Saturday, December 25, 2010

If the Heritage Foundation would invite Wang Jin-Pyng, one wonders whether they are simply like other U.S. think-tanks that are blinded by or too influenced by elitism. Under the KMT, the Legislative Yuan has not deepened democracy, but rather weakened Taiwan's democracy.


The Heritage Foundation
Cordially Invites You
Democracy Building in Interesting Times
Taipei, TAIWAN

A Symposium Featuring Practitioners and Experts on Democratic Development

Co-Hosted by

• The Heritage Foundation
• Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
• Institute for National Policy Research


Edwin J. Feulner, President, The Heritage Foundation (U.S.)
Tien Hung-mao, President, INPR, (Taiwan)
Park Jin, Member of National Assembly, National Assembly (ROK)
Eva Kusuma Sundari, Member of Parliament (Indonesia)
Alan Kah-Kit Leong, Legislative Council (Hong Kong)
Justin S. Chou, Legislator in Legislative Yuan (Taiwan)(invited)
Yuriko Koike, Member of Diet (Japan)
Jeffrey Bergner, Former Assistant Secretary of State (USA)
Shing-Yuang Sheng, National Chengchi University (Taiwan)
Richard Gordon, Chairman, Philippine Red Cross
Parth Shah, President, Center for Civil Society (India)
Junichi Chano, Executive Assistant to the President, The Japan Foundation (Japan)
Min-Hsiu Chiang, National Chengchi University (Taiwan) (Invited)
Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation (U.S.)
Yuli Ismartono, Tempo Magazine (Indonesia)
Kavi Chongkittavorn, The Nation (Thailand)
Chun-Nan Chiang, Consultant, Apple Daily (Taiwan)

With Keynote Address by

Wang Jin-Pyng, President, Legislative Yuan

Monday, January 10, 2011

8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel – Taipei, Taiwan

The global financial crisis, increasing military modernization efforts, political leadership and transitions, and demands from domestic publics make for interesting times for democracy building and development in the Asia-Pacific region. Lawmakers and policy experts are constantly trying to find answers to these important national and global events. Thus, The Heritage Foundation, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and Taiwan’s Institute for National Policy Research are collaborating on this symposium, bringing together a group of highly-regarded, experienced and skilled democratic practitioners to discuss and develop best practices for democracies in these interesting times. Please join us as we discuss these issues through the topics of majority and minority rights in governance, informing the legislative process, the role of civil society, and freedom of the press and government accountability.

To RSVP or for inquiries, contact Ms. Rita Wei-Tzu Yen at 886-02-2357-9687 or

Friday, December 3, 2010

Being Practical versus Acting out of Pragmatism

There is a difference between being practical and pragmatism. Being practical is figuring out an effective way to carry out principle in a given situation. You do not change a goal of what ought to be done.

Pragmatism disregards pursuit of what ought to be done in favor of settling for what seemingly can be done.

It is not possible to calculate truly and fully what is possible -- what can be done. Those who do so and act on their calculations in the name of pragmatism often fail to account for all the possibilities and so miss the best one.

For example: Pragmatism would have said that the 13 American colonies could not successfully rebel against the British Empire.

Pragmatism would have said that democracy is unwieldy and ineffective and that we need elites to rule us.

These arguments are still used today.

Pragmatism would say that Taiwan should give in to China.

Pragmatism would have said that William Wilberforce should not have tried to eradicate slavery in the British Empire.

The lesson of history over and over again exposes the error of operating on the basis of pragmatism.

However, sometimes acting on principle does end in a failure to succeed. Even in this case, would have it been better not to act?

Regardless of the outcome, it is better to act on what ought to be done even if the action will not succeed. For your failure may still lead to a laying of the foundation for future generations to succeed.

Principle to operate on: Advance of Freedom

Many do not like George W. Bush, but you may find this facebook interview quite enjoyable to watch.

One thing to notice is the issue of making decisions based on the principle of freedom.

Watch live streaming video from facebookguests at

There are a lot of gems and excellent quotes by Bush in this interview. ... Maybe we'll take a little time to include some of them.

