Jerome F. Keating's writings

2009 - 2st Quarter Writings

How Many Protests Must Be Made Against the KMT Abuse of Justice in Taiwan?

Saturday June 27

Justice continues to be abused in Taiwan; human rights are ignored on a regular basis; transitional justice never happened; the Legislative Yuan has always been controlled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and yet Ma Ying-jeou (whose reputation as the "phony pony" grows by leaps and bounds) wants us to believe that all is well in his lah-lah land. Ma preaches the deceit of "Peace in Our Time" with the rapacious country to the west of Taiwan; to cover his deceit he must distract and orchestrate the circus trial of Chen Shui-bian...

Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society Active in June

Saturday June 20

Taiwan abounds with the multiple histories of its complex past. This June has proved to be a typical example, for it was an active month for the Taiwan Prisoner of War (POW) Camps Memorial Society. On June 6, we dedicated the Toroku Prison Camp Memorial at the Gou-ba Elementary School in Douhlio. Then on June 20, we dedicated a memorial to fourteen American airmen who were executed at the former Taipei Prison on June 19, 1945. Both memorials were part of the society's on-going campaign to never forget those who suffered imprisonment in Taiwan. In the complexities of history, these men had fought in World War II for the freedom of their own countries, and they had in their own small way contributed (directly or indirectly) to the eventual democracy that Taiwan enjoys today...

Peng Ming-min's New Book, Does Taiwan Need to Escape from Ma?

Friday June 19

Peng Ming-min is a man who has not only talked the talk, but more importantly walked the walk for Taiwan. A life long advocate of Taiwan's right for self-determination, he recently came out with a new book, "A Perfect Escape." The book recounts how in early 1970 Peng, still under house arrest for publishing the "Declaration of Formosan Self-Salvation" (1964), managed to escape from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) autocratic state control. This was at the height of the KMT's White Terror period and provides much more detail than there was in the brief mention of the escape in Peng's "A Taste of Freedom." ...

Ma Ying-jeou's Mentor Remains Depressed Over What He Sees in Taiwan

Sunday June 14

One has to wonder, how many times must Ma Ying-jeou's mentor and former law professor have to criticize Ma's government before they get the picture. Twice he has spoken out on the corruption and the violations on human rights as well as the injustices prevalent in Taiwan. Yet in the short span of six months Jerome Cohen has felt compelled to speak out once more. This time he criticizes the silence of the legal personnel in standing up to the government's abuses. His article "Silence of the Lambs" appeared in the South China Morning Post on June 11, 2009. It follows:...

Wu Poh-hsiung: Tears, Just Desserts, Or the Simple Inevitable Slap in the Face?

Tuesday June 11

One can almost feel sorry for Wu Poh-hsiung as he steps down or is pushed off the stage as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman by Ma Ying-jeou. I say almost, but that is as far as it goes. Wu is one of those strange Hakka who have a rightful place to be masters in their own land of Taiwan, but have given it up to be a second class citizen in the KMT. Why? It seems that such would rather settle for the guaranteed crumbs and secure lower status provided by the KMT than enter the competitive world of finding principles on which they can build their lives and living those principles...

Tianamen Square Twenty Years Later: the Memory Lives for Those Who Care

Tuesday June 02

Tomorrow we commemorate the massacre at Tiananmen Square, a massacre that many pretend never happened and others wish would go away so they could go on making money off the tainted goods of China. For those who live in the democratic nation of Taiwan, it is particularly poignant because the country to our west has designs on our economy and our nation. Similarly as there are those who wish that Tiananmen Square would go away, so there are those that wish the 23 million people of Taiwan's wish to preserve their democratic nation would go away. Such people also want only to go on making money with China...

Taiwan, Asia's Supposed Voldemort, That-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named

Thursday May 28

Shades of Harry Potter, but the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) continues to place Taiwanese in the Chamber of Secrets. Secrets? Yes and we are talking about more than just Ma Ying-jeou's refusal to provide any transparency on EFCA, the mythical savior to salvage his failed economic policies. As he gives the farm away, Ma wants Taiwanese to blindly trust his last ditch speculation. No the greater secrets we are talking about are the way KMT leaders enter into discourse with China. Whenever the subject of the nation state of Taiwan comes up, it is treated like the Voldemort of Asia, "That-Which-Must-Not-Be Named."...

