Saturday, September 29, 2007

Grand Justices must be Defenders of the Republic of China Constitution

Grand Justices must be Defenders of the Republic of China Constitution
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 28, 2007

The Legislative Yuan yesterday exercised its power to approve the president's choices for the Vice President of the Judicial Yuan and eight Grand Justices. Each of the nominees was voted up or down individually, on a "one man, one vote" basis. The result was the Vice President of the Judicial Yuan and four Grand Justices were approved, but four other nominees for Grand Justice were not.

The Council of Grand Justices has 15 members, eight of whose terms overlap the terms of the other seven. Beginning in 2003, eight members began serving four year terms. The other seven began serving eight year terms. When the four year terms of the eight members expire, their replacements will serve eight year terms. Henceforth every four years, half the members (i.e., eight or seven) of the Council of Grand Justices will be replaced. The current personnel replacement is the first of its kind. The system was designed to prevent any single president from nominating the entire Council of Grand Justices. But in fact Chen Shui-bian nominated the first 15 members. And he is now nominating the first eight replacements. Chen Shui-bian is highly controversial. His legitimacy is in serious question. Therefore the nomination and approval process for the Grand Justices, and how they interpret the constitution once they are seated on the bench, will inevitably provoke widespread debate and intense controversy.

The Grand Justices must be Defenders of the Republic of China Constitution. From their lofty perches, the Grand Justices must have a farsighted, visionary understanding of the requirements of Constitutional Republicanism. The Grand Justices must have the moral courage to implement the letter and spirit of the nation's basic law. Otherwise they don't deserve their exalted status. The current Council of Grand Justices has left the public deeply disillusioned. Their interpretations of the constitution reflect surrender to political expedience and obedience to political authority.

Consider the following three interpretations of the constitution: 1. The 319 Truth Commission Case, 2. The National Communications Commission (NCC) Case, and 3. The State Affairs Confidential Expense Case. The 319 Shooting Incident cast serious doubt on the legitimacy of Chen Shui-bian's second term in office. The case was assigned to ordinary law enforcement agencies, including the National Security Bureau, local police, investigators, and prosecutors. Because those suspected of a crime were entrusted to investigate the crime, the public found it impossible to lend any credence to the process. Every day the case remained uninvestigated, was another day Chen Shui-bian remained under suspicion. Obviously this undermined both the legitimacy of his regime and its ability to govern. A special investigative agency established by the Legislature, consisting of both ruling and opposition party members, was the only feasible solution, the only one that stood a chance of gaining the public's trust. But the DPP chose to stonewall, invoking a non-existent and ludicrous "administrative right of resistance." After which it demanded a constitutional interpretation. Grand Justices telephoned legislators attempting to exert undue pressure on them. They even attempted to nullify the constitutionally delegated investigative powers of the Legislature, in order to squelch the Truth Commission. The Grand Justices intended to give Chen Shui-bian a helping hand. In fact they merely guaranteed that Chen Shui-bian would never regain any political legitimacy. That his regime would spin its wheels for the next several years, to the detriment of the nation, and even to the detriment of Chen himself. This is mere one example of the Grand Justices' pusillanimity and myopia under the pressures of realpolitik.

The composition of the NCC is determined differently from other institutions. The reason is governments in recent years have refused to govern in accordance with law. Instead they have manipulated administrative agencies in accordance to their private whims. The opposition parties could no longer allow the Executive Yuan to monopolize the nomination process. They demanded a role for the legislature in determining the composition of the NCC. Given today's political reality, such demands are eminently reasonable. The Executive Yuan, through the Central Election Commission, illegally linked "referenda," more accurately referred to as "plebiscites," with the 2003 presidential election. Yet the Grand Justices turned a blind eye to this unconstitutional behavior. They refused to acknowledge the need for an independent NCC. They hid behind the pretense of "maintaining the separation of powers." They denied the right of the Legislative Yuan to participate in the process. This is how the Grand Justices rationalize their behavior.

The Grand Justices did not prevent the courts from trying suspects in the State Affairs Confidential Expense Case. What the Grand Justices did instead, was invent a "Executive Secrets Privilege," and special evidence and evidentiary procedures, providing Chen Shui-bian with a convenient escape clause. They enabled Chen to use secrecy laws to make all evidence and court records that could convict him unavailable, permanently, in perpetuity, thereby achieving the goal of preventing the case from going to trial. The Grand Justices' "interpretation" of law was tantamount to "making" of law. They were "legislating from the bench." They were willing to be used by Chen Shui-bian. They were eager to be used by Chen Shui-bian. This is a clear illustration of how the Grand Justices' behavior has undermined justice in the State Affairs Confidential Expense Case.

The nominees for the next Council of Grand Justices are mired in controversy. The newly approved Grand Justices will be interpreting the constitution at least until the current president's four years term of office expires. In other words, Grand Justices whom Chen Shui-bian nominated, will interpret the constitution under the next president. The people only can hope that Chen Shui-bian's constitutional abuses will not spread to future Grand Justices, and undermine the future of constitutional government.

2007.09.28 03:23 am








Thursday, September 27, 2007

How many More Times do We need to Play these Word Games?

How many More Times do We need to Play these Word Games?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 27, 2007

President Chen Shui-bian has modified the wording of the Democratic Progressive Party's "Resolution for a Normal Nation." On September 30, the DPP National Congress will retain Chen's version of the resolution. It will not replace it with Yu's version. In remarkably short order, the DPP has resolved its tempest in a teapot. It now has an officially sanctioned version it can present to the US, to Taiwan independence organizations, and to indicted Chairman Yu Hsi-kuen, who has been forced to resign over the Discretionary Fund case. The DPP may be committed to Taiwan independence, and it may be determined to engage in reckless brinksmanship. But how many such games must it play before it becomes a responsible ruling party?

This is reminiscent of how Chen Shui-bian got rid of the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. Chen replaced the language of the resolution with radical Taiwan independence rhetoric. The new wording asserted that Taiwan was already a sovereign and independent country. It asserted that any changes required a plebiscite by the entire population of the country. This time is no different. Internal and external factors, as well as election considerations, have forced pro-independence factions to tone down Yu's version of the Resolution for a Normal Nation. The toned down version remains within the bounds established by the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. It remains within the bounds established by the DPP's document "The Founding of a Republic of Taiwan." Yu Hsi-kuen acquiesced with a smile. His response reflected the Democratic Progressive Party's recognition of reality.

The new version "acknowledges that the name Republic of China is difficult to use in international society." It does not deny that the name of the nation is the Republic of China. It advocates joining international organizations under the name of Taiwan. It advocates "swiftly completing the rectification of names, the authoring of a new new constitution, the holding of a plebiscite, demonstrating that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation." It quietly avoids such sensitive topics such as "the rectification of the name of the nation to Taiwan." In the new version, the "rectification of names" is not directly linked to the "change in the name of the nation." Plebiscites are not directly linked to Taiwan independence. Chen Shui-bian is playing word games. He is allowing Taiwan independence zealots to imagine they had gotten what they demanded. But what they got was imaginary.

Are such imaginary victories enough for pro-independence elements? In 1999, the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" softened the rhetoric of its "Taiwan Independence Party Constitution." This allowed the DPP to win the 2000 Presidential Election. This allowed a party that repudiates the existence of the Republic of China to become the ruling party of the Republic of China, under the ageis of the Constitution of the Republic of China. Like it or not, DPP party members cannot deny that they once were, or still are, officials of the Republic of China.

The problem is the DPP is acutely aware of the impact of such variables on electoral success and failure, including changes to their Taiwan independence Party Constitution. What the DPP has never been able to come to grips with is that it is already the ruling party, that it is in charge of the nation, that it has been in power for over seven years. The DPP constantly waffles. It denies the legitimacy of the nation for which it has already officially assumed responsibility. The legitimacy of the Republic of China is treated as a punching bag. Every so often the DPP must give it a punch, usually when an election rolls around. Taiwan, as fate would have it, has no shortage of elections. This idiosyncracy means the ruling DPP government will remain forever subject to political interference.

Following regime change, the DPP, motivated by its anti-nuclear ideology, halted construction on the Number Four Nuclear Plant. This decision, unrelated to the issue of reunification vs. independence, resulted in the DPP getting off to a shaky start. This state of affairs persisted for several years. It was followed by endless "rectification of names" controversies, "authoring of a new constitution" controversies, "changing the name of the nation" controversies. Every controversy shook the market. Domestically, economic development was held hostage. Internationally, diplomatic relations became progressively more difficult. Forget Taipei/Washington relations. Even normal diplomatic relations became increasingly arduous.

Viewed positively, Chen's version of the Resolution for a Normal Nation finally acknowledges the international pressure. Chen mobilized pro-independence organizations to march in favor of the "rectification of names." But he pragmatically limited it to domestic consumption. Take the DPP's campaign theme for 2008 for example. Its "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" does not involve authoring a new constitution or changing the name of the nation.

