Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are Both Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen Guilty of Treason?

Are Both Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen Guilty of Treason?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 30, 2008

President Ma Ying-jeou said, "cross-strait relations are not state to state relations, but a special kind of relationship." Tsai Ing-wen denounced Ma's statement as "treason." This is ironic, because the Democratic Progressive Party's "swift rectification of names, authoring of a new constitution" and "establishment of a Nation of Taiwan" have long been considered treason.
Are both Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen are guilty of treason?
This dispute underscores just how much confusion there is about the nation's identity.

Most people hold one of three positions on our nation's identity. One. The Republic of China. Two. One China, Different Interpretations. Three. One Nation Each Side. The problem with these three positions is that none of them is entirely satisfactory. Adherents of one position often accuse adherents of another of having blind spots. But they themselves have similar blind spots. Taiwan independence advocates are an obvious example. They long to to overthrow the Republic of China, but at the same time are incapable of establishing a "Nation of Taiwan." The merits of the three positions on national identity can only be evaluated on a relative basis. None of them is entirely satisfactory. This is the source of the turmoil. This is why both Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen's positions can be regarded as "treason." Let's examine the three positions.

One. The Republic of China. The "One China Constitution" and "Articles on Cross-Strait Relations" constitute the basic framework of the Republic of China. Within this framework, the Republic of China is supreme. The two sides are referred to as the "Mainland Region" and the "Taiwan Region." Therefore, when President Ma refers to the two sides as the "Taiwan Region" and the "Mainland Region," in strict adherence to the One China Constitution he is hardly guilty of "treason." On the contrary, he is adopting the hardest possible line in upholding the sovereignty of the Republic of China. When Ma Ying-jeou referred to cross-Strait relations as "not state-to-state relations" he was accused of denying that we are a nation. But under the framework of the One China Constitution, we are the Republic of China. We are defined by the Preamble of the Constitutional Amendments and the Articles on Cross-Strait Relations. The two sides are constitutionally defined as the "Taiwan Region" and the "Mainland Region." Cross-Strait relations are constitutionally defined as "not state-to-state relations." Under this framework, only the Republic of China has legitimacy. Only the Republic of China exists. The Green Camp may denounce this as "Republic of China fundamentalism." But the fact remains it is the constitutional basis for all current cross-Strait relations. Ma Ying-jeou's statement violate neither the spirit nor the letter of the One China Constitution. He was merely "Politically Incorrect" in his manner of expression. He was too "fundamentalist." He deviated too much from "One China, Different Expressions" and some consider his position infeasible in the long run.

Two. One China, Different Interpretations. This position has leaves open two possibilities. One. The "One China" is something that transcends both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China. It is a third entity that provides a conceptual roof over both. This is the heart of the Ma administration's policy. Two. Another version of "One China, Different Interpretations" is "I am the Republic of China, you are the People's Republic of China." This version comes close to being "Two Chinas." Beijing is unlikely to accept this version of "One China, Different Interpretations."

Three. One Nation Each Side. This position advocates either Two Chinas or One China, One Taiwan. It also advocates the Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution. When the DPP drafted its Resolution on Taiwan's Future, it recognized the Republic of China. It left open the possibility of Two Chinas or One China, Different Interpretations. But the DPP's current position on national identity is its Resolution for a Normal Nation. In other words, it advocates the Rectification of Names, the Authoring of a New Constitution, and the founding of a Nation of Taiwan. These all have as their goal the overthrown of the Republic of China.

When we examine the three positions, we see the irony of the dispute between Tsai Ing-wen and Ma Ying-jeou. Ma Ying-jeou's "not state-to-state relations" stance in fact upholds the Original Intent of the Republic of China and the One China Constitution. It could even be considered a "Pre One China" position. It could even be considered the most loyal of all positions one can have vis a vis the Republic of China. Yet Tsai Ing-wen denounced it as "treason." By contrast, Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP have yet to break free of calls for a Resolution for a Normal Nation, for the Rectification of Names, and for the establisment of a Nation of Taiwan. In other words, they remain mired in treason against the Republic of China. Their dilemma underscores just how confused they are about the nation's identity.

Ma Ying-jeou has stirred up a hornet's nest. Actually Tsai Ing-wen's accusations of "treason" are not the problem. The problem is Ma unwittingly deviated from "One China, Different Interpretations." The result was a clear case of upholding Original Intent was perversely characterized as "treason." Had Ma Ying-jeou reiterated that "One China means the Republic of China," he would have stepped on another landmine. After all, when it comes to a nation's identity, a miss is as good as a mile. The "One China Constitution" is not particularly controversial. But "not state-to-state cross-strait relations" is, even though it may merely be the other side of the same coin. Championing "Taiwan's sovereignty" is not particularly controversial. But the "Founding of a Nation of Taiwan" is, even though it may merely be a more explicit expression of the same sentiment. Ma Ying-jeou did his best to clarify the meaning of a "One China Constitution." Instead he touched off a storm of controversy. By contrast, Tsai Ing-wen did her best to muddy the meaning of "Taiwan's sovereignty." But that hardly made it less controversial.

Is there no Third Way for cross-Strait relations? More to the point, would Beijing agree to any Third Way for "One China, Different Interpretations?"

Are Tsai Ing-wen and Ma Ying-jeou both guilty of "treason?" On a more serious note, the dispute underscores just how much confusion prevails about the nation's identity. Ironically, this war of words between the Republic of China and the Nation of Taiwan does nothing to promote unity and consensus on Taiwan.

2008.09.30 03:02 am



關於國家定位的論述,大約可分作三個類型。一、中華民國;二、一中各表;三、一邊一國。問題在於:沒有一種類型能夠自我完足;當一種類型批評另一種類型有 盲點時,批評者所持的那種類型亦有缺陷。最明顯的例子是:台獨要推翻中華民國,但台灣國也活不成。因此,只能以相對的觀點來評比上述三種類型的國家定位, 無法建立一個完美無缺的論述。這正是一切紛擾之所由生,也是馬英九及蔡英文皆可能被視為「叛國」的理由。以下略論三種類型:

一、中華民國:基本架構是「一中憲法」及《兩岸關係條例》。此一論述以中華民國為主體,將兩岸稱作「大陸地區」與「台灣地區」。因此,馬總統若依據「一中 憲法」,視兩岸為「台灣地區/大陸地區」,因而稱「兩岸屬非國與國關係」,就中華民國立場而言,非但並未「叛國」,反而是將「中華民國」推向極致。當馬英 九說「非國與國關係」,被指為自我否定為「國」;但若在「一中憲法」的架構下,要堅持「中華民國」的立場,即必須依憲法增修條文序言及《兩岸關係條例》, 將兩岸視作「台灣地區/大陸地區」的「非國與國關係」;因為,在此一架構下,唯一的「國」就是「中華民國」,這可謂是「中華民國基本教義派」,其實亦是現 今兩岸一切實務的運作基礎。馬英九的說法並未違反「一中憲法」,只是他的表述方式顯然是「政治不正確」,也太過「基本教義」,且偏離了「一中各表」;再 者,此一架構的終局可行性亦被質疑。



略論以上三種類型之後,可以看出馬英九與蔡英文之爭議的弔詭。馬英九的「非國與國關係」,其實是最「中華民國基本教義」及「一中憲法」的論述,甚至亦是 「前一中各表」的論述,可謂最忠於中華民國,卻被蔡英文指為「叛國」。相對而言,蔡英文及民進黨,迄今仍未跳脫《正常國家決議文》、正名制憲及台灣國的綑 綁,亦即自己亦陷「叛國(中華民國)」的情境。這樣的弔詭,豈非顯示了國家論述的混濁與難解?

馬英九這次捅到馬蜂窩,問題其實不在蔡英文所指的「叛國」,而是他在不知不覺間偏離了「一中各表」的政策基調。因而,明明是「基本教義」,卻被指為「叛 國」;但馬英九若重申「一個中國就是中華民國」,必又陷入另一層次的爭議。畢竟,國家定位的論述,失諸毫釐、差以千里。例如,若說「一中憲法」,較無異 聲;但若說「兩岸屬非國與國關係」,其實亦是一體兩面,引致議論。又如,若說:維護「台灣主權」,較無異聲;但若說要「建立台灣國」,其實也只是由表入裡 而已,即生爭議。馬英九是想把「一中憲法」說清楚一點,卻惹出了爭議;相對而言,蔡英文只是不想也不敢把「台灣主權」說清楚罷了,難道就沒有爭議?



Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Democratic Progressive Party Should Assume the Role of a Loyal Republic of China Opposition Party

The Democratic Progressive Party Should Assume the Role of a Loyal Republic of China Opposition Party
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 27, 2008

September 28 is the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party. Over the next few days, the Democratic Progressive Party must decide whether to hold a demonstration march over ARATS President Wang Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan.

Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's position remains unclear. She said that before taking to the streets, the DPP must first make clear what it is protesting. It must then put forth its own opposition party policy proposals. Only then should it take to the streets. In other words, it must first understand why it is protesting before it decides whether it ought to be protesting.

The Democratic Progressive Party has lost power and become the opposition party. The Ma administration has unintentionally provided the DPP with a wide range of issues to complain about. But the Democratic Progressive Party's efforts have been for naught. It has not received a positive response from the general public. People have their doubts about the KMT. But it does not follow that they trust the Democratic Progressive Party. The Democratic Progressive Party has been like a squirrel on a treadmill. Lots of energy expended, but no forward movement. Tsai Ing-wen put her finger on the main problem. The Democratic Progressive Party has yet to formulate a new political vision. That is why the Democratic Progressive Party has been unable to offer the public a new political vision.

When the Democratic Progressive Party challenges the ruling KMT, it emerges with both guns blazing. But over the past 20 years, the shock has worn off. The Democratic Progressive Party trumpets its defense of "Taiwan's sovereignty." But over the past 20 years, the public has developed cobwebs in its ears. The Democratic Progressive Party still has enough strength to organize something like the August 30 protest march. But after 20 years the Democratic Progressive Party's large scale demonstrations no longer thrill. Such political moves are akin to a squirrel on a treadmill. They no longer have any meaning for the DPP. They no longer have anything to teach Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen just returned from her visit to the United States. When asked if the DPP would hold a demonstration march in October, she replied "March? Didn't we just have a march?"

Given Chen Yunlin's visit, the theme of the DPP's protest march would of course be cross-Strait relations. The theme of the August 30 protest march was "uphold sovereignty" and "oppose Ma Ying-jeou selling out Taiwan." Does the DPP really intend to replicate the August 30 protest march? The Ma administration's cross-Strait and foreign policy may have many blind spots and involve considerable risk. But we hardly need the Democratic Progressive Party to tell us that. Talking heads have already talked our ears off. The DPP probably cannot take to the streets in October with the same slogans they did on August 30. As Tsai Ing-wen said, it must offer new policies. If the march is still aflutter with Taiwan independence flags, if not a single Republic of China flag can be seen, if the banners still read "Eject the Republic of China government in exile!" then what can one say, except "Didn't we just have a march?"

The new policies Tsai Ing-wen spoke of is the clear need to establish a new thesis regarding national identity. Without such a thesis on national identity, then one has no thesis on cross-Strait relations. The Democratic Progressive Party is critical of the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy. But if after all is said and done, its alternative is still "Taiwan independence," then the Democratic Progressive Party must make clear that its cross-strait policy is predicated on the founding of an independent Nation of Taiwan and the overthrow of the Republic of China.

Chen Shui-bian seized the initiative, calling for demonstrations in October. Now the DPP is in a dilemma. If it doesn't hold a protest march, Taiwan independence elements will demand explanations. If it does hold a protest march, it will be the same as bestowing the position of spiritual leader upon Chen Shui-bian. On top of which, Chen Shui-bian is hardly the Democratic Progressive Party's only problem. Taiwan independence elements have already become an integral part of the DPP's body politic. They can no longer be simply excised. In May Tsai Ing-wen defeated Taiwan independence elder Koo Kuan-min in her bid for the party chairmanship. Yet the very first Green Camp demonstration, the August 30 protest march, was led by none other than Koo Kuan-min and other Taiwan independence advocates. The Democratic Progressive Party's ecological makeup has already been clearly revealed. If the Democratic Progressive Party cannot free itself from Taiwan independence bondage, how can it possibly offer any new policy prescriptions?

