Monday, Jul 06, 2009, Page 8
An open response
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, I am writing in response to the “Open letter to Taiwan’s President” cosigned by 26 persons and published by the Taipei Times on May 21, 2009 (page 8). This government has conscientiously responded in detail to three earlier open letters published in the Taipei Times, signed by essentially the same group of persons, expressing concerns about Taiwan’s judicial system, human rights and democracy. The May 21 letter reveals, however, that the signatories continue to have misconceptions on these matters, which I would like to take this opportunity to clear up.
1. False accusations of unjust prosecutorial and judicial processes. (檢察官與司法不公乃不實的指控)
Although, administratively, prosecutors in Taiwan are under the jurisdiction of the executive branch’s Ministry of Justice, they nevertheless in effect function as “judicial officials,” as they enjoy the same legally protected independence as judges under the jurisdiction of the judicial branch.
With regard to charges of corruption against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and others were indicted as accomplices on Nov. 3, 2006, long before president Chen stepped down in May 2008. When president Chen was finally indicted on Dec. 12, 2008, it was the prosecutor-general appointed by the [former] president himself who approved the indictment.
I would like to reiterate that this administration strictly adheres to a hands-off policy concerning individual legal cases and completely respects the independence of the prosecutorial and judicial systems. This administration cannot possibly change its attitude of noninterference in order to mollify critics who seem to believe it has the power to change things to their liking.
2. No indication of selective prosecution.
To date, most of the family members and former subordinates of former president Chen who are under investigation or on trial have admitted their guilt to prosecutors or judges on all or some of the charges against them. For instance, on Jan. 21, 2009, his son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) confessed in court to charges in connection with money laundering and sought to plea bargain. Former first lady Wu Shu-jen also confessed to four charges in court on Feb. 10, 2009, including forgery, leaking confidential information, accepting bribes and money laundering. On Feb. 19, former Presidential Office cashier Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧) confessed in court to all four charges against her — forgery, perjury, corruption and money laundering.
While the appropriateness of the current pretrial and intra-trial detention system has been widely discussed in various circles of society since the allegations of corruption were brought against former president Chen, the impartiality of the judges and the judicial system has not been seriously questioned.
謎之音:之前那幾封公開信難道是不存在的嗎? 那些信不都數次質疑司法公正性嗎? 好個裝聾作啞啊!)
3. No intervention in CNA editorial policy.
As for the open letter’s accusation of our government’s influence on the Central News Agency’s (CNA) direction of news reporting, I want to set the record straight: The ROC government has never intervened in the CNA’s news reporting or editorial policy. If one looks at recent CNA reports on government actions, one can tell that the news agency covers viewpoints of all sectors, including suspicions and criticisms. This demonstrates that the government has not intervened in CNA operations.
Using rumors to deprecate Taiwan’s freedom of the press as being manipulated through political intervention is baseless and damages the reputation of this government. I hope the signatories will more scrupulously check the validity of claims before making accusations. I also hope that they will stop spreading such false accusations.
謎之音: 好大個官威啊! 不承認就算了還反過來說這些學者輕信謠言....也許有人要升官囉?
4. Retrogression of press freedom unacceptable.
The ROC government has spared no effort to respect and protect press freedom. Indeed, the thriving development of Taiwan’s mass media is a telling manifestation of our press freedom and freedom of speech. According to the 2009 edition of the Freedom of the Press report released by New York-based Freedom House, Taiwan’s news media environment ranked as “free” and second-best in Asia. The ROC government humbly accepts the suggestions made in the Freedom House report concerning Taiwan’s press freedom in the hope that we can achieve a better score next year.
謎之音: 簡單講是不承認媒體自由倒退啦! 好笑的是怎麼不提自由之家的報告中也提到台灣排名退步呢? 好的(評為自由)就引用,不好的就說是謠言? 這裡是當時自由之家發佈報告時的新聞
5. No interference in transfer of media ownership.
The open letter urges our government to pay attention to groups with close ties to mainland China that are buying into Taiwan’s media, as their financial muscle might be used to undermine Taiwan’s hard-won press freedom. I would like to express our government’s gratitude for the signatories’ concern in this regard. Since the repeal of the Publication Act in 1999, however, publication of newspapers no longer requires special approval, and shareholdings can be freely transferred. Moreover, governmental interference in private investments in the mass media amounts to interference in press freedom.
Currently, the ROC government has not lifted restrictions on mainland Chinese investment in or operation of Taiwan’s newspapers. In the future, we will keep close watch on whether capital from mainland China is flowing into Taiwan’s media world in order to preserve our national security.
第四封公開信裡提到中資介入台灣媒體運作將會妨害台灣得來不易的媒體自由. ........目前台灣政府尚未解除對中資介入台灣媒體的限制. 以後,我們也將緊密關切是否有中資介入台灣媒體的情形以保障國家安全
謎之音: 之前就有人踢爆TXXS等中資介入的情況, 好個裝聾作啞啊!
