Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Need for New and Unconventional Cross-Strait Policy

No Need for New and Unconventional Cross-Strait Policy
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 1, 2011

Either Tsai Ing-wen or Su Tseng-chang will represent the DPP in the 2012 presidential election. The two candidates made glowing promises during the party primaries. But neither adequately addressed cross-Strait policy. As a result, the two candidates' primary platforms were all flash and no substance.

The primary platforms issued by Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen were similar to those issued by presidential candidates all over the world. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen's rhetoric about students studying under dim lanterns, and college girls afraid of losing their jobs could easily have been incorporated into the campaign speeches of any nation's presidential candidate, But such rhetoric is clearly inadequate for a candidate seeking the Republic of China presidency. Failure to address cross-Strait policy reduces the entire speech to empty boasting.

Tsai Ing-wen's primary platform barely mentioned cross-Strait policy. Su Tseng-chang mentioned it merely in passing. He said "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." Tsai Ing-wen spoke of "peace with differences, peace while seeking commonalities." Su Tseng-chang's "Survival above all, democracy as a foundation" did not appear in his primary platform. Clearly the two candidates were deliberately avoiding, even hiding, from cross-Strait issues. This is the DPP's Achilles Heel. This is also Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen's political Achilles Heel.

Cross-Strait issues are admittedly not the sum total of the ROC's political and economic problems. But they are undoubtedly its most important component. For the ROC, cross-Strait policy must be addressed. Otherwise it is impossible to speak about a vision for the future. If no remedies can be found for cross-Strait ills, then no remedies will be found for our political and economic ills. The Ma administration has laid out its cross-Strait policy, including ECFA. The DPP on the other hand, has failed to offer any comprehensive or substantial proposals in its stead. It even averred that "If elected, it would continue the cross-Strait policy of the previous administration." At the same time, it persists in hurling vague allegations about "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." Tsai Ing-wen even made a fuss about the headstones and funerary urns of candidates' ancestors. On one side of her mouth, she condemned the incumbent for "pandering to [Mainland] China" and "selling out Taiwan." On the other side of her mouth she assured us that "If elected, we will continue the cross-Strait policy of the previous administration." How can she possibly win on a platform like this? And if elected, how could she possibly govern the nation?

It is now over 20 years since martial law was lifted. The Democratic Progressive Party underwent a considerable period during which it experimented with all manner of "new and unconventional" cross-Strait policies. These include the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, the rectification of names, one nation on each side, the Second Republic, de-Sinicization, the referendum to join the UN, the resolution for a normal nation, and other Taiwan independence oriented proposals. These amounted to a history of the DPP's cross-Strait relations counterproposals. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen know perfectly well that these policies are utterly infeasible. But Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are running for elective office. On the one hand, they cannot admit their proposals are infeasible. Doing so would mean losing the support of Green Camp zealots. On the other hand, they cannot avoid the realization that their proposals are infeasible. Otherwise, why would they assure us that "If elected, we will continue the cross-Strait policy of the preceding administration?"

The DPP is trapped within a "now you see it, now you don't, now you see it again" paradox. Su Tseng-chang says "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." He says this because the DPP's new and unconventional proposals have all turned out to be infeasible. He says this because the DPP has run out of new and unconventional proposals to offer.

Almost every one of the Democratic Progressive Party's new and unconventional cross-Strait policy proposals were rooted in Taiwan independence thought. The fundamental premise of Taiwan independence thought has long been "Resistance against the PRC necessitates the overthrow of the ROC." This eventually degenerated into "Resistance against the ROC equals resistance against the PRC." But the domestic and international situation has changed. Gradually the public is seeing things more clearly. It realizes that if it overthrows the ROC, it will be even more difficult to resist the PRC. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are well aware of this fact. That is why they realize there is no room for "new and unconventional" proposals.

Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional. We have long felt this way. We need only return to the constitutional framework of the Republic of China. Future cross-Strait relations will be determined in accordance with the ROC Constitution. The constitutional process must be a democratic process. This naturally implies that "Taiwan's future must be decided by 23 million people." If we can reach such a consenus, we can return to the constitution. We need not concoct anything new and unconventional.

Su Tseng-chang said "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." Tsai Ing-wen meanwhile, avoided the question altogether, This shows that the Democratic Progressive Party has reached the end of its rope. It has nothing new or unconventional to offer. Hsu Hsing-liang has entered the party primaries, Compared to Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen, he comes across as "new and unconventional." But in fact Hsu is merely returning to the mainstream. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are unable to offer anything "new and unconventional" in cross-Strait policy, Yet they want to run for ROC president. As Annette Lu asked of the DPP: Are you ready? Can you be counted on? Do you have the ability?

2011.04.01 03:46 am










Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Missing Presidential Office Case Files Must Be Investigated to the Bitter End

Missing Presidential Office Case Files Must Be Investigated to the Bitter End
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 31, 2011

As incredible as it may seem, over 36,000 Republic of China government files have sprouted wings and disappeared. Included are over 25,000 secret Ministry of Foreign Affairs files. What is even more outrageous, those responsibile for the disappearance of the documents were 17 highly-placed members of former President Chen Shui-bian's Presidential Office.

State documents are national assets, especially since the passage of the Archives Act. All official documents must be filed according to specified procedures. The Archives Act was promoted by the DPP. It was implemented after Ah-Bian assumed office. Prior to the first change in ruling parties, the Chen regime was particularly worried about one thing, the smooth transfer of power. A smooth transfer of power means the military must swear allegiance to the incoming administration. It means the outgoing administration must transfer all government documents to the incoming administration. This will enable successors to know what their predecessors did. This will enable later generations to either carry on or make improvements.

What state of mind would permit an individual responsible for state policy, to cavalierly dispose of documents and thumb his nose at the nation's laws? Just before the second change in ruling parties, Chiang Lian-fu, a member of the legislature, said Chen Shui-bian's Presidential Office had purchased a large number of document shredders and was preparing to shred official documents. Many treated his accusation as a joke. Most denounced it as absurd. They did so based on the assumption that the Head of State was someone who could be trusted.

Who knew that three years later, Chiang would be vindicated? During the Chen regime's eight years in power, vast numbers of documents disappeared from the Presidential Office. Incredibly, the fate of most documents sent to the Presidential Office remains unknown. Only 0.03% of all documents were archived. One cannot excuse Chen Shui-bian by arguing that he had never served as president. After all, he had served as Taipei Mayor. Surely he knew that the documents he approved or had accessed must be archived? Surely he didn't squirrel away official muncipal government documents in his private files?

Three lowly secretaries in the Presidential Office were able to investigate the matter and issue this astonishing report. DPP officials are accusing the Presidential Office of political persecution in advance of the 2012 presidential election. They say it is no wonder the Ma administration's efficiency has been so severely criticized, it took three years to discover that official documents were missing, DPP spokesman Lin Yu-chang said the Presidential Office logs included letters of invitation and private correspondence. Lin asked how could the Presidential Office generalize and mislead the public? But Lin's non sequiteurs merely prove that DPP officials cannot face the truth, that they did nothing while Chen Shui-bian perverted the law for eight long years.

After the Ma administration took office, the Presidential Office was criticized for streamlining itself so drastically that it could no longer bear comparison with the Chen regime. But three secretaries worked all year around for three years. They were able to uncover 100 missing documents. That certainly qualifies as efficiency. The Presidential Office has indeed sent and received many documents. But all documents were logged. They were inventoried on computer. They include large numbers of "secret and unrecorded" documents that had to be logged manually. But do letters of invitation really need to be "secret and unrecorded?" More absurd is that during the Chen regime, all documents addressed to the President, the Vice President, the Secretary General, and Deputy Secretary General were directly turned over to these government officials, in flagrant defiance of the nation's laws.

