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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Mon, Nov 24, 1997 edition
Election Coverage
KMT revs up machine in crucial local elections

Also in this edition . . .

1. (11/26) problems with internet
2. (11/26) holiday schedule
3. (11/26) braving strong rain, Clinton golfs with Asian leaders to display calm
4. (11/26) Taipei representative defends his country's sovereignty
5. (11/26) President Lee announces stern measures for firearms
6. (11/26) KMT and DPP face tough battles in Saturday's election
7. dissident Xu has no kind words for old friend Wei Jingsheng
8. Vietnam asks whether joint Sino-US exploration violates territory
9. Weldon launches effort to bolster ties
10. Lee says local elections will affect KMT's future powerbase
11. KMT's Big Three come out for Hsieh in local race
12. city council becomes another battleground
13. party announces 'KMT Newborn Alliance'
14. free rice for votes, a misunderstanding . . . honest
15. translation: 'Take a lesson from the election for Chief Executive . . . '
16. Asia's economic woes loom larger at Canada meeting
17. media should be banned from hostage scenes, says top prosecutor


Internet: Problems with our local internet service provider persist, delaying or preventing publication. We have updated Monday's edition with some stories which would have run on Tuesday.

Holiday: In the US we are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. China Informed will not be published through the holiday, and will resume publication on Sunday. Remember the poor and hungry as you enjoy your meal tomorrow. . . .

APEC: braving strong rain, Clinton golfs with Asian leaders to display calm
As Pacific Rim leaders begin their annual summit on Monday, their efforts to contain Asia's spreading economic crisis face a fresh threat from the collapse of Japan's fourth largest brokerage.

In Japan's biggest financial failure since the Second World War, Yamaichi Securities said on Sunday it was going out of business, seeing no way to avoid collapse as a result of a crisis generated by a credit crunch, shrinking business and high-profile scandals. Yamaichi's announcement renewed fears that Japan might be the next domino to topple in Asia, already reeling from currency problems and South Korea's economic crisis.

The latest news from Asia hit the wires just hours after U.S. President Bill Clinton sought to soothe nerves about the Asia turmoil. "I think this is a time for confidence in the future of Asia," Clinton told a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. To underline his relaxed air, he then joined two other leaders for a round of golf in the driving rain.

But in Japan, the Ministry of Finance and central bank were taking quick action to ensure the orderly shutdown of Yamaichi and prevent further turmoil in world financial markets.

The Asian turmoil was certain to top the leaders' agenda in their two-day summit in this picturesque city, a major Asian gateway to North America's rich markets. The mood on the eve of the meeting contrasted starkly with previous summits, where Asian leaders have basked in the glow of seemingly unstoppable economic growth. In bilateral meetings on Sunday, the leaders of the 18-member grouping sought to hammer out key points in their response to the Asian economic sickness. A cool, positive tone was set on Saturday by their foreign and trade ministers, who announced an agreement to break down barriers in some trade sectors.

APEC: Taipei representative defends his country's sovereignty
(sources: Agence France-Presse and The China Post) Taipei has the same right to host APEC meetings as any other member, a high-ranking official here said Monday, in a snub to a statement in Vancouver by communist Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen that the ROC was not a sovereign state.

"It has been our established stance that under the APEC framework, all the members should be accorded equal rights while shouldering equal obligations," said Sheu Ke-sheng, vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

"As the rest of APEC members, we are also qualified to host APEC meetings," Sheu added. The MAC is Taiwan's highest government agency dealing with mainland China policy.

Both Taipei and Beijing are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, established in 1989 to promote free trade in a region that accounts for nearly half of world exchanges. A minister from Taiwan offered to host an APEC meeting at the end of a two-day ministerial session of the APEC forum in Vancouver on Saturday, which was held to prepare the agenda of a Pacific Rim summit Monday and Tuesday.

"We hope to be accorded equal treatment and we are looking forward to hosting an APEC conference in the future and we would display our warmest hospitality," Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of Taiwan's Council for Economic Planning and Development, said Saturday.

But his suggestion was immediately turned down Saturday by Qian who said that "among APEC members there are sovereign states as well as regional economies... Sovereign states host the international activities."

"I think it would be difficult for Chinese-Taipei (Taiwan) to host such a meeting," Qian added.

APEC summits have been held annually since 1993 but the ROC on Taiwan has never been allowed to be represented by its president, although he has repeatedly indicated his wish to take part.

Law and Society: President announces stern measures for firearms
(sources: all the newspapers in Taiwan) President Lee Teng-hui yesterday announced the implementation of an amendment of regulations governing the control of firearms, ammunition and knives that takes effect Wednesday.

