Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Returning to the UN vs. Joining the UN: The Fire Burns, The Heat Remains

Returning to the UN vs. Joining the UN: The Fire Burns, The Heat Remains
United Daily New editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 31, 2007

The Democratic Progressive Party's "Join the UN" Torch Relay and the Kuomintang's "Rejoin the UN" Bicycle Tour are each making their way around the island of Taiwan.

As everyone knows this is not really a disagreement over whether to "Rejoin the UN" or to "Join the UN." One: Most people approve of attempts to obtain representation in the UN. Two: Both the "Rejoin the UN" campaign and the "Join the UN" campaign are futile. Three: The result of any "Plebiscite to Join the UN" will be "Nothing will happen." In terms of results, there is no difference between the two campaigns. Therefore the "Join the UN" campaign and the "Rejoin the UN" campaign should not be a matter of controversy.

The "Join the UN" campaign and the "Rejoin the UN" campaign differ over four points. One: Whether to eventually eliminate the Republic of China and establish a Nation of Taiwan. Two: Whether to maintain the status quo, the international modus vivendi, and Taipei/Washington trust. Three: Whether the government may resort to unconstitutional and illegal means to hold a plebiscite/referendum. Four: Whether package-dealing the "Plebiscite to the Join the UN" with the Presidential Election will distort the election results.

Eventually a choice must be made between the Republic of China and a Nation of Taiwan. Chen Shui-bian says the Republic of China is neither here nor there. The Republic of China is already dead. The Republic of China altar will soon be torn down.

The Democratic Progressive Party's Taiwan independence strategy could be described as a "smoke and fire" strategy. Its "Taiwan independence consciousness" is the fire. Its "Taiwanese consciousness" is the smoke. The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" campaign is classic smoke and fire strategy. The DPP uses its "Nation of Taiwan" rhetoric to demand the "rectification of names, the authoring of a new constitution, and the founding of an independent Nation of Taiwan." It asserts that the "Republic of China is already dead." It demands that the "altar of the Republic of China" be demolished. This rhetoric helps ignite the fires of Deep Green "Taiwan independence consciousness." Once these fires are burning, they will turn up the heat on issues such as "Taiwan is our Mother," "native political authority," "Taiwanese consciousness," "Taiwanese pathos," and "Taiwanese dignity." When the fires of "Taiwan independence consciousness" have reached the right temperature, people will no longer be able to see past the smoke of "Taiwanese consciousness." The frog in the pot will already be cooked. The fires of "Taiwan independence consciousness" will burn brighter and brighter. The smoke of "Taiwanese consciousness" will spread farther and farther, penetrating every nook and cranny.

It was necessary for the Kuomintang to counter the "Join the UN" campaign with its own "Rejoin the UN" campaign. Otherwise voters would have a choice of only one "Join the UN" initiative during the presidential election. The potential repercussions of that are unthinkable. But the Kuomintang is engaging the DPP in battle only at the level of "Taiwanese consciousness." It lacks the ability and courage to deal with the "Republic of China/Nation of Taiwan" issue at the level of "Taiwan independence consciousness." This is the principle reason it finds itself in its current dilemma. The Kuomintang has endorsed the "Taiwanese consciousness" embedded within the UN issue. It lacks the ability to warn people that the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is merely a "Taiwan independence Plebiscite" veneer, applied to a "Taiwan independence consciousness" core. The Kuomintang wants to take refuge within the smoke generated by the Democratic Progressive Party's flames of "Taiwanese consciousness." It is even helping the Democratic Progressive Party fan the flames, accelerating their spread. The Kuomintang wants to jump on the Democratic Progressive Party's bandwagon, in order to avoid criticism. It lacks the ability and courage to extinguish the flames that are generating the smoke.

If one fails to extinguish the flames, how can one disperse the smoke? Conversely, if the flames cannot burn, how can there be smoke?

The "Plebiscite to Join/Rejoin the UN" campaign has four major problems. The "Nation of Taiwan/Republic of China" option lies at the heart of the dispute between the Blue and Green camps. The Democratic Progressive Party must prove that a Nation of Taiwan is preferable to the Republic of China. The Kuomintang must prove that the Republic of China is preferable to a Nation of Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party must prove that a "Nation of Taiwan" is beneficial to its "Taiwanese consciousness." The Kuomintang must prove that the "Republic of China" is beneficial to "Taiwanese consciousness." As matters stand, the Democratic Progressive Party's "Nation of Taiwan" fire is burning brightly and generating a great deal of heat. The Kuomintang meanwhile, seems incapable of generating the same heat for the Republic of China. It seems to think that as long as it fans the Democratic Progressive Party's flames of "Taiwanese consciousness," then any heat generated somehow becomes the Kuomintang's heat. It doesn't realize that since these were flames started by the Democratic Progressive Party, it is merely helping the Democratic Progressive Party's flame burn brighter. The Democratic Progressive Party need only declare that "There is a Blue/Green consensus on the issue of Joining the UN" to coopt the the Kuomintang and make it look as if it has endorsed the Democratic Progressive Party's initiative. If the Kuomintang cannot light its own fire, how can it generate its own heat?

The entire scenario is being stage-managed by the Democratic Progressive Party, using its "smoke and fire strategy." Look at the way government-owned and privately-owned banks and credit unions lined up to contribute to the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." That's how far the Democratic Progressive Party's artificially concocted "Taiwanese consciousness" has infiltrated society. That's how it has hijacked voters and promoted its "Taiwan independence Effect." The Kuomintang has fanned the smoke, but it has refused to put out the fire. This has led to a situation in which the fire burns, and the heat remains.

If the Kuomintang can't tell us why the Republic of China is preferable to a Nation of Taiwan, then what platform is it running on? Why should we vote for it on election day? If you can't light your own fire, how can you generate your own heat?

2007.10.31 03:24 am











Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chang'e-1: Seven Tenths Politics, Three Tenths Military Development

Chang'e-1: Seven Tenths Politics, Three Tenths Military Development
United Daily New editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 30, 2007

On the morning of October 24, the Green camp launched its "Join the UN Torch Relay." The Blue camp launched its "Return to the UN Bicycle Tour." On the evening of the same day, the Red Camp, i.e., the Chinese Communist Party, launched its Chang'e-1 satellite, which successfully orbited the moon. While political parties on Taiwan were mired in endless national identity struggles, the Chinese mainland's strategic might took a quantum leap.

The Chinese Communist Party succeeded in launching its Chang'e-1 satellite. However it did not characterize it as a "Great Leap Forward" for the military, the way it did for nuclear bombs, incontinental ballistic missiles, and man-made satellites a number of years ago. Now it faces international concerns about the militarization of outer space. Therefore it constantly emphasizes its peaceful uses. To claim that Chang'e-1 has no military function would be a lie. The Chang'e-1's exploration of the moon is a prelude to the construction of a space station. It will be followed by an outer space control center and outer space weapons deployment.

What's noteworthy is not the Chang'e-1's military implications, but the Chinese Communist Party's change in international and cross-Straits strategy. The Chinese Communist Party no longer bluffs and blusters. It now emphasizes the soft power exemplified by its exploration of the moon. This does not mean the Chinese Communist Party no longer values military development. Its military expenditures have increased in double digits for the past 20 years. Obviously it is continuing to develop its military capability, It is merely doing so at a lower key. For example, early this year the Chinese Communist Party successfully test-fired its first antisatellite missile, becoming the third nation besides America and Russia with this capability. Over the course of last year it introduced the J-10 multirole fighter plane, the nuclear powered Type 094 ballistic missile submarine and Type 093 attack submarine, the East Wind 20 medium range ballistic missile and other new weapons. These reveal that the Chinese Communist Party is also increasing its hard power.

By contrast, during this year's National Day celebration, the Democratic Progressive Party government held a troop review that was not a troop review. It showed off the new generation Hsiung Feng HF-3 anti-ship missile and Tien Kung TK-3 surface-to-air missile. It also planned to debut the Hsiung Feng HF-2 cruise missile, but the US expressed concerns and exercised its veto. A few days later word spread of Taipei's intent to develop nuclear weapons. The international media considered these moves toward Taiwan independence by the Democratic Progressive Party as acts of defiance against the Chinese Communist Party. But to everyones' surprise, Hu Jintao not only did not reply in kind, he offered Taipei an olive branch, in the form of a peace agreement. This immediately created the impression that the CCP was pursuing peace, while Taiwan was rattling its sabers. Chen Shui-bian seemed to be making a public declaration that he had decided to rely on military force to promote Taiwan independence.

