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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Claims of 'recovery' for Taiwan premature

Monday's announcement by the Council for Economic Planning and Development that its five-color monthly economic monitor had risen to an apparently overheated "yellow-red" in November from the seemingly healthy "green light" in October has sparked exaggerated claims of a "sustainable recovery" for Taiwan's battered economy in some local media.

After eight straight months of depressed "blue" lights since September 2008 and four consecutive months of sluggish "yellow-blue" signals, the CEPD indicator jumped to show a "green" light in October and a torrid "yellow-red" for November.


Don’t place hope in PRC investment

The two “China” parties — the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — say they only want what is best for Taiwan when it comes to trade and economic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. Chinese officials have even said that Taiwanese businesspeople go to China to make money off the backs of the Chinese.

However, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and SEF Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) have exposed the claims for the lies that they are. Chiang has said that “over the past 20 years, Taiwanese investment in China has exceeded NT$4.8 trillion [US$148.7 billion], and so it cannot be denied that China’s economic growth owes a lot to Taiwanese businesspeople.” Kao has said that “Taiwan was opened up to Chinese investment in June, but to date, investments only stand at NT$1.19 billion, not a very large sum.”


Creating jobs – but for whom?

In an economic downturn, there is an expression economists use to illustrate the difference between a depression and recession: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, while a depression is when you lose your job.

This might be appropriate in gauging how well the local economy has rebounded after bottoming out, especially when economic indicators are sending mixed signals and a “jobless recovery” is looming.


The Price of Freedom

In Iran and China, Christmas weekend brought two inspiring examples of the high price that men and women are still willing to pay in the eternal struggle for political freedom.

In Beijing, the Chinese Communists ignored the protests of more than a dozen countries and sentenced 53-year-old literary critic Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison for the crime of peacefully agitating for democracy. His verdict came after a two-hour, closed-door trial Wednesday from which diplomats, his wife and his chosen lawyer were barred.


Economics and politics cannot be separated

The fourth meeting between 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) focused on four issues: cooperation on standardizing inspections and certification; quarantine and inspection of agricultural products; avoidance of double taxation and cooperation on fishery labor affairs. These issues, in addition to the memorandum of understanding on financial supervision and management, as well as the opening up of Chinese investment in Taiwan, were designed to establish a single China market with the ultimate goal of unification.


Cao Cao would be much amused

It is no small irony that the visit last week of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would bring to the fore a potentially damaging rift within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

No sooner had Chen returned to China than the party’s old guard — personified by former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) — accused the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of mishandling a decision to avoid holding major banquets for Chen.

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Young people outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday call for a constitutional amendment to cut the minimum ages for voting and standing for election from 20 and 23 respectively to 18.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

A group of people under the age of 23 yesterday called for an amendment to the Constitution to allow political participation by younger people and panned the electoral system for blocking the economically vulnerable from running for office by requiring a security deposit.

More than a score of young people, with an average age of 19, protested outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday against restrictions that they said discriminate against youth political participation by setting the minimum voting age at 20 and the minimum candidate age at 23.