Interior Minister Yeh Chin-fong announced at the same time the government will grant an amnesty to people who surrender their illegal weapons to police within three months from Wednesday.

Yeh called on people who possess illegal weapons to cooperate with the new amnesty program. If they don't, offenders will face much harsher punishments for violating firearms, ammunition and knife control regulations, she said.

The implementation of the new regulations was considered to be a declaration by the government that it will address the worsening social order with harsher laws.

The Ministry of National Defense also announced the military will launch a similar amnesty program at the same time, offering servicemen a chance to turn in stolen or pilfered firearms.

According to the new regulations, people who manufacture or sell firearms are subject to a maximum punishment of death or life in jail as well as a fine of NT$50 million. The penalties are much harsher than those in the original regulations. The amendment was passed by the legislature on Nov.11.

Yeh emphasized that amnesty will be granted only to people who have submitted all of their illegal weapons to police. She said as the amnesty program starts, police will also launch intensive crackdowns on the illegal possession of weapons.

The amnesty to surrender weapons is the third of its kind to be launched in ROC justice history. The last two were held in 1990 and between last December and this January, respectively. A total of 602 guns were surrendered to police during the first program, while 779 guns were submitted to police during the second one.

Election coverage: KMT and DPP face tough battles in Saturday's election
(source: The China Post) The Democratic Progressive Party will get eight to 10 counties and cities, or even over half of the seats up for grabs in Saturday's elections, Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian said yesterday.

Chen, regarded as the DPP's "super campaigner," said his party will get at least eight of the 23 constituencies in the mayoral and commissioners races. If the DPP can keep the six constituencies currently under its administration, it may be able to win 10 seats or even more, said Chen, whose Taipei city is not in the Saturday poll. The DPP currently rules the counties of Taipei, Taoyuan, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Ilan and Penghu. Chen said the DPP's winning chances hinge on a high turnout rate, urging all party supporters to go to the polls on Saturday.

The Kuomintang has estimated that it has firm control in 10 constituencies, and a 50-50 chance in seven others, such as Taipei and Ilan, according to the Independence Evening Post. If its campaign goes smoothly, the KMT predicts that it may get at least three of the seven keenly contested constituencies, the newspaper reported.

The KMT's Taiwan provincial committee yesterday suggested that the party needs to expend extra effort in the cities of Hsinchu and Tainan, as well as the counties of Taoyuan, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. The campaign scenario in Keelung city, the counties of Hsinchu, Taichung and Yunlin are confusing, and the KMT is tied with competitors in the counties of Taipei, Ilan, Nantou, and the cities of Taichung and Chiayi, the committee said.

The KMT is leading in other constituencies than the ones mentioned above, according to the committee's evaluation. The upcoming elections have been regarded as a battle mainly between the KMT and DPP, with New Party and independent candidates being seen as marginal.

In Taipei County, which is considered the "super battle zone," NP candidate Yang Tai-shun has even proposed a joint-venture between himself and three other independent hopefuls to fight the DPP's Su Chen-chang, and the KMT's Hsieh Shen-shan. Yang proposed that the three of them withdraw and throw full support behind the remaining candidate, who will be decided through negotiations among themselves. Liao Hsueh-kuang has shown an interest in the proposal, but Chou Chuan, and Lin Jih-jia have refused.

Meanwhile, a survey showed less than 60 percent of college students living in northern Taiwan will go to the Saturday polls, the Independence Evening Post reported. The survey was conducted by a student newspaper from National Chengchi University's journalism department.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)


Factionalism: dissident Xu has no kind words for old friend Wei Jingsheng
( Life in New York amazing, says Wei ) Wei Jingsheng departed hospital in Detroit on Friday and flew to New York City where he marvelled at city's skyline and Central Park.

( Wei blasted as despotic by old ally ) According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Xu Wenli has leveled an attack against Wei Jingsheng for what he terms Wei's "imperious and despotic attitude". Xu and Wei are old cell mates and activists during the Democracy Wall movement, but it would seem the two have had a falling out over Mr Wei's conduct. The article provides little specific information, and the context in which it is written bespeaks of innuendo, more than it does solid journalistic writing.

Regardless, it is interesting Mr Xu dismisses any suggestion that Wei Jingsheng is the leader or founder of 'democratic' principles in China. Sun Yat-sen, says Xu, is the father of democracy in China, and "there should be no second one." The article also mentions in passing a rather obscure, underground human rights group working in the mainland. Calling itself Voice of Human Rights, a representative of the organization, Li Xiaolong, called on Beijing to extend the same civil and political rights enjoyed by Hongkong's citizens to those on the mainland. The article does not mention how or where Li made the call. National Public Radio mentioned it, too.