This sudden contrast left the impression that the Chinese Communist Party was promoting peace and discouraging militarism, that Taiwan was the party escalating the conflict, promoting militarism, and discouraging peace. The Democratic Progressive Party's "troop review that was not a troop review" and the Chinese Communist Party's "Chang'e's Flight to the Moon" make us wonder. Should Taiwan adopt a strategic posture of "Taiwan independence/balance of military terror?" Or should it adopt a strategic posture of "Non Taiwan independence/military assistance?"

If one wants Taiwan independence, one must increase one's military might. About this one need have no doubt. If, on the other hand, one eschews Taiwan independence, then military force can be relegated to a secondary role. About this one also need have no doubt. If one wants to adopt a strategic posture of "Taiwan independence political strategy/balance of military terror," one has two choices: The first is the US's Cold War strategy. Escalate the cost of the Balance of Terror. Bankrupt the Soviet Union by means of arms race. The second is North Korea's current strategy of "nuclear blackmail." Trade peace gestures for international aid and US recognition. But the ROC's wealth is diminishing day by day. It can't even pay for educational reform. Where is it going to find the means to engage in an arms race with the Chinese Communist Party? If it chooses to adopt North Korea's strategy of nuclear brinksmanship, when the US won't even allow the open display of two ballistic missiles, how can it possibly allow Taiwan to develop nuclear weapons?

Besides, due to conflicting views of national identity, troops on Taiwan "don't know whom they're fighting for, or what they're fighting for." Politicians have been shortening soldiers' terms of enlistment in response the public's anti-war psychology. Under such conditions, Taiwan lacks the wherewithal for a military solution. Political infighting in recent years has deeply wounded public morale. This has dealt national defense a grievous blow from which it will not soon recover.

The government on Taiwan cannot possibly carry on an arms race against the Chinese Communist Party. A policy of nuclear confronation would be an unwise move. Taiwan should return to its "seven tenths politics, three tenths military development" cross-Straits policy framework. It should rely primarily upon enlightened policies, and only secondarily on military might. Put plainly, if the government pursues Taiwan independence, it must begin an arms race. Merely playing at Taiwan independence, merely screaming Taiwan independence while not actually implementing Taiwan independence, is highly disadvantageous. By contrast, if one eschews Taiwan independence, one might need to increase one's armaments, but one can at least avoid a suicidal arms race.

Seven tenths politics, and three tenths military development is still the ROC's best strategy for dealing with cross-Straits relations.

2007.10.30 03:54 am










Monday, October 29, 2007

The Role of Hsieh Chih Wei in the Democratic Progressive Party

The Role of Hsieh Chih Wei in the Democratic Progressive Party
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 29, 2007

Whether the event is the Democratic Progressive Party's "Join the UN Torch Relay" or an election rally, the person guaranteed to make the biggest splash is Hsieh Chih-wei. His popularity exceeds even that of Chen Shui-bian, Frank Hsieh, and Su Tseng-chang.

Hsieh Chih-wei would be well-suited for the role of variety show host. He would do a terrific job of livening things up. He might sing Karaoke, or take the lead on the dance floor. Every guest would be sure to have a roaring good time. But Hsieh Chih-wei is not a variety show host. He is the Chief of the Government Information Office. He is the government's top spokesman.

As the government's number one mouthpiece, Hsieh Chih-wei fills a vital role within the Chen regime. When Chen Shui-bian attends a summit with an ally, and puts his foot in his mouth by asking Palau's president "Whom did you embrace in bed last night?", Hsieh Chih-wei's job is to break into an impromptu dance or rap song, drawing attention away from Chen's faux pas. But as Government Information Officer, Hsieh Chih-wei has another job. To provoke opposition party lawmakers to such fits of anger that they shout "Sit down! You sit down!" His job is to demonstrate how the executive branch "checks and balances" the legislative branch. He has done such a great job his colleague Shih Mao-ling gave Hsieh a big thumbs up.

And no wonder. In reference to Hsieh Chih-wei, former Central Election Committee Chairman Huang Shih-cheng said: "A person like this is no different from a monkey at the zoo pretending to be a government official."

When Hsieh Chih-wei crossed swords with NCC Chairman Su Yung-chin, he did not address legitimate issues such as the constitutionality of the NCC within the legal framework of the ROC. Instead he bullied Su over irrelevancies regarding transitional justice in a reunified Germany. When Hsieh Chih-wei responded to questions about the post office's illegal stamping of "Join the UN" slogans on personal correpsondence, he did not address the legitimacy of the policy or encroachments on the people's right to privacy. He trivialized the affair by inviting an American English teacher on Taiwan to discuss the matter of English usage over tea. What would Huang Shih-chen say watching such a thug in a position of power? Would he refer to Hsieh as a "mu hou er guan" ("a monkey in a suit") incapable of maintaining the illusion of humanity?

Is this really the image the Democratic Progressive Party wants to broadcast to the world? Older generation Democratic Progressive Party officials such as current premier Chang Chun-hsiung, confronted with a verbal confrontation between Hsieh Chih-wei and an opposition lawmaker, quietly urged Hsieh, "Don't argue any more. Go and sit down." Chang hoped to maintain an image of rationality for the ruling administration. Yet Frank Hsieh had nothing but praise for the controversial Hsieh Chih-wei at a public rally, referring to him as "an outstanding GIO Chief," and expressed concern that the Blue camp wanted to force Hsieh Chih-wei out of office. Does Frank Hsieh really not know that many voters hope Hsieh Chih-wei's simian antics will take Frank Hsieh down with him?

Ever since DPP legislator Lin Chung-mo gained fame by insulting Sisy Chen with sexist vulgarisms, the "Three Stooges" (Lin Chung-mo, Tsai Chi-fang, and Hou Shui-sheng) have become immensely popular within the Democratic Progressive Party, and simultaneously the focus of outside criticism. The role of the Three Stooges was originally to generate controversy concerning certain topics, to underscore the Democratic Progressive Party's "grass roots" nature. Their uncouth language and manners are nothing parents would want to inculcate in their own children. But the Three Stooges have come to fill a certain role in the party. When Chen Tang-shan referred to Singapore as "a nation the size of a piece of snot" and accused it of "fondling China's balls," he violated all norms of diplomatic etiquette. When Tsai Chi-fang accused Luo Wen-chia and his wife as "putting on a show" and "singing a duet," he ripped away the hypocritical mask of intraparty comradeship and ethics. Former GIO Chief Yao Wen-chi flaunted a supercilious "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" manner. This "evolved" into current GIO Chief Hsieh Chih-wei's simian antics. This process swiftly undermined any standards of ethics or decorum established over many long years.

The Democratic Progressive Party has undergone a transformation. It now belongs to the "Three Stooges," to "Hsieh Chih-wei," and their ilk. The character of the party has changed from "to know shame is courage," to "to know no shame is courage."

When the anti-corruption movement was in full swing, many citizens took to the streets, not for the Blue camp or the Green camp, not for reunification or for independence, but for the traditional Chinese virtues of "Propriety, Honor, Integrity, and Conscience." Alas, the Three Stooges and Hsieh Chih-wei have set a new tone for society. They hold such virtues in contempt. Taiwan has forsaken civilized rules of conduct, and the public has become accustomed to the political antics of Lin Chung-mo and Tsai Chi-fang. The term "LP" ("balls") has become an in word. Hsieh Chih-wei's impromptu performances of rap music are all the rage. Under the circumstances, "watching monkeys perform in a zoo" perfectly describes Taiwan's politics.

Society has degenerated to the point where all that matters is Wu Shu-chen's diamond ring from Tiffany, Chen Shui-bian's off-key rendition of "Ode to the Republic of China," or where to find a gourmet dish of abalone. What room is there for serious topics such as truth and justice, right and wrong, constitutionalism and the rule of law? Don't be deceived by the hoopla over the "Join the UN" campaign. The Democratic Progressive Party hopes that public's attitude toward the democratic process will be: "Is it really so serious?" Enter Hsieh Chih-wei. The function of officials like Hsieh Chih-wei is to transform serious issues of state into the antics of monkeys at a zoo.

