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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

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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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.

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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.

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Newsflash

Founder of the Human Rights Action Center John Healey has written an open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) appealing for better prison conditions and healthcare for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

“In the United States we have prosecuted and convicted politicians from the most local to national offices, but we do not systematically deny those people access to healthcare due to political differences,” Healey said in a letter carried by the Huffington Post.