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“We Did Not Teach Ma Well”, NTU Law Professor Says

14 Apr

During a group discussion titled “Civic Disobedience” hosted by National Taiwan University’s (NTU) college of law, college dean Shieh Ming-yan (謝銘洋) said that if anyone had the right to say “we failed our students,” it was the NTU college of law.

“We have truly failed our students, because we have not taught [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) well,” Shieh said.

Ma received his bachelor’s degree of law from the college in 1972.

Shieh’s comments referred to how the government allegedly intended to indict students for illegal actions when they were the only ones to stand up and highlight the government’s incapabilities and shortcomings.

Along with “bumbler” dubbed by The Economist and “administrative bungling and personal remoteness” described by Washington Post, it is really amusing to see his professors back in National Taiwan Univeristy now apologized for “failing” him~ *shrug*

To wrap up, Jerome Keating, a commentator in Taipei, nailed it!

Ma continues to refuse to let the dangers of this trade agreement receive proper examination. However as has been contended, this has not been just a matter of those for trade and those against. It even suggests the difference between a president who is involved with but not committed to the country he represents.
This precarious position also reflects the wider plight and position of Taiwan over the past six decades. Taiwan is a mid-sized nation; it is larger in population than 75 percent of the countries in the UN. Its economy places it in the top 20 countries of the world. It has a thriving, hard-won democracy and yet because of the financial pressure and politicking of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), it is at risk. Furthermore, as Taiwan strives for long overdue international recognition it also watches the failed promises of democracy the PRC gave Hong Kong and the way in which the people of Hong Kong classify the Chinese — as locusts streaming across their border.



Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Protest Is Also Strikingly Beautiful~

1 Apr

Earlier I talked about the recent protest in Legislative Yuan and what perspective a retired US diplomat with 35 years of service in Taiwan, China and Mongolia took on the cross-strait service trade agreement. Here is a a link on Sunday’s rally that gathered more than 100,000 supporters! You can click on the link to see all the photos!! The following is the excerpt from the report:

Holding aloft sunflowers, over 100,000 thronged through the streets of Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Sunday, accusing their government of ramming through a controversial trade deal with China.

The protests, dubbed the “sunflower movement,” started two weeks ago when Taiwan’s ruling party pushed the trade bill through the parliamentary review process without bipartisan discussion, the Wall Street Journal reports. Students stormed the parliament building and have occupied the main chamber for 14 days, fending off attempted police raids by piling entrances and exits with furniture.

Taiwan split from China over 60 years ago, but China still regards the self-governed island as part of its territory. Under Taiwanese President President Ma Ying-jeou ties between China and Taiwan have greatly improved, and the president insists that increasing trade with China is essential to maintain Taiwan’s economic competitiveness. However, many in the country are deeply skeptical of China’s influence while at the same time demanding greater transparency from their government.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Sunday’s rally was a peaceful family affair, with baby strollers, chants from the Les Misérables musical, and dogs dressed up in the protesters’ garb.


There is an article on The Economist called “On the Antlers of A Dilemma” that I would like to share. However, due to a recent policy change of The Economist, only registered or subscribed users can view the whole article so I can’t really link and share it here like I’ve always done. Nevertheless, if you Google it, hehehe *wink*.


Students in the House

24 Mar

It’s been on Taiwan headline news for about a week or so and even The Economist had it reported:

NEARLY three days into their occupation of the debating chamber of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament, in Taipei, dozens of activists, mostly students, show no sign of flagging. They broke in on Tuesday evening, March 18th, and resisted attempts by the police to evict them overnight. Since then, a stand-off has persisted. The police are stopping new arrivals from joining them, but allow in food and water. The protesters include a team of white-coated medics. They look well settled.

The occupation was billed as lasting 120 hours, to block a plenary parliamentary session on Friday 21st March, and to provide a deadline for the government to meet the protesters’ demands. These are three-fold: they want Mr Ma to come to the chamber himself to apologise for the way in which his party pushed an agreement on opening up services trade with China through parliament on Monday (available here, in Chinese); they also want the parliamentary speaker, Wang Jin-pyng (who happens to be a rival to Mr Ma in the ruling party, the Kuomintang, or KMT ) to come to pay his respects; and they want legislation passed to institutionalise parliament’s right to scrutinise such agreements item by item.

The students say they will not leave after their five-day deadline if their demands have not been met; and they may take their “occupy” strategy to other targets: Mr Ma’s own office, for example.