2007.10.29 04:47 am











Sunday, October 28, 2007

State-owned Banks "Facilitate" the Join the UN Campaign

State-owned Banks "Facilitate" the Join the UN Campaign, but the Financial Supervisory Commission merely looks on
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 25, 2007

A row of well-dressed men in expensive business suits, stands on the floor of the Legislative Yuan. These men are CEOs and general managers of state-owned banks and credit unions. They have been summoned here by Members of the Legislature. These officials are guilty of turning funds entrusted to their care over to the Executive Yuan, allowing the ruling DPP to misuse these funds paying for its "Join the UN" campaign. They now stand obediently before the legislature.

State-owned banks and credit unions are well recognized "golden rice bowls." Which of these officials, each of whom has clawed his way to the rank of CEO or general manager, isn't a player? Yet here they stand, hemming and hawing, with nothing to say. They must endure this humiliation because they know they have behaved dishonorably. Grilling by legislators reveals that most of these officials, using "advertising expenditures" as a pretext, turned funds under their management over to the Government Information Office, for the purpose of promoting the ruling DPP regime's "Join the UN" campaign. The Taiwan Cooperative Bank and the Taiwan Business Bank, for example, invited major borrowers to participate in a series of Democratic Progressive Party fundraising dinners. Even the First Commercial Bank, which has already been privatized, donated 10 million NT to the National Cultural Association, in the name of "Pubic Relations to Promote the Image of the Nation."

These highly partisan expenditures were clearly intended to help the Democratic Progressive Party's election efforts. They were illegitimate on the face of it, and could only be made under false pretenses. They violate the revenue and expenditure provisions of the Budget Law for state-owned banks and credit unions. They exceed the limits of authority for professional managers of such institutions. Most of these banks and credit unions are publicly held companies. Not only must they must answer to their depositors, they must also answer to small shareholders. What responsible financier is willing to ignore profits and scatter money to the winds? And we haven't even mentioned the issue of legal liability. Legislators fulminated, demanding that these funds to be deducted directly from these CEOs' and general managers' year end bonuses. In fact, these bank managers are already under suspicion for diverting funds and violating the public trust.

These managers of state-owned bank and credit union managers, under pressure from "higher authorities," did not dare speaking freely. Minister of Finance He Chih-chin looked as if he were under duress. He mumbled some vague generalities about "Administrative Guidance by a Comprehensive Executive Yuan Plan." This is not the first time Minister He has been outside the loop. Public announcements of important government plans such as tax reform were made by Conference for Economic Reconstruction Chairman He Mei-yue. When questioned, Minister He said he knew nothing about the matter. He Chih-chin's role is to provide a scholarly image for the Ministry of Finance. The fact that he has no real power has been public knowledge for a long time. The Financial Supervisory Commission is the domestic financial organization responsible for oversight and control of the nation's domestic financial institutions. It stands on the front lines. It is the entity that most ought to step forward and take responsibility for the scandal. But what are Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng and current Bank Bureau Vice Chairman Chang Hsiu-lien doing at this very moment?

In recent years, the Financial Supervisory Commission has often been criticized for doing too much. Many of its committee chairmen, committee members, and bureau chiefs are mired in legal scandals. The Rebar Group controversy led judges to suspect that Financial Supervisory Commission managers had been making illegal loans. The public still has a vivid memory of the presiding judge blasting the Financial Supervisory Commission for dereliction of duty and patronage. Faced with such accusations, the Financial Supervisory Commission has vigorously and resolutely sworn to establish strict controls. During the past half year it has helped prosecute quite a few domestic bank managers. Bank managers now jump at the slightest sound. For public financial institutions to turn over funds to designated political organizations or political parties, under the guise of business expenses, and to expect not to be investigated, fined, and prosecuted, is inconceivable.

And yet now, before the public eye, in broad daylight, we see banks collectively donating money to the "Join the UN" campaign, inviting major borrowers to wine and dine Democratic Progressive Party candidates. We see bank chairmen of the board and general managers being called onto the floor of the Legislative Yuan and being forced to stand at attention, receive tongue-lashings, while struggling to explain themselves. Can Hu Sheng-cheng and Chang Hsiu-lien really turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to these outrages? These public banks and credit unions, which take their orders from major stockholders of public shares, have harmed the interests of many smaller and younger shareholders. Isn't the Securities and Futures Investors Protection Center supposed to be watching over such abuses? Officials of the judiciary reproached the Financial Supervisory Commission for official patronage, for allowing favored banks to violate the law. Yet now we see with our own eyes "guanxi" between the Executive Yuan, the Financial Supervisory Commission, and state owned banks and credit unions. How are we supposed to feel?

A number of years ago, when the Legislative Yuan interpellated Minister of Economic Affairs Chung Tsai-yi, she was forced to admit she had no idea what was happening all around her, and to hurriedly resigned after only 40 days in office. The public regarded the incident as a joke. But at least the government had the decency to admit its inadequacies, and conduct itself correspondingly. The apparent cluelessness of our current Minister of Finance is far more shocking. Standing alongside a row of CEOs and general managers in the Legislative Yuan, officials of our current Financial Supervisory Commission apparently need to have their mistakes pointed out to them in court by a judge. In fact they are perfectly aware of the illicit activities of state-owned banks and credit unions. But they are unwilling or unable to do anything about it. Political appointees and professional managers alike have suffered humiliation and abuse from the ruling DPP. Do they really intend to cling to their jobs without giving a thought to their dignity? No wonder some people are nostalgic for Chung Tsai-yi.

2007.10.25 03:39 am








Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Pig Snout Plebiscite: The Plebiscite to Join the UN Self-destructs

The Pig Snout Plebiscite: The Plebiscite to Join the UN Self-destructs
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 24, 2007

Annette Lu noted that the logo for the Plebiscite to Join the UN campaign looks remarkably like a pig's snout. As a result some people began referring to the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" as the "Pig Snout Plebiscite."

Superficially, it would seem that Chen Shui-bian has successfully demagogued the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" issue. But because the campaign has been conducted in an uncivilized, unconstitutional, illegal, and anti-democratic manner that violates human rights, he has undercut its legitimacy and hastened its demise. The political image of the Plebiscite to Join the UN has been badly tarnished.

Chen Shui-bian should beware of overkill, i.e., a promotional effort that produces diminishing returns because it repels rather than attracts. He should not provoke political moderates into snorting contemptuously: "Pig Snout Plebiscite!"

The Plebiscite to Join the UN began with a positive image. It gave vent to accumulated public frustration. It championed the rights and interests of citizens of the ROC on Taiwan. These were among the plebiscite's selling points. But the Chen regime has resorted to means that cannot be justified. It has ordered the post office to stamp "Join the UN" slogans on private correspondence. It has coerced civil servants to participate in petition drives. It has embezzled public funds to underwrite "Join the UN" campaign activities. It has printed "Join the UN" slogans on sales slips. It intends to "package deal" the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" with the 2008 Presidential Election It intends to force voters to accept plebisite ballots along with presidential election ballots, whether they want them or not. It is violating the Rule of Law and the principle of administrative neutrality. Even the "Join the UN Torch Relay" has been reduced to a "Come and get me if you have the guts!" show of bravado. These political excesses clearly violate Article 13 of the Referendum Act, which states: "Unless prescribed by this Act, no administrative entity may in any form, carry out a referendum or commission any other organization to carry out a referendum on any topic, and may not draw upon any funds or use government employess at any level to do so." The ruling DPP has turned the system upside down and demonstrated its utter contempt for constitutionalism and the Rule of Law.

Chen Shui-bian needs to realize that if the "Join the UN" campaign peaks too soon, by the time the presidential election rolls around five months from now, any initial thrill from the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" will have died down. The public may then begin to realize the extent of the DPP's violations of the constitution, of the law, of democratic norms, and of human rights. The public may begin to see through its lawlessness and its perversions of the truth. On election day, moderate voters may dismiss the highly touted "Plebiscite to Join the UN" as nothing more than a "Pig Snout Plebiscite."

