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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

ECFA: Letting the public decide

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently said in an interview that the government would only sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China under three conditions: if the nation needs it, if the public supports it and if there is legislative oversight. The three conditions appear to be reasonable, but the government is using them to deprive voters of their right to make decisions.

First, does Taiwan really need an ECFA with China? We must ask whether the “one China” principle is the premise for the government’s negotiations on an ECFA with Beijing: In other words, does the government view Taiwan as part of China? This is something the government must make clear to the public.

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Ma silent on crucial issue of sovereignty

Diplomacy depends on eloquence to promote the nation’s viewpoint and secure national interests, and that is why a mute can be engaged in many things, but not diplomacy. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration may not be mute, but they certainly do not know how to approach diplomacy.

In his recent visit to brief Taiwanese leaders on US President Barack Obama’s visit to China, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt said Washington’s understanding was that respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was related to the issue of Tibet and Xinjiang and had nothing to do with Taiwan.

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Dubai World and Chinese illusions

Is the world financial crisis rearing its ugly head again? Dubai World, the biggest state-owned conglomerate in Dubai, the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates, has fallen into financial difficulties, and a few days ago asked its creditor banks for a half-year delay on repayments of nearly US$60 billion in debt. This move sparked fears among investors everywhere that the global financial crisis is heating up again and triggered big falls in European, American and Asian stock markets.

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Is bad news not so bad in China?

News that 10 journalists were charged with covering up a mining accident in China’s Hebei Province is an intriguing development in a state wary of free media.

Reporters being charged for failing to cover a story involving corruption is a far cry from the usual news of them being browbeaten after publishing embarrassing material. But the journalists not only failed to report the story — they are accused of accepting US$380,000 in bribes from officials to stay quiet.

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Voters can check PRC political pressure

The seven million Taiwan citizens who vote in Saturday's "three - in - one" local elections should keep in mind that their ballots will be seen globally as well as domestically as a confidence vote in the China-tilting policies of President Ma Ying-jeou and his right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party government.

Among the interested observers will be the leadership of the People's Republic of China's ruling Chinese Communist Party, who are already pushing to include political issues in the talks between the KMT and the CCP after the signing of nine agreements on economic and transportation and legal issues and the launching of talks toward an comprehensive "economic cooperation framework agreement" (ECFA).

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ECFA spells doom for local service businesses

After signing the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing, Taiwan will have to open most of its service sector businesses to China within a limited period of time.

The production value of Taiwan’s service sector exceeds 70 percent of the nation’s total economic output, and service sector employees make up 60 percent of the total work force. Within the service sector, commercial services — including the retail, wholesale and hospitality industries — account for 20 percent of the nation’s total output. With 2.5 million employees — 25 percent of Taiwan’s work force — it is the sector with the biggest work force.

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Newsflash

The government’s decision to block exiled Uighur rights activist Rebiya Kadeer’s visit in December sparked an outcry among Internet users, with many condemning the decision.

“What an ‘honor’ for Taiwan that such shameful news has spread throughout the world so quickly,” a member of the online social networking system Plurk called “E23” said early yesterday morning when replying to a post by fellow Plurker Lavendersea that linked to reports published by several foreign media outlets on the government’s refusal of Kadeer’s intended visit.