Tsai Ing-wen has reiterated that "the Democratic Progressive Party must be a responsible opposition party." Translation: "The DPP should assume the role of a loyal Republic of China opposition party." If the Democratic Progressive Party's thesis on national identity is still its "Nation of Taiwan" or "Republic of Taiwan," how can the Democratic Progressive Party get a majority of the public to accept its cross-Strait thesis?

Chen Yunlin is coming to Taiwan. The DPP is planning a large scale protest march. What is the theme of this protest march to be? That cross-Strait exchanges must be conducted with caution? That Ma Ying-jeou is "leaning towards China and selling out Taiwan?" That the DPP is serving notice on Chen Yunlin that Taiwan is about to declare Independence? That the DPP intends to "eject the Republic of China government-in-exile from Taiwan?" As Tsai Ing-wen said, before taking to the streets one must first make clear what one is protesting, then put forth one's own proposals.

Otherwise, what can one say in response to the announcement of another march in September, except, "Didn't we just have a march?"




民 進黨失去政權而成為反對黨以後,馬政府「提供」的題材很多,但民進黨雖努力表現,卻力戰無功,並未獲得主流社會的積極回響。國人質疑國民黨,但仍不信任民 進黨。這段期間的民進黨,猶如滾籠裡的松鼠,動作很大,卻只是原地打轉;主要的問題正是出在如蔡英文所說,民進黨自己尚未建立新論述,而國人亦看不到民進 黨的新論述。

現在的民進黨,質詢時火力熾烈,但這在二十年前國人已經司空見慣;現在的民進黨,極力護衛「台灣主權」,其實國人幾十年來也 已聽得耳朵長繭;現在的民進黨,仍有發動八三○大遊行的實力,但二十年來民進黨的壯盛遊行場面又豈是罕見?這些政治動作,皆如滾籠松鼠,究竟對民進黨自己 有什麼新意義?對整個台灣又有什麼新啟示?難怪蔡英文日前訪美歸來,被問及十月是否遊行,她反問:「遊行,不是剛遊行過嗎?」

陳雲林來 訪,遊行的主題自然是兩岸關係。八三○的遊行主題是「顧主權」及「反對馬英九傾中賣台」,難道十月的遊行還要複製一次?馬政府的兩岸及外交政策或許有許多 盲點與風險,這些其實皆不必民進黨來說,輿論的批評已是盈目貫耳。民進黨恐怕不能在十月再舉著八三○同樣的標語再掃街一趟,而應如蔡英文所說,提出論述與 拿出政策;倘若遊行隊伍仍是台獨旌旗招展,不見一面國旗,標語大字寫著「中華民國流亡政權滾出去」,那麼,遊行,不是剛遊行過嗎?


陳 水扁先聲奪人,號召十月遊行,使民進黨進退失據。不舉行,不能給獨派交代;舉行,又等於讓陳水扁坐上精神領袖的地位。何況,民進黨的問題絕不在陳水扁一 人,而是體內有一個血肉相連已經無法切割的所謂「獨派」;五月蔡英文打敗獨派辜寬敏贏得黨主席選舉,但至八三○首場綠營大遊行卻是由辜寬敏等獨派主導,已 將民進黨的生態顯露無遺。民進黨若不能擺脫獨派的挾持,豈能奢論什麼「新論述」?




Friday, September 26, 2008

Learn Your Lessons, or Even the Angels Can't Help You

Learn Your Lessons, or Even the Angels Can't Help You
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 26, 2008

The Liu cabinet has been in office for over four months. As a result of the tainted milk incident, Minister of Health Lin Fang-yu has been forced to resign. He has become the first political appointee in the Ma/Liu administration to fall. Lin Fang-Yu is well respected in the medical community. But he should not stay on, and need not stay on. Lin Fang-yu is a man of virtue. But in troubled times, merely being a man of virtue is not enough. One must also be a man of ability. Lin Fang-Yu is a symbol of the beleaguered Liu cabinet. Merely being a man of virtue has already cost one ministry official his job. If Premier Liu Chao-hsuan cannot learn the necesssary lessons from his four months in office, then no one, no matter how powerful or wise, will be able to deal with the problems the administration faces.

The Liu cabinet asked a veteran minister to hold down the fort. He probably did not expect so many problems. The problems were so numerous, even an old hand couldn't cope. He forgot that since the change in ruling parties eight years ago, time is running short. The situation has changed drastically, and includes both external and internal factors. The public may make allowance for external factors. Examples of external factors include the financial turmoil caused by the subprime mortgage crisis, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crisis, the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and restructuring. Internal factors are not so easily forgiven. Examples of internal factors include hurricane and disaster relief and even something as basic as food quality management. These are problems that government agencies must be concerned about regardless of which party is in power.

Typhoon Kalmaegi inundated the entire island. Water Resources Agency Chief Chen Shen-hsien was blasted. He's lucky. He kept his job. Typhoon Sinlaku followed, and once again Taiwan was stricken. Bridges and roads collapsed. Secretary General Chen Chin-yuan of the Bureau of Highways was not as lucky. He was sacrificed. Was Chen Chin-yuan treated unfairly? Most unfair was the lack of a unified mechanism ever since the Lee Teng-hui regime eliminated the Taiwan Provincial Government. Agencies at the upper, middle and lower levels of government lacked a coherent structure. One section might be properly administered. But anything could go wrong with some other section. But nothing could be done about it. The Bureau of Highways was in charge. He had to solve the problem even though he couldn't solve the problem. When he couldn't solve the problem, he should have begged other agencies for assistance. But Chen Chin-yuan remained silent. He watched idly as President Ma and Premier Liu surveyed the disaster and faced angry disaster victims. Chen Chin-yuan said nothing. He has been blasted mercilessly, but has refused to budge. Is he implying the president should resign in his place?

Minister of Health Lin Fang-yu was working at the National Taiwan University Hospital when Premier Liu recruited him Minister of Health. He is a professional and a man of character. But Lin Fang-yu lacks finesse. He chooses his words poorly. He is modest and self-effacing. He lacked any forceful and coordinated response to the tainted milk crisis. The Department of Health is in charge of food quality management. The Ministry of Economic Affairs Bureau of Standards is in charge of food inspection. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council are both in charge of food ingredients imported from Mainland China. What is there left for the Department of Health to do? Alas, the Minister of Health stands on the front line in the battle to protect peoples' lives and well-being. He must say what others fear to say. He must be the voice of the people. Lin Fang-yu's lack of finesse caused the tainted milk incident to get out of control. Lin Fang-yu had no choice but to resign.

The Republic of China is a civilized nation. What constitutes a civilized nation? A civilized nation is one in which people's lives and property are sacrosanct. The ROC's food sanitation management does not rank among the world's highest. But at least a certain level of business ethics prevails. No business would dare to allow tainted products to reach the market. For example when the tainted milk incident erupted, the King Car Group immediately sent samples to laboratories for testing, on the company's own initiative. As soon as the company became aware of a problem, it ordered a complete recall. When even businesses feel obligated to take such steps, where are the authorities? Government inspections are inadequate. The public has been forced to "Do It Yourself." Most outrageous of all, a product that failed the test could pass 24 hours later.

A major food quality management incident such as this should have forced government agencies to conduct comprehensive tests. Before they conduct any such tests, they must formulate a consistent set of safety standards. On the very first day, the government had a "zero tolerance" policy for melamine. The standard was so strict no industry passed. No one dared protest. All they could do was meekly remove their products from the shelves. What was the justification for such draconian standards? Why, because human lives were at stake. Who knew that 24 hours later, the standards would be relaxed. Products taken off the shelves the day before could be put back on the shelves the day after. Industries that had already apologized could hardly demand compensation from the government. A complete about face in only 24-hours. Government officials think only of the test data. They don't seem to appreciate that these dry numbers impact industry revenue, and even more importantly, consumer confidence.

When the Liu cabinet took office, it was touted as the "PhD cabinet." That was not necessarily a compliment. PhDs are often oblivious to the hardships suffered by ordinary folk. A group of academics toil away in the laboratories, accumulating quantitative knowledge. But their cold statistics cannot represent the value of even the humblest of human lives. Premier Liu was afraid to drink a cup of powdered milk prepared by an opposition legislator. When he did that, he had already alienated himself from the people. He did not seem to realize that the cup of milk he was afraid to drink was something people drink every morning of their lives. Four hours later, a committee within the Executive Yuan relaxed the test standards. Will this new standard put people at ease? We doubt it. As long as Premier Liu and other government officials are afraid to drink the same milk that the public drinks every day, whom among us can say "I trust the government?"

中國時報  2008.09.26

劉內閣上台四個月多,為了毒奶粉事件,衛生署長林芳郁書面請辭,成為馬劉政府第一位陣亡的政務官。林芳郁在醫界夙有名望,但是,不該留也不必留;林芳郁當 然是好人,但,亂世為官,只有一個「好」字還不夠,他還得有「能」。林芳郁只是目前危機重重的劉內閣一個縮影,行政院長劉兆玄若不能從四個月消耗一個部會 首長的經驗中習取教訓,坦白講,武功再高的聰明人,都擋不住政府必須面對與處理那些千頭萬緒的問題。

劉內閣請出老將壓陣,他大概沒想到怎麼可能有這麼多事,是經驗老到的部會首長無法處置的。他忘了,政黨輪替八年來,時間不可謂短,現實的變化不可謂不大, 這裡頭有外部因素,有內部因素,外部因素民眾勉強可諒解,諸如次貸、二房、雷曼兄弟宣告破產重整引發的各種金融風暴效應;內部因素很難理解,諸如風災與救 災,乃至最基本的食品管理,照正常都是不論政黨輪替與否,政府部門都應該關切的。

卡玫基颱風讓各地淹大水,水利署長陳伸賢被盯得滿頭包,他運氣好,被保住了;辛樂克颱風再來,還是全台災情,橋也斷了、路也塌了,公路總局長陳晉源沒陳伸 賢的命,被犧牲掉了,陳晉源被冤枉了嗎?真冤枉,因為政府事權自廢省以來從未統一,上、中、下游治理主管機關不一,治好了一段,隨便那一段沒治好,都可能 出事,但是,沒辦法,既為公路「總局」,不總其成也得總其成,至少他無法總其成時,得哀哀求告,要求其他單位配合或協助,陳晉源大氣沒吭一句,遑論他還讓 勘災總司令馬英九總統與劉揆,到了地方面對父老鄉親的責難,一句話都不知如何講起,挨罵到翻天,他不走人,難不成讓總統走人嗎?

林芳郁是劉揆從台大醫院請出馬的署長,專業、人品毫無問題,最大的問題是,林芳郁是個老實人,他不善言詞,為人謙沖,碰到中國毒奶粉這麼大的危機,無法強 勢統合。食品管理在衛生署、食品檢驗在經濟部標檢局,大陸食品原料進口在經濟部與陸委會,衛生署能說什麼?很抱歉,做為為人民生命健康把關的第一線部會首 長,不能說的話,他得在第一線為人民發聲,他的老實讓毒奶粉事件擴大蔓延到不可收拾,林芳郁也沒有第二條路走。

台灣,已經是個文明國家,什麼叫文明國家?人民的生命財產是最重要的事!台灣的食品衛生管理,不敢說是居先進國家之冠,至少基本的企業道德已經建立,沒有 那一個企業集團敢在讓人民入口下肚的產品中亂搞,最簡單的例子,金車食品在毒奶粉事件發生後,以最快時間主動送驗,發覺有問題即刻主動宣布全面下架,企業 主都有良心做這個事,請問主管機關何在?政府單位檢驗不及,要民眾DIY,更離譜的是,檢驗標準可以廿四小時來個天翻地覆的大變化,從不合格轉為合格。

發生這麼大的食品管理事件,政府機關本來就應該全面檢驗,全面檢驗前就應該有一個一致、公平、且安全的標準,第一天政府對奶製品三聚氰胺的檢驗標準必須是 「零」,嚴格到幾乎業者逃無可逃,沒人吭氣只能配合全面下架,為什麼?因為事關人命!沒想到廿四小時之後,檢驗標準竟然放寬了,影響所及,前一天已經下架 的產品可以重新上架,已經道歉的業者甚至不敢問,「能不能向政府求償」。廿四小時的變化,政府官員想到的只是檢驗標準的數據,但是,這麼簡單的一個數據影 響的是業者的收益,更嚴重的是消費者的信心。

劉內閣上台時,被捧為「博士內閣」,這四個字褒中帶貶,「博士」者實則不知民間疾苦,在研究室裡的學者群,以數據累積學問,但是,人生、生命、乃至最簡單 的生活,都不是這些冷冰冰的數據可反映的。當劉揆在立法院備詢不敢一口飲盡反對黨立委沖泡的奶粉時,他已經和民眾遠了一步,他不知道,這一杯他不敢喝下肚 的飲品,就是民眾每天晨起的生活!就在劉揆畫下一條線和民眾區隔的四小時後,行政院跨部會會議就把檢驗放寬了,這個標準能不能讓民眾安心?坦白講,我們是 存疑的,但是,只要劉揆或任何政府官員不敢公開喝一杯民眾每天都喝的奶製品,沒有任何人敢說:我對這個政府放心!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Melamine and Cross-Strait Relations

Melamine and Cross-Strait Relations
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 25, 2008

Summary: The storm over melamine tainted powdered milk rages on. The scandal has cast doubt on the safety of a wide number of food products, and constitutes a major cross-strait incident. The shockwaves are increasingly intense. If the source of the tainted milk had not been Mainland China, had it been an outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States for example, the problem  would not have become so politicized. US beef consumption on Taiwan is limited. Therefore the impact is limited; But because the tainted milk originated in Mainland China, the issue was promptly   politicized. Everyone is a consumer of dairy products. Add the threat to children's health, and we have all the ingredients for  a "Perfect Storm."