Chen Shui-bian said that "Nothing bad will happen merely because we hold his 'Plebiscite to Join the UN'." In other words, no matter what the result of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" might be, Taiwan won't gain membership in the UN, nor will a "Nation of Taiwan" be born. Actually, even though we have yet to hold a "Plebiscite to Join the UN," can we really say that "Nothing bad has happened?" Actually a great deal has happened. A lawless government has violated the Rule of Law and the principle of administrative neutrality. Something very bad indeed has happened.

For Chen Shui-bian to exploit the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" as shamelessly as he has, may cost him more than it is worth. The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" campaign is merely a means of linking certain issues with the presidential election. But the Democratic Progressive Party has violated the constitution and broken the law. Will rational voters dare cast their ballots for a political party with no respect for consitutionalism and the Rule of Law? The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" may well have awakened moderate centrist voters. It may motivate them to cast a cold and rational eye on the perils of continued DPP rule.

Chen Shui-bian wants to "package deal" the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" to "Taiwanese Pathos" and "Taiwanese Consciousness." It wants to bolster support for the Democratic Progressive Party during the presidential election. But political moderates may be turned off by the manipulative methods being used. They may see through the Democratic Progressive Party's hypocrisy and lawlessness. They may decide they have no reason to vote for a Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate again. Chen Shui-bian, beware, lest the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" either evaporates or changes into something ugly before our eyes.

The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is a farce. The sequence of events should have been: The Democratic Progressive Party proposes a "Plebiscite to Join the UN" -> The voters give their approval -> The government formulates a policy -> The government proposes a "Plebiscite to Join the UN" before the United Nations General Assembly. This procedure has been turned on its head: "The government proposed a "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" before the United Nations General Assembly -> The United Nations General Assembly rejected it -> The government violated the constitution and the law promoting a "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" -> On March 22 of next year the government will hold a "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan." The inversion of the proper procedure, from beginning to end, shows that Chen Shui-bian never had any intention in of "Joining the UN." He merely wanted to use the feelings of victimization engendered by the inability to join the UN to destroy the constitution, the law, and the nation. The cost be damned.

Chen Shui-bian and Democratic Progressive Party need to pay attention. The moral legitimacy of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" has been undermined. The political image of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" has been tarnished. If political moderates see the Democratic Progressive Party behaving lawlessly while promoting the "Plebiscite to Join the UN," destroying the law and destroying the country, will they dare to vote for the Democratic Progressive Party during the presidential election?

The Democratic Progressive Party demands the holding of a "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan," even though it knows that such a plebiscite will never result in UN membership. What are moderate voters to conclude, except that the Democratic Progressive Party has no respect for law and order? What are they to conclude? Other than that the DPP, which purports to "love Taiwan," is determined to destroy Taiwan?

2007.10.24 03:47 am












Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Triumph of the Will: Chen Shui-bian's "Rule by Confrontation"

Triumph of the Will: Chen Shui-bian's "Rule by Confrontation"
United Daily New editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 23, 2007

Apparently the strong suit of the eight-year old Chen Shui-bian regime is its ability to say: "You want to make something of it?"

Chen Shui-bian, ignoring the fact that he failed to file an application for a road use permit, insisted on running the first stage of the "Join the UN Torch Relay." By doing so, he trampled over the rule of law and further undermined the questionable legitimacy of the "Join the UN" campaign. The tempest over the road use permit is being referred to as an "incident." It would be more accurate to characterize it as a confrontation. The Chen regime habitually resorts to confrontation to get what it wants. This reveals that Chen Shui-bian's goal is not to "Join the UN," but to exploit the political impact of the confrontation itself. Universal chaos means political opportunities.

The road use permit was purely a procedural issue. It has now been turned into a test of strength between central authorities and local authorities, into a contest of wills between a president and a mayor. The problem is not with the Taipei Municipal Government, but with an arrogant event sponsor. The event sponsor intentionally created a situation in which the president would take the lead in breaking the law. The "Join the UN Torch Relay" is a public activity in which a head of state and scores of political appointees intend to participate. Yet the Sports Affairs Council never had any intention of applying for a road use permit. It considered the general public's right to use the roads a non-issue. Chen Shui-bian dared Hao Lung-pin to "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" In his eyes there was no rule of law. It did not exist. His only concern was creating chaos and escalating confrontation.

Whether a government is able to operate smoothly is determined a three levels: At the lowest level is the civil service, its administrative neutrality and its adherence to the rule of law. At the intermediate level are political appointees, their policy-making ability and their administrative style. At the highest level is the ruling administration and its vision for the nation. Since regime change seven and a half years ago, the government's ability to make policy has steadily deteriorated, starting from the top down. The leadership's irresolution, corruption, and incompetence have become Taiwan greatest liability. Mid-level decision-makers have lost the capacity to arrive at independent judgments. Today, even low-level agencies's adherence to the rule of law has been obliterated by the chief executive. How can such a government carry out even its most basic functions?

The sponsors of the "Join the UN Torch Relay" missed the one month filing deadline for a "sporting event." Why not make up for it by changing the application to read "political event?" It would be more honest. The sponsors could coordinate with the Taipei Municipal Government, requesing an emergency dispensation. That would be the normal procedure for a normal government. But the Chen regime taunted local authorities for two straight days, daring them to "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" Chen Shui-bian puts himself above the law and abuses the powers of his office when he engages in such provocations. This is why the ROC is no longer a "normal nation."

The Chen regime's love of confrontation has its roots. When the Democratic Progressive Party was out of office, it provoked endless street corner confrontations to undermine Kuomintang authority. Once it seized power, it used demostrations and provocations against the Chinese Communist Party to gain an edge at the polls. The strategic value of such confrontations is understandable. But Chen Shui-bian is provoking confrontations not merely between people, but also between north and south, and the government itself. It is provoking confrontations between different agencies within the executive, making it impossible for law enforcement and administrative personnel to fulfill their duties. To rule a nation in this manner is selfish, myopic, and callous beyond belief.

Nor is Chen Shui-bian alone. More and more officials have adopted confrontation as a means of dealing with government affairs. For example, Government Information Office Chief Hsieh Chi-wei's recent theatrics in the Legislative Yuan. For example, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng's glowering responses to outside criticisms. Not forgetting of course Ye Kuo-hsing, who "shot" and executed members of the media with his thumb and forefinger, or Yao Wen-chi, who provoked one controversy after another. These reflect a government and civil service out of control and oblivious about its mission. Rule by Whim has replaced Rule by Law. What kind of face should we associate with such a government? How about the face of a petty tyrant barking out commands? How about a bunch of harlequins leaping about in an effort to steal the spotlight, while conscientious officials look on in silence?

The Democratic Progressive Party is aware of the need for order. But it has chosen to engage in an orgy of mayhem, then to feast on the blood gushing from the nation's wounds. For over seven years, it has shouted slogans promising "reconciliation, harmony, happiness, and joy," not one of which has materialized. It relentlessly leads the people down the road toward confrontation, animosity, and misery.

What kind of language is "Come and get me, if you have the guts!" but the language of a Mafia capo? Yet it emerges from the mouth of our head of state, a man who was once a prominent lawyer and legislator. This man, the "Son of Taiwan" responsible for regime change, is now the same man who has destroyed the island's budding democracy and fragile rule of law. Chen Shui-bian's contorted visage reflects both the ruling party's rapid decay and Taiwan's collective unwillingness to look itself in the mirror.

Chen Shui-bian's eight year long "rule by confrontation" has drained Taiwan of its lifeblood and vitality. Now Chen would have everyone believe that an illegal, unsanctioned "Join the UN Torch Relay" will somehow overthrow the Republic of China and establish a "Nation of Taiwan?"

2007.10.23 03:56 am











Monday, October 22, 2007

Why the Government is Paralysed: Economic Microcephaly and Political Huntington's Disease

Why the Government is Paralysed: Economic Microcephaly and Political Huntington's Disease
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 22, 2007

The Chen regime's performance for the past seven and a half years can be summed up two ways: One, its international standing has deteriorated steadily, yet its reaction is to butt its head against the wall. Two, its domestic policies are an unmitigated catastrophe, yet its reaction is to spend money as if there were no tomorrow. Sudden price increases have left the government at a complete loss. Yet the government's reaction is to redouble its efforts to "Join the UN." Its reaction is to neglect the welfare of the people, by tilting at windmills, and putting the cart before the horse. The government is paralyzed by its own incompetence.

