another is appropriate behavior for public servants. If these issues are conflated, right and wrong will be confused. These issues must be clarified, one at a time.

First of all, Kuo Kuan-ying used his real name when he published the article in the newspapers. He related his childhood experiences eating oyster omelets at the Yuan Huan. In a self-deprecating manner he said "Here we were, high-class mainlanders, not knowing how a local Taiwanese uncle wound up bringing us to Taipei ..." The phrase "high-class mainlanders" was promptly taken out of context and played up by the Green Camp for all it was worth. It was cited as damning evidence of mainlander prejudice against locals. Kuo Kuan-ying returned and apologized for the article and for the troubles it caused the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He maintained that he was using the term in a spirit of self-mockery, without malice, without any intention of demeaning locals.

Frankly, if one reads the entire article, one will find that aside from this bit of self-mockery, the article contains nothing that expresses contempt for Taiwan. That said, language such as "high-class mainlander" also reflects the sense of superiority some mainlanders feel toward locals. Such tangible and intangible forms of prejudice have hurt the feelings of locals and done considerable harm to their self-esteem. Resentment over this has yet to dissipate. Some mainlanders do lack self-awareness, sensitivity, and self-restraint.

The "Fan Lan Qing" blog article was much blunter. Its stance on reunification vs. independence was much more direct. The name was clearly a pseudonym for "Pro Pan Blue." Its pro Blue position and even pro-mainland position is not surprising. But is it consistent with the principle of proportionality to leave no stone unturned tracking down the identity of an anonymous blogger, as if one were investigating Internet crime? Whether such efforts might impact freedom of speech on the Internet is also a concern.

The most valuable aspect of the Internet, but perhaps also its most troubling, is that one may hide behind a pseudonym and express oneself without inhibition. On Internet fora and blogs, too many people, having concealed their true identity, say and do things they would never say or do in their daily environment. They give free rein to radical positions and venomous criticism. They engage in irresponsible agitation and express unrestrained lust. Once they turn off their computers however, they return to polite normality.

Some of what appears on the Internet may be hard to stomach. It may make one wonder why human nature is so dark, so barbaric. But to breach layer after layer of Internet privacy over a politically controversial article, as if one were tracking down a violent criminal, in order to put the offender on trial, to be stoned by the mob, is even more chilling. After all, the individual hasn't violated any laws. He never agreed to reveal his identity. Who has the right to conduct such an Internet witch-hunt?

After all, the anonymous Internet article was just that, anonymous. That means the author did not lend weight to the article by identifying himself. That means the author wanted to enjoy the increased latitude anonymity granted him. We don't even know for certain whether the article was written by an overseas civil servant. Yet some people would destroy the anonymity the Internet has provided over such an article. Is this not a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? There is no legal need to investigate. Kuo Kuan-ying says he did not write the anonymous article. True or false, there is not need to continue digging. He is not the issue. The issue is that we must safeguard freedom of expression on the Internet.

Civil servants who are paid out of the national treasury must of course behave with propriety. If they disagree with the nation's policies, they can quit. This is the way to be true to one's own beliefs. It is also the way to show respect for the nation's institutions.

To incite ethnic antagonism, to promote racial and gender prejudice and discrimination, by words or by deeds, is considered taboo in advanced nations in Europe and in the United States. It is not merely Politically Incorrect, it is immoral and unethical. Racial and gender prejudice and discrimination are difficult to eliminate. One must know right from wrong. One must not overstep the bounds of free expression. One must understand that everyone has the same rights. Only then can one ensure social harmony.

By contrast, much of the political language on Taiwan is not merely cruel, but reveals the moral vacuum that underlies our society. For example a certain Kuomintang legislator alleged that Chen Chu suffered a stroke because she demolished a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek. Such remarks raise one's hackles. He refuses to admit he made a mistake, and the KMT appears loath to intervene. People cannot help but wonder whether politicians are intrinsically immoral, or whether intrinsically immoral people choose to become politicians.

Freedom of speech is precious. It must be defended. Right and wrong and social harmony are also precious. They too must be defended. Freedom of speech must not become an excuse for inhumane behavior. Not should freedom of speech be abridged for partisan political reasons.

