2012 - 1rd Quarter Writings

US Complains about Mixed Signals from the Ma Administration on Arms Purchases

Thursday June 28

In the category of so what else is new, US Congressmen are complaining about mixed signals from the Ma administration as to whether it wants upgrades to its air force; what kind of upgrades, etc. etc. Well, welcome to the real world of Ma Ying-jeou who has consistently tried to keep his feet in two (or shall we say three or more) boats of pleasing China, claiming to support arms upgrades to defend Taiwan, being hot and cold to the US and Japan, and keeping Taiwanese guessing as to what his real thoughts are on desiring re-unification with China. ...

Like 6-3-3 and Other Ma Promises That US Beef Issue Will Just Not Go Away.

Wednesday June 27

According to US Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, Ma promised (via Jason Yuan) that once he got re-elected, he would take care of the beef issue once and for all for the US beef industry. And as everyone remembers the day after his re-election back in January of this year, Ray Burghardt of AIT showed up at Taiwan's doorstep expecting the goods to be delivered. ...

A Strange Justice in Taiwan's Chen Shui-bian Case

Wednesday June 13

Scroll back down to April 13, and see the concusion of how fingers are pointing at the prosecutors for cutting what some may call corrupt deals to get and keep Chen Shui-bian in jail. The only two real witnesses in Chen's case that have been used to convict him on accepting bribes are Jeffrey Koo Jr. and Diana Chen. ...

Taiwan, Still No Consensus on the US Beef Issue

Wednesday June 13

In an unusual display of non-partisan politics, the legislators of the People's First Party (PFP) have joined the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) majority. The issue remains that of US beef. The DPP has occupied the legislature podium in a 120 hour protest to keep the plenary session from proceeding. ...

How Should Taiwanese Speak of Their Democracy?

Tuesday June 12

What's in a name and identity? Gertrude Stein is famous for the line, "a rose is a rose is a rose." Shakespeare on the other hand spoke of a rose differently, "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet." Are they talking about the same thing? Apply that to the word democracy. Should we say a democracy is a democracy is a democracy? Or should we say a democracy by any other name would be just as precious? Or is there more involved? Examine then the democracy that the people on Taiwan have practiced since 1992 in freely electing their own legislators and since 1996 in freely electing their president. Some want to preface it by speaking of it is a Taiwanese democracy; others argue that it should be called a Chinese democracy. What is going on? ...

Tuesday Showdown! Will Ma get the KMT to Approve US Beef?

Monday June 11

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 12, the Legislative Yuan will pass judgment on whether to approve US beef imports. This issue has been on the burner for some time and the general public is against it, but as we have noted several times earlier, Ma Ying-jeou has a vested and apparent quid pro quo interest in getting it passed. ...

Taiwan's GDP Continues to Sink, and Sink and Sink. Did Ma Say it Would be 6??

Friday June 08

Cathay Financial Holding Company gave its most dismal forecast yet; it revised Taiwan's GDP downward from 3.73 to 2.45 per cent. Ouch, that hurts! It hurts particularly when on realizes that it was not that long ago that the forecasters and govt. were saying GDP growth might not make 4.5 per cent this year. Then they said maybe it might not make 4 per cent. Then it went under 4 to 3.7 per cent, and now it is 2.45 per cent. Ugh! That does not bode well. ...

The US Beef Issue, a Ma Ying-jeou and KMT Problem

Thursday June 07

Where's the beef?? Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou created the beef problem with the USA; he first indicated to US officials that he could handle the whole matter because he was both President of Taiwan and Chairman of the KMT which controlled the Legislative Yuan. With such power, he believed that he could in his usual style he could forcefully micromanage everything. ...

The Question of Taiwan's Discourse and Who Should Control it?