Leave aside increases in the price of produce following Typhoon Krosa. The government has never had a policy for dealing with increases in the price of oil or consumer goods. It has done nothing but watch from the sidelines. Whether the problem is short-term commodity price fluctuations or long-term supply chain adjustments, the Chen regime has essentially abandoned the ordinary citizen and left him to fend for himself. But all it takes is a single order from Chen Shui-bian to promote the "Join the UN" campaign, and a sluggish and unresponsive bureaucracy immediately springs to life. The post office, the water company, the power company, and other public services cooperate by stamping "Join the UN" slogans on everything from private correspondence to utility bills. When senior citizens collect their monthly social security checks, local governments misappropriate their chops and affix them to "Join the UN" petitions without their knowledge or authorization. Central government agencies compete with each other contributing to the "Join the UN" campaign. From top to bottom, everyone is in perfect lockstep. The efficiency is astonishing.

The government is indifferent to the welfare of the people or the health of the economy. By contrast, it is passionate about political mobilization. Superficially this would seem to reflect the ruling regime's monomania and irrationality. In fact, the root of the problem is the ruling party's inability to solve real problems by normal methods. Therefore all it can do is play political games. All it can do is set off smoke grenades, diverting the public's attention. In fact, the Chen regime's "irrational" political games are in fact rational calculations based on an awareness of its own incompetence. Such a regime is more frightening than one that is merely insane. Such a regime is so cold-blooded it would consciously sacrifice the future of the nation for selfish political advantage.

Why are people incapable of bettering the economic circumstances of the people, able to do such an enthusiatic job of promoting the "Join the UN" campaign? It's no secret. It's because the "Join the UN" campaign requires only obeying orders from above. It does not require individual intelligence or independent judgment. But dealing with even minor issues such as fluctuations in the price of green onions, requires precise market information and specialized administrative ability. It requires balancing the interests of farmers, merchants and consumers. But the Chen regime's populist nature ensures that it will attempt to appease all parties. Therefore whenever it encounters such a lose/lose/lose situation, it has no solutions. All it can do is pretend not to hear the people's complaints.

From beginning to end, the "Join the UN" movement has been a campaign requiring no thought. It is something "easier done than said." That's because the government is not actually seeking to "Join the UN." It is merely seeking to exploit "Join the UN" propaganda for political advantage. The target of the government's propaganda is not foreign governments, but domestic voters. What's so difficult about that? Spending the public's money to wash the public's brains, all the while trumpeting the process as a heroic undertaking. What could be easier than that?

As long as postal service and electric company officials obey orders, they are assured of glowing performance reviews. As long as financial, economic, and defense officials comply with orders to provide funds and stage skydiving shows, they have demonstrated their fealty to the regime. Under such circumstances, what need do executive branch officials have for independent thought? Or even brains? Hence the spectacle of Government Information Office Chief Hsieh Chi-wei leaping to the podium to respond to questions directed at Chang Chun-hsiung, without being summoned. Hence the spectacle of Vice Minister of Finance Li Jui-tsang ordering civil servants to participate in a signature drive for the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." Hence the spectacle of Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin denying all knowledge of such an order. Hence the spectacle of the Executive Yuan claiming that increasing garbage collection fees did not constitute decision-making, and passing the buck to the Environmental Protection Agency. What are these confused thoughts and moral inversions, if not classic symptoms of microcephaly? Under such circumstances, for Frank Hsieh to equate the economic welfare of the people with the "feeding of pigs, dogs, and chickens" is hardly surprising.

When the Chen Shui-bian administration first took office it payed lip service to reform. Over the past two years, not only have chants of "reform" died on the wind, so have boasts about "bolstering the economy." Obviously, the ruling regime knows its lies have been refuted by its own actions. Last year the Japanese media used the term "necrotic" to describe the dysfunctional state of the Chen regime. Most worrisome today is that Taiwan will be despoiled by a political authority in an advanced state of necrosis. How can the people hope for a peaceful existence under a regime afflicted with both "Economic Microcephaly" and "Political Huntington's Disease?"

The government has reduced the nation's problems to a single issue. If only we can hold a "Plebiscite to Join the UN," they promise, then we enter a Brave New World. How many times will ROC citizens fall for this Big Lie? The Democratic Progressive Party's fanaticism conceals a bigger secret. To paraphrase a popular expression: "It's your incompetence, stupid!"

2007.10.22 03:50 am









Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why don't Senior Officials of the Democratic Progressive Party get "Join the UN" Tattoos?

News Analysis: Officials get "Join the UN" Tattoos.

Media: Why don't Senior Officials of the Democratic Progressive Party get "Join the UN" Tattoos?

Food prices on Taiwan are going through the roof. The public is unable to make ends meet. How does one increase the number of signatures on "Join the UN" petitions at a time like this? This has become high-ranking Democratic Progressive Party government officials' biggest challenge. Some members of the Legislative Yuan declared that they have "taken a stand" on behalf of the "Plebiscite to Join the UN." The media has satirized these DPP officials. Do they really consider "Joining the UN under the Name Taiwan" a sacred mission? Then why not imitate the Nationalist army troops who retreated to Taiwan, who tattooed anti-Communist slogans on their bodies? Why not give themselves tattooes reading "Support Taiwan's Membership in the UN?"

In 1949 the Kuomintang government retreated to Taiwan. Many Nationalist officers and soldiers tatooed anti-Communist slogans on their chest or arms. This symbolized their determination to recover the Chinese mainland. This became a concrete gesture by which troops could swear their allegiance to their national leader. On October 16 President Chen Shui-bian declared that he would personally set up a stall in the night market to increase the number of signatures on the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" petition. Many officials began declaring that they would "Swear Allegiance to the National Leader." Is it any wonder the media couldn't resist taking a shot at these people?

Source: Taipei newspapers

News Analysis:官員入聯刺青




來源:Taipei newspapers

How Much Longer must We tolerate such a Lawless Regime?

How Much Longer must We tolerate such a Lawless Regime?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 18, 2007

Summary: This year's United Nations General Assembly has already adjourned. The "Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" movement, however, has not. In order to fight its way into the UN, the Democratic Progressive Party government has gone on full mobilization. Even private correspondence, electricity bills, and receipts for gasoline purchases have had "Join the UN" slogans stamped on them. Stamped "Join the UN" slogans have blotted out the sun, all for one purpose: to "package deal" the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's "Plebiscite to Join the UN" with the 2008 Presidential Election. Everyone, from local civil servants to the staff of state-owned enterprises, is required to fall in behind this "policy," to disregard laws mandating civil service neutrality, to disregard the free will of the people. What kind of a nation is this? What kind of a political party is this? From the moment the Democratic Progressive Party decided to package deal its "Plebiscite to Join the UN" with the 2008 Presidential Election, the island has been mired in an endless "Join the UN" nightmare. To paraphrased an expression coined by former US president Bill Clinton, and used by both the ruling and opposition parties to attack each other: "It's the plebiscite, stupid!"

Full Text below:

This year's United Nations General Assembly has already adjourned. The "Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" movement, however, has not. In order to fight its way into the UN, the Democratic Progressive Party government has gone on full mobilization. Even private correspondence, electricity bills, and receipts for gasoline purchases have had "Join the UN" slogans stamped on them. Stamped "Join the UN" slogans have blotted out the sun, all for one purpose: to "package deal" the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's "Plebiscite to Join the UN" with the 2008 Presidential Election. Everyone, from local civil servants to the staff of state-owned enterprises, is required to fall in behind this "policy," to disregard laws mandating civil service neutrality, to disregard the free will of the people. What kind of a nation is this? What kind of a political party is this?

The "Join the UN" stamp has provoked even foreigners living in Taiwan to ask, by what right can a private individual's personal correspondence be stamped with partisan political slogans, without his consent? The foreign language teacher, known only by his surname Talovich, expressed his feelings in the bluntest possible language. He said "he hoped that a democratic nation would be ruled by its people." Unfortunately, a Taiwan which has purportedly undergone democratic transformation, a "Quiet Revolution," still hasn't learned the meaning of "government of the people."

