Everyone knows it, but not many politicians or mainstream journalists are willing to talk about it, \nfor fear of sounding conspiracy-minded: There is a substantial chance that the result of this year's presidential election will be suspect. \nWhen I say that the result will be suspect, I don't mean that the election will, in fact, have been stolen. I mean that there will be sufficient uncertainty about the honesty of the vote count such that much of the world and many Americans will have serious doubts. \nHow might the election result be suspect? Well, to take only one of several possibilities, suppose that Florida -- where recent polls give Senator John Kerry the lead -- once again swings the election to President George W. Bush. \nMuch of Florida's vote will be counted by electronic voting machines with no paper trails. Independent computer scientists who have examined some of these machines' programming code are appalled at the security flaws. So there will be reasonable doubts about whether Florida's votes were properly counted, and no paper ballots to recount. The public will have to take the result on faith. \nYet the behavior of Florida Governor Jeb Bush's officials with regard to other election-related matters offers no justification for such faith. First there was the affair of the felon list. Florida law denies the vote to convicted felons. But in 2000 many innocent people, a great number of them black, couldn't vote because they were erroneously put on a list of felons; these wrongful exclusions may have put Governor Bush's brother in the White House. \nThis year, Florida again drew up a felon list, and tried to keep \nit secret. When a judge forced \nthe list's release, it turned out \nthat it once again wrongly disenfranchised many people -- again, largely African-American -- while including almost no Hispanics. \nOn Monday, there was a New York Times report on another highly suspicious Florida initiative: state police officers have gone \ninto the homes of elderly African-American voters -- including \nparticipants in get-out-the-vote operations -- and interrogated them as part of what the state says is a fraud investigation. But the state has provided little information about the investigation, and, as the report said, this looks remarkably like an attempt to intimidate voters. \nGiven this pattern, there will be skepticism if Florida's paperless voting machines give President Bush an upset, uncheckable victory. \nCongress should have acted long ago to place the coming election above suspicion by requiring a paper trail for votes. But legislation was bottled up in committee, and it may be too late to change the hardware. Yet it is crucial that this election be credible. What can be done? \nThere is still time for officials to provide enhanced security and assure the public that nobody can tamper with voting machines before or during the election; to hire independent security consultants to perform random tests before and during Election Day; and to provide paper ballots to every voter who requests one. \nVoters, too, can do their bit. Recently the Florida Republican Party sent out a brochure urging supporters to use absentee ballots to make sure their votes are counted. The party claims that was a mistake -- but it was, in fact, good advice. Voters should use paper ballots where they are available, and if this means voting absentee, so be it (election officials will be furious about the increased workload, but they have brought this on themselves). \nFinally, some voting activists have urged a last-minute push for independent exit polling, parallel to but independent of polling by media groups -- whose combined operation suffered a meltdown during the upset Republican electoral triumph in 2002. This sounds like a very good idea. \nIntensive exit polling would do triple duty. It would serve as a deterrent to anyone contemplating election fraud. If all went well, it would help validate the results and silence skeptics. And it would give an early warning if there was election tampering -- perhaps early enough to seek redress. \nIt's horrifying to think that the credibility of our democracy -- a democracy bought through the courage and sacrifice of many brave men and women -- is now in danger. It's so horrifying that many prefer not to think about it. But closing our eyes won't make the threat go away. On the contrary, denial will only increase the chances of a disastrously suspect election.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
As Taiwan is engulfed in worries about Chinese infiltration, news reports have revealed that power inverters made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co are used in the solar panels on the top of the Legislative Yuan’s Zhenjiang House (鎮江會館) on Zhenjiang Street in Taipei. However, what is even more worrying is that Taiwan’s new national electronic identification card (eID) has been subcontracted to the French security firm and eID maker Idemia, which has not only cooperated with the Chinese Public Security Bureau to manufacture eIDs in China, but also makes the new identification cards being issued in Hong Kong. There might be more
All lives eventually come to an end. Over the years, my friendship with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had its ups and downs. Lee’s passing was a heavy blow and has left me deeply saddened. We experienced a lot together and the memories have come flooding back. Lee was born several months earlier than me. During World War II, he was studying at Kyoto Imperial University, but halfway through his studies, he was forced to change his name and enter military service. I was studying at Tokyo Imperial University, but went into hiding to avoid military service, and I was later