( Berkeley offer for Wei ) Meanwhile, UC Berkeley has offered Wei a research position at its Human Rights Centre, where he would conduct research, relax and write his book. Wei has received a similar offer from Columbia University in New York.

( Who's Afraid of Wei Jingsheng? ) In Beijing Seth Faison has a run-in with a man who insists the police had violated his human rights. Peppering his story with the term did not hide the fact that it was not an abstract notion of democracy and rights which concerned the man, but the more tangible lure of money and the barefaced way police can leverage their power for monetary gain.

    Since he threw the term 'human rights' into conversation so liberally, though, it was hard to resist asking him a question: "What do you think of Wei Jingsheng?"


And so it goes.... Wei Jingsheng is not exactly a household name in China. Faison suggests why he thinks 'human rights' and 'free speech' might not be as central to people's concerns:

    The reason lies partly in the fact that China is still a poor country, and that what civic education exists is dominated by Communist Party authorities. Centuries of tradition have encouraged people to be respectful of authority figures, even when they are not deserving, rather than challenge them openly. And religion in China has rarely offered an ideological sanctuary from oppressive regimes, as Christianity did in Western Europe and Russia.

Faison also thinks China's society is much more focused on the group----one's family or work unit, for example---than on individuals. But he still questions why democratic ideas and 'group-oriented' are not reconcilable.

(editor: The problem with such an analysis is that it does not acknowledge the many ways by which people make themselves heard, and it sets out to prove and explain something we already know. The absence of 'free speech' does not mean there are not instances of people making themselves heard! And what is needed is a creative analysis and investigation which by being comprehensive and balanced could avoid being attacked for being an apologia for 'Chinese despotism.' If we keep approaching the problem from the same direction, we're bound to come to the same conclusion, over and over. It's not that the conclusions are wrong, but there is more to be said about China. If only the New York Times had the wherewithal. . . . Enough said.)

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

Energy: Vietnam asks whether joint Sino-US exploration violates territory
( American gas project 'not in disputed area' ) Vietnam's ambassador to Beijing has asked the government to provide exact coordinates for the area encompassing a joint gas project between China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and America's Atlantic Richfield Corporation. Vietnam is concerned the project might be violating her territorial waters, but a representative from CNOOC rejects the idea. He says the plan to exploit reserves off of Hainan island fall within China's territory. Readers might remember earlier this year when a similar issue arose. One difference this time is the addition of an American company to the equation.

US-China Relations: Weldon launches effort to bolster ties
Congressman Curt Weldon (R, PA), who represents portions of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, today announced the launch of a major new effort to bolster U.S.-China Relations in the Philadelphia region. (Full story: Weldon Press Release, 24 Nov 97)

Liaoning Province: ( Liaoning culls loss-makers to boost efficiency ) The South China Morning Post has an article on government efforts to pair losses in state-owned enterprises in Liaoning Province, China's most industrialized one. Through worker attrition and enterprise restructuring officials hope to stem the losses

Criminals: ( SCMP Internet Edition ) Police busted a drug operation in Nanning, Guangxi Province. And a gang of Xinhua News Agency imposters were nabbed.


Politics: 'Take a lesson from the election for Chief Executive . . . '
We have a translation of an opinion page which originally ran in the Hong Kong paper Ming Pao.

"Nominating candidates for Hongkong representatives to the National People's Congress started today. Since the return of Hongkong, this is the first time an independent group of Hongkongers will join the NPC. But the delegates to the NPC will be elected from a small group of 400 people, and such an election process could not possibly reflect a democratic spirit. Even so, Hongkongers should still try to pay close attention and supervise this election, in order to advance the development of democracy in Hongkong and China. . . . "

(Full translation: 'Learn a lesson from the election . . .' )


Election coverage: Lee says local elections will affect KMT's future powerbase
President Lee Teng-hui said on Sunday that the upcoming nationwide mayoral and magistrate elections are critical to the ruling Kuomintang and the Republic of China's future development.

Lee made the remarks at a rally at a stadium in Taoyuan County marking the ruling party's 103rd founding anniversary.

Addressing more than 5,000 KMT members and supporters, Lee said the results of the Nov. 29 elections will have a significant impact on next year's elections for the Legislative Yuan and for the mayors of Taipei and Kaohsiung, as well as on the next presidential election in 1999.

