Saturday, December 31, 2011

Legislative Election musings

The form it is alleged that the National Security Bureau used to record information about DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen and her activities and supporters. My own view and that of many others is that despite the sickness of using the NSB as a political tool, Tsai needs to get off the mudslinging and back on message about income, economic growth, and social justice that has served her well so far.

The kinds of choices that face local voters, as well as the corruption of politics in Taiwan, are neatly encapsulated in the choices my wife faces in the election for legislative candidates in our area. There are a half dozen candidates. Two of them are brothers from the Tung family that owns the huge hospital out near Taichung Harbor (one of the best in the country). The whole family is pro-KMT and one of the Tungs is running as a KMT candidate. Another Tung is running as the DPP candidate but appears to have recently swapped parties, though he claims he alone among his clutch of pro-KMT brothers has always been pro-Green. Another candidate, who was quite good and whom my wife likes, is now running as an independent but in recent years has been associated with the TSU although before he was DPP.

If you support the DPP, who do you vote for? Voting for the Tung feels like a vote for the KMT even if he wears DPP clothing. Voting for the good pan-Green/TSU candidate feels like the right move but may hurt the DPP because it needs people in the legislature. In may all be moot because the major KMT candidate,  a woman, is extremely successful and has powerful patronage connections to many local infrastructure projects and all the schools in the area.

One thing one hears steadily is how deep contempt of Ma is among KMT supporters. One lifelong pan-Blue supporter I know well told me he detests Ma but is voting for him out of fear that the mainlanders will be kicked out of Taiwan if the DPP wins out. Tsai needs to find a way to reach out and reassure those people....
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Dec Election Poster Photos

Another month closer to the election, another set of pics. Here KMT Pres and Veep Candidates Ma and Wu cover a poster in Guishan in Taoyuan county. Click on the READ MORE below to see 'em all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

BREAKING: NEXT magazine says Ma Administration using security forces to spy on Tsai

This is huge: Next Magazine says Ma Administration is using the security forces to spy on Tsai, naming 28 agents (Taipei Times report):
According to the Next Magazine report, Weng Shih-tsan (翁詩燦), director of the NSC’s Secretariat, attended an intelligence meeting organized by the Investigation Bureau last week and took away information related to the presidential election, before submitting the information to Ma via Hu.

The magazine’s report named 28 senior agents at the bureau, who it said were given the task of monitoring Tsai and submitting weekly reports on the times, locations and the attendees at Tsai’s campaign events.

The magazine said agents also made evaluations on the influence of local politicians or businesspeople who met with Tsai — KMT members and non-partisan representatives in particular — and predicted how many votes were at stake if they offered their support to Tsai.

It also cited an unidentified high-ranking official at the National Security Bureau (NSB) as saying that the NSC and Hu had ignored the intelligence system’s chain of command.

In response to the report, the NSC said that while it did send Weng to the meeting, he did not take any information away and no information had been submitted to Hu and Ma.
Anyone who has followed the KMT's use of the security agencies throughout the nation's history will not be surprised at this report....
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Integrate with Large Power Next Door, Feel more Localized

You know the story. A small island state is integrated to the Big Ugly Neighbor next door. The media is shocked to learn what everyone knows intuitively -- despite economic integration, the locals feel that their local identity is strengthened. No, I'm not talking about Taiwan, but Hong Kong... (via SCMP):
Despite increasing economic integration, locals are viewing themselves more strongly as Hongkongers rather than Chinese citizens than at any time in the past decade, a survey has found.

The poll asked 1,016 city residents to rank the strength of their feelings as "Hong Kong citizens" on a scale from zero to 10, and found an average rating of 8.23 points, a 10-year high.

Asked the same question about their identity as "Chinese citizens", the average rating was 7.01 points, a 12-year low. The poll was conducted from December 12-20.

The University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme has conducted such surveys from time to time since the 1997 handover.

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, the programme's director, said: "This [trend] is contrary to the [direction of] China's economic development in recent years, so it must be due to factors beyond economic development." But he stopped short of speculating about the reasons behind the fluctuations in these figures.

The pollsters combined all the survey results into an identity index on a scale from zero to 100. City residents' strongest feelings of identity are as "Hong Kong citizens", at 79.1 points, followed by "members of the Chinese race" at 72.5 points.

Then came "Asians", at 72.1 points; "Chinese citizens", at 67.9 points; "global citizens", at 67 points; and finally "citizens of the People's Republic of China", at 61.1 points.

"The feeling of being `citizens of the PRC' was the weakest among all identities tested," Chung said.
It's not "despite", it's "because". Economic integration with big colonialist powers next door never makes locals feel like part of the Power but usually has the exact opposite effect: it reinforces local identities. Ask the Taiwanese, the Canadians, or the Baltic states.....
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Futures Market Biases and other Election Errata

Belly dancing and other imported forms of dance, including flamenco and Bollywood, are hugely popular in Taiwan. Here is a performance in Fengyuan the other day. If your wife is looking for something to do in the evenings, belly dancing is a great way to socialize and slim down. Most local community colleges offer some form of dance class.

The topic of poll divergence, which I have often lamented on this blog, led the Taipei Times today.  The paper noted that the NCCU futures market has Tsai up enormously:
The exchange’s closing “prices” on Sunday showed that Tsai received 50.4 percent of the vote compared with Ma’s 43 percent and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) 7.7 percent.

Almost two in three “buyers,” or 65.6 percent, said that Tsai would win the election, while 30.8 percent predicted a victory for Ma, who had been leading Tsai before Soong entered the race on Nov. 4.
....whereas a Taiwan Thinktank poll had Tsai down by less than 1% to  Ma Ying-jeou -- the Taiwan Thinktank being a pro-DPP institution. In passing, the most recent China Times (pro-KMT) poll has Ma up by five.

