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Chinese officials deny protest claim by Dalai Lama

AFP, BEIJING
Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 1


Authorities in a Tibetan area of southwest China denied yesterday that a protest had taken place, after the Dalai Lama said Chinese troops there had fired on protesters this week.

An official at the local government office of Garze, a Tibetan-majority town in Sichuan Province, where the protest is alleged to have taken place, said no such incident had occurred.

:There has not been any protest,; the official, who refused to be named, said by phone.

A man surnamed Liu, working at the police bureau of Garze prefecture, also denied any unrest.

:There has been no protest, it・s been calm recently,; he said.

In an interview with France・s Le Monde published on Thursday, the Dalai Lama said Chinese security forces in Garze had opened fire on protesters on Monday.

He later denied a comment attributed to him by the paper that 140 people had died. His aide later said there were casualties but it was impossible to get further information because Chinese security forces had locked down the area.

Tibetan activists also said they could get no information from Garze. Pro-Tibet Web sites remained blocked in the Olympic press center and elsewhere in China yesterday.

In related news, Apple also said yesterday that it was investigating why access to iTunes appeared to be blocked for users in China after a pro-Tibet album became a hit on the online music store.

The iTunes download site has been unavailable for many users within China in the past week, but Apple・s Beijing-based spokeswoman Huang Yuna said she did not know why people were unable to log on.

:We・ve noticed the problem. It・s true that users may fail to log in to iTunes store right now,; she said.

:We are still investigating,; she said, but would not confirm if Apple was in contact with officials.

The restrictions come after Songs for Tibet, a pro-Tibet album featuring songs by artists such as Sting, was released on iTunes just before the Games started.

Meanwhile, foreign pro-Tibet activists hailed their Olympic campaign a success yesterday, despite the fact 10 of their protesters were missing and believed to be in police custody in Beijing.

Students for a Free Tibet held a news conference in Beijing・s diplomatic quarter to mark the end a series of protests targeting the Olympics to raise awareness about Chinese repression in Tibet.

:We organized eight non-violent direct actions here while we・ve been in China, successfully X we call it our lucky eight,; Ginger Cassady, a Students for a Free Tibet activist from San Francisco, told reporters.

Beijing police confirmed yesterday that 10-day detention terms were handed out to six unnamed foreigners picked up on Tuesday for disturbing public order.

Police have refused to say who they are but Students for a Free Tibet said Tom Grant, a 39-year-old Emmy Award-winning documentary maker, was one of the six US activists believed detained.

Four other Tibet activists X a Briton, a German and two other Americans X were detained on Thursday and are believed to have also been given 10-day detentions.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee yesterday described the rough treatment of two Associated Press photographers trying to cover a protest in Beijing as unfortunate.

Plainclothes officers :roughed up; the photographers as they took pictures of the pro-Tibet protest near the Olympic area on Wednesday, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) said.

:One was knocked to the ground, had his face pressed in the dirt, arm twisted behind his back and his cameras ripped from him,; the FCCC said. :The other was tackled from behind, pushed to the ground, had his camera grabbed.;

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 IOC wants top Chinese gymnast・s age double-checked

AGENCIES, BEIJING
Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 1
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Chinese gymnast He Kexin, center, stands with teammates at a news conference at the Samsung Pavilion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing yesterday.


PHOTO: AP


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to investigate claims that Chinese double gold medallist He Kexin (鵺_Y) is younger than the eligible age to compete in the Games.

Allegations have been rife that China broke the rules by fielding three gymnasts who will not turn 16 this year, with the focus on He.

He, registered at the Beijing Olympics as 16, won team gold and a gold on the asymmetric bars. She was registered as having been born on Jan. 1, 1992. Gymnasts must turn 16 in the year of the Games to be allowed to compete.

A US computer expert had said in e-mails to the media on Thursday he had uncovered Chinese state documents that proved He was born in 1994 and not 1992.

:Given that there have been some discrepancies regarding her age that have come to light, we have asked the FIG to look into this matter,; an IOC official said. :It is because of these discrepancies that we have asked for this investigation to start.;

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Ethnic rights activists call for new perspective
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By Loa Iok-sin
STAFF REPORTER

Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 3

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:For the past 400 years, Aboriginal history has been recorded only from non-Aboriginal perspectives X we need to construct an Aboriginal perspective on history.;X Sun Ta-chuan, Aboriginal activist.
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Ethnic rights activists yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (姶^E) to better understand what the Aboriginal and Hakka movements were aiming for.

