Taiwan Matters! The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, and don't you forget it!

"Taiwan is not a province of China. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan."

Stick that in your clipboards and paste it, you so-called "lazy journalists"!

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in the Taiwanderful Best Taiwan Blog Awards 2010!
You've got great taste in blogs!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


ECFA is being signed under a one-China framework

In case you still had any doubts...

It should be obvious to anyone not in a persistent vegetative state (and even that might not be enough of an obstacle to miss this) that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) being "negotiated" between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is annexing Taiwan to China.

Today's Taipei Times contains the money quotes:
MAC [Maddog note: the so-called "Mainland" Affairs Council] Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said that under the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is "region to region."

"The legislature passed the law in 1992 and since then such a legal status has never been changed no matter who is in power, including former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) or [President] Ma Ying-jeou," Liu said.

"Such a theory is not something new invented by President Ma and that is why the trade pact is called a cross-strait economic framework agreement," he said.

Liu made the remarks after being asked by the Taipei Times at a press conference yesterday morning to clarify Ma's comments describing cross-strait ties as being "between two regions."

Liu also said the administration did not want to specify a timeframe for the signing of a free-trade agreement (FTA) with China within an ECFA.

He did not say why, only emphasizing that cross-strait ties were "special."
One thing stands out here: The Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government is not treating China like the foreign (enemy) country that it is.

And in case you've forgotten how that foreign (enemy) country on the other side of the Taiwan Strait sees the ECFA, listen to their premier, Wen Jiabao (溫家寶):

0:35 YouTube video: "DPP ECFA referendum ad - with English titles"

Further reading:
* Wikisource: Act Governing Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area

* GlobalSecurity.org: Remembering when (then-premier, now-VP) Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and (then-MAC Chairman, now-National Security Council Secretary-General) Su Chi (蘇起) agreed with (then-president) Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "state-to-state" theory of relations between Taiwan and China.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Friday, January 22, 2010


GIO goes after PTS again

Taiwan News is reporting that the GIO is piling the pressure on the PTS Chairman Cheng Tung-liao who filed a lawsuit against the Government for illegally planting 8 new board members, most of whom were chosen for their support for the Government or President:

The GIO accused Cheng of illegally using NT$2 million in foundation money to finance the case against the eight new board members. The use of the funds hampered the normal functioning of the foundation and harmed public interest, the GIO said.

The government department said it was considering demanding Cheng’s removal as board chairman and board member based on allegations of breach of trust, abuse of power and the misuse of foundation money.

The war of words between the Kuomintang government and Cheng escalated on January 11, when he took legal action which in effect suspended eight new members of the 21-seat board. The new members were seen as government supporters who were likely to support the early abrogation of Cheng’s three-year contract.

Three foundation supervisors and the Control Yuan, the nation’s top government watchdog, ruled that the appointments of the eight board members did not proceed according to the rules.

Media reform groups and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party see the tussle over the public television board as part of a wider attempt by the government to strengthen its role in the media.

The GIO is stepping into dangerous waters here. Watchers of Taiwanese politics might be forgiven for seeing a pattern emerging of the Government or KMT using legal and financial pressure to eliminate possible opponents to their aim of tighter control / influence on the media and judiciary - a la Chen Shui-bian's case, the Control Yuan impeachment of the State's Prosecutor General and relaxing Government, party and military ownership of media shares. The danger is that in this democratic and information age the more it tries to control, ensure compliance and embed support (e.g. local government act that extends District Head's terms by 5 years without a vote), the more the public's support will slip through their fingers.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Letter to the World Bank

Mike Turton recently featured a letter sent by Kristalina I. Georgieva Vice President and Corporate Secretary of The World Bank Group which all but annexed Taiwan to China.  Here is my email to Ms Georgieva, which I forwarded to FTV and Liberty Times:

Dear Kristalina,

In reference to your circular email in the World Bank of the above issue, I am keen to know on what legal grounds, or change to geopolitical reality, prompted you refer to Taiwan as 'Taiwan,China'? 

Are you not aware that Taiwan is a country with 23 full diplomatic allies that has its own currency, post office, health, education, police and military systems and features its own democratic elected government and, finally, exercises sole and sovereign control over its own territory? 

It may not be a member of the United Nations but it is equally NOT a 'geographic region'.   It is a de facto independent country with the formal title of Republic of China (Taiwan). 

Your unilateral annexation of Taiwan under 'China', alongside Macau and Hong Kong (which are, unlike Taiwan, administered by the PRC), without referencing the Government or people of Taiwan suggests on your part either a lack of awareness of world geography and politics or the fact that Chinese lobbying efforts within the World Bank to marginalise Taiwan are succeeding.

As Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the The World Bank Group, your internal memo risks hurting the feelings of the Taiwanese people and creating further mistrust across the Taiwan Strait, particularly as Taiwanese come to realise, via your unwarranted actions, the growing disparity between Chinese communication to Taiwanese and PRC actions on the world stage to gradually strip Taiwan of its international presence. 

Yours sincerely,



Big win for Taiwan's DPP

Sweeping those dirty counties clean!

All three of yesterday's by-elections to choose new legislators in Taoyuan (桃園), Taichung (台中), and Taitung (台東) Counties -- all Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) strongholds -- were won by pro-Taiwan opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates, and won by surprising margins.

While the Taitung by-election was held to replace Justin Huang (黃健庭), who resigned his legislative position before being elected as Taitung County commissioner, the Taichung and Taoyuan elections were held to replace Chinese KMT politicians whose elections were annulled due to vote-buying convictions: Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) in Taoyuan and Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) in Taichung.

Here are the numbers for the two major parties extracted from a press release (MS Word .doc file) available on the Central Election Commission (CEC) web site (percentage calculations mine, "non-partisan" candidates' votes included in calculating totals):

Taoyuan: DPP = 53,633 (58.05%) / KMT = 36,989 (40.01%)
Taichung: DPP = 63,335 (55.02%) / KMT = 51,776 (44.98%)
Taitung: DPP = 23,190 (49.46%) / KMT = 21,215 (45.25%)

The Sunday Taipei Times has an English-language chart (in image format) of the same numbers I show above, but including the other candidates.

The DPP now holds 30 legislative seats (compared to the Chinese KMT's 74 seats), giving them the power to initiate recall proceedings against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) or propose amendments to the constitution.

Considering the gains made by the DPP in last month's election and this one, I'm looking forward to the February 27, 2010 by-election (to replace more legislators who were elected as county commissioners in the December 5, 2009 3-in-1 election) to demonstrate a real trend.

* Taipei Times: "DPP wins all three seats in by-elections"

* Taiwan News: "Sweep shows voice of Taiwan people, says DPP leader"

* Taiwan News: "DPP will not launch presidential recall at legislature"

* Radio Taiwan International: "DPP takes all three legislative by-election seats "

* Straits Times (Singapore): "Taiwan opposition scores win"

* Reuters' Kelvin Soh and Ralph Jennings "report," Nick Macfie edits: "Taiwan anti-China opposition gains legislative seats" (Note the use of "anti-China" instead of "pro-Taiwan" -- putting the onus for the antipathy on the wrong side -- and so much more anti-Taiwan BS within.)

* AFP: "Taiwan opposition scores fresh election win" (Note the big zombie lie within the piece which says: "The self-ruled island and China split in 1949 after a civil war.")

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Saturday, January 09, 2010


Taiwan's "Erosion of Justice" saga continues

A course in dissembling

Beginning in November 2008, when former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was first jailed after a long trial by media, a series of open letters on the erosion of justice in Taiwan under the administration of current President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) began. Fourteen months later, the deceptive replies to these letters still come, and each time, they fail to honestly and logically address the issues within. Below, I will discuss the latest of these replies.

January 8, 2009
Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) churned out "A GIO response to Richard Kagan" (Professor Emeritus of History at Hamline University and one of the signatories of the November 9, 2009 "Open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou by 30 international scholars" who separately wrote a criticism of Su's nonsensical reply to an earlier open letter). Kagan's letter appeared in the Taipei Times exactly two weeks prior but was not covered here on this blog.

However, I must tackle this "response" which is riddled with problems and avoids addressing the facts in Kagan's letter head-on. I will put Su's response in blockquoted black text, and my comments will appear in full width. To distinguish the single quote from Kagan's letter which appears here, it will appear in green blockquoted text.

After a brief introduction, these are Su's second and third paragraphs:
Professor Kagan expresses doubts about why a democratic country such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) would seek to develop closer relations with mainland China, which is not a democracy. As an historian, he surely must know that all members of the international community should and must develop relations with each other, regardless of differences in political systems or even bilateral disagreements over specific issues. The US engages in trade and security cooperation with non-democratic countries throughout the world, yet few question how this might affect US democracy.

Similarly, the Republic of China needs to develop relations with all members of the international community to ensure the best interests of the people of Taiwan. It is an internationally accepted fact that mainland China is growing in economic and strategic importance. When the international community wishes to solve major international problems, it increasingly finds that it must engage with Beijing to help find a solution. The US is working more closely than ever with the mainland to deal with managing the global financial crisis, handling the North Korean situation and countering global terrorism. As an integral member of the international community, Taiwan needs to engage with mainland China for many of the same reasons, regardless of any cross-strait differences.
Su is comparing apples and oranges by writing as if other people don't realize that China wants to annex Taiwan while the vast majority of Taiwanese people don't want to be part of that authoritarian foreign regime and that those in Beijing hold great leverage over those in Taipei. The phrase "cross-strait differences" doesn't give you any idea that these differences entail the governments of two nations claiming to rule the entirety of each others territory -- dangerous claims which have hung over the lives of people in both countries (but mostly those in Taiwan) for over six decades.

