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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

The beef is really with Ma, not Washington

On Nov. 14, thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets of Taipei to express their growing concern at the present administration's continued mismanagement of the nation’s international affairs. In line with this, the legislature has been deadlocked on an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生法). At issue, of course, was the recent agreement by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government to ease restrictions on US beef imports.

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Send irrelevant lawmakers home

Recent media reporting on the legislature has been focused on revelations about Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng’s (吳育昇) extramarital affair, alongside key policy issues such as the importation of US bone-in beef and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with China on cross-strait financial supervision. As a member of a civic group devoted to monitoring the legislature’s performance, I feel that these stories have a common thread — they show that the legislature is becoming more and more devoid of substance.

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Trying to hide discontent

Most people understand the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Most, but not Chinese officials visiting Taiwan. How else how could one explain Straits Exchange Foundation Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian’s (高孔廉) announcement on Wednesday that a “special zone” would be set up for protesters during next month’s cross-strait talks in Taichung?

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Obama in chains

It is hard for international observers of the US to grasp the political paralysis that grips the country, and that seriously threatens its ability to solve its domestic problems and contribute to international problem solving. The US’ governance crisis is the worst in modern history. Moreover, it is likely to worsen in the years ahead.

The difficulties that US President Barack Obama is having in passing his basic program, whether in health care, climate change or financial reform, are hard to understand at first glance. After all, he is personally popular, and his Democratic Party holds commanding majorities in both houses of Congress. Yet his agenda is stalled and the country’s ideological divisions grow deeper.

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Police impartiality in question

The image of the nation’s law enforcement authorities was severely tarnished by the visit to Taiwan in November last year of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

During the visit, the public witnessed police infringe on the rights and freedom of expression of Taiwanese by confiscating flags and other items without legitimate reason, stopping and questioning people who wore T-shirts that read “Taiwan is my country” and ordering a music store located near a hotel where Chen was dining to shut down because it was playing the Song of Taiwan, claiming the music was too loud.

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Obama Loses a Round

While the jury is still out on what President Obama’s China visit has achieved for the long term, the president has most decidedly lost the war of symbolism in his first close encounter with China.

In status-conscious China, symbolism and protocol play a role that is larger than life. U.S. diplomatic blunders could reinforce Beijing’s mindset that blatant information control works, and that a rising China can trump universal values of open, accountable government.

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Newsflash


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai and lawyers Wellington Koo and Lien Yuan-long, right to left, speaking in Taipei yesterday, announce former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s lawsuit against Vice President Wu Den-yih and former Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu over the Yu Chang case.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former Council of Economic Planning and Development minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) over the pair’s allegations during the presidential election campaign that Tsai had played an improper role in the formation of a biotechnology company.

Tsai filed the lawsuit with the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) against Wu, who is currently visiting Central America, and Liu for violations of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), accusing them of spreading rumors or false statements for the purpose of impeding a candidate’s election chances, Tsai’s lawyers Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Lien Yuan-long (連元龍) told a press conference.