Taiwan, January 2010: As the World Turns

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Saturday January 09, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Saturday January 9, 2010, a clean sweep for the DPP as it took the three Legislative Yuan positions that were up for re-election when vacated because of among other things previous KMT vote-buying. Ma's new spin-doctor KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung is going to be working overtime to try and put a positive spin on this one. All three positions had been KMT held. More by-elections in February, but the immediate damage is that the DPP now has more than one-fourth of the Legislative positions and can officially challenge the President in legislative matters.

Last week Ma's KMT dominated Legislative Yuan (LY) voted against his US beef protocol agreement; a bad sign for the President when his own party even turns against him. But the heavy-handed, secret dealings of Ma were too much even for them. Premier Wu Den-yih said that they "assumed" that people would just go along and support their patronizing paternalism. Unfortunately that is not what participative democracy is all about. Bookies are taking bets on whether they will learn from this.

Wu continued, "Following that lesson, the government will use plain language when talking to the public about the ECFA." Come again?? So far the government has not used any language, let alone plain language in explaining ECFA. No one knows what is in this alleged "transparent" package. All Ma's people have said so far is, "We have a blank check for the People's Republic of China (PRC) and we want you to sign it."

Trouble in River City?? Yesterday, the Control Yuan censured the Taipei City Government for granting permission in 2006 to construct buildings over 10-stories near the President's Residence. For those wondering what this is about, a new building, the 23-story, I Pin Building, will be completed this year. President Ma's people have complained about this since among other things, it gave greater opportunity for shall we say assassins with high-powered rifles to use the height of the buildings to target the President. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said the city may have granted the permission, but it was not on his watch. What? Yes in 2006, Ma Ying-jeou was Mayor of Taipei and Chen Shui-bian was living in the President's Residence. Is this karma?

What else? Round two of the trial of Chen Shui-bian began with Chen's appeal. More will soon follow on that.

So the world turns in Taiwan, never a dull moment.