Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Strange Case of Tom Wang, the Taiwanese Who Wants to be a CCP Member

A Taiwan-born pro-unification student who wants to join the Chinese Communist Party may have become the latest tool in Beijing’s united front work against Taiwan 

A Taiwanese PhD student currently enrolled at Peking University in Beijing says he wants to join the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and is now slamming Taiwan’s democracy for threatening to fine him if he does. 

Tom Wang, 39, stated his intention to seek membership in the CCP next year after the two sessions of the 19th CCP party congress, which concluded last week. After Wang, who holds a Master’s Degree from York University in Toronto, Canada, made his announcement — coincidentally first reported in the Beijing-friendly China Times — Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) indicated that the student could be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 (US$3,315-US$16,575) for violating Article 33 Paragraph 2 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. 

Continues here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Recall Attempt Against Huang Kuo-chang: What’s at Stake?

Conservative Christian groups are getting closer to unseating a progressive legislator from the New Power Party due to his support for same-sex marriage. The strategy is part of an evolving global assault against liberal values which finds its roots in the United States 

The Central Election Commission will announce on Oct. 31 whether a recall attempt against New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang initiated by a conservative umbrella organization earlier this year can proceed to a vote. 

The CEC’s decision, which is expected to be rendered on Tuesday, will come after the New Taipei City Election Commission confirmed last week that 26,745 signatures had been collected supporting a recall, thus surpassing the threshold of 10% of eligible voters in the municipality’s 12th electoral district, where Huang was elected, with 51.51% of the vote (80,508 votes), in the January 2016 legislative elections. If deemed valid by the CEC, the recall vote could be held as early as December. 

Continues here.

Friday, October 20, 2017

War of the Words: Why Xi Jinping's Big Speech Means Little to Taiwan

What matters isn’t so much what Xi said in his marathon speech, but rather what actions his government takes next 

China has the resolve, confidence and ability to quash Taiwanese independence in any form, Chinese president and Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping told a packed audience during his three-and-a-half-hour statement to the Nineteenth National Congress in Beijing. 

In his speech, which mainly focused on building a “modern socialist country,” Xi made a total of four references to the so-called 1992 Consensus, a construct that Beijing has insisted upon as a prerequisite for cross-Strait dialogue. Unlike her predecessor, President Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party has refused to abide by the consensus and its inherent “one China” principle, choosing instead to acknowledge the progress that has been made in cross-Strait relations since the 1990s and to commit to constructive relations with Taiwan’s large neighbor by maintaining the status quo. 

Continues here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Taiwan Conspicuously Absent From Peace Event in Montreal

Repressive and authoritarian countries are all featured at an event about peace in Montreal. But Taiwan, one of the rare vibrant democracies in Asia, is snubbed 

A few weeks ago, following a workshop and a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., I flew home to Montreal for a few days of much-needed rest with family and friends. As luck would have it, work tends to hound me wherever I go, and as I sat in the lounge at Reagan National Airport waiting for my Air Canada flight to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, immediately across me was Fang Liu, the Chinese secretary general of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the global body that, under her watch, has chosen to put politics above aviation safety. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Double Ten and the Narcissism of Small Differences in Taiwan

Both Taiwan and the ROC today overlap in the fundamental values and ideas that define society. Rather than bicker over nomenclatural differences and symbols, the two main political camps should emphasize what they have in common. Doing so might in fact be a matter of survival 

Once again this year the Double Ten celebrations on Tuesday sparked off a new round of debate in Taiwan about the significance of National Day (or “National Day”). Many of the entries and exchanges on Facebook, in newspaper columns and on evening talk shows served to exacerbate divisiveness rather than bring people together, as most national day celebrations normally do. 

As always, one camp needed to remind us all that Double Ten isn’t Taiwan’s birthday (it isn’t), while the more adamant among them — often those from afar — felt compelled to refer to whomever attended the celebrations as either stupid/brainwashed (they are not) or sellouts (ditto). 

Continues here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Illiberal Forces Push Back in Taiwan

Movements that are driven by a conservative ideology are joining hands to block various progressive efforts by the government in Taiwan. Using threats, violence, disinformation and even democratic instruments, these groups seek to intimidate civilians and elected officials in the pursuit of their objectives 

Violence-prone groups that advocate unification with China, a movement that opposes the Tsai Ing-wen government’s pension reform program and religious organizations that are dead set against the legalization of same-sex marriage (and homosexuality in general) have come together and formed a loose coalition in recent months, using tactics that go against the progressive momentum that has animated Taiwanese society in recent years. 

Though more alliance of convenience than an actual structured organization, the three movements have joined ranks to push back against what many regard as progress, and have had no compunction in resorting to threats and violence to punish, intimidate and silence their ideological opponents. Left unchecked, these activities will contribute to greater social instability and undermine the nation’s democratic institutions. 

Continues here.

Homage to Catalonia … and Taiwan

We can admire and encourage Catalans as they aspire to build their own country. But the situation there is a false, and potentially dangerous, analogy for Taiwan 

The recent drama in Catalonia after the Spanish constitutional court suspended an independence referendum for the self-governing region of 7.5 million people has reinvigorated the debate in Taiwan on whether the island-nation should hold its own referendum on de jure independence. 

As batons, boots and shields bruised bodies and broke bones in Barcelona, a good number of independentists back in Taiwan saw in a people’s travails a form of bravery and determination that, in their view, has been lacking in their own country. While the world looked on in horror as Spanish shock troops descended on unarmed civilians, Taiwan’s social media were filled with accusations, against their own, of apathy, lack of zeal and flabby patriotism. Catalonia, ebullient with defiance and its people willing to risk injury, stood as a shining symbol of self-determination. It was, many said, an example for Taiwan. 

Continues here.