Let's not worry about whether such concessions will mollify the US. The question is, will they mollify voters who have already endured over seven years of ideologically motivated DPP misrule? The DPP was founded 21 years ago. It has been in office for over seven years. How many more years will it be before it realizes enough is enough? Confronted with a crisis, the DPP gladly accepted Chen's version of the Resolution for a Normal Nation. This temporarily relieved the election crisis for DPP presidential and vice presidential candidates Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang. But what about after the election? Hsieh and Su are different from Chen. They announced their candidacy after Chen was already in power for over than seven years. They face more serious problems than Chen. If Hsieh and Su are elected, will Taiwan have to endure eight more years of endless amendments to the constitution; of endless threats to author a new constitution, rectify names, and change the name of the nation; of endless controversy and agitation?

Yu's version of the Resolution for a Normal Nation was a "UXB," an unexploded bomb. That Chen and Hsieh joined hands to defeat it is no doubt cause for rejoicing. But how many more UXBs remain? A responsible ruling party, a responsible leader, a political leader preparing to compete for the nation's highest office, really ought to consider the well-being the people. They really shouldn't be wasting time and energy playing meaningless but dangerous word games.

Courtesy the China Times.

中國時報  2007.09.27










Wednesday, September 26, 2007

To Win the Center, Pacify the Deep Greens

To Win the Center, Pacify the Deep Greens
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 26, 2007

While Ma Ying-jeou is aggressively courting "native" as well as "nativist" voters, Frank Hsieh is playing the "cross Straits" card. Many of the positions Hsieh has advocated over the past two or three years have disappeared from the Green camp's agenda. These include direct air links and opening the island to mainland capital. Frank Hsieh stressed that he wanted to "do everything in his power to seek dialogue and the negotiations, in order to promote peace in the Taiwan Straits." It is hard to imagine what would have happened if Hsieh had proposed such positions, which amount to heresy with today's Green camp, during the Democratic Progressive Party presidential primaries?

Frank Hsieh is obviously appealing to centrist voters. But many centrist voters probably want to ask Frank Hsieh a simple question: Your position makes sense. But have you explained it to Deep Green True Believers? Have you explained it to those voters who took to the streets demanding a "Plebiscite to Join the UN?" To those pro independence organizations who met Chairman Yu Hsi-kuen at the airport? To those pirate radio stations that denounced the "11 Brigands" and "Zhong Guo Qin?" Do they support direct flights? Do they welcome mainland capital?

Hsieh's problem isn't how to appeal to centrist voters. His problem is how to persuade Deep Green voters, how to obtain their understanding and endorsement. His problem is how to reconcile his cross Straits direct links proposals with Deep Green "nativist" doctrine. His problem is how to prove that his positions are not typical election promises to be forgotten overnight. Hsieh should realize that Ma Ying-jeou can deliver on this promise. But isn't it strange that over the past seven years, Chen Shui-bian couldn't?

Kuomintang spokesperson Su Chun-pin put his finger on the issue: "It is not possible for Frank Hsieh to be a more enthusiastic advocate of a 'new centrist path' today than Chen was seven years ago," What's more, Chen Shui-bian didn't promote his cross Straits policy only seven years ago, during his "new centrist path" phase. He promoted it several years in a row, during New Year's Day addresses, during Lunar New Year's Eve talks, during National Day addresses. But to what result? The closer Chen gets to stepping down, the more he has become a trouble-maker in the eyes of Washington and Beijing, someone who is promoting "unilateral changes to the status quo." This proves that Chen Shui-bian's campaign pledges were mere electioneering, to be forgotten as soon as he attained office. Therefore what reason do centrist voters have to believe that Frank Hsieh will do what A Bian didn't?

True, Frank Hsieh is not Chen Shui-bian. With his "One China Constitution," "reconciliation and coexistence," and "cross Straits direct links," Frank Hsieh has long maintained a safe distance between himself and Chen Shui-bian on cross Straits policy. His path differs in many respects with the orthodox Green path. That is why Frank Hsieh has more maneuvering room than the other Green Princes. The problem is Chen Shui-bian has hijacked the Green camp. He controls the power and influence of its many factions. Not one of them is able to make the slightest progress on cross Straits policy. They have even begun backpedaling. Frank Hsieh has yet to get his own house in order. How can he reconcile his cross Straits direct links proposals with those of Party Chairman Yu, nativist organizations, and pirate radio stations? With the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" President Chen has been advocating? With the aggressive promotion of "Resolution for a Normal Nation?" Many people harbor serious doubts. Hsieh had better convince them first.

To reconcile the differences between his proposals and current reality to the public at large is not going to be easy. Don't forget how Frank Hsieh practiced "reconciliation and coexistence" when he held the position of premier. Nobody doubted Frank Hsieh's sincerity. But Government Information Office Chief Yao Wen-chih single-handedly destroyed any possibility of "reconciliation and coexistence" betwen the government and the public. Yet Hsieh allowed Yao and the GIO to become the focus of Blue vs. Green conflict. Many legislators flying Hsieh's banner do not flinch from the coarsest possible language during factional infighting. It is hard to reconcile such behavior with "reconciliation and coexistence." Based on such experiences, not only must Frank Hsieh prove his sincerity vis a vis his cross Straits direct links proposal. He must also prove his sincerity vis a vis his desire to form a "coalition government" after the election. He can't just talk about it.

Frank Hsieh's situation today is completely different from Chen Shui-bian's situation yesterday, when Chen proposed his "new centrist path" Back then Chen Shui-bian did not have to deal with opposition from Green Princes within the party. Today Frank Hsieh must contend with reactions from the Yu Hsi-kuen faction, which is promoting its "Resolution for a Normal Nation." He also must contend with Chen Shui-bian's "Plebiscite to Join the UN" movement. He must smooth over the reaction from the Yu faction. Otherwise toward the end of September, a newly resigned Yu Hsi-kuen is not about to let matters rest. Hsieh must continue deferring to Chen Shui-bian, who is about to assume control of the party machine. A president who has monopolized the resources of both the party and the government, is also a president who has no desire to become a lame duck before it's time. When the time comes, and Chen Shui-bian insists on promoting his "Plebiscite to Join the UN" that will become Frank Hsieh's campaign theme. So the question is: Will Frank Hsieh, who advocates direct flights and the influx of mainland capital, have any room left to maneuver?

中國時報  2007.09.26

  就在馬英九積極經營本土票源的同時,謝長廷也積極打出了他的「兩岸牌」,許多主張在最近兩、三年的綠營論述中已近乎絕跡,如開放直航、如開放陸資登台等, 謝長廷同時強調他要「盡最大努力尋求對話與談判,以便讓台海和平」。很難想像這種在當前綠營近乎「異端」的論述,如果選在民進黨總統黨內初選階段時提出, 會是個什麼光景?

 誰都看得出來,謝長廷此刻的出招,意在召喚中間選民。但多數中間選民或許也會向謝長廷回問一句很簡單的問題:你的主張 確有道理,但請問你與所有深綠支持者都溝通好了嗎?特別是,那些上街相挺「公投入聯」的選民,那些到機場迎接游主席的獨派團體,以及那些曾經用力聲討「十 一寇」、「中國琴」的地下電台等,他們今天都已經口徑一致的支持直航?歡迎陸資?

 所以問題的重點也出來了,謝長廷有關兩岸開放論述的著 力點,根本不是要怎麼去向中間選民「訴求」,而是要怎麼去向深綠選民「說服」,取得這些選民的諒解與認同,讓他的兩岸開放論述與深綠的本土論述可以整合, 如此才能證明他的所有這些主張,並不是曇花一現的選舉語言。要知道這一點馬英九是絕對做不到的。但同樣弔詭的是過去七年多,陳水扁也一樣沒做到,不是嗎?

  國民黨發言人蘇俊賓的一句話點到了核心:「今天的謝長廷不會比七年前的陳水扁更主張中間路線」;更有甚者,陳水扁有關兩岸開放的論述,並不只在他七年前的 「新中間路線」中揭示過,更在數年中的元旦講話、除夕談話、國慶祝詞等多次重申過。結果呢?越是到任期屆滿前,陳水扁越是將自己變成為美、中眼中意圖「片 面改變現狀」的「麻煩製造者」,證明當年陳水扁的所有政見、承諾與保證,都是用過即丟的選舉語言。那麼有什麼理由要中間選民相信,當年阿扁說到沒做到的, 謝長廷就一定能說到做到!

 沒錯,謝長廷不是陳水扁,從「憲法一中」、「和解共生」到「兩岸開放」,謝長廷一路走來的政策路線,與陳水扁 一直維持著安全距離,與綠營的正統路線相較也多了些許異質性,這也是謝長廷相較於其他綠天王有更大彈性遊走空間的原因。問題是,以陳水扁昔日在綠營曾凌駕 一切派系權勢的影響力,都無法在兩岸政策開放上推進任何一步,甚至還走回頭路,謝長廷目前連內部整合都尚待努力,他要怎麼向各方證明:我的兩岸開放論述, 就是目前正在主導「公投入聯」的陳總統主張,也是力推「正常國家決議文」,即將卸任的游主席之主張,更是那些本土社團與地下電台的主張?如果這一部分還有 疑慮,那麼就請先說服他們吧!