In response to criticisms of the "Join the UN" drive, a Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker argued that between 1982 and 1984, correspondence was stamped with postmarks such as "Unify China by means of Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles," "End Appeasement," and "Overthrow Communist Tyranny." He complained of double standards. The Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker may not have been wrong about the facts, but that was 23 to 25 years ago. That era is known as the "Authoritarian Era." It was neither democratic nor open. Does a ruling party that boasts of being "democratic" and "progressive" really want to be measured according to the standards of an authoritarian regime 25 years ago?

When a government hands down a policy command, one must examine the nature of its command. "Rejoining the UN" was one of former president Lee Teng-hui's main policies. Did Lee Teng-hui or the Kuomintang government presume to instruct the China Postal Service to stamp private correspondence with the "Rejoin the UN" slogan? After the Democratic Progressive Party came to power, political slogans reappeared. In 2003 it stamped correspondence with "Unite to defeat SARS." At the time the nation was deep in depression, therefore the slogan might have had a inspirational effect. Another slogan was "Everyone must be a Solomon. Everyone must oppose vote buying." At least these were values everyone could stand behind.

Does the "Join the UN" movement represent values everyone stands behind? Judging by opinion polls, over 7/10th of the public supports UN membership. But this includes both the "Plebiscite to Join the UN under the Name Taiwan" and the "Rejoin the UN under the Name Republic of China." The Democratic Progressive Party government mobilized every level of government in an effort to ensure unquestioning obedience to "government policy." Nevertheless under intense questioning by the political opposition in the Legislative Yuan, officials openly criticized the government's lack of administrative neutrality and illegal use of funds. When the nation's highest representative body questions the government's methods, how can the government assume that whatever it feels like doing constitutes "policy?"

Stamping all these letters, utility bills, and sales receipts costs time and money. Yet the Government Information Office claims this "Join the UN" campaign won't cost anyone one thin dime. Its reasoning is that since each entity is absorbing the costs, the expenses incurred by various government agencies and state owned enterprises are somehow not being borne by the taxpayers! If that isn't outrageous enough, the Government Information Office went even further. It issued written and oral "requests" that broadcast and cable television networks "contribute free air time for public service messages." It demanded that television networks broadcast outside two "Join the UN" commercials produced by outside agencies. It has already taken a bite out of private enterprise. Year end license renewals are coming up. What television network is going to say no to the government? What kind of government considers naked threats and undisguised bribes "policy?"

Are "Join the UN" commercials public service messages? When President Chen Shui-bian visited the South Pacific he declared that his election theme would be the "Join the UN" issue. The Democratic Progressive Party has "linked" the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" to the election from Day One. After Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh ended his 13 day seclusion, the first thing he did was change the theme of his election campaign from an "Economy of Affluence" to a drive to "Join the UN." The United Nations General Assembly adjourned half a month ago. Yet the ruling Democratic Progressive Party government's "Join the UN" movement remains in full swing. The ruling DPP wants the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) to sponsor an island wide "Join the UN" marathon torch run. What is the SAC's annual budget? Is the SAC being accorded due respect? The Taichung City Government held a "National Folkways Festival." The central government provided three million in funds. Then It demanded that all of the National Folkways Festival's promotional literature incorporate "Join the UN" propaganda and slogans. What do folkways have to do with joining the UN?

What's even more disturbing, the Referendum Act clearly stipulates that government agencies may neither conduct, nor authorize others to conduct, plebiscite or referenda related matters. Government agencies may not use funds or assign personnel at any level to plebiscite or referenda related matters. A Ministry of Finance internal conference flagrantly assigned personnnel to collect signatures for the "Join the UN" petition drive. With a straight face, Vice Minister Li Jui-tsang declared that "civil servants exercised their right to express themselves." Excuse me, but did the good vice minister respect the right of civil servants, who are obligated to remain neutral in the conduct of their duties, to express or not express themselves as they saw fit? The good vice minister apparently did not realize he had already violated the law. When issuing senior citizens their monthly welfare checks, Chiayi County "asked" them to sign the "Join the UN" petition. The county government explained that this was an isolated incident. Frankly, even isolated incidents are unacceptable. These are merely incidents that have been exposed. How many incidents have yet to be exposed?

From the moment the Democratic Progressive Party decided to package deal its "Plebiscite to Join the UN" with the 2008 Presidential Election, the island has been mired in an endless "Join the UN" nightmare. To paraphrased an expression coined by former US president Bill Clinton, and used by both the ruling and opposition parties to attack each other: "It's the plebiscite, stupid!"

中國時報  2007.10.18










Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Strategic Considerations behind Beijing's Cross Straits Peace Accord

The Strategic Considerations behind Beijing's Cross Straits Peace Accord
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 17, 2007

Beijing recently convened its 17th National People's Congress. At home and abroad, attention was focused on three points. The first was the reshuffling of personnel, especially the composition of the standing committee of the Politibureau. The second was political reform. The third was cross Straits relations. Observers on Taiwan were of course most concerned about cross Straits relations. Especially when controversy over the "Plebsicite to Join the UN" has reached a fever pitch. The Olympic Flame could have reduced cross Straits tensions. But it is now a bust. Naturally everyone was waiting to see what the Beijing authorities would say about cross Straits relations at its 17th National People's Congress.

As it turned out, the cross Straits portion of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao's report never once mentioned the "Plebsicite to Join the UN." Nor did it invoke the "Anti-Secession Law" or any need to resort to "non-peaceful means." Besides reiterating past policy, the text appealed to the ruling party on Taiwan to negotiate a peace accord on the basis of the "One China" principle, and to establish a framework for peaceful cross Straits cooperation. This is the first time the Chinese Communist Party has incorporated such language into the party's official documents. This means the tone has officially been set. This will be the Chinese Communist Party's Taiwan policy for the next five to ten years.

Beijing has cited a "Cross Straits Peace Agreement" as its framework for future cross Straits relations. This confirms what many commentators have said, that "preventing independence" is more urgent than "promoting reunification." It has a number of other implications. These implications should not be ignored by anyone who follows cross Straits relations. First, let's look at the revised language. In the past, the Chinese Communist Party leadership always spoke of "peaceful reunification" and "peaceful negotiations." This is the first time it has spoken of "signing a peace agreement." This is the first time it has emphasized process and procedure over results. This reveals a significant change in the manner in which Beijing intends to deal with cross Straits issues. This change has been expressed at another level. It is actively responding to the Democratic Progressive Party's "Memorandum of Understanding for Stable Cross Straits Interaction." It also incorporates the content of several communiques issued by Lien Chan and James Soong during their visits to Beijing. In other words, their proposal is seeking the greatest common denominator in cross Straits relations.

Beijing's strategic consideration for its proposal is clear. It no longer wishes to dance to the tune of Taiwan's electoral topics. So it is quietly applying the brakes and proposing a larger framework. This larger framework doesn't stress any "Anti-Secession Law" but makes a direct appeal for a peace agreement. For Beijing the "One China" premise is a given. The "Anti-Secession Law" is implied. This framework allows Beijing to affirm its commitment to cross Straits reconciliation and dialogue by means of proposals for a peace accord, with preconditions. This kind of declaration is aimed not at Taiwan, but at the international community. Beijing knows the entire world is watching to see how it responds to the DPP's "Plebsicite to Join the UN." As the DPP cranks up the volume on its "Plebsicite to Join the UN" campaign, Beijing not only eschews harsh language, it champions peace and urges dialogue. It creates a positive image for itself on the international stage. Washington's initital, positive response shows that it is working. In other words, Beijing is engaged in international image building, The trouble-maker in cross Straits relations is Taiwan, not the Chinese Communist Party. The seeker of cross Straits reconciliation and dialogue is the Chinese Communist Party, not Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party has already gained the upper hand internationally. If it can establish its credentials as peacemaker in the Taiwan Straits, why should it fear the DPP's "Plebiscite to Join the UN?"

Beijing did not once mention the "Plebsicite to Join the UN." It put the signing of a peace accord into writing. These constitute an expression of goodwill towards the ROC government on Taiwan. but the response of the Executive Yuan, the Mainland Affairs Council, and the DPP Legislative committee was uniformly negative. Their reaction to the peace accord was chilly. President Chen bluntly referred to it as a "surrender agreement." Their response is not hard to understand. The party and the government have just kicked off their "Plebsicite to Join the UN." They have no intention of responding to any offer of a peace accord.