Tuesday June 05

"Until the lions have historians, the tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." This African proverb reflects Taiwan's problem with its history and experience as it seeks to establish its own identity and imagined community. More often than not in the past, it has been the outside "hunters," the colonials, and economic exploiters and opportunists who have controlled the discourse on Taiwan, and portrayed it, in Edward Said's terminology, as an "imagined geography" to suit there needs. But now all that has changed. With the end of Martial Law (1987) and the ability of Taiwanese to democratically elect their Legislators (1992) and President (1996), the Taiwanese lions are free to give their side of the story. ...

Tianamen Square Anniversary: Just What Chinese Values Were Expressed?

Monday June 04

The world is commemorating the many Chinese who died at Tianamen Square on June 4-5, 1989 and afterwards. Ma Ying-jeou's Minister of Culture, however, would not make a statement on the massacre. Minister Lung Ying-tai said that to say anything wold affect n"negotiations between Taiwan and China on cultural issues." This is surprising since President Ma is always trying to stress Chinese values and culture. One can of course ask what Chinese values were expressed in the massacre at Tianamen Square? ...

Ma Ying-jeou and Taiwan: the Chickens Come Home to Roost

Thursday May 31

If anyone has read this blog for very long, they would recognize that our position is that Ma Ying-jeou's propensity for style over substance is his trademark, that his resolution of unfulfilled promises is done by making new promises and so distract the listener, and that as far as competency, he maxed out on the Peter Principle long ago. ...

Su Tseng-chang Winns DPP Chairperson election

Monday May 28

Of the five contestants for the somewhat dubious but certainly challenging position of chairperson of the DPP, Su Tseng-chang came out victorious. He not only was victorious but he won by 50.47 per cent of the vote, an important factor in a five man race. This meant that even if the other four candidates had teamed up and ran as one person, he still would have beaten that one candidate. The turnout rate was 68.62 per cent--a respectable turnout for such an election. ...

Taiwan's DPP Choose the Precarious Position of Chairperson Today

Sunday May 27

To be Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a risky and precarious position, yet ironically this year five people are seeking that position. The position has a tenured length of two years, but in the twenty years of the party having a chairperson seven of the 12 chairpersons have stepped down and not served a full term. ...

Ma Ying-jeou Sacrifices One Part of His Fairy Tale

Friday May 25

Ma Ying-jeou always like to quote and cling to the Republic of China (ROC's) outdated Constitution of 1947. In the original constitution, delegates from Mongolia were among those to be elected to the National Assembly. Later that article was changed and the National Assembly was done away with. Ironically this took place with the wording "To meet the requisites of the nation's prior to national unification." Did I read national unification in the additional articles? Unfortunately that is true, even though Ma pledged no unification during his presidency. But return to Mongolia and how it was not listed as part of the "free area"of the ROC. ...

WHO and WHA Still Cannot See the Chinese Emperor Has No Clothes

Wednesday May 23

Kudos are due to Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lin Shih-chia who publicly challenged the means that China uses to try to marginalize Taiwan and keep it out of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Health Assembly (WHA). Lin brazenly wore a T-shirt which stated the true fact that "Taiwan is Taiwan, not China." It is one of those unfortunate realities of life that many nations give in to China's machinations just so that they can get cheap manufacturing and profitable trade from China. ...

May 19 & 20, Days to Watch in Taipei for Ma's 2nd Presidential Inauguration

Friday May 18

It is not quite the Ides of May--that day passed four days ago, but as Taiwan gets ready for Ma Ying-jeou's 2nd Inauguration, there are storms brewing. Remember back in January where some pundits were saying that Ma had another mandate and I said, not so. ...

Ma's Dilemma in his Second Inaugural Address: What to Say?

Monday May 14

The political life of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has traditionally been one of style over substance. Nonetheless, when Ma prepared to give his first inaugural speech back in 2008, he could not have asked for a better setting to change. ...

