Wed, Jan 16, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: Determining the districts

After Taiwan's legislative elections on Saturday it is clear that Taiwan needs an in-depth study on how to determine electoral districts.

If the regulation of one winner per electoral district is to continue, then the Central Election Commission (CEC) needs to redraw electoral boundaries based on a nationwide census.

The division of the outlying islands into three electoral districts, for example, means that votes in less populated areas carry more weight than the votes in the rest of the country.

If some votes carry more weight in certain parts of the country, the elections are neither fair nor democratic.

Perhaps some less populated areas should be combined into one electoral district, or alternatively, more densely populated areas in, say, Taipei County need to be split up further.

A study of this kind should be the responsibility of the CEC.

It should be non-partisan and employ a combination of both domestic and foreign-based consulting firms that specialize in election procedure and statistics.

The Legislative Yuan should not be involved in the process.

If a nationwide census cannot be carried out because of a lack of government resources and consequently a fair division of the electoral districts cannot be achieved, then the old system of multiple winners in an electoral district should be re-considered.

Alison Hsieh

Formosan Association for Public Affairs Europe, Greece

Time for Academia Formosa

A recent article in the Taipei Times regarding the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reminded me of the need for Taiwan's government to change the name to "China Affairs Council."

The "mainland" of "Mainland Affairs Council" must refer to China, since the main function of MAC is essentially to provide an official channel for peaceful resolution of any problems between Taiwan and China. But the use of "mainland" in MAC is problematic, troublesome and inappropriate in terms of Taiwan's sovereignty. This impropriety alone is enough reason for the government to replace the word "mainland" with "China."

The problematic name reminds me of the renaming of the "Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport" to "Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport" early last year. This was a welcome development.

Most recently, the Ministry of Education successfully replaced a plaque alluding to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) with one reading "Liberty Square" at the former Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂), now the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (台灣民主紀念館). This has made all patriotic Taiwanese jubilant, particularly Taiwanese Americans. This symbolizes another "giant step" toward normalization of all inappropriate names for places and institutions in Taiwan.

In fact, it is an action of justice for Taiwan, a country where freedom and democracy were lacking under Chiang's regime. For years, many were ashamed to set foot on that piece of land.

The reason is very simple: Why should we pay tribute to the monster behind the 228 Massacre, which saw an estimated 20,000 Taiwanese elites killed? Chiang was also the implementer of the longest period of martial law in history while he ran the country as a dictator and refused to keep a seat at the UN. This is the key reason that Taiwan is today embroiled in an uphill battle to rejoin the UN.

The rectifications of the names described above have also provided a rationale for us to believe that it is time for the government to correct the name "Academia Sinica" (中央研究院) to "Academia Formosa" (台灣中央研究院).

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