I've been complaining about the irrational exuberance of the prediction market, whose pro-Tsai numbers I've long considered are too high, and sure enough, Nathan over at Frozen Garlic came out with a great post this week on its predictions for the legislative election that shows in this election it is fundamentally biased (if you are following the election, you need to be reading that blog). He says:
I’m on record as not being a big fan of the futures market here in Taiwan, but rather than explain why I think it is flawed from a theoretical perspective, I’m just going to bury them with their own numbers. Welcome to fantasyland.
Frozen Garlic has long argued that the Xfutures market is flawed because, among other things, people aren't committing real money (which is what he means by the first sentence there) and thus risk nothing with their choices. Here he has the numbers....
You may have noticed that there are a lot of DPP districts.  According to the xfuture market, the DPP will win 52 of the 73 districts.  The KMT wins only 20, and the New Party wins the other one.  The DPP is predicted to win 5 of 6 in Taoyuan, 9 of 12 in New Taipiei City, and 4 of 8 in Taipei City.  Just for reference, they did not win 18 of those 26 seats four years ago; they won a mere two.  You know that phrase the DPP loves to repeat about how the KMT can’t cross the Zhuoshui River?  The prediction market takes it literally.  The DPP wins everything south of the river, and that even includes Penghu and Taitung.  There are crazy predictions up and down this list.  The DPP is supposed to win Jilong City by a comfortable 6.7%.  If that happens, I’ll eat my pink Tsai Ing-wen flag.  Maybe the most incredible result is one that gets the winner right.  In Taoyuan 6, the KMT is predicted to win by a mere 1%.  That could happen, but only if you change the “1%” to “30%.”
These numbers are fantasies. The DPP will likely perform better this time around, but not to the tune of 50 seats -- it might reach 40 with the wind at its back. Nathan has shown that the prediction market has a pro-DPP bias. Hence, its numbers are no more trustworthy than any other public poll from media supporting either party, at least for this election.

If you have trouble using the text graphic FG offers, there's a map of the districts here. Just sweep your eyes over it... even if you give the DPP everything south of Taichung/Nantou, that's only 26 districts. Assuming a split in Taichung, the DPP would have to pick up ten more districts in what has historically been Blue territory. 3 or 4 maybe, but ten? I think the DPP will be lucky to get more than 35 single member districts (remember there are an additional 34 at-large seats). Still the dumbest move ever, reducing the number of legislative districts.....

Another remark in the Taipei Times article also struck me:
Former DPP legislator Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) said it was ironic that Tsai’s support rates were higher when she was attacked than when the DPP retaliated with an attack on Ma’s integrity in a bank merger case, which showed that negative campaigning might very well “have the opposite of its desired effect.”
Last week I pointed out that going negative on the Fubon merger case would likely hurt Tsai.... sure enough, Tsai's lead in the prediction market has fallen, as has the value of her shares, which are now at 65, though they were pushing 70 last week. Interestingly, this trend has not appeared in the pro-KMT polls. But I suspect that if Tsai loses this campaign by a whisker, the decision to stage a frontal attack on Ma, rather than let one of her supporting media such as the Liberty Times handle it, will have been a key factor.

Fortunately for the DPP, the KMT is continuing its attack with the Yu Chang case (love to know what their internal polls are telling them). This may help wash the effect of the DPP's negative turn. The government is planning a big nationwide biking activity for Dec 31 that looks a lot like a KMT campaign rally....
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Taipei Times Editorial says America IS taking sides

A Taipei Times editorial argues that the US timed the announcement of the possibility of a visa waiver for Taiwan to support the KMT in the election. The editorial also points out that the KMT in its usual despicable manner, failed to tell the public that the initiative for the program began with the DPP:
What was left unmentioned was the fact that it was the DPP that got the ball rolling on the visa-waiver program, with former envoy to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and his staff at Taiwan’s representative office in Washington doing the groundwork in 2007. A few more years were required before Taiwan could meet all the requirements for the nomination and admittedly some of the necessary adjustments were made under the Ma administration. However, in the end, the nomination is as much a victory for the DPP as it is for the KMT — in fact, it represents a victory for all Taiwanese.

However, by failing to take the necessary precautions against the inevitable politicization of the announcement, Washington has played into the KMT’s hands, or possibly cooperated with it.

In its press conference on Thursday, the AIT said an agreement on tightening immigration controls against felons and terrorists was the final step before the US could put Taiwan on the list. That agreement, we were told, had been signed the previous day.

Maybe the timing is just a coincidence — and coincidences do happen — but it is very convenient for the KMT that all this happened when it did. The US government could have waited until after the Jan. 14 election to make the announcement, a postponement that in no way would have hurt the KMT or helped the DPP.

One really wonders why, within 24 hours of Taipei signing the document on terrorists and felons, the AIT would rush into making the announcement on the visa-waiver program, especially as Taiwan’s adhesion to the program remains contingent on months of careful evaluation by the US Department of Homeland Security. There simply was no justification for making the announcement at such a highly charged juncture in the presidential election.

Despite the nomination being the result of hard work by both the DPP and KMT administrations, the timing of the announcement now allows the Ma camp to silence some of its detractors, who had accused it of failing to secure anything of substance from the US over the past three-and-a-half years, despite relations between the two allies allegedly being their “closest” in years.

Not anymore, and the KMT has appropriated this success as if the DPP had nothing to do with it. Fool-hardy or malicious, inadvertent or by design, the US has taken sides in next month’s elections.
AIT officials had to know what they were doing when they made the announcement in the middle of a hotly -contested election. On the other hand, perhaps they were afraid if they waited until after the election they'd be accused of helping the DPP. Or if they waited a week, of being accused of timing the announcement even more closely to the end of the election to help the KMT. Or they knew the KMT would make the announcement and wanted to pre-empt an even more partisan announcement on the KMT part. The AIT announcement did note that AIT did not favor either party.

What it really shows is how pathetic the Ma Administration is -- the best it can do to show its good relationship with the US is lay claim to a program initiated by the DPP.

If the best AIT can do to influence the election is announce a visa waiver program early, then the US hand in the election isn't very useful to the KMT. At the moment.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Daily Links, Monday, Dec 26, 2011

Send this cold weather back to Siberia! But while we're waiting for it to leave, here's a few things to keep you warm....