中國時報  2009.03.18
社論-負面言論可惡 網路獵巫可休



首先,Kuo Kuan-ying以本名發表在報端的文章,說到小時候去圓環吃蚵仔煎的美食經驗時,自嘲地說「我們是高級的外省人哦,不知怎會是一個本省伯伯帶我來台北…」這句「高級外省人」被綠營揪出來痛打,認為是外省族群歧視本省族群的佐證。Kuo Kuan-ying雖然回國說明,並且對文章對青商會帶來紛擾而道歉,但仍然認為該用語只是在自我調侃,並無歧視本省之惡意。





而且,既然是網路上的匿名文章,擺明了就是要匿名,就是不想用自己的真實身分來負責,也就是要享受匿名時較大尺度的自由特權。為了幾篇至今還不確定是不是某位駐外人員寫的文章,就要把網路向來的匿名保護機制拆毀,恐怕是倒洗澡水時連嬰兒一起倒掉了。沒有司法偵查的必要,就不應率爾侵犯網路世界的匿名機制。如果Kuo Kuan-ying不認那些匿名文章,不管真假,都不宜再追殺下去。不是為他,而是為了維護整個網路世界的言論自由。





Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Political Considerations vs. The Truth

Political Considerations vs. The Truth
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 17, 2009

March 19 is the fifth anniversary of the 3/19 Shooting Incident. Former Vice President Annette Lu has published a new book, "Perspectives on 3/19: One Truth, One Taiwan." She is a victim of the 3/19 Shooting Incident, who remains troubled because the truth is still unknown. She rejects the conclusion of prosecutors and police that Chen Yi-hsiung was the shooter and that therefore the case is closed. She is also not satisfied with the 3/19 Truth Commission Report. She says it is hard to determine which of the four suspected perpetrators, the reds (Beijing), the blues (KMT and PFP), the greens (DPP) and blacks (triads) was responsible. She called for "another ad hoc group, appointed by the Prosecutor General," who will "set aside Blue vs. Green political concerns and simply demand the truth."

The 3/19 Shooting Incident has had a huge political impact. But like any criminal case, the truth must be sought in accordance with the law, free from political influence. We fully agree with Lu's perspective. But to be perfectly frank, we doubt that Lu herself is above Blue vs. Green political considerations. In her book she said that as early as October 2005, she "recommended that the Supreme Court Prosecutor's Office establish another ad hoc group" to investigate the case from scratch. Her recommendation was ignored, yet she remained silent until she left office. Were political considerations involved? Lu and Chen were wounded. Like any normal person, Lu wondered why she had been targeted. She was troubled by how the shooting cast doubt on the legitimacy of her second term. But she never showed the same concern for Chen Shui-bian's abnormal lack of curiosity about the shooting. She never expressed any doubts about whether election fraud lay behind the shooting incident. Were political considerations involved? She wonders whether the shooting involved one gun firing two rounds, or two guns firing two rounds, and whether accomplices were involved. Her doubts do not end here. She wonders whether the motive was to kill or merely to wound. The answer has a bearing on the four possibilities she mentioned. Are these four possibilities the only ones? Lu thinks not. Are political considerations affecting her judgment?

Lu called on the Prosecutor General to preside over a new investigation. The Special Investigation Unit declared that it reviewed the 3/19 Shooting Incident two years ago and determined that "the truth has yet to emerge." But it was forced to shut down its investigation of the 3/19 Shooting Incident because it began investigating Chen Shui-bian last year. The Special Investigation Unit is under the command of Prosecutor General Chen Tsung-ming. So is the prosecutorial system. Since the Special Investigation Unit is overloaded with work, why not assign some of the work to other prosecutorial units? Does Chen Tsung-ming want to solve these cases or doesn't he? If he doesn't, why doesn't he? Is the truth about these cases being suppressed out of political considerations? Annette Lu does not know, and Chen Tsung-ming is not someone we can count on to answer these riddles.