Full Text below:

The storm over melamine tainted powdered milk  rages on. The scandal has cast doubt on the safety of a wide number  of food products, and constitutes a major cross-strait incident. The shockwaves are increasingly intense.

If the source of the tainted milk had not been Mainland China, had it been an outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States for example, the problem  would not have become so politicized. US beef consumption on Taiwan is limited. Therefore the impact is limited; But because the tainted milk originated in Mainland China, the issue was promptly  politicized. Everyone is a consumer of dairy products. Add the threat to children's health, and we have all the ingredients for  a "Perfect Storm."

We have two ways of examining the issue. One. The government's food safety crisis management ability. Two. Cross-Strait relations.

In terms of crisis management, the Department of Health initially declared that no powdered milk had been imported to Taiwan. Instead, ARATS, on the other side of the Strait, informed us that powdered milk had been imported, long ago. Clearly, the Department of Health was not on top of matters. Next, the King Car Group voluntarily submitted its products for examination, taking full responsibility for their  safety. Only then did the Department of Health  realize the extent of the problem. In short, ARATS and the King Car Group had a better handle on the situation than the government agency in charge.

Having lost the initiative, the Liu cabinet panicked. Under pressure to prevent public harm and reduce public anxiety, it proposed two extreme measures. One. It announced that everyone was eligible for a free kidney stone checkup. Some in the medical community considered this  "unnecessarily provocative." Two. It declared that all vegetable protein products, creamers, and dairy products manufactured on the Mainland would be removed from the shelves within 24 hours. The total value these products? Over one billion NT. A major controversy erupted over whether this sort of decision-making achieved  the proper balance between ensuring public safety and reducing public anxiety.

In terms of cross-Strait relations, the incident offers some interesting lessons. From the very beginning the cabinet found itself at a loss for words. By contrast, Hu Jintao blasted mainland bureaucrats as "callous and indifferent, cavalier in their attitude." Wen Jiabao accused the manufacturers of "lacking  consciences." By contrast, our cabinet's remarks were either not enough or too much. At one time only  issues such as Tibet were considered too hot to handle. Who knew tainted milk would one day rival Tibet for political sensitivity?

Premier Liu Chao-hsuan proposed sending a delegation to the mainland to "investigate." He also mentioned "demands for compensation." This also touched raw nerves on both sides. Take  so-called "plant inspections." Without private sector interaction between the import and export industries on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, officials representing the victims would find it hard to put forth even a quasi-official request. The government of the Republic of China cannot arbitrarily demand the right to inspect plants in Vietnam. By the same token, it would be hard to claim a right to inspect plants on Mainland China. Premier Liu's proposals are predicated upon a  highly unrealistic improvement in cross-Strait relations.

Regarding demands for compensation, Experts wondered who would do the negotiating. MAC and ARATS? How would the  negotiations would be conducted? Would they resemble negotiations over WTO participation? Would they resemble negotiations over the 1992 Consensus? Many problems would arise. When Premier Liu raised the issue of "plant inspections" and "demands for compensation," he may have pointed the way to long term solutions. But he also highlighted the lack of consensus and the lack of a solid legal foundation for cross-Strait interaction.

The tempest over melamine contaminated products has been a "shock to the system." It has been a test of the Liu cabinet's crisis management ability. It has also been a test of its ability to deal with cross-Strait affairs. The two sides are becoming increasingly open to each other. Civil sector frictions will become more common. If in the face of such incidents the government finds itself at a loss for words, if it does not know how to negotiate, if it is unable to weigh the pros and cons, it will be caught on the horns a dilemma.

For the Mainland authorities the melamine contamination scandal is an opportunity to engage in a major reevaluation of its political and economic system. How could such a major scandal be suppressed for over nine months? How could  a company as large as San Lu be so devoid of conscience? How could the media, with the exception of Shanghai's East China Morning Post, have remained silent? As we engage in painful soul-searching, we realize the scandal has seriously undermined Mainland China's international image. But it is also an opportunity for the Mainland authorities to reevaluate cross-Strait relations. The melamine contamination scandal occurred on Mainland China. It explains the lack of confidence in the Mainland's political and economic system. It also explains the persistent mistrust between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The melamine contamination scandal offers lessons for authorities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. As cross-Strait exchanges become more frequent, the two sides will need  an equitable and mutually beneficial framework for interaction. The contaminated powdered milk scandal must not be buried beneath a mountain of "sovereignty" issues. After all, such scandals involve the health and welfare of the people. If the two sides remain trapped  in a political quagmire, they  will undermine cross-strait reconciliation.

2008.09.25 02:53 am





先 機一失,也就陷於手忙腳亂之局,整個內閣立即須在化解危害與降低社會恐慌之間進行兩難操作,如今則採取了兩個極端的作法:一、全民可免費檢查有否腎結石, 醫界有人認為是「無謂恐慌」;二、所有含大陸製植物性蛋白質、奶精及乳製品成分的產品,一律在二十四小時內下架,總值逾十億元。這類決策是否在化解危害與 降低恐慌之間取得了較佳平衡,已成社會議論的話題。

從兩岸關係的角度來看此事發展,尤可記取教訓。內閣一開始就陷於 言詞拿捏不易的情勢,後來連胡錦濤亦嚴斥中共官僚「麻木不仁、作風漂浮」,溫家寶也指涉案廠商「沒良心」;但我們內閣的發言,卻始終有「輕不得,重不得」 的困境;原來以為,只有西藏之類的政治問題難以表態,今後自當想一想類如毒奶粉事件該當如何措辭。

劉兆玄院長主張派 團赴大陸「調查」,並謂將要「索賠」,這也觸及了兩岸的痛處。所謂「查廠」,除非是雙方進出口業者的民間互動,恐怕很難由受害國的官方及準官方片面提出此 種要求;中華民國政府不可能任意主張赴越南查廠,同樣也很難主張赴中國大陸查廠。劉揆的主張若欲實現,須對兩岸關係充滿想像。

至 於索賠求償,有專家指出,立即會觸及談判平台的問題,無論是用兩會模式談判,或透過WTO管道談判,或用「九二共識」模式談判,恐怕均有礙難之處。因此, 劉揆將情勢升高至「查廠/索賠」的高度,一方面也許指出了解決問題的方向,但另一方面其實也揭露了兩岸在面臨此類事件時,並無一套穩定的法理共識與一個有 效的互動平台。

這次三聚氰胺風暴,對劉內閣處理食品安全危機是一震撼教育,對劉內閣處理兩岸事務更是一尖銳的刺激。 畢竟,兩岸愈來愈開放,這類涉及「民生」的糾紛也必愈來愈多;倘若政府在面對此類事件時,不知如何措辭,不知如何交涉,不知如何訂定「得/失」的標準,必 將陷於左支右絀、進退兩難之境地。

對於中共當局而言,這次三聚氰胺事件,亦是對其政經體制上大反省的時機,何以如此 大案竟能至少壓了九個月,何以三鹿如此巨商亦「沒有良心」,又何以除上海東方早報外,新聞界皆遭「封口」,在在皆應痛思猛省;當然,此一事件除了重傷中國 的國際形象,也是中共思考兩岸關係的時機,三聚氰胺這類事件發生於中國,反映了大陸不可信任的政經機制,這也許正是兩岸始終存有隔閡的主要因素。


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Better Future Requires Fuller Preparation

A Better Future Requires Fuller Preparation
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 24, 2008

President Ma Ying-jeou recently made two proposals. He proposed allowing students with mainland academic credentials to come to Taiwan. He proposed transforming Sungshan Airport into an international airport. His basic direction is correct. But we would like to remind him that before introducing external resources, we must first make the required preparations. Only then can we establish a secure foundation for long-term development.

Recognizing mainland academic credentials, for example, is a macro level trend. It is eagerly anticipated and meaningful to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Cross-Strait exchanges have stimulated intellectual creativity on local campuses. They have helped raise academic standards. They have increased mutual understanding about each others' life styles. They have narrowed the psychological distance between members of the younger generation.

Some concerns are of course pragmatic. People are choosing to have fewer children. Many universities on Taiwan have not been able to recruit enough students. They are on the verge of financial collapse. Therefore, many people hope that opening up our universities to mainland students will bring new financial opportunities, and allow universities to avoid bankruptcy. But if one's health is bad, one should take the initiative to improve it. One should not look to an outside savior. That is both unrealistic and risky.

Over the years, Taiwan has established more and more universities. But their quality varies. Seven out of ten attend college. But the unemployment rate among university graduates has repeatedly reached new highs. If the marketplace and natural selection eliminate non-performing universities, they may actually improve the quality of education. Are non-performing universities hoping to be rescued? Are they counting on mainland students to rescue them? Are they defaulting on their responsibility to improve the quality of their teaching and their management? If so, they may forfeit the opportunity to save themselves.

It is easy to daydream. But reality may not be quite so rosy. The mainland has many talented people. Universities in Hong Kong and Singapore are offering scholarships to the best students. Mainland students have the option of studying in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Europe, and America. If mainland students are willing to pay high tuitions to study in Taiwan, it will be because they consider it a worthwhile investment. It will be because they think their diploma will have a market value. Universities on Taiwan must not rely on the label "Taiwan" to attract mainland students. If a university is of poor quality, mainland students will not be interested.

Some people have overly optimistic expectations about the Chinese mainland. Reality will always fall short of one's expectations. For example, many people assumed agricultural exports to the mainland would be highly profitable. But once the novelty wore off, sales went from bad to worse. This must be chalked up to excessive optimism, to a failure to understand the mainland market, and to a lack of marketing channels. We failed to do our homework before entering the mainland market. We must revise our strategy. Only then can we re-enter the mainland market.

And so it was with mainland tourists arriving on Taiwan. The government promised three thousand tourists a day. But only two or three hundred showed up. The government forces mainland tourists to jump through too many hoops. It imposes restrictions on the places they may visit and the number of days they may stay. Mainland tourists are being seriously inconvenienced. If these problems are not resolved, nothing will change. Cross-strait exchanges must be based on mutual respect and mutual understanding. One must not harbor unrealistic expectations about the mainland while demanding nothing from oneself.

President Ma has proposed a "Northeast Asian Double Gold Hub." His intention is to internationalize domestic airports, allowing Taipei's Songshan Airport to link with Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul. This will save travel time and promote the development of science and technology. The plan is worthy of consideration. But before we attempt to take on such an ambitious plan we must ask ourselves, are we really ready?