"Therefore, the forthcoming mayoral and county chief elections are not just a battle to defend our party's control of local-level governments. They could affect our party's overall power base," Lee stressed. Against this backdrop, Lee said, the KMT's top priority at the moment is to help all of its candidates win the elections.

Recounting the party's achievements, Lee said without KMT, the Republic of China couldn't have survived so many adversities and continued to exist in Taiwan. Under the KMT's leadership, Lee said, the ROC has emerged as a prosperous democracy.

He said the KMT should not be complacent about its past achievements: "We should instead redouble our efforts to lead our country to scale other peaks and create an even higher future." With the country's democratization, Lee said, the KMT is no longer a dominant political force in Taiwan and faces ever stronger competition from other political parties.

Election coverage: KMT's Big Three come out for Hsieh in local race
Candidates for the keenly contested Taipei County commissioner position poured all their might and resorted to various tactics to try to shore up their campaigns yesterday--the last Sunday before polling day.

The Kuomintang had three of its super heavy-weights--President Lee Teng-hui, Vice President Lien Chan and Taiwan Governor James Soon-- campaign for Hsieh Shen-shan simultaneously at a rally in the Chungho district.

The trio called on voters to transfer their support for them in the 1994 gubernatorial and 1996 presidential elections to Hsieh.

Pinning the focus of his speech on finding fault in the incumbent administration of the Democratic Progressive Party's You Ching, Lee accused You of causing the development of Taipei County to lag "thousands of miles" and "seven to eight years" behind other areas during You's eight years in office. He urged supporters to make at least five phone calls each to lobby people to vote for Hsieh, whom he branded a "first-class new product" marketed by the KMT.

Soong said Hsieh was his "good buddy" and "right-hand man" during Soong's office as KMT secretary-general, asking voters to love Hsieh like they love him. Lien, meanwhile, praised Hsieh as an honest and hard-working politician.

After losing Taipei County, the largest locality under Taiwan province, to the DPP for two terms (eight years) in a row, the KMT is desperately seeking to recover control over the county, especially when the capital city of Taipei is also under DPP rule.

The campaign is proving tough for the KMT as six candidates are running for the commissioner post, including ex-KMT lawmaker Lin Jih-jia who was kicked out of the party for running in the election against the party's will and may water down Hsieh's support base.

Nevertheless, surveys show that Hsieh and Su are the leading candidates in the campaign and that as many as half of the eligible voters in the county have not decided their choices. It is believed there will be a close margin between Hsieh and Su in the race.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

Taichung City: city council becomes another battleground
As the mayoral election is around the corner and candidates of major parties are busy filing suit against each other at the district court, the Taichung City Council has apparently become one more battlefield for deputies of the two parties.

Earlier last week, senior officials and chiefs from different departments of the city government were asked by Kuomintang deputies their opinion on KMT mayoral candidate Hung Chao-nan and the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Chang Wen-ying.

Apparently as part of an effort to help Hung Chao-nan, a number of KMT deputies later also criticized Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian and Chang.

A similar poll was conducted by DPP deputy Ho Min-cheng at a session over the weekend.

Ho was disappointed as the poll showed Chang was only favored by a handful of officials. But Ho said most officials were dishonest. A number of officials said they were not happy being asked their opinion about the candidates as the poll made them feel embarrassed. Meanwhile, they said the city council apparently became a battlefield for the election.

KMT support: party announces 'KMT Newborn Alliance'
(sources: Central News Agency and China News) In an attempt to give itself a younger image, the KMT yesterday announced the formation of the "KMT Newborn Alliance".

The alliance is composed of approximately one hundred local and overseas KMT representatives, many of them doctoral candidates in their 30s.

According to KMT advisor Lin Mei-Jui, the plan to form the group was drawn up after the KMT's 15th Party Congress earlier this year. The purpose of the alliance is to unite and reform the KMT so that it can become more competitive, democratic, and a strong political competitor deep into next century.

One of the founders of the alliance, Sun Ta-chien, said the group specifically aims to recruit younger members who can work together to give the KMT a more vibrant image. "The party needs to be more international," he said. Sun said the alliance will make the KMT more unified, so that it can keep its position as Taiwan's ruling party.

In the international arena, many alliance members are also KMT representatives in their respective countries of study, such as the US, England, and France. They plan to have more exchanges with young people in other countries by planning international forums and activities.

In the domestic domain, another founder of the alliance, Chang Hsien-yao, suggested that in the short term, alliance members should help KMT mayoral and county chief candidates campaign for the upcoming elections.