 要化解這種主張與實踐之間的矛盾,並不是件容易的工作。還記得謝長廷在擔任閣揆期間,曾怎麼落實他的「和 解共生」主張?沒有人懷疑那時節謝長廷的誠意,但當時的內閣團隊中,僅一個新聞局長姚文智就幾乎摧毀了整個朝野「和解共生」氛圍,但謝卻聽任其成為藍綠衝 突的焦點。而掛著謝系招牌的多位立委,在發動黨派攻擊時所用政治語言之粗鄙、不留餘地,真的很難讓人與和解共生聯想在一起。從這個經驗被喚起,謝長廷不僅 對他的兩岸開放論述,甚至他表示在當選後要成立「聯合政府」的倡儀,都得要花更多的工夫證明,這一切並不只是說說而已。

 要知道,現時的 謝長廷,與當年倡議「新中間路線」的陳水扁相較,處境完全不同;當年陳水扁在黨內可沒有任何天王在前後掣肘,如今的謝長廷,要面對游系黨機器所推動的「正 常國家決議文」的反撲,又要應付陳水扁主導的「公投入聯」運動。他必須撫平游系的反彈,否則九月底後卸任的游錫?不會與他善罷干休;他必須持續尊重即將接 掌黨機器的陳水扁,一個即將黨政資源一把抓的總統,也是一個不想太早跛腳的總統。如果屆時陳水扁堅持推動「公投入聯」才該是謝長廷唯一的競選主軸,試問謝 長廷此刻所揭示的直航與開放陸資等主張,還有任何發揮的空間嗎?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Promoting Plebiscites vs. Growing the Economy

Promoting Plebiscites vs. Growing the Economy
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 20, 2007

While receiving Taiwan business representatives the other day, Chen Shui-bian criticized a Blue Camp television advertisement. In this Kuomintang produced ad, a Korean businessperson criticizes Taiwan, saying it has become too politicized, and that the government has neglected the economy. He says that Taiwan's competitiveness is the lowest among the four Asian dragons. In fact, he says, Taiwan no longer qualifies as an Asian dragon. In response to this ad, President Chen cited economic growth rates, consumer price indices, unemployment rates, and the reactions of global economic fora. He said the data proved that Taiwan's economic performance was actually better than South Korea's. Therefore the Blue Camp ad was a typical case of "Poormouthing Taiwan."

Over the past year, President Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly contradicted himself. His public remarks have been riddled with internal contradictions. People have become so accustomed to his doubletalk, they no longer consider it noteworthy. Even Uncle Sam considers him a headache. Many people tune him out in order to spare themselves the frustration. But when A Bian gushes about Taiwan's economy in such glowing terms, and dismisses anyone who complains as "Poormouthing Taiwan," we have no choice but to respond.

When appraising a nation's economy, one usually relies on certain economic indicators. These include GDP growth rates, price indices, unemployment rates, and consumer confidence indices. If one wishes to examine an economy in greater detail, one must include consumer spending, investment outlays, and exports. Only then can one discern the significance of the numbers. As everyone knows, the numbers for Taiwan's GDP growth over the past few years don't look that bad. But most of that growth was derived from exports. Domestic consumption and investment growth were extremely low. Fourth quarter investment grew slightly last year. But compared to growth in the distant past, the discrepancy was huge. Let's look at the unemployment figures. What's behind these numbers? To what extent do Taiwan's numbers reflect the Executive Yuan's artificial stimulus packages? This needs clarification. Unemployed workers hired by the government and assigned to data entry or spraying insecticide to prevent Dengue fever are "employed" in the short-term. But long-term their inclusion in the ranks of the employed is fraudulent.

If we really want to diagnose Taiwan's economic health, we must look at all the data, not just those that catch the eye but whose significance is dubious. Taiwan's economic growth is concentrated on export sales. Domestic consumer spending and investment is clearly in decline. This reflects serious problems. Why do Taiwan's consumers lack confidence? Even if Taiwan's wage inequality is less serious than South Korea's, why has it suddenly worsened in recent years? What is the potential risk when Taiwan's GDP growth depends solely on exports? Why are domestic and foreign enterprises unwilling to list on the TAIEX, but instead opt for Hong Kong or Singapore? Why is Taiwan's financial market unable to make the world's top 100 list? Once the ASEAN plus Three free trade region takes shape, what will happen to Taiwan's export dependent economic engine? If this single engine falters, how can Taiwan's economy continue to fly? These are hidden concerns beyond the one-sided data President Chen cited. If people voice doubts, whether they are South Korean or African, the government should graciously respond "Thank you." If it reflexively rejects all dissent as "Poormouthing Taiwan," or lashes back with the accusation "You don't love Taiwan," then it is acting remarkably like a fascist regime.

Over the past two weeks, this newspaper has issued special editions investigating Taiwan's prospects. On September 10 we pointed out that it is natural for Taiwan to want to build its own brand. It is natural for Taiwan to want to seize the initiative and get a leg up in the knowledge economy. But a brand cannot be disconnected from it means of production upstream or its markets downstream. Therefore brand building must be international in nature. That was the theme of our September 17 edition. Take Acer as an example. It must set up production in the most suitable location in the world. It must take advantage of every opportunity to market its products to every corner of the globe. Only then can it become a great brand. If the government forbids a business to shift its production to certain locales, or market its products to certain regions, even if its restrictions seem minor, it will impose an intolerable burden on a business's brand strategy. For Taiwan's economy it amounts to a knife through the heart.

The Democratic Progressive Party has been in power for over seven years. Has it has been a benefit or a detriment to Taiwan businesses? Don't bother dredging up economic statistics. Just look at all the businesses leaving in droves, and the market mired in recession. If economic problems weren't so difficult to solve, why would A Bian bother provoking Uncle Sam with his meaningless "Plebiscite to Join the UN?" After seven years in power, all the DPP can do is demagogue the "nativization, rectification of names" issue. Is this not an open admission that economic issues are too difficult and painful for the government to tackle?

中國時報  2007.09.20







Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chao Yi-an asks: What's this for?

Chao Yi-an asks: What's this for?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 19, 2007

On September 15, the day of the "March to Join the UN," Chen Shui-bian boasted that "everyone in the Chen family able to walk" had showed up. His sons and daughters, and his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law formed a veritable phalanx. His grandson Chao Yi-an and Chao Yi-ting became the focus of media attention.

Little An An in particular became a media darling. Every time television anchors mentioned him, their faces revealed a mixture of affection and pity. Chen Shui-bian had been up to his neck in scandals. Now, riding the wave of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN," he was suddenly "Standing Tall."

We have no idea what sort of advanced classes Chen family elders have been providing Chao Yi-an, who is not yet six. But based on Chao Yi-an's age, he probably doesn't understand the fact and fiction behind the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." He merrily waved a Green flag, turned to DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh beside him and asked: "What's this (Plebiscite to Join the UN) sticker for?"

The adults nearby laughed at little An An's question. Nobody bothered giving him a serious explanation. But one day, 10, 20, even 30 years from now, an intellectually mature Chao Yi-an may confront the reality of Taiwan. He may recall the march his elders took him on, and find the answer he was seeking!

But until that day, 10, 20, 30 years from now, can the Taiwan independence movement's "rectification of names and authoring of a new constitution" be considered a success? Will a "Nation of Taiwan" exist? Or will Taiwan be thoroughly marginalized and suffocated? Will Taiwan and mainland China establish a win/win framework for their mutual benefit? Will Chao Yi-an's grandfather Chen Shui-bian become the Father of a "Nation of Taiwan?" Or will he become Taiwan's Public Enemy, responsible for Taiwan's destruction and decline? Will Chao Yi-an's grandfather Chen Shui-bian, his grandmother Wu Shu-cheng, his paternal grandfather Chao Yu-chu, and his father Chao Chien-min, be found not guilty? Or will they be convicts serving time for corruption?

During political marches, whether Blue or Green, children are invariably the focus of media attention. The innocence of little children always provides such a striking contrast with the dark underbelly of politics. Other children may be nothing more than the rank and file of a Blue Army or Green Army. But Chao Yi-an as "First Grandson" has been branded for life. By the time he becomes an adult, will Chao Yi-an be an honored citizen of a "Nation of Taiwan?" Will he be proud of his grandfather's meritorious service and this historic event? Will he have departed for distant shores? Will he look back at a marginalized, crumbling Taiwan? Will he consider his family background and this event something to be ashamed of?

Chen Shui-bian desperately hopes to change history's appraisal of him from "corrupt kleptocrat" to "champion of independence." Everyone in the Chen family able to walk took to the streets, raising the banner of Taiwan independence. Their real purpose was to use the occasion to jettison the image of a corrupt Chen Shui-bian, an unethical Chen Shui-bian. But will waving a magic wand made in Taiwan in fact transform Chen Shui-bian the Kleptocrat into Chen Shui-bian the Champion of Taiwan Independence?

