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Monday, September 28, 2009

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Double Bill - Good News and Bad News

The good news ....


(image from Taipei Times)

It's official.  The DPP has gained back one of the two Yunlin County Legislative Yuan seats, increasing their share of seats in the national LY by 1 to a total of 28, or just one seat short of 25% of all seats.  The DPP's share of the vote, incidentally, was the same as Ma Ying-jeou's Presidential win in 2008 - 58%

But hold onto your horses.  Although this represents to a certain degree a vote of no confidence in the KMT and/or President Ma we should remember that Yunlin is traditionally a DPP stronghold so the significance of the swing vote should not be overestimated.  Additionally, as in past elections, the DPP have won, to a certain extent, owing to a split in the KMT ticket.  However, those who would argue this point more strongly and against the result indicating a significant public expression of discontent with the ruling party should look at those figures combined: DPP 74,272 Combined Pan Blue 52,025 - that's a margin of 22,247, roughly equal to the total votes of the third placed candidate.

In other good news, Penghu voted NO in the referendum to allow casinos in the county.  The final result: NO - 17,359, YES - 13,397.  Total eligible voters = 70,000.  Total voters - 31,000 or about 42% of the possible electorate.

Could it be that the local elections in December turn out more surprising results?  If anything, for the sake of diversity of power and opinion in Taiwan's democracy, let's hope so.

and the bad news ....


As EVA and I were chatting tonight about the denial of a visa to Rebiya Kadeer, leader of the World Uighur Congress, some contradictions in the Government's arguments against issuing a visa became apparent:
  • If Kadeer 'has ties to a terrorist organisation to some degree' *, why is that organisation not listed by the ROC as such and why did none of the 28 countries she has previously visited refuse her entry? (Tip to Mike Turton for also previously suggesting this)
  • If Kadeer 'has ties to a terrorist organisation to some degree' *, has the ROC just declared that the US harbours terrorists? (Not that I would dispute this claim given the number of 'graduates' of the School of Americas who terrorised Central and South America from the 1950's to the 1990's that still reside in the US to avoid punishment - e.g. Bolivia's former President Goni)
  • This from the Taipei Times: At a separate setting at a ­Washington symposium on Taiwan on Friday, New York University law professor Jerome Cohen — who taught Ma at Harvard University — asked: “Why shouldn’t they be free to invite any visitor they want so long as that visitor is not a terrorist? Rebiya Kadeer lives in Washington … She doesn’t seem to affect the security of the city. This is nonsense. Anyone who disagrees with them [Beijing] is [branded] a terrorist,” he said.

  • Why did Japan feel it ok to issue Kadeer with a visa but not the ROC? Actually the answer pretty much screams itself at you the minute you take a few moments to learn the basics about Taiwanese politics - China.
  • According to the Premier, “Xinjiang independence is not permitted by the [Republic of China] Constitution,”.  Also not permitted by the ROC constitution is the political control of its territory by any other political force, e.g. the PRC.  Will the ROC now come out and state that also? No, because that part of the constitution has been effectively frozen for since at least 1991 and the Government is careful to assert this formal claim only when it wishes to claim a spurious continuing sovereignty for the ROC.  It claims instead that mutual non-recognition of the ROC(KMT) and PRC(CCP) is a basis for its modus vivendi policy that has delivered nothing for Taiwanese 'goodwill' in return from China except perhaps pandas and dependency on Chinese tourist dollars.
  •  Has the blacklist returned, this time penned by Beijing?
  • Is freedom of speech and democracy only to be enjoyed by Taiwanese people in Taiwan?. Can foreigners not also enjoy these rights?
  •  The Premier again: "Asked if he believed that Kadeer, a nominee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, would launch terrorist attacks, Wu said: “Neither you nor I can fully understand all the details, but the MOI, the National Immigration Agency and other [government] units understand what the situation is in the international community.”  Oh really?  In one short statement, the Premier just effectively patronised every Taiwanese citizen as being incapable of comprehending the complex factors that Government agencies must take into account when making decisions - Government agencies that are staffed by ordinary Taiwanese.  We are supposed to sit back and say, "Oh well, the MOI, NIA and other Government units had lots of good reasons for making this technical and complex decision so I'll trust in their better judgment."  The Premier even tells us this is what he will do because it is too complex for him!  What you just witnessed was the formally most powerful political person in Taiwan telling everyone to not concern themselves with things they can't comprehend and that the visa decision is therefore un-debatable.  Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
* As quoted by Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義)

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