It is already highly unusual for a government to have tolerated the seizure of parliament by protesters for so long. But, fearful of the ugly headlines using force against peaceful students would attract, it does not have many easy options.


Here is the students’ latest “occupy strategy”: Students storm Executive Yuan as standoff persists

The protesters fought police as they broke into the Executive Yuan complex in a move they said was aimed at getting Ma to stop ignoring the public

Mounting frustration over what they see as the government’s lack of sincerity in addressing protesters’ demands over the cross-strait services trade pact led students to force their way through security barricades and razor wire into the Executive Yuan complex in Taipei last night to stage a sit-in.

They said they decided to occupy the Executive Yuan because President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had apparently failed to understand the concerns they have repeatedly expressed over the past days.

At a press conference yesterday morning, Ma showed that he was completely ignoring the public’s voices, the activists said.

“We are here to tell Ma that he should listen to the public’s angry shouts and listen to their voices,” the students said, adding: “We will demonstrate citizens’ strength again and again.”

At 11pm, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) ordered the National Police Agency to deploy more officers to the Executive Yuan to forcibly remove the protestors.

Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that Jiang was distressed by the protesters’ moves, and had vowed to hold them responsible for what he called their illegal and violent actions.


Well well well, I’m glad to see students stand up for what they consider rightful/democratic but violence should never be tolerated or condoned.


Service Pact Brings Little Benefit: US Academic

18 Mar

The cross-strait service trade agreement is a “perfect political agreement” to bring Taiwan into China’s fold and presents no economic benefits to Taiwan, US academic John Tkacik said.

The cross-strait service trade pact, signed in June last year, and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 are incomparable with other trade agreements Taiwan holds with other nations, such as the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) or the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), said Tkacik, a retired US diplomat with 35 years of service in Taiwan, China and Mongolia.

ASTEP and ANZTEC were signed under the WTO framework and enjoyed legal protection such as third party mediation and other resolutions and the equal stature of WTO members ensured a real increase in Taiwan’s export, whereas the cross-strait service trade agreement does not fall under such a category of trade agreements, he said.

Chinese industries opened to Taiwan in the agreements are in Fujian Province and are excessively restricted, Tkacik said, adding that this observations led him to believe the Chinese were simply treating Taiwan as an extension of Fujian Province.

Taiwan as a whole would suffer if the agreement was ratified, Tkacik said, adding that he was perplexed why Taiwanese businesspeople needed more liberty when there is a far more illberal investment environment in China than other nations.

On President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s claims that the service trade agreement would help Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Tkacik said the opposite would probably be true as the service trade agreement would only muddy waters on increased economic integration between Taiwan and the US due to the pact’s lack of transparency.


If a senior fellow at the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center & retired US diplomat with 35 years of service in Taiwan, China and Mongolia can see the pitfall, why hasn’t the Ma Ying-jeou’s administration been able to? Dubbed as a bumbler by The Economist in 2012 (one of the posts that has generated the most traffic for this blog~ XD), he is foreseeably as dumb as ever, isn’t it? /)_(\


ASTEP, Taiwan and Singapore’s Economic Cooperation Agreement

7 Nov

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is pleased to announce the signing of the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Partnership (“ASTEP”) at 9:30, November 7, 2013. ASTEP, following ANZTEC between Taiwan and New Zealand, is Taiwan’s first ECA with its trading partner in Southeast Asia, and a great boost for Taiwan’s efforts to integrate with regional economy.

MOEA explains that, Singapore is strategically positioned in the hub of Southeast Asia trade with a sophisticated trade regime that aligns with international standards.  Singapore, with its comprehensive trade strategy, has signed 20 FTAs with 31 trading partners, many of which have chosen Singapore as their first FTA partner in Southeast Asia. The conclusion of ASTEP will greatly facilitate Taiwan’s cooperation with Singapore and with other Southeast Asian countries, and signifies an important step for our economic strategy to strengthen Taiwan, to connect with the Asia-Pacific region, and to position ourselves globally.

ASTEP contains 17 chapters covering a wide range of topics, including Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Cooperation, Cross-Border Trade in Services, Investment, Government Procurement, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Electronic Commerce, Competition, Intellectual Property, Dispute Settlement, Institutional Provisions, and General Provisions (including the Preamble, Definitions, General Exceptions, and Transparency).


Glad to hear that Taiwan finally inks an economic cooperation agreement with a country of significant economic power other than China~ 😛 Hopefully it will substantially pan out! 🙂