Who can tell Chao Yi-an the purpose of this "March for a Plebiscite to Join the UN?" Should we tell him what Chen Shui-bian said? That "Nothing's going to happen. We're simply going to end up where we started." After all, when Chen Shui-bian said "Nothing's going to happen. We're simply going to end up where we started," he meant that when the march was over, there would still be no "Nation of Taiwan," there would still be no change in the name of the country, and there would still be no UN membership. What we really want to know is, what's going to happen to the corrupt Chen family? Nothing? What about Chen Shui-bian's rampant misrule, which has precipitated a national disaster? Is it too merely going to end up where it started?

On September 15, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators will stick up for Chen Shui-bian. But Chao Yi-an, who is not yet six, might not. They may be able to dress him up in a green "Taiwan for UN" T-shirt. But they won't be able to stop him from asking "What's this for?" For that matter, do the hundreds of thousands of adults whom Chen Shui-bian has led into the streets by the nose truly understand what the march if for? For whom they are marching? Are they really marching to found a "Nation of Taiwan?" Does founding a "Nation of Taiwan" mean that one "loves Taiwan? Or is Chen Shui-bian merely using them? Are they merely helping "Chen Shui-bian the Kleptocrat" turn himself into "Chen Shui-bian the Champion of Taiwan independence?"

When Chao Yi-an grows up and becomes aware of his family's reputation, what will he make of his grandfather's misrule and his grandmother's corruption? What will he make of his father and paternal grandfather's conspiratorial relationship with the First Family? What will be make of his mother Chen Hsing-yu's public falling out with her father-in-law? Will he think of Taiwan independence as "saving Taiwan, loving Taiwan?" Or will he think or Taiwan independence as "deception of oneself, and deception of others?" When the time comes Chao Yi-an to find an answer, questions will abound, and they won't be confined to "What's this sticker for?"

Chen Shui-bian may be able to fool his followers and supporters part of the time. But he prorbably won't be able to fool Chao YI-an for another 10, 20, 30 years.

Some day, Chen Shui-bian will either be known as the Father of a "Nation of Taiwan," or as the con artist and criminal responsible for Taiwan's disintegration. On that day, we will have our answer. Until that day, if Chao Yi-an asks "What's this for?" he may be asking in vain.

2007.09.19 02:51 am













Monday, September 17, 2007

A Plebiscite hijacks an Election, A Bian hijacks the People

A Plebiscite hijacks an Election, A Bian hijacks the People
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 17, 2007

After two frantic demonstrations, one Green and one Blue, ruling government and opposition party leaders seem pleased with the results. But many people may be tempted to ask: Now what? Do political leaders on Taiwan have nothing more important to attend to? Is the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" the only topic they intend to tackle between now and March next year? Unfortunately the answer appears to be yes.

Judging by the result, the biggest winner is Chen Shui-bian. Everyone else was a loser. Remember the same time last year? Public outrage over ruling DPP corruption, brought to a head by the Red Shirt Army, nearly drove Chen out of office. Yet today he has succeeded into shifting the focus from "anti-corruption" to a "Plebiscite to Join the UN." Once he was being passively attacked. Now he has seized the offensive. He has turned his vistor status into a home field advantage. The "Hsieh/Su ticket" been demoted to the status of supporting players. Even the "Ma/Hsiao ticket" can only join the parade. With the result so rewarding for him, what reason does Chen Shui-bian have not to milk it for all it's worth?

Everyone capable of rational thought knows perfectly well that the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is an absurd charade. From beginning to end it has been a phony issue manipulated for election purposes. Those in the know, know that the plebiscite is a case of the "Emperor's New Clothes." But what of it? If the emperor knows no shame, and insists on going through the motions of donning his "new clothes," can others refuse to play along?

It makes no difference how long Chen Shui-bian remains president. Every day he remains in the presidential palace, he will abuse his authority to the fullest, The term "lame duck" is not in his dictionary. If he wants to exploit the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" for political advantage, he will abuse the power of his office mobilizing the machinery of government. It makes no difference how many people commit suicide by carbon monoxide every day. It makes no difference how many hundreds of millions in tax money are squandered on the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." It makes no difference how many political posters and advertisements peoples are forced to see and hear. Once he "Plebiscite to Join the UN" demonstration is given the green light, two hundred million NT in tax money will be consumed in the blink of an eye. How much more money will be squandered? Who knows? Haven't central government authorities been complaining about budgets being tight? So why is that whenever President Chen issues an order, money is suddenly no object?

Many people want to scream: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!" So many matters are more important and urgent than the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." What is the purpose of sweeping aside these matters and compelling the entire nation to pursue this unachievable goal? The answer is this: When someone is unwilling to leave office and face possible prosecution for corruption, why would he pay the slightest attention to your protests? When he has successfully rallied Deep Green mob sentiment, why would he ever yell "Stop."

After repeated warnings from US officials, many people worried that Washington/Taipei relations would suffer, Not only was Chen Shui-bian unconcerned, he repeatedly sounded the call to arms. He assumed an air of casual defiance, as if ready and willing to have it out with the US and mainland China. We shouldn't be surprised. Because the more the US and mainland China lash out at him, the more sympathy he will gain from an angry public. Any diplomatic mess can be left to his successor. As he figures it, no matter how big a mess he leaves, he won't need to take any responsibility whatsoever. Why should he fear when it's "Heads I win, tails you lose?"

The hotter the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" burns, the dimmer Hsieh and Su's lights burn. What do any factional rivalries or grievances that Hsieh and Su have count for now? The pair have been demoted to the status of Ping and Pang in Turandot, to Chen's attendants. During "Plebiscite to Join the UN" rallies, the keynote speaker is always Chen Shui-bian. Hsieh and Su can forget about competing. Both have been marginalized. Chen and Chen alone is masterminding this election.

Many people are also criticizing Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew for meekly joining the parade. Not only have Ma and Siew lost their home court advantage, they have alienated Deep Blue voters. The question is, did they have a choice? In 2004, the Lien/Soong ticket focused on the economy. An absurd plebiscite followed by an even more absurd "assassination attempt" pushed substantive debate off the table. Chen Shui-bian has invested all of the government's resources into the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." The US and mainland China have been forced to dance to his tune. Ma and Siew may scream about the economy until they are hoarse, but will voters care? If they refuse to knuckle under, if on September 15, they refuse to join the parade, they will receive no media coverage whatsoever. If on the other hand they take to the streets wearing blue and white "Made in Taiwan" rubber sandals, it makes no difference how ridiculous they might look. At least they will get half of the media coverage. Whether they can shift the focus of debate is another matter altogether.

See what we mean? This is our plight. A president whose term in office ends in half a year, cannot control his own son in law's insider trading or account for the irregularities in his own State Affairs Confidential Expense case. Yet he can hijack the Democratic Progressive Party, hijack the Executive Yuan, hijack Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang, hijack the Kuomintang and the Ma/Siew ticket, even hijack the ordinary citizen. Right now nobody can tell A Bian to shut up. Nobody can tell him to cease and desist. In the coming half year, we will witness a presidential election being hijacked by a plebiscite. We will do so as A Bian's hostages.












Thursday, September 13, 2007

US: Chen Shui-bian has betrayed Taiwan's Interests

US: Chen Shui-bian has betrayed Taiwan's Interests
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 13, 2007

Thomas J. Christensen is US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Christensen's comments on the "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" reveal a central theme: The US considers Chen Shui-bian a betrayer of Taiwan's interests. [Note: according to the ROC Constitution, the "referendum" is actually a "plebiscite"]

By extension, the US believes that the Taiwan independence movement has also betrayed Taiwan's interests. By further extension, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which advocates Taiwan independence, is also a traitor to Taiwan's interests.

Over the past 15 days, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, White House National Security Council senior official Dennis Wilder, and now John Christensen, have commented on the "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan." All three expressed the same viewpoint. The "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" amounts to a "referendum for Taiwan Independence." It changes the name of the nation and it changes the status quo. And Taiwan independence is not in Taiwan's interest.

Christensen underscored the significance of the three officials' comments. The US has already drawn a clear distinction between Chen Shui-bian and the Chen regime on the one hand, and the "Taiwan people" on the other hand. The US opposes Chen Shui-bian's manipulative "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan." It has reiterated its friendship with the "Taiwan people" and is attempting to communicate directly with the "Taiwan people." It unreservedly pointed out that the Chen regime's "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" has betrayed "the interests of the Taiwan people."

Christensen did not mince words expressing disappointment with the Chen regime. He said he had no desire to pubicly disparage the Chen regime's policies. But he had exhausted all private means of persuasion and was compelled to ensure that the "Taiwan people" understood America's point of view. He said "we anticipate that Taiwan’s perceptive, intelligent citizens will see through the rhetoric and make a sound judgment that the referendum does not serve their interests because it will be fundamentally harmful to Taiwan’s external relations."