  • East Asia Forum: US, China await Taiwan Election with Apprehension. Washington and Beijing face the nightmare of a pro-democracy, pro-Taiwan party getting elected to the Presidency. 
  • Frank Ching looks at how the Chinese take pride in the Taiwan elections. No, Frank, the idea that Taiwan democracy could influence China did not start with Chiang Ching-kuo, who ran a centralized security state and fought the emergence of democracy his whole adult life. 
  • The US just gave Indonesia F-16s, and now Philippines wants them
  • I have to admit that for years before I started this blog I dismissed right-wing claims that there is a whole tribe of commentators on the left that is basically shilling for Beijing. Yet since I've started this blog again and again I run into these people, still wearing their Cold War lenses. Like this piece, from the normally nuanced Peter Lee, who claims -- no seriously -- that the US is being all provocative in Asia, and talks about the South China Sea without ever mentioning that the problem is that China claims the whole damn thing. Again and again I see constructions like this from analysts with clear Leftish sympathies. Recently I had an email exchange with some leftist nutcase who dismissed me with a single word when I pointed out China's behavior in Tibet: "fantasies". No wonder these people have no time for Taiwan.... 
  • This great run-down of Taiwan's WHO lobbying shows how the "success" of Ma's WHA observer decision significantly downgraded Taiwan's status.
  • Delegation of Taiwanese banks to visit Thailand to help hard-hit Taiwan businesses there.
  • Amis protest gov't land practices in Hualien, biggest protest in 20 years.
  • The Patriot missiles found on ship in Finland and bound for Shanghai were actually a German sale to South Korea.
  • Labor costs continuing to impact Taiwanese firms in China
  • Land subsidence stops trains in Kaohsiung
  • Avg temps in Taiwan hit 15 year low
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is America sticking a hand in the election?

The Taipei Times ran a piece today on a post at Ballots and Bullets on the Taiwan election in which CSIS analyst Bonnie Glaser argues that the US has a clear preference for Ma Ying-jeou. CSIS offers sturdy center-right Establishment analysis, and she is almost certainly correct; many high-level officials within the Obama Administration prefer Ma but could work with Tsai, as she puts it. The money paragraph:
Obama administration officials’ preference for a Ma victory is also a consequence of their hope to avoid introducing additional contentious issues to the increasingly complicated US-China agenda. Bilateral tensions have run high in recent years over a long list of issues, including North Korea, South China Sea, China’s military modernization, and China’s currency valuation and trade practices. US arms sales to Taiwan in January 2010 and September 2011 infuriated the Chinese and soured US-China relations as well, but the impact was relatively confined and short lived compared to the likely Chinese reaction to the return of the DPP to power. Past experience demonstrates that when Chinese fears of Taiwan independence spike, other issues are crowded out in US-Chinese consultations, making compromises and solving problems even more difficult than usual.
She goes to argue that "in the absence of policy steps by Taiwan that damage American interest in the maintenance of cross-Strait peace and stability" relations will go well. The basic problem here is that Taiwan is not in control of stability in the Taiwan Strait, China is. It is China that determines the level of tension between Taipei and Beijing, which -- as I have noted a million times before -- is a policy choice whose purpose is to affect US policy in its favor. No matter what "policy choices" Taiwan makes, China can simply react negatively in an attempt bring down US pressure on Tsai -- it is a key policy goal of Beijing to transfer tensions between Beijing and Washington to the US-Taiwan relationship. Hopefully American policymakers will learn to recognize this dysfunctional political response and act accordingly.

Two other aspects of US policy are highlighted in Glaser's piece. The first that the US-China relation is in the tank and that this has nothing to do with what Taiwan has done. US-China relations have deteriorated despite having Ma in power and will continue to decline, so it is hard to see why the US is so sold on him.

The second is one I have also alluded to, the way Taiwan is treated in isolation from other East Asia issues.   Analysts writing about it invariably ignore Japan and the South China Sea. This means that the Administration is essentially pursuing the contradictory policies of telling Taiwan to shush while quietly moving to shore up allies elsewhere in Asia, most recently with the addition of a paltry couple thousand marines to Australia and the announcement that the US is considering basing ships in Singapore.... remember this pic? (I just updated it).

That, in a nutshell, is where this counterproductive, shortsighted treatment of a possibly critical ally is taking us. Ask yourself, in the coming conflicts with China, does the US want a friendly government headed by a pro-western president, or a pro-China government headed by a pro-China ideologue who views himself as a True Chinese©? I submit the answer is obvious -- if you don't live within the Beltway.

I should add that Glaser also puts her finger on an important psychological strategic function of the Taiwan issue: "when Chinese fears of Taiwan independence spike, other issues are crowded out in US-Chinese consultations" -- Taiwan fixates Chinese minds.

In a separate article the Taipei Times also reported that several US Congressmen are writing letters to the Administration warning it not to take sides in the upcoming election.
There is a growing chorus of protest against perceived efforts by members of US President Barack Obama’s administration to interfere in Taiwanese elections by boosting President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election on Jan. 14.
Glaser's piece was in response to one of the recent policy moves -- sending a minor cabinet official to visit and announcing the possibility of a visa waiver for Taiwan. The announcement of the visa waiver was seized upon by the KMT as tantamount to the US certificate of approval for Ma Ying-jeou, who has been trumpeting himself as the US choice.

The visa waiver campaign -- that idea originated with the pro-Taiwan side, of course.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pollution: It's here, it's worsening

A friend of mine passed these four stories to me, outraged. The EPA is obviously doing a terrible job; indeed, it frequently sides with developers against the environment (for example). What can be done about these stories? She wrote:

"The following news stories, all recent, are extremely worrisome. You can buy organic fruit and vegetables or grow your own to avoid some of the exposure to toxins, but you cannot avoid breathing. How is it in anyone's best interest to encourage highly polluting and energy-intensive industries on a small island? Taiwan's power generation from coal-fired plants and nuclear power plants is killing us."

The translations are hers; the issues, everyone's.


Doctors rally after pollution survey - The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan --Taiwan's air quality ranked an abysmal 35 out of 38 countries surveyed by the World Health Organization (WHO), with Taipei at number 551 out of the 565 cities profiled, boasting an air quality on par with “smoker's paradise” Lebanon.


