One of the most reputation-ruining sights Taiwan can offer is a gangster funeral. Attended by hundreds of black-shirted young men and senior politicians from both ideological camps, these events prove that democratic accountability and social standards don't mean the same thing to all people.
What makes the funeral of Chen Chi-li (
He wasn't just a standover man taking protection money from street vendors; he was a tool of state oppression. But the revisionism in the print and broadcast media in recent weeks has portrayed this thug as close to heroic; a man who died in exile in Cambodia, far from family and friends. At the same time, no one weeps for the man he killed, Chiang Ching-kuo (
In the course of mourning Chen, the sight of a string of celebrities, ne'er-do-well politicians and retired security agency officials lining up to pay their dues played itself out. Of the former, pop singer Jay Chou (
But it is the politicians -- and their seniority -- that should be of enduring concern. How astonished and enraged Americans would be if House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the organizing committee for the funeral of a notorious mafia boss. Yet that is exactly what has happened here: Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
The KMT, it seems, can't get by without cavorting with criminals.
But this is not a partisan cancer. Even more despicable is the presence on the honorary list of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus convener Ko Chien-ming (
Ko's presence is revolting because he trivializes the sacrifice of Henry Liu, who allowed people like him the freedom to represent the DPP.
This easy association with criminality continues to plague the legislature, too, with an attempt to restrict candidates for public office to people with no criminal record or a minor criminal record being defeated in recent days.
Both parties have acted shamefully and shamelessly on this matter. President Chen Shui-bian (
And Wang Jin-pyng deserves an equally strong rebuke for blithely dismissing this debacle as being worthy of any concern.
KMT politicians who attack the president and his family for alleged illegal conduct while saying and doing nothing about legislative misconduct are damned hypocrites. Likewise, DPP politicians that complain of judicial persecution of the president while saying and doing nothing about legislative mischief -- or its protection -- lack all credibility.
It is all too easy to say "a pox on all their houses" or some such, but the fact is that all of this behavior is tolerated by a large number of voters who will put any lowlife into office as long as it is not someone from the opposition. Thus continues this collapsible morality in the face of criminal connections to the political, security and entertainment establishments.
No matter what indicator you use, Russian President Vladimir Putin is winning in the energy markets. Moscow is milking its oil cash cow, earning hundreds of millions of US dollars every day to bankroll the invasion of Ukraine and buy domestic support for the war. Once European sanctions against Russian crude exports kick in from November, the region’s governments will face some tough choices as the energy crisis starts to bite consumers and companies. Electricity costs for homes and businesses are set to soar from October, as the surge in oil income allows Putin to sacrifice gas revenue and squeeze supplies to
In an August 12 Wall Street Journal report, Chinese sources contend that in their July 28 phone call, United States President Joe Biden was told by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping (習近平) that “he had no intention of going to war with the US” over House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s then upcoming visit to Taiwan. However, there should be global alarm that Xi did use that visit to begin the CCP’s active war against democracy in Taiwan and globally, and that the Biden Administration’s response has been insufficient. To hear CCP officials, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesmen, and a
Much of the foreign policy conversation in the US over the past two weeks has centered on whether US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi ought to have visited Taiwan. Her backers pointed out that there was precedent for such a visit — a previous House speaker and US Cabinet members had visited Taiwan — and that it is important for officials to underscore the US’ commitment to Taiwan in the face of increasing Chinese pressure. Critics argued that the trip was ill-timed, because Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would likely feel a need to respond, lest he appear weak
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has restarted military maneuvers around Taiwan in response to the visit of a delegation of US lawmakers led by US Senator Ed Markey, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday. Having failed to intimidate Taiwanese with its response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit earlier this month, Beijing is having another go at it. On Sunday, the PLA deployed 22 warplanes and six warships in areas around Taiwan, with 10 aircraft crossing the Taiwan Strait median line to coincide with the delegation’s arrival. Monday saw a slight increase in aircraft sorties, with the