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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Wed, Dec 3, 1997 edition
DPP Reaffirms Independence Plank
elsewhere: Jiang Zemin pushes 'relativity'

Also in this edition . . .

1. pensioners joined by thousands in Sichuan protest
2. Keeping on track, Jiang talks of 'relativity'
3. Kyoto climate conference
4. KMT leader both shamed and inspired by defeat
5. DPP reaffirms commitment to independence goal
6. KMT prepares for reshuffle of ranks
7. US State Department lauds democratic progress on island
8. Multimedia technology to be promoted by government
9. on anniversary TSMFG chairman looks to future for foundry
10. fall in currency's value prompts gas price rise


Labour: pensioners joined by thousands in Sichuan protest
( 4,000 protest over failure to pay pensions ) A labour activist in Hongkong says some 4,000 people protested in Yibin, Sichuan province, yesterday. As the South China Morning Post reports, the protest began with 200 pensioners from the Yibin Phosphate Fertiliser Factory taking to the streets in protest for not receiving pensions. As they moved through the streets, more joined the crowd. Taking up station at the main intersection in town, the protestors stood for two hours intoning, "We have no money for food. We have to eat." The report says the police deployed 200 officers after attempts to disperse the protestors failed. Eventually, the group was dispersed, but when questioned by the paper local officials said they could neither confirm nor deny the incident had taken place. As the duty officer at the municipal Government said, "I really haven't heard anything about this. I cannot say if it happened or not, but I did not hear about it."

Mexico trip: Keeping on track, Jiang talks of 'relativity'
( President Jiang Says Human Rights "Relative" ) President Jiang Zemin is in Mexico, and in an interview with a paper there he said human rights and democracy were 'relative' concepts. As Reuters reports,

    "I studied natural sciences and cannot afford to say I have great knowledge of Einstein's theory of relativity. But I do know it a little, and when it comes to the themes of democracy and human rights, everything is relative," Jiang told Excelsior newspaper during a two-day state visit to Mexico.

    "It is true that in human rights there are some universal principles, but these should be exercised according to the differences that prevail in each country and it is not viable that one model is adopted for the whole world," he said.

These remarks echo his message in his Harvard University speech on November 1. Jiang appears to be addressing those who criticize him for invoking Einstein's theories in an inappropriate manner, as much as he is steadfastly staying on track with his message. Does it resonate well with people from developing countries?

( Jiang accuses rich nations of threatening world peace ) Speaking before Mexico's Senate, Mr Jiang lambasted industrialized nations for interfering in the affairs of developing nations and hurting their interests. In face of what he called the growing gap between North and South, he called for greater cooperation among developing nations.

    "Relations between the great powers are undergoing significant and fundamental change while the strength and influence of the world's developing countries are growing with each passing day."

This theme has long been an important aspect of China's foreign policy, and in light of recent economic problems in Asia---and Mexico---China's government would appear to be campaigning on the issue. Premier Li Peng, for example, has been travelling through Southeast Asia in recent months trying to build 'Asian' solidarity, suggesting economic woes there have been exasperated, if not caused, by Western influence in the emerging economies. To add punch to this strategy, Beijing is stepping up investment in huge capital projects.

In Mexico President Jiang and President Ernesto Zedillo signed agreements for four joint agreements in agricultural, sports and cultural cooperation. As the South China Morning Post reports,

    "Beijing will invest a total of US$43 million (HK$332 million) in the construction of a textile production complex in the Mexican city of Leon.

    "The countries also announced plans for a 10,000-hectare cattle-ranching and integrated agricultural project in the Gulf coast state of Campeche."

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry took the opportunity to criticize Taiwan's influence in the region, reports the paper. Shen Guofang, a spokesman for the ministry, said:

    "Taiwan takes advantage of the economic difficulties that some Latin American nations are going through to attract them with money. In the face of such seduction, some countries have sacrificed their principles and pledged recognition for Taiwan."

See also Jiang Zemin's Harvard Speech and Transcript of the Question and Answer Session Following President Jiang Zemin's Speech

China Daily: ( Jiang addresses Senate Economic relations widened )

Kyoto climate conference: ( The Earth Times/ENVIRONMENT: Kyoto talks focus on key role of developing nations. By Bonner R. Cohen ) At the Kyoto climate conference, Bonner Cohen reports on the vexing issue of how to include developing nations into the proposed climate changes.


Cross-strait relations: DPP reaffirms commitment to independence goal
( DPP firm on referendum over future ) With the rise of the DPP the question of the party's position on independence and sovereignty must be examined. It is no surprise the mainland quickly warned Taiwan and the DPP that any attempt to declare an independent Taiwan would bring upon a swift military response. The interesting thing is that attaining an independent Republic of China has long been a part of the party's platform, and today Taipei's Mayor Chen Shui-bian spoke about this:

  • "The Democratic Progressive Party's [DPP] platform states that it should let Taiwan people decide whether they want to declare independence," Mayor Chen said.