As a link to international airports in Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai, Sung Shan Airport's buildings and facilities are far from adequate. Sungshan Aiport was barely able to cope with renovations for mainland tourists. If Tokyo, Shanghai, and other popular routes are added, including routes to the US, then major expansion and renovation is necessary. But so far no department has either the plans or the budget. Before the government attempts to turn Taipei into a Northeast Asian Double Gold Hub, it needs to draw up plans for a new Sungshan Airport. Once those are complete, we can talk about the next step.

Sungshan Airport is too small and too shabby. Even the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taoyuan, the ostensible gateway to the nation, is an embarrassment. Compared to the lively and distinctive airports in neighboring Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo, it is hard to believe this is the official gateway to one of the Four Asian Dragons. Chiang Kai-shek International Airport is poorly equipped. Its services are minimal. Its shops are few and deserted. Its design lacks aesthetic appeal. We have talked about building a rapid transit system from the airport for the past 20 years. But so far we have nothing to show. Obviously the government needs to do far more to improve our air transportation infrastructure.

Taiwan has abundant opportunities for development. Its hard-working people have experienced difficulties in the past and overcome them one by one. We know how to stand on our own two feet. Depending upon others will only hinder our progress. Given fierce global competition, we must demand more from ourselves. We must remain strong and self-confident as we face future challenges.

中國時報  2008.09.24





做 白日夢容易,現實狀況卻未必那麼樂觀。大陸優秀人才非常多,香港、新加坡的大學均以優厚獎學金來爭取最頂尖的學生。對大陸學生而言,要留學,台、港、星乃 至歐、美、日,都是選擇之一。如果大陸學生願意付出高學費來台灣念書,必然是因為能得到足夠的收穫,文憑將來也有市場價值,不是光靠「台灣」這面招牌就可 以讓陸生把門檻踏穿的。大學本身素質太差的話,大陸學生也不見得會有興趣。

有些人對中國大陸有過於一廂情願的期待, 但期待和事實往往會有差距。例如原本以為農產品銷往大陸一定會大發利市,結果三分鐘熱度一過,銷售績效每下愈況,而這又必須歸咎於事前過度樂觀、不了解大 陸市場、以及缺乏整體行銷管道。在前進大陸市場之前,我們沒有做好準備功課,現在唯有重新檢討策略,才有能力再度進軍大陸。
同樣的情形也見 諸大陸觀光客來台,之前政府開出一天三千人的支票,結果如今一天不過二、三百人。但台灣對陸客來台手續、旅遊天數及地點的諸多規定,令陸客覺得頗不方便, 這些問題如果不解決,現況可能還會持續。兩岸交流必須本著彼此尊重、相互體諒,不能一面對大陸市場有不切實際的依賴,一面卻不對自己有所要求。

很 明顯的,以現在松山機場的建築和設備,遠遠不足以成為能和東京、首爾、上海對飛的國際機場。前不久光是要迎接陸客,就花了好一番整修才勉強能夠應付,如果 想再承擔東京、上海甚至美國等熱門航線,非進行大規模的擴建甚至全盤改建不可,但至今並沒有任何部門提出過這樣的計畫與預算。在擘畫台北未來成為東北亞雙 黃金航線之前,可能政府必須先規畫出一個新松山機場的建設計畫來;完成了,才能談到下一步。

其實,不要說松山機場太 過狹小寒酸,連代表國家門面的桃園國際機場,和亞洲鄰國的曼谷、新加坡、香港、首爾、東京等熱鬧氣派又各具特色的機場相比,也是相形見絀到令人汗顏的地 步,簡直無法相信這是亞洲四小龍之一的最大國際機場。桃園國際機場不只設備簡陋、服務陽春、店面少而冷清、設計缺乏文化美感,機場捷運談了廿年,到現在八 字依舊看不到一撇。很顯然的,對於改善台灣的飛航環境與交通條件,我們還有很多需要努力的地方。


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Grasshoppers: Chen Shui-bian, the DPP and Taiwan

Three Grasshoppers: Chen Shui-bian, the DPP and Taiwan independence
Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 23, 2008

The Ma administration's approval numbers have declined precipitously. But interesingly enough, public support for the DPP has not increased. It has declined as well.

The public is disappointed with the KMT. That is the nation's plight. But it no longer trusts the DPP. That is the Democratic Progressive Party's plight. In short, the Kuomintang's performance leaves much to be desired, but the public has even less faith in the DPP.

The Democratic Progressive Party's eight year reign has disappointed too many people. The Ma administration's performance has been lamentable. But that doesn't mean the Democratic Progressive Party's direction over the past eight years was correct. That doesn't mean the nation should return to the way it was under the Democratic Progressive Party. If the Democratic Progressive Party wants to win back the public's confidence, it must begin anew. It must not assume that because the public is discouraged with the Kuomintang, it was satisfied with the DPP. The Democratic Progressive Party must undergo a total transformation. In other words, the Democratic Progressive Party has fundamental defects. If these defects are not remedied, the DPP will never make a comeback. Even assuming the DPP could return to power, Taiwan would have no way out.

Everyone knows what the problem is. The Democratic Progressive Party must disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian. But disassociating itself from Chen Shui-bian is merely a matter of appearances. At a deeper, more fundamental level, the DPP's problem is Taiwan independence.

Chen Shui-bian's handling of Taiwan independence has made Taiwan independence advocates' lives harder. Chen Shui-bian and Taiwan independence advocates have created a peculiar situation. Support for Chen Shui-bian has become a test of support for Taiwan independence. Conversely, support for Taiwan independence has become a test of support for Chen Shui-bian.

Chen Shui-bian has been trumpeting Taiwan independence. He has exposed Lee Teng-hui's corruption. He has denounced Su Tseng-chang, Frank Hsieh, and Tsai Ing-wen as ingrates. He has been relentlessly promoting the notion that "So goes Chen Shui-bian, so goes Taiwan." He has been attempting to consolidate his own image as the last remaining standard bearer for Taiwan independence. Chen Shui-bian retains the allegiance of only a small percentage of Democratic Progressive Party members. If the Democratic Progressive Party cannot disassociate itself from him, Chen Shui-bian will hold the Democratic Progressive Party hostage.

Whether the DPP can disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian is a matter of appearances. The more fundamental question is whether the DPP can disassociate itself from Taiwan independence and jettison its Taiwan independence platform. The question is not whether the Democratic Progressive Party can disassociate itself from an A Bian who is embezzles taxpayer money. The question is not whether the Democratic Progressive Party can disassociate itself from an A Bian who advocates Taiwan independence. The question is whether the Democratic Progressive Party can disassociate itself from advocates of Taiwan independence.

This is what we meant when we referred to the DPP's fundamental problem. The Democratic Progressive Party's problem is twofold. One. It clearly realizes that Taiwan independence is self-deception. But it has painted itself into a corner and can't get out. Two. Over the years the Democratic Progressive Party has indoctrinated the masses, transforming them into advocates of Taiwan independence. Today however, the masses can no longer change their way of thinking. Meanwhile the Democratic Progressive Party cannot afford to lose their support. Therefore the DPP and its supporters must engage in a destructive cycle of mutual deception. Now that support for A Bian has become a test of support for Taiwan independence, can the Democratic Progressive Party disassociate itself from Taiwan independence? If not, how can it disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian?

Taiwan independence is more fundamental and critical to the Democratic Progressive Party than Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian affects only the party's image. Taiwan independence affects the nation's future. Chen Shui-bian has blackened the image of Taiwan independence. But even with Chen Shui-bian out of the way, does Taiwan independence really have a future?

Can the Democratic Progressive Party jettison its Taiwan independence platform? Can the public on Taiwan change its way of thinking? If they cannot, then the DPP cannot disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian. If the DPP cannot disassociate itself from Chen Shui-bian, then it cannot jettison its Taiwan independence platform. Over the past eight years, the Democratic Progressive Party's nemesis has been threefold. One. Chen Shui-bian. Two. The "Nation of Taiwan." And Three. Chen Shui-bian plus the "Nation of Taiwan." The Democratic Progressive Party should already have changed. The DPP should already have remade itself. But the Democratic Progressive Party remains stuck in the quagmire of Chen Shui-bian plus the "Nation of Taiwan."

On August 30, during the Taiwan independence march, the Democratic Progressive Party rejoiced, saying "This political momentum can be harnessed." Tsai Ing-wen was in the United States at the time. Taiwan independence elders were sitting at the high-rollers' banquet table. Is the Democratic Progressive Party unaware that the "Post Chen Era" has yet to arrive? Is the Democratic Progressive Party unaware that the Chen Era has been given a reprieve? That the Chen Era is now "Chen Shui-bian plus the Nation of Taiwan?"

After eight years of turmoil, Chen Shui-bian and Taiwan independence are identical. Chen Shui-bian is a replica of Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence is a clone of Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian has shown the public how corrupt the ruling Democratic Progressive Party can be. Chen Shui-bian has shown the public how destructive and immoral the Taiwan independence movement can be. One might sum it up by saying, "Whither Chen Shui-bian, whither Taiwan independence."

The public has borne witness to eight years of Democratic Progressive Party malfeasance and degeneracy. The DPP is incapable of dealing with either Chen Shui-bian or the Nation of Taiwan. No wonder the public no longer believes in the DPP. No wonder the DPP is unlikely to ever make a comeback.

Three grasshoppers cling to the same piece of rope. The Democratic Progressive Party cannot liberate itself from the Taiwan independence movement, therefore it cannot liberate itself from Chen Shui-bian. Chen Shui-bian has blackened the Democratic Progressive Party's image. The Taiwan independence movement has ensured that the Democratic Progressive Party will never extricate ifself from its political dead end.

2008.09.23 02:29 am



民 進黨八年執政太令多數國人失望,即使馬政府如今表現不佳,卻不能反證民進黨過去八年的所作所為是正確的,亦不能反證國家今後應回到如民進黨過去主政八年的 情況。所以,民進黨若欲重建國人對它的信任,重新出發,不能只因民眾認為國民黨表現不佳,而是民進黨須有脫胎換骨的表現;換句話說,民進黨有其「根本」問 題,根本問題不解決,民進黨不易翻身,即使重新執政,台灣亦無活路。





這 就是前文所說的「根本」問題。民進黨的難題是:一、明知台獨是「自欺欺人」,但已成「作繭自縛」之局,無法跳脫;二、多年來民進黨已將群眾教育成台獨的支 持者,如今已無法改變他們的人格思維,且民進黨又禁受不起失去這些群眾的損傷,於是相互繼續維持「自欺欺人」的局面。現在,既然「是否挺扁」成了「是否挺 獨」的檢驗標準,民進黨能與獨派切割嗎?若不能,又豈能與陳水扁切割?


民 進黨若不能否棄或修正其「台灣國」的路線,或若不能改變其群眾的台獨思維,就不可能與陳水扁切割;同理,若不能與陳水扁切割,也就不能改變黨內的台獨因 素。過去八年,民進黨的致命因素有三:一、陳水扁;二、台灣國;三、陳水扁加台灣國。事到如今,民進黨原本應當改弦易轍,脫胎換骨;但事實卻是,民進黨迄 今仍深陷「陳水扁加台灣國」的泥淖之中。





Monday, September 22, 2008

The Lesson of the Tainted Milk Scandal

The Lesson of the Tainted Milk Scandal
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 22, 2008

Ripples from the tainted milk scandal continue to spread. Leading brands besides San Lu have been found to contain melamine. The term "Made in China" has become synonymous with shoddy goods. Something that originally concerned only individual manufacturers' commercial reputations, has become all about Mainland China's international image. For Taiwan the problem is the government's import inspection system. Green Camp legislators are even pointing the finger at cross-strait policy.

From a purely factual perspective, the tainted milk scandal is the handiwork of unscrupulous businessmen. But too many "Made in China" products are shoddy, and too many government officials have turned a blind eye to the problem, or even covered up the truth. Such officials are accomplices in crime. Their conduct is inexcusable. These scandals have not happened merely once in a blue moon. They have not happened merely with one or two products. Years ago counterfeit liquor led to blindness, even death. In recent years tainted dumplings in Japan and tainted pet foods in the US have shaken international confidence. Consumers the world over hear "Made in China," and they shudder. But in fact, people on the Mainland have been the worst victims.