These three spokespersons for the US emphasized the friendship and commitments the "American people" have made to the "Taiwan people." All three officials stressed that what the US refers to as "Taiwan's interests" truly are Taiwan's interests. By implication they were stressing that Chen Shui-bian was a betrayer of Taiwan's interests. They were saying that when the time comes, the Taiwan people must choose between Taiwan's interests and Chen Shui-bian's interests.

According to these three spokespersons, maintaining peace in the Taiwan Straits and safeguarding Taiwan's democracy and prosperity are in the interests of the Taiwan people. therefore it has betrayed the interests of the Taiwan people. Christensen came right out and denounced the "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" as motivated merely by "short-term political gain" and intended merely for internal consumption. The "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" will limit, not expand Taiwan’s international space. It will be regarded as a violation of a pledge to the US and to the international community. His unspoken implication was: Does Taiwan still want American as its friend? Does Taiwan want to defy the entire international community?

Christensen publicly debunked "rumors" that the US and the Chinese Communist Party had "coordinated" Taiwan Straits policy. He told Chen Shui-bian there is no need for a "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan" to exploit "Sinophobia." The first thing Chen ought to confront is the "anti-Americanism" he provoked. Christensen said that Washington's Taiwan Straits policy was not guided by Taipei. Chen Shui-bian should not imagine that he could dictate US policy in the Taiwan Straits. Christensen said "we do not accept the argument that provocative assertions of Taiwan independence are in any way conducive to maintenance of the status quo or peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait." His implication was that Chen Shui-bian had better not imagine he could drag the US down with it.

Christensen debunked the Taiwan independence movement's self-pitying "international orphan" act. He said that Taiwan became a first world, democratic, commercial powerhouse under the status quo. By implication, under the "status quo of the Republic of China." This status quo is the cornerstone of Taiwan's democracy and prosperity. Yet the Taiwan independence movement wants to change this status quo. Christensen rejected the accusation that the U.S. position on the referendum constitutes interference in Taiwan’s democracy. He rejected Chen's claims that "democracy recognizes no limitations." He said the reality is that democracies can and do disagree over policies. While democracy can advocate Taiwan independence, democracy can also oppose Taiwan independence. The DPP would have the world believe that "opposition to Taiwan independence is opposition to democracy." Obviously the US doesn't agree.

Christensen elaborated on the ROC's national defense and military affairs. He pointed out something everyone knows: If one's Taiwan Straits policy is mistaken, then all one's armaments are in vain. Christensen emphasized international reality. He did not comment on Taiwan's crisis of national identity. But he might well have. After all, when one has no idea whom one is fighting for, or what one is fighting for, what is the purpose of an extravagant defense budget?

Christensen said that needlessly provocative actions by Taipei strengthen Beijing’s hand in limiting Taipei's international space, and scare away potential friends who might help Taipei. This heart-to-heart talk focused on "Taiwan's interests." So how did Chen Shui-bian respond to US concerns over the "referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan?" He said: "Who's afraid of whom?"

Sixty years of Washington/Taipei relations. Erased by a single "Who's afraid of whom?" from Chen Shui-bian. Is this in the interest of the Chinese people on Taiwan?

2007.09.13 03:41 am













Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Grand Justices amidst a Constitutional Crisis

Grand Justices amidst a Constitutional Crisis
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 12, 2007

The Legislative Yuan has decided to exercise its right of advise and consent over the presidential appointment of Judicial Yuan Grand Justices, Control Yuan officials, and the Auditor General. Whether the opposition party will approve any or all of the president's nominees is uncertain.

The Grand Justices' legal opinion in Case No. 632 states: "[Regarding the appointment of Control Yuan personnel] the constitution does not permit the Legislative Yuan to passively forfeit its power of advise and consent." As it turns out, the political opposition is changing its strategy. From a constitutional perspective, the Grand Justices are correct. But from a practical perspective, the dilemma is rooted in Chen Shui-bian's incompetence and corruption. Any solution will need to balance both the requirements of constitutionalism and the requirements of justice.

The legislature delayed exercised its power of advise and consent in the appointment of Control Yuan officials for many years, because it suspected Chen Shui-bian's motives for nominating financial conglomerate head Yin Chi. Chen's list of nominees was controversial and disappointed public expectations. The opposition party within the Legislative Yuan refused to consider Chen's nominees. For years Chen Shui-bian responded in kind by refusing to nominate any alternates. As a result, the Control Yuan has been deadlocked.

Chen Shui-bian's term is nearing its end. Control Yuan officials are not alone. The terms of half the Grand Justices and the Auditor General are also nearing their ends. Chen Shui-bian has expressed a willingness to submit a new list of nominees for the Control Yuan. The opposition party has agreed to evaluate his nominees. The Legislative Yuan has decided to exercise its power of advise and consent. First it intends to tackle the nominees for Grand Justice and the Auditor General. The circumstances today, however, are somewhat different. Back then Chen Shui-bian's nominations were suspect because of whom he nominated and how he nominated them. Now Chen Shui-bian's nominations are controversial because of his personal corruption and incompetence. Recently Chen Shui-bian went so far as to publicly insult the judiciary over the State Affairs Confidential Expense scandal. Under the circumstances, how can anyone trust him to nominate new Grand Justices? Furthermore, Chen Shui-bian's list of nominees reveals flagrant political bias. It invites public controversy over the professionalism and competence of political appointees. Therefore the Legislative Yuan's refusal to consider Chen's nominations may not accord with the Grand Justices' interpretation of the constitution. But for the legislature to repeatedly cave in and rubberstamp anyone nominated is hardly an acceptable alternative. The opposition party must give careful thought to how this matter should be handled.

The Grand Justices' legal opinion in Case No. 632 reads: "[Regarding the appointment of Control Yuan personnel] the constitution does not permit the Legislative Yuan to passively refuse to exercise its power of advise and consent." If the Legislative Yuan considers the nomination inappropriate, it is within its rights to veto the nomination. There is no question of whatsoever of "violating the constitution." If a veto impacts the Grand Justices' performance of their duties, the only choice the president has is to nominate another candidate. The Grand Justices' legal opinion in Case No. 632 also states that "The constitution does not permit the president to passively refuse to nominate another individual." The constitution cannot simultaneously tolerate the president violating the constitution while objecting to the legislature violating the constitution.

How many nominees for Grand Justice the Legislative Yuan may veto, and how many candidates the president must renominate, may be in dispute. The Grand Justices' legal opinion in Case No. 632 should be based on the impact on the Grand Justices' fulfillment of their duties. According to the rules, an interpretation of the constitution requires a quorum comprising two thirds of the "current number" of Grand Justices. If two thirds of the "current number" express an opinion, then the opinion stands. But if the "current number" of Grand Justices has already fallen below this number, this may affect the proper functioning of the Council of Grand Justices. The question is, what do we mean by the "current number?" According to the constitution, if the "current number" is 15 persons. Two thirds means 11 persons. Eight nominees have been submitted for legislative approval. If five or more nominees are rejected, the shortfall must be made up by the president. But suppose the "current number" is taken to mean "those currently serving." Suppose eight persons are nominated, and only one or two are approved. Then there will only be 10 Grand Justices. A two thirds quorum, consisting of only seven persons, would be interpreting the constitution. Is this few too few? Should the numbers be supplemented by new nominations? This issue will surely be subject to political interference.

The Grand Justices are the Guardian Angels of constitutionalism. The Control Yuan is the nation's "Internal Affairs Division." Chen Shui-bian, a destroyer of the constitution and an abuser of the authority of his office, will be nominating these officials. That is a national tragedy. The opposition party respects the Grand Justices' interpretation. It may be obligated to exercise its power of advise and consent. But the defense of constitutionalism requires checks and balances. If unqualifed persons are nominated, the legislature must cite their reasons, then veto any such nominees. The public will understand. For the legislature to constantly cave in would constitute a gross dereliction of duty, and would warrant harsh public condemnation.