As we can see, the authorities on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits aren't on the same page. The Democratic Progressive Party is revving up its "Plebsicite to Join the UN." It is concerned exclusively with winning the upcoming elections. It is concerned exclusively with checkmating its political opponent in a game of Xiang Qi (Chinese Chess). Beijing, meanwhile, is concerned with establishing a cross Straits framework for future interaction. It is concerned with surrounding its opponent in a game of Wei Qi (Go). The game may proceed more slowly, but the encirclement is taking shape. These games have different rules and different strategies. For the moment each side may be able to play its own game. But with the passage of time, which side should be more worried?

中國時報  2007.10.17







Ma Ying-jeou's Taipei European School New Campus Dedication Speech

Ma Ying-jeou's Taipei European School New Campus Dedication Speech
translated by Bevin Chu
October 17, 2007

In May of last year (2006) Principal John Nixon, Ministry of Foreign Affairs European Affairs Director Wang Yu-yuan, and I participated in the Taipei European School's Wen Lin School District Relocation and Groundbreaking Ceremony. Today I am happy to be able to participate in the Taipei European School's New Campus Dedication Ceremony, to be a witness to the Taipei European School's shining future.

One. European Unification — A Model of Ethnic Integration

The Taipei European School is a very special school. It was established in 1990. Its predecessor was the Taipei German School, the English School, and the French School. In 1992 the three were combined into one. In 2003 its name was changed to the Taipei European School. The school was divided into German, English, and French Departments. It recruited preschool through high school students. Teaching was conducted in German, English and French. It had nearly a thousand students from 50 countries around the globe, and nearly 200 teachers. It was a miniature global village, a microcosmic version of our earth.

The establishment of the Taipei European School is a shining example of ethnic integration. As we know, this is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Union. In 1957 six European countries signed the Treaty of Rome. Europe began its journey toward integration. Despite long standing cultural and linguistic differences, Europe found common ground in values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law, equality, and human rights. In January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union. Now the European Union includes 27 countries. Its total population is 500 million. It has become the world's largest economic and trading entity. European Union members include nations in Western Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe. It has 23 official languages. During Europe's integration, nations set aside their differences. They promoted mutual welfare and harmony. The European Union is more than an example for the world to emulate. It is an example for Taiwan to emulate.

Two. Economic Relations between the Republic of China and the European Union

According to European Union estimates, the Taiwan region of the ROC is the European Union 10th biggest supplier. It is the European Union's 14th biggest trading partner. Excluding the European continent, it is the European Union's 10th biggest trading partner. Within Asia it is the European Union's 5th biggest trading partner. In 2006 exports to the European Union amounted to 26 billion Euros, an increase of 9.7%. European Union exports to Taiwan amounted to 13 billion Euros, an increase of 1.5%. In 2006 total trade amounted to 39.4 billion Euros, an increase of 6.8%. Compared to peak trade totals of 43 billion Yuan in 2000, Taiwan's exports to the European Union in recent years has slowed. In 2006 this led to a Taiwan to European Union trade deficit of 13 billion Euros, an increase of nearly 20% compared to 2005.

In terms of investments, the European Union established a new high in 2006. Its investments in Taiwan exceeded 7 billion Euros (Ministry of Economic Affairs figures). In 2006 over half of the ROC's foreign investment came from the European Union. One reason was many subsidiaries on Taiwan stransferred their technology to their European headquarters. Another was that several new investments on Taiwan went forward. Estimates for total European Union investment in Taiwan approach 15 billion US Dollars. Over half from Holland (9 billion US Dollars). Next come the UK (4 billion US Dollars) and Germany (1.7 billion US Dollars). Total European Union investments on Taiwan in 2006 surpassed even those by the US and Japan. The European Union has become the ROC's biggest foreign investor, accounting for as much as as 20% of all foreign investments.

In terms of personnel exchanges, in 2006 visitors from Taiwan to European Union countries increased almost 10% compared to 2005. Over 330,000 visas were issued, a new high. Students going to the European Union to pursue advanced studies also increased, exceeding 12,000 in 2006. The number has doubled since a decade ago. An estimated 25,000 or more students from Taiwan are currently attending school in Europe.

Three. Strengthen the Economy. Connect with the Asian Pacific Region. Adopt a Global Outlook.

Taiwan's economic performance has deteriorated badly since 2000. We were once the first of the Four Asian Tigers. We are now the last. We have steadily slipped in international competitiveness. According to Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development (IMD), mainland China surpassed Taiwan in global competitiveness for the first time this year. Last year we ranked 17th. This year we dropped to 18th. Mainland China meanwhile, advanced from 18th to 15th. The consensus is Taiwan's competitiveness has fallen primarily due to unsound government policy.

I believe we must improve the economy and create employment opportunities. My basic view is:

First. Economic matters should be dealt with by economic means. When Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell visited some time ago, I consulted with him regarding Taiwan's economic development, and that is what he said.

Second. To resuscitate Taiwan's economy requires "pragmatic opening." The Democratic Progressive Party's seven year long Closed Door Policy has seriously impacted normal business development, and cannot be allowed to continue.

Third. Non economic factors that affect economic development must be eliminated. On the one hand we must establish a model for political party cooperation. This will ensure domestic political stability. On the other hand, we must sign a peace agreement with the mainland predicated on "peaceful co-existence and mutual prosperity." This will promote cross Straits economic and trade normalization.

Fourth. Economic development must take into consideration issues of fairness, justice, and sustainable development. Since the Democratic Progressive Party has been in power, the gap between rich and poor has reached new highs. We must reduce this disparity. At the same time, we must also take into account environmental protection issues. We must fulfill our responsibilities as members of the Global Village.

In accordance with these four premises, we hope to strengthen Taiwan, connect with the Asian Pacific Region, and adopt a Global Outlook. Our blueprint for economic development has three goals. They are to transform Taiwan into a global center for innovation, an Asian Pacific economic and trade hub, and a transshipment center for Taiwan businesses.

Our goal is: Six percent annual growth after 2008. A per capita income of US$20,000 by 2011. 100,000 employment opportunities. An unemployment rate below 3%. In short, we must recreate a prosperous Taiwan "knee deep in money."

In order to achieve these goals, we must first accomplish two important tasks.

(1) Open up Three Links and Direct Flights

If I am elected, I will promote direct cross Straits sea and air links as swiftly as possible. This will expedite cross Straits exchanges, save time and money, and hopefully allow Taiwan to become a springboard by which European businesses can advance to the Chinese mainland.

(2) I will promote the normalization of cross Straits relations, predicated on "peace and prosperity."

In addition to President Chen Shui-bian's Five Noes, I have proposed "Five Desires," predicated upon the 92 Consensus. These include: restarting cross Straits negotiations, signing a cross Straits 30 to 50 year peace agreement, normalizing cross Straits economic and trade and moving toward a cross Straits common market, increasing the ROC's international space and strengthening cross Straits cultural exchanges, enabling mainland high school students to attend university on Taiwan. I believe we can achieve mutual trust with the mainland, and with peace and prosperity as our twin goals, establish a win/win cross Straits relationship. Taiwan business investments on the mainland will operate under a deregulated policy of "open as the rule, managed as the exception." This will enable businesses to develop freely.

Fourth. Conclusion

When I held the post of Taipei mayor, I deeply respected the Taipei European School. When the Taipei European School needed to build a new campus, we provided close cooperation. I wanted Taipei to provide a quality environment that would allow international talent to come to Taiwan to live and work, and not worry about their children's schooling.

I hope the establishment of the Taipei European School will enable more international talent to live on Taiwan, attract more international talent to Taiwan, and thereby turn Taipei into an international village. Thank you all.