Ma Ying-jeou Completes his First Year as Justice and Human Rights Continue to Erode in Taiwan

Tuesday May 26

Ma Ying-jeou has completed his first year as president of Taiwan and the reviews of his performance are far from favorable to say the least. The economy remains poor but Ma as a "one-trick pony" risks endangering the nation¡¯s sovereignty by professing that his only salvation is in China. Those countries eager to profit off of China's cheap labor and tainted goods are happy to go along with this and praise him for it. Within Taiwan, however, there have already been four major protests in the nation; for the observing group of scholars and writers, justice and human rights continue to erode. They have issued their fourth letter on this. The postings of the previous letters can be found here on November 15, 2008, November 29, 2008, and January 30, 2009. Below is the latest Open Letter, printed in the Taipei Times on May 21, 2009. The most recent letter follows...

Ma Ying-jeou's Police State? A Follow Up on the 5/17 Protest "Accident"

Sunday May 24

Imagine that you are speeding along at 80 km per hour on a city street where the speed limit is around 30 to 40 km per hour. Imagine further that two elderly gentlemen in their sixties slowly cross the street in front of you. They are from a protest that you have been monitoring. You may be annoyed at them because of that and you may further be annoyed at them because you know your boss wants to create the facade that everyone in Taiwan is happy. You do not slow down or even apply the brakes. You hit both of them throwing one up in the air so that he breaks the windshield on your car in his fall. Both of them end up in the hospital. One may die; the other has a broken hip and must have his leg amputated. Police responsibility under Ma Ying-jeou? Read on...

Taiwan and the WHA, a Gift Horse to be Examined?

Tuesday May 19

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) just does not get it. They cannot understand why the people of Taiwan are fed up with their continued condescending paternalism. They fail to realize that the people see through the KMT's pretense to love Taiwan as Taiwan. They cannot fathom why their colonial beneficence is seen as just that, rehashed colonialism. The most recent example of this is the shameless behavior of Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan who when challenged on what name was used in joining WHA, tearfully complained, "I really don't know what these people want . . . I am being patriotic." Patriotic to what? Yes, this has always been the problem of colonial masters wanting to maintain their colonial status...

Emboldened Police Car Runs Down Two Anti-Ma Ying-jeou Protesters in Taipei

Monday May 18

The current Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) President Ma Ying-jeou had promised that he would return the streets to the people after his election. But as always with the hypocritical Ma, one must watch what he does rather than what he says. During the People's Republic of China (PRC) Chen Yunlin's visit, Taiwan witnessed how thousands of police were mobilized to forcibly prevent legitimate protest. Police manhandled citizens wanting to display the national flag or trying to get near the hotel where Chen was staying as Ma sought to cozy up to China. Later a record store was shut down because it was playing Taiwanese songs. Its crime was that it was a half-block away from another hotel where Chen Yunlin was having tea with KMT bigwigs...

Taiwan: Problems in Paradise under Ma Ying-jeou

Saturday May 16

Taiwan and Kaohsiung are bracing for the protest marches on Sunday May 17th. They promise to be colorful with plenty of creative signs and slogans as the people voice their discontent with Ma Ying-jeou's poor leadership in his first year as president. There will be plenty of photos following on the web to give ample evidence that all is not well in Taiwan despite the glossy veneer that some would like to put on the erosion of justice and human rights under Ma as well as his lack of transparency in dealings with Taiwan's troublesome neighbor across the Strait...

Taiwan's Injustice, How Can I Protest? Let Me Count the Ways, but First Sign Up

Thursday May 14

On May 11, I posted below on how injustice has continued to erode in Taiwan and gave specific reference to the trial of Chen Shui-bian. Someone has since made available a place to sign up and voice your protest...

Jason Yuan, Another KMT Case of Deceit and So-So Loyalty to Taiwan?

Thursday May 14

Remember the weeks and months of denials and protestations of innocence we had to endure in the recent case of Diane Lee's loyalty to Taiwan? Well, Lee, the illegal member of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan kept saying she did not have a US passport etc. etc. till she finally resigned and ran off with over US$3 million dollars of illegally earned money from Taiwan. It now seems like another Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) case of so-so KMT loyalty to Taiwan is in the wind. This is over Jason Yuan's now-he-has-it, now-he-doesn't green card. "Next Magazine" has once again exposed the fast and loose practices of KMT members...

Taiwan Stands up to be Counted: Protest in Taipei on May 17

Wednesday May 13

Are you fed up with the erosion of justice in Taiwan? Are you fed up with the lack of government transparency in its dealings with China? Are you fed up with the lack of economic leadership and results in Taiwan? Are you fed up with the re-introduction of a police state? Are you fed up with the way the media is being constricted? Are you fed up with 6-3-3 and all the false promises of the Phony Pony? Then come out and protest on May 17th. So rings the cry in Taiwan...

