Wednesday, September 02, 2009

‘Taipei Times’: ‘splittists’’ No. 1 source of information

Couldn’t help it … I edited and designed the front page. Picture taken today as the Dalai Lama was heading for Taipei on the high-speed rail.


STOP Ma said...

OMG! Haha. What a perfect shot for a TT ad campaign!

Dixteel said...


Arthur Dent said...

Love it. Nice work Mike. A picture saying a thousand words.

J. Michael said...

Thanks Arthur! It is, indeed, a nice picture (taken by a photographer at the Liberty Times). You're off to that conference next month, right? Did you receive my book?

Anonymous said...

If you have any Taipei Times friends still, you should tell them to give their website an overhaul.

Unlike their paper publication, THEY HAVE NO FRONT PAGE to speak of. It's a list of articles of all equal width with no front-page photo.

Besides, the website as a whole is slow, unreliable, ugly, feature-poor. You can vote, you can't discuss, you can't read a summary of a section. They could make some decent coinage if they bothered to invest in their website, even just a little bit. And they'd greatly increase their influence as well.

Arthur Dent said...


I will be video-presenting from Taiwan at the conference in October and yes I received your book about a month ago and have been working my way through it looking for material. It is an excellent and interesting read and above all a valuable resource and record of many events I had forgotten. For the record, here's my presentation title:

"Sustainability of Democracy in Taiwan: Cause for concern?"

The key questions are:
1. Where is Taiwan's democracy today? (Certain procedures, uncertain outcomes?)

2. What concerns are there for the sustainability of Taiwan's democracy?

3. What evidence supports these concerns?

4. What evidence refutes these concerns?

5. How sustainable is Taiwan's democracy? (domestic and international factors)

It's 391 words but here is the abstract that got me into the conference:

From 1947 to 1987, Taiwanese lived under a system of Martial Law and dictatorship by fiat rule. The Constitution was frozen, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was inseparable from the apparatus of the State and there were only very limited and notional elections held for Provincial representatives, with the public unable to exercise any national political accountability or control over Taiwan’s economic and environmental development. Following the end of Martial Law and the beginning of constitutional reform in 1991, Taiwan moved in the following nine years from a single party autocratic state into a multiparty democracy, a process that was accompanied by a rapid expansion of freedoms of thought, publishing, speech, movement and political activism. The peaceful transfer of power between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive party (DPP) was heralded as proof of Taiwan’s ‘velvet’ transition to democracy and rule of law. Not predicted at the time was the possibility that Taiwan’s progress toward greater democratisation and political freedoms could be either halted or reversed now that Taiwanese had finally gained the right to directly elect their own national legislators and President, and could finally participate in politics without fear of arrest, physical assault or being executed. Yet, since the combined legislative and presidential election victories of the KMT in 2008, a number of commentators are concerned that political freedoms, accountability and the rule of law are being subverted in an effort to build a better relationship between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps as a precursor to first the economic, and later political, annexation of Taiwan into the PRC as a Special Administrative Region. My paper aims to explore the reasons why there are concerns about the sustainability of Taiwan’s democracy, to what extent these fears form a coherent and legitimate picture of related developments that indicate a systemic de-democratisation and to identify institutional elements that might act as a catalyst or a brake to this process. It is to ask the following questions: Is Taiwanese democracy irreversible? What lessons does the ‘Singapore Model’ hold for Taiwan and can Taiwanese democracy survive the continuing attempts by Chinese authorities to “use business people to surround the Government (yi shang wei Zheng) and use citizens to pressure officials (yi min bi guan).” ? Will Taiwanese democracy succumb to the politics of fear and vote itself out of practical existence?

MikeinTaipei said...


Thanks for this. Your presentation looks interesting. Is the event going to be simulcast, or available online?

Anon: I agree with you. The issue has been raised before. Let us hope that an overhaul will happen some day...

Arthur Dent said...

Not sure of the details yet. Still working on a method and working around the time difference. I may pre-record it and then just get on skype for questions.

Anonymous said...

The success of the Straits Times (Singapore's big English paper) is also a very interesting and relevant example.