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Chen’s son withdraws from DPP

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Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) son yesterday withdrew from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and announced he would run for Greater Kaohsiung city councilor as an independent.

Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) declared his intention to run in the year-end elections earlier in the week. His formal announcement yesterday came in the wake of the Taiwan High Court’s ruling on Friday rejecting Chen Shui-bian’s appeal of his conviction on corruption, forgery and money laundering charges. However, sentences and fines were reduced in the second trial for Chen Shui-bian, his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and six other defendants including Chen Chih-chung.

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Chen acquitted on graft charge

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The Taipei District Court yesterday acquitted former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in an embezzlement case involving US$330,000 in secret diplomatic funds.

The court ruling said that evidence provided by prosecutors failed to prove that Chen had embezzled diplomatic funds, court spokesman Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明) said.

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Forum told Taiwanese Castro will emerge

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A political strongman in the mold of former Cuban president Fidel Castro is likely to emerge in Taiwan to resist China’s economic interference should the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing ravage the middle-classes and benefit only large corporations, an expert attending a forum on the ECFA said yesterday.

Hsu Chung-hsin, a law professor at National Cheng Kung University, said once China took over Taiwan’s economy, even if Taiwan was still politically independent, a candidate with a radical platform was likely to be elected because the public would likely no longer be able to stand the yawning chasm between rich and poor and the stagnation of salaries.

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TSU threatens lawsuit over rejection

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Three days after a review committee rejected its proposal to hold a referendum on the government’s proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China, an increasingly angry Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday issued a statement asking members of the committee to apologize and revisit their decision.

“The Referendum Review Committee must publicly apologize within three days and reopen their deliberations or the TSU will be suing [committee members that voted against the proposal] for ­misconduct and exceeding their authority,” the statement quoted TSU Chairperson Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) as saying.

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Taiwan arms no reason to harm US-China ties: Gates

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US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates yesterday chided China for suspending military ties over US arms sales to Taiwan, saying Beijing’s stance “makes little sense.”

Renewing his call for stronger relations between the Chinese and US militaries, Gates said such a dialogue should not be “held hostage” over the weapons sales.

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Opposition vows ‘10-year’ ECFA fight

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Opposition parties yesterday vowed to begin a “10-year resistance” against the government’s plan to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China, including organizing large-scale protests calling for a referendum on the controversial pact.

The Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee on Thursday night voted 12-4 against an opposition-supported referendum proposal asking voters whether they agreed that the government should sign an ECFA with China. The committee said the question did not fall under what was allowed under the Referendum Act (公民投票法).

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ECFA referendum proposal rejected

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The Executive Yuan's Referendum Review Committee late last night voted down the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) request to hold a referendum on the government's proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China. The vote, which was announced shortly before 11pm, was 12-4.

The TSU's application requested a referendum on the question: “Do you agree that the government should sign an ECFA with China?”

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Newsflash

Taiwan has maintained its status as one of the world’s freest countries, but its score for civil liberties was downgraded over flaws in protection of the rights of criminal defendants, Freedom House said in a report released on Tuesday.

While Taiwan’s overall rating in the Freedom in the World 2010 report was the same as last year, its score for political rights advanced from grade 2 to grade 1 because of an increased crackdown on corruption.