Stop making wild allegations about political persecution. The Presidential Office is not above the law. A head of state must comply with the nation's laws. Anyone guilty of misplacing, destroying, concealing, or leaking official documents must bear administrative and criminal responsibility. When the Special Investigation Unit was prosecuting the Chen family's corruption, and Chen was in the Taipei Detention Center, it seized 102 boxes. It discovered over 1,500 secret documents. This was a tiny fraction of what the Presidential Office found. The case has yet to be closed. How can the Ma administration refuse to follow up? Does anyone remember Chen Shen-hui, who was responsible for the disbursement of Presidential Office expenses during the Chen regime? The Chen family was busy of embezzling funds. She on the other hand, received a meager salary. Yet she wound up behind bars. How many more Chen Shen-huis does the DPP intend to sacrifice?

The Democratic Progressive Party hopes to return to power after the 2012 presidential campaign. If the DPP were to return to power, would it overlook the misplacing or even destruction of large numbers of documents by highly placed officials within the Ma Ying-jeou administration? The rule of law makes no distinctions between Blue and Green. Even if the DPP were willing to forgive and forget, the public would not. The Ma administration is often criticized for its timidity. But a nation's laws ought to be obeyed. Eight years Chen regime misrule left the nation in chaos. The public wants a president and a government that adheres to the rule of law. Who is the DPP to say no? Are we to understand that if it returns to power, the DPP would repeat the mistakes of the Chen regime?

A year after Chen Shui-bian took office, he published his "Maiden Voyage of the Century." He revealed the secrets behind the transfer of power. He referred to the first change in ruling parties as an "verbal transfer," "a transfer of conscience," as opposed to a "systemic transfer," or "inventory transfer." he said many important events lacked even minutes of the meeting, and left him in a cold sweat. That year, he decided to establish a system for future transfers of political power. Who knew that in his hands a "verbal transfer" would suddenly become a "fraudulent transfer."

For the psst five years, the Chen family corruption scandal has been making waves. For the public, it has been a terrible nightmare. Our cherished democracy has produced a president with total disregard for the rule of law. The public is thoroughly fed up. But the the lost Presidential Office files are more than a link in the Chen family corruption scandal chain. It must be investigated to the bitter end. Ruling party change on Taiwan has become the norm. If the public on Taiwan wants to be the envy of the world, it must perfect its democracy. The first step must be strict oversight of those in power, ensuring that they cannot circumvent the law, This applies to the outgoing president, the current president, and to all future presidential candidates.

總統府檔案佚失案 必須追究到底
2011-03-31 中國時報











Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Money Haunts the White Tower

Black Money Haunts the White Tower
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 30, 2011

More procurement scandals have broken out in public hospitals. The Taoyuan District Court has taken four suspects into custody. They include Department of Health officials, the DOH Hospital Chief, and manufacturers. Others are out on bail and under house arrest. No one who knows anything about the medical community on Taiwan is surprised. Their reactions will be the same as former Director of Health Yang Chi-liang.

In the past, "black money," i.e., bribe money, was rampant in the larger public hospitals on Taiwan. This included implicit or explicit appeals to patients for "red envelopes," to drug manufacturers for kickbacks, to procurement personnel for commissions. It even included compulsory contributions for activities inside and outside the hospital. Fortunately, people are becoming more enlightened. Hospital management systems are gradually straightening out their act. The NHI payment system and joint procurement of drugs have made red envelopes and drug kickbacks increasingly rare. Every now and then however, prosecutors will uncover a hospital procurement scandal involving huge sums, that shock the medical community and society as a whole.

Times have changed. New medical devices swiftly become obsolete. The higher the procurement price, the more exorbitant the commissions. This presents a powerful temptation for anyone. Physicians often find themselves in control of large sums of procurement funds. Vendors lobby them day and night, assuring them they will never be found out. Such temptations are hard to resist. Therefore to those in the know, the procurement scandals that have surfaced so far are merely the tip of the iceberg.

in some large public hospitals, rumors of black money have never ended. Because both parties usually refuse to admit guilt, investigating such cases is not easy. But among some large medical equipment providers, the whispers have never stopped. One key factor is that within medical circles on Taiwan, doctors have long been king, Those in charge of large-scale procurements are usually docotrs. As a result, doctors are usually the ones caught during procurement scandals.

Over the past two years the Department of Health has increased restrictions on the outsourcing of medical operations. This may have improved the situation in some public hospitals, reducing procurement abuses. But it has not solved the problem completely. Will halting the outsourcing of medical operations prevent procurement scandals? No one would dare make such a guarantee. In fact, many hospitals benefit greatly from outsourcing. Medical expenses are reduced while income is increased. Many of these are public hospitals. But when the same measures are introduced in DOH hospitals, they paradoxically become a major source of scandals.

The cause of procurement scandals has nothing to do with outsourcing. It has everything to do with the procurement system itself. The public health care system has long opposed laymen being charged with procuring medical devices. But turning total control over to doctors unwittingly increased the opportunities for dirty money. That is why Chang Gung Memorial Hospital has long separated the requisitioners from the purchasers. The administrative staff forms a group responsible for procurement and bargaining. This makes it impossible for merchants to offer bribes. This model merits consideration.

For physicians to actively refuse bribes requires certain conditions. One way is to ensure that doctors are paid enough to keep them honest. But health insurance benefits continue to shrink. Public hospitals find it hard to make ends meet. Leave aside increases in staff salaries. Young doctors must economize on everything from food to clothing. They must work hard to succeed. When large sums of money pass through their hands, how many can resist? How many are not tempted to take something off the top?

Public hospitals want to reduce disputes over black money. They should consider the hospital's position. Public hospitals are subject to human limitations and to the procurement laws. They must be self-financing. They are non-profit public health providers. Clearly the pressure on them is too great. If public hospitals accept government subsidies, they can remain non-profit. They can avoid becoming profit-oriented. This will naturally reduce the phenomenon of black money. But this means government must underwrite their losses.

If the government is unwilling to underwite such losses, or cannot underwrite such losses, it may wish to transform them. They could be privately managed but publicly owned. Their operations could be cut back. Tainan Municipal Hospital has been privately manageed but publicly owned for 20 years. It remains one of Tainan's important medical institutions, and is very well known. There is no reason DOH hospitals could not change their operating model. Meanwhile, some Department of Health hospitals are located in resource-intensive areas. They have no particular raison d'etre. They long ago lost whatever signficance they had when they were founded. Why not phase them out, consolidate, or transform them? DOH hospitals must separate the wheat from the chaff. This will improve their overall quality.

The scandal has undermined the reputation of the medical community. The medical community must share in the shame. It must feel deep remorse. But hospitals continue to develop, and the temptation of money remains. To avoid deleterious results, they must stress medical ethics. They must also consider more fundamental factors. They must cure the disease at its root, and not merely suppress its symptoms. Only then can they eliminate this chronic illness.

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.30











Monday, March 28, 2011

Lin Chueh-min-min Wants Nothing More than a Ballot

Lin Chueh-min-min Wants Nothing More than a Ballot
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 29, 2011

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Huanghuagang Uprising. It is also Youth Day. When one thinks of Huanghuagang, one invariably thinks of Lin Chueh-min, and the deeply felt, tragic letter he wrote his wife just before his death. It added an exclamation point to the nationalist revolution that will endure through the ages.

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait commemorate the Xinhai Revolution. Both sides commemorate Lin Chueh-min. On Taiwan, TV channels broadcast Lin Chueh-min commercials. "In his letter, he called out to his beloved wife 49 times. Three days later, he died at the Battle of Huanghuagang, and never returned. He was only 24 years old." On the Mainland, the Guangdong Repertory Theatre staged a "Letter to His Wife." It debuted last March at the Taipei City New Stage. Blood red letters filled the air. The scene left the audience incredulous.