  • "The DPP wants to establish a sovereign independent Republic of Taiwan, to form a new constitution and to let Taiwan residents make the ultimate choice about Taiwan's future," Mr Chen said.

  • "Such positions have not been revised, altered or abolished."

  • "Democracy in Taiwan has matured to an extent that it could endure Chinese communists' missile tests."

The questions naturally would follow: to what extent were the electorate voting on 'local' issues, and to what extent did 'cross-strait' relations factor into the mix? As for mainland China, its response has not been particularly creative or different, as far we can discern, but as more and more elections are held in Taiwan how would the world react to military provocations against a people and government elected in open, relatively clean and 'democratic' ways? Taiwan's trump is both its economic strength and a vibrant and responsive political process.

See also SCMP: ( Scholars in call for progress )

KMT: KMT leader both shamed and inspired by defeat
President Lee Teng-hui said on Tuesday that his ruling Kuomintang (KMT) needs to do some deep soul-searching and self-examination following the party's poor showing in Saturday's election.

Lee, who concurrently serves as KMT chairman, made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation of overseas Chinese community leaders from the United States. It was also the first time since last Saturday that the president had publicly talked about the just-concluded mayoral and county commissioner elections, in which the KMT suffered a significant setback, winning only eight of the 23 top local government executive posts up for grabs.

Lee said the outcome indicates that democracy has taken from root in Taiwan. "Although the KMT has lost control of several cities and counties, we should respect the choice of the electorate," he said, adding that the KMT should carefully scrutinize the reasons behind its defeat at the hands of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and independent candidates.

Turning to the country's current challenges, Lee said the Republic of China must give top priority to three tasks in order to ensure its survival and sustained development: consolidating its democratic system, upgrading national competitiveness and forging rapprochement with mainland China.

Lee said the ROC has now existed for 86 years. "We should never forsake our sovereignty," he said, adding that the ROC should endeavor to dispel the unrealistic perception in the international community that "one China" is tantamount to the "People's Republic of China."

Saying that Chinese culture has been revitalized in Taiwan, Lee added that Taiwan's experience can provide inspiration for mainland China in its future development. He urged overseas Chinese community leaders to remain confident in the ROC's political and economic strength. "I believe China will eventually be reunified under the principles of freedom, democracy and prosperity," he said.

See also and

SCMP: ( Lee shoulders blame for loss )

(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)

Reshuffle: KMT prepares for reshuffle of ranks
Vice Premier John Chang yesterday refused to confirm reports suggesting that he had been picked to take over as secretary-general of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) following the party's rout in the local elections.

Chang said that he hadn't received any notice about the reported assignment to replace Wu Poh-hsiung, who resigned on Saturday after the KMT lost its majority in local government seats for the first time. "I haven't been officially informed up until now," Chang said. "But if the party has made any decision, as a party member I must obey the party's instruction." If local press reports turn out to be true, Chang said, he would let the mass media know." If you can serve the party when it needs you, this is an honor as well as a heavy responsibility.

The KMT's top decision making body, the central standing committee, will have a regularly scheduled meeting today during which it is expected to approve Wu's resignation as well as the appointment of Wu's successor.

Commenting on the reports about Chang's appointment, Wu said that Chang, who is considered capable and enjoys a good reputation, would be the proper person to fill the vacancy left by his resignation.

Chang, 56, served as KMT overseas affairs director, overseas Chinese affairs commission minister and foreign minister before being appointed vice premier in September.

With speculation that Chang will be assigned the post of KMT secretary-general, his successor for the vice premiership has become another focus of the local media. It has been suggested that Minister-Without-Portfolio Lin Feng-cheng and Justice Minister Liao Cheng-hao are two hopeful candidates.

Meanwhile, as calls for reforms and self-examination have emerged in the wake of the setback in last week's local elections, some KMT legislators have reportedly asked Lee Teng-hui to step down from the KMT chairmanship as a means of admitting responsibility. Lee has scheduled to meet with KMT legislators today to "listen to their opinions" on the political situation.

Chen Hung-chi (Taipei), whip of the KMT's Legislative Yuan caucus, yesterday suggested that the party should exercise democracy at the grass-root level as a way of reform. "In particular, the heads of city and county headquarters should be elected by local party members, and we should let them assume full rights and obligations in the nomination process," Chen said. Legislator Hsieh Chin-chung (Taipei) said the KMT should face the defeat and thoroughly review the reasons behind it.

