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Legislative meeting ends in clashes

STICKS AND STONES: Insults flew yesterday as a legislative committee meeting degenerated into farce after a clash between Lee Ching-hua and Chiu Yi-ying

By Ko Shu-ling and Flora Wang
Thursday, Apr 23, 2009, Page 1


Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Yi-ying, center, slaps Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua, left, during a meeting in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.



A legislative committee meeting intended to be a briefing on this weekend's cross-strait talks ended abruptly yesterday amid physical confrontation.

The adjournment of the meeting meant cross-strait policy makers and negotiators were denied the opportunity to brief the committee.

The third round of cross-strait talks between Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin, will be held from Saturday to Wednesday in Nanjing, China.

Both sides are expected to sign three agreements on financial cooperation, changing direct cross-strait charter flights into regular flights and joint efforts to combat crime, as well as a joint statement on opening Taiwan to investment from China.


The committee meeting yesterday began with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators complaining that Chiang was not present.

A skirmish began while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua was at the podium, after he said that rather than criticizing Chiang, the DPP should have condemned former SEF heads under the DPP administration for failing to report to the committee.

Lee and DPP legislator Chiu Yi-ying then engaged in a shouting match after Lee asked Chiu to stop interrupting him and show manners.

Offended by his remarks, Chiu rushed to the podium and asked Lee to apologize, saying his sister, Diane Lee, was the one lacking upbringing.

Diane Lee quit her position as a legislator earlier this year after being found to possess US citizenship in violation of the law.


Committee chairman KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng, ordered a recess, Chiu and Lee continued to bicker, with Lee challenging Chiu to hit him and calling her a pofu.

Chiu demanded Lee Ching-hua apologize.

When no apology was forthcoming, Chiu slapped Lee's face. Lee Ching-hua then shouted ※violent party§ and called Chiu a "violent shrew."


KMT Legislator Chu Fong-chi criticized Chiu for "putting on a show." Chiu then asked what Chu would do if she were called a "shrew."

Chu replied she would never do anything to merit that title. Chiu burst into tears.

Wu later expressed regret over the incident and said he was taken aback. He also apologized for failing to prevent the clash.

As Wu asked committee members to decide on a proposal by KMT lawmakers to adjourn the meeting, DPP legislators demanded Lee apologize.

Ignoring the DPP request, Wu adjourned the meeting, leading to the two sides engaging in a shoving match.

Demands by DPP legislators that Lee Ching-hua apologize to Chiu were ignored.



A look at the Insular Cases

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009, Page 8

Joshua Tin (田台仁) has struck gold in his recent commentary on legal divisions of the jurisdiction of Taiwan (“Taiwanese right to determine jurisdiction,” April 19, page 8).

The [US Supreme Court’s] Insular Cases are based upon the judicial explanation that the US federal government represents the people of the US who reside in the 50 states. These cases determined that the “people of an island” fall under a separate jurisdiction from the federal government that represents the people of the US. The people of an insular area are described as, for example, “citizens of Puerto Rico,” according to the Foraker Act, or “citizens of the Philippines,” according to the Tydings-McDuffie Act.

This description was one of the original distinguishing hallmarks of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) that caused me to research it deeper. Tin is correct in saying the “people on Taiwan” are not subject to the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China, and he adds that the people of Taiwan are not Chinese despite there being “Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait,” according to the Shanghai Communique.

He is fully describing the customary law of interim status which is tied to the legal jurisdiction of the cession. The interim legal status of the “people on Taiwan” can be detached from their legal jurisdiction, much like that of the people of Puerto Rico, who were collectively naturalized by a legislative statute enacted by the US Congress. Today, people born in Puerto Rico are US citizens by statutory operation of collective naturalization, not on the basis of 14th Amendment jus soli.

Under the naturalization powers of the 14th Amendment, the people of Taiwan can be granted US citizenship. Right now, they are excluded from the mainland jurisdiction of the US Customs Territory and they are citizens of Formosa under the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

If we closely examine the American Samoan laws, the “people of Samoa” can also exclude US citizens, but only if they are not descendent from Samoan lineage. In other words, the “people of Taiwan” [should be able to] collectively naturalize under a US Immigration and Naturalization Act statute, but under Taiwanese law, US citizens not in possession of residency permits or those who are not lineal descendants of [people on the] Taiwan Family Census Register can be excluded from the island immigration jurisdiction of Taiwan (just like in American Samoa).

The body politic of the island forms the government representing them under the Insular Cases, just like the people of the US form the body politic of the federal government. This is where political power resides in each jurisdiction. From the perspective of the Insular Cases, the phrases “people of America” and “people of Taiwan” have a deeper meaning and constitutional significance in terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty and TRA, which defines the relationship of two jurisdictions. The TRA applies to Taiwan and Penghu under San Francisco Peace Treaty Article 2(b), but not to the offshore islands occupied by the Republic of China. The real political power of the Taiwanese body politic resides with the people of the jurisdiction.

Tin should note that the “separate customs territory” [that has arisen from] the San Francisco Peace Treaty jurisdiction is not part of the US Customs Territory. Under the Uniform Tariff Clause of the US Constitution, the USMG [United States Military Government] creates a separate customs territory because of the Law of Occupation acting to divide the island from the US Customs Territory. Under US domestic law, the international Law of Occupation creates this separate customs territory because of the USMG (Fleming v. Page).

Island economies are the toughest challenge under Economic Development Theory, but it is pertinent that the regional operations center on the WTO’s autonomous separate customs territory [of Taiwan] should be examined [as possibly being] an island fiscal autonomy under the Uniform Tariff Clause. Economists can then readily build the the new economic model under the island jurisdiction of the “Insular Customs Collectors of Formosa.” Or how about the Authoritarian Capitalism of Singapore? A Free Market of Hong Kong? A post-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) political economy of “American Formosa”?

