Remembering Year 99, Welcoming Year 100
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 31, 2010
Today is the last day of the 99th year of the Republic of China. Tomorrow is first day of the Republic of China centennial.
This newspaper is holding a "2101 Poll." Readers are invited to phone in and vote on "A Record of Major Events," or 13 major events that occurred this year,
This newspaper invited four experts to suggest five major events each. Among these events, "ECFA is signed" and "Ah-Bian and Ah-Cheng are imprisoned for corruption" received votes from all four. The signing of ECFA ranked number one. It received three votes for first place, and one vote for second place. Ah-Bian and Ah-Cheng Jane being imprisoned ranked second place. It received one vote for first place, one vote for second place, and two votes for fifth place. One might say that the theme for the 99th Year of the Republic of China was the reestablishment of cross-Strait relations and the restoration of justice.
ECFA has been signed. It was undoubtedly one of the most important events of the year. On January 26, representatives from Taipei and Beijing met in Beijing and held their first formal consultation on the "cross-strait economic cooperation agreement" (ECFA). On June 29, the agreement was formally signed in Chongqing. By the end of the year, the "cross-strait economic cooperation committee" had been formed. This was the biggest breakthrough in six decades of cross-Strait economic and trade relations. It was also an experiment in cross-Strait political relations. ECFA will officially go into effect tomorrow, on New Year's Day. Meanwhile the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan remain deadlocked over "whether there is a 1992 consensus" and "whether the 1992 consensus should be recognized."
The 13 "major events" include events that directly or indirectly affect cross-Strait relations. For example, Liu Xiaopo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This underscored freedom and democracy -- the main difference between the two sides. Another was the Shanghai World Expo. It underscored "the rise of [Mainland] China" and of course affected attitudes toward cross-Strait relations. The North and South Korean Tianan ship incident closely mirrored cross-Strait relations. The debt crisis in Europe was a continuation of the 2008 financial crisis. It forced the public on Taiwan to contemplate the opportunities and risks involved in cross-Strait relations and globalization. The Taipei Flora Exposition invited comparision with the Shanghai World Expo, and symbolized the rivalry between the two sides.
We look forward to tomorrow, and welcome the Republic of China centennial. The 1992 consensus and ECFA have made cross-Strait economic and trade relations and symbiotic win/win "peaceful development" possible. Yet cross-Strait relations remain mired in political controversy over whether they should be recognized.
Ah-Bian and Ah-Cheng have been imprisoned for corruption. Chen Shui-bian was imprisoned on December 2. This was an important step in the judicial process. During the trial however, the issue of "presidential authority" came up. This underscored the failure of seven constitutional amendments. During the year end five cities elections, Chen Shui-bian's "one country each side connection" scored a remarkable victory. This underscored the struggle between justice and populist politics.
In 2008, the ROC underwent a second change in ruling parties. The Chen corruption trial went on. The public had high expectations. They wanted an independent judiciary and social justice. Huang Shi-ming was included in the 13 major events. As Prosecutor General he carried out the death penalty, executing four convicts in one night, by firing squad. This also involved attitudes regarding justice system reform and social justice. Huang Shi-ming stood out because Chen Tsung-ming, Morley Shih, Lu Jen-fa, Yeh Sheng-mao, Cheng Chung-mo and their ilk shattered public faith in the justice system. Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu carried out four death sentences in a single night. He did so because his predecessor Wang Ching-feng opposed the death penalty, postponed the executions, and was forced to resign.
Chen family corruption inflicted untold damage on public morals and on the nation's justice system. On Taiwan, the justice system remains riddled with defects. These defects are not confined to disputes over the Chen family corruption case. The 99th year of the Republic of China is drawing to a close. The public has heightened expectations about housing. The fairness of health care reform has become a point of controversy. School bullying incidents have shocked the nation. One elderly Mr. Wang crucified one elderly Mrs. Wang. A doctoral candidate stood in the way of an ambulance and flipped people the bird, Eight men and women used "ten torture methods" to torture a friend, and were sentenced to 12 years in prison. These major and minor news events were not included in the 13 major events. They happened during the final days of of the year. They suggest that an increasingly M-shaped society brims over with injustice and hostility. These injustices must be corrected by a robust educational system.
We look forward to the Republic of China centennial. People on Taiwan seek a better tomorrow. They are taking two main directions. One. They are reestablishing cross-Strait relations. Politically, they are upholding the 1992 consensus, and "one China, different interpretations." Economically, they are upholding ECFA, which ensures a mutually beneficial, win-win situation for both sides. This is how it must be. Otherwise Taiwan cannot compete in a globalized marketplace. It cannot enjoy the peace and stability required for survival and development. Two. They are restoring social justice. The Chen family corruption case still has the potential to divide society. Politicians, particularly the Democratic Progressive Party, must heal society's wounds. Our society is filled with injustice and hostility. Society's values have been grossly distorted. The ruling and opposition parties must work together. They must reform the justice system and repair the many gaps in the social system.
2010.12.31 02:41 am