Chen Tsung-ming's recent handling of the Chen corruption case has raised serious doubts about his determination to solve the case. He ordered the Special Investigation Unit to prosecute the Chen corruption case in piecemeal fashion, one charge at a time, enabling the Chen family to evade prosecution on charges yet to be made. After repeated instances of much thunder but little rain, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that he has no intention of prosecuting the Chen family. The Special Investigation Unit is clearly understaffed. The Control Yuan has pointed this out. But he does nothing. He refuses to make use of manpower from other prosecutorial agencies, claiming that the Special Investigation Unit already has all the manpower it needs. His assertion is so transparently false, one wonders whether he wants to prosecute the case at all. Chen Shui-bian appointed Chen Tsung-ming Prosecutor General and placed him in charge of the Special Investigation Unit. The kid gloves manner in which the Special Investigation Unit is currently prosecuting Chen family cronies, including Chen Tsung-ming family friend Huang Fang-yan, is mind-boggling. On the pretext that Huang was emigrating to the United States, it waited idly for his return. Based on a suspiciously timed long-distance phone call from Huang, it seized jewelry worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a suit that had already been searched. It chose not to investigate co-defendant Ma Yung-cheng's testimony. It issued a statement asserting that Huang did not convene a money-laundering meeting between Ma, Cheng, and Koo at the Presidential Palace.

The Special Investigation Unit is nominally the highest-ranking independent prosecutorial unit in the nation. In order to ensure that the Prosecutor General would not intervene, its members swiftly indicted former Bureau of Investigation Chief Ye Sheng-mao. They openly endorsed their superior at a moment's notice. They eagerly issued a statement assuring the public their superior was not covering up on behalf of his cronies. Their loyalty to their superior leaves one breathless. Is this what passes for an independent prosecution? Chen Tsung-ming's biggest dilemma is whether to replace these loyal troops. Why is he turning a deaf ear to demands that he resign? Is it because he finds it hard to quit a cushy job? Is it because he wants to stay on to see justice done? Or is it because he wants to continue abusing the power of his office to shield his cronies? Annette Lu placed her trust in the wrong people. But Chen Shui-bian can certainly congratulate himself for trusting the right people!

Wang Ching-feng was responsible for the 3/19 Truth Commission's eight reports. At the time she lacked investigative powers. But for the sake of the truth, she overcame countless difficulties. She is now the Minister of Justice. She sits at the summit of the prosecutorial system. So why is she doing nothing? The Special Investigation Unit listens only to Chen Tsung-ming. Wang Ching-feng's wishes go unheeded. Does a Minister of Justice count for nothing? What happened to her determination to uncover the truth? Are political considerations involved? Annette Lu noted that less than two percent of the public believes the conclusions of the Ad Hoc 3/19 Prosecutorial and Police Commission. Is Chen Tsung-ming's credibility higher today? Chen Tsung-ming, as head of the Special Investigation Unit, is undermine the credibility of the prosecutorial system. Is Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng is watching idly as Chen Tsung-ming destroys the justice system. Is it only because she knows he has tenure?

Political considerations or the truth. Which is more important? Chen Tsung-ming and Wang Ching-feng. What are they afraid of?

中國時報  2009.03.17
社論》政治考量與發現真相 何者更重要








Monday, March 16, 2009

Beware the Arrogance of Power

Beware the Arrogance of Power
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 16, 2009

To the Democratic Progressive Party, Miaoli County is a political desert. Yet lo and behold, during the Miaoli County Legislative By-election, the KMT lost! An KMT official who ran an independent campaign and who was expelled for defying KMT orders, defeated the KMT candidate by 1600 votes. The Democratic Progressive Party wants to claim part of the credit. But Chu-nan Township Mayor Kang Shi-ju, who was clearly in tune with the public mood, emphasized that he was a member of the largest party -- the public. He did not rejoin the KMT after the election. Nor did he join the DPP. The two major parties on Taiwan have long controlled the island's politics. One party lost, the other party failed to win. The result reflected the mood of the majority on Taiwan.

The KMT made light of its defeat. It attributed the defeat to a low turnout, to insufficient effort on the KMT's part. It said the entire party was now in a state of heightened awareness, and in two weeks would mobilize its members for the Taipei City Da-an District By-election. But where are the signs of heightened KMT awareness? Where are the signs of KMT self-introspection? Painful lessons learned during eight years in the political wilderness seem to have been completely forgotten eight weeks after returning to power. The Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, and the Party hierarchy all betray the KMT's "I'm the Boss" mindset. the KMT's contempt for public opinion has rapidly reawakened memories of the old KMT. The KMT richly deserved to lose the Miaoli County By-election. The question is how many times will the KMT have to lose before it finally awakens from its arrogant stupor?