See also and

(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)

United States: State Dept. lauds democratic progress on island
(sources: Central News Agency and The China Post) The U.S. government Monday extended congratulations to the people of Taiwan for holding successful mayoral and county magistrate elections last weekend.

In a statement handed out to the press, the U.S. Department of State termed the elections "another step in the impressive democratic transformation of Taiwan over the past decade. "We also congratulate all candidates who won and have earned the trust of the voters to serve in these important local offices," the State Department said. Asked to comment on possible implications of the election results, the department said, "These were local elections contested on local personalities and issues."

An official at the State Department contacted by CNA declined to speculate on how the election results might affect the triangular relationship among the United States, Taiwan and mainland China. He also would not comment on whether the elections might have a significant influence on Taiwan's internal party politics.

On whether the United States would step up its contacts with the DPP, the official said the United States, through the American Institute in Taiwan, has maintained contacts with a variety of people from all of walks of life in Taiwan and will continue to do so.


Technology: Multimedia technology to be promoted by govt.
(sources: Central News Agency and The China Post) The National Information Infrastructure (NII) task force under the Executive Yuan has decided to promote the multimedia sector as Taiwan's rising star for the next century, estimating that the industry's output will reach about US$10 billion in 1999 and rise to account for five percent of the world's total by 2002.

The decision was made on Monday at an NII meeting in which the ad-hoc group approved the launch of a three-year promotional program to develop Taiwan's information highway. The program, expected to be approved by the Executive Yuan soon, calls for a total investment of NT$42.7 billion, with the government channeling in NT$18.6 billion, while Chunghua Telecom Co. Ltd. will contribute the remaining NT$24.1 billion.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, which will be in charge of the trans-century project, will invest NT$8.2 billion under the plan in an effort to build Taiwan into a research, development and distribution center for the multimedia industry in the Asia-Pacific region. As the industry covers a wide range of fields, NII officials said, the Economics Ministry will join forces with the private sector to develop the project.

Meanwhile, the Council for Economic Planning and Development, as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Finance, will work out incentives in June and December of 1998 to help boost development of the multimedia sector.

NII convener Yang Shih-chien, currently a minister-without-portfolio, said Taiwan, with its already solid base in the information industry, should grab the opportunity to develop itself into a multimedia power, as the sector has been seen as the locomotive behind the world's economic development in the future.

Semiconductors: on anniversary TSMFG chairman looks to future for foundry
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Taiwan Semiconductor MFG Corp. (TSMC), Morris Chang, chairman of the company, talked about the firm's vision in which TSMC operates 1000 "virtual fabs" for customers, offering ten times the current capacity.

Ten years ago, inspired by the trend of entrepreneurs starting their own companies in Silicon Valley and across the world, Morris Chang, then a 30-year veteran in the semiconductor industry, founded TSMC, a company modelled as a foundry and dedicated to manufacturing wafers for customers. Now marching into its 11th year, TSMC is one of the most profitable listed companies in Taiwan, despite the downturn in the semiconductor industry, and Chang predicted that the foundry model will still be going strong in the next decade.

Chang predicted that the demand for semiconductors will continue to grow in the next ten years, as entrepreneurs will keep looking for new uses, and the output of foundries will account for 25 percent of the total production in the semiconductor industry ten years from now, up from eight percent currently. Therefore, "the environment is favorable to TSMC," said an upbeat Chang.

See also

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Energy: fall in currency's value prompts gas price rise
The price of gas is to be raised a maximum of seven percent before the middle of the month to reflect the increase in costs for purchasing crude oil from abroad following the sharp devaluation of the New Taiwan dollar against the greenback over the last two months, the state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) said.

CPC General Manager Pan Wen-yen said by what percentage the price of gas would be raised, and whether or not the increase would be made stage-by-stage or in a single move had yet to be decided by the governing agency, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Officials with CPC said the cost for crude oil purchases was US$19.48 per barrel in November, up from US$18.16 per barrel in October, causing the CPC to fall short of its targeted profits by NT$2.4 billion (US$73.84 million) last month. The officials said the CPC incurs additional costs in crude purchase of about NT$1.5 billion (US$461.53 million) per month for every one New Taiwan dollar decrease seen against the U.S. dollar, CPC also fell short of its estimated surplus by nearly NT$600 million in October because of the devalued local currency, which began its slide after mid-October.

They said if the CPC sought to raise petroleum prices by more than three percent, it must consult in advance with an advisory committee on energy and electricity rates under the MOEA. However, if the price hike is set at below three percent, the CPC can make its own decision on the hike. CPC president Chen Chao-wei said he hoped the price hike could be settled at one time, meaning the hike rate may reach seven percent, the rate which the CPC estimated was within a reasonable range after calculating crude purchase costs in relation to the currency changes.

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)

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a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day
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