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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

New KMT scheme to keep local power in Taiwan

Many Taiwan citizens may be perplexed by the the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) declaration Wednesday of "absolute opposition" to revisions proposed by the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) to the Local Government Law.

During a meeting of the rightist ruling party's Central Standing Committee Wednesday, President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou demanded that the KMT legislative caucus petition for a special legislative session next week in order to pass newly proposed but highly controversial changes to Article 58 of the local government act.

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Referendum law needs to be reformed to be useful

Last Thursday, the Cabinet’s Referendum Review Committee approved the Consumers’ Foundation petition for a referendum on US beef imports by a vote of 16-0.

The proposed referendum has now entered the second stage, which requires 860,000 valid signatures.

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Selling snake oil to the electorate

In recent weeks, the government has begun to resemble a snake oil salesman in its frantic efforts to promote a so-called panacea for Taiwan’s economy — an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that it is determined to sign with China.

In the months since the agreement was floated, the government has used a number of tactics to promote the pact, including an ethnically stereotyped cartoon, sleep-inducing public forums and, more recently, talk of enlisting the help of a thug politician to preach the ECFA gospel to a population that remains unconvinced.

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Taking path of Finland could leave Taiwan cold

In a recent article entitled “Not So Dire Straits,” published in Foreign Affairs, US academic Bruce Gilley suggested that Washington consider excluding Taipei from its Asian allies if a “Finlandized” Taiwan leans toward China.

Writing in an opinion piece in a local newspaper on Jan. 4, Department of International Affairs Deputy Director Huang Chih-ta (黃致達) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that Gilley’s suggestion should be taken as a severe warning to Taiwan. If the Washington mainstream accepts Gilley’s suggestion, Taiwan risks not Finlandization but becoming the next Hong Kong.

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Freedom House warns on rights in Taiwan

President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administration should seriously re-examine its performance in civic and human rights in the wake of the downgrading of Taiwan's level of civil liberties by a prestigious international human rights monitoring organization.

In its annual survey of "Freedom in the World," the New York - based Freedom House downgraded Taiwan`s rating in civil liberties was reduced from grade 1 to grade 2 primarily due to violations of the rights of defendants in criminal cases and other new restrictions on freedom of expression and news freedom since the right-wing "formerly authoritarian" KMT regained governance in May 2008.

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Time for Adimmune to show data

While Adimmune Corp’s production of vaccines is the concern of the company and the Food and Drug Administration, vaccination policy is jointly managed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The government departments that oversee production and use of vaccines are on an equal footing, neither being subordinate to the other, and the relationship between the vaccine maker and the government being one of buyer and seller.

Former health ministers have voiced their support for the government’s swine flu vaccination program — Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) by volunteering for a flu jab and Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) by saying that he hoped everyone would get vaccinated. The vaccines are supplied by two companies — Adimmune and Novartis — and they do not have the right to be partial to one or the other.

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Newsflash

Prosecutors yesterday issued indictments against 22 people, including former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), for money laundering, taking bribes or helping the former first family hide and launder money.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) yesterday announced the fourth round of indictments to be served to members of the former first family and high-profile businesspeople.