Taiwan needs a Green president(ial candidate)

My letter in the Taipei Times today suggests that Taiwan needs a capital “G” Green candidate in the presidential election, not merely one who waves a green flag. The text below is the original unedited version of the letter that I submitted to the Taipei Times.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently conducting a series of debates to select its candidate for the 2012 presidential election. Incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou is likely to be unopposed as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate.

Once the candidates are selected and the campaign gets underway the debate will be shaped by the agendas of the pan-blue and pan-green camps. Issues related to national security,  Taiwan’s relations with China and the economy are sure to be prominent in the campaign.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan has thrust the issue of nuclear power into the spotlight. It is likely that the DPP’s candidate will promote a policy to phase out nuclear power in Taiwan. Whether they will actually be able to achieve this if they are elected to office is another question. Chen Shui-bian promised to stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant before he was elected in 2000. Ultimately construction of the plant went ahead though as Chen faced intense political opposition to his plan after he was elected. Continue reading

Why Taiwan must abolish the death penalty

The death penalty has once again been in the spotlight in Taiwan over the past few days. The issue was brought to the fore after a man confessed* to a crime for which another man was executed in 1997. The wrongful conviction and execution of Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) was uncovered by a Control Yuan investigation in May last year. At that time the Control Yuan censured the Ministry of Defense over the case and said there were seven major flaws in the trial.

Since new developments in the case that resulted in the wrongful execution resurfaced there have been apologies issued by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and President Ma Ying-jeou. About 30 officials involved in the arrest, trial and execution of Chiang are now facing administrative and criminal investigation. Those being questioned include two former defense ministers. However, a statute of limitations may prevent those involved from being punished. Continue reading

A new generation steps forward in the elections

DPP rally in Taichung

There has already been some excellent analyses of the Taiwan five cities election by Michael Turton, Nathan Batto and Bruce Jacobs. I just want to add a few points to the discussion.

While there was no clear victor in the elections, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have more to celebrate than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Although the DPP will be disappointed that they didn’t pick up an extra mayoral seat, they did boost their overall vote and showed that they have a very good chance of winning the presidential election in 2012. Continue reading

More election campaign posters

The five cities election (五都選舉) will be held on Saturday 27 November. As a follow up to my previous post on election campaign posters in Taichung I want to post a few more photos that I have taken over the past few months in various places. More photos can also be found in the “Five Cities” Election Campaign Posters gallery at my Taiwan photo gallery site.

Taichung goes global - Hu poster

Jason Hu (胡志強), Taichung Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is using the slogan “Taichung goes global.” I’m not sure which train he’s riding. It’s definitely not the Taichung MRT!

Poster for Su Jia-chyuan in Taichung

Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is putting out the message that he can do things that Jason Hu has failed to do. Continue reading

DPP beats KMT in social media campaign

Screenshot of DPP website

In the lead up to the local elections in 2010 I wrote a post about the use of social media by politicians in Taiwan. I noted how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was far more active online than its counterpart, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Screenshot of KMT website

I have gathered some data about the use of social media by the mayoral candidates in the five cities election (五都選舉) taking place on 27 November. All candidates are using several forms of online communication as part of their campaign. This includes websites, blogs, Plurk, YouTube, flickr and Facebook. Links to these sites are clearly shown on the front page of the KMT and DPP websites. This is shown in the two screenshots in this post.  Continue reading

Thousands march in anti-petrochemical protest in Taipei

Anti-petrochemical protest in Taipei

Thousands of people* marched through Taipei in a protest against the expansion of the petrochemical industry. They shouted “Oppose Kuokuang, save Taiwan!” (反國光,救台灣) as they marched. This was in reference to the Kuokuang Petrochemical Plant which is slated to be built off the coast of Changhua County.

DPP politicians at protest

Large contigents travelled to Taipei from Changhua and Yunlin counties to join the protest. Many of them were mobilised by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The photo above shows Liu Chien Kuo (劉建國), a DPP legislator from Yunlin County, Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), a DPP legislator, and Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬), Yunlin County Commissioner, leading a section of the march. Continue reading

Hsiao Bi-Khim on the election campaign

Taiwanese politician Hsiao Bi-khimKlaus Bardenhagen, a German reporter based in Taiwan, interviewed Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Department of International Affairs, in Banqiao yesterday. He kindly provided me with a copy of the interview for use on this blog. In the interview Hsiao talks about the current election campaign and the the development of democracy in Taiwan.

I recently noted how the DPP was actively encouraging youth to vote. Hsiao explained, “Young people, according to polls, favour our party over the others by a two to one margin which is very good. Unfortunately the young people are not reliable because their voter turnout is low. Only about 30% of the young people come out to vote. So we really want to increase the voter turnout among younger people.” Continue reading

Youth can change Taiwan!

My recent letter in the Taipei Times ended by saying that youth must speak out to protect freedom in Taiwan. After I posted a link to my letter on Facebook Michael Turton commented that the youth also need to vote.

It seems very timely that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) just released a campaign video featuring rapper Dog G (大支) titled “Change Taiwan” (改變台灣). The DPP writes in the description of Dog G’s video that they want youth to actively participate in and contribute their ideas to the election campaign. They go on to write, “the DPP wants to promote an overall increase in the youth vote. It is not just concerned with the overall breakdown of votes between the parties. The key point is that youth should play a key role in this election!” Continue reading