So often we hear complaints by politicians that their rivals stir up ethnic tension by appealing to base instincts and Taiwan's history of ethnic discrimination. Occasionally, the "ethnic card" is played among the smaller minorities -- Hakka, Aborigines and marital immigrants -- for less spectacular results. But in election season, as legislators and party activists spit out language both offensive and florid, the chance presents itself to gain greater attention and exploit social inequalities.
KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (
Last week Kung attacked President Chen Shui-bian (
Over Chen's two terms, Aboriginal affairs have seen a mixture of genuine concern and indifference. Part of the responsibility for this must lie with the legislature, which -- hardly surprisingly -- has expressed a bipartisan lack of enthusiasm in advancing reform on Aboriginal autonomy and land rights.
But responsibility also lies with Chen's team in the Presidential Office. Top among these is Vice President Annette Lu (
So Kung's criticism can be expected. When he suggested, however, that Chen take after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and issue a broad apology to Taiwan's Aboriginal peoples, he went over the line. In doing so, Kung not only insulted Chen by misrepresenting his record on Aboriginal issues, he also exploited the misery of Australian Aborigines to advance his career.
Rudd's apology was made in the context of hundreds of years of racist, if not genocidal, Aboriginal policy, and was partly energized by a report detailing the widespread, forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their parents for ideological reasons. It was also made in an environment of widespread opposition to any apology, including from former prime minister John Howard, a number of conservative legislators and media commentators, as well as a large minority of ordinary Australians.
Comparing Chen's eight-year stretch of government to Australia's centuries-old history of mistreatment of Aborigines is ludicrous. If Kung were simply another ignorant and uncouth legislator mouthing off on a touchy subject, then this would not be so noteworthy. But he holds a doctorate from a British university and his thesis was on indigenous people and the media. He cannot be unaware of the horrible experiences of Australian Aborigines -- at the hands of their government, ordinary White Australians and their own miscreant elements -- and of the currency that can be gained through media manipulation.
There are perfectly good reasons why Kung stooped to such demeaning language. The most likely is that if Ma wins the presidential election, Kung will be on the inside track to head the executive-level Council for Indigenous Peoples, the top Aboriginal bureaucracy. Every little attack on the enemy, no matter how cynical, helps this agenda.
And if Kung obtains the most powerful position in the nation that is open to the Aboriginal elite -- in practical terms, anyway -- we can expect that he will continue to do what he has done through most of his career as a Ma acolyte: Take instructions, follow them to the letter and keep his people ignorant of their real history of persecution.
For many years, the military’s defense of the Taiwan Strait has been centered around the doctrine of establishing “air and maritime supremacy and repulsing landing forces.” However, after the legislature passed the Sea-Air Combat Power Improvement Plan Purchase Special Regulation (海空戰力提升計畫採購特別條例) last year, the doctrine was altered to “air defense, counterattack, and establish air and maritime supremacy,” with repelling landing forces removed from the equation. Despite the changes to the defense doctrine, landing operations and anti-landing operations still feature at the core of the military’s plans for the defense of the nation. The primary reason that peace in the Taiwan Strait has prevailed
In a China-US war over Taiwan, paradoxically the greatest loss of life could be inflicted on the Muslim Uighurs. Uighurs constitute 45 percent of the Xinjiang population of 25 million people, with over 1 million incarcerated in internment camps in accordance with a policy initiated under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). Another half-million children have been placed in state-run boarding schools. Forced sterilization has led to a 24 to 60 percent drop in the birthrate, leading officials from many countries to describe the mass detention as genocide. Estimated annual death rates in the camps of between 5 and 10 percent could
Sometimes When there is a choice to be made, none of the options are good. The choice between hooking up with communism — in its Chinese iteration, the one that bugs Taiwan the most — and neofascism, of the back-to-the-roots Italian variety or any other kind, is such a choice. The good news is that Taiwan does not have to choose. It neither needs to cozy up to China — the successes of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, despite its shortcomings, are evidence of that — nor does it need to embrace Italy under its likely new leader, Italian lawmaker Giorgia
Starting from November, and in line with recent amendments to the Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance Act (強制汽車責任保險法), electric bicycles (e-bikes) and other small electric two-wheeled vehicles must be licensed with mounted license plates before they can be ridden on the road. This change should resolve some existing problems, such as the difficulty that e-bike owners have faced in receiving help to find their bikes if they are stolen, and the difficulty that road users have in holding anyone accountable when an accident occurs. It would also allow the more than 600,000 e-bikes that are currently being ridden on Taiwan’s roads to