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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Control Yuan cannot excuse Mayor Ma on Neihu Line probe

The independence of the watchdog Control Yuan has come under renewed question in the wake of its impeachment of former chief public prosecutor Chen Tsung-ming Jan. 18 thanks to attendance of four commissioners in a "tea party" with President Ma Ying-jeou concerning charges of malfeasance concerning the Muzha-Neihu mass transit line during his eight years as Taipei City mayor.

Since its opening last July after seven years of construction, the Neihu Line has experienced repeated stoppages that have left hundreds of passengers stranded on its elevated track and numerous malfunctions that have caused delays for thousands of riders.


China’s New Year gift is unpalatable

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications cried foul this week after China took advantage of Taiwan in the allocation of cross-strait flights for next week’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Of the 350 extra flights laid on for the expected increase in cross-strait travel during the holiday period, Taiwanese airlines were only allocated 98, compared with 252 flights for Chinese airlines. To add insult to injury, the departure slots awarded to Taiwanese airlines for major Chinese cities are at extremely inconvenient times.


Taiwan Struggles with Its Identity and the GIO is No Help

Taiwan is a nation replete with anomalies, an out-moded constitution and a big identity problem. Only the Taiwanese can solve this problem, but to do so, they must face up to the totality of their past, admit who they are and decide where they want to go. Nowhere are these issues and problems more easily seen and recorded than in the recent and annual Government Information Office's (GIO) publication "The Republic of China Yearbook 2009." If you think the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing or wants, you need look no further.

The first chapter begins with this interesting admission, "The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an oceanic nation of 23 million people with a combined area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers (13,900 square miles), making it slightly smaller than the Netherlands." This seems a clear statement; it is a nation and it has a limited size. Of course Taiwan's current president often hesitates to express that thought and prefers to call Taiwan a region or an area. Remember that as subsequent ideas are put forth.


Ma's policies deepen Taiwan's predicament

President Ma Ying-jeou declared upon his return from a six-day visit to Honduras, the Dominican Republic and the United States that the successful completion of his "missions" had shown the correctness of his strategy of a "diplomatic truce" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China and rebuilding "trust" with Washington through adoption of a low-profile posture.

Ma, who is also chairman of the rightist ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), also confirmed the decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to notify Congress of a US$6.4 billion package of defensive weapons procurements for Taiwan.


Paying for public health

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) declared on Monday that the government would not raise National Health Insurance premiums for the time being, dismissing Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang’s (楊志良) comments over the past few weeks that the department would raise premiums this year — possibly before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Criticizing the shortcomings of the DOH’s premium adjustment plan, Wu instructed the department to review its plan, provide more details on remedying the insurance system’s financial woes and ensure that at least half of the population be spared from the planned premium hike. Wu also reminded Yaung to refrain from making public comments before a policy is finalized.


Reuters and Associated Press get it wrong on Taiwan's history

Recent news service reports from Reuters on the $6.4 billion weapons sale from the United States to the Republic of China in-exile on Taiwan have distorted the 20th Century history of the island.

Reuters, in an explanation why such a large weapons buy is needed, mentions the People's Republic of China claims to Taiwan but tells readers that the island has been "self-governing" since the 1949 Chinese civil war.

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Tens of thousands of anti-nuclear activists take part in a protest in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Reuters

“Halt construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, put an end to nuclear power,” massed crowds shouted as tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Taipei City yesterday afternoon. Protests also took place in Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung and Taitung City as people called for the government to phase out the use of nuclear power.

The Taipei demonstration was initiated by an alliance of over 150 civic groups that support the goal of achieving a nuclear-free homeland.