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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Beijing’s ‘anger’ collides with reality

Boeing executives last week seemed worried that a US arms sale to Taiwan — and Beijing’s subsequent threat of sanctions against manufacturers involved in the deal — would cost it billions of dollars in commercial aircraft sales. Even worse, if China followed through with its threat to deny the US aviation giant access to its lucrative market, it could quickly translate into a windfall for Boeing’s main competitor, Airbus.

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Arms sales: the right move at the right time

The decision by the administration of US President Barack Obama to approve the sale of an additional package of arms to Taiwan comes just in the nick of time. It does show a realization on the part of the US administration that Taiwan should not be left to fend for itself, but needs both support and encouragement from the US.

For too long, the people of Taiwan have had the impression that the US was too busy with issues elsewhere in the world — Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran — to be concerned with Taiwan’s drift toward China’s sphere of influence. The arms sale has changed that: It is a signal that the US will stand by its commitments under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and may help defend Taiwan.

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Taiwanese-American students urge using Census 2010 to promote Taiwan

Write in Taiwan

Students in the Taiwan American Organization at the University of California-Irvine have come up with a plan to use the upcoming U.S. Census to promote a Taiwanese identity. The effort is also advocated by the Taiwanese American Civil League and other groups around the country.

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Facing up to China

FOR six decades now, Taiwan has been where the simmering distrust between China and America most risks boiling over. In 1986 Deng Xiaoping called it the “one obstacle in Sino-US relations”. So there was something almost ritualistic about the Chinese government’s protestations this week that it was shocked, shocked and angered by America’s decision to sell Taiwan $6 billion-worth of weaponry. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, passed in 1979, all American administrations must help arm Taiwan so that it can defend itself. And China, which has never renounced what it says is its right to “reunify” Taiwan by force, feels just as bound to protest when arms deals go through. After a squall briefly roils the waters, relations revert to their usual choppy but unthreatening passage.

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The politics of death

Amid deeply worrying trends in judicial affairs, the Ministry of Justice’s preparations to abolish the death penalty next year come across as an enlightened, if bizarre, exception.

The good news would be that if a miscarriage of justice resulted in the heaviest penalty for an innocent defendant, that person would at least have much more time to fight back. The bad news for many victims of crime would be the trading of retributive justice for a more humanitarian approach to punishment — and the knowledge that the worst murderers and the most destructive of drug dealers and others would not be killed for their crimes.

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Control Yuan cannot excuse Mayor Ma on Neihu Line probe

The independence of the watchdog Control Yuan has come under renewed question in the wake of its impeachment of former chief public prosecutor Chen Tsung-ming Jan. 18 thanks to attendance of four commissioners in a "tea party" with President Ma Ying-jeou concerning charges of malfeasance concerning the Muzha-Neihu mass transit line during his eight years as Taipei City mayor.

Since its opening last July after seven years of construction, the Neihu Line has experienced repeated stoppages that have left hundreds of passengers stranded on its elevated track and numerous malfunctions that have caused delays for thousands of riders.

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Newsflash

Despite heavy rains yesterday, protesters show their support for former president Chen Shui-bian outside the Taiwan High Court as the court started to hear his appeal against his graft conviction.
PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan High Court yesterday began to hear the appeal by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who insisted his life term for graft was “illegal” and argued the evidence used to convict him was insufficient.

Chen was sentenced to life in prison by a district court last month for embezzling state funds, laundering money, accepting bribes and forgery. His wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), also received life imprisonment on graft convictions.