One American financial writer has urged a boycott of Chinese goods. She has written a book called "A Year without 'Made in China,'" urging a boycott of Made in China products. But not using Made in China products is virtually impossible. A Wikipedia search for "Made in China" turns up a number of negative connotations. Made in China is virtually a synonym for poor quality. Some well-known international brands can neither escape the reality of Mainland China OEM, or avoid marking the products with the country of manufacture. This has led to such strange labels as "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China." Taiwan brands have also added intriguing labels beneath the "Made in China' label, that read "This product is covered by a $xxxxxx product liability insurance policy. Consumers may use it in confidence."

Mainland China is gradually rising. It has technological prowess to spare. It build the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the Maglev train, and the "Bird's Nest" Olympic sports stadium. It hosted the Beijing Olympics and amazed the world. It is attempting to create an image of the "Rise of a Great Nation." But paradoxically it has neglected ordinary peoples' daily needs. It has ignored consumer safety. It has destroyed the nation's image within the global community. Mainland China still has a long way to go before it is perceived as a modern nation. The gap cannot be measured by Gross Domestic Product, import and export data, or volume of trade. The gap must be measured by increased human rights, freedom of expression, individual rights, consumer awareness, and other factors. Mainland China still has a long way to travel on its journey toward modernization.

Meanwhile, on Taiwan, the Executive Yuan has been skinned alive for the tainted milk scandal. The Department of Health has been clueless. Importers didn't even use the term "powdered milk" when declaring their products with customs. Their motives were probably suspect from the outset. Government inspection of imported goods cannot possibly cover every aspect of every product. But now that the public is especially wary of Made in China products, the government must modify its screening procedures. It must respond to the public's concerns about Made in China products.

This involves more than consumer rights. Anti-China sentiments on the island have been stirred up, making matters even more complicated. The Green Camp is attempting to turn the issue into one of cross-strait policy. They are probably overplaying their hand. But the Mainland authorities have also seized the opportunity to use such terms as "China's Taiwan region" when dealing with illegal immigrants. Therefore one should not be surprised if the public reacts negatively.

The Ma administration's campaign theme was the liberalization of cross-Strait policy. Liberalization of cross-Strait policy is not something that only the industrial sector wanted. Over seven million voters endorsed it. So the problem is not liberalization per se. Liberalization does not mean the abandonment of a professional inspection system or the neglect of the rights and interests of the public. If tainted goods are shipped to Taiwan, the administration must seek compensation or file complaints. The tainted goods scandal need not have dragged in the issue of sovereignty. But precisely because it does not involve the issue of sovereignty, the administration ought to lodge a powerful protest on behalf of consumers. The previous administration was criticized for being soft in its handling of the US Mad Cow disease scandal. Does the current administration intend to make the same mistake in its handling of the tainted milk scandal? Individual companies can harm the image of an entire nation. The government can harm the rights of individual citizens. This is the lesson of the tainted milk scandal.

2008.09.22 02:28 am

中 國毒奶粉事件爆發,且持續擴大,現在查出的已不只當初「三鹿」一家,連多家領導品牌的產品都驗出摻有三聚氰胺。「中國製」現在幾乎等同「黑心商品」的代名 詞,本來是個別廠商的商譽問題,但升高來看,這已變為中國的國家形象問題。在台灣這一端,出問題的則是政府的進口商品檢驗機制,綠營立委甚至將矛頭指向兩 岸政策。

就事論事,毒奶粉是不肖商人之過。不過,「中國製」的黑心商品之多,加以其公部門輕縱,甚至掩飾真相,形成龐大的共犯結構,格外 不可原諒。這已不是一天兩天的新聞,也不是一種兩種商品的個案。早年在大陸內部就有不可勝數的假酒造成失明、致死事件,近年轟動國際的則如日本毒水餃和美 國的寵物毒飼料事件,令全世界消費者聞「中國製」而色變,大陸民眾更是首當其衝的受害者。

美國一名財經作家曾身體力行抵制中國製產品,寫 出《沒有中國製造的一年》一書,盡訴使用中國製商品之不安,但不用卻又幾乎寸步難行之苦。維基百科查「中國製」一詞,延伸的解釋頗具負面含意,直指為「品 質較差」的同義詞。有些國際知名品牌既無法擺脫中國代工的現實,也不能迴避商品須標明生產地的規定,遂出現了例如「蘋果電腦加州設計,中國組裝」的奇怪標 示。也有台灣廠牌商品,在「中國製」的標籤下,加註「本商品已投保XX產物保險責任險XX萬元,請消費者安心使用」等字樣,其用意耐人尋味。

中 國日漸崛起,造青藏鐵路、磁浮列車的大工程宛如游刃有餘,建「鳥巢」、辦京奧等盛事亦令全球驚嘆。這個努力塑造著「大國崛起」形象的政府,卻偏偏在老百姓 的柴米油盬、民生用品這等事情上,置消費者安全於不顧,且在全球化的經濟網中,自毀國家形象。可見中國想要躋身現代化文明國家,確實還有相當距離。這個距 離,恐怕不是用國民生產毛額、進出口貿易量等數據來衡量;這個距離,如果加進了人權、言論自由、個別公民權益、消費者意識……等因素考量,則此一現代化旅 程還有漫漫長路要走。

回頭看台灣自身的問題。這次毒奶粉事件,行政院被罵到體無完膚,衛生署也毫無章法。進口商當初甚至不是用「奶粉」名 目報關,恐怕從一開始就有點「奸巧」的用心。政府對進口商品的檢驗機制,本來也不可能巨細靡遺到所有商品的所有元素皆逐一查驗,但現在國人對「中國製」商 品特別敏感,把關的程序就必須跟著調整,針對「中國製」的來源要特別戒慎恐懼,以回應台灣民眾的疑慮。


馬 政府的兩岸政策以鬆綁為主軸,這已獲得不只是產業界、且包括七百多萬選民的背書。所以問題並不出在「鬆綁」本身,而是「鬆綁」不等同專業查驗機制或國內民 眾權益「棄守」。任何國家出口有毒商品到台灣,政府都大可嚴正抗議或要求賠償。這次為了一個商品品質問題,本來也沒有必要搞到主權議題去;但正因為不涉及 主權,所以政府代表「消費者」抗議「出口國」的立場大可就事論事,理直氣壯。政府在處理狂牛症陰影下的美國牛肉進口問題,曾被批評軟弱無能,如今碰上毒奶 粉事件,豈可重蹈覆轍?個別廠商可能影響國家形象,國家機制也可能影響個別公民的權益,這是毒奶粉事件的啟示。

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ersatz "Prosecutorial Independence"

Ersatz "Prosecutorial Independence"
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 19, 2008

The eight prosecutors of the Special Investigative Unit called a press conference. They stood before the media in single row and vowed that the State Affairs Fund case and the Chen Family money-laundering case would be concluded by the end of the year. If they weren't, they said they would resign, en masse. They said they stepped forward because they wanted the public to respect "prosecutorial independence." They didn't want prosecutors to have to cope with public opinion based on false information. They wanted to reaffirm the Special Investigative Unit's solidarity with the Prosecutor General. They said Chen Tsung-min had a duty to oversee and guide the Special Investigative Unit, and could not legally shirk that responsibility.

The prosecutors' collective announcement of a deadline for the conclusion of their investigation, ranks among the rarer spectacles in law enforcement history. On the surface, they were trumpeting their "prosecutorial independence." In fact they were falling over each other concocting excuses for Chen Tsung-ming, assuring the public that Chen need not recuse himself, and could continue clinging to his official position. Isn't this sort of "independence" a little too cheap and easy to come by?

Prosecutors who boast of "prosecutorial independence" are merely indulging in self aggrandizement. Prosecutors, like judges, enjoy lifetime tenure. But they are also bound by expectations of "prosecutorial solidarity." How can they present themselves as paragons of "prosecutorial independence?" Judges speak of judicial independence. No official may interfere with a trial judge's rulings. Judges must not fear passing judgments upon their "superiors." Prosecutors on the other hand, receive their marching orders from the Prosecutor General. They never were independent to begin with. When they invoke the term "Independence" merely to defy the media and curry favor with their boss, the term "prosecutorial independence" loses all meaning.

The Special Investigative Unit was authorized by the Organic Law of the Court. Its arrangement does suggest some sort of independence. But what sort of independence does it call for? Independence from the media? What prosecutor shouldn't be independent of the media? Should "prosecutorial independence" be the exclusive prerogative of the Special Investigative Unit? If Special Investigative Unit prosecutors want to trumpet their "independence," they might want to demonstrate their "independence" from high ranking officials. They must not fear them. They must not be afraid to prosecute their superiors' cronies. They must heed their consciences. They must be Impartial and incorruptible. Prosecutors of the Special Investigative Unit stood before the media in a single row. They were all unwilling to investigate their boss. They were all afraid to be the odd man out. They were all eager to proclaim their "prosecutorial independence."

If the nation is going to have special prosecutors, then special prosecutors must have the courage to investigate those in power. High ranking officials of the previous administration are out of office as a result of the change in ruling parties. Even if the cases before them were referred to ordinary prosecutors, the public should not have to worry about whether they are being properly handled. Who knew the prosecutors of the Special Investigative Unit would respond, full force? Who knew that when investigating high ranking officials of the previous administration, they would apply an entirely different set of standards? We have described in detail how their attitude towards the High and the Mighty and ordinary citizens is as different as night and day. They fawn over current administration officials, even those merely one rank above themselves. What kind of obsequious accomodations are they capable of in the event they encounter an even higher official? One can only imagine. Isn't all this talk of "independence" just a little over the top?

In fact, we really don't expect prosecutors to handle their cases with the same independence as judges. We merely hope that fear of their superiors will not overpower their consciences, not to mention, the rule of law. When Chen Tsung-ming hosted a banquet, his guests included Chen family money laundering suspect Huang Fang-yen. Yeh Sheng-mao has repeatedly stated that Chen Tsung-ming knew all about A Bian's money laundering activities a long time ago. Chen Tsung-ming heads up the Special Investigative Unit and is personally involved in investigating the money-laundering case. Shouldn't he recuse himself? Shouldn't he know when to hold, and know when to fold? Has the Special Investigative Unit really investigated Chen Tsung-ming the way it does others? Why hasn't it? The answer of course is in the press release issued by the eight prosecutors. The Special Investigative Unit has reaffirmed its solidarity with Chen Tsung-ming. The Special Investigative Unit and Chen Tsung-ming are flesh and blood. Chen Tsung-ming has already aroused suspicion among the general public. What standards did the Special Investigative Unit apply when it concluded that Chen Tsung-ming was in "no danger of neglecting his duties due to personal biases?" Were they objective standards an ordinary person would apply according to his independent judgment? Or were they the kind of standards underlings would apply, just after they reaffirmed their solidarity with their superior? How exactly is the term "independent" defined in the Special Investigative Unit's dictionary?

Chen Tsung-ming did not show his face during this unprecedented press conference. Members of the Special Investigative Unit unstintingly shredded their own credibility. Their boss surely appreciates their gesture. They expressed their "independence" from the media. Applying the kind of standards underlings would for their superior, they suggested that he need not recuse himself. From their boss' perspective, their conduct undoubtedly qualified as "independent." Yesterday the Prosecutor General hand picked and promoted every member of the Special Investigative Unit. Today the boss is in trouble. To make sure he is not swept out of office, to make sure he won't have to recuse himself, they are willing to go through hell and high water. To repay their debt, they are willing to die horrific deaths. Their boss really should be overwhelmed with gratitude.

Should the allegiance the eight prosecutors of the Special Investigative Unit are showing their boss be equated with "independence?" We don't know. The prosecutors boast of their "prosecutorial independence." Let them have their say. They failed to demonstrate any "independence" before their superiors in the current administration. They failed to demonstrate any "independence" by prosecuting High and the Mighty members of the previous administration. Let them posture before the public, in shameless defiance of the gods. Perhaps that constitutes "independence" of a sort. They are already independent of President Ma Ying-jeou, Premier Liu Chao-hsuan, and Minister of Jusice Wang Ching-feng. They are already independent of the Control Yuan, which is itching to take action but lacks the constitutional authority. Under the circumstances, what can hapless members of the public do but lower their heads and sigh?