Olympia, Washington





China’s rise is America’s decline

Beijing is becoming increasingly assertive on global finance and economics — and the US will be the loser

By Martin Jacques
Thursday, Apr 23, 2009, Page 9


We have entered one of those rare historical periods that is characterized by a shift in global hegemony from one great power to another.

The last such was between 1931 and 1945, and marked the end of Britain’s financial ascendancy and its replacement by that of the US. It might be argued that the Cold War represented a similar period, but that is a fallacy. The Cold War was an ideological struggle between two powers that were always hopelessly ill-matched.

This new period is marked by the rise of China and the decline of the US. Arguably the process started around a decade ago, but at that stage it was barely noticed, such was the West’s preoccupation with Sept. 11 and its after-effects. Indeed, the Bush administration was thinking in exactly the opposite terms: The world was entering a golden age of US global power.

It is more appropriate, however, to date the beginning of the new era from last year. First, the election of President Barack Obama signaled a recognition by the US of the limitations of its own power and the need for it to cooperate with other nations.

Second, China has reached a point where it is now clearly prepared, on the basis of the advances of the last three decades, to assume a more active global role.

And third, the onset of the global financial crisis provides the context for the decline of US economic power and illustrates the extent to which it has become dependent on China for the continuation of its global financial hegemony.

Such periods of transition are profoundly unstable, deeply uncertain and fraught with danger. The world is fortunate — for the time being, at least — that it has an American president in Obama who is prepared to take a conciliatory and concessive attitude toward the decline of the US, and that it has a Chinese leadership that has been extremely cautious about expressing an opinion, let alone flexing its muscles.

The picture, however, is changing rapidly; indeed, this year has already witnessed a marked change in Chinese attitudes.

Ever since the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), the Chinese approach has been based on taoguang yanghui (韜光養晦) — hide one’s capabilities and bide one’s time. But a succession of statements and initiatives suggest that Chinese policy has now entered a new phase.


Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) expressed strong confidence at the Boao Forum in Hainan on Saturday that China was successfully weathering the effects of the global economic crisis. During his visit to Europe for the Davos meeting, he made clear that reckless Western economic policy, especially by the US, was responsible for the crisis. He also declared that China would not give funds to the IMF unless the latter was subject to major reform.

Later he expressed strong concern about US financial policy and its impact on the dollar, seeking reassurance that the value of China’s US treasury bonds would not be prejudiced. In a carefully staged run-up to the G20 summit, Vice Premier Wang Qishan (王岐山) set out a vision of a new monetary order, while most dramatically of all, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川) called for a new global currency based on using the IMF’s special drawing rights, an idea immediately rejected by the US.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the finance ministers and central bank chiefs from China, India, Russia and Brazil that preceded the G20 summit called for greater voting rights for developing countries in international financial organizations.

This new assertiveness is finding other forms of expression in Chinese society. A new book by five nationalistic authors, Unhappy China, argues that China has no choice but to become a superpower. Published last month, it immediately shot to the top of the bestseller list. There has also been an intense public debate about whether the country should continue purchasing US treasury bonds, especially given their extremely low interest rate.

It is now abundantly clear that China is prepared to take an active and interventionist role in international financial affairs. Given that the global financial crisis is at the top of every agenda and that reform of the existing global financial order is now irresistible, this has far-reaching implications: China will be a central player in whatever new architecture emerges from the present crisis.

This represents an extraordinary change even compared with two years ago, let alone five years ago, when China was not even included in discussions on such matters. But it also has a much wider significance.


The rise of China and the decline of the US will, at least during this period, be enacted overwhelmingly on the financial and economic stage. China has now demonstrated that it intends to be a full-hearted participant in this process, and it is not difficult to predict some of the likely consequences: The G20 will in effect replace the G8 and the IMF and the World Bank will be subject to reform, with the developing countries acquiring a greater say.

The most audacious proposal that has emanated from Beijing so far, almost completely unforeseen, is the suggestion for a new global currency that might, in time, replace the role of the greenback as the world’s reserve currency. Whether or not such a proposal would ever see the light of day, or indeed work, given that reserve currencies have always depended on a powerful sovereign state, this nonetheless provides us with an insight into the strategic financial thinking that now informs the Chinese government’s approach. Clearly they recognize that the days of the US dollar as the dominant global currency are numbered. This would also, incidentally, signal the end of New York as the global financial center.

But this is only one side of the picture. On the other side is the growing role of China’s currency, which has so far attracted little attention. Although the yuan remains non-convertible, it is evident that the Chinese are seeking to progressively internationalize its role.

The Chinese government recently concluded a number of currency swaps with major trading partners, including South Korea, Argentina and Indonesia, thereby widening the use of the yuan outside its borders. It is also in the process of taking steps to increase the yuan’s role in Hong Kong. This is significant because of the latter’s international position. In addition, the government has announced its intention of making Shanghai a global financial center by 2020.

The likely longer-run trends, then, are perhaps not so difficult to decipher. The short term, however, in the context of a highly volatile financial climate, certainly is. The US dollar’s strength over the past couple of years remains something of an anomaly, given the catastrophic state of the US financial system. It would be a brave person who bet on the dollar’s strength continuing; it is much more likely that at some point its value will plummet.

Should that happen, then the dollar’s global position could rapidly be undermined and the need for more fundamental global financial reforms made more urgent. All of this would only serve to accelerate the decline of the US and the rise of China.


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