Miaoli County has long been a region in which factional interests trumped party interests. As long as the KMT could pacify factional interests, the Democratic Progressive Party could never gain a foothold. This time, Kuomintang legislator Lee Yi-ting was convicted of vote-buying. His opponent had Lee's election victory declared null and void. The KMT cavalierly nominated Lee Yi-ting's wife Chen Luan-ying, "to do battle on her husband's behalf." The KMT flagrantly ignored its commitment to clean government. It ignored the impact of the invalidated election. For the KMT, any elections that factions can control may as well be handed over to the factions. When Taitung County Commissioner Wu Chun-li was relieved of office after being convicted of corruption, the KMT merely nominated Wu's wife Kwong Li-chen. The KMT may have won the County Commissioner Election, but it failed to win peoples' hearts and minds. Even today, in the eyes of constituents, Taitung County's political record comes in last place. Clearly Kwong's example failed to inspire self-introspection within the KMT.

The KMT is a huge dinosaur. Any reform or change is difficult, so difficult that it often unravels in short order. Eight years the KMT lost power. Ma Ying-jeou rode back to power on the crest of a new mandate. In contrast with the DPP, Ma Ying-jeou represented a new generation, a new political style, a new political rhetoric. Ma Ying-jeou succeeded in reversing public antipathy toward the KMT. Unfortunately, since Ma Ying-jeou was elected president last year, all we find at the central government level is Lee Teng-hui, Lien Chan, and Vincent Hsiew era political appointees from nine, ten years ago. The allegiance and sincerity of veteran statesmen is commendable. But it represents a significant gap between what Ma Ying-jeou is supposed to represent. An even more serious problem is that the KMT, which holds a supermajority in the Legislative Yuan, remains utterly oblivious to the changed political climate. The KMT supermajority in the legislature has not made the passage of budgets and bills promoted by the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan more efficient. It has merely revealed the KMT's cluelessness regarding the importance of such bills in saving the economy.

What does concern the KMT? Nine years ago, KMT power was on the wane. Calls for "generational change" rang out everywhere. These calls brought Ma Ying-jeou to the political fore. The Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, and Party hierarchy are filled with old authoritarian era faces, with so-called "political elites" cultivated during the Chiang Ching-kuo era. They are at least 60 years old. Some are over 70. Although old, they remain ambitious. Their power continues to grow. They refuse to pass the baton. The result is that even middle-aged leaders have been held back until they too are old. These old people from the Chiang Ching-kuo and Lee Teng-hui era occupy positions of power. All they think about is becoming Premier, SEF Chairman, or Party Chairman. Less than a year after returning to power, the KMT faces a crisis akin to the one the DPP faced during the latter stages of the Chen administration.

This includes even Ma Ying-jeou. One year later, his charisma has been seriously eroded. He helped the KMT return to power, but immediately reverted to the Teflon Ma Ying-jeou who disowns all responsibility for the KMT's shortcomings. The Legislative Yuan is unable to upgrade its efficiency. Defective candidate nomination procedures for Legislative By-elections or County Magistrate and City Mayor Elections have nothing to do with him. In less than a year the KMT has regressed to the KMT of ten years ago. Yet Ma Ying-jeou remains utterly clueless. Why does the public feel he is incompetent? The answer is simple. Because the KMT reforms he led or stood for have either been stalled or compromised.

Whether we are talking about Miaoli County or Taipei City's Da-an District, one or two seats more or less in the Legislative Yuan will not affect the KMT's supermajority. But peoples' hearts and minds are undergoing gradual change. Precisely because the Legislative By-election and year end County Magistrates and City Mayors Elections will not affect the central government, voters have decided to teach the KMT a lesson. When the KMT Central Committee vows that it will "annihilate Su Tseng-chang" in the year end Taipei County Magistrates election, it ought to remember the lesson of the Miaoli Legislative By-election. Those who become arrogant with power, usually annihilate themselves, rather than their opponents.

