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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Taiwan in 2010: The leadership contest

Taiwan's next year will be characterized by an intensifying contestation for political leadership between the faltering right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government of President Ma Ying-jeou and the Taiwan - centric opposition led by the Democratic Progressive Party.

Beset by the pressures of the global financial tsunami and afflicted by its own incompetence and hubris, the Ma government has suffered a stunning erosion of public confidence while Taiwan's economy suffered its worst postwar performance with an estimated contraction of 2.5 percent that shattered the credibility of Ma's rash and misguided campaign promise to attain an average six percent growth pace during his term.

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Beef debacle is Ma’s opportunity

Many people ask why the National Security Council (NSC) handled the Taiwan-US beef protocol instead of the Department of Health (DOH) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The NSC later said it became involved because it was a matter of national security.

Now that the issue has gained notoriety, the Consumers’ Foundation (消基會) has expressed firm opposition to easing beef restrictions and both pan-blue and pan-green legislators reject the NSC’s and the Presidential Office’s handling of the case.

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Taiwan lawmakers send message to U.S. and PRC

The bipartisan consensus reached Tuesday in Taiwan's national legislature to agree to approve amendments to the food sanitation act banning imports of risky beef products from countries where cases of mad cow disease have been documented sent a ringing message that foreign powers cannot ignore the will of the Taiwan people and the reality of Taiwan's democratic system.

The proposed amendments, which should be voted into law on Jan. 5, will challenge the content of a controversial protocol signed October 22 between the Taiwan Economic and Culture Representative Office (TECRO) and American Institute in Taiwan after secretive talks between Washington and President Ma Ying-jeou's right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Newsflash

President Ma Ying-jeou’s popularity has dropped to a record low of 16 percent in the wake of Typhoon Morakot, and his odds of winning the 2012 election have fallen to 50 percent, according to opinion polls released yesterday.

A survey conducted by the TVBS Poll Center on Monday and Tuesday found Ma’s approval rating had plummeted to 16 percent, while Premier Liu Chao-shiuan’s rating plunged to 13 percent.