Note how Su says "a democratic country such as the Republic of China (Taiwan)" above, yet in nearly every other case he treats Taiwan as a mere region. How can anyone take him at his word?

Here's Su's next paragraph:
However, this is absolutely not in any way at the expense of Taiwan's hard-won democracy. This administration has consistently stressed since taking office that all its policies and interaction with Beijing shall be based on the principle of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people." If improving ties had led to the appalling result Dr Kagan posits of Beijing controlling the dialogue and always getting what it wants, why was no double taxation avoidance agreement signed during the Chiang-Chen [Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林)] cross-strait talks in December, despite being on the agenda? The answer is simple: Disputed details in the wording of the agreement did not accord with the aforementioned principle, so we were not going to sign it, and did not.
He ignores what -- despite promises from Beijing -- has happened to Hong Kong in the past 12 and a half years and talks about the "double taxation" issue as if China won't still benefit by collecting those taxes from Taiwanese businesses. Beijing loses nothing on that point, but Su has weakened the foundation of his own argument.

Su also completely omits the fact that the talks regarding an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) -- which Chinese officials say "will certainly bring about complete unification of the motherland [sic] -- have been anything but transparent and have not been subject to legislative oversight. Su skirts around this just below with the phrase "involving domestic laws." Read carefully:
The fact that these talks took place between the respectively authorized representative organizations of both sides — the SEF and ARATS — debunks the myth that the cross-strait dialogue is being conducted party-to-party, rather than government-to-government. The Legislative Yuan must approve any accord worked out with ARATS involving domestic laws. Only this administration, duly elected by the voters in Taiwan — and not any political party at either end of the political spectrum — sets cross-strait policy and speaks on behalf of the people of Taiwan.
Minister Su acts as if no one heard that Taiwan's Straits [sic] Exchange Foundation (海峽交流基金會) chairman and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice-chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) recently referred to himself as nothing but a "rubber stamp" in these so-called negotiations.

There's also the strange issue of why the Ma administration won't allow a referendum on the issue, even though the number of signatures collected to initiate the process was nearly double the required threshold. That's not "speak[ing] on behalf of the people of Taiwan," Mr. Su.

While Su dished out some "tough" talk about how much control this government could exert just two blockquotes above, he does a 180 below and says that his government has no control over anything:
Professor Kagan's letter also dwelled on the disingenuous complaint that using "Chinese Taipei" as the name of our country in international events and organizations signals a deliberate diminution of national sovereignty. Taiwan's participation in such events under the rubric "Chinese Taipei" during previous administrations did not diminish national sovereignty, nor can it do so now. This government has always sought and continues to vigorously seek the use of our official name, "Republic of China," or at least "Taiwan," in such situations. However, given Taiwan's unique international status, use of our national title is beyond our control. We warmly welcome support from Dr Kagan and his colleagues for the correct use of our national title by international events and organizations hereafter.
It actually is entirely under your control whether you choose to participate using such names and whether you do so gladly (as in the World Health Organization [WHO] fiasco which did damage to Taiwan's sovereignty) or under protest, as the DPP would have done.

Su's jeremiad continues:
The mantra that democracy in Taiwan is less robust than before utterly conflicts with reality. Domestic political debate in Taiwan is as spirited and vigorous as ever. The local media scrutinize every action of this administration closely, and public demonstrations on political issues of every kind are commonplace. Any concerns that Taiwan is reverting to one-party rule were surely dispelled by the results of local elections held last month. KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] candidates for mayor and county magistrate posts received 47.88 percent of the nationwide vote, while DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] candidates garnered 45.32 percent. There is no clearer proof that the people of Taiwan have the absolute power to choose their government.
Here, Su ignores the Chinese KMT's continued drive to take over Taiwan's Public TV (PTS, 公共電視). Furthermore, he confuses gains in city, county, and township elections with having both a balanced legislature and a president who listens to majority opinion without oppressing minorities or stupidly telling aboriginals out loud that "I see you as humans," as Ma did before being elected to office.

Su ends his letter like this:
The people of Taiwan have every reason to be proud of the democracy and freedom they have achieved. Taiwan continues to shape the debate on whether democracy is attainable in the Chinese-speaking world, even as cross-strait ties improve. We remain resolutely confident that the undeniable fact of democratic attainment in Taiwan will ultimately prove just as, or even more, powerful to spur positive developments on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait. That can only be to the benefit of the people of Taiwan and those of the mainland, as well as the world in general.
Look at the language he uses: "Chinese-speaking world" is a culturally-imperialist phrase which ignores Taiwan's many other languages; "cross-strait" is an adjective which hides the fact that two separate countries are being discussed; and Su's repeated use of the word "mainland" (when he means "China") also reveals how he see's Taiwan's status as a lesser entity. (I'm sure discerning readers can find even more to criticize in the above paragraph.)