The group also plans to make proposals for party reform, national development, and the improvement of Taiwan's current diplomatic situation.

Advisors who helped with the alliance's foundation include the Vice Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Wang Jin-ping, former Justice Minister Ma Ying-jeou, Presidential Advisor Tsai Cheng-wen, and KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung.

Vote buying: free rice for votes, a misunderstanding . . . honest
(sources: Central News Agency and China News) An investigation was launched Friday into alleged vote-buying at the Taichung County Fengyuan City Farmers' Association, following reports that free rice was being distributed on behalf of KMT candidate Hsu Chung-hsiung.

Taichung prosecutors began their investigation after Chuo Yi-feng, the head of the DPP Taichung County election headquarters, received a tip-off that the association was giving out free rice on behalf of Hsu. On Friday afternoon, Chuo went to the association and discovered that Hsu's name cards and campaign literature were being handed out at the same table where bags of rice were being given away.

The chairman of the association, Lin Lung-teng, called the accusations a "misunderstanding". He said the rice was distributed to members after an annual meeting of local farmers was held earlier this month. He added that his association is politically neutral and does not distribute campaign materials. Hsu's campaign office has also denied any acknowledge of the free rice hand-outs.

According to the association's supervisory body, the Forest and Agriculture Office, some farmers' association chiefs do support specific candidates and are allowed to do so, as long as the association and its personnel are not used for promotional purposes.

The example of Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association head Chien Chin-ching, who is a campaign assistant for Nantou County KMT candidate Hsu Hui-you, was cited as an example.

Minister of Justice Liao Cheng-hao called on the public yesterday to closely cooperate with the government in an across-the-board drive to stamp out vote-buying, saying that people should report any attempts at this or other unlawful acts. Especially now that the campaign is full swing, Liao said, the public should keep justice in mind and help the government eradicate any unlawful deeds that could distort the fairness of the elections.


APEC: Asia's economic woes loom larger at Canada meeting
Asia's spreading financial crisis derailed the formal agenda at an annual meeting of Pacific Rim nations on Friday as South Korea requested an urgent international bailout of its foundering economy.

South Korea, latest victim of the Asian contagion, sought a loan of some US$20 billion from the international Monetary Fund (IMF), acknowledging it could not solve its economic problems on its own.

The request was welcomed by IMF Managing Director Michael Camdessus, who said a team of experts would arrive in Seoul next week to help the authorities draw up a program of reforms.

Camdessus made no mention of how much money South Korea might receive from the IMF, which has already provided billions of dollars in financial support to Thailand and Indonesia.

South Korean Finance Minister Lim Chang-yuel said on Friday that Seoul and the IMF both believed US$20 billion would be enough to solve the problems, concentrated in a banking sector hit by corporate failures and a falling currency. But some officials at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting here immediately questioned that figure.

A Japanese newspaper reported one of Japan's four biggest brokerages, Yamaichi Securities Co., would seek liquidation of its assets, underlining the troubles of Asia's biggest economies.

The news was the latest blow in Asia's spreading stock market and currency malaise, already dominating the 18-member APEC meetings and knocking aside the formal agenda of talks on trade liberalization.

That marks a dramatic change from previous summits, when Asia's once-booming "tiger" economies were lauded as the powerful engines of world growth.

US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said on the first day of the six-day APEC meetings on Thursday that the United States and Japan wanted a swift end to Asia's turmoil.

APEC foreign and trade ministers are holding talks in Vancouver on Friday and Saturday before a summit of their leaders, who arrive on Sunday. Rattled investors are looking to APEC to contain the panic, although some analysts believe the group can offer little more than soothing rhetoric.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

Law and order: media should be banned from hostage scenes, says top prosecutor
(sources: Central News Agency and China News) Taiwan's top prosecutor, Lu Ren-fa, said yesterday that irrelevant people, including social and political celebrities, should be barred from the scene of any hostage situation in the future so as to accelerate the effective handling of the crisis by law enforcement personnel.

Reviewing the Peitou hostage drama, Lu said that "irrelevant individuals" attempting to intervene in such a situation could end up as hostages themselves and only help the criminal gain more bargaining chips.

Lu, State Prosecutor-General under the Ministry of Justice, made the call in response to complaints in the wake of the hostage incident that some public figures who volunteered to step into the negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday have actually gained political capital from the crisis.

Lu did not mention DPP politician and lawyer Frank Hsieh, who participated in negotiations with the hostage-taker and has been cited as instrumental in bringing about a peaceful end to the hostage taking.

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©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day
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