Taiwan uses too much pesticide, 5.5 times higher than that in the U.S. Pesticide residues are also too high. There are 541 types of approved pesticides in Taiwan. For every hectare of farmland Taiwan uses an average of 11 kilograms of pesticide. The average in the U.S. is 2 kilograms. These figures were published in a report from Taiwan's Control Yuan yesterday.
台灣使用農藥過量 高出美國5。5倍 蔬菜水果農藥殘留過多


Full report on the Orchid Island nuclear waste radiation issue


And this report from Taiwan's Environmental Information Center on the growing nuclear waste issue just at the No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
The EPA today (Dec. 21) organized a task force meeting to review a second set of changes to the spent nuclear fuel medium-term storage plan for the first No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. At a press conferences held immediately before the review meeting, north coast residents living near the nuclear power plant and environmental groups voiced their opposition to the continued dry storage facility of the No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and called for the issue of setting a deadline for the spent nuclear storage to be included for discussion in this review meeting.
The plan for medium-term storage of spent nuclear fuel from the No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was decided upon at the August 27, 2008 environmental impact assessment (EIA) meeting, the terms of which stipulates the removal of the spent fuel from the facility after 40 years of use and that the facility not become the long-term storage site. Environmental groups pointed out, however, that in December of last year (2010), the Radioactive Materials Management Bureau Chief of the Atomic Energy Commission, Chiu Hsi-tsung, directly said that he does not rule out the continued use of the facility after the 40-year period, which was confirmed at last month's November 28th nuclear waste policy EIA meeting. If the conditions stipulated in the first EIA cannot be guaranteed, the effectiveness of the environmental impact assessment process will come under doubt. Moreover, the current EIA review meeting does not even include an agenda item for discussing the time limit issue.
Environmental groups point out that from the start the government told the north coast residents that the nuclear power plant would be gone after 40 years. Later, the EIA concluding report on the No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant Dry Storage Facility for the spent fuel told the residents that the nuclear waste would be gone after 40 years. And now, the nuclear power plant is not gone and the nuclear waste will continue to be stored on-site past the deadline for removing it. The government's attitude of "just getting things approved without any regard for the future problems" - is this to say that the north coast residents have to wait perhaps several more 40-year periods?
The north coast residents now worry that the dry storage facility for the No. 1 nuclear power plant waste has not been completed and that the AEC has already admitted that it will continue to be used for storage past the deadline. Also, as the government does not appear to have solution to the final storage site problem, they are also worried that the medium-term storage site will become the final storage site for the spent nuclear fuel.

To this list she sent, I'd like to add another, the Alangyi Trail, pristine coast to be destroyed for a highway.
The Alangyi Trail, a 12km hiking trail along the Pacific coastline between Taitung County’s Nantian Village (南田) and Pingtung County’s Syuhai Village (旭海), is being threatened by the planned construction of Provincial Highway No. 26. A section of the planned highway would run alongside the trail.
Taiwan's construction-industrial state has metastasized into a giant tumor that is slowly killing its host by polluting land, water, and sky. The question is, when will the people of Taiwan say, enough!
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Events: Formosa Foundation Ambassador Program and South China Sea Workshop

The Formosa Foundation is taking applications for its annual Ambassador Program. "Up to 30 college/graduate students and young professionals will be selected from theUnited States and Taiwan to participate in this highly competitive “congressional boot camp.” Academia Sinica has a workshop Jan 12-13 on the South China Sea. See more info by clicking READ MORE below....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Forgery or Fark-up: DPP points out further alterations in documents

When we last looked, the documents submitted by the KMT Administration for public view had certainly been altered -- a date in Chinese had been added to them. Today the Taipei Times reported that the DPP had turned up further evidence of significant alterations:
DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference yesterday that Liu and the KMT were suspected of not only altering the date on the document, but also erasing the marking tag of “Attachment No. 3” to cover up the fact that it was one of six attachments to that document.
The document originally carried a stamp saying it was Attachment No. 3, the third of six (TT image here). That had been whited out before the copy was made.

Let's point that out again -- a copy was made (image) and then submitted for public view. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that a copy was made to cover the alterations, which are less obvious in a copy. Covering alterations? That implies forgery.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Ma Administration takes steps to goose the stock market ahead of the election

The Ma government took two steps aimed at pushing up Taiwan's fading stock market ahead of the election this week. First, as AP notes in WaPo, the government is allowing Chinese banks to purchase pieces of Taiwan banks.
The commission says individual Chinese banks will be allowed to take stakes of up to 5 percent in Taiwanese banks. It capped total Chinese ownership, including by institutional investors, at 10 percent.

Investment by Chinese banks can give Taiwanese lenders access to China’s lending market and bolster their earnings.
Cross-strait financial investments like these are one of the most important goals of Beijing/Ma's economic integration program and the big financial houses backing the Ma administration. This may push the market up.

A second move was announced as well...Taiwan shares jumped as the government announced the commitment of funding from the national stabilization fund to shore up the stock market:
"The announcement of the National Stabilization Fund's possible intervention in the local stock market has successfully bolstered market sentiment, as investors hailed the long-awaited show of strong government support," MasterLink Securities analyst Tom Tang said. Vice Premier Sean Chen said Tuesday that in the wake of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, which could lead to instability in the region, the NT$500 billion (US$16.4 billion) National Stabilization Fund would enter the stock market.
Kim's death provides a convenient excuse for buying votes on a galactic scale by using public money to subsidize wealthy investors while appearing to spark the market for Taiwan's tens of thousands of small players. Let's not forget that a major institutional investor in the market is the KMT itself, through its large Party-owned investment company. But there's no conflict of interest there....not that any of the major international media will ever report that, either...

The stock market has an outsized influence on the way Taiwanese view their own economic performance, which is probably another reason people panic or cheer depending on what its doing. Recall that in 2008 Ma benefited from what appeared to be a coordinated effort by foreign analysts to pump the Taiwan market in the run-up to the election. It promptly began sliding the day he swore in, and hasn't recovered since.

Polaris cut Taiwan's growth prediction next year to below 4%, a move that I suspect heralds further downgrades of Taiwan's economic performance next year. If Tsai wins, she is going to inherit a formidable economic mess exacerbated by whatever damage the KMT can do in the four months between the election and the transfer of power, and by the intransigence of Taiwan's nigh-on useless legislature.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A few links

Taichung city from atop Dongyang Rd outside of Fengyuan. Weather has been just brilliant this week, but cold front to hit Thursday night.....

No time to blog today. Enjoy a few links...

  • Ding, Ding Kim Jong-il is dead. In case you can't remember, the same histrionics took place when The Peanut finally died. People cried in the streets, and the government made everyone spend a month in mourning. 
  • Giant bikes promotes bike touring even though it has no touring bike in its line of bikes, says Drew.