中國時報  2008.09.19

特偵組八位檢察官一字排開舉行記者會,表示國務費案與洗錢案將於年底前結案,若不辦出個結果,該組檢察官就全體下台。之所以全體站出來,是希望外界尊重司 法獨立,不要讓檢察官一面辦案還要一面應付不實資訊形成的輿論壓力;也要表達「檢察總長與特偵組一體」,陳聰明基於法定職責督導特偵組,並無法律上迴避之 理由。


其實,檢察官要適用「司法獨立」的觀念,不免自抹胭脂。他們雖然像法官一樣享受終身職的特殊待遇,卻是受制於「檢察一體原則」,何能標榜自己是「司法獨 立」的代表?法院講求審判獨立,每位法官審判,都不受任何首長過問干涉,而且必須排除心中的長官魔障。檢察官應受檢察首長指揮團隊辦案,本無獨立可言。 「獨立」二字如果只是用來對抗媒體,以便迎合長官,會讓「司法獨立」原味盡失。

特偵組的設置,從法院組織法規定來說,似乎確有某種「獨立」的味道。然而,法律如果真有「獨立」的要求,只在要求獨立於媒體辦案嗎?試問那位檢察官不該獨 立於媒體辦案,何獨以特偵組檢察官為然?特偵組檢察官如果要說「獨立」,就應該「獨立」於高層威勢影響辦案,不畏高官權貴,不計長官情面。特偵組檢察官應 該接受檢察首長指揮辦案,但若遇到檢察首長涉案,也要獨立於長官部屬的情誼關係之外,堅持法律良心,鐵面無私。現在全體組員一字排開,調查長官無人向前, 迎合長官人人恐後,「獨立」云乎哉!

嚴格來說,國家如果需要某種獨立檢察官,必就是要他們敢於調查「當朝的」權勢高官,無所畏懼。「前朝的」高層人士,因為政黨輪替而失勢,即使交由一般檢察 官辦案,也不會擔心他們辦案不力。誰料特偵組全組檢察官傾力而出,偵辦前朝高官顯貴,也是大失常態,我們曾經詳為描繪,其逢迎百態與平常針對一般小民的雄 壯威武相比,有天壤之別;而對當朝高層,只不過是官高一等的直屬長官,竟也如此不堪,要是遇上更高的長官犯案,會有什麼樣的腰桿能耐?可想而知!說是「獨 立」,會不會太沈重了一些?

我們其實並不寄望檢察官真的能如法官一樣獨立辦案,只是希望他們在辦案時不要讓心中的「長官魔障」掩蓋法治良心罷了。陳聰明宴請疑似參與洗錢的黃芳彥在 前,又遭葉盛茂幾度當眾指控早知阿扁洗錢情資在後,他也正是率領特偵組全員親身參與偵辦阿扁洗錢案的檢察首長,不該自請迴避?不該知所進退?特偵組曾像偵 查旁人一樣正式偵查過陳聰明嗎?為什麼不?道理難道就在八位檢察官舉行記者會的聲明裡面 ︱因為特偵組與陳聰明已是一體?陳聰明已然深受一般輿情質疑,特偵組是用什麼標準說他沒有「足認其執行職務有偏頗之虞」的情形呢?是依一般人的客觀標準 「獨立」判斷嗎?還是屬下與長官合為一體後找到了體貼遷就的標準?特偵組檢察官的字典裡面,「獨立」二字究竟如何寫法?

這個破天荒的記者會,陳聰明沒露面,特偵組全員卻似賠上特偵組的信譽,也毫不吝惜。看在長官眼裡,應該相當受用。「獨立」於媒體之外,使用部屬的標準支持 長官不必迴避,對長官而言,這當然算是夠「獨立」了。當年由檢察總長一個一個欽點提拔而進入特偵組的檢察官,現在為了拯救長官蒙難,為了支持長官絕不離 職、絕不縮手不管此案,赴湯蹈火,在所不辭,肝腦塗地,以報知遇,長官也該感到欣慰了。

然而,特偵組八位檢察官效忠長官的忠肝義膽,就等於「獨立」嗎?我們不好說。檢察官標榜自己司法獨立,就讓他們說吧,畢竟,他們雖然未在當朝長官發生問題 時表現獨立,也未在前朝權貴犯案時展現如辦其他一般案件的獨立,只要能夠傲然於輿論之前,不慚清議,不咎神明,也算是一種獨立吧!他們已經獨立到連馬英九 總統、劉兆玄院長、王清峰部長、監察院對他們也無可奈何的程度,升斗小民就自己摸摸鼻子囉!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Financial and Economic Cabinet: Change Your Thinking, or Find a New Job

The Financial and Economic Cabinet: Change Your Thinking, or Find a New Job
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 18, 2008

The global financial crisis rages on. Taiwan's economy is on its knees. As expected, through the auspices of the Presidential Office and Executive Yuan Financial and Economic Task Force, Vice President Vincent Siew, replete with his prefabricated smile, has assumed responsibility for the nation's financial and economic policy. Was this sophisticated political calculation? Or was it merely the last card the admininstration had left to play? It makes no difference. For the cabinet's financial and economic experts, Vice President Siew riding to the rescue was a slap in the face. Everyone knows Vincent Siew is merely a symbol of the administration's committment to rescuing the economy. But the key to success remains the cabinet's financial and economic experts. One hundred days have passed. These financial and economic experts have received a failing grade on their first pop quiz. If they continue spinning their wheels, they may need to be replaced.

The Ma administration's financial and economic cabinet was formed on May 20. Since then its confidence building measures have encountered numerous setbacks. Its unfreezing of gasoline prices, tax reform, stimulation of domestic demand, response to global changes, and attempts to prop up the stock market, have all fallen flat due to indecision and waffling. Even the reduction in the stock transaction tax was spun as a "sell out for long." The cabinet's term test is still to come. The US subprime mortgage crisis is causing a bleed out. Financial crises arrive one after another. The global economic outlook looks grimmer by the day. The domestic economy must confront a simultaneous loss of wealth and reduction in income. More trials await the cabinet.

Merely adding Vincent Siew to the team will not allow us to see a new financial and economic dawn. The problem is not a lack of people to coordinate policy. The problem is too much policy coordination. In response to major economic events, the Executive Yuan established a number of policy task forces. These include a price stability task force, an economic measures response task force, a cross-strait restrictions task force, an underprivileged groups task force, a Second Financial Reform Review task force, and a Tax Reform Commission. These task forces are headed by Vice Premier Chiu Cheng-hsiung, Political Affairs Commissioner Chu Yun-peng, and Tsai Hsun-hsiung. An Asia-Pacific Finance Center centre Coordinating Committee has yet to be established. Add to this Vincent Siew's Presidential Office and Executive Yuan Financial and Economic Task Force, and one is inundated by redundancy. Too many task forces. Too many representatives. The result is the same financial and economic experts shuttling back and forth between conference rooms.

The Executive Yuan may think that establishing task forces does more than proclaim the administration's committment, that it also coordinates policy. But just picture all those financial and economic experts holding conferences day and night inside the Executive Yuan, and you know how ineffective they will be, and how little they will have to show. Too many task forces will turn special projects into routine projects. They will become meaningless. Establishing task forces for every problem that comes along leads to centralized decision-making. It leads to an excessive concentration of decision-making authority in the Executive Yuan. It undermines the decision-making process. It reduces ministries to purely administrative entities. It encourages ministries to shirk responsibility, to habitually pass the buck upward, to deviate more and more from the ministries' hierarchical decision-making procedures. The decision-making power and decision-making ability of ministers diminishes in a downward spiral.

Economic development has become diversified. Inter-ministerial coordination has become the norm. But all policies must have an overarching theme. Decisions should have been made by qualified ministries. These ministries should bear responsibility for their success or failure. Let's not forget that ministers are political appointees. They are not unelected officials. Even assuming financial and economic policies are so complex as to require inter-ministerial coordination, the Executive Yuan's Council for Economic Planning and Development was established for precisely that purpose. Its members are also Ministry of Finance officials. The existing mechanisms are not being put to use. Instead, redundant task forces are proliferating. Premier Liu Chao-hsuan blamed the Council for Economic Planning and Development for inefficiency. He didn't realize he was responsibile for making it inefficient. Now, belatedly, Ma Ying-jeou wants to put the Vice President in charge of coordinating financial and economic policy. Will this solve problems, or create more problems? An integrated system with integrated policies. Even the administration can't even achieve this, what can it achieve?

This really is a "people" issue. The financial and economic subcabinet, filled with PhDs in economics, does not lack expertise. But not everyone has sufficient administrative experience. Economics stresses optimum decision making under controlled conditions. But policy-making decisions are often political science issues. Scholars may be able to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons of policy decisions. But they may lack administrative experience and self-confidence. The prevailing climate within the organization may not encourage sticking one's neck out and showing initiative. Major financial and economic policies may be bandied about without resolution. Even the reduction in stock transaction taxes was sent to President Ma Ying-jeou for his final approval. The premise being that a decision was right if the right person made it. Now that things have gone wrong, it means the people who made it were the wrong people. That constitutes a problem.

During periods of economic turmoil, financial and economic officials have it hard. The public understands. But if the problem is systemic, if the officials are not up to the job, they must be replaced.

2008.09.18 02:46 am

果 不其然,副總統蕭萬長帶著他的制式微笑,在全球金融風暴肆虐、台灣經濟疲軟無力之際,透過府院間的財經議題任務編組團隊,重掌國家財經決策的主導權。無論 這是精密的政治算計,還是有步變到沒步的不得不然,都已狠狠摑了財經內閣一耳光──竟然做到要請副總統出馬協調的地步。但是,大家心知肚明,蕭萬長只是政 府宣示拚經濟的象徵,成敗關鍵仍在於財經內閣;如果百日初試已不及格的財經閣員還是原地打轉,恐怕要請他們換位置了。

馬政府的財經內閣自 五二○成軍以來,從油價解凍、稅制改革、擴大內需、因應國際變局到挽救股市、振興景氣的連串作為,出了非常多的狀況,連一個降低證券交易稅的對策,也因政 策反覆而從利多變成利空,出台之後更被以利多出盡解讀。但是,經濟大考還沒有過去,美國次貸風暴血流不止,金融危機接踵而至,國際經濟局勢日趨險峻,國內 經濟也正面臨財富、所得雙縮水的痛苦調整,還有更多的考驗在等著財經內閣。

只是加個蕭萬長,大家仍然看不到財經施政振衰起敝的曙光;因為 問題不在少了一個政策協調人,反而是問題正在於協調人太多了。行政院為了因應各項重大經濟事件,成軍未久就設立了多個政策任務小組,包括穩定物價小組、因 應景氣對策小組、兩岸鬆綁小組、弱勢關懷小組、檢討二次金改小組、賦稅改革委員會等,分由副院長邱正雄、政務委員朱雲鵬、蔡勳雄負責,未來還要再成立亞太 金融中心協調委員會;若再加上蕭萬長領銜的府院財經小組,頗像是疊床架屋,任務小組多,代表會議多,結果就是同樣的一批財經官員在不同組合下穿梭於會議室 之間。

政院或許認為,政策任務編組不只宣示政府重視的象徵意義,也具政策協調、整合的實質意義。但是,只要想像一下財經首長一天到晚鑽進 行政院開會的畫面,就知道難有效率可言,而實際結果也是如此。因為過多的任務編組,讓專案成了通案,宣示意義不再;況且,事事任務編組,也導致決策機制強 幹弱枝,不只過度集中行政院,更削弱部會的決策功能,讓部會成了純事務機關;甚至鼓勵部會推諉卸責、凡事上呈,日趨偏離分層決策的組織原理。部長的決策 權、決策能力愈來愈小,實是因果惡性循環!

再者,經濟發展多元化後,跨部會協調亦屬常態,但凡事總有個主體,原應由主管部會決策,並負成 敗之責,別忘了部長是政務官,不是事務官;就算財經政策複雜到必須跨部會協調,行政院向有「財經小內閣」之稱的經建會原就是為此而設,其委員會成員也都是 財經相關部會首長,卻晾著現有機制不用、又搞了眾多任務小組疊床架屋,行政院長劉兆玄巡視時還責怪經建會功能不彰,殊不知讓經建會無能的是自己啊。如今, 馬英九還要再加一個本來就有充分建言、指導角色的副總統當協調人,這到底是在解決問題,還是製造問題呢?整合的體制,整合的政策;倘若連這一點都做不到, 遑論其他?