中國時報  2009.03.16








Thursday, March 12, 2009

In Response to Wang Yi's Response

In Response to Wang Yi's Response
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 13, 2009

When Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi was interviewed by China Central Television recently, he mentioned cross-Strait issues, including CECA. Quoting a March 4 United Daily News editorial he said, "To use the United Daily News' metaphor, we hope the two sides will not engage in "Invitation to a Funeral" oriented wishful thinking, but instead offer each other a mutually beneficial win-win "Invitation to a Dance."

This is the first time one of Beijing's top policymakers has used a Taiwan-based newspaper editorial as part of his argument. We are deeply gratified that Beijing has taken note of public opinion on Taiwan. We heartily endorse Wang Yi's "Invitation to a Dance" declaration and his forswearing of any "Invitation to a Funeral." The theme of the March 4 United Daily News editorial was "Beijing: An Invitation to a Funeral, or an Invitation to a Dance?" The editorial argued that Beijing must not regard the signing of CECA as a short term "Invitation to a Funeral." Instead it should regard the signing of CECA as a win-win "Invitation to a Dance" that takes the long view and promotes mutual prosperity. If Beijing sees CECA as an "Invitation to a Funeral," as a means to seal Taipei up in a funerary urn, away from the outside world, it will be acting in defiance of justice and in defiance of public opinion. Cross-Strait relations will be led astray. The editorial also argued that Beijing should declare that it looks forward to seeing Taipei conclude FTAs with ASEAN and other countries. At this point, we would like to make the following recommendations to the mainland authorities and the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan.

One. Make an "Invitation to a Dance / Win-Win and Mutual Prosperity" an article of political faith and goal to strive for. This must be done in good faith, straight from the heart. One must not talk about an "Invitation to a Dance" while making Machiavellian preparations for an "Invitation to a Funeral." If our observation is correct, Hu Jintao and his generation have undergone a major transformation in their thinking about cross-Strait relations. Our reading is that they speak of "peaceful reunification" but are in fact pursuing "peaceful development." They are shelving goal-oriented "reunification vs. independence." They are implementing process-oriented "peaceful development." In the blink of an eye, the two sides have apparently emerged from a dark tunnel onto a sunlit plain.

Why do we wish to make an "Invitation to a Dance" an article of faith and a goal to strive for? In reality Beijing has many ways to deal with cross-Strait relations. It has many ways to gauge the success of its domestic and foreign policy. How Beijing handles the Taiwan question must be acceptable internationally. It must be acceptable to the public on the mainland. It must be acceptable to the public on Taiwan. Therefore, if Beijing is sincere about a "Win-Win Dance" with Taipei, it must uphold peace and democracy. If Beijing applies these two criteria to other areas of its domestic and foreign policy, all of China will undergo improvement. Surely Hu Jintao and his generation have the vision to deal with the Taiwan issue in a peaceful and democratic manner. After all, China's problems can only be solved under conditions of peace and democracy. Therefore an "Invitation to a Dance" must be an article of faith, not a means of deception.

Two. The "One China Principle", should be increasingly understood as "One China, Different Interpretations." The root cause of cross-Strait problems is Taiwan independence. The main reason Taiwan independence lingers on is that the Republic of China remains in dire straits, that the Republic of China is accorded little dignity. Beijing's bottom line is opposition to "de jure Taiwan independence." The Republic of China does not mean Taiwan independence. The Republic of China is founded on a "One China Constitution." If Beijing does not want Taiwan independence to take the place of the Republic of China, it must maintain the Republic of China's "One China Constitution." Beijing's current policy is to "maintain the status quo." It must accord the Republic of China sufficient respect and breathing room. Beijing may find it difficult to explicitly agree to "One China, Different Interpretations." The one time Hu Jingtao mentioned it was on the Hot Line to George W. Bush. But although he may not be able to say it, that doesn't mean he can't do it. For example, when the ROC flag recently appeared at the Tokyo Stadium, Beijing lodged no protests. This is a positive sign.