You'd think at the National Immigration Office (website) they'd have somebody who could handle the English, or perhaps they'd know a foreigner or three....

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DPP Campaign suddenly turns brainless, exits high road

"None. My CHOAM Company directorship will bear the closest scrutiny." And he thought: Let him bring a false accusation against me and have it exposed. I shall stand there, Promethean, saying: "Behold me, I am wronged." Then let him bring any other accusation against me, even a true one. The Great Houses will not believe a second attack from an accuser once proved wrong ."

This is just [expletive] stupid..... the DPP has apparently decided to retaliate against the KMT for its brainless assault on Tsai using the Yu Chang/TaiMed case with an equally brainless attack of its own, a bank merger case from years ago. From the Taipei Times:
One day after DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) questioned Ma about the donation during the presidential debate on Saturday, the DPP made public court testimony by Fubon Financial chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) from a hearing in August 2009 during the second-round of financial reforms case against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).


In a move seen as retaliation against the KMT’s attack on Tsai Ing-wen over Yu Chang, the DPP cited a document on the merger of Fubon Bank and TaipeiBank in 2002, classified as top secret, to challenge the KMT after the party questioned Tsai Ing-wen for classifying a document on government investment in Yu Chang as top secret when she was vice premier in 2007.
Wonderful move, guys. The DPP's tightly run ball control campaign, with only minor errors, had been paying off in steady gains over Ma. Meanwhile the KMT had been running the most inept campaign imaginable, with Ma admitting meeting a major underworld gambling figure in Chiayi, Ma proposing a "peace accord", the Yu Chang accusation screw up... one could go on all day listing things. Now the DPP is doing the same thing.
  • The Yu Chang case is 4 years old. The Fubon case is even older!
  • The Yu Chang case was already explored for ammunition against Tsai three years ago. The Fubon case was also explored for ammunition before.
  • Like it or not, the KMT is now married to the Yu Chang narrative which it is now trying to play down (Ma said the other day “I’ve spoken to my running mate, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), on the issue and we agree that this is not an election-related issue, but one that concerns the moral standards of government administrators,” Ma said.). The DPP is now stuck with this Fubon story. 
  • The attack on Tsai helped Tsai. Complete the equation now: the attack on Ma helped ____.
Last week the DPP was taking the high road. Independent voters and voters who flatter themselves that they are merit-based, policy driven, technocratic choosers (light Blues, in other words), could be comfortable that Tsai wasn't displaying this sort of one-party-is-just-like-the-other negativity. The DPP was in fact showing that when you don't behave like the KMT you can grow your support.

Great move, DPP brain trust.

Prediction: this is going to inspire the insipid Ma, who has been lackluster to date, create a small rally-round-the-flag effect, and on the whole backfire on the DPP.

Just needlessly stupid.

UPDATE: Good comments below. In particular this one says it may work out right:
That was under a situation that Ma was like the God in the eyes of many supporters. In that case, any scrutiny was wiped away quickly to keep the surface shining. 
But now, Ma no longer has that status. He is crippling down, and many insiders will keep coming out to tell the truth. For example, now we know that to get that merging approved, it requires an OK from 9 gov departments/divisions. Ma managed to get all 9 stamps in just several hours. This info has never surfaced before .
In comparison, in the Yu Chang case, Premier Wu criticized Tsai that there must be something wrong in Yu Chang project 'cos it was approved super fast, in as short as 10 days. 
Like Tsai said in a couple of occasions, Ma has never really been scrutinized. 
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

American Citizens for Taiwan: Action Alert

American Citizens for Taiwan Action Alert! Tell Congress to Support Democracy in Taiwan -- click on READ MORE below....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Formosa Vintage Museum Cafe Pics

The Formosa Vintage Museum Cafe has lots of old Taiwan pics on Facebook.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Forgery or Fark-up: TaiMed backfire on KMT continues

My Powershot S95 finally came back after three weeks in the shop. Happiness again. Yesterday was a lovely day here in central Taiwan....

The prediction market is shedding some the irrational exuberance that overwhelmed it last week as DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen's predicted share of the vote, while above 50%, is falling gently back. The value of her stock to win peaked at 69 a few days ago and is currently at 67 and change, while a Ma victory is selling for 28. Bottom line: if the election were held tomorrow, Ma would probably lose. But there is still plenty of time for Ma to pull this one out.... Taiwan's bookies have the election as a dead heat.

The reason for the spike in the value of Tsai stock is the ongoing farcical TaiMed case, in which the KMT is still attempting to accuse DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen of excessive profits and conflict of interest. Unfortunately KMT elites and local legislators don't see eye to eye on the exploitation of the "scandal".... the pro-Tsai Taipei Times reports:
Several polls conducted by different media outlets showed support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) slipped after the KMT attacked Tsai over the case.[MT: They did? Can't think of a single one.]

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the KMT’s vice presidential candidate, said yesterday that “it is not necessary to focus too strenuously on this case.”

“We have learned from media polls that support for Ma has increased by two percentage points. Although he did not lose points, he did not score much,” Wu said.

He said the party suffered a setback “because of [Liu’s] small mistake.”

“The [Yu Chang] case should stop here. Now that the documents [related to investments made by state funds in Yu Chang] have been declassified ... people can judge for themselves,” he said. “It’s not necessary to use it as a campaign issue.”

“[In the Yu Chang case,] people will believe what they want to believe. The KMT should focus on its political achievements rather than on a single issue,” he said.

Wu indicated that there was a consensus within the party to drop the Yu Chang case.

However, KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday said: “I do not think it’s right to bury at sea what is right and what is wrong in the Yu Chang case just because of a mistake about the date.”
Wu appears to be attempting to back off -- "it is not necessary to focus too strenuously on this case." Note the bind here -- if they really believed Tsai was corrupt and could prove it, they'd be continuing to peddle this line of garbage instead of developing a consensus to drop the case. But now all they can do is search for a way to move the discussion past this issue. It even came up in the debate. Silly.

The special prosecutors investigation actually offers a way out -- it could quickly give Tsai a clean bill of health, which would enable the KMT to drop the case and save some face. Except that will never happen. But now, like every other DPP heavyweight, there is an investigation hanging over Tsai's head -- anyone remember the 36,000 missing documents? In that case, just like this one, charges relating to events that had taken place years ago were invented. But there's no formula here, just move along, folks....