再來就真的是「人」的問題了。財經內閣裡不乏學有專精的經濟學博士,卻非個個都有足夠的行政經驗;由於經濟學講究的是情境控制 下的最適選擇,但政策選項的決策卻經常偏向政治學,因而學者首長能將一個政策的利弊得失分析得頭頭是道,卻因缺乏行政歷練賦予的政治自信,加上現有組織氣 候不鼓勵勇於承擔,以致重大財經政策常是會而不議、議而不決,竟連證交稅降不降這種僅屬戰術層級的決策,也要尋求馬總統的背書。人對了,事就對了;如今事 不對,代表人不對,這可是個大問題。


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How is the King Losing His Virtue the Queen's Responsibility?

How is the King Losing His Virtue the Queen's Responsibility?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 17, 2008

Summary: To pass the buck for his crimes onto Wu Shu-chen, then have Wu Shu-chen refuse to appear in court. This is Chen Shui-bian's grand strategy. Will Wu Shu-chen, who has taken 16 sick leaves already, appear in court on Friday? Inquiring minds want to know. Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. But on Taiwan, the person accusing Caesar's wife is Caesar himself. How bizarre is that? Caesar debases himself, then points the finger at Caesar's wife. Is this A Bian's legacy for the "Republic of Taiwan?"

Full Text below:

To pass the buck for his crimes onto Wu Shu-chen, then have Wu Shu-chen refuse to appear in court. This is Chen Shui-bian's grand strategy. Will Wu Shu-chen, who has taken 16 sick leaves already, appear in court on Friday? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Chen Shui-bian clan is resorting to a bizarre tactic to evade prosecution for the State Affairs Fund scandal, the SOGO scandal, and the money-laundering scandal. Every member of the clan has passed the buck on to Wu Shu-chen. The collection of phony receipts, the accepting of bribes, and the overseas transfers of funds, they all say, were all masterminded and executed by Wu Shu-chen alone. Chen Shui-bian and the other family members were all kept in the dark. They were "given instructions and ordered about."

Some people have apparently bought this fairy tale, and actually believe that Chen Shui-bian was brought down by "Lady MacBeth."

Chen Shui-bian's tactic of "sacrificing the wife to save the husband" has a number of salient points. One. From a legal perspective, Wu Shu-chen is not a public servant. By passing the buck on to her, Chen Shui-bian may evade prosecution for accepting bribes, dereliction of duty, corruption, and other crimes. The charges against him may be reduced. Two. From a political perspective, Chen's tactic takes advantage of the ongoing ideological standoff between the Blue and Green camps. Disassociating A Bian from these crimes gives Taiwan independence elements a reason to keep supporting him. It allows Chen to persist in corruption and remain on the throne. Three. From a humanistic perspective, Wu Shu-chen is crippled. The public and the legal system cannot apply normal standards of justice to her. As a result, she has been able to stay at home for the past 20 months and launder money all over the world, even as she refuses to appear in court. So waddya gonna do about it?

Chen's tactic is wishful thinking. It reflects the Chen Shui-bian clan's defense strategy. But it is unlikely to win over the public and meet with its moral approval. What makes most people look askance is that the first two people to question the Queen's virtue were the King and the Prince. No matter how sophisticated their legal arguments, does this sort of "selling your wife and mother" to weasel your way out of trouble really meet with public expectations?

When Chen Chih-chung and his wife returned to Taiwan from the United States and proclaimed that "We were merely heads of dummy corporations," the public found their action incomprehensible and chilling. How could they so callously pass all blame onto his mother? Even assuming Wu Shu-chen masterminded the graft and amassed the fortune, the bulk of the money wound up in the accounts of Chen Chih-chung and his wife. Chen Chih-chung and his wife are the beneficiaries. Even assuming this highly educated young couple had no moral qualms about their actions, don't they care about the legal liability? Wang Yu-cheng's sons and daughters have publicly admitted their parents' wrongdoing. If Chen Shui-bian's children think they can pass all responsibility for their crimes onto their mother, and bear no legal responsibility, how can the public not look askance upon them?

Chen Shui-bian is trying to disown all responsibility for his crimes. But one lie can never hide another. He has repeatedly let the cat out of the bag. We do not believe for one minute Chen Shui-bian "only learned of Wu Shu-chen's transfer of funds overseas after the fact." But even assuming, as Chen Shui-bian alleges, Yeh Sheng-mao privately informed Chen of his wife's money-laundering only two years ago, Chen nevertheless abused his authority as president. He prevented the legal system from prosecuting the case. He allowed Wu Shu-chen to transfer the funds all over the world. Therefore Chen Shui-bian's guilt should be clear for all to see. He is in fact the mastermind behind the money-laundering scandal.

In fact the provenance of the funds is more important than the use of dummy overseas account for money-laundering. Chen Shui-bian has been lying about the source of the funds. The funds amount to at least 700 million NT. Were they leftover campaign funds? Were they political contributions unrelated to any election campaign? Were they corporate bribes? It makes no difference. They came his way only because Chen Shui-bian was President. In other words, it makes no difference whether the money came his way through Wu Shu-chen. Without the sign on the front gate of their official residence reading "President," Wu Shu-chen could never have established her secret chamber. Had Wu Shu-chen failed to brief Chen Shui-bian on the backroom deals she brokered, supplicants would have ceased arriving at her official residence. Chen Shui-bian claims he never "personally" transferred funds overseas. Didn't he assure us he was the head of Wu Shu-chen's dummy accounts, and transferred vast sums of money overseas without realizing it?

President Chen Shui-bian was president for eight years. Yet he would have everyone believe he was merely a busboy in his wife's restaurant, that all the dishonorable deeds committed were his wife's doing, that he knew nothing. Who is going to be taken in by such lies? President Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly invoked democracy and justice. Yet he has turned his own backyard into a foreign concession, outside the law. He has embezzled State Affairs funds. He has illegally accumulated wealth and transferred it overseas, engaging in money-laundering. As we scrutinize Chen Shui-bian and Wu Shu-chen, who can say who used whom? Are they not a marriage made in heaven? Are they not the perfect pair? A couple of political con artists?

Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. But on Taiwan, the person accusing Caesar's wife is Caesar himself. How bizarre is that? Caesar debases himself, then points the finger at Caesar's wife. Is this A Bian's legacy for the "Republic of Taiwan?"

2008.09.17 03:11 am











Monday, September 15, 2008

The Green Camp: No Guts, No Glory

The Green Camp: No Guts, No Glory
United Daily News Guest Editorial
by Su Yung-chin, Professor of Law, National Chengchi University
A Translation
September 15, 2008

During an interview with Mexico's media, President Ma said that the relationship between Taiwan and the mainland is not a relationship between two Chinas, nor is it a state to state relationship between two nations. Instead, it is a special kind of relationship. The DPP Central Standing Committee issued a statement saying that Ma's statement had downgraded Taiwan to a region of China, and effectively conceded China's sovereignty over Taiwan. Professor Wu Chao-hsieh, who addressed the Central Standing Committee, said this was a giant step back for sovereignty, and retreated to a time before the period of mobilization against insurgency.

Needless to say, the DPP's criticisms about "downgrading" and "retreat" have obvious problems with their logic. More importantly, the head of state, who represents the nation, has failed to faithfully communicate the state of the nation vis a vis the Constitution.

According to the provisions of the constitutional amendment enacted in 1991, the nation is clearly "not yet reunified." The Republic of China is currently divided into a "free region" and a "mainland region." The provisions of the amendment specifies the rights and obligations of citizens of both regions, and the handling of various matters, in accordance with "special" provisions. This is the legal framework of what we refer to as "cross-strait relations." From the KMT government to the DPP government, and again to today's KMT government, this underlying legal framework has never changed. In 2005, DPP legislators proposed a constitutional amendment predicated upon this "one nation, two regions" premise. Otherwise, what was the significance of their reference to a "free region?" The constitutional amendment was even endorsed by the National Assembly. For all intents and purposes, it was comparable to a national referendum.

This applies not only to the constitution. Our entire Rule of Law system is clearly founded on this "one nation, two regions" premise. There are no exceptions. Not only did the DPP not repudiate this when it was in power, it abided by this formulation and stance completely. Even the DPP government never proposed changing the "Mainland Affairs Council" to a "China Affairs Department." The DPP's current party chairman and Professor Wu Chao-hsieh have both served as chairmen of the Mainland Affairs Council. When they were in charge of cross-strait affairs, they both made references to the amendment. At no time did they ever express any objections to the "one nation, two regions" provision in Article Two of the amendment.

Please note that this clause has always defined the "mainland region" as "Republic of China territory outside the Taiwan region." The distinction it makes between citizens in the Taiwan region and the mainland region is not their nationality, but their "household registration" or "place of residence." Anyone who doubts this can go to his local bookstore and purchase a copy of "The Complete Literature on the Six Laws," and pore over it. Both former MAC Chairman know them by heart.

All other laws relating to cross-strait relations also take infinite pains to affirm the premise of one nation. This did not undergo the slightest change under Democratic Progressive Party rule. For example, in 2006, Article 12, which attempts to bring cross-strait smuggling under control, makes a special point of referring to contraband as entering and exiting "regional borders" rather than "national borders." The article reads: "The smuggling of goods from the mainland region into the Taiwan region, or the smuggling of goods from the Taiwan region into the mainland region, will be defined by the provisions of this article." Article 3 (13) of the Immigration Act, ratified while the Democratic Progressive Party was in power, clearly distinguishes between foreigners and mainland compatriots. This list goes on forever.

The Grand Justices have the final word in interpreting the Constitution and the state of the nation. What do they have to say about all this? The Grand Justices, all of whom were nominated by President Lee Teng-hui, offered Constitutional Interpretation No. 329, clearly stipulating that "agreements reached between the Taiwan region and the mainland region" are not "international agreements." Judges nominated by President Chen Shui-bian crafted Constitutional Interpretation No. 619, even more clearly stipulating that "the two sides of the Taiwan Strait remain in a divided and confrontational state." These judges may hold very different political beliefs. But in the face of the Constitution, there is only one interpretation. Not one of them dissents. No president who swears allegiance to the constitution can possibly have a different view on the matter. .

The relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is not a "state to state" relationship between two nations. How can the DPP leap to the conclusion that "China," or what our Constitution refers to as the "mainland region," has sovereignty over Taiwan? Why wouldn't one conclude instead that the Republic of China still has sovereignty over the mainland, even though it may lack active jurisdiction? What "downgrading" is the DPP talking about? What "retreat" is the DPP referring to? If this constitutes a "downgrading of the nation's status" and a "retreat," why did the DPP government, which included one President and five Premiers, do nothing about it during the eight years it was in office?

Everyone says the economy has hit bottom. Fortunately a party with a predilection for sophistry has finally been ejected from office. Now is the time to repair the economy. Who knew this same party, now in the opposition, would continue to engage in disingenuous sophistry? We urge voters to ignore the DPP's latest logical non sequiteur. Otherwise there will be no end to it.

執政時不敢動 綠現在盧什麼?