Taiwan, the World Still Turns; Partial Resolution of the Sean Lien Shooting

Saturday May 12

About a year and a half ago, if one recalls, Lien Chan's son, Sean Lien, was shot at a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rally where he had gone to support the local KMT candidate. Today, the court came up with its verdict on Lin Cheng-wei--the shooter; he was sentenced to 24 years in prison. While Sean Lien survived the shooting with the bullet passing through his cheek, another man in the crowd was hit by the deflected bullet and died. Thus the court's ruling gave some resolution but left much unanswered. ...

Taiwan, as the World Continues to Turn, a New AIT Director and More Ma Ying-jeou Problems

Wednesday May 09

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has a new director; Christopher Marut has replaced William Stanton; Stanton will complete his term of service in August. Marut has 27 years experience in the Foreign Service and much of that has been in the Pacific Region so he seems well suited to the position in many ways including a masters degree in national security and strategic studies at the College of Naval Warfare in Rhode Island. ...

Taiwan as the World Turns; Problems, Problems, Problems

Monday May 07

There is an irony here as Ma Ying-jeou prepares for his inauguration on May 20; he has not even started his second term and any honeymoon me may have wished for has been dashed. The US beef scandal hangs over the country; only 17 per cent support lifting the ban and a delegation has been sent to the USA to "ëxamine things." In reality that is a euphemism that they ahve to come up with an excuse for Ma to live up to his bargained deal with the USA for their support in the last election. ...

China, Foxconn, Apple, and the Tipping Point

Thursday May 03

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." In China, as the Bo Xilai scandal continues to unravel, Chen Guangchen's case brought new revelations; with these and other growing problems the continued cracks in the nation's economic strength and anti-corruption walls are getting wider and wider. Some pundits still cry "Run to China, it will become a responsible stakeholder and will still solve the manufacturing problems of nations." But others are finally beginning to have their doubts. For as the cracks widen, the realization dawns that peaceful-rising China is in reality an "Enron China" in the making, an upcoming disaster replete with the corruption, shady deals and cooked books that previously blew up in the faces of those who once touted Enron as the model to be emulated. "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold," this line from Yeats's, The Second Coming, now takes on greater relevance.

Academia Sinica Hosts the First World Congress of Taiwan Studies

Monday April 30

Lest readers think that Taiwan is a hodge-podge of the Keystone Kops as KMT criminals continue to avoid justice under Ma's anti-corruption campaign. There are some serious things happening here; one prominent affair was Academia Sinica hosting the First World Congress of Taiwan Studies from April 26--28; it was a great affair with over 700 people attending and presenters from all parts of the world. ...

Oh No, Not Another Convicted KMT Member Walking Free!

Sunday April 29

This time it was KMT lawmaker Chiang Lien-fu who after his conviction somehow failed to show up to start serving his term in jail. Ma Ying-jeou's KMT Minister of Justice was once again at a loss for words. His explanation as to why DPP members are hounded and like Chen Shui-bian suffered abuse of their rights to a decently prepared defense, but KMT members even after conviction are somehow "on their honor" asked to show up for prison. His ultimate explanation was there are simply "flaws in the system." ...

Ma Ying-jeou's Minister of Justice Again Drops the Ball

Saturday April 28

Ho hum, another KMT convicted criminal is allowed to run the streets or run to China whatever it may be. Notice the double standard that continues in Taiwan. Lo Fu-chu, a former KMT legislator guilty of fraud, forgery and money laundering and sentenced to four years in prison after his conviction. He was then told to report at a later date to the prison to begin serving his term and surprise, surprise, he did not show up. However as we look back at the case of Chen Shui-bian, he was put in prison even before his trial, what gives? And while in prison before his trial, Chen was not allowed privacy with his lawyers to plan his defense. But Lo, well he seemed to have freedom even until he was convicted. He was simply told to show up and report to prison. Do we have two standards here? Please, don't even ask me about Diane Lee's case and her conviction. ...