2007.09.12 02:55 am


此一演變固與大法官釋字六三二號解釋指「(就監察院人事)立法院消極不行使同意權……為憲法所不許」有關,但在野黨改變了杯葛的策略更為關鍵因素。因為, 就憲法體制而言,大法官所言雖有其依據;但就實際情勢來看,眼下的問題卻是陳水扁失政敗德所造成的。今後如何處理,恐怕還是要在憲政體制和公平正義之間求 得平衡。


如今,陳水扁任期已近尾聲,而非僅監察院,大法官(半數)及審計長等人事均已屆期,陳水扁乃表示願改變監院名單,在野黨亦表示不再杯葛,立法院遂決定行使 同意權,且先處理大法官及審計長之人事案。然而,現今情勢又與當初有所不同;當初是因陳水扁提名過程及名單均有爭議;如今則更因陳水扁貪腐纏身,執政失去 正當性所致。陳水扁近日甚至因其國務機要費案件,出言辱及司法,在此情況下,由其提名大法官,實難獲得社會信任。更何況,在陳水扁提出的大法官名單中,確 有政治立場偏頗、擔任政務官時引起物議的人士濫竽其間。因而,拒不審議固與大法官釋憲不符,但一味妥協、全數通過亦顯不恰當,如何妥適處理,在野黨自應慎 重考慮。

就此而言,大法官釋字六三二號解釋僅謂立法院消極不行使同意權為憲法所不許;唯倘若立法院認為提名不當、予以否決,則無「違憲」問題可言。若因否決而發生 影響大法官會議之功能,總統唯有重新提名一途,否則即屬大法官釋字六三二號解釋所謂「總統消極不為提名……為憲法所不許」的情況,變成總統違憲而非立院違 憲。

至於大法官被提名人選,立法院否決到多少人數,總統必須重新提名,恐怕會有爭議。參照大法官釋字六三二號解釋,應以是否影響大法官的功能為準;而依照大法 官審理案件法的規定,釋憲須有「現有總額」三分之二以上大法官出席、出席三分之二以上通過,則通過人數在此標準以下,可認定為影響其功能。問題是:何謂 「現有總額」?倘以憲法規定人數為準,則「總額」為十五人,三分之二以上須十一人,此次提名八人,則若不通過者超過四人,達到五人或以上,即須由總統補提 名。但「總額」若以「實際在職」人數為準,則本次提名八人,若僅一或二人通過,連同在職者,則為不到十人;三分之二出席,就成了七人亦可釋憲,如此人數是 否過少,應否補提名?此一爭議如何認定,必受政治鬥爭之干擾。

大法官是憲政正義的守護神,監察院則職司風憲;如今卻讓毀憲亂政至此地步的陳水扁行使提名,實是國家的悲劇。在野黨為尊重大法官解釋,或許不能拒審;但為 維護憲政,必須嚴予把關。若有不適任人士,只要有具體的理由,即應否決,社會大眾定能接受;倘若一味放水,反而是立院放棄責任,將受輿論責難。

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Olympic Flame Dispute: No ROC Flag, No Status Quo

The Olympic Flame Dispute: No ROC Flag, No Status Quo
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 11, 2007

The Olympic Flame controversy has, no pun intended, flared up once more. This time the cause is the upcoming presidential election and escalating moves toward Taiwan independence. This time the controversy is not limited to whether the Republic of China (ROC) flag may appear along the route of the Olympic Flame. This time Beijing must choose between the Republic of China and a would be "State of Taiwan."

When Taiwan independence was hidden and covert, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hemmed in the Republic of China (ROC) using every means at its disposal. The CCP's attacks against the ROC, its denial of the ROC's legitimacy, became a major factor in the development of Taiwan independence. Each time the CCP diminished the ROC, it aggrandized Taiwan independence. The situation has worsened to the point where the CCP must see that the harder it comes down on the ROC, the more it boosts Taiwan independence.

The Olympic Flame controversy is a clear illustration. In the past, the CCP maintained a Closed Door Policy. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait had no contacts and no exchanges. The internal politics of the Taiwan region were relatively simple. The "Olympic Committee Model" was still internationally viable, right up to the opening of cross Straits exchanges. Taiwan's internal political struggles then became more complex and bitter. Attempts to prevent spectators on Taiwan from waving ROC flags naturally provoked protests. The word now is that Beijing wants to prevent the appearance of ROC flags along the route of the Olympic Flame. This shows even more clearly the changes since the formulation of the "Olympic Committee Model." After all, the original intent was to limit only the flags and anthems used by the local sponsor of the sports event. Extending these limitations to the spectators is unreasonable. Extending these limitiations to the streets of Taiwan along the route of the Olympic Flame is totally unacceptable.

The CCP opposes Taiwan independence. But it must leave the Taiwan region an alternative. Apart from the Republic of China, there is no alternative. The situation in the Taiwan Straits was once a standoff between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the ROC. But now the CCP must make a choice between the ROC and a would be "State of Taiwan." As many point out, if Beijing cannot tolerate the sight of red, white and blue ROC flags along the route of the Olympic Flame, would it prefer the sight of streets lined wtih green "State of Taiwan" flags?

We have entered an era that "does not permit unilateral changes to the status quo." We have entered an era in which we must choose between the "Republic of China" (status quo) or a would be "State of Taiwan" (changing the status quo). Beijing has decided that only de jure independence in the form of "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution" is true Taiwan independence. Preserving the ROC is not Taiwan independence. Therefore Beijing ought to allow the ROC to survive with dignity. If the ROC is no longer able to survive, then Taiwan independence will gather increasing momentum. And the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will inevitably clash one day.

The impact of the "Olympic Flame/ROC flag" controversy is every bit as serious as the "Join the UN/Rejoin the UN" controversy. Many regard the "Join the UN/Rejoin the UN" as an election ploy, merely a Blue vs. Green political tug-of-war. The "Join the UN/Rejoin the UN" issue may involve issues of national dignity and national identity. But it is primarily a Blue vs. Green test of strength. By contrast, the "Olympic Flame/ROC flag" battle will take place on Taiwan soil, along Taipei streets. If the ROC flag is banned, if public and private bodies along the route of the Olympic Flame are compelled to lower their ROC flags, it will certainly turn into a direct test of strength between Beijing authorities and the public on Taiwan. The psychological impact on Taiwan society will be inestimable. If the Beijing authorities forbid the display of ROC flags along the route of the Olympic Flame, they will antagonize everyone on Taiwan, Blue and Green alike.

How the "Olympic Flame/ROC flag" incident will play out is not yet clear. Ma Ying-jeou and Frank Hsieh have said they will carry ROC flags with them when they welcome the Olympic Flame. Ma Ying-jeou announced his "Five Principles concerning the Flag and the Anthem." He proposed that henceforth sporting events and the audience be separated. That way the audience will not be denied the right to wave flags and sing the anthem. We fear altercations within the grandstands at Olympic venues. This sort of backlash from the "Olympic Flame/ROC flag" incident is inevitable.

These changes in the Taiwan Straits situation have occurred because the DPP is currently in power. For the DPP, the only distinction remaining between the "Republic of China" and "Taiwan independence" is a paper distinction, the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution." If the Republic of China flag continues flying over the presidential palace and other government buildings, then the Republic of China's status quo can be maintained. But if the Beijing authorities forbid the flying of the ROC flag along the route of the Olympic Flame, it will seriously impact the status quo. It will add fuel to the fire of Taiwan independence, and provoke demands for change. The Beijing authorities must understand that the ROC, with its red, white, and blue flag, is an important factor in the maintenance of the status quo.

The status quo in the Taiwan Strait is: The Republic of China or a would be "State of Taiwan?" Which offers a way out? Beijing must choose between the Republic of China and a would be "State of Taiwan." If it opposes changes to the status quo but prohibits the appearance of the ROC flag along the route of the Olympic Flame, then the "status quo" will be difficult to maintain, and the cross Straits crisis will inevitably become more serious.

Without the Republic of China flag, there is no "status quo" in the Taiwan Straits.

2007.09.11 03:34 am










Monday, September 10, 2007

The Final Showdown between the Republic of China and the "Nation of Taiwan"

The Final Showdown between the Republic of China and the "Nation of Taiwan"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 08, 2007

The upcoming presidential election is being defined as a final showdown between the Republic of China and a would-be "Nation of Taiwan." It was inevitable that it would come to this.

First, let's look at what it has come to. On the day of the Hu/Bush summit, Chen Shui-bian was in Nantou, where he repeated 13 times, "We demand Taiwan independence!" (The only thing he didn't say was "So what are you going to do about it?) Frank Hsieh declared that if he was elected he would become the "President of the Nation of Taiwan." Later he amended his statement, saying that "Taiwan is the Republic of China." But the Republic of China is of course not the "Nation of Taiwan." The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is no longer a means of pretending one is "not seeking Taiwan independence," but merely a means of "joining the UN under a new name." As matters stand, the rhetoric and thinking of those on the political stage is now aligned with that of the Green camp's pirate radio stations. The Nation of Taiwan has now revealed its true face.

Chen Shui-bian has hijacked the Democratic Progressive Party. As long as he can use "Chen Shui-bian the Champion of Taiwan Independence" to rescue "Chen Shui-bian the Kleptocrat who faces Indictment," his strategy will not change. This presidential election will be turned into a showdown between the "Nation of Taiwan" and the Republic of China. Therefore, even if Frank Hsieh is elected, he will not be able to start anew "March next year" as he promised in the US. Who doesn't know that so-called Taiwan independence "elders" have already warned him: "If you don't promote the "rectification of names" and the "authoring of a new constitution," we are going to put the screws to you." Therefore, the theme of the upcoming election has already been set. The Democratic Progressive Party has already defined Taiwan's political scenario as a showdown between the "Nation of Taiwan" and the Republic of China.