Three. If Beijing is not offering us an "Invitation to a Funeral," it should be happy to see Taipei's participation in the international community. Once CECA has been signed, the signing of FTAs between Taipei, ASEAN, the United States, and other countries should follow as a matter of course. After all, Beijing cannot possibly reunify the two sides by suffocating Taipei. Wang Yi said he is cautiously optimistic about WHA participation in May. Beijing must not regard this as merely a change in political tactics, but as a transformation in thought.

We once used the "chopsticks analogy" to characterize cross-Strait relations. If two chopsticks are solidly bound to each other, if they are "unified" in that sense, they become unusable. If they are totally separated, if they are "independent" in that sense, they also become unusable. The normal operation of a pair of chopsticks requires that they be both "unified" and "independent." Only then can they be used. CECA is a "Big Tent." It is like a pair of chopsticks. It is neither independent nor unified, while simultaneously independent and unified. This may be the best way to promote cross-Strait "peaceful development."

In fact, Deng Xiaoping said it long ago. Cross-Straits relations are not about who gobbles up whom. Deng Xiaoping's words are perhaps something Hu Jintao and his generation can make an article of faith and a goal to strive for.

2009.03.13 05:56 am



本報三月四日社論的題目是〈北京的思考:請君入甕或與卿共舞? 〉文中指出:北京不可將簽訂CECA視作「請君入甕」的短線操作,而應看成雙贏共榮的「與卿共舞」,追求的是可大可久。北京若將CECA視為「甕」,欲封 死台灣在「甕」外的世界,則屬逆天理、反民意,兩岸關係亦將走上歧途絕路。社論並主張:北京應宣示樂見台灣與東協及其他國家締結FTA。在此,我們願對彼 岸朝野再進數言:

一、要將「與卿共舞/雙贏共榮」作為一種政治信仰及境界的追求。要打從心裡就是這麼想,這麼相信;不要有口說「與卿共舞」、陰裡「請君入甕」的權謀思考。 如果我們的觀察無誤,胡錦濤這一代對兩岸關係的思維已有極大的昇華。我們的解讀是:他虛懸「和平統一」,而採取了「和平發展」的務實路線;也就是擱置了統 獨「目的論」的窠臼,改尚和平發展的「過程論」。一念之轉,兩岸似已出現柳暗花明的新形勢。

為什麼說要將「與卿共舞」這種思考,視為一種信仰及境界的追求?其實,北京可將其處理兩岸關係的方法,作為其對內對外治理的檢驗標尺。因為,北京處理台灣 問題的方法,對外必須被國際接受,對內必須被大陸民意接受,對台灣更須被台灣的民主體制接受;因此,如果真心實意要和台灣「雙贏共舞」,則必定要維持「和 平」與「民主」兩大準則。而北京若以這兩大準則,用於對內與對外其他領域的治理,則整個中國的境界亦可望相應提升。胡錦濤這一代應當有此抱負:要以和平民 主的方法處理台灣問題。因為,整個中國的問題,也唯有在「和平/民主」的準則下,始可能得到解決。所以說,「與卿共舞」只能是信仰,而不可是權謀。

二、關於「一個中國的原則」,應漸漸容納「一中各表」。兩岸問題的要害在台獨,而台獨之所以存在,主因是中華民國處境艱窘,中華民國沒有尊嚴。北京今日的 底線是反對「法理台獨」,而中華民國不是台獨;中華民國的立足基點是「一中憲法」,北京若不欲台獨取代中華民國,即應珍惜「一中憲法」之維持;北京今日政 策是「維持現狀」,就必須給中華民國應有的尊嚴與空間。北京或許暫難宣示「一中各表」(唯一的一次在布胡熱線),但雖不可說,卻不是不可慢慢做。例如,最 近東京球場上出現青天白日滿地紅旗,未見北京抗議,這應是佳兆。


我們曾以「筷子理論」喻兩岸關係。兩隻筷子若綁死在一起,是「統一」之害,不能有筷子的功能;若分離兩處,則是「獨立」之害,也不能有筷子的功用。一雙正 常操作的筷子,必定是有合有分,始能靈動自如。CECA這類「軟屋頂」,正如有合有分的一雙筷子,不獨、不統、亦獨、亦統,或許正是兩岸「和平發展」的最 佳機制。