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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Furtive government deals disturbing

Following the ruckus last month in which the government took the public and the legislature by surprise with its sudden announcement that it was lifting a ban on US bone-in beef imports, the government did it again on Monday night: It blitzed the public and lawmakers with a declaration that it had signed a financial memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China.

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Let them come, let them speak

With closer, more frequent and open cultural and academic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) may hope to foster an image of rapprochement, if not understanding. While such contact is not new and happened, albeit in a low-profile fashion, during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, the seniority of the Chinese officials and academics invited to speak at forums in Taiwan and the coverage the meetings have received is unprecedented in 60 years of cross-strait diplomacy.

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USC's Annenberg School, Soft Power and Taiwan: Part III Responses

A classic statements contrasting hard power with soft power would be that of Joseph Stalin who asked, "The Pope, how many divisions does he have?" If ever there was a man of hard power, it was Stalin, and if ever there was a man of soft power it would be the Pope. Taiwan cannot liken itself to the Pope but facing the hard power of the People's Republic of China (PRC) it knows it cannot match the PRC plane for plane, missile for missile, ship for ship etc. What then must it do? This was the question raised and the direction suggested in the conference mentioned in Parts I & II previously posted on November 6 and 8. Taiwan needs soft power.

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Letting the public have its say on policies

The results of US-Taiwan negotiations on beef imports and the government’s subsequent attitudes and actions in dealing with the matter reflect the failings of a political system characterized by one-party rule.

The government ignored the importance of the issue from the start and paid no attention to South Korea’s problems after it allowed US beef to be imported again. Negotiations lasted for 17 months yet lacked communication with the legislature, opposition parties and civic organizations. The government was so arrogant that it did not even consult experts on mad cow disease.

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Misjudging public opinion

Taiwan is not only passive on cross-strait matters, it is at an impasse. Academics from Chinese think tanks made loud calls at a recent seminar in Taiwan for the two sides to begin political talks, while Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) proposed launching talks on a peace accord when meeting former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) at the APEC summit in Singapore.

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The ECFA is the main game

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Thursday that it has drafted amendments to the Regulations Governing Foreign Bank Branches and Representative Offices (外國銀行分行及代表人辦事處設立及管理辦法) and the Rules Governing Offshore Banking Branches (國際金融業務分行管理辦法).

The amendments will take effect after the financial regulator considers industry feedback. Foreign banks will be given a grace period of one year to comply with the requirements.

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Newsflash

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was shouted down in Changhua County yesterday while attending a protest he had been invited to over the planned construction of a controversial petrochemical complex.

Before Ma was ready to address the crowd over the Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co (國光石化科技) project, some protesters asked him to sign a letter promising he would express opposition to the project, but the president refused to do so.

Ma’s refusal angered the protesters, who barred him from delivering the speech with repeated chants demanding that he “step down” and asked that he remain seated.