The minister also must think that you, the reader, have forgotten that while former President Chen has been in jail for over a year now, the Ma administration's "Ministry of Just Us" apparently still hasn't collected enough real evidence to convincingly convict him of the life sentence which has already been handed down and is instead using judicial pressure to try to get those close to Chen -- even his former housekeeper -- to squeal.

All of these things are clear signs of the continued erosion of justice, freedom of the press, and democracy, even if -- in Mr. Su's mind -- it's all sweetness and light.

Full Political Alchemist
Oh, and by the way, Su didn't dare address this important bit from Professor Kagan's letter which demonstrates the GIO minister's lack of logical skills:
Su claims that Taiwan's ranking in the report on 180 countries issued by Transparency International rose to No. 37. This statement reveals political alchemy at its best. For instance, Taiwan's score in 2007 was 34. Numerically it did rise to 37. But the higher a country gets, the greater the index of corruption. Somalia is rated at No. 180. In fact, Taiwan fell into greater corruption by three points.
Can you say "fail"?

The prequels
Don't forget the earlier parts of this long-running series, listed here in chronological order:
* November 6, 2008: Scholars and writers from around the world publish an "Open letter on erosion of justice in Taiwan." The same letter -- as an online petition -- has been signed by more than 2,000 people.

* November 25, 2008: Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) calls the open letter "inaccurate."

* December 2, 2008: "Eroding justice: Open letter No. 2" counters Wang Ching-feng's claims.

* January 8, 2009: Over a month later, Wang Ching-feng comes up with "clarif[ications]" regarding the open-letter writers' so-called "misunderstandings."

* January 21, 2009: "Eroding justice: Open letter No. 3" is addressed to President Ma Ying-jeou.

* January 24, 2009: Two more "US-based Taiwan experts add [their] names to open letter [No. 3]."

* January 25, 2009: President Ma claims the public had gained confidence in the judiciary in 2008 -- the exact opposite of what this Taiwan News article tells us they actually felt:
According to recent surveys conducted by Academia Sinica and the Web site Yahoo! Kimo, over 50 percent of the people do not believe in Taiwan's judicial system and over 75 percent have no confidence that the Judicial Yuan will undertake judicial reform [...]
* May 22, 2009: An estimable group of scholars and writers -- 26 in all, and each one with a deep understanding of Taiwan and the surrounding facts -- has composed an open letter addressed directly to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). The letter addresses the ever-increasing problems with judicial fairness, press freedom, the lack of transparency in the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rapprochement with China, the loss of Taiwan's sovereignty, and the loss of human rights. The argument the letter makes is rock solid. It is based on demonstrable facts.

* November 9, 2009: Then there were 31. The Taiwan News publishes an "Open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou by 30 international scholars" which reminds us that "a decrease of tension across the Taiwan Strait would indeed be welcome, but [...] that this should not be done at the expense of the hard-won democracy" and that "Taiwan should be more fully accepted by the international community as a full and equal partner." (Here's a version with 31 names on the web site of one of the signatories, Jerome F. Keating, Ph.D.)

* December 13, 2009: Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) submits the "GIO response to Nov. [9] open letter" to the Taipei Times.

* December 25, 2009: Richard Kagan, professor emeritus at Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota and one of the signatories of the November 2009 letter, replies to Su Jun-pin's silliness in "GIO's response misses the point"
Don't expect this to end anytime soon.

In the meantime, never let your guard down. Stay angry, and fight this injustice every chance you get -- whether it's writing a blog, attending protests, reminding your mother-in-law that not "all politicians are alike" (especially when it comes to Taiwan's two biggest parties), pointing out to your doctors that the lie-filled pro-Ma TV stations blaring in the waiting room aren't good for their patients' physical or mental health, or even just by actively using the name "China" instead of "mainland" out of mere habit when referring to our bellicose neighbor.

And if you're registered to vote in today's elections in Taichung, Taoyuan, or Taitung -- the first two of which are being held as the result of Chinese KMT vote-buying convictions -- get out and vote for the DPP candidate in your area.

Good people must prevail against injustice.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Friday, January 08, 2010


A Quick Quote

Minister of the Government Information Office is quoted in a letter from him to the Taipei Times on the topic of Taiwan's official name following Richard Kagan's criticism of the administration for accepting 'Chinese Taipei':

"... given Taiwan’s unique international status, use of our national title is beyond our control."