The greatness of the Xinhai Revolution was not merely that red-blooded patriots such as Lin Chueh-min overthrew a tyranny in which "the land reeked with the scent of blood, and the streets ran wild with jackals and hyenas." More importantly, the revolution ended two thousand years of tyranny. Hopefully future generations will no longer need a Lin Chueh-min to sacrifice himself resisting tyranny. Hopefully people will simply exercise their right to vote in order to remain masters of their nation and of their government. The greatness of Lin Chueh-min is that he may have made future Lin Chueh-mins superfluous.

The Xinhai Revolution had an indelible impact on both sides of the Strait. On Taiwan, the Republic of China left behind the legacy of the Three People's Principles, i.e., "nationalism, democracy, and the peoples livelihood." This was why Taiwan has been able to survive and develop. This was why the two sides have been able to engage in cross-Strait exchanges and strive for win-win symbiosis. On the mainland, the bankruptcy of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" and of "class struggle" reaffirmed Sun Yat-sen's status as a "revolutionary forerunner." The Xinhai Revolution touted "nationalism, democracy, and the peoples livelihood," It provided a political and ideological alternative. Otherwise, the portrait of Sun Yat-sen would not be displayed opposite that of Mao Zedong, in Tiananmen Square, every November. Even indigenous political activists on Taiwan, beginning with Japanese occupation era figures Lo Fu-hsing, Lin Hsien-tang, Chiang Wei-shui, were inspired and guided by the Xinhai Revolution, and made it "Taiwan's Xinhai Revolution."

The Xinhai Revolution was an historical event nearly erased from our collective memory. On the Mainland, in 1949, the Peoples Republic of China replaced the Republic of China. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution replaced the Nationalist Revolution. The Communist Revolution nearly erased the Xinhai Revolution from our memories. On Taiwan, the "nativization movement" disseminated outright distortions. 2/28 Incident rhetoric hijacked the history of the Xinhai Revolution. De-Sinicization, needless to say, de-emphasized the Xinhai Revolution. But history has retraced its steps. Once again, Republic of China citizens swear allegiance to the Xinhai Revolution. It has also become a common denominator for the two sides of the Strait. Lin Chueh-min has become the symbol of our shared history, and the basis for consensus building.

Then again, 100 years have passed. On Taiwan, the Xinhai Revolution's goal of "one man, one vote" has already been realized. Young people no longer need to follow the example of Lin Chueh-min. They need only acknowledge, appreciate, and exercise their right to vote. On the mainland, they praise the Xinhai Revolution's ideals. But it would be better if they worked toward the goal of universal suffrage. They praise Lin Chueh-min's heroic martyrdom. But it would be better if they gave young people the vote. It would be better if they did not make young people today experience the same despair Lin Chueh-min experienced a century ago.

Merely commemorating Lin Chueh-min as someone who protested corrupt government is not enough. Lin Chueh-min and others embarked on a sacred mission. They established a system for future generations, in which everyone would have a vote. Today both sides are commemorating the Xinhai Revolution. Why not make the goal "giving everyone the vote?"

Mainland China's ultimate goal should be to give everyone the vote. Taiwan's problem is how to ensure that everyone cherishes and makes good use of their votes. Young people on Taiwan today no longer need to be Lin Chueh-min-Mins. But consider the revolution from the perspective of "nationalism, democracy, and the peoples livelihood." The world and the nation are far more complex than they were during Lin Chueh-min's day. During Lin Chueh-min's day, right and wrong were clear cut. Young people could sacrifice their lives for justice. But youth on Taiwan today face competitive pressures from globalization, unpredictable cross-Strait coopetition, Blue vs. Green domestic politics, and the mendacious rhetoric of politicians. A correct understanding of "nationalism, democracy, and the peoples livelihood," individually and collectively, is even more difficult than during Lin Chueh-min's day. Young people on Taiwan today may not need to shed blood and sacrifice their lives like Lin Chueh-min. But the duty imposed upon them is just as heavy, intellectually and emotionally, than the duy imposed upon Lin Chueh-min. They too must make important choices. They too must sacrifice themselves for the ones they love. They too must sacrifice themselves for humanity.

The inscription on the Huanghuagang memorial mourns martyrs such as Huang Hsing-cho and Lin Chueh-min. It reads, "Seventy-two youths in their prime, shed crimson blood in pitched battle. Four hundred trillion sons of the nation, looked on as autumn rains fell upon golden petals." Spring winds and autumn rains. Crimson blood and golden petals. Today's cross-Strait issues can be reduced to a single phrase. Enfranchise the disenfranchised. It is no longer necessary to be a Lin Chueh-min. It is only necessary to ensure that everyone able to vote, feels the same compassion that Lin Chueh-min felt, and cherishes and makes full use of his vote.

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.29










Friday, March 25, 2011

Tsai Ing-wen's Cutthroat Attacks Harm Nuclear Power Plants

Tsai Ing-wen's Cutthroat Attacks Harm Nuclear Power Plants
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 26, 2011

Tsai Ing-wen said that if elected president, she will ensure that Nuclear Plant Four never goes into commercial operation. She also said she would halt construction on the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project.

In fact, if Tsai Ing-wen is elected, she may halt or abolish more than just these two projects. Tsai Ing-wen also said that if the Democratic Progressive Party once again assumes power, it would repudiate the 1992 consensus, rethink ECFA, and abandon "growth first" economic policies.

Tsai Ing-wen has taken the DPP's "cut-throat tactics" to the limit. What are cut-throat tactics? A nation's survival and development requires a macroeconomic framework. This general framework is different for every nation. It is usually difficult to cover every policy issue within this framework. Therefore when dealing with the many policy issues that fall under this general framework, one must often make different choices. For example, for Saudi Arabia, nuclear power generation is not an issue. Relations between the ROK and PRC do not require an SEF. But the ROC has different concerns than Saudi Arabia. When the ROC and the PRC conduct exchanges, they must don white gloves. In other words, specific policies will vary depending upon the general framework. One cannot divorce specific policies from the general framework and deal with them individually.

In the Republic of China, the general political and economic framework involves issues of national allegiance, constitutional allegiance, cross-Strait relations and globalization. Specific policies are more or less subject to constraints imposed by this general framework. The first thing the DPP's cut-throat tactics do, is divorce the general framework from specific policies. Tsai Ing-wen repudiates the general framework of 1992 consensus. She talks only of specific policies, such as cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. She wants a general framework of globalization. But she also wants to suppress cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. Taiwan independence is utterly inconsistent with the general framework of the Republic of China. Yet she persists in addressing specific policies while ignoring the general framework.

The second thing the DPP's cut-throat tactics do, is chop specific policies into even smaller pieces, and incite social division with each of these pieces. The DPP incites as much social division as possible using these pieces. It engages in cut-throat tactics, until no one is left breathing.

Tsai Ing-wen's campaign strategy already shows signs of ignoring the general framework while exploiting specific policy issues. She ignores the general framework of national allegiance, constitutional allegiance, and cross-Strait relations. She ruthlessly exploits specific issues to the hilt. She repudiates the 1992 consensus, thereby appealing to the Deep Greens. She opposes nuclear power generation and the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project, thereby appealing to environmental groups. She expresses support for "lu yi teh" compensation, thereby appealing to army veterans. She opposes the 18% special interest rate, thereby appealing to those who resent civil service retirees. She supports first time voters, thereby appealing to the young. The supports impoverished students, thereby appealing to class consciousness. She bills herself as "rational," thereby appealing to moderate voters.

Tsai Ing-wen would deny that she is calculating. But she calculates that she can ignore the general framework. She calculates that as long as the public loses sight of the general framework, she can address only specific issues and win the presidency. Such cut-throat tactics were not Tsai's invention. They have been the DPP's standard operating procedure for the past 20 years. Take subsidies for seniors and farmers. The DPP knows that its general framework is fragile and questionable. Therefore it avoids talking about it. Instead, it demagogues specific issues.

