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DPP vows to protest talks with China

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE: The KMT obtained rally permits for Ketagalan Boulevard and Zhongshan N Road near the Grand Hotel to block the DPP from demonstrating

By Mo Yan-chih And Rich Chang

Thursday, Oct 30, 2008, Page 3

“The KMT’s attempts to silence opposition voices are doomed to failure.”— Huang Hsiang-chun, Taipei City councilor

Police join security services yesterday at the Grand Hotel in Taipei for a joint exercise covering security scenarios in preparation for next week’s visit by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin, who will stay at the hotel.


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors vowed yesterday to protest against Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) at the Grand Hotel after they obtained a road permit — but not a rally permit — for an area near the hotel between next Thursday and Saturday.

Chen is scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Monday for a second round of cross-strait talks and will stay at the Grand Hotel during his five-day visit.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has obtained a road permit and rally permit for Ketagalan Boulevard and Sec. 4 of Zhongshan N Road leading to the Grand Hotel during Chen’s stay to prevent the pan-green camp from securing permits to protest in these spots.

In spite of the KMT’s efforts to block the DPP from holding protests, the DPP managed to obtain a permit for the downhill path leading from the hotel.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) condemned the city government for failing to issue a rally permit to the party, however, and said the caucus would still hang protest banners around the hotel during Chen’s stay and find other ways to make themselves heard.

“The KMT’s attempts to silence opposition voices are doomed to failure. We will do whatever we can to express our resentment against Chen and China,” Huang said at Taipei City Hall.

Rally permits fall under the authority of the Police Department. To prevent clashes between the two camps, the department is expected not to issue a rally permit for the DPP to protest near the hotel, he said.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that he would lead more than 100 supporters to protest against Chen by hiking to the rear of the hotel.

Meanwhile, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) told a press conference yesterday that the party would hold a series of demonstrations during Chen’s stay in Taipei.

The demonstrations will include a vigil, a hand-in-hand protest somewhere in Taipei and simultaneous rallies around the country, he said.

“The party also plans to have protestors use drums, horns, bells, whistles and other things to make a lot of noise outside the locations of meetings between Chen and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and between Chen and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” he said.

The party is also planning on holding an evening rally in Kaohsiung after Chen leaves Taiwan, Cheng said.

He said the DPP would promote only peaceful demonstrations to express opposition to the meetings.

However, the government has not publicized a schedule of events for Chen’s visit, Cheng said, adding that the visit should not be treated as a secret, but be transparent.

“How can the public know what kinds of things the government does with Chen under the table if the government keeps the [details of the] visit secret?” Cheng said.


Listen to the voice

MND considers links with PRC military officers

STEP BY STEP: A Ministry of National Defense official said the links could start with contacts between retired and junior military officers from both sides

Thursday, Oct 30, 2008, Page 3

The Ministry of National Defense is considering the first-ever contacts between the military and China’s People’s Liberation Army, but has set no timetable for any meetings, a senior defense official said yesterday.

Ministry of National Defense spokeswoman Lisa Chi (池玉蘭) said the ministry would start with bilateral contacts between retired and junior military officers and “then move on to high-level meetings between senior officials.”

“No timetable has been set for the military exchange,” Chi said.

A schedule would only come “after the government holds discussions on economic and political issues with China,” Chi said.

TV news reports showed Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) telling local reporters on Tuesday that meetings between senior officials from the two sides would help reduce misunderstandings and the possibility of either side resorting to force.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said earlier this year that he wants to push for discussions with China on economic issues first and then proceed to thorny diplomatic and security issues.

He also said he hoped to sign a formal peace treaty with Beijing, though without specifying what it might contain.

Within a month of his inauguration on May 20, Ma sent a delegation to Beijing to resume bilateral talks after a hiatus of almost 10 years.

The talks facilitated regular weekend charter flights across the Strait were facilitated and made it possible for more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan.

Next week, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) will visit Taiwan.

Taiwanese officials have said the talks will focus only on economic issues, including the expansion of weekend charter flights to weekday service.




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Just take a look at what happened to Hong Kong

By Paul Lin 林保華
Thursday, Oct 30, 2008, Page 8

While the upcoming visit of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) for the second round of talks with Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) may seem focused on economic issues, we must remember that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a political creature and that the talks will have undertones that will be aimed at damaging Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Many Taiwanese strongly oppose signing any agreement with China resembling the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) that Hong Kong signed in 2003.

In 2003, the SARS epidemic spread from China to Hong Kong. Many people died and Hong Kong’s economy was hurt. Then-Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) was criticized as incompetent for relying on China and its economy to solve Hong Kong’s problems. Almost 1 million people took to the streets in protest.

Following this, China eased restrictions on its nationals traveling to Hong Kong in the name of injecting life into Hong Kong’s retail industry. The government painted this as a panacea for Hong Kong’s economic problems and, as a result, the government neglected transforming the structure of industry in Hong Kong. The result was that Hong Kong became overly dependent on China, and when global financial worries started and China’s economy began to slip, Hong Kong’s economy had hardly any life left in it at all.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and other academics released a joint study entitled the Global Urban Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 in July. Hong Kong ranked 26th in terms of overall competitiveness among other cities in the world — a drop of eight places compared with two years ago. The academy is a think tank for the CCP and if this is what they are saying, how can the present administration’s economists still be willing to sacrifice Taiwan by placing all their hopes in China?

An over-reliance on China caused inflation to rise in Hong Kong as the price of goods in China increased. In July, Hong Kong’s inflation rate was 6.3 percent, the highest in 11 years, with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) saying that high rates will continue until next fall. Real income in Hong Kong is also dropping and Hong Kong’s stock market has plummeted as markets in the US and China have fallen.

Chinese company stocks account for half the total value of Hong Kong’s bourse and the Hang Seng index finished about two-thirds lower than average several days ago after the Chinese stock market fell 7.2 points. Stocks in Chinese companies have now become a hindrance to Hong Kong’s stock market and are definitely not a panacea for Hong Kong’s economic woes.

Hong Kong’s media has reported a struggling real estate market, slow business and record unemployment rates.Many enterprises have gone bust and Hong Kong-backed businesses in China have also experienced trouble. Federation of Hong Kong Industries chairman Clement Chen (陳鎮仁) has said there are almost 70,000 businesses in China’s Pearl River Delta that are backed by Hong Kong investors and one-quarter of these are expected to go out of business before the Lunar New Year.

Renowned Hong Kong-based economist and long-time believer in the Chinese economy Steven Cheung (張五常) said last Friday that the Chinese economy would experience negative growth if Beijing fails to take timely remedial action. If negative growth does occur, Hong Kong will certainly be affected.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his economists should be paying close attention.

Paul Lin is a political commentator based in Taiwan.


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