Next, let's look at why it has come to this. The "Nation of Taiwan" has not shown its face for some time. Instead, it has been reincarnated under various aliases, as "nativization," as "Taiwan uber alles," as "loving Taiwan," as "Taiwanese pathos," as "normalization of the nation," as the "rectification of names," and as the "authoring a new new constitution." The same applies to the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." From the very beginning Chen Shui-bian insisted that it "has nothing to do with Taiwan independence," and that he "has not violated the Five Noes." Ever since the Democratic Progressive Party assumed power, it has been playing word games. Switching back and forth between the "Nation of Taiwan" and the "Republic of China," turning black into white. The result is the public on Taiwan has not been able to distinguish between the two. Now however, the "Nation of Taiwan" has revealed its true face. The public no longer has any reason not to make a clear choice. Therefore, the upcoming presidential election will inevitably become a final showdown between the Republic of China and the "Nation of Taiwan." Everyone has made his position clear. No need to remain in hiding any longer. No need to use a smoke screen.

This time Chen Shui-bian's Taiwan independence moves cannot be dismissed as mere "election ploys." One cannot assume that after March next year everything will simply return to the way it was. This time Chen's Taiwan independence moves involve his prosecution for corruption and his legacy. He is fighting for his political life. How else can he hijack the Democratic Progressive Party? How else can he deal with corruption indictments after leaving office? This time Chen Shui-bian's goal is to create a political and social psychological breakthrough for Taiwan independence by means of the upcoming election. He hopes to ensure his status as the standard bearer for Taiwan independence after stepping down. Therefore, the "Nation of Taiwan" is not a phony agenda that will automatically vanish once the election passes. Instead, it must be seen as a permanent break with the Republic of China, a path of no return. This election is the final showdown between the Republic of China and a would be "Nation of Taiwan." It is also a showdown between a president of the Republic of China and a would be president of a would be "Nation of Taiwan." This is what it has come to, and this is what it had to come to.

Looking back at the vicissitudes of the past eight years, we see that Chen Shui-bian once advocated a "new centrist path." He pledged "Five Noes." But now he is moving toward "Four Demands," toward a "Plebiscite to Join the UN" and a "Plebiscite for Taiwan Independence." During these eight long years, Chen Shui-bian has by increments adopted an ever more radical posture as cover for his gross incompetence and brazen malfeasance. Centrist voters have been bitterly let down. On the other hand, Chen Shui-bian has finally removed his political camouflage. He has revealed his Taiwan independence colors. For the first time, the public has the opportunity to make a clear choice between a would be "Nation of Taiwan" and the Republic of China. This is a turning point worth celebrating. The election is seven months away. This gives the public a chance to consider their feelings about a would be "Nation of Taiwan" and the Republic of China, and make a calm and reasoned choice.

The Nation of Taiwan has come out of the closet. It is no longer pretending to toe the "new centrist path." It is no longer pretending to honor the "Five Noes." The issue in the upcoming election is going to be: "The Republic of China or the Nation of Taiwan? Make your choice!" Which "country" will win? No one knows. Any would be "Nation of Taiwan" has an Achilles heel. Otherwise its champions would not have had to hide their real agenda along the way. But the case for the Republic of China also has vulnerabilties. Otherwise its defenders would not come across so mealy-mouthed and defensive.

The upcoming presidential election has been defined as a final showdown between the Republic of China and a would-be "Nation of Taiwan." Whoever fears to step onto this battlefield, whoever lacks the ability to direct this battle, will be the loser.

2007.09.08 05:28 am











Friday, September 7, 2007

A Remedial Class on Transitional Justice

A Remedial Class on Transitional Justice
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 06, 2007

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party has had seven different Government Information Office (GIO) Chiefs since it assumed power. Every one of them has been, shall we say, unique. From "The Shooter," who mimicked gunning down reporters at a press conference, to "The Ribbon Cutter," who presided over ribbon cutting ceremonies for illegal pirate radio stations. From "The Terminator" who shut down cable television networks offensive to the ruling DPP, to "The Broker," who negotiated deals for those he was supposed to be regulating. But the most "unique" GIO Chief of all, has to be Hsieh Chi-wei, who has outdone them all.

Why is Hsieh Chi-wei so insufferably arrogant? Hsieh is proud of the fact that he studied German literature in Germany. Because he studied German literature in Germany, he presumes that he is qualified to hold forth on "transitional justice." That, and because he enticed a former East Germany premier with a large sum of money to come to Taiwan and demand that the KMT account for its party assets. He and Chen Shui-bian, who knows nothing about Germany whatsoever, are singing the identical tune. They are demanding that "half of the officials of the judiciary be purged" and that all officials of the judiciary be compelled to declare their party affiliation on the Internet.

How much Hsieh Chi-wei knows about German literature we can't say. But based on the nonsense he has spouted about "transitional justice," he knows nothing about German history, and even less about German politics and law. He is depending solely on his authority as government spokesman to assert that Germany is the way he says it is. He is a disgrace to every scholar who has ever studied in Germany.

Those who have studied transitional justice know that next to Latin America, the most discussed region is Eastern Europe, including Germany. This region has undergone a metamorphosis from socialism to capitalism. These post communist countries must sort out private property, public property and party property. They must right miscarriages of justice. They must investigate refugees gunned down while fleeing from behind the Iron Curtain. They must separate the sheep from the goats. They must also deal with the mountain of dossiers compiled by their secret police. As of today, Eastern Europeans have talked a lot about transitional justice. but those who have actually done something about it are few and far between. It is not that the scope of social reforms is not extensive enough, or that understanding is not deep enough. The problem is transitional justice depends upon the transformation of society as a whole.

So-called transitional justice, is simply making right today what was wrong yesterday. When we encounter a society undergoing transformation, when what I am today emerged from what I was yesterday, just how am I to carry out transitional justice? Is a new generation supposed to exact vengeance on the previous generation? Are some individuals playing by old rules, supposed to turn around and exact vengeance on others? When everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else, transitional justice becomes a form of soul searching. We must never allow a new generation to commit the same mistakes over and over again.

In all of Eastern Europe, only Germany was able to achieve some degree of transitional justice. The reason is simple. Germany reformed by means of merger, in reality, annexation. West Germany's capitalist system replaced East Germany's socialist system in toto. That is why post reunification Germany had good reason to eliminate judges whose heads were filled with socialist ideology. That is why their ranks had to be replaced by judges from West Germany. No other Eastern European country was able to achieve this.

The ROC's tranformation was less radical than Eastern Europe's. Our economy was always capitalist. Our political system was always "democratic gradualism." Therefore following democratization, most of our legal and social institutions needed no further modification. Most importantly, our transition was different from East Germany's. It was the same as other Eastern European countries. It was a collective transformation, akin to the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The old rules of the game may have been riddled with injustices, yet the society as a whole advanced from the past to the present. So the question is, precisely who has the right to demand transitional justice from whom? New landlords who worship the old land ownership policies? Corporate heads who depend on old incentives to seize international market share? What right does someone who was once a Kuomintang cell leader, who made it into National Taiwan University because he scored well on Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles, who was able to buy a house before all his classmates because he studied Martial Law era maritime law, presume to demand the purging of half the officials within the justice system? Is Chen Shui-bian, a potential defendant in the State Affairs Confidential Expenses case, to decide which half of the officials in the judiciary should be purged? Will these include the presiding judges in his corruption trial?

Had Hsieh Chi-wei really studied Germany history, he would know how vigorously Helmut Kohl sponsored Lothar de Maizie, the last prime minister of East Germany, following the reunification of East and West Germany. This was especially odd, considering how ministers who had been in office for only two months were quietly relieved of their duties. The reason was that East Germany's Ministry for State Security (Stasi) had a dossier filled with senstive information on Kohl. This former Prime Minister, the victim of a ruthless purge, probably never imagined that an Eastern Bloc government undergoing transitional justice would have a Bureau of Information Chief willing to pay him bundles of money to lecture on "transitional justice."

The transitional justice that Taiwan needs requires the kind of soul searching that is carved indelibly into one's bones and into one's heart. What is needed is an evolutionary metamorphosis, not two wrongs that will never make a right, not an endless cycle of tit for tat. An ignorant Hsieh Chi-wei is unqualified to discuss transitional justice. He and the irredeemably corrupt Chen Shui-bian are birds of a feather who are unqualified to criticize the justice system. They can only demean justice.

2007.09.06 03:06 am










Setting Limits on Democracy?

Setting Limits on Democracy?
United Daily New editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 09, 2007

Chen Shui-bian said that "one cannot set limits on democracy." Chen is wrong. The survival of a nation requires the setting of limits. If certain policies run the risk of harming or even destroying the nation, of course they must be off limits.

Chen Shui-bian argues that Taiwan independence is the result of "Taiwan's democratic political development." He argues that the US cannot on the one hand support "Taiwan's democracy" and on the other hand oppose Taiwan independence. Therefore he opposes US attempts to set limits on "Taiwan's democracy." He argues that Taiwan independence must be given the green light.

Under the democracy that prevails in regions controlled by the Republic of China, it is permissible to advocate Taiwan independence. One cannot forbid the advocacy of Taiwan independence in the public forum. But whether Taiwan independence accords with the requirements of national survival, and is something that political leaders should be promoting, is another matter altogether. Are Taiwan independence ideologues truly unaware that Taiwan independence will bring calamity? Are they truly determined to bring about their own destruction?