Does Tsai Ing-wen really oppose the 1992 consensus? She said "If elected, I will continue the former administration's cross-Strait policy." Does Tsai Ing-wen really stand for the total abolition of nuclear power generation? If she does, why not begin by decommissioning Nuclear Plants One, Two, and Three? Does Tsai Ing-wen really oppose the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project? Then why did she lobby on behalf of the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project when it was undergoing EIA, and she was vice premier? Does Tsai Ing-wen really support "lu yi teh" compensation for Army veterans? Then why did she not include full compensation in her campaign platform? From this it should be clear that Tsai Ing-wen ignores the general framework in order to exploit specific issues. When discussing political and economic issues, she puts the cart before the horse. She contradicts herself. She fails to balance the pros and cons, She ignores conflicts of interest. She demagogues isolated issues, but fails to offer a comprehensive plan for governing the nation.

In fact, Tsai Ing-wen is not unaware of the relationship between the general framework and specific policies. During the party primaries she spoke of the general framework. She declared that "Taiwan [sic] is a nation facing a difficult dilemma." She spoke of specific issues. She she declared that "[ROC] sovereignty, diplomacy, economics, fiscal affairs, distribution of wealth, education, public safety, ecology, social welfare, and the rule of law, are complex issues that cannot be reduced to slogans." But now Tsai Ing-wen cannot even offer a decent slogan, such as "peace with differences, peace while seeking commonalities." On specific issues, she calls for a halt in the construction of Nuclear Plant Four, and demagogues the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project. Tsai Ing-wen calls for a halt to construction on Nuclear Plant Four, and the development of renewable energy. She opposes the petrochemical industry. She calls for petrochemical industry restructuring! She opposes the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical project. She says it should be moved to Saudi Arabia! She wants to suppress cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges, She wants to abandon "growth first" economic policies! It would appear that all her policy proposals have been reduced to slogans. Does anyone find that ironic?

Such cut throat tactics cannot successfully build a nation. Tsai Ing-wen may be able to use cut-throat tactics to win the party primary and the presidential election. But when her cut-throat tactics undermine her presidency, how can she possibly "bear the burden of the future?"

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.26











Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cross-Strait Talent Competition Means Taipei Must Let Mainland Students In

Cross-Strait Talent Competition Means Taipei Must Let Mainland Students In
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 25, 2011

The Mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office has announced that beginning this year, Mainland universities will recruit high school graduates from Taiwan without requiring them to take entrance exams. They will broaden their standards to include academic scores from Taiwan. According to estimates, 30,000 or more students on Taiwan will become eligible. Beijing University, Beijing Tsinghua University, Fudan University, and other prestigious Mainland universities will be among the 205 universities listed. Students may apply for admission without entrance exams. Those passing a live interview will be admitted and enrolled.

There is no denying that expanded Mainland recruitment of students from Taiwan will impact university education on Taiwan. The reason is simple. The Mainland is on the rise. Its annual growth rate exceeds eight or nine percent. Well-known universities the world over have all added "understanding of China" to their curriculum. The Mainland is vast. Although its universities are of mixed quality, many of them are famous and historic universities that rank among the world's finest. They have attracted considerable attention. The two sides have the same roots. Culture and language pose no barriers. Attending university there is relatively easy. For students from Taiwan, studying on the Mainland holds considerable appeal.

In addition, the Mainland market has great potential. Cross-Strait exchanges are increasingly close. For Taiwan, the Mainland has become an indispensable partner in economic and trade development. Students from Taiwan studying on the Mainland, can choose to stay on the Mainland or to return to Taiwan for future employment. They enjoy options. From the perspective of workplace diversity, studying on Mainland China also allows students to establish contacts for the future. Of course, another factor cannot be ignored. Tuition and fees for students studying on the Mainland are much lower than for students studying in Europe and the US.

In fact, in recent years more and more students from Taiwan are studying on the Mainland. Over 40% of the children of businessmen from Taiwan on the Mainland, are choosing to stay on the Mainland to study. Last year, for the first time, the Mainland admitted the top 12% of students from Taiwan, based on academic grades, into Mainland universities without requiring entrance exams. Eighty-three high school graduates were admitted to 37 Mainland universities. This year the Mainland has broadened its standards to include the top 25% of all students from Taiwwan. Any student able to gain admission to Fu Jen Catholic University may apply. As one can imagine, the number of students applying for admission to Mainland universities this year has exploded.

So what should the government do? This is more than a competition between schools. This is a competition for human resources. These young people will attend university. After completing their studies, they will become the vanguard of the labor market, They will also become the main force behind the nation's development. The probability of a brain drain has increased. At the same time, we lack the courage to open ourselves up. The Mainland has opened itself up to students from Taiwan, virtually without limits. Taiwan, on the other hand, persists in tying Mainland students hand and foot. We deny them scholarships. We deny them extra credits. We deny them the right to moonlight. We deny them professional certification after graduation. We deny them the opportunity to seek work on Taiwan. Superficially, these restrictions protect the interests of students on Taiwan. In fact they merely limit the possibilities for students from the Mainland. In other words, no matter how good universities on Taiwan might be, the incentive for outstanding students from the mainland to apply will be limited. The result can be imagined. The two sides are competing for outstanding university students. The numbers will rise and fall. The competitiveness of universities on Taiwan is certain to fall. Once it does, a vicious will begin, and they will find it increasingly difficult to attract the best students.

This is not merely a cross-Strait competition for talent. This is a global competition for talent. The Mainland has picked up its pace. Taiwan meanwhile, is spinning its wheels. The Ministry of Education boasts that "The quality of universities on Taiwan is better than those on the Mainland." "We recognize only 41 universites on the Mainland." "The two sides have a tacit understanding to recruit no more than 2000 students." Such whistling in the dark will not reverse our fortunes. Can superior private universities on Taiwan ignore competition from Beijing University, Tsinghua University, and Fudan University? Students from Taiwan studying on Mainland China may attend schools not recognized by the Ministry of Education, But university attendance does not mark the end academic life. The government may refuse to recognize their diplomas. But Europe and the United States will. After graduating from universities on the Mainland, students may seek advanced degrees in Europe or the US. They may or may not return to Taiwan to work or conduct research. Their academic credentials will not be an issue. Far more worrisome is the Ministry of Education's negativity. These outstanding young people may choose never to return. Doesn't that constitute a far greater loss to the nation? Forget the fact that the Ministry of Education lacks the wherewithal to verify whether the Mainland has admitted only 2000 students from Taiwan.

Time waits for no man. The Mainland is undergoing vigorous development. It is not about to wait for Taiwan to catch up. In the face of competition, the government must accelerate our opening up. We must adopt international standards. The Obama administration has decided to send 100,000 students a year to Mainland China. Hong Kong and Singapore are offering generous scholarships to Mainland students. Taipei's policy regarding Mainland students is in clear defiance of gobal trends. This highlights the serious lack of self-confidence on Taiwan.

We live in an era of global competition. National competitiveness is tied to individual competitiveness. The Mainland is rapidly catching up in all areas. It is displaying powerful ambitions. It is liberalizing in one area after another. Even Europe and America must remain vigilant. They cannot afford to take matters lightly. If we constantly tie our own hands, it will negatively impact higher education. it will harm the development of human resources on Taiwan. The government must adopt a more inclusive posture. It must contemplate its own globalization and regional integration. It must contemplate even the Mainland's role as it too undergoes globalization. We were once proud of the "Taiwan experience." We did not impose limits on ourselves. In the face of competition, we must once again open ourselves to the world. We must once again pick up the pace.

兩岸人才競爭 台灣須速開放陸生
2011-03-25 中國時報









Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Political Posturing Worthless During a Disaster

Political Posturing Worthless During a Disaster
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 24, 2011

Summary: The equanimity of the Japanese people during the recent earthquake made the world sit up and take notice. By contrast, the Japanese government was sluggish in its relief efforts. Its response to the nuclear emergency was bungled and disappointing. The government is charged with the distribution of national resources, with determining priorities, and with leading pubic opinion. But when disaster struck, Tokyo was nearly impotent. The disaster revealed the government's incompetence. People need to consider reigning in the power of Leviathan government.