:Ma talked a lot about ethnic affairs during his presidential campaign, but based on what he has said, I・m worried whether he really understands that we・re fighting for ethnic and cultural decolonization, and that the issues are not just about social welfare,; Yang Chang-chen (隈瀧), a long-term Hakka and Aboriginal rights activist, told a forum in Taipei yesterday co-hosted by several social groups.

Yang said his worries came from an incident in which a group of Amis residents in Taipei County whose community was set for demolition petitioned Ma in January.

Ma at the time told the group that :if you come into the city, you are a Taipei resident. I see you as a human being. I see you as a citizen, and I will educate you well,; and that :when you come into the city, you have to play by our rules.;

Sun Ta-chuan (]jt), a Puyuma activist, said: :Ma once said that .Aborigines don・t have any problem in their genes, but they have problems in getting opportunities.・;

:Of course there is no problem in our genes! It seems like Ma regards the Aboriginal movement as a social issue,; Sun said.

Sun said the next step was for Aborigines to establish their own perspectives on issues related to them to avoid then :being kidnapped by politicians and other outsiders.;

:For the past 400 years, Aboriginal history has been recorded only from non-Aboriginal perspectives X we need to construct an Aboriginal perspective on history,; Sun said.

Yang and Sun agree that there were some interior issues that need to be resolved and adjusted for the movements to continue.

:Among Aborigines, there is the issue of unequal distribution of resources,; Sun said. :For example, since the Amis are the most populous, they may get more resources than other smaller tribes and we should fix this.;

Yang suggested that social groups change their mentality.

:Before the first change of power, we considered the government our enemy, because it was an authoritarian regime,; he said.

But in a democracy, things aren・t so black and white, he said.

:We keep talking about ideologies without considering that political parties need votes, so we・ve become marginalized,; Yang said. :As members of a democratic society, we should adjust our mentality and try to enter into dialogue with the government, not just remain opposed to it.;

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Rally to support .sunshine bills・

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA
Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 3


Responding to recent developments concerning former president Chen Shui-bian (劾), members of several civic groups yesterday called for the passage of :sunshine bills; to combat corruption by public officials.

Participants at a colloquium sponsored by Taiwan Thinktank unanimously agreed that corruption by senior officials and public functionaries could be rooted out only by changing the governing systems, such as enactment of :sunshine bills; that would oblige senior officials and civil servants to account for their private assets.

At the colloquium, Hung Yu-hung (x故Щ), convener of the Constitution Reform Alliance, called for the legislature to enact a law at the next legislative session that would make it a crime for government officials to hold unaccounted-for wealth.

:Under current circumstances, there will be no solid evidence to adequately prove that the huge amount of money that Chen・s wife wired overseas were the gains of corruption committed by Chen during his tenures as president and Taipei mayor,; Hung said.

:In the current legal environment, there is no way to charge Chen with corruption,; he said, adding that the scandal would at best only affect public opinion of Chen・s morals.

Hung suggested the legislature enact a law that would make it a crime for government officials to hold unexplained wealth.

The law should be retroactive X allowing all senior officials, sitting or retired, to be scrutinized in terms of possession of private assets, he said.

:If that law is put into force, Chen would unavoidably be found guilty and many figures from the Democratic Progressive Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] could be indicted,; Hung said.

:Half of the politicians in the country would be downed by the law X consequently ushering in a new, clean and competent government,; he said.

Ku Chung-hua (U承), chairman of Citizen Congress Watch, urged the KMT-dominated legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible so that all government officials and public officials could be scrutinized by the same rules and criteria.

Meanwhile, Hsu Yung-ming (}ッ), an executive director at Taiwan Thinktank, urged the public yesterday to take part in a demonstration being organized by the pro-independence Taiwan Society and other activists groups next Saturday.

Hsu called for the public to join the rally, saying that the march X aimed at championing people・s power in overseeing the government X is neither pro-Chen nor anti-Chen.

Chen, his wife Wu Shu-jen (dQ) and Wu・s elder brother Wu Ching-mao (d敢Z) were listed earlier this week as suspects in an alleged overseas money laundering case and have been barred from leaving the country.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (劾汲) said yesterday that she would participate in the demonstration.

:It is inappropriate for the public to label the demonstration as a pro-Chen Shui-bian event,; she said.

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DPP poll finds lack of trust in judiciary
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By Shih Hsiu-chuan
STAFF REPORTER
Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 3


A survey released by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday found that 46 percent of respondents believed that the judiciary wasn・t handling money laundering allegations against former president Chen Shui-bian (劾) with impartiality.

