Please visit the official English site for the
Democratic Progressive Party
Typhoon Morakot Disaster Relief Operations Center
Democratic Progressive Party
Typhoon Morakot Disaster Relief
Click on link below:
August 8, 2009: Typhoon Morakat raged across Taiwan, causing many injuries.
In light of the damage wrought by Typhoon Morakot, the Democratic Progressive Party has organized the “Democratic Progressive Party Typhoon Morakot Disaster Relief Operations Center.” The center aims to collect and deliver goods as well as human resources to places where they’re most needed, in a prompt and efficient manner. Beginning on August 10th, DPP Party Headquarters staff will assist in the transportation of goods collected in Taipei City and Taipei County.
There is currently an urgent need for volunteers to go to the countryside to help with disaster relief efforts.
Please send your donations to DPP Headquarters:
In response to the one-year anniversary of the government’s decision to welcome Chinese tourists to Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party acting spokesperson Chuang Sou-Han said on July 3rd that Taiwan’s tourist industry is now almost completely open to Chinese investment. In return, China should uphold the principles of reciprocity and open up to Taiwanese investment. In regards to our government’s appraisal of the benefits of opening Taiwan up to Chinese tourism, we believe that an overly pro-China approach may cause tourists from other countries to feel discriminated against, or have the effect of discouraging them from coming to Taiwan.
Chuang Sou-Han said that until now, approximately thirty-six hundred thousand Chinese tourists have visited Taiwan. However, recently the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting China has reached around 3.5 million – a near ten-fold difference. The series of problems that Chinese tourists have caused during their travels to Taiwan – including disputes over tickets, reception, transportation, food, and accommodation, as well as more serious issues regarding the debt triangle (ticket purchase debt, group travel debt, and visa debt) – have caused a great deal of trouble in Taiwan. Many travel agencies have noted that these travelers often delay payments for more than three months.
Chuang Sou-Han points out that according to figures published in May by the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, countries such as Japan, Korea, the USA, Malaysia, and Singapore remain the biggest sources of tourists to Taiwan. Yet nowadays, the number of tourists from each of these countries has decreased between 10% to 40%. This implies that the opening of Taiwan to Chinese tourists has had a negative impact on not only domestic tourism, but also tourism from other countries.
He further expressed that although the Ministry of Economic Affairs made the tourism industry almost completely open to cross-Strait investment, China’s travel industry, tourism industry, domestic transportation, and other tourist-related industries have shown no signs of opening up to Taiwanese investors.
The acting spokesperson also reminded the Ma government about the importance of engaging in complete and holistic planning, rather than focusing on and over-exaggerating the benefits brought by Chinese tourists. As it welcomes Chinese tourists to Taiwan, the government should also be increasingly cautious about the possible negative impact of these new policies.
DPP Places Ban on Party Members from Participating in KMT-CCP Forum
July 8, 2009
The Central Executive Committee has unanimously decided that DPP Headquarters shall ban any former DPP official who is still a party member, as well as any present party members holding public office, from attending the KMT-CCP Forum. DPP Chairperson Dr. Tsai Ing-wen put forth the proposal, which was co-sponsored by the National Association for DPP County and City Chapters, in response to the KMT-CCP Forum invitations sent to former and present DPP officials. Anyone attending in spite of the ban will be disciplined according to Party regulations. The DPP has taken this action to make clear its position on supporting Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Acting party spokesperson Zhao Tian-lin said that during the Central Executive Committee meeting, Dr. Tsai stated that it is clear to anyone who examines this issue that the KMT-CCP Forum is a private give-and-take between the two parties, which damages and undermines Taiwan’s democracy and our nation’s institutional system. DPP members should not associate themselves with this United Front tactic. In addition, the upcoming CCP-KMT Forum is taking place at a time when the CCP is undertaking a bloody crackdown on the Uighur people in Xinjiang, which observers have universally condemned. Our DPP party members should not give people the wrong impression that we support the Chinese Communist regime.
Please join us for the Free Tibet Concert in Taipei on Saturday, July 11th!
See you favorite bands perform by Mitsukoshi Department Store in Xinyin New Life Square.
