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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

What 'Formosa' means for today's Taiwan

The coincidence of the 30th anniversary of the Kaohsiung or "Formosa" Incident and the 61st anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights yesterday provides an important moment for reflection on both the Taiwan's difficult democratization and the state of our democratic society after 19 months after the restoration to governance of the former party of authoritarianism.

Exactly three decades ago in Kaohsiung City, a riot broke out between police and supporters of the democratic movement attending a banned demonstration called to commemorate International Human Rights Day organized by "Formosa" monthly, the self-designated "magazine of the Taiwan democratic movement."

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Taiwan needs no more 'King-makers'

In an apparent effort to recover his declining popularity and hopefully rebuild the collapsing credibility of his ruling right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou made a stunning decision last week to appoint his former top aide and ex-Taipei City deputy mayor King Pu-tsung as KMT secretary-general.

Coincidently, Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen tabbed former interior minister Su Chia-chyuan as the opposition party's new secretary-general days after its rebound in the December 5th "three-in-one" local elections.

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Wu ‘blows his top’ at inefficiency

At a Cabinet meeting this week, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) expressed dissatisfaction with administrative inefficiency. If high-level officials must blow their top before civil servants start doing what they’re told, he said, why doesn’t he simply create a “blowing my top” chop to use? The deteriorating efficiency of Taiwan’s government institutions has been lamented throughout the country, and it has been a millstone around the neck of Taiwanese competitiveness for years.

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A lapse or a strategy? It’s a worry either way

The most significant outcome of last Saturday’s elections was the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regaining power in its former stronghold of Yilan County.

Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), as both president of Taiwan and chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), had zealously and extensively campaigned there to prevent this, putting both his and his party’s reputation on the line.

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What about the rest of China?

Ahead of the next round of cross-strait talks in Taichung later this month, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has suggested that visiting Chinese officials be arrested and tried for criminal conduct in China, particularly for human rights abuses. China being what it is, there is a rich selection of such people, and the DPP, if it had its way, could make merry from blocking such officials from visiting Taiwan.

This idea is idealistic but impractical, if not nonsensical. But it does reopen debate on what level of accountability Chinese officials visiting Taiwan should be subjected to. Given that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to this day considers itself to be the most able organization to govern China, and given that Taiwan is supposedly part of China, why would such flotsam not be held accountable for abuses committed against Chinese nationals?

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Conference unites Taiwan, PRC

The climate conference in Copenhagen has become a battlefield for the old controversy between Taiwan and China. Almost like a ritual, Taiwan is not invited to the climate conference despite the fact that its economy, technology and political will are fully capable of contributing to the resolution on climate change, and far better equipped than most of the participating countries.

Quite surprisingly however, Taiwan is not eager to participate despite announcements from the government that “meaningful participation in the UNFCCC is a priority for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.”

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Newsflash


Lee Ching-yu, wife of detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che, yesterday tries to board her flight to China at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Photo: EPA

Lee Ching-yu (李淨瑜), wife of detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), was yesterday prevented from boarding a plane to Beijing to search for her husband after her “Taiwan compatriot travel document” was canceled by the Chinese government.