The survey, conducted by telephone with 896 respondents of voting age on Wednesday and Thursday, found that 38.7 percent said the case was being handled fairly.

The margin of error for these survey results, to a 95 percent confidence level, is plus or minus 3.3 percent, the DPP said in its statement.

:The DPP is very supportive of the judiciary・s probe into the case according to the provisions of the laws but over the past two weeks, the judiciary has different versions of the sources of the funds ... Even now, it has no proof to show that the funds were income Chen obtained through corruption,; DPP Department of Culture and Information Director Cheng Wen-tsang (Gゅ千) told a press conference yesterday.

:The poll result showed that the public does not trust the judiciary・s handling of the case of former president Chen,; he said.

Cheng called for the judiciary to adopt a more conscientious approach in dealing with the case to prove that the nation・s judicial system is independent of politics and is able to protect the human rights of the people involved.

Cheng said the survey was also conducted to cross reference answers with party inclination to determine which categories of respondents were more likely to distrust the judiciary in handling this case.

It showed that 69 percent of supporters in favor of the DPP were suspicious of the impartiality of the judiciary, while 37.9 percent of pan-blue supporters and 40.9 percent of the respondents without party affiliation held the same opinion.

The results of the survey suggested there is a lack of public trust in the judiciary, Cheng said.

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Listen to the voice

An open letter to the citizens of Taiwan
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Lloyd V.Evans
Saturday, Aug 23, 2008, Page 8


The 823 Badge of Honor Association USA was created on Oct. 10, 1998, on the 40th anniversary of Taiwan・s successful thwarting of a communist invasion. Our membership exceeds 5,000, yet we are but a few of the tens of thousands of American military that have served the interests of Taiwan.

Just as the French and the Germans assisted the US in its War of Independence (1775-1783), our nation supported Taiwan in her time of need. No nation maintaining its struggle for self-determination can do it alone.

Since the bombing of Kinmen from Aug. 23, 1958, a continued US-Republic of China (ROC) relationship allowed a period of calm. These periods of relative calm allowed Taiwan to evolve into the nation it is today.

Taiwan today is known as a thriving democratic republic with a free citizenry.

Taiwan・s prosperity has outstripped the imaginations of many in the world politic. The light from Taiwan・s Beacon of Freedom shines far beyond any body of water.

That light illuminates the minds of the world・s people, who, held captive by despots and tyrants, see the possibility of hope in Taiwan・s example.

We of America・s military past are proud to have served Taiwan, but none is as proud as those in your valiant military. For it is they and the citizens of Kinmen who in 1958 sacrificed, bled and died in order to secure this ephemeral concept called freedom.

In 1998, on the 40th anniversary of 823, your Ministry of National Defense (MND) under the administration of then president Lee Teng-hui (n女), invited American veterans to receive, as part of a joint military presentation, your nation・s Honor Medal for the 823 Bombardment.

Subsequently, the MND, under former president Chen Shui-bian・s (劾) administration, presented to American veterans the US-ROC Mutual Defense Commemorative Badge 1955-1979.

Today, Aug. 23, 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou (姶^E) invites us to Kinmen to participate with him in his tribute at the Tomb of the Unknowns, with a subsequent celebration with Taiwan・s 823 veterans and Defense Command military on this, the 50th anniversary of 823.

Fifty years to the day and the date is a long time to reflect back: The veterans of our nations are older now and their numbers decrease daily. Yet it is celebrations such as this 50th anniversary of 823 that allow the benefactors of that sacrifice to join in a salute to them and to their own history.

Why is this celebration important, and why does history matter? Amnesia is as detrimental to a society as it is to the individual.

The historian Daniel Boorstin put it well: :Trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers.; Never forget the price paid for your freedom.

I do not invoke the blessings of deity for Taiwan, for the blessings of deity are evident when I look upon your nation・s political and military leaders. Yet even with their courage, the modern era of freedom and democracy is not without risk. Taiwan・s democratic republic has shown the world that a free people can transfer political power without bloodshed; that no despot, tyrant, or any :ism; can dictate to Taiwan・s people how they should live. It is the citizens of Taiwan that will make that decision as they continue to choose their path in the world.

On behalf of the thousands of members of the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA and the tens of millions of American citizens, let me proclaim: :Taiwan, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever!;

Lloyd V. Evans II is chairman of the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA.

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