As one of the signatories of the open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (“An open letter to Taiwan’s president,” Nov. 13, 2009, page 8), I would like to respond to the article by Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) (“Taiwan’s political liberties not eroded,” Jan. 26, page 8). I identify a sign of progress in the letter: He states that the government will give “due attention to possible flaws in our judicial system” and continued by stating that it will “keep pushing forward on these fronts.”
I look forward to actual steps that go beyond mere words. Civil liberties are fundamental to democratic nations because they protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens and put limits on governments.
Actions are warranted.
Freedom House’s downgrading of Taiwan’s ranking in terms of civil liberties from 1 to 2 this year signals that the nation is going in the wrong direction, and it is worrisome. I hope Su’s mentioning only of the positive developments in Taiwan’s legal system over the last two decades and avoidance of further comment on what has happened over the last two years — according to Freedom House — is not a sign of self-deception or an argument for avoiding concrete action.
In its report, Freedom House refers to violations of the rights of defendants in criminal cases and other new restrictions on freedom of expression and news freedom. In addition, Jerome Cohen and Chen Yu-jie (陳玉潔) stated in the South China Morning Post on Jan. 20 that now “it [the government] is trying to introduce legislation to punish ‘obstructions of justice’ that will inevitably restrict defense lawyers’ activities.”
Thus, using history over the last two decades to showcase Taiwan’s democratic development is deceptive.
Su seems to have a different understanding of democratic involvement than others. Based on his words, cross-strait relations are only important to the legislature if they are related to law, and the public should only have involvement between elections via the media. However, the agreements involving China and Taiwan deal with the key issue of Taiwan’s future and its existence as a free and democratic nation, and for that reason the agreements are always important to the legislature and the public because of tensions with China and that country’s obvious threats to Taiwan.
During negotiation of agreements that fundamentally affect cross-strait relations, the legislature should be involved directly though a bipartisan committee instead of, as appears to be the case, acting as a rubberstamp parliament that is informed of, but not involved in, the decision-making process.
Taiwan has much to gain through the increased involvement of all parties, including civil society, in cross-strait negotiations. Such a dialogue is essential if there is to be a broad consensus in Taiwan regarding relations with China.
Michael Danielsen is chairman of Taiwan Corner.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum in Taipei, former Singaporean minister for foreign affairs George Yeo (楊榮文) proposed a “Chinese commonwealth” as a potential framework for political integration between Taiwan and China. Yeo said the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait is unsustainable and that Taiwan should not be “a piece on the chessboard” in a geopolitical game between China and the US. Yeo’s remark is nothing but an ill-intentioned political maneuver that is made by all pro-China politicians in Singapore. Since when does a Southeast Asian nation have the right to stick its nose in where it is not wanted
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
More Taiwanese semiconductor companies, from chip designers to suppliers of equipment and raw materials, are feeling the pinch due to increasing competition from their Chinese peers, who are betting all their resources on developing mature chipmaking technologies in a push for self-sufficiency, as their access to advanced nodes has been affected by US tech curbs. A lack of chip manufacturing technology such as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) would ensure that Chinese companies — Huawei Technology Co in particular — lag behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co by five to six years, some analysts have said.
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,