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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou Rules by Fiat, Why then is No One Listening?

The more one watches Ma Ying-jeou's distant management style, the more one thinks of Swift's floating island of Laputa in his satire, "Gulliver's Travels". From high above, the king of the floating island communicates with his subjects down below via written orders, directives and messages lowered in a basket. His subjects must respond in kind placing requests and petitions in the basket to be hauled up for consideration. Swift is satirizing the Hanover King George I of England who did not speak the language of the people and preferred to rule from afar (Germany to be exact). Ma of course does speak a faltering Taiwanese, but his mind is not on Taiwan. It's elsewhere dreaming of restoring the mythic Republic of China that never lost the Civil War and still rules China by its 1947 Constitution.


No 'peace dividend' for Taiwan people

In his first weekly "Governance Dairy" issued Sunday, President Ma Ying-jeou maintained that Taiwan stands to win the lion's share of a "peace dividend" through "making peace and friendship" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China.

The first and most troubling question in the discourse by President Ma, who is also chairman of the ruling right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), is that there is no "peace" in the Taiwan Strait that can create a "dividend."


First it was US beef, then an ECFA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) endured possibly the biggest setback of his political career on Tuesday when, after months of to-ing and fro-ing, the legislature finally came around to re-imposing restrictions on certain US beef products.

Not only was the move a slap in the face for the executive — which had negotiated the deal with the US — it was also a severe blow for Ma as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman. KMT legislators put on a show of defiance in passing the amendment, while also laying down the law for the executive on future handling of beef imports.


KMT trumps Taiwan public television

President Ma Ying-jeou's ruling right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government appears to have finally succeeded in its drive to take control over the Taiwan's Public Television Service Foundation (PTSF), which manages the Taiwan Broadcasting System (TBS) on behalf of our nation's citizens.

On Monday, a new stacked board of PTSF directors, which are legally mandated to manage the Taiwan Public Television Service (TPS) on behalf of our nation's citizens in the public interest, will elect a new chairman subservient to the restored "formerly authoritarian" ruling party after abrogating the three-year contract of the incumbent a year in advance.


Yen Ching-piao is Yi-ge repackaged

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has invited Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) to be its latest spokesman for the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that the government is eager to sign with Beijing.

Arguing that Yen is someone who “uses ordinary language to communicate with ordinary people,” Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said Yen was suitable for the task as the ministry had been criticized in the past for using “complicated” language to promote the planned pact. Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also lauded Yen as “having a local air (本土味),” suggesting TV appearances and other settings designed to promote the pact will speak volumes and have traction with the government’s target audience.


Ma, not the people, bears blame for U.S. beef flap

President Ma Ying-jeou displayed to a national television audience yesterday his inability to grasp the fundamentals of democratic politics when he blamed Taiwan's 23 million people for the flap on the question of liberalization of risky beef products from the United States.

Based on a bilateral consensus reached after two months of a filibuster by the DPP caucus, the Legislative Yuan approved without dissent a revision to Article 11 of the Food Sanitation Act that will ban the importation of ground beef, beef offals and other beef parts such as brains, eyes and intestines from any country in which any cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also known as "mad cow disease") have been documented during the previous 10 years.

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New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang, right, and caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming, second right, react to the passing of controversial amendments to the Labor Standards Act at a news conference in Taipei on Tuesday.
Photo: CNA

Tensions appear to have intensified between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and New Power Party (NPP) legislators after a DPP caucus official reportedly called for a review of the parties’ relationship following disputes over amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) that were passed on Tuesday.