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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

USC's Annenberg School, Soft Power and Taiwan: Part III Responses

A classic statements contrasting hard power with soft power would be that of Joseph Stalin who asked, "The Pope, how many divisions does he have?" If ever there was a man of hard power, it was Stalin, and if ever there was a man of soft power it would be the Pope. Taiwan cannot liken itself to the Pope but facing the hard power of the People's Republic of China (PRC) it knows it cannot match the PRC plane for plane, missile for missile, ship for ship etc. What then must it do? This was the question raised and the direction suggested in the conference mentioned in Parts I & II previously posted on November 6 and 8. Taiwan needs soft power.

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Letting the public have its say on policies

The results of US-Taiwan negotiations on beef imports and the government’s subsequent attitudes and actions in dealing with the matter reflect the failings of a political system characterized by one-party rule.

The government ignored the importance of the issue from the start and paid no attention to South Korea’s problems after it allowed US beef to be imported again. Negotiations lasted for 17 months yet lacked communication with the legislature, opposition parties and civic organizations. The government was so arrogant that it did not even consult experts on mad cow disease.

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Misjudging public opinion

Taiwan is not only passive on cross-strait matters, it is at an impasse. Academics from Chinese think tanks made loud calls at a recent seminar in Taiwan for the two sides to begin political talks, while Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) proposed launching talks on a peace accord when meeting former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) at the APEC summit in Singapore.

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The ECFA is the main game

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Thursday that it has drafted amendments to the Regulations Governing Foreign Bank Branches and Representative Offices (外國銀行分行及代表人辦事處設立及管理辦法) and the Rules Governing Offshore Banking Branches (國際金融業務分行管理辦法).

The amendments will take effect after the financial regulator considers industry feedback. Foreign banks will be given a grace period of one year to comply with the requirements.

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Sledging the wrong foreigners

Seminar presentations don’t come any more laughable than this. Zheng Bijian (鄭必堅), a former vice president of the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), yesterday repaid his Taiwanese hosts’ hospitality with a lecture on how aspirations for Taiwanese independence would fade amid longing for improved cross-strait relations.

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Fifth open letter on the erosion of justice in Taiwan

The list of signatories grows by almost 20%

Writer Jerome F. Keating, Ph.D. and thirty other scholars and writers from the US, Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia have penned
a fifth open letter about the serious problems occurring under the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

The letter reminds us that "a decrease of tension across the Taiwan Strait would indeed be welcome, but [...] that this should not be done at the expense of the hard-won democracy" and that "Taiwan should be more fully accepted by the international community as a full and equal partner." Read the full letter at the link above, but here is a large excerpt [emphasis mine]:

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Newsflash


Students outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday hold up cardboard signs calling for the passage of oversight legislation prior to a review of the cross-strait service trade agreement, as police clear the way for legislators and staff vehicles to enter and leave the complex.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Student activists occupying the legislative chamber yesterday rejected the Cabinet’s proposal for legislation to monitor cross-strait agreements, calling it an empty, insincere proposal aimed at deceiving the public.

“The Cabinet proposal is rather superficial, especially when [the premier] rejects our demand to apply the law to the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement,” student leader Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.