(I did not choose the title for the letter.)
Tang laureate urges Taiwan not to ‘throw away’ freedom
Tang laureate urges Taiwan not to ‘throw away’ freedom
Chinese American historian and Tang Prize laureate Yu Ying-shih.
Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Chinese American historian and Tang Prize laureate Yu Ying-shih on Friday praised Taiwan’s democratic achievements and expressed the hope that Taiwan would not carelessly throw away its freedom.
In China’s thousands of years of history, Taiwan is the only democracy that has emerged, with its people able to elect their leaders every four years, Yu noted at a press conference after a speech in Taipei.
"This is very precious. It is because of this that you (Taiwanese) are able to enjoy true human rights and rule of law," said the 84-year-old Princeton University emeritus professor, who won the first Tang Prize in Sinology.
On Hong Kong’s current fight for democracy, Yu said he believes the Chinese Communist Party would rather sacrifice its economy than compromise its authoritarian rule, and he believes the Chinese government was tolerant toward Hong Kong in the beginning because it wanted to convince Taiwanese that it would be alright to become ” another Hong Kong”.
Yu, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, cautioned Taiwanese against Chinese infiltration, saying China can even “buy your newspapers.”
He said he hopes the Taiwanese people will not “absentmindedly throw away” Taiwan’s hard-earned freedom.
Meanwhile, commenting on the proliferation of Confucius Institutes around the world that promote China’s language and culture, Yu said Taiwan does not have to compete with China by establishing similar institutes.
"You should be yourself," said the China-born scholar, who quoted a news report that alleged the Confucius Institutes are engaged in political and intelligence activities.
Asked about his views on Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement earlier this year, Yu said he approves of the student’s opposition as Taiwan runs the real risk of being exploited by China on the service trade pact.
He however stopped short of expressing full support for the demonstrations, saying that he is against violent protests in a democratic society because it is an undemocratic approach.
He said protesters in a democratic society should try instead to bring about changes by convincing voters to vote differently in the next election.
(By Christie Chen)
Taiwan 2014 Municipal & Local Government Election Watch Update
As we enter the last two months of the campaign for the 29th November Municipal and local government elections, most attention is still being paid to the race for Taipei City Mayor, with both a TVBS poll (see pic above) and a Next TV poll (40.2% to 28.8%) putting DPP-supported independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) fairly comfortably ahead of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Sean Lien (連勝文).
If that wasn’t a morale sapper for Team SilverSpooner™, then the fact that he’s losing in Legislator and Campaign Director Alex Tsai’s own traditionally deep blue district of Neihu and NangGang must be outright shocking …
According to Next TV’s poll, the districts that showed landslide support for Ko included Datong District (大同), with Ko’s 55.6 percent towering above Lien’s 18.2 percent; Beitou District (北投), where Ko has 50.5 percent of support and Lien 22.7 percent; and Lien’s campaign director and KMT Legislator Alex Tsai’s (蔡正元) electoral constituency Neihu District (內湖), where Ko has 59.5 percent support against Lien’s 19.6 percent.
Ouch! Lien still apparently leads in the hardcore pro-KMT districts of Wenshan and Daan where he leads Ko by 32.9 percent in Daan to 28 percent, and in Wenshan where he leads Ko by 34.5 percent to 28.4 percent.
However, considering that KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) won District 8 (Wenshan) with 63.43%, the KMT’s ‘Alex’ Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) won District 4 (Neihu/NangGang) with 48.23%, and the KMT’s Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) won District 6 (Daan) with 60.03% in the 2012 Legislative Yuan elections, Lien’s slim leads of 4.9% in Daan and 6.1% in Wenshan, if accurate, are ominous for the KMT.
Remember also that in the 2010 municipal and local elections, when the overall DPP vote exceeded the KMT’s by 5.5%, KMT incumbent Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌) still got re-elected by a margin of 11.84%, despite a lacklustre campaign and a relatively uninspiring record of administration. If the polls are to believed, (in Taiwan there are lies, damned lies, and polls), such a margin of victory for Lien is currently in the realm of pure fantasy and wish projection.
