The sentencing of the president's son-in-law to prison on insider trading charges is, by any standards, a victory for the rule of law, and an indication of the sophistication of the country's political system.
Meanwhile, the specter of corruption seems to raise its ugly head in every corner of the political establishment. Former National Science Council deputy minister Hsieh Ching-chih (
Opposition demagogues will likely take advantage of this news to lecture society about the "corrupt" administration of President Chen Shui-bian (
Of course, for a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to lecture on the dangers of corruption takes an act of cognitive dissonance so complex it should qualify for some kind of award. Perhaps we could use the old "Republic of China" honor system and create an Order of the Unpropitious Twaddle, with Grand Cordon.
As anyone with an iota of intellectual honesty will recognize, the system of government created during decades of KMT misrule lends itself to acts of corruption -- sometimes even inadvertently -- by politicians and bureaucrats.
But as we all know, intellectual honesty is not the strong suit of the nation's political elite. In fact they rarely seem interested in honesty at all, preferring instead to live in a fantasy world of their own creation, where every event affirms their preconceived beliefs.
This is not a problem unique to Taiwan. All modern democracies are plagued by this trend toward a kind of irrational political tribalism, in which honest debate is supplanted by mere management of perception.
Statesmen have been replaced by advertisers.
So even as we can certainly expect the KMT to portray the sentencing of the president's son-in-law as an indictment of the administration and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), we can also expect little in the way of an honest assessment of what went wrong.
But despite the fact that most of the talking heads in the opposition parties will spend days, if not weeks, prattling on about the issue of corruption, what you will probably not see is members of the opposition trying to find solutions to the problem of corruption.
The legislature has extended its session, but will it do anything substantial? Will it pass a party assets bill? A campaign finance bill, requiring greater transparency in how political donations are reported? Will it approve nominees for the Control Yuan, the supposed oversight branch of the government, which has not functioned for several years now?
Don't hold your breath. Because doing any of these things would require the opposition parties, who still hold a legislative majority, to squarely face their past. It would also require the KMT and the People First Party to put the nation's interests ahead of their own.
In short, it requires the opposition parties to grow up and become mature political institutions whose members understand the benefits that come with playing by the rules and standing up for Taiwan's democratic system.
But why should anyone expect these things, when all we have seen from the opposition parties is a solid history of playing the perpetual spoiler, and sacrificing Taiwan's interests for the sake of the egos of a handful of the old guard?
Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) hasn’t had a very good spring, either economically or politically. Not that long ago, he seemed to be riding high. The PRC economy had been on a long winning streak of more than six percent annual growth, catapulting the world’s most populous nation into the second-largest power, behind only the United States. Hundreds of millions had been brought out of poverty. Beijing’s military too had emerged as the most powerful in Asia, lagging only behind the US, the long-time leader on the global stage. One can attribute much of the recent downturn to the international economic
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please