馬 總統在接受墨西哥媒體專訪時說,台灣與大陸不是兩個中國關係,也不是國與國關係,而是一種特殊關係。民進黨中常會發表聲明,說這已經把台灣降格為中國的一 個地區,變相承認中國對台灣擁有主權;在中常會發表演講的吳釗燮教授,則說這是主權立場的大倒退,退到動員戡亂時期以前。


從 民國八十年修憲制定增修條文開始,國家的定位就很清楚的變成「在統一前」,中華民國分隔為「自由地區與大陸地區」,增修條文授權就兩地區間的人民權利義務 關係及其他事務的處理,得以法律為「特別」的規定。據此才有所謂兩岸關係條例,從國民黨政府到民進黨政府,再到今天的國民黨政府。這樣的定位從來沒有改變 過,民國九十四年民進黨立委提的修憲案也是建立在此一「一國兩區」的國家狀態上(否則無所謂「自由地區」可言),並得到類似全民公投(選舉任務型國代等同 於複決修憲案)的背書。

不僅憲法如此,整套法制都很清楚的建立在此「一國兩區」的國家狀態上,沒有任何例外。民進黨執政時期,非但未予否 認,而且完全依循此一定位制定政策和法案。我從沒聽說,民進黨政府要改變「大陸委員會」的機關名稱(比如變成「中國事務部」),現任黨主席和吳釗燮教授都 擔任過陸委會的主委。他們在主管兩岸事務期間,都提過兩岸條例的修正案,我也從沒聽過,他們對該法第二條的國家和地區定位有任何意見。


其 他法律凡是涉及兩岸關係的,也無不小心翼翼的維護此一國家狀態,在民進黨政府執政下,沒有半點改變。比如在民國九十五年才修正的懲治走私條例第十二條,為 了把兩岸間氾濫的走私行為納入管制,特別把定義上原僅指出入「國境」的貨流擴大到出入「區境」的情形:「自大陸地區私運物品進入臺灣地區,或自臺灣地區私 運物品前往大陸地區者,以私運物品進口、出口論,適用本條例規定處斷。」民進黨執政時期制定的入出國及移民法第三條第十三款,更是明確的區隔外國人與大陸 人民。諸如此類,不勝枚舉。

對於國家狀態有最後解釋權的司法院大法官,他們又怎麼說呢?全數由李登輝總統提名的大法官做成第三二九號解 釋,很明確的說「臺灣地區與大陸地區間訂定之協議」不是「國際書面協定」。全數由陳水扁總統提名的大法官做成第六一八號解釋,更清楚的描述「兩岸目前仍處 於分治與對立之狀態」。他們的政治信仰有很大的差別,但面對憲法,解釋只有一種,沒有任何不同意見。我不知道一個宣誓效忠憲法的總統,還能有什麼不同的看 法。

從兩岸不是國與國關係,如何跳到中國(應指被我們憲法稱為「大陸地區」者)對台灣擁有主權,而不是中華民國對大陸地區仍有主權,只是 「統治權所不及」?什麼是降格,什麼是倒退?如果這樣的國家定位是降格和倒退,為什麼民進黨政府執政八年,從總統到五位行政院長,什麼都不做?


Friday, September 12, 2008

Shouldn't Someone Take Responsibility?

Shouldn't Someone Take Responsibility?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 12, 2008

Despite opposition from the public and former finance ministers, the Ma administration nevertheless decided to lower stock transaction taxes this Wednesday. Although it says the reduction will be in effect for only half a year, no one from either the ruling or opposition parties believes the rates can be restored half a year from now. Therefore, the reduction in the stock transaction tax means a 50 billion NT loss in revenue per annum, in exchange for short-term rally. The stock market may fluctuate. But a few days later, once all the news is out, Taiwan's stock market will simply return to the fundamentals. It will continue to be buffeted by global economic turbulence. The public on Taiwan, meanwhile, will have to make up the 50 billion NT shortfall each year, every year, ad infinitum.

Fate is fickle. Foreign investors dumped their shares. The global outlook remains gloomy. Yesterday the Taiwan stock market fell 200 points, underscoring the stupidity of the reduction in the transaction tax. An recent editorial in this newspaper pointed out that policies intended benefit Taiwan's economy that collide with global economic factors will be in vain. Our warning couldn't have been clearer. Yet the Ministry of Finance and the Executive Yuan continued on their merry way. Ma Ying-jeou, Vincent Siew, and Liu Chao-hsuan, is the 50 billion NT annual price worth it? Is the public on Taiwan really going to swallow such a stupid policy?

The most baffling part of the decision to reduce stock transaction taxes, was how the Premier led a team of finance and economics cabinet officials to the Presidential Palace. President Ma and Vice President Siew then gave the team's proposal their seal of approval. Since then, our stay at home president has been kidnapped. He has been taken from the rear echelon to the front lines, and forced to shoulder responsibility for this controversial economic policy. According to media reports, Ma and Siew met with two Academia Sinica financial experts on July 5, at which time they urged the administration not to intervene in the stock market. According to newspaper reports, the president and vice president agreed with their assessment. But two months later, the administration openly intervened in the stock market. Ma and Siew personally intervened, incurring a cost of 50 billion NT per annum, giving the Academia Sinica experts a solid slap in the face. These experts, a former Minister of Finance, media pundits, and the general public, are apparently no match for a bunch of desperate and cloistered cabinet members bent on poormouthing others. Now that the cabinet is in hot water, shouldn't somebody take a little responsibility?

Yesterday this newspaper's editorial clearly pointed out that Taiwan's open, small scale economy will never be immune to international shocks. If international markets sneeze, Taiwan is going to catch a cold. That is why the administration needs to be extra cautious, cool, and objective. That is why it must think first and act second.

To draw an analogy, if a flu epidemic is raging, no one can escape its impact. A fever, runny nose, coughing, and headaches are all unavoidable symptoms. Since no one can avoid catching the flu, all one can do is get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, avoid public spaces, avoid overwork, and look after oneself. Only then can one recover when the epidemic has passed. The last thing one ought to do when a minor symptom such as a runny nose occurs, is wolf down all kinds of medicines, in a frantic effort to fix one's kidneys in the morning, and one's liver in the afternoon, taking stomach medicines before bed, giving oneself injections in the middle of the night, drinking one nutritional supplement after the other. If one over-medicates one's body in this manner, one will not avoid the flu. One will merely destroy one's health. One's heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys will fail. One's systems will fail. Anyone with a lick of common sense knows that one must never haphazardly medicate oneself. The Executive Yuan has many Old Hands with decades of experience. How could they be so muddle-headed? How could they propose a policy as stupid as a reduction n stock transaction taxes?

Frankly, if the purpose of the reduction in stock transaction taxes really was to save the stock market, and the policy was merely an honest mistake, we could accept that. But we believe the purpose of the reduction in stock transaction taxes was not to save the stock market. Its purpose was to save cabinet members' jobs. Over the past two months, in its eagerness to produce results, the Liu cabinet has shown a lack of tolerance. On the surface it wants to produce results in order to rescue the Ma/Siew administration's poll numbers. But we think it really wants wants to produce results so that certain officials won't have to step down. Officials are promoting these policies merely to save their jobs. We believe this explanation is more plausible, and better explains the Ma administration and the Liu cabinet's slapdash proposals. Our readers know that political achievements depend on medium and long-term results. The media has never set a timetable for Ma and Siew to produce results. Cabinet officials are seeking remedies pills because they are afraid of losing their jobs.

Cabinet members say that investors who committed suicide because they bought the wrong stocks, must take responsibility for their own choices. True enough. Individual investors must indeed bear responsibility for their own mistakes. But when officials implement mistaken policies, losing tens of billions in tax revenue each year, forcing ordinary people to suffer the consequences, is that fair? Is that just? Investors bearing the burden of their own losses, acknowledging their own responsibility, has been the norm since time immemorial. But when incompetent officials harm Taiwan's economy, and make the wrong policy recommendations, shouldn't they assume responsibility too? The Liu cabinet can pass the buck to President Ma, who made the decision. President Ma can continue to stand behind incompetent officials. But if the problems continue to spread, who knows where they might lead to? No matter. Taiwan's economy is still healthy. It can survive a few more assaults by this bunch of buffoons. How will it all end? We're watching you. The entire nation is watching you.

中國時報  2008.09.12








Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui: Who Transferred 50 Million US Overseas?

Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui: Who Transferred 50 Million US Overseas?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 11, 2008

A Bian's money-laundering case has led unexpectedly to the spectacle of two former heads of state blowing the whistle on each other. A Bian (Chen Shui-bian) and A Hui (Lee Teng-hui) are accusing each other of transferring vast sums of money overseas. Based on the rhetoric from both sides, the money-laundering case is far more complex than outsiders imagined. Based solely on the public exchanges, we are getting a sense of just how ugly power lust can be.

Just before the money-laundering scandal erupted, Chen Shui-bian launched a "psy-ops" campaign, saying he "had been sitting on 75 unexploded bombs." He said that was the only reason no one ever went after Lee Teng-hui's State Confidential Expenses scandal and other scandals. In other words, he had Lee Teng-hui by the tail, and could set off the bombs any time. Once the money-laundering scandal erupted, Chen Shui-bian exposed Lee Teng-hui's transfer of one billion NT overseas by means of dummy accounts in the Zanadu Development Corporation scandal. He accused Lee Teng-hui of illegally diverting over 200 million NT in State Confidential Expenses from the "Fengtian Project" into the accounts of Lee's own Taiwan Comprehensive Research Institute. In response to these allegations, Lee Teng-hui lashed back, saying that Chen Shui-bian first began money-laundering in 2002, and that he had laundered up to 50 million US, or about 1.6 billion NT.

Only Lee and Chen know for sure whether Chen's claims about "sitting on 75 unexploded bombs" are true. But based on the charges and counter charges, Chen Shui-bian at least has Lee Teng-hui on the State Affairs Confidential Expenses scandal and the Zanadu Development Corporation scandal. Lee Teng-hui, meanwhile, also has unspecified, unfavorable information on Chen Shui-bian. No matter what the actual situation might be, what's most amazing is Chen Shui-bian's boast that he is sitting on 75 unexploded bombs. This is tantamount to a confession that during his term as president he interfered in the executive and judicial process, ensuring that numerous crimes committed by Lee Teng-hui would remain covered up. This constitutes a serious case of obstruction of justice, and a flagrant case of dereliction of duty. Yet Chen Shui-bian has the temerity to boast about it openly. His values and his sense of right and wrong, are probably beyond redemption.

On the one hand, Chen Shui-bian covered up Lee Teng-hui's crimes. On the other hand, he used the dirt he had to blackmail him. According to Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian visited him in the hospital in March 2002. Chen showed him a note with the names "Chen Kuo-sheng" and "Lee Chung-jen" written on them. Chen's insinuation was that he knew all about Lee Teng-hui's use of dummy accounts to transfer 50 million US overseas. A head of state turns a hospital visit with a sick man into an occasion for political intimidation. Such behavior rivals the criminal underground for sheer viciousness.

Lest we forget, the relationship between Chen and Lee at the time was characterized as the heart-warming relationship between "Moses" and "Joshua." Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Chen Shui-bian, the "Son of Taiwan," was blackmailing Lee Teng-hui, the "Godfather of Taiwan Independence." As we can see, we cannot use normal standards to evaluate politicians such as Chen Shui-bian. To everyones' surprise, Lee Teng-hui swallowed his pride for seven years. In the end however, Chen Shui-bian still refused to spare him. No wonder A Hui was so furious he lashed back at Chen, exposing his money-laundering.

Chen Shui-bian turned his back on more than just Lee Teng-hui. He has been using the same two-pronged approach with his DPP comrades. Lying on the one hand, making veiled threats on the other. He used DPP elections as a pretext for fund-raising. He turned the President's Official Residence into a collection window for political contributions. He doled out chump change to his comrades, dominating the DPP by means of money. That is why First Daughter Chen Hsing-yu's complaint "Who hasn't taken money from my father?" silenced all dissent within the party. Chen Shui-bian has issued stern warnings to his comrades. Anyone who accepted money from him following the implementation of the 2004 Political Contributions Act is also guilty. Someone who has been president for eight years knowingly violates the law. He accepts illegal political contributions. He covers up crimes. He blackmails political enemies. No holds are barred. No quarter is given. Now that disaster is imminent, he relentlessly weaves lies, threatens comrades, intimidates political enemies, fighting to the death. If prosecutors continue to treat Chen Shui-bian as a former head of state, how will they ever solve the money-laundering scandals?

During Chen Shui-bian's eight year term, he boasted of his quest for "Transitional Justice." In fact, he soon began covering up crimes, burying cases, concealing the truth. Probably not a single day has passed during Chen Shui-bian's political career when he did not boast of his pursuit of justice. His political faction refers to itself as the "Justice Alliance," but its actions are deals with the devil. He has single-handedly undermined Taiwan's system of justice, socially and legally.

Lee Teng-hui characterized Chen Shui-bian's tactics as "If I'm going down, you're going down with me." In fact, the more Lee and Bian blow the whistle on each other, the more they help purge Taiwan of the filth left behind by these two former heads of state. The cases Chen Shui-bian sat on, such as the one billion NT Zanadu case, and the 50 million US dummy accounts case, should all be re-prosecuted. What truths did they cover up? Who were their accomplices?

2008.09.11 02:47 am