Speaking of those special prosecutors, each time they get trundled out for a case, they make Chen Shui-bian's claims that his prosecution was political more credible. Way to go, guys.

Tsai did well in the debate -- no fumbling, was overwhelming winner in (not credible) online poll. The important point was that she didn't sink herself. The DPP's ball control campaign is doing quite well. It's boring, but successful.
Daily Links:
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They're Rogering Our Women! Why I have no respect for Apple Daily

"I want foreigners' big hot dog!" Crap like this is why I have no respect for Apple. The final screen is outrageous. YFFM will likely be commenting on this so I will restrain myself. ADDED: Here is YFFM's excellent post.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Forgery or Fark-Up: Chen Lan-po speaks out on TaidMed and Tsai Ing-wen

The Taipei Times has the news today, but yesterday the DPP was circulating this video of TaiMed co-founder Chen Lan-po, speaking in Chinese from his post at Harvard University, commenting on the KMT smear of DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen and her involvement in TaiMed.
A group of scientists and corporate leaders — including current Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) and Yulon Group chief executive officer Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰) — attended a dinner meeting at Tsai Ing-wen’s residence in July 2007, he said.

“Tsai [Ing-wen] declined Wong’s offer to be Yu Chang’s chairman, a fact which Yen — a confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — could confirm,” Tsai Huang-liang said, adding that it also showed Tsai Ing-wen had no intention of heading the company as late as July 2007.

The DPP yesterday afternoon also showed a teleconference between Chen Lan-bo (陳良博), a professor at Harvard University who was one of the founders of Yu Chang, and its spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) recorded on Tuesday, in which Chen endorsed Tsai Ing-wen’s innocence.

Chen Lan-bo said the CEPD had fabricated the document and added that the founding group of Yu Chang never considered Tsai Ing-wen as a candidate for the chairmanship before June 2007.

“If it had not been for the initial investment from Tsai’s family, I don’t think Taiwan Global BioFund (上智生技創投) and President International Development Corp (統一國際開發) would have followed suit,” he said.

The forgery and the KMT’s attack was “unfair, conscienceless and heartbreaking” and a devastating blow to Taiwan’s biotech industry, he added, saying “Taiwanese people are neither stupid nor cowardly. They should be angry [at the smear campaign].”
If you can understand Chinese it is well worth listening to. About the 7:00 point Chen is so incensed tears of anger flow.

Too late now -- the KMT is in too deep. Now all they can do is play out the string.

Meanwhile the special prosecutors pledged neutrality. Who can believe them now?
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

China Post: It might really be a smear

The pro-KMT China Post has come out with a stunning editorial on the Case of the Wrongly Dated Document:
The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party may be justified to claim that there is a smear campaign behind the TaiMed allegations against its chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen.

The timing of the case and a blunder by the country's top economics official in an attempt to prove Tsai corrupt have all fueled the speculations and allegations that the ruling Kuomintang is running a smear campaign to dampen the DPP hopeful's chances of winning the presidency.
New insights that hurt the KMT keep popping up. The Post notes.....
It is also dubious why Liu had been bent on finding one document from what she called “two full boxes” of files to prove that Tsai was at fault. Why didn't she try to prove that Tsai was clean?


But the prosecutors' actions have again underscored the point we have raised: Why did they not take the action in 2008, but choose to do it now and so swiftly?
The Post even criticizes the government's use of the special prosecutors office! You know you're in deep poo-poo when even your tame house paper criticizes you for wrongdoing.

Underneath all this is the KMT recourse to the formula it used against Chen Shui-bian, which worked, because Chen was actually in violation of the law for, at minimum, tax evasion, but has failed since then. This formula is the whipping up of a fake scandal, followed by a media circus and trial by media, then the application of special prosecutors. The KMT is trying to win this battle with the tactics of the last war....

Meanwhile over in Washington DC at Brookings yesterday Richard Bush, the longtime US government Taiwan analyst, says that if Tsai won the election, any anxieties the US has about her could be calmed. The US unfortunately is still focused on getting Tsai to change her behavior, rather than addressing the root of the problem, Beijing's behavior. But reading between the lines, I get the feeling that US observers are beginning to think that Ma will lose.
Daily Links:
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Thursday, December 15, 2011


China Times Poll, Wed, Dec 14:
1. If you were to vote tomorrow, which of the three following tickets would you support?
  • KMT Ma-Wu ticket      41.3%
  • DPP Tsai-Su ticket       36.8%
  • PFP Soong-Lin ticket    8.4%
  • Undecided                   13.5%
China Times Poll, Thursday, Dec 15:
1. If you were to vote tomorrow, which of the three following tickets would you support?
  • KMT Ma-Wu ticket    40.0%
  • DPP Tsai-Su ticket     39.0%
  • PFP Soong-Lin ticket   8.0%
The China Times poll has had Ma up by six or so since I can remember. If it is within shouting distance of being correct, the smear of Tsai as stealing government money has backfired badly on the KMT.

Been chatting with people quite a bit. My unscientific poll says that most people think Tsai is going to win.

The United Daily News poll from the 14th has Ma up by ~7. The last Apple Daily poll from the 10th has Ma up by more than 7 with 29.6% undecided. I'd love to understand how Apple generates these numbers.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Forgery or Fark Up: the smoking gun?

The page of the document originally from August, 2007, mislabeled March 31, 2007, presented by CEPD Minister Liu this week and used in the botched smear of Tsai Ing-wen. Note that this document is a low quality copy. The text giving the date appears to have been placed on top of the copy of the document, right across the line of the original box. For comparison, an unaltered copy of the original is shown below.

Minister Liu of the CEPD says that the date was added simply to clarify the original date of this presentation and was not intended to be a forgery. Note that the March 31 date on this document places Tsai at this meeting when she was still the premier, meaning that this would indeed be a serious violation. No other date would have had this effect. The date was not picked by coincidence.

The original document is entirely in English. Only the date is in Chinese.