Injustice Continues in Chen Shui-bian's Trial

Monday May 11

Injustice flows from granting too much power to an agency or government and that continues to be the case in Taiwan. The collaboration of prosecutors and witnesses, plea discussions and immunity negotiations continue to easily lead to a fabrication of evidence where the intimidated witnesses say what the prosecutors want them to say. Professor Jerome Cohen's critical remarks of Taiwan's legal process again hold center stage as run of the mill prosecutors are allowed free rein in the courts. The most recent abuse has been that when the unconstitutional holding of Chen Shui-bian finally went into effect, the prosecutors drummed up new charges so that they could still keep Chen in jail. Review these past highlights...

A New Perspective on Taiwan's Identity: Doris T. Chang's "Women's Movements in Twentieth Century Taiwan"

Friday May 08

In addition to its unresolved status, a second pressing issue for Taiwan is its identity. Doris T. Chang's new work, "Women's Movements in 20th Century Taiwan" addresses that issue from a totally unexpected perspective, the role of women. Dr. Richard C. Kagan, Professor Emeritus at Hamline University, shares his review of that work and its importance. Kagan cautions that the book is academic and does not directly address the issues of identity but once read, it calls for a re-evaluation and new assessment of Taiwan's feminist movements in terms of Taiwan's identity and its relations with China...

A New Book: Nancy Bernkopf Tucker's "Strait Talk" on Taiwan's Unresolved Status

Friday May 08

Taiwan's status after World War II remains unresolved, how true. Yet while Dennis Wilder of the US State Department could say this, Japan's representative to Taiwan, Masaki Saito, recently got into trouble for saying exactly the same thing. Rebuked and admonished by both the Republic of China (ROC) and the People's Republic of China (PRC), Saito was nevertheless applauded by others. Why? Because it is about time that the world faced this unfortunate residue of San Francisco Peace Treaty (1952). I have written on it numerous times but am pleased to say that Nancy Bernkopf Tucker's new book goes into the full background. Her work, "Strait Talk: United States--Taiwan Relations and the Crisis with China" both documents and points to the numerous causes of this problem and how we got saddled by it. I present an excellent review of that book below. Anyone involved with Taiwan should read it...

Taiwan's Tung Blossoms: Take Time out to Appreciate the Flowers

Thursday May 07

From mid-April to mid-May, in central and northern Taiwan, the mountains come alive with the blossoming of the Tung tree. This fast-growing tree (genus paulownia) has been imported to Taiwan from China and prospered here. Not needing much water, it is a good economical tree known for its lumber and seeds and of course the beauty of its blossoms. ...

Justice, Human Rights, Free Press Continue to Erode Under Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou

Wednesday May 06

There is a nauseating sickness that overtakes anyone in Taiwan who has had to listen over the years to what some call "the mealy-mouthed hypocrisy" of its president, Ma Ying-jeou. While Ma tries to pretend all is well under heaven in Taiwan, Freedom House in its latest announcement has just dropped Taiwan in its global ranking to number 43 from the previous year's ranking of 32 in freedom of the press. Likewise Ma endeavors to create a police state to bolster his policies and eliminate opposing opinions. ...

An Unusual Cemetery Houses Many of Taiwan's Forgotten Dead

Sunday May 03

Situated on a small mountain overlooking Taipei Medical University and in the shadow of Taipei 101 is a cemetery. That there would be a cemetery there is not necessarily unusual but what makes this cemetery unique is the strange and unusual mixture of graves within it recalling different periods of Taiwan's historic and often tragic past. ...

Dumb and Dumber, the Naming of Chinese Taipei and its Acceptance

Friday May 01

Chinese Taipei, now that is really a dumb name. I don't know whose brainchild it was but if you really analyze it, it is insulting and misleading. How many countries would want to suffer a similar degrading nomenclature? Such an imposition represents the residue of the last colonial ethnic group to seize that land and that last colonial group's language. Spain had ruled a lot of countries. Imagine the chaos and confusion if we named those countries the same way. We would have Spanish Manila, Spanish Santiago, Spanish Buenos Aires, Spanish Lima etc. the list would go on and on. In South America, the only different neighbor would be Portuguese Brasilia. Bizarre to say the least. ...

Taiwan, You Gotta Love This Place!