One big blindspot seems to be Bush's understanding of Taiwan. In the case of China and Taiwan, Bush did not operate out of principle. His State Department did not wholly embrace the freedom of the Taiwanese people. In the video he states that "We handled the Taiwan issue well during my presidency."

History does not bear him out. Ma Ying-jeou's election and the erosion of freedom and democracy in Taiwan was partially a result of the Bush China policies.

Taiwan was not handled well. And under the Obama administration, it continues to be mishandled.

Feared Information to Expose Attitudes?

Michael Richardson reports:

WikiLeaks has disclosed that it controls 3,456 documents that relate to Taiwan. A spokesman for the American Institute in Taiwan, Christopher Kavanaugh, told the China Post, “We condemn such unauthorized disclosure.” The WikiLeaks documents originated at the AIT in Taipei and 1,425 are marked “confidential” with another 136 listed as “secret.”

Michael Turton shares the details on one leaked document.

Reading the tidbits, a question arises: do U.S. State Department officials turn off their minds when it comes to considering the clear distinction between Hong Kong's situation and history and Taiwan's situation? Are they thinking that Taiwan should be like Hong Kong?

There likely will not be any earth-shattering revelations from these documents. However, they will very probably give distinct clarity to the attitudes and operating worldviews of those in the U.S. State Department.

As more documents come out -- will we see a callous attitude towards Taiwan, human rights, and justice, an embrace of pragmatism?

Pragmatism is never pragmatic. There are always unintended and often disastrous consequences to carrying out seemingly pragmatic solutions instead of acting on principle.

In these past few decades, brutal communist regimes in North Korea and China are the result of U.S. State Department pragmatism.

In the mid-twentieth century, brutal fascist regimes were the result of the U.S. State Department pragmatism.

In the next few decades, detonation of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea or some terrorist organizations to which they were sold could be the outcome of current U.S. State Department pragmatism.

When has the State Department ever been a benefit to the United States, or to the world? When it acts on principles of democracy and inalienable human rights.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Need for educating and outreach to the electorate

A comment by Les in response to Michael Turton's blog post on vote buying reminds us of something that needs to be addressed -- which we actually can have an impact addressing.

The comment is in regard to how it is that Taiwanese -- especially older or less educated Taiwanese -- could be willing to give their vote away to the first vote buyer that comes along -- which often is KMT/Gangster connected.

A lot of vote-buying relies on the fear of reprisal and some twisted sense of debt owed to the buyer.
The village / town KMT stooges are known to all and it's usually unstated threat that 'we will know' if the bought vote isn't cast. This is helped along by the knowledge that the civil service that is counting is mainly pan-blue.
Rural voters are especially susceptible to the idea that the politicians are their betters. When someone comes and offers politely to buy their vote, it's considered rude to refuse. Likewise, once the vote is bought it's considered rude not to cast it.
Quite a few of my green-leaning friends have older relatives who consistently sell their votes for these reasons, and no amount of explaining or cajoling will change that behavior.

Parents / older relatives of green-leaning friends. The ones selling the votes are not particularly interested in politics per se, but are independence minded and profess a Taiwan identity rather than a Chinese one. The kids live in the city and are DPP supporters. I think the older relatives will sell their vote to the first person who comes to the house, and it's out of some sense that when the 'VIPs' ask, you have to go along, especially when they come bearing gifts. I don't believe they are ignoring deep-seated beliefs for this. More likely they are apathetic about politics in general. Then there is the fear factor, that things will go badly for them if they don't go along with the requests and the 'VIP' doing the asking gets (re)elected anyway.
10:49 AM

IN CONCLUSION: We should organize volunteers to educate the less educated electorate with flyers and door-to-door visits to prepare them on how to behave and respond when a vote-buyer comes a-knocking on their doors.

A persistent, long-term campaign against this vote-buyer intimidation , arming the people with responses and reasons, etc. could gradually make the electoral soil unfertile for vote harvesting.

A China-free Christmas

Please check out the following link if you want to get Christmas presents but do not want to buy any made in China.

Too bad we cannot have a China-sympathizer-enabler-Taiwan betrayer-KMT FREE Taiwan.