Last Wednesday we were treated to the less than edifying spectacle of President Chen Shui-bian (
The occasion of this electioneering was the festival of the birthday of Matsu, the Taoist goddess of the sea. The eight days either side of the festival saw the annual 322km pilgrimage of a palanquin bearing a statue of the sea goddess from the Chenlan Temple (
The Matsu pilgrimage is one of Taiwan's highest profile religious events and there is no reason why the president shouldn't show up to court the central Taiwan Taoist vote -- if there is such a thing. The problem is that the whole Chenlan temple show is arranged by the ex-KMT, now independent, lawmaker Yen Ching-piao (
Yen has always been cultivated by the blue camp which has never seen any problem with gang bosses being politicians. And in fact only a few days before Chen's visit to the pilgrimage, PFP Chairman James Soong (
When campaigning for the 2000 election Chen attacked Soong over his connection with Yen claiming this showed that Soong was soft on corruption. And yet now we see Chen doing much the same thing. Once again we are bitterly disappointed. Once again we have to ask how many more of the DPP's supposedly core principles Chen is going to trash.
We expect better. The fact is that we hold the DPP to a higher standard of behavior than the blue camp. We all know that the KMT is monstrously corrupt; in fact it is probably more accurate to describe it as a criminal racket than a political party. We also know that Soong belongs in jail. But the DPP has always tried to portray itself as the party of honest government. Sometimes this has only been honored in the breach. After all, after 50 years of KMT corruption, Taiwan's politics is not going to suddenly achieve the squeaky cleanness of Sweden. But by and large if Taiwan's politics is ever to be cleaned up it will have to be done by the DPP. Which is why Chen's willingness to associate with trash like Yen is so bitterly disappointing.
It may be immoral but, even worse in the lexicon of political expediency, it may also be a mistake. For Chen is slowly whittling away almost everything distinctive about the DPP. But then voters have to ask what the DPP actually stands for anymore. What we have seen over the past three years is a KMT government run by the DPP. We have seen no radical change and are losing sight even of the concept. The DPP used to want to make a difference. Now it simply wants to beat the KMT -- at any price. But that is no reason to vote for it.
An April circular by the Chinese Ministry of Education on student admission criteria at Tibetan universities has been harrowing and discriminating to say the least. The circular said that prospective students must state their “political attitude and ideological morality” to be considered for admission. It also said that students should not be involved in religious movements and students who are proficient in Marxist theory should be preferred. Since Beijing started occupying Tibet, it has meticulously introduced policies to dismantle the Tibetan education system, which is closely tied to its rich monastic tradition, and has even pulled students from Afghanistan and eastern
Opinion polls show that Taiwan’s judicial system and law enforcement “enjoy” low approval ratings among Taiwanese. In spite of data showing low crime rates, many Taiwanese drivers have faced aggressive driving, unprovoked road rage, road blocking and unmotivated police officers. Some criminals seem to consider themselves above the law, which is not completely wrong. Reports about so-called “road blocking” can be found in newspapers or on YouTube. An example of this is when “road rowdies” block a vehicle on a road, get out of their vehicle and start to attack the occupants of the blocked vehicle — often attacking in a
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant was a landmark in Hong Kong for nearly half a century. The palatial restaurant, with its pastiche Chinese architecture and neon lights perfectly encapsulated the territory’s beguiling balance of East and West, tradition and modernity. It was a feature backdrop in numerous Hong Kong films. However, forced to close amid the stringent COVID-19 lockdown policies of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) and denied financial support from her government, the floating temple to Cantonese gastronomy was towed from its mooring in Aberdeen Harbour this month by its owners with its planned destination not released. On June
When I was teaching in Lesotho in southern Africa during the 1980s, I taught a class on comparative foreign policy. The course included trips to the US embassy, the Soviet embassy, the British embassy and the newly established Chinese embassy. The students could ask the ambassadors and staff questions about foreign policy, and would then write a report as their final term paper. The Chinese ambassador felt that the US-style education I delivered was unique and invited me to go to China to teach. At the time, China was planning to open up to the world, and it needed professors versed