Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Democratic liberty is fundamental

As one of the signatories of the open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (“An open letter to Taiwan’s president,” Nov. 13, 2009, page 8), I would like to respond to the article by Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) (“Taiwan’s political liberties not eroded,” Jan. 26, page 8). I identify a sign of progress in the letter: He states that the government will give “due attention to possible flaws in our judicial system” and continued by stating that it will “keep pushing forward on these fronts.”

I look forward to actual steps that go beyond mere words. Civil liberties are fundamental to democratic nations because they protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens and put limits on governments.


Beijing’s ‘anger’ collides with reality

Boeing executives last week seemed worried that a US arms sale to Taiwan — and Beijing’s subsequent threat of sanctions against manufacturers involved in the deal — would cost it billions of dollars in commercial aircraft sales. Even worse, if China followed through with its threat to deny the US aviation giant access to its lucrative market, it could quickly translate into a windfall for Boeing’s main competitor, Airbus.


Arms sales: the right move at the right time

The decision by the administration of US President Barack Obama to approve the sale of an additional package of arms to Taiwan comes just in the nick of time. It does show a realization on the part of the US administration that Taiwan should not be left to fend for itself, but needs both support and encouragement from the US.

For too long, the people of Taiwan have had the impression that the US was too busy with issues elsewhere in the world — Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran — to be concerned with Taiwan’s drift toward China’s sphere of influence. The arms sale has changed that: It is a signal that the US will stand by its commitments under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and may help defend Taiwan.


Taiwanese-American students urge using Census 2010 to promote Taiwan

Write in Taiwan

Students in the Taiwan American Organization at the University of California-Irvine have come up with a plan to use the upcoming U.S. Census to promote a Taiwanese identity. The effort is also advocated by the Taiwanese American Civil League and other groups around the country.


Facing up to China

FOR six decades now, Taiwan has been where the simmering distrust between China and America most risks boiling over. In 1986 Deng Xiaoping called it the “one obstacle in Sino-US relations”. So there was something almost ritualistic about the Chinese government’s protestations this week that it was shocked, shocked and angered by America’s decision to sell Taiwan $6 billion-worth of weaponry. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, passed in 1979, all American administrations must help arm Taiwan so that it can defend itself. And China, which has never renounced what it says is its right to “reunify” Taiwan by force, feels just as bound to protest when arms deals go through. After a squall briefly roils the waters, relations revert to their usual choppy but unthreatening passage.


The politics of death

Amid deeply worrying trends in judicial affairs, the Ministry of Justice’s preparations to abolish the death penalty next year come across as an enlightened, if bizarre, exception.

The good news would be that if a miscarriage of justice resulted in the heaviest penalty for an innocent defendant, that person would at least have much more time to fight back. The bad news for many victims of crime would be the trading of retributive justice for a more humanitarian approach to punishment — and the knowledge that the worst murderers and the most destructive of drug dealers and others would not be killed for their crimes.

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Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) yesterday said that Taipei and Beijing were likely to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) in June.

As Taipei hopes to ink the proposed pact by the first half of the year, June would be a good time to do so if the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), could wrap up negotiations next month or by May, Chiang said on the sidelines of an event marking the SEF’s 19th anniversary.