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Taiwan's Poltical Soap Opera Update: The Diane Lee Effect and Justice Served?

Taiwan's political soap opera under Ma Ying-joke continues, and a new factor in the political scene is what can be called the "Diane Lee Effect." Suffering from it is Kaohsiung's People First Party (PFP) City Councilor Yang Se-yu. Diane Lee, for those who may not recognize the name, is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator who for 14 years had illegally collected over US$3 million dollars in salary in violation of the Nationality Act. The KMT Lee had held dual passports for both Taiwan and the United States. The national loyalty of any government official with dual passports is immediately suspect; with that is the possibility that they can easily do things harmful to the national interests of the country. In this, they possess the relative immunity of having the means for an immediate escape if the harm of their actions is revealed.


China rolls out sticks and carrots

China wants to absorb Taiwan. That’s its policy, which it calls “complete reunification” (完全統一). The policy will change as circumstances change. The basic strategy is a two-pronged approach of military force and the so-called “united front strategy,” a classic carrot-and-stick policy that is manifested in a variety of ways. Intimidation by violence is relatively simple, but Beijing can be more creative with the carrots.


China shows signs of neo-fascism

With its strong emphasis on technology, the military, strong single-party leadership and a collective national identity that refuses to recognize pluralism, China is displaying increasing — and worrying — symptoms of fascism. From the military parade surrounding the 60th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Oct. 1 to forced relocation and assimilation programs targeting ethnic minority groups such as the Uighurs, China is in many ways reminding us of the fascist states that reared their ugly heads in the first half of the previous century.


Yaung's failure is no 'shock' for Taiwan

The sudden resignation of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang due to backtracking in President Ma Ying-jeou's right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) on national health insurance system reform exposes to public view the inability of the KMT government to display leadership and responsibility in the resolution of Taiwan's urgent problems.

After the inept and callous response by the Ma government to the massive floods in southern Taiwan triggered by Typhoon Morakot in the "August 8th flood disaster," Ma incessantly reiterated that "the peole's pains are my own pains" and in mid-September replaced the technocratic premier Liu Chao-hsuan with then KMT secretary-general Wu Den-yih, who vowed to implement a policy of "ordinary people's economics."


Taiwan leaders blind to PRC pact politics

Premier Wu Den-yih of the rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administration cast doubt on his qualifications to govern Taiwan last week when he publically acknowledged his blindness to blindness on the political risks of a proposed "cross-strait economic cooperation agreement" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China.

Wu, who was appointed last September by President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, promised to resign during questioning in the Legislative Yuan March 4 if the term "unification" appeared in the proposed agreement, which Ma wants signed by mid-year.


Is HK democracy to be feared?

In January, five opposition legislators representing the five major electoral districts in Hong Kong resigned, triggering special elections scheduled for May 16. Frustrated by the lack of democratic development and interference from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Hong Kong’s political affairs, the opposition parties are hoping to turn the special by-election into a de facto referendum on democratic reform.

Beijing condemned the resignations, describing the planned referendum as a challenge to its authority. Most of the parties with ties to the CCP — such as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Liberal Party and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions — have let it be known they will boycott the elections.

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A leading US academic on Taiwan said Beijing understands that it has an interest in keeping President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in power and for that reason is “not currently pushing its larger agenda.”

Richard Bush, director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Northeast Asian Policy, told a Washington conference that how China deals with the Taiwan issue would be a “litmus test” on what kind of great power it would eventually be.