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Freedom House cites sovereignty woes

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A report released by US rights watchdog Freedom House on Monday said that although many Taiwanese are in favor of improving economic and trade ties with China, critics believe the government has made concessions on sovereignty, that cross-strait policies have developed too quickly and that the process lacks transparency.

On Jan. 12, the Washington-based Freedom House released the political rights and civil liberties scores for its Freedom in the World 2010 survey. Taiwan’s political rights rating improved from 2 to 1, but its civil liberties rating dropped from 1 to 2.

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Activists say Ma, CCP conspiring

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Dozens of activists protested yesterday against a trade pact with Beijing they claim is the result of a conspiracy between the Taiwanese and Chinese governments.

The demonstrators assembled outside the legislature, which is currently in recess, chanting slogans against the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

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Chinese dissident trapped in limbo

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A Chinese dissident seeking refuge in Taiwan accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of failing to speak up for human rights in China and said he feared he could face a lengthy prison sentence, or worse, if deported back home.

Cai Lujun (蔡陸軍), a 53 year-old former businessman who escaped China disguised as a fisherman almost three years ago, spent more than three years behind bars in a Chinese prison after he posted a series of online articles criticizing Beijing’s leadership and blasting the Chinese Communist Party for what he called “holding fake elections.”

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Protesters demand full review of ECFA

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Dozens of demonstrators yesterday staged a protest outside the legislature to demand that lawmakers stringently review the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that Taiwan and China signed on Tuesday.

Wearing T-shirts with the inscription “the people are the masters” and billing themselves as a non-­violent protest group, the group silently marched around the building holding placards reading “an ECFA referendum is a basic human right.”

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Ma, Wang disagree on ECFA review

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While President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) are of the opinion that the legislature can only either ratify or reject the newly signed cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in its entirety and not amend it article by article, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) begged to differ yesterday, saying there have been cases in which the legislature has made revisions to international agreements signed by the government.

Citing examples, Wang said lawmakers had screened article by article the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the free-trade agreements (FTA) Taiwan has signed with its Central American allies.

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NGOs form ECFA monitoring group

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Unsatisfied with what they called a lack of transparency surrounding cross-strait negotiations, Taiwanese NGOs yesterday launched a cross-strait-agreement monitoring alliance aimed at increasing public accountability and protecting democratic values.

The initiative, which has drawn support from human rights, labor and government watchdog groups, aims to increase pressure on the government to publicize its agreements with China, which they say have so far been shrouded in secrecy.

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Miaoli farmers plead for action

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More than 100 residents from Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) and their supporters staged demonstrations again in front of the Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office yesterday, urging the central government to intervene in the county government’s takeover of their land.

“Help us! We’re about to become homeless,” Huang Shu-e (黃淑娥), a resident of Jhunan’s Dapu (大埔), a farming village, told the crowd in front of the Presidential Office.

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Newsflash


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang, center, and a group of DPP legislators yesterday prepare for a press conference calling on the government to grant former president Chen Shui-bian medical.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to grant former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) medical parole after a magazine reported on the deterioration of Chen’s health.

The DPP Central Standing Committee yesterday reached a resolution to demand that Ma grant medical parole for Chen, who is serving an 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, but has been hospitalized for treatment of various complications.