Full Text below:

The equanimity of the Japanese people during the recent earthquake made the world sit up and take notice. By contrast, the Japanese government was sluggish in its relief efforts. Its response to the nuclear emergency was bungled and disappointing. The government is charged with the distribution of national resources, with determining priorities, and with leading pubic opinion. But when disaster struck, Tokyo was nearly impotent. The disaster revealed the government's incompetence. People need to consider reigning in the power of Leviathan government.

Over the past two decades, Japan has remained mired in recession. The same is true on the political stage, where efforts to divide and rule and political unrest have aggravated each other. The recent disaster was a complex disaster. Any government would have been overwhelmed. The Japanese government's performance was worse than usual. It was opaque as well. Local government relief and resettlement efforts were fairly orderly. But the transport of post-disaster relief materiel was relatively slow. Victims suffered from both bereavement and starvation. The civil service, long praised for its machine-like efficiency, seems to have gotten rusty.

The scenario in Japan has held up a mirror to the public on Taiwan, and allowed them to see their own problems. Faced with a major crisis similar to Japan's, could we do better? This is probably a question neither the ruling and opposition parties, nor anyone else on Taiwan can answer in the affirmative. No one in our current political environment cares a whit about making advance preparations for future disasters, or about solving social problems. They care only about paving the way for their own political ambitions, and erecting obstacles in the path of their political opponents. Once disaster strikes, the first reaction of politicians is to point fingers at others, and make excuses for themselves. No one is willing to approach problems pragmatically.

The March 20 anti-nuclear protest march was a stark example. Radiation leakages in Japan have forced the public on Taiwan to rethink the issues. New responses to nuclear power plant safety management and crisis response are needed. We may even need to consider alternatives to nuclear power generation. This should have been the goal of the protest march. This activity was initiated by environmental groups. Yet Green Camp politicians normally indifferent to these issues positioned themselves at the head of the procession, They hogged the media limelight. They usurped the protest march, and turned it into a campaign rally. Environmentalists were pushed to the back of the procession. Kungliao villagers were ignored from start to finish. Political grandstanding reached new lows.

The DPP has shrilly opposed nuclear power generation for 20 years. But when it was in office, it first halted then restarted construction on Nuclear Plant Four. Now that it is once again in the opposition, it has returned to shouting anti-nuclear slogans. Its repeated waffling grossly increased the cost of Nuclear Plant Four, and repeatedly delayed its completion. The introduction of more variables has jeopardized future security. Worst of all, the DPP has never sought to make nuclear oversight and management more professional. It has sought only to hog the anti-nuclear spotlight. How can such opportunism possibly promote the safe use of nuclear energy?

The DPP's anti-nuclear posturing is merely one example. Everyday on Taiwan, the political agenda brims over with hypocritical expressions of concern. None of them ever hit their targets, because none of them are rooted in professionalism or genuine concern. That is why they are expressed in such strident terms. That is why they required props and sensationalism. That is why city and county council members insisted on brandishing flaming torches. That is why legislators demanded that a Japanese flag be flown at half mast. That is why they demanded that Taipower present a list of 50 deceased persons. That is why they made political hay out of the inscription on someone else's funerary urn. Which of these political gestures did anything to promote the public welfare? Which of these political gestures was sincere, responsible, and substantive?

Democracy on Taiwan has spun its wheels for over a decade. It has transitioned from a multi-party system to a two party system. The energies of both the ruling and opposition parties have been squandered on electioneering, mobilization, and the struggle for power, not on growing the economy. The situation is clear to see. First, politicians engage in theatrical question and answer sessions. They undermine official efforts to maintain professionalism, while offering no solutions of their own. Secondly, politicians use ideology to distort the significance of real world events. They prevent anyone else from finding solutions to the problems. Thirdly, politicians resort to populist demagoguery. They engage in glib sophistry. They abet the rise of extremism. Those unwilling to sink so low soon take themselves out of the running. Politicians on Taiwan have created far more problems than they have ever solved.

In times of peace, populist grandstanding merely results in overspending. But in times of crisis, the truth emerges. Japan experienced a three in one disaster. Politicians in Tokyo spouted pious rhetoric. Self-disciplined members of the public on the other hand, helped maintain social order. Courageous rescuers laid down their lives attempting to bring the nuclear disaster under control. If not for them, who knows where Japan might be? The disaster has taught the public on Taiwan a lesson. When disaster strikes, political grandstanding is worthless. A nation can successfully respond to a crisis only if the ruling and opposition parties forsake their habit of empty posturing. The public must vote out politicians who only blow hot air.

A number of politicians are vying for the presidency, They are seeking high office. But have they ever considered the weighty responsibility they must assume? Are they really prepared?

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.24










Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The DPP Must Do More Than Offer A Pie in the Sky

The DPP Must Do More Than Offer A Pie in the Sky
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 23, 2011

Yesterday Su Tseng-chang declared his candidacy in the Democratic Progressive Party presidential primary. On Sunday he revealed the first plank in his campaign platform. He joined the anti-nuclear march, and endorsed the decommissioning of Nuclear Plants One, Two, and Three, and a halt to construction on Nuclear Plant Four.

Herein lies one of the fundamental problems with the DPP -- its inconsistency and constant waffling. It opposes nuclear power generation. But during its eight years in power, it first halted, then resumed construction on Nuclear Plant Four. The premier at the time was Su Tseng-chang. The vice premier at the time was Tsai Ing-wen. At the time, Su never gave a second thought to halting construction. Yet now he is calling for the total abolition of nuclear power generation. By the same token, during the DPP's eight years in power, it championed the Five Noes, it upheld the Republic of China, It put on a good show, swearing allegiance up and down. On the other hand, it championed the "rectification of names" and the "referendum to join the UN." It blanked out Chen Shui-bian's reluctant admission that "if it can't be done, it can't be done." Yet now the "one nation on each side connection" has become an influential faction within the party, a tail that wags the dog.

A nuclear-free homeland is of course a desirable goal. But the DPP was in power for eight years. Why did it do nothing to establish a non-nuclear homeland? Nor is Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation inconceivable. Why did the DPP do nothing during its eight years in power, other than engage in self-deception and deception of others?

All three DPP presidential hopefuls have the temerity to prattle on about "the future." Annette Lu, who withdrew at the moment of truth, boasted of a "grand future for Taiwan and the world." Tsai Ing-wen proclaimed that "I have heard the voice of Taiwan: It calls to the new generation, and urges them to seize the future." Su Tseng-chang meanwhile, spoke of "facing the future, with our feet on the ground." But the DPP was in power for eight years. Did it not promise to seize the future back then? Yesterday's future has become today's past. The DPP's non-nuclear future never came to pass. Its dream of Taiwan independence lies in ruins. The stench of DPP corruption assaults our nostrils. Yet it is now demanding another chance, a chance to lead us toward some sort of "grand future." What sort of bizarre political experiment does it intend to inflict upon us this time around?

This is perhaps the DPP's most important trait. The DPP ignores the past. How did it manage to leave such a mess after eight years in office? The DPP ignores the present, Does it recognize the 1992 Consensus? Does it intend to "continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy?" The DPP recognizes only "the future." Two thousand years ago, the "Li Yun Datong" made far more spectacular promises than the DPP. We hardly need Su and Tsai to paint us a "grand future" pie in the sky.

Su and Tsai both talk of the future. But is there really any difference between the futures they promise? Each boasts that his or her future is better than the other's. But might not they announce a Tsai/Su ticket or Su/Tsai ticket in the blink of an eye? Might not they call for "unity," in order to divvy up the power and the loot? In fact, if we look at the declarations they made during the party primary, it is hard to see any real difference between the futures they promised. Tsai boasts about ushering in a "new generation," but merely to underscore her relative youth. Su boasts of "transcendence," but merely to underscore his seniority, and how well he has kept up with the times. But if we examine the two candidates' rhetoric more closely, what do we find besides empty talk? How does the two candidates' rhetoric differ from past DPP rhetoric? How does the two candidates' rhetoric differ from each other? The two candidates are afraid to face up to the DPP's past. All they can do is reflexively criticize the status quo, Can they really lead the DPP and the ROC to any sort of future by this alone?