Tuesday April 28

Taiwan, you gotta love this place! Have you ever wondered why Taiwan's economy under President Ma Ying-jeou continues to be in the doldrums? Well it seems that Ma's minister without portfolio and chief economic advisor, Chu Yun-peng, often cuts out during work hours to go on dates with his girlfriend. Just what Taiwan needs? Caught on different occasions by Next magazine, Chu has been forced to resign. His excuses, however, proved to the most interesting part of this escapade. ...

Jerome A. Cohen, Ma Ying-jeou's Mentor, Again Highlights the Erosion of Justice in Taiwan

Sunday April 26

In a recent South China Morning Post article ("Lesson in Integrity for All", April 18, 2009) http://www.cfr.org/publication/19148/ , Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies nailed it once again. In November 2008, Cohen, President Ma Ying-jeou's former mentor at Harvard, had questioned the neutrality of Taiwan's judiciary. Now he has come out stronger pointing to the continuing erosion of justice in Taiwan. In his article, Cohen used the corruption case of US Senator Ted Stevens as an example with "profound implications for efforts on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to stamp out corruption while fostering a rule of law based on the adversarial system of criminal justice." It is an example he feels Taiwan should heed. ...

Jackie Chan and the Utter Failure of Confucianism

Tuesday April 21

Speaking at the Boao Forum in the Middle Kingdom of Pollution, Poison and Propaganda, Jackie Chan gave forth with some unusual alleged personal insights. In reality they were statements in support of the authoritarian rule/dictatorship in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Chan declared "We Chinese need to be controlled." And further "If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic." Chan's remarks drew applause from the "fat cat" businessmen attending for obvious reasons. And though Chan has since been raked over the coals by many for his words, ironically if one goes deeper between the lines, what he did was actually highlight the utter failure of Confucianism as a way of life in Chinese history. ...

The Blood of Taiwan's Patriots: Dang Nylon--One of Many

Friday April 17

Thomas Jefferson is known for the quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." In Taiwan's quest for liberty and democracy, too many of its patriots have shed their blood for it but not enough of its tyrants. And it is high time that we honored those patriots who shed their blood as well as stopped praising the tyrants who did not...

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A Kafkaesque System of Justice: The Plight of the Poor in China

Monday April 13

When you live in an authoritarian state where corrupt courts reign supreme and judges are often feted by the wealthy, local magistrates, what chance does the little man have? In China local justice is rarely available so what happens? In the imperial past, the little man could petition the emperor if he felt he did not get justice locally. This practice has continued into the Communist era in China but now such petitioners are either beaten by thugs or placed in mental institutions. This follows a recent article in "China Newsweek" written by Sun Dongdong an associate professor of law. He declared them mentally ill. Is this the fault of the poor? And what are the yearly numbers of these petitioners?...

Kinmen and Matsu, Where Do They Belong? To Taiwan or China?

Friday April 10

In my posting of March 7, "Taiwan Was Never Part of China's Civil Wars, Part II," and "Taiwan, Samoa, US Passports for All? Who Knows?" (February 5) I mentioned the recent case of Lin/Hartzell that was before the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC. Well the Court of Appeals issued its verdict yesterday, and while it denied Lin/Hartzell's cause, it opened up a whole different Pandora's Box on Taiwan's sovereignty, status, and rights. Point blank, it admitted that the US policy of ambiguity for over the past sixty years had trapped the citizens of Taiwan in "political purgatory."...

Corruption Taiwan Style: It Depends on Who You Know?

Wednesday April 08

Yu Wen, Ma Ying-jeou's secretary from the days when Ma was Mayor of Taipei has just gotten out of jail. Yu had embezzled nearly a half million dollars (US$) from the Taipei Mayor's fund and put it into Ma's account. Yu denied any charges of corruption, "I did not take one cent." OK, fine but that leads to the next questions. What about motivation? If you did not take a single cent, then why did you do it? And why are you the only one that went to jail for this? And further, do you always act alone and put money in other people's accounts? Some things defy logic or do they? ...

Taiwan Needs Resistance Art: Where are the Taiwanese Artists Who Can Meet That Need?

Friday April 03

If you ask a dozen people what the purpose of art is, you will get a dozen answers. For some art should stand for something, for others it communicates feelings, ideas, thoughts, expressions etc. Still for others it is there to inspire, to pacify, to heal, to make us think, to give us experience, to memorialize, to symbolize, to beautify etc. etc. You get my drift. But the subject I want to raise today is a more narrow type of art; an art that I believe Taiwan is in dire need of. Taiwan needs Resistance Art. ...