The date appears to have been placed over a copy on clear tape and then transferred to the text by making another copy. Notice how the line of the text box with the title goes through the date. Why would anyone who innocently wanted to assign a date to the document go to all that bother? A mere sticker, common in any large office, placed anywhere on the page would have the same effect and further, show that the date was placed on it later, making it pure error and not botched forgery. There would then have been no need to make a second copy to transfer the date to the document and give the appearance that it had been original to the text.

In other words, this looks quite a lot like a hasty and incompetent forgery. Minister Liu maintains that it is merely an innocent mistake.

It could have been typed directly onto the copy.... but why in that spot?

UPDATED: Didn't see the Taipei Times this morning, which also has the pics. In addition to condemning the use of special prosecutors, which appeared to be purely political (indeed, sometimes it seems the special in special prosecutors refers only to their use in political cases against the DPP), the DPP also pointed to what it said was also an indicator of forgery:
While Liu apologized on Tuesday evening for “confusing the dates” of the document, her refusal to say the document had been fabricated was the reason behind the DPP’s decision to file the lawsuit, Chen said at a press conference.

Liu’s mistake was more than carelessly misstating the date, Chen said, as the document appeared to have been fabricated before Monday because Liu repeatedly said in the press conference that “the March 31 document” was important in determining Tsai’s role in the case.

At the press conference on Tuesday evening in which she ostensibly apologized, Liu said there were what she called “more questionable points” concerning the Yu Chang case, Chen added.

This case is huge -- with the Veep candidate's wife, Tsai Ling-yi, claiming that Tsai Ing-wen downloaded US$36 million to her personal accounts -- the legal issues could go on for years. The TT reported "Tsai Ling-yi said last night she “could have cited incorrect information.”"

UPDATE 2: The DPP announces another alteration -- "Attachment No 3" was whited out of the original document before a copy was made.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forgery or Fark Up? Updating a wild one

Yesterday was an amazing day as the monumental screw up with the dates on a document that the KMT was using to smear Tsai Ing-wen totally backfired on the KMT. The Taipei Times had a thorough report....
At the Monday press conference, Liu and the KMT displayed a document that they said was distributed by the TaiMed Group (TMG), the predecessor of Yu Chang, at an investor conference on March 31, 2007, and said the presentation document listed Tsai as one of the four principal leaders of the start-up.


At the morning press conference, Chen said Liu and the KMT might have committed forgery and may have violated Article 90 of the election act, which stipulates that anyone who spreads a rumor or false statement for the purpose of getting a candidate elected or impeding a person’s election chances could be sentenced to a fixed term of imprisonment of up to five years.

The document shown by Liu on Monday was actually a TaiMed Group presentation from Aug. 19, 2007, less than two weeks before the founding of Yu Chang on Sept. 5, Chen said, adding that Tsai’s name had been listed because she was a chairman-to-be after stepping down as vice premier in May.
As the TT notes, it was a day of press conferences followed by an evening of talk show madness. Liu said it was a minor mistake. One of those simple mistakes that accidentally turned a perfectly innocent set of moves into a nefarious plot by DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen to use government money to assure herself of big profits in private industry.

People First Party (PFP) legislators, of the party of Presidential candidate James Soong, were accusing the KMT of having a "black hand", a higher up running the plot using subordinates, such as poor Minister Liu. It's good to have another party in the Presidential elections to hack on the KMT.

The TT writes up the comments of one Yu Chang/TaiMed official defending Tsai here.

The pro-KMT English paper, the China Post, observed:
To date, Liu has not provided any details or explanations as to the incorrect date stamped on the CEPD's TaiMed investment briefing that was provided to the Legislative Yuan.
The public has a short attention span, and the case has now become a conflicting flow of names, dates, people, and funds.

The case took an ominous turn today as Taiwan News reported via UDN that special prosecutors were now on the case:
The Chinese-language United Evening News reported Wednesday that special investigators visited the NDF management offices late on Tuesday to browse and read all documents related to the Yu Chang case and two other related files. Since the cases were complicated, the investigators took materials back with them, the paper said.
The DPP has also filed suit against Minister Liu, three KMT lawmakers, and the wife of VP candidate Wu Den-yih, the last for making some particularly ugly and totally unfounded comments:
Apart from Liu, the DPP was suing Tsai Ling-yi, the wife of Ma’s running mate Premier Wu, because she claimed at a rally in Penghu on December 11 that the opposition candidate moved millions from Yu Chang into her own accounts.
KMT attack dog legislator Chiu Yi, who has made similar claims, is targeted in the suit.

As a friend of mine remarked yesterday, the KMT is still running against Chen Shui-bian, who is now old news, and has become old news because the KMT has silenced him in prison, instead of letting him out on appeal where he could cause all sorts of mischief and hurt the DPP's chances. In this case they are simply updating the target to Tsai Ing-wen, but it is essentially the same accusation that was made against Chen: pocketing government money (and one that Chen was found innocent of). The next step is making extravagant claims, creating a media circus, and hoping the stink can't be washed off.

This is a standard tactic that the KMT has used against DPP politicians since the Ma Administration took office (for a review, a post on a few cases here). Accuse them of malfeasance, then they are found innocent, but the stink lingers. Once again too we have a repeat of special prosecutors poking into party and individual accounts as an election looms -- as I've noted several times before, this gives every appearance of being intended as a fishing expedition to gain information about DPP finances and to see who is funding whom.

Meanwhile, though the KMT is attempting to extent the duration of this smear, the strangely dated document and the fact of a public apology should ensure it has a short, unhappy life. Good riddance, I say.
Daily Links:
  • Highest ranking US official in a decade visits Taiwan. No real news except the fact of the visit, which I hope is a harbinger of higher-ranking officials to come.
  • Speaking of harbingers, Chinese fisherman stab Korean coast guardsmen who seize their vessels. 
  • Party like its 1996: Taiwan National Policy foundation advisor claims US military officials fear China will test ICBM during elections, as a warning to the people of Taiwan to tell them who not to vote for. Everyone on the island already knows that Ma Ying-jeou prays five times a day in the direction of Beijing, and the CCP knows missile tests won't be necessary. 
  • Speaking of giving credence to non-peer reviewed claims by scholars with unsupported, unprofessional, ideological axes to grind pimping long-ago refuted and dismissed claims, a pro-KMT 2-28 denier held a press conference in Washington attended by a couple dozen to announce that he had refuted the mainstream view on 2-28 and emphasize what a tiny, insignificant event 2-28 was, how hardly anyone died in it. The "scholar" who spoke has been on this Holocaust denial kick for years, as I noted in 2007 when he said it was all Japan's fault. 
  • China offers Taiwan incentives if the nation votes for Ma: ".... could include setting up representative offices for the non-government bodies which handle talks, simplifying entry procedures for Taiwanese visiting China, or importing Taiwanese rice into China...." sound tasty, don't they?
  • My man Drew adds a new member to his team: world please welcome Kit.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Smear swells: KMT goes after Tsai on TaiMed =UPDATED X3= with bonus KMT Oops

Lots of updates and additions here -- thanks everyone for the pointers!