Tsai and Su made ringing proclamations about the future during the party primary. They even did so during their introductions. Tsai addressed young students. Su responded to questions from college girls. Both invoked Yang Shu-chung, sitting on the ground weeping during the Guangzhou Asian Games. Both dodged questions about cross-Strait relations. Tsai Ing-wen failed to utter a single word about Mainland policy. Su Tseng-chang argued against the introduction of "novelty and oddity" in cross-Strait matters." Both candidates denounced the Ma administration's three year term as devoid of merit. But neither drew any honest comparisons with the DPP's eight years in office. The two candidates rhapsodized about a Brave New World. But neither offered any clue as to how they would realize their Utopias.

Su and Tsai both need to answer for their eight years in office. They both need to offer comprehensive strategies for the nation's survival. They cannot merely fantasize about a rosy future. After all, the people have already experienced eight years of the future promised them by the DPP.

Annette Lu has pulled out of the race. She has ended her controversial political career. She had the good fortune to occupy a position in which she could have leveraged her political influence to maximum advantage. Alas, her personality quirks prevented her from fully exploiting her good fortune. She was Vice President of the Republic of China for eight years. As we look back at her years in office, we realize how absurd and terrifying politics can be, and we no longer know whether to laugh or to cry.

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.23










Monday, March 21, 2011

Are Ma Ho-ling and Tsai Chieh-sheng Running for President?

Are Ma Ho-ling and Tsai Chieh-sheng Running for President?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 22, 2011

The earthquake in Japan disrupted Tsai Ing-wen's campaign schedule. On the morning of March 11, she ceremoniously declared her candidacy. By that afternoon however, her announcement was totally drowned out by news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Tsai Ing-wen found herself buried beneath a landslide of news reports on the disaster of the century. Five days later, Tsai Ing-wen finally dug herself out from under the rubble. Who knew the very first election topic she would toss out, would be the funerary urn of President Ma's father Ma Ho-ling, and the headstone of her own father Tsai Chieh-sheng.

Tsai Ing-wen told reporters that her father's tombstone contained the inscription "Pingtung Feng Gang," whereas the funerary urn of President Ma's father contained the inscription, "defuse Taiwan independence, promote gradual reunification." Tsai Ing-wen said she was simply underscoring the difference between the headstone and funerary urn for the two fathers, and how these differences symbolized their differing allegiances.

Tsai Ing-wen has used this issue as the opening volley in her run for the presidency. We are both surprised and disappointed. How is this such demagoguery any different from previous DPP attacks on Ma Ying-jeou as a "poodle," as [afflicted with] "Hong Kong foot" (athlete's foot), and as "Ma Tong" (toilet bowl)? During the party primaries Tsai Ing-wen urged the nation to "Cease inciting confrontation and hatred," and to "Extricate Taiwan from the politics of mob passions, and lead it toward the politics of rational persuasion." Is this what Tsai Ing-wen considers rational persuasion?

Tsai Ing-wen has compared Ma Ho-ling's funerary urn to Tsai Chieh-sheng's headstone. Does this qualify as "the politics of rational persuasion?" Are we to understand that Tsai Ing-wen's ringing declaration during the party primaries, has not held up for even five days? Tsai Ing-wen insisted that she was merely underscoring a "difference in allegiances." She insisted that she was merely pointing out the fact that Tsai Chieh-sheng's tombstone identified him as a native of Feng Gang, not Zhangzhou. In fact of course, Tsai Ing-wen was conducting another form of "rectification of names." In fact she was implying that the inscription on Ma Ho-ling's funerary urn, "defuse Taiwan independence, promote gradual reunification" prove that President Ma is descended from someone who "pandered to [Mainland] China, and sold out Taiwan."

This was the opening volley in Tsai Ing-wen's presidential campaign. The gunpowder she used was "rectification of names." The bullet she used was "ancestry." Tsai Ing-wen put her own spin on the Two Ying's confrontation. She not only compared Tsai Ing-wen with Ma Ying-jeou, she even compared Tsai Chieh-sheng with Ma Ho-ling.

The fact is, Ma Ho-ling's last wish, calling for the "defusing of Taiwan independence, and the promotion of gradual reunification," was merely his personal wish. President Ma has proposed "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force." That is national policy. By contrast, the inscription on Tsai Chieh-sheng's tombstone could read Zhangzhou. It could read Feng Gang. Either way, it too was merely his personal wish. It could have been inscribed with Yingchuan, Jinjiang, Longxi, or Quanzhou. None of this proves that anyone "did not love Taiwan." None of this supports Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy White Paper. In short, this is anything but the "politics of rational persuasion."

If Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen confront each other during the presidential election, they must compare their national policy proposals, and not the personal wishes expressed by Ma Ho-ling on his funerary urn, or Tsai Chieh-sheng on his headstone.

Tsai Ing-wen trumpets a "new generation." She aspires to the establishment of a "new political culture." But instead, she chose to demagogue funerary urns and headstones. If anything, her gesture is even more contemptible than taunting Ma Ying-jeou by calling him a "poodle," accusing him of "being afflicted with Hong Kong feet" (athletes foot), or referring to him as a "Ma Tong" (toilet bowl). That's because calling Ma Ying-jeou a "poodle" is directed only at Ma Ying-jeou as an individual. Demagoguing funerary urns, on the other hand, drags his ancestors into the picture.

Chen Shui-bian engaged in rampant corruption, and pocketed astronomical amounts of wealth. Yet Chen Chih-chung's "one nation on each side connection" is now an important faction within the DPP. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to issue a single word in condemnation of Chen Shui-bian and Chen Chih-chung's criminal complicity. Does she want President Ma to schlep his late father's funerary urn around with him, while she lugs her late father's headstone as they run for president? Does this qualify as the "politics of rational persuasion?"

It is true that allegiance to the nation, allegiance to the constitution, and cross-Strait relations, are likely to be the focus during any upcoming presidential election debates. But the debate should not be about Ma Ho-ling's funerary urn or Tsai Chieh-sheng's headstone. The debate should be over concrete policy measures that have already been implemented. These include questions such as whether Tsai Ing-wen recognizes the 1992 Consensus, One China, Different Interpretations, ECFA, whether the OECD will continue functioning, whether fruit and milkfish will be sold, whether she agrees with "No [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force," whether she will continue direct flights, and whether she will continue the policies of the preceding administration. These questions have nothing to do with Ma Ho-ling's funerary urn or Tsai Chieh-sheng's headstone. They are however the questions that ought to be asked during any presidential election policy debate.

Over the past three years, President Ma's policy measures have been explicitly informed by his allegiance to the nation, allegiance to the constitution, and his cross-Strait policy premises. Tsai Ing-wen is the one who has exceeded her brief. She is the one whose policy proposals are diametrically opposed to allegiance to the nation, allegiance to the constitution and the current administration's cross-Strait policy. Answers to these issues will not be found in Ma Ho-ling's funerary urn or Tsai Chieh-sheng's headstone. That is because Ma Ho-ling and Tsai Chieh-sheng are not running for president.

Tsai Ing-wen's opening volley was both a surprise and a disappointment. Her take on the matter was so off base, it underscored the vacuum at the heart of her political rhetoric. Her rhetoric is tough on the outside, but hollow on the inside. Tsai Ing-wen said "We must travel a different road." Apparently the road she wants us to travel is strewn with funerary urns and headstones. It is different indeed.