For more information, please see http://www.freetibet.tw/
The performances begin at 1:30pm and end at 10:00pm. There will be a rally at 6:30pm.
See you there!
Campaign for the ECFA Referendum
[UPDATE July 8, 2009]
We have successfully collected more than 180,000 signatures, well over the threshold of 80,000 required for the 1st stage!!
I. Why Do We Need a Referendum on ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement)?
1. Given that ECFA will have a critical economic, social, security and political impact upon our country, its fate should be decided by not only the government, but by the people of Taiwan.
No matter what the content of an ECFA may be, there is no doubt that it will determine the extent of economic integration between Taiwan and China, and is furthermore bound to change the future fate of Taiwan. It will have a critical economic, social, security and political impact upon our people and our children.
The power to decide something of this importance cannot be left solely in the hands of the president and a minority of the members of the ruling class. Otherwise, the public benefits that all citizens should gain will instead become the private gain of this ruling group.
2. If we are successful in pursuing this referendum, it will establish the principle that any future major cross-strait agreement must undergo the process of a citizens’ referendum, rather than simply be enacted by the government.
This will bring three benefits:
Safeguarding our national interests. The referendum will initiate a process of dialogue and discussion. In order to pass the referendum, the government would have to explain the content of the agreement and policy to the people and persuade the people that they possess merit. This would alter the current government practice, thus making the policy-making process more transparent and democratic. In addition, Taiwan negotiators, cognizant of the need to “sell” the agreement to the Taiwanese people, can take a more confident and firm position when fighting for Taiwan’s best national interests, instead of merely acquiescing to the Chinese.
Ensuring that the current referendum system undergoes reforms. The use of referenda is a common practice in mature democracies. However, in Taiwan, we have the strictest, most constrained referendum law in the world. If we successfully enshrine the principle that any major future cross-strait agreement must undergo a citizens’ referendum, then the legal responsibility to call a referendum could be once again granted to the Executive Branch. It would also “motivate” the government to liberalize the current restrictions on holding referenda if the government wants to see a referendum pass. This would knock down the high wall we currently possess and allow citizens to have a more complete direct democracy.
Creating a more peaceful, unified, and harmonized Taiwan. Finally, the relationship between Taiwan and China is the source of domestic political divisions. The best way to resolve these disputes is through a democratic mechanism. Each party has its own approach and there is be no better way than to let the people judge the parties and their approaches.
3. Direct democracy is our last defense.
Polls show that…
- 81% of CEOs in Taiwan do not know what the ECFA is (Commonwealth Magazine, May 2009).
- 63.7% of respondents thought that the ECFA would have an impact on Taiwan’s sovereignty, and that it should ultimately be decided through a referendum (DPP Poll in March, 2009).
- 89.2% of respondents believe that the policy should be fully discussed and overseen by the Legislative Yuan, and 78.2% agreed that the ruling party should reach consensus with the opposition before negotiating deals like ECFA (DPP Poll in March, 2009).
- 80.2% of respondents opposed signing a cross-strait agreement, like ECFA, under the One-China Principle (DPP Poll in March, 2009).
However, President Ma said that it’s imperative to sign an ECFA with China. He further stated that it must be signed by the end of this year, or perhaps even this summer. He also added that no referendum is needed on the ECFA.
When President Ma becomes the KMT Party Chairman, he will subsequently have gained control over the government, the legislature ,and the military. Given that the ruling party holds 75% of the seats in the legislature, it leaves no room for the opposition to oppose or even to propose a bill. Moreover, the government has neglected the people’s opinion, as is demonstrated by polls, the media, town meetings, the “Taiwan Citizens’ Conference on National Affairs,” rallies, and street protests. What tool do we have left in the democratic system to express our concerns or to check the power of government? The answer is direct democracy: the referendum. If the ruling group really is interested in selling out Taiwan, then only a democratic mechanism can serve as a last line of defense to guard Taiwan. This is what the Democratic Progressive Party means when it advocates the principle of “Using Democracy to Protect Taiwan.”
II. Overview of the referendum system in Taiwan:
The Referendum Act stipulates that in order to hold a referendum in Taiwan, one must complete the following steps:
Step 1: Collect the signatures of 0.5% of eligible voters (approximately 80,000 people) to apply to hold a referendum.