It is still far too early to determine why it seems SilverSpooner™ is faring so badly in the polls and with two months to go anything could happen that might turns the polls on their heads, especially if ClusterF**k™ makes more outrageous statements revealing his misogynistic attitude to women or his allegedly rather ossified social and moral values.
That said, Ko seems to be coping with the KMT’s attacks on his finances, today releasing his financial and tax information,’declaring war’ (a horrible phrase to use in an election) on the Team SilverSpooner™ campaign, and challenging them to make Lien’s finances transparent. In fact, if the pro-KMT TVBS poll is to be believed, Tsai and Lo’s attacks on Ko’s finances are not sticking with the public, as twitter user FormosaNation pointed out:
There’s a long way to go but at the moment it appears this election is Ko’s to lose. With Tainan and Kaohsiung very likely to re-elect, respectively, the DPP’s Lai and Chen, the most interesting or unpredictable remaining races are in Taichung where Mayor Jason ‘Build-It-And-They-Will-Come-By-BRT’ Hu (胡志強) is struggling to get re-elected, and Keelung City where the KMT have imploded in a swamp of corruption and incompetence.
Why did the fish die in Xindian River?
News that has since strangely been largely ignored by most media, last week Taipei citizens reported that thousands of fish in the Xindian river had died. The photo above was taken by Reddit user Gao_tie and posted here six days ago. Users suggested a number of reasons:
My guess is anoxic water due to algae blooms or some kind of red tide algae poisoning. Same thing happened this week on a much smaller scale to a few dozen fish in the creek by my house… it is also flowing water, but there has not been much rain recently.
*it is in the news: Taipei EPA officials didn’t find any measurable toxins yet, but they said the water temperature was on the high side and guessed the die-off was due to successive days of hot weather leading to lower levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.
I saw them two days ago myself while riding over Zhongzhen bridge.
I was told that it was on the news, and on the first day it said that the hot water lead to lower levels of dissolved oxygen.
But then another report yesterday said that they were saltwater fish that got directed up the river, and because there’s a special partition, they were blocked from swimming back out and died.
Here is an Apple Daily report including video that apparently puts it down to a lack of oxygen in the water owing to consistent high temperatures, previous die offs which apparently happen a few times a year, were put down to chemicals that had raised the acidity of the water:
Not just confined to the Xindian river, the Danshui River also saw a similar mass die off in 2013. On the Forumosa board in that link the following reasons were given for the die off:
I did a bit of reading around on this a couple of years ago. The fish kills are usually caused by a protracted period without rain (like we’ve just been through). The water level drops right down and the amount of oxygen falls below the tolerance of some fish species, killing them. Perhaps the heavy downpours we’ve just had have washed them out of all the tributaries and into the Danshui? Interestingly, the invasive Tilapia seem to have a higher tolerance than other species.
Are the dead fish all the same species?
Edit: I just searched Google scholar and found one of the papers: LIU, WEN-CHENG, et al. “WATER QUALITY SIMULATION TO DETERMINE MINIMUM INSTREAM FLOW FOR FISH SURVIVAL.” You can download the pdf if interested. This particular paper is talking about the Xindian River.The Xindian Stream is one of the major branches of the Danshuei River system, which runs through the metropolitan capital city of Taipei, Taiwan and receives a large amount of wastewater. The dissolved oxygen concentration is generally low in the tidal portion of the Xindian Stream. Hypoxia/anoxia occurs often, particularly during the low-flow period when the Feicui Reservoir, Chingtan Dam and Chihtan Dam impound the freshwater for municipal water supply. Fish kills happen from time to time.
Ambassador Ma Jisheng reportedly taken away by Chinese state security amid spy claims
Uighur scholar, respected internationally for constructive views on country’s ethnic tensions, is accused of fomenting separatism
Through a process of dehumanization of its people, some experts argue that Taiwan should be ‘given’ to China for the sake of global stability. They are wrong
Rest in Peace Oliver Chen and thank you.
When a Taiwanese working in Germany as an intern complained that she had to state her citizenship as “Chinese” in official documents, her post on the PTT bulletin board quickly attracted a lot of media attention in Taiwan. Many netizens left comments saying they were shocked or disappointed …
Excellent work by Klaus.