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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

China’s New Year gift is unpalatable

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications cried foul this week after China took advantage of Taiwan in the allocation of cross-strait flights for next week’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Of the 350 extra flights laid on for the expected increase in cross-strait travel during the holiday period, Taiwanese airlines were only allocated 98, compared with 252 flights for Chinese airlines. To add insult to injury, the departure slots awarded to Taiwanese airlines for major Chinese cities are at extremely inconvenient times.


Taiwan Struggles with Its Identity and the GIO is No Help

Taiwan is a nation replete with anomalies, an out-moded constitution and a big identity problem. Only the Taiwanese can solve this problem, but to do so, they must face up to the totality of their past, admit who they are and decide where they want to go. Nowhere are these issues and problems more easily seen and recorded than in the recent and annual Government Information Office's (GIO) publication "The Republic of China Yearbook 2009." If you think the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing or wants, you need look no further.

The first chapter begins with this interesting admission, "The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an oceanic nation of 23 million people with a combined area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers (13,900 square miles), making it slightly smaller than the Netherlands." This seems a clear statement; it is a nation and it has a limited size. Of course Taiwan's current president often hesitates to express that thought and prefers to call Taiwan a region or an area. Remember that as subsequent ideas are put forth.


Ma's policies deepen Taiwan's predicament

President Ma Ying-jeou declared upon his return from a six-day visit to Honduras, the Dominican Republic and the United States that the successful completion of his "missions" had shown the correctness of his strategy of a "diplomatic truce" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China and rebuilding "trust" with Washington through adoption of a low-profile posture.

Ma, who is also chairman of the rightist ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), also confirmed the decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to notify Congress of a US$6.4 billion package of defensive weapons procurements for Taiwan.


Paying for public health

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) declared on Monday that the government would not raise National Health Insurance premiums for the time being, dismissing Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang’s (楊志良) comments over the past few weeks that the department would raise premiums this year — possibly before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Criticizing the shortcomings of the DOH’s premium adjustment plan, Wu instructed the department to review its plan, provide more details on remedying the insurance system’s financial woes and ensure that at least half of the population be spared from the planned premium hike. Wu also reminded Yaung to refrain from making public comments before a policy is finalized.


Reuters and Associated Press get it wrong on Taiwan's history

Recent news service reports from Reuters on the $6.4 billion weapons sale from the United States to the Republic of China in-exile on Taiwan have distorted the 20th Century history of the island.

Reuters, in an explanation why such a large weapons buy is needed, mentions the People's Republic of China claims to Taiwan but tells readers that the island has been "self-governing" since the 1949 Chinese civil war.


Billions later, is Taiwan any safer?

Though welcome, the US$6.4 billion US arms sale to Taiwan announced by Washington on Friday will not bring much in terms of Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. All the items in the package, with the exception of the 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, had been approved — and then delayed — by former US president George W. Bush’s administration. In other words, since large parts of the package were first announced in 2001, Taiwan’s military has been treading water, while China has sprinted ahead with the modernization of its military.

None of the items in the package will make a substantial difference. While the PAC-3 missile defense system can bolster the defense of certain key targets, it is not sufficient to deter an attack, especially as the sale is likely to result in a decision by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to add short and medium-range missiles to the 1,500 it already aims at Taiwan and step up its missile program.

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this picture taken from a cellphone shows the body of the self immolator, minutes after the fire was doused

DHARAMSALA, AUGUST 6: A Tibetan monk died minutes after setting himself ablaze near Boudhanath stupa in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu earlier today (0730 hrs local time). The monk has been identified as Karma Nyedon Gyatso. Karma was from Damshung in Tibet and had arrived at the Kathmandu Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre on 30th January 2012.

An eye witness told phayul that the monk, probably in his thirties, was sitting crosslegged when she saw his lap on fire. "I thought he accidentally caught fire while lighting butter lamps. Then I saw him pour a bottle of fluid, petrol maybe, over his head and went up in flames right before my eyes."