Our goal is to collect 100,000 signatures by the end of June.
Step 2: Send the petitions to the Central Election Committee’s Referendum Review Committee for review.
Step 3: If the proposal passes the review, then one must collect the signatures of 5% of eligible voters (approximately 800,000 people) within six months to have the referendum actually put to a vote.
If the proposal is rejected by the Committee, then an administrative appeal can be filed with the Executive Yuan.
Step 4: 50% of eligible voters (approximately 8,000,000 people) must vote on the referendum for the vote to be valid.
II. How Will We Do It? Join the 100,000 Strong “ECFA Referendum Vanguard” Campaign
Facing these high thresholds – whether one is considering the 1 million petitioners or 8 million voters – we need to attract participatory support that surmounts the green-blue political lines. It is therefore necessary that this referendum campaign permeates throughout Taiwanese society. Thus, we are now recruiting 100,000 volunteers (our ‘ECFA Referendum vanguard’) to get the petition drive started. (Please see “How can I become part of the ‘ECFA Referendum vanguard’?” http://ecfa.pixnet.net/blog/post/25573929)
For those 100,000 volunteers comprising the vanguard, there are three major tasks:
Successfully collect 100,000 signatures for the first stage of the petition, as required for holding a referendum;
Once the Referendum Commission has accepted the petition as valid, each person comprising the vanguard of 100,000 petitioners will use his/her network to attract 10 additional voters. In this manner we can surmount the second hurdle placed before us, in order to put forth a referendum to all the people.
Continue to push for the “Safeguard Taiwan! Oppose the ‘Lean-towards-China’ Policy” campaign among the people.
This is a challenging task. In fact, it is even more daunting than the challenge of getting 600,000 people to participate in our street demonstration on May 17th. However, faced with a president and ruling party that pays no attention to the people, we must rise up, united, and show our great strength.
I wish to call your attention to the attached statement, which I have co-signed with a number of prominent academics, lawyers and civic leaders, regarding the issue of former President Chen Shui-bian’s detention.
A fair and independent judiciary is a crucial element of a strong democratic system, and public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary is essential to strengthening its capacity. Unfortunately, instead of growing public confidence in the government’s efforts to prosecute official corruption, abuses of the system, as outlined in the attached statement, are eroding public credibility in judicial institutions.
As leader of the political party that has championed democratic reforms in Taiwan for nearly three decades, it pains me to see that the Taiwanese people are losing confidence in the political impartiality of the judiciary, and that fundamental human rights and the integrity of Taiwan’s former president are vulnerable to abuses of the law. Although the attached statement is focused on the case of President Chen, his case is not an isolated one. I am also concerned that many more defendants have been subjected to similar treatment. I am further worried that this prolonged and unjustified incarceration of President Chen during the investigation period and trial is sewing the seeds of long-term public unrest and division.
We are appealing, therefore, for President Chen’s human rights to be respected by the Judiciary and for his immediate release.
As friends of Taiwan and observers of developments in Taiwan, you must be aware that since former President Chen’s arrest and incarceration incommunicado on November 12 last year, he has been detained for more than two hundred days. The signatories and I believe that his continued detention is unjustified and in violation of President Chen’s basic rights.
For reasons highlighted in the statement, the impartiality of the judicial system is in doubt, and we believe that former President Chen is being deprived of the right to a fair trial. Furthermore, violations in the confidentiality of the investigation, and the selective leaking of unverified information regarding the specifics of the case to politicians and the press, further indicate a failure of law enforcement institutions to protect the rights of the defendant during the trial process.
I have repeatedly urged the government to take seriously the responsibility of protecting the fundamental rights of the defendant, and to refrain from any political interference in the judicial process that insults the integrity and basic rights of our former President. The fairness of President Chen’s trial will be indicative of Taiwan’s democratic progress, and the Taiwanese people will not tolerate growing abuses in the system.
I also urge our international friends, especially those of you who have stood with us in the past through the more difficult years of fighting for democracy and freedom in Taiwan, to continue to stand with us as we demand a fair and just legal system.
Chairperson Democratic Progressive Party