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.22














Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reading the Tsai/Su Script

Reading the Tsai/Su Script
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 21, 2011

In March last year, Su Tseng-chang announced his candidacy for Mayor of Taipei. This forced Tsai Ing-wen, in accordance with her own Two Cities script, to run for Mayor of Xinbei City. Today Tsai Ing-wen has seized the inititative and announced her candidacy for president in 2012. This has forced Su Tseng-chang to play by her script.

Rumor has it Tsai Ing-wen's script called for "the winner to run for president, and the loser to run for the legislature." Tsai and Su would compete in the primaries. Whoever lost would be put at the top of the party roster for legislator without portfolio. He or she would then head up the party's bid for an absolute majority in the legislature. When the news broke, Tsai Ing-wen admitted that some aspects of this proposal had been floated before, but that they were absolutely not Tsai's idea. The suggestion that it was however, is not far-fetched.

The DPP leadership abruptly said it "had no particular objection" to consolidating the presidential and legislative elections, confirming that such a script existed. Consider the matter from Tsai Ing-wen's perspective. The winner of the party primaries runs for president. The loser runs for the legislature. This allows her to avoid being made one half of either a Tsai/Su ticket or a Su/Tsai ticket. If Tsai wins the primaries, she can refuse to be part of a Tsai/Su ticket. On the other hand, If Su wins, Tsai can refuse to be part of a Su/Tsai ticket. Furthermore, if the presidential and legislative elections are merged, a Tsai/Su ticket or Su/Tsai ticket would force the two to run together, on the same ticket. Such a coordinated attack would result in a multiplier effect. But suppose the legislative elections are held first, and the presidential election is held later? The result of coopetition between Tsai and Su or Su and Tsai could be unpredictable. The Tsai Ing-wen camp probably believes it can win the primary. That is why it cooked up this particular script; In other words, it wanted to force Su Tseng-chang to run for the legislature. This would block the straightjacket of a Tsai/Su ticket. If the presidential election and legislative elections are merged, Su Tseng-chang will be unable to make trouble. He will be forced to throw his support behind Tsai Ing-wen. Furthermore, suppose the presidential election and legislative elections are held separately? Suppose , the results of the legislative elections are not as favorable as the DPP hoped for? This could undermine the momentum of the DPP's presidential campaign. But if the presidential election and the legislative elections are held on the same day, and the results announced on the same day, then this will not be a concern. Therefore "the winner runs for president, and the loser runs for the legislature" and merging the presidential election with the legislative elections has now become the DPP's strategy..

What Su Tseng-chang finds hardest to swallow, is reports that DPP leaders believe President Ma Ying-jeou may be reelected. Such reports say that if Tsai Ing-wen feels confident of victory during the current presidential election, the DPP will nominate her. Conversely, if Tsai Ing-wen does not feel confident, the party will nominate Su Tseng-chang. This would avoid undermining Tsai Ing-wen's momentum, and maximize her chances of winning in the 2016 election. Confronted by such sentiments within the party, Su Tseng-chang must be deeply disgruntled.

Tsai and Su differ primarily in their age. Tsai can run in 2012. She can also run in 2016. But 2012 will probably be Su Tseng-chang's last hurrah. Tsai Ing-wen is competing with Su Tseng-chang in the presidential primaries. Not only that, if she loses the party primaries, she will refuse to be part of a Su/Tsai ticket. This has left Su Tseng-chang no room to maneuver. The party sees Tsai Ing-wen as the frontrunner. It has tilted in her direction. Tsai Ing-wen is also far more popular than Su Tseng-chang. Now consider the matter from Su Tseng-chang's perspective, Tsai Ing-wen is a Johnny Come Lately to the DPP. She has offered little besides empty rhetoric, She has failed to set forth any "outside the box" political concepts or policy proposals. Yet based on this, she is calling for a "new generation" to elbow aside the "old generation." How must Su Tseng-chang feel about that?

Tsai Ing-wen said she is not political enough. She does not know how to make political calculations. But she seized the initiative, and declared her candidacy. She promoted the idea that "the winner should run for president, the loser should run for the legislature." She also promoted the idea that the DPP "has no particular objection to merging the presidential and legislative elections." She precisely calculated the impact of Tsai/Su coopetition. She didn't miss a trick. Tsai Ing-wen clearly does know how to make political calculations. Su Tseng-chang is hoping for a Su/Tsai ticket, or failing that, a Tsai/Su ticket. But Tsai has only one goal, to run for president. She does not want a Su/Tsai ticket. She wants to rid herself of a Tsai/Su ticket. She apparently believes that Tsai can do without Su, but Su cannot do without Tsai.

For Tsai Ing-wen, such political calculations have all been calmly and rationally mapped out. Leave aside Su Tseng-chang's personal interests and preferences. Is not "the winner runs for president, the loser runs for the legislature" the fairest and most synergetic strategy? Moreover, if Tsai wants to run for president, she must rid herself of Su Tseng-chang or Annette Lu. She must also rid herself of the fetters attached to her by the Old Guard within the Green Camp.

We said that Tsai Ing-wen's "three in one goal" includes generational power transfer, waging a presidential campaign, and transforming the party's political platform. Among these, the key is generational change. Su Tseng-chang and Annette Lu were her targets during the party primaries. Furthermore, suppose she is elected and takes office. Suppose she fails to promote Green Camp generational change, and transform the party's political platform. She will find herself walking down the same path as Chen Shui-bian. She will "win the election, but lose her ideals."

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.21









Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Apocalypse

Japan's Nuclear Apocalypse
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 18, 2011

A powerful earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter Scale triggered an explosion and radiation leakage at a Japanese nuclear power plant. Nations the world over are in a panic. The European Union described the huge nuclear disaster in Japan as an "apocalypse." It said Tokyo authorities have already lost control. Foreign reports call the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident one of the three worst nuclear power plant accidents in history. It is already considered more serious than the U.S. nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. If the situation deteriorates even further, it may be considered even more serious than the Russian nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

Officials are attempting to allay public fears. Over the past several days, officials from the Executive Yuan Atomic Energy Council have repeatedly assured the public that the impact of the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident on Taiwan will be limited. But this is not the reaction of governments the world over. On the 16th, during a U.S. Congressional hearing, Gregory B. Jaczko, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that the pool of water for storing spent fuel rods at the Number Four Reactor in the Fukushima nuclear power plant had already dried up, He said the situation was more serious than Japanese officials are willing to say. The U.S. has proposed the withdrawal of its citizens from a wider area around the Fukushima nuclear power plant than Japan has suggested.

Yukiya Amano is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a watchdog agency for the United Nations. Amano said he is prepared to go to Japan and obtain first-hand information. Amano considers developments at the Fukushima nuclear power plant "very serious." But he says it is too early to characterize the situation as "out of control."

The European Union uses nuclear power generation more than any other region of the world. It is concerned about the fallout from this incident. One-third of the electricity used by the EU comes from nuclear power generation. It accounts for 15% of its total energy use. According to European Nuclear Society (ENS) statistics, Europe has a total of 195 nuclear reactors in operation. Of these, 143 are in EU countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have agreed to include nuclear safety on the agenda at the G20 Summit, to be held in France at the end of March.

Despite intense reactions from these advanced nations, the Executive Yuan Atomic Energy Council remains firm. It has made a number of calculations based on certain assumptions. It assumed that 10 units at the Fukushima plant leaked high dosages of radioactive material. It assumed the worst, that winds blew toward Taiwan. It assumed that the radioactive material was 13 times as serious as Chernobyl. It assumed that Taiwan was located downwind from Fukushima. It assumed that the radioactive material would take 120 hours to reach Taiwan and spread through the atmosphere. Based on these assumptions, it said that over two days, the cumulative dose of radiation per hour for the public on Taiwan would be 7.3 mSv, less than the baseline measurement of 10 mSv. Over seven days the accumulated radiation dose would be 25.5 mSv, less than the 50 to 100 mSv standard mandating evacuation. It would even be less than the 100 mSv standard mandating iodine tablets.