6. Easing of restrictions on public demonstrations.
Our government is profoundly aware that we are at a critical juncture in the development of our free and democratic system. To demonstrate our determination to enhance the protection of the right of assembly, and to carry out President Ma’s [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] campaign pledge to amend the law by requiring only advance notification in place of prior application for permission to hold demonstrations, amendments to the Parade and Assembly Act (集會遊行法) absolutely will not impose stricter requirements but will further ease the already mild restrictions.
In addition, the proposed amendments to the act will place tighter limits on the power of police to disperse gatherings as well as remove provisions regarding criminal penalties. President Ma has promised that the revised law will provide greater latitude than allowed in the United States and other advanced democracies.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all who are concerned for Taiwan, including the signatories of the open letter. We assure you that this administration will never cease striving to safeguard and strengthen our people’s freedom, democracy and human rights.
謎之音: 那到底濫權的警察或升官或不起訴是什麼意思呢? 莫非免除刑責是指免除警察濫權的刑責?
Government Information Office
Thursday, Jul 09, 2009, Page 8
An open response, part 2
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, I am writing in response to the “Open letter to Taiwan’s president” cosigned by 26 persons and published by the Taipei Times on May 21 expressing concerns about transparency in our government’s cross-strait policymaking processes. I would like to take this opportunity to clear up a number of misunderstandings in this regard.
1. Affirmation of the ROC’s cross-strait policy
In its cross-strait policymaking, this administration has always firmly upheld the ROC’s sovereignty. It has never changed and never will change its insistence on the principle of “putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people.”
In the overall national interest, we have resumed institutionalized cross-strait negotiations, replacing confrontation with dialogue. Under the precondition of parity and dignity, the two sides have conducted three rounds of talks and have signed nine agreements and a joint statement on investment, which have advanced the normalization of cross-strait economic exchanges and strengthened protections for the financial assets of the people of Taiwan.
Surveys commissioned by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) — such as those conducted by National Chengchi University, Berkeley Marketing Research and China Credit Information Service — reveal that the majority of people in Taiwan believe that cross-strait relations have become more relaxed. About 70 percent of respondents were satisfied with the cross-strait agreements and more than 60 percent believe the agreements will have a positive influence on Taiwan’s economy. Meanwhile, most respondents think that national sovereignty has not been denigrated.
The US State Department has solidly affirmed and praised our government’s mainland policies. Signatories of the open letter familiar with the US government’s hopes for better cross-strait relations should understand the reason for this. Can it be that worsening relations and rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait would be more advantageous to US interests?
2. No need for an ECFA referendum
The primary purposes of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) are to maintain the competitive edge of Taiwan’s industries in the mainland market and to strengthen our foreign trade momentum so as to minimize the danger of being marginalized. A MAC-commissioned survey conducted by Berkeley Marketing Research in mid-April revealed that 70 percent of the respondents support the negotiation of an ECFA, indicating most people look at the potential benefits of such an agreement in a positive light.
With no question of sacrificing sovereignty, benefits for Taiwan’s economy include reducing the relocation of factories to other countries and thereby protecting jobs; lowering tariffs on our products and thereby boosting their competitiveness in the mainland market; spurring Taiwan’s globalization; and facilitating the negotiation and signing of economic agreements with other countries.
3. Any ECFA will be sent to the legislature for review
This administration has communicated extensively with the public in the hope that an ECFA can be signed before 2010. In the process of planning, the administration will be scrupulous in communicating with and explaining relevant matters to the legislature and all sectors of society. Whatever economic agreements are signed with mainland China will be sent to the legislature, in accordance with the law, for review and supervision. The same applies to any future cross-strait economic agreements.
It is clearly untrue, therefore, that, as claimed in the letter, cross-strait exchanges lack transparency and genuine dialogue, decisions and agreements are arrived at in secrecy and then simply announced to the public, and the legislature seems to have been sidelined.
4. Signing an ECFA will facilitate FTAs
The US government has indicated that without improved cross-strait relations and trade liberalization, the US cannot sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan. In fact, since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came into office, the peaceful, steady development of cross-strait relations has won the affirmation of our major trading partners, such as the US, the EU, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Many countries have indicated that the normalization of economic and trade relations across the Taiwan Strait will be conducive to expediting FTA talks with Taiwan.
The administration’s policy has always been to pursue FTAs with our major trading partners, while negotiating economic agreements with mainland China. This strategy is aimed at global deployment of our businesses, not just at expanding our mainland Chinese markets. As relations with mainland China progress, we can look forward to improved prospects for signing FTAs with other nations.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all who are concerned for Taiwan, including the signatories of the open letter. We assure you that this administration will continue to maintain transparency and adequate communication with all sectors of society.
Minister, Government Information Office
第一封公開信 與 王清峰的回函
第二封公開信 與 王清峰的回函
第三封公開信 與 蘇俊賓的回函