去(2006)年5月與倪克森(John Nixon)校長及外交部歐洲司司長王豫元一同參加台北歐洲學校文林校區遷建動土典禮,今天很高興能夠來參加台北歐洲學校新校區的開幕典禮,見證台北歐洲學校新校區的未來。


台 北歐洲學校是一個很特別的學校,成立於1990年,前身為台北德國學校、英國學校及法國學校,於1992年整合,2003年再更名為台北歐洲學校 (Taipei European School),學校裡分為德國部、英國部、法國部及高中部,不但招收幼稚園到高中的外籍學生,校內教學亦包括德語、英語和法語三種語言,學校擁有來自全 球50個國家近千名的國際學生及近2百名教職員,是一個小型地球村,也是全球的縮影。

台北歐洲學校的成立,恰好展現了族群融合的典範。我 們知道,今年剛好是歐盟成立50年,1957年歐洲六國簽署羅馬條約後,歐洲走上整合之路,在多元文化、語言與傳統中,歐洲找出共同的自由、民主、法治、 平等及人權等價值。2007年1月羅馬尼亞和保加利亞加入歐盟之後,如今歐盟已擴增至27國,總人口5億,已成為全球最大經濟體與貿易實體,歐盟成員除了 遍及中西歐地區之外,更深入中歐及東歐地區,光官方語言就有23種,歐洲在整合過程中,捐棄前嫌,提升彼此的福祉與和諧,不但是全球學習的對象,也是台灣 借鏡的對象。


根據歐盟統計,台灣是歐盟第10大供應商,是歐盟全球第14位貿易夥伴,在歐陸 以外地區,台灣是歐盟第10大貿易伙伴,在亞洲國家中為歐盟第5大貿易伙伴。2006年台灣對歐盟出口金額達260億歐元,成長達9.7%,歐盟對台灣出 口金額為130億歐元,成長1.5%;2006年貿易總額達394億歐元,成長6.8%,與2000年貿易總額高峰期—430億元比較,似乎近年來台灣對 歐盟出口成長較為趨緩,使得2006年台灣對歐盟逆差130億歐元,較2005年增加近20%。

在投資方面,歐盟2006年對台灣投資金 額創新高,突破70億歐元(經濟部統計),2006年台灣的外來投資,半數以上來自歐盟,原因在於許多既有台灣分公司將資產技術轉移至歐洲總部,以及數項 新投資案在台進行所致。總計歐盟在台投資已累積至150億美元,其中逾半來自荷蘭(90億美元),其次分別為英國(40億美元)與德國(17億美元),歐 盟累計投資台灣金額,2006年甚至超越美國與日本,成為台灣最大外資,比例高達20%。



從2000 年以來,台灣經濟表現比以前差很多。從前我們是亞洲四小龍的第一名,現在變成最後一名,在國際競爭力上也一步步下滑,今年瑞士洛桑管理學院(IMD)的世 界競爭力排名,大陸第一次超越台灣,我們去年17名,今年倒退到18名,大陸卻從18名進步到15名。一般認為台灣競爭力下滑,主要是因為政府政策不正確 所致。












除 了陳水扁總統的五不(Five no’s)之外,我提出「五要」主張,包括在九二共識下,重新啟動兩岸談判、兩岸簽署30~50年和平協議、兩岸經貿正常化並邁向兩岸共同市場、台灣國際 空間及加強兩岸文化交流,讓中學生可以來台灣讀大學。我相信我們可以和大陸取得互信,雙方可以在「和平」(peace)和繁榮(prosperity)的 兩大目標下,為企業界創造一個雙贏的兩岸關係。台商對大陸投資,則採取「原則開放、例外管理」的鬆綁政策,讓企業可以自由發展。




Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Gap between Rich and Poor: The Ministry of Finance should not be an Accomplice
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 16, 2007

Globalization and new technological developments are relentlessly changing the world. But to some people, the world is not flat. In fact, it is less and less flat, because life is harder than ever. During the past decade, more and more middle income families have found themselves joining the ranks of the poor. This worsening income disparity is something the ruling regime must face up to.

Yesterday this paper, in an article entitled "Taiwan's Nouveaux Pauvres," pointed out that globalization, new technology, industrial restructuring, and other factors, have given birth to a Nouveaux Pauvres class outside of the traditional class of "old, infirm, sick, and children." Its numbers are estimated at 1.38 million people. These were members of the middle class who formerly enjoyed a comfortable existence, but have suddenly become borderline poor. They do not qualify for the government's low income household subsidies. When they fall on hard times, they may be tempted to take the quick way out.

According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) family income survey, the wealth disparity between Taiwan's households, after reaching a 90 year high, has diminished. But has it really? According to newspaper opinion polls, 84% of those surveyed felt that the wealth disparity was serious, and 51% of those surveyed worried about becoming poor. Obviously public perception and official statistics are poles apart.

The increasing gap between rich and poor on Taiwan over the past decade has exceeded everyones' expectations. According to Ministry of Finance Financial Data Center figures, the ratio of households with annual incomes in excess of 10 million NT vs. those with annual incomes below 370,000 NT has increased from 1:48 to 1:55. Among households with annual incomes over 10 million NT, the average household income is just under 20 milllion NT. This is 836 times the income for households with annual incomes below 370,000 NT. These figures are shocking.

But the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics and Financial Data Center reports grossly underestimate the income of the wealthy. Past investigators relied primarily on surveys. The wealthy often underreport their incomes. Genuinely poor people are hard to to locate. Capital gains and profits from real estate transactions are even larger loopholes. These are the major sources of income for the wealthy. Financial Data Center tax revenue figures do not include overseas income and capital gains. In recent years, many bosses of newly listed companies received cash dividends approaching 100 million NT. High tech firms award their staff bonuses and produce many millionaires. By contrast, eight out of ten low income households squeak by on fixed salaries. In recent years wages for labor have stagnated. Consequently the income of the wealthy has increased at a rate far exceeding that of the poor. An increase in the gap in between rich and poor is inevitable.

In its annual report the Asian Development Bank bluntly stated that the fruits of Taiwan's economic growth are being enjoyed exclusively by the wealthiest 20% of households, and this will endanger future economic growth. The result of the increasing gap between rich and poor is weak consumer demand and increasing social tensions. Nepal and Burma all living examples.

The widening gap between rich and poor is a result of globalization. It is especially serious in the US. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is dee[;u concerned. In his newly published autobiography, he pointed out that technological innovation and competition-driven globalization has become the primary factor in many countries' centralization. The wages of high tech specialists have skyrocketed, while middle and low income salary growth has stagnated. The income of the wealthy over the past 25 years has grown rapidly, causing the gap between rich and poor in America to worsen day by day. He felt that reducing wealth inequality would depend on education and a policy of open immigration.

Famed American economist Paul Krugman pointed out that between 1979 and 2005, middle class American household net income grew only 13%, while the richest 1/10th of one percent of household incomes grew 296%. Most people assume the the increasing gap between rich and poor is due mainly to advances in technology and globalization. Krugman believes politics plays a more important role. The large scale tax cuts of George Bush Jr's conservative Republican administration in particular have created these unforgiveable results.

In recent years the government has aggressively promoted its tax reduction policy, going down the same road as the Bush II administration. If we examine the government's income redistribution policy, we see that 90% of it depends on social welfare, and only 10% of it depends on tax revenues. Tax cuts reduce wealth disparity by a factor of only 0.15. This means income redistribution by means of tax cuts doesn't work. Expanding the scope of tax cuts may lead to a point where benefits vanish altogether.

The government's real estate tax cuts and inheritance tax cuts have benefitted mostly the wealthy. In order to upgrade industry, major stockholder dividends enjoy investment tax cuts, income from negotiable securities are tax exempt, and future income tax exemptions for individual capital gains are currently under study. Because interest income accounts for six tenths of the income of the wealthy, an interest income related tax cut measures will only worsen the disparity between rich and poor.

Our nation's tax rates are already among the lowest in the world. A tax policy flagrantly biased in favor of the rich has turned Taiwan into a paradise for the rich and a hell for the poor. Poor people bear a disproportionate part of the tax burden. Is this the society everyone was hoping for? Unfortunately the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for national tax policy, has become a "tax reduction department," and forgotten the meaning of tax equity and justice. If this trend is not reversed, the Ministry of Finance will become an accomplice responsible for widening the gap between rich and poor, in which case it may as well change its name to reflect its true function.

中國時報  2007.10.16
貧富差距擴大 財政部莫成幫凶









 美國知名經濟學者克魯曼(Paul Krugman)指出,自一九七九年至二○○五年間,美國中產家庭的實質所得僅成長十三%,但最有錢的千分之一的家庭所得成長了二九六%。多數人認為貧富差距擴大主要是新科技進步與全球化因素使然,但是,克魯曼認為,政治扮演更重要的角色,保守派共和黨主政時期,尤其是小布希時代推動大規模減稅政策,造成不可原諒的後果。