The Atomic Energy Council concluded its remarks. But yesterday, Japan's three largest airports tested returning travelers for radiation exposure. They tested over 4000 visitors. Among them, 26 were slightly exposed. They were treated and retested. None had any problems. Nevertheless, the results show that concerns about radioactivity are not groundless.

Reactions from nations the world over show that the Fukushima nuclear power plant radiation leak has become the world's most significant nuclear power plant disaster. Even the Japanese Ministry of Education admitted that approximately 20 km northwest of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, it detected 330 mSv of radiation per hour. That is 6600 times the norm. Japan's technological standards and management capabilities are higher than those on Taiwan. When even nuclear power plants on Japan are subject to such accidents, how can nuclear power plants on Taiwan remain immune? The council's reassurances are clearly contrary to common sense. This is why the more the Atomic Energy Council urges everyone not to panic, the more the public considers the council's reassurances meaningless.

Radiative contamination is a risk management issue. Nature includes background radiation. We are exposed to radiation every time we are X-rayed. The public does not expect zero exposure to radiation. The problem is the manner in which the government has chosen to address the public. The result is inevitable. The speaker drones on, but the listener dismisses everything he has heard. Therefore, the most pressing issue in disaster prevention education is how to establish a society able to cope, through risk analysis and risk management.

Japan is a country which places a high value on risk management. A natural disaster struck, and led to a nuclear power plant radiation leak that shocked the world. The ROC government considers nuclear power a strategy to reduce carbon emissions and prevent global warming, Japan's earthquake experience tells us we must address the issues of nuclear power plant safety and radiation leakage. We must reexamine energy generation policy from the perspective of disaster management and security. We must adopt a professional perspective, weighing advantages against disadvantages. Disaster prevention and mitigation must include risk management measures. Information must be open and transparent. We must seek a public consensus. Only then can we allay public fears about the safety of nuclear power generation.

中時電子報 新聞
中國時報  2011.03.18


 為了安撫民心,這幾天行政院原子能委員會官員一再對外說:日本福島核電廠事件對台灣,不會影響或是影響有限;反觀世界各國的反應卻非如此:美國核子管理委員會 (NRC)主委亞茲柯十六日在美國國會聽證會上表示,福島核電廠四號反應爐廢燃料棒儲存池的水已經乾涸,災情比日本官方說法嚴重,而美方建議福島核電廠附近美僑撤離範圍比日方宣布範圍廣。








Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Official Chest-thumping No Solution for Radiation Scare

Official Chest-thumping No Solution for Radiation Scare
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 17, 2011

Summary: The Japanese government has announced that the level of radiation in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Number One is too high. Therefore all plant personnel will be evacuated. This is tantamount to a declaration that the plant is being abandoned. This means that the disaster may worsen. The amount of radioactive material released into the atmosphere has reportedly increased. When it comes to fighting enemies, we must anticipate the worst, and prepare for the worst. This must be our basic attitude, When it comes to radioactive materials, the public naturally wants to believe the government's assurances that "Everything is fine!" But the government cannot merely thump its chest. If it does, it may soon find its back to the wall.

Full Text below:

The Japanese government has announced that the level of radiation in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Number One is too high. Therefore all plant personnel will be evacuated. This is tantamount to a declaration that the plant is being abandoned. This means that the disaster may worsen. The amount of radioactive material released into the atmosphere has reportedly increased.

When the earthquake first occurred, officials in charge assured the public more than once that radioactive contaminants would not leak from the power plant. The power plant experienced a series of hydrogen gas explosions. But Japanese officials insisted that "hydrogen gas explosions are not nuclear explosions," therefore were no danger to public health. Only when the situation deteriorated, did they admit that radioactive materials had leaked. Only then did they enlarge the evacuation zone. The U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan withdrew to a position off the coast of Fukushima, highlighting the severity of the radiation leakage. Rescue helicopters flew through clouds to reach the affected areas. Upon their return, crew members and helicopter fuselages revealed clear signs of radiation exposure. The radiation leaks cannot be minimized.

Nuclear energy officials on Taiwan have remained tight-lipped about whether radioactive fallout would reach Taiwan. All they have been willing to say is that they probably will not, that the fallout will be diluted, that winds over Japan are currently blowing from the west, and that "They absolutely will not reach Taiwan." In short, they think there is virtually no risk. But the public remains skeptical of such official assurances. They have stopped buying oysters, scallops, Aomori apples, and Fukushima peaches from Miyagi Prefecture. They even have doubts about dairy products, which have yet to feel the impact on the food chain. Ordinary people who would normally visit the night markets on Taiwan, now prefer to avoid the radiation. For them "It is safer to stay at home." As a result, business has fallen roughly thirty percent.

This is not because the public entertains stereotypes about officials who thump their chests and offer loud assurances. It is because the hazards of radiation are cumulative, and increase geometrically. They accumulate in the body. They harm not just the current generation. Genetic mutations are passed on to the next generation as well. When confronting disaster, we must anticipate the worst, and prepare for the worst. We cannot simply hope that winds will blow the contaminants out over the Pacific Ocean and dilute the fallout. Such assurances are little more than asking for Buddha's blessing.

In April of last year the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted. Volcanic ash reached Asia and the Americas. That was because the volcanic ash reached the stratosphere. It was caught by jet streams and carried along. The smoke and dust discharged from Fukushima failed to reach such altitudes. Tropospheric transport is unstable. Officials are attempting to defuse public panic. They claim that "Currently the winds are from the west. The U.S. may need to be careful. But Taiwan is all right!" Such rhetoric reveals a lack of understanding. Wind direction is subject to abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure and altitude. Currently the winds over Japan's earthquake-stricken areas are no longer from the west.

The government is hoping for favorable winds. It has set up monitors at the three nuclear power plants on Taiwan, and at 50 other locations. It intends to monitor radiation doses and to post the results on the Internet, It will provide the public with real-time information. This is a progressive measure. It will enable the public to immediately grasp the situation regarding radiation pollution. We approve. But such measures are reactive. The choice of monitoring locations was subjective. They should have been studied in greater depth. Radioactive materials do not remain in the air. With rain, they enter the soil, water, plants, and the food chain. People eating fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, and fish may ingest radioactive materials. This is not something monitoring radiation doses in the atmosphere can guard against. Besides, suppose the radiation detected reaches dangerous levels? What are we suppose to do then? Besides evading and covering up problems, what has the government done?

People want to believe the government's assurances that "Everything is fine!" But they must first witness the government take concrete actions. Consider the 1986 Japanese response to the release of radioactive material during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26 the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred. First, the Japanese government confirmed that the disaster was serious, Then it established, for the very first time, a Disaster Prevention and Countermeasures Headquarters, directly answerable to the Prime Minister. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture, universities, research institutions, scientific research institutions, the military, and NGOs were all mobilized. All of Japan, including land, sea, air, water, soil, and living organisms, were categorized and thoroughly monitored.

Monitoring continued for one month. It confirmed traces of radioactive contamination. Nuclear energy officials were joined by experts in public health, nuclear medicine, and environmental medicine. All participated in the survey, signed the investigation report, and adjourned the task force. Concrete and responsible action enabled the Japanese to believe in the government's findings.

International nuclear authorities have classified the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a Level Six "Serious Accident," second only to Chernobyl. This implies a serious leak of radioactive materials. This means that contingency plans must be initiated. The United Nations IAEA is planning an emergency meeting next week. It will discuss measures to combat the continuous increase of radioactive materials. It has adopted a cautious attitude regarding Japan's nuclear disaster. This contrasts sharply with our own government's smugly confident attitude. Premier Wu Den-yih put it well when he said we must not be overconfident in our predictions.

When it comes to fighting enemies, we must anticipate the worst, and prepare for the worst. This must be our basic attitude, When it comes to radioactive materials, the public naturally wants to believe the government's assurances that "Everything is fine!" But the government cannot merely thump its chest. If it does, it may soon find its back to the wall.

【聯合報╱社論】 2011.03.17