Lots of stuff out there today as the KMT TaiMed smear against DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen revved into higher gear this week. It will be interesting to see how far the foreign media buys into this. Can't wait to see the "balanced" articles.....

The Taipei Times published a chronology of key events in the case....
● Jan. 27: Taiwanese scientists hold a meeting in San Francisco and visit Genentech to float the idea of a flagship biotech project with the company


● May 18: Tsai resigns as chairperson of Yu Chang and TMG after being elected DPP chairperson.
● March 27: Tsai sells all her shares in TMG to Ruentex Group (潤泰集團).
Yeah..... at the top it says "compiled by staff" but at the bottom they give the source: Democratic Progressive Party. That probably explains why all the key details are missing -- the chronology doesn't tell you how much she invested, when she invested, what funding flows she had approval over, how much she made, and other stuff about Tsai Ing-wen's investment. It's a big dollop of nada. Heck, it doesn't even contain information in Tsai's favor, like her announcement on Sept 15, 2007, that she would divest once the project was fully funded. *sigh*

Probably not a good idea to get a "Chronology of key events" from the political party they relate to, eh?

The media would be really helpful if it would stop playing he said, she said, and instead carefully followed the money flows. But neither the Taipei Times or the China Post have any helpful information on that score. I'd be tempted to argue that the lack of information on money flows from the KMT suggests that they are favorable to Tsai's arguments, but since the DPP "Chronology of key Events" doesn't appear to have any money information either (at least in the TT version), one could just as well argue that they don't support Tsai. Yet the KMT's claims are completely lacking in numbers -- KMTers keep claiming that Tsai made massive profits, but provide no numbers to support these claims. Surely it would be easy to demonstrate that Tsai made massive profits simply by showing the numbers. The lack of numbers from the KMT side is a strong signal that their case is nonsense.

Longtime knowledgeable and reliable commenter on my blog SY provided the following information:
6. Once the negotiation went through and the business got substantially going, other private capitalists became willing to participate. When Ms. Tsai had achieved her goal (to kick start the venture), she pulled herself out of the project. She was not salarized for her work as CEO. She got her initial investment (NT$220 million) back with NT$10 million (US$333K) as interest payment (which worked out to be about 3.5% annualized; a pretty humble earning, given the fact that the company was doing well and has been since.)
I see no reason to doubt SY but I'd like to see corroboration of this in the media. ADDED: Found it in a China Post article from a couple of days ago:
Tsai's family owned 20 percent stake in Yu Chang, but Tsai sold her stake after assuming the DPP leadership in 2008 after raking in profits of over NT$10 million, but lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang claimed that Tsai received NT$100 million in profits.
This is essentially the same information as SY gave. No evidence is given to support the KMTer claims of $100 million in profits. The China Post information in fact refutes these claims -- though they do so with the slanted "raking in profits." Nice try, guys.

TaiMed Biologics financials are online here. TaiMed's home page. You'd think there would be news articles there about Tsai Ing-wen's tenure as Chairman, but again, nada.

The Taipei Times has a more detailed write-up which shows the weaknesses in the KMT case. In the previous post I noted that three years ago, when Tsai was running for Chair of the DPP, the China Times tried to attack her using this case, but had nothing. The TT report shows that the KMT still has nada:
KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) questioned whether Tsai had known she would become chairperson at Yu Chang before she approved the documents, since the second document proved that the idea of the company already existed.

The fund’s data show that TaiMed held a conference for potential investors on March 31, 2007, and the conference’s report listed Tsai as one of the company’s four key principals.

KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said Tsai might have broken the “revolving door” clause on officials and private sector work, since a key principal would generally become a company executive or be closely connect to its operation.
In other words, the KMT has zero direct evidence that Tsai directed funds to the firm because she planned to be Chairperson one day. Meaning their case is the usual innuendo.

FORGERY OR FARK-UP? But even worse... today CEPD head Christina Liu admitted that the March 1 date was incorrect, it should have been August....
On Monday, the CEPD released official documents about investments by its National Development Fund in Yu Chang Biologics Company. The papers purported to show that Tsai was already prominently involved in the Yu Chang project when she was still vice premier in March 2007.

The Kuomintang accused Tsai of violating conflict-of-interest laws by giving the go-ahead for government investment when allegedly already knowing she would take over as chairwoman of the company.

The date was wrong and should have been August 2007, when Tsai had already left government service, Liu admitted Tuesday afternoon after the DPP threatened to sue her for forgery.
Bet this sinks this smear....Liu had to apologize. One suspects she will be stepping down soon.

It always amazes me that convicted felon-legislator Chiu Yi is the attack dog on these things, which are invariably shown to be false, and yet the public and media still accord him credibility.

The DPP refutations are also in a Taipei Times report and are pretty damning to the KMT's case, if true. Once the true story -- always more complex than the smears -- is out, it will be clear to the public that Tsai risked her own family's money to do something of benefit for the whole nation -- give it a leg up in the biotech business. That is probably why Tsai continued to climb today in the prediction market. The weakness and sliminess of this negative politicking is not going to play well with the public.

FUN: Scientists and other public figures' rebuttals of Chiu Yi's claims (Comic in Chinese)

REFS: 2007 Taipei Times article on the project. No one seems to find it strange that Tsai would be the Chairman, and Ho Mei-yueh does not need to refute charges of conflict of interest. D'oh. A Sept 2007 article on TaiMed from the IRPMA.

UPDATE 3: TVBS poll dated Dec 10 has Tsai and Ma neck and neck at 39% each. Prediction market had Tsai on the rise again today.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.