Following the First World War, the shackles imposed by the Treaty of Versailles reduced Germany to the status of an "abnormal country." As a result, in accordance with democratic procedures, and inside the political framework of the Weimar Republic, a political party that advocated anti-Semitism and foreign expansionism appeared, the Nazi Party. In other words, Germany at that time set no limits on the Nazi Party. But in retrospect, we see that Hitler was using democracy to hijack the German nation, to exceed the limits of what was in the interest of Germany's national survival. The Nazis used democracy to prevail politically. By the time they had achieved their dreams, they had destroyed the German nation.

Today the Republic of China government faces a similar situation. Question One: Are the Chinese people on Taiwan really prepared to pay any price for Taiwan independence, and even break with the US? Question Two: Does Taiwan independence in fact accord with the requirements of the nation's survival?

In response to the first question, Chen Shui-bian professes confidence. He argues that opinion polls confirm a trend toward Taiwan independence. Regarding this, we have reservations. Chen Shui-bian is clearly attempting to inflate the significance of "Taiwanese consciousness," spinning it as "Taiwan independence consciousness." He is manipulating "Taiwanese consciousness," using it to justify his own "Taiwan independence consciousness." Is the public on Taiwan so ignorant as to break with the US over the issue of Taiwan independence? Surely not? On the other hand, Hitler was able to hijack Germany by means of the democratic process and lead it toward Nazism. Would it be so surprising if Chen Shui-bian hijacked Taiwan by means of the democratic process and led it toward Taiwan independence? Therefore the second question is the key. Does Taiwan independence accord with the strategic requirements of the Republic of China's survival? Did Nazism accord with the requirements of Germany's national survival?

To assert that "one cannot set limits on democracy" is populist demagoguery. Suppose someone advocates "exempting everyone from paying taxes?" Obviously democracy has limits. Suppose someone advocates "resorting to force to compel a corrupt president to step down?" Obviously democracy has limits. National leaders must defend democracy. They must never lead the nation toward disaster in the name of democracy. Hitler violated this rule. He exceeded this limit. So have innumerable mini-Hitlers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Their crime was always the same: They used democracy to destroy the nation.

If Chen Shui-bian were still a dissident leader during the "party outsider" era, he would be free to shout "Long live Taiwan independence!" But Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party are the Republic of China's ruling elite. Yet they are still lying to themselves and the public. They are leading the nation to the brink of disaster.

Can one set limits on democracy? Of course one can. Of course one must. One must set limits on the authority of leaders in positions of power. They must not be permitted to put the survival of the nation at risk. Chen Shui-bian must ask himself whether he has exceeded these limits, whether he has put the survival of the nation at risk.

To escape responsibility for the crisis of authority caused by his greed and corruption, Chen shifted public attention to his "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name of Taiwan." On the one hand he insisted that his "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name of Taiwan" had nothing to do with Taiwan independence. On the other hand he aggressively pushed his "Four Demands" and "UN membership under a New National Title." When he did this, did he exceed these limits? When his "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name of Taiwan" caused a rift in Taipei/Washington relations, when US trust was shattered, when Taipei found itself at loggerheads with its most important international backer, did he exceed these limits? On the one hand Chen Shui-bian admits that "Taiwan independence is both self-deception and deception of others." On the other hand he continues throwing gasoline on the flames of Taiwan independence. When he does this, is he exceeding these limits?

Democracy allows a variety of different viewpoints. In this respect, it sets no limits. But political leaders' actions must be limited. They cannot be permitted to engage in mass deception. Their national policies must have limits. They must maximize national welfare and minimize national misfortunes. They must not be permitted to lead the nation down the path to oblivion.

It is one thing to hold forth on how "One cannot set limits on democracy." But Chen Shui-bian has exceeded every one of his limits. He has exceeded his moral limits. He has exceeded his legal limits. He has led the nation to brink of disaster.

2007.09.05 03:17 am













Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Painting Judges Blue will only Destroy the Justice System

Painting Judges Blue will only Destroy the Justice System
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 4, 2007

How difficult is it to destroy the Republic of China's (ROC) system of justice? Apparently not that difficult. All you have to do is accuse judges of being Pan Blue in their political affiliation. Just look at how judges have been vilified over the past two days. First the president went on TV and alleged that seventy to eighty percent of all judges were Pan Blues. He accused them of being concerned only with Blue and Green, not black and white. The president no sooner finished his diatribe, than the Executive Yuan conveniently chimed in. The Government Information Office (GIO) called a press conference demanding that the Kuomintang (KMT) make public how many Judicial Yuan officials have been party members since martial law was lifted. The GIO demanded that any judge who had participated in a court case involving political figures disclose his party affiliation, if any, on the Internet. Rather than quietly await a possible guilty verdict, why not launch a preemptive attack by accusing the entire judicial system of Pan Blue political bias?

How much have members of ROC judicial system, from high level administrators to district court judges, quietly sacrificed over the years to establish an independent and professional judiciary? How much wisdom and intellect has been invested in judicial reform? Now that it is time to reap the rewards, all it takes nullify the entire legal community's years of sacrifice, is a single speech from President Chen and a single press conference from the GIO. With such a president and such a ruling party taking the lead in destroying the destroying public trust in the nation's judiciary, what point is there in judicial reform?

After this, how will judges be able to try political cases? We already have our answer. Any verdict favorable to the Green Camp will be trumpeted as "Solomonic," as the "Triumph of Justice." Any verdict favorable to the Blue Camp will be castigated as "concerned only about Blue and Green, indifferent about black and white," or even denounced as the "Demise of the Judiciary." The judge will be asked to reveal his party affiliation. He may even be publicly slandered and vilified. A nation's judges are only permitted to find opposition party leaders guilty. They are not permitted to rule against ruling party officials. Is this the "Triumph of Justice?" What word is there for this kind of intimidation of judges, other than "Political Terror?" Can judges be liberated from political influence? If judges live in fear, can they really champion justice for the common man?

Remember the KMT/PFP lawsuit to nullify Chen Shui-bian's "election" in 2004? The court ruled against the KMT/PFP. Following the court's decision the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ringingly declared that the judiciary had returned a just verdict, granting Chen the justice he deserved. Using President Chen and the DPP's logic, couldn't the KMT dismiss the judges' ruling back then as "concerned only with Blue and Green, indifferent to black and white?" Couldn't it have demanded that the presiding judge make a public admission of his political affiliation?

If President Chen were really concerned about "judicial intervention in politics," that would be one thing. Alas his tirade against the judiciary contained an escape clause. Last month he publicly accused the judiciary of attempting to influence the presidential campaign. He touched off a storm of controversy in legal circles. His allegations were considered attempts to influence the verdict in the Ma Ying-jeou case. This time he publicly accused seventy to eighty percent of the members of the judiciary of harboring Pan Blue partisan political bias. Suddenly changing the subject, he said that he once promised to resign if found guilty in the State Affairs Confidential Expense case. He said that as long as the judiciary is independent and not subject to Blue, Green, or Red Shirt Army political influence, then of course his promise to resign is binding upon him. But then he added "If this is not the case however, then I would have to reconsider." Isn't his meaning clear enough? If when the time comes the judge in Chen's State Affairs Confidential Expense case finds him guilty, Chen intends to accuse the judge of Pan Blue political bias, citing it as an excuse to renege on his promise to resign. We can now safely predict the kind of vilification the judge in Chen's State Affairs Confidential Expense case will be subjected to in the event he rules against Chen and disappoints Green Camp expectations.

Government Information Office Bureau Chief Hsieh Chi-wei joined the lynch mob. He publicly demanded that judges presiding over trials of political figures reveal their political affiliation on the Internet. What he failed to do was to cite any legal basis for such demands. Still less did he consult Article 80 of the Constitution: "Judges must transcend partisanship, rule independently based on the law, and resist any and all interference." Instead he righteously intoned: This is "transitional justice." We feel compelled to respond: "Transitional justice? Transitional justice? How many injustices do you intend to commit in the name of transitional justice?" The ruling party, not content to destroy the judicial system, now wants tarnish the concept of "transitional justice." Nobody denies that during the martial law era the judicial system was under the thumb of the party/state system. But if the "lifting of martial law" qualified as a form of transition, wasn't its biggest contribution, wasn't the most important "justice" it established, the elimination of "Big Brother" from inside your head? Even judges' heads? Now the ruling DPP wants to use these obscene methods to intimidate judges. What is this, but brand new "Big Brothers," this time in Green uniforms?"

As he ponders the realpolitik of his political power, we hope Chen Shui-bian and the Green Camp will cease its abuse of the judiciary. Perhaps this is an unrealistic hope. The legal community must prepare for vicious attacks. Given the political climate, the only way judges can withstand vilification is to rededicate themselves to comporting themselves more professionally and rendering more independent judgments.

中國時報  2007.09.04
政治抹藍法官 只會摧毀司法