The "Global Times," Lien Chan and Taiwan's Growing Identity

Friday April 20

Developments in Taiwan's complex identity and national direction once again came to the fore when not long ago the "Global Times" had an interview with Taiwan's Lien Chan. Since the "Global Times" falls under the umbrella of the "People's Daily" the party paper of People's Republic of China (PRC), the interview was of no great surprise to many. Lien Chan is one of the most senior and most prominent members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Among his most recent positions have been those of vice-president under Lee Teng-hui (1996-2000), past Chairman of the KMT (2000-2005). And though a twice-failed candidate for the Presidency of Taiwan (2000,& 2004), he was the KMT's clear candidate. He subsequently travelled to China (2005) becoming the most prominent KMT member to visit China since the KMT was driven out after losing its Civil War with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949. Thus while the interview had some logic to it, nonetheless questions still arose as to why now in 2012? Some wondered was the "Global Times" simply paying Lien Chan a rewarding compliment, or was it a prelude to something greater? That question gained more credence when the CCP subsequently came up with the request that the KMT host a 2012 Cross-Strait Economic Trade and Culture Forum in Taiwan,

Is Chen Shui-bian Being Made a Surrogate Scapegoat for Taiwan? Part III of III

Friday April 13

So now, at the end of the day examine how after years of pressuring, harassing, jailing of innumerable alleged accomplices, switching judges, and untold fishing expeditions, all that prosecutors have achieved in Taiwan are two convictions based on questionable and perhaps forced testimony. One is that of a harassed woman Diana Chen and the other is that of a bargained with Jeffrey Koo Jr. a man whose family has played all sides of the law and survived from the Japanese era, through Martial Law, up to the present.

Is Chen Shui-bian Being Made a Surrogate Scapegoat for Taiwan? Part II of III

Wednesday April 11

A new violation then took place. While Chen was jailed without charges, his chief defense lawyer tried to visit him; he was denied privacy with Chen. The alleged reason was that Chen needed to be prevented from working deals, though in this several year old case if deals were to be worked they would have long been established. Again it was a basic violation of prisoner's rights of due process and attorney-client privilege. At heart, in addition to punishing Chen, prosecutors wanted to know what Chen's defense strategy would be; it was similar to illegal wire-tapping but even worse and more blatant. Two prosecutors had to be present at all times and if they missed anything, the sessions were also videotaped. This violation of prisoner rights was taken to court and found to be illegal. However even after it was found illegal since it would still take two months for the paper work of the court's decision to go through the system, the prosecutors persisted in their illegal listening until the paperwork cleared. Apparently they needed to stack the deck; their premature boast that they would get a conviction, was taking a nefarious effect. ...

Is Chen Shui-bian Being Made a Surrogate Scapegoat for Taiwan? Part I of III

Monday April 09

There are crimes and then there are crimes; there are trials and then there are trials; there are standards and then there are standards; unfortunately, however, there are also double standards. These concepts have all come into play in the complex and twisted corruption case of Taiwan's former president Chen Shui-bian. This is a case that will have few winners and justice will be lucky if it is even half served, for at heart, what is on trial here is more than just Chen himself though he certainly is. On trial is the legacy of a one-party state system of corruption and double standards, a party where some still carry the bitterness and vindictiveness of lost entitlement and unrealized dreams, a nation that struggles to emerge from a belabored past that includes a lack of transitional justice, stolen state assets, and finally the complicity and betrayal of lost ideals on all sides. If that is not enough, on trial may even be the after effects of a hybrid culture on Taiwan trying to adjust to the realities and differences of a post-modern judicial world. ...

How Ma Ying-jeou's World Differs from Most Taiwanese

Wednesday April 04

On April 4th, Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou laid a wreath in honor of the %#376;ellow Emperor", the man that Chinese, not Taiwanese, see as the founder of China. Ma may see his ancestry as coming from the Yellow Emperor by some mythological chain, but Ma consistently and totally ignores the reality of most Taiwanese. ...