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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Taiwan and the rest of the world

A by-product of Taiwan’s nearly 400 years of settler occupation, followed by the self-exile of the Republic of China from the UN for nearly a half- century, has been that Taiwanese more often ask how geopolitical events will affect them, rather than how Taiwan could and should influence the world.

Since the disastrous pride-induced walkout from the international stage in 1971, Taiwanese involvement on the world stage has been unofficially deep while officially minimal and, until 2000, generally self-pitying.


Public fed up with ‘dinosaur judges’

Taiwan is no stranger to violent criminals being let off with lenient sentences, with another ridiculous ruling taking place last week.

Hsu Wen-ping (許文炳), who was convicted of brutally murdering a friend and mutilating his body, had a life sentence reduced to 18 years, because he is an alcoholic who was intoxicated when the incident occurred.

The judges said Hsu qualified for a reduced term under Article 19 of the Criminal Code, which governs crimes committed by people with mental disorders and stipulates that “punishment may be reduced ... as a result of an obvious reduction in judgement.”


Lawmakers pass transitional justice act

Formosan Political Prisoners Association honorary director-general Tsai Kuan-yu yesterday watches lawmakers review a draft law on transitional justice on a monitor in the legislative speaker’s reception room.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), which aims to remove authoritarian-era symbols and retry cases of injustice from that era, was passed by the Legislative Yuan yesterday evening.


The time of pleasing China is over

On Tuesday LAST week the Yueyang City Intermediate People’s Court in China’s Hunan Province sentenced Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) to five years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”

Lee told Chinese media that he confessed to and regretted the offense, would not appeal the verdict and accepted the prison sentence.


‘Treason’ proposal passes committee

Draft amendments to allow people accused of spying for China to be indicted on foreign aggression charges and to allow political parties to be indicted on organized crime charges was approved yesterday by the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Prosecutors have traditionally cited the National Security Act (國家安全法) when indicting alleged Chinese spies because the treason and foreign aggression offenses stipulated in the Criminal Code only apply to crimes committed on behalf of an “enemy state.”


China demonstrates its ruthlessness

Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Yueyang in China’s Hunan Province.

At about the same time, Beijing began a campaign to evict what it calls the city’s “low-end population” — people with low income or low levels of education, most of them workers from other provinces.

These two things, although seemingly unrelated, are equally revealing of how the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) approaches government.

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Experts told a conference in Washington on Wednesday that to avoid war over Taiwan, Beijing and Washington must change their current policies.

“China must renounce the use of force against Taiwan or Washington must declare clearly, unequivocally and publicly that it will defend Taiwan against Chinese attack,” said Joseph Bosco, who served in the office of the US secretary of defense as a China country desk officer in 2005 and 2006.

The US, China and Taiwan urgently need a “declaration of strategic clarity,” he said.

Quoting former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Bosco said that while ambiguity was sometimes the lifeblood of diplomacy, it could not be maintained indefinitely.