DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen’s Comments on Proposed Freeze of Independence Platform

DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen made the following comments during an online Q&A session on Saturday, July 19, responding to the question of a proposed suspension or “freeze” of the Taiwan independence clause in the party’s platform:

Political parties are like living organisms in that they grow and change. Since being passed by the DPP's 1st National Party Congress in 1986, our party platform has undergone four textual changes and five resolutions. Each of these amendments represented an adjustment in response to the evolving situation of the time. But no matter what, "democracy" and "progress" are core values that we have insisted on since our party’s founding, which will absolutely not change. Our position with regard to the country's sovereignty, and that the Taiwan's future will be determined by its people, will also absolutely not change.

The question of whether to "freeze" the independence clause has become an issue in recent days, driven by the idea that the DPP cannot manage cross-Strait relations without abandoning Taiwan independence. In fact, this is a myth. We must examine, who is defining the so-called "Taiwan independence" to which the media refers? Are we not a sovereign and independent country? Isn't strengthening sovereignty and pursuing greater substantive international participation the expectation of the majority of Taiwan's people?

The Taiwan independence clause was the goal that the DPP unveiled during the early days of its formation, as well as the ideal pursued by the first generations of DPP members and the people of Taiwan. As our democracy advanced, we also simultaneously developed a robust Taiwanese consciousness that identifies with Taiwan and holds strong to the values of independence and autonomy, which for the emerging new generations has already become as natural as the air that they breathe. How would it even be possible to "freeze” this reality, this state of affairs?

At present, the 1999 Resolution on Taiwan's Future represents the consensus within the DPP on Taiwan's future and the status of cross-Strait relations; indeed, it has become the consensus of the people of Taiwan. On the basis of this consensus, the DPP hopes that the two sides of the Strait can engage in more stable and higher quality interactions, to increase mutual understanding and build mutual trust. Thus, we will adopt a more confident, proactive, and pragmatic attitude in our approach, while also demonstrating our stability and consistency. But we will continue to insist that no cross-Strait contact may harm Taiwan's democracy, threaten our national sovereignty, or undermine the ability of the people of Taiwan to carry out their will as the master of their own house. This principle and stance is one that will never change. 

Declaration of the 16th DPP National Party Congress - Clean and Diligent Governance: Pushing Forwards with New Reform

Declaration of the 16th DPP National Party Congress
The 16th session of the Democratic Progressive Party’s National Party Congress was held today (July 20) at the Taipei International Convention Center. The following is the declaration that was jointly agreed upon at the session:

Clean and Diligent Governance: Pushing Forwards with New Reform

Three decades ago, we broke the chains of authoritarianism and planted the seeds for freedom and democracy. Now we’re being called upon to again do what is right: to shoulder the challenge for laying a strong foundation for Taiwan’s future – so that our next generation can look confidently to a future without fear or anxiety.

The Taiwanese youth demonstrated, through their love and dedication to Taiwan’s democracy and freedom during the Sunflower Movement in March, that the hopeful seeds of Taiwan’s future are indeed flourishing. The strength they displayed in defending those ideals also once again reminded us – that our own efforts must continue, in spite of the challenges and the difficulties we face.

For this, we must become more responsive. We must strengthen our understanding of what this generation expects of us and what the people need; and we must strengthen our commitment to freedom and democracy. All of this will be essential to lead our country past these challenging times and lay the firm foundations for peace, prosperity and freedom that are needed for Taiwan’s future.

In order to reach this objective, our first task is to win the upcoming year-end elections. We’ll endeavor to bring our tried and proven brand of local governance to every corner of this country. And through dialogue, we’ll unite the positive forces of society together. A victory in the 7-in-1 elections will transform this country and allow the Taiwanese people to enjoy the freedom and quality of life they so rightly deserve.

The Taiwanese people have the right to a better life. Through our efforts and past achievements, we have every confidence that through the DPP, Taiwan can truly become a better place.

Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen's Remarks at the DPP National Party Congress

Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen made the following remarks during the 16th session of the Democratic Progressive Party's National Party Congress that took place on July 20th: 

Good afternoon Chairperson Su, Chairperson Hsieh, esteemed guests, party delegates and our party colleagues.

We are a political party. Politics is what we do. But at times, we must also ask ourselves: just what is politics? This is, in fact, a question I’ve often continued to quiz myself on since entering politics.

Just a few days ago, I saw an expression in a movie - it left a very deep impression on me. The expression stated that: ‘Politics exists as a strong response to the difficulties we face as a country.’ 

And without a doubt, Taiwan is in a time of crisis. The current administration has continued to fail to respond to growing public discontent and the increasing challenges we face. It has also at times even chosen to stand in opposition to the public will.

As a result, today thus represents a very important moment. Here at the our National Party Congress, we declare that the people have had enough. The time for change has arrived. Through our local administrations, we will transform the everyday lives of the Taiwanese people. Through their good governance, we will reacquire the public's trust in politics.  

In the near future, we will make very effort to forge a new road of reform to rechart our country's path following the six years of KMT mismanagement. This road of reform will be an important precursor for the DPP's return to power. 

And so to all those who are frustrated with this administration's inefficiency, we want to say that the moment of reform has arrived. The public deserves a better way of living. It deserves a government that is not only more efficient, but also more capable. This year, 2014, will be the year when change comes to Taiwan. We will give those in government both a warning and a lesson. But more importantly, we will give Taiwan an opportunity for a new beginning.

Today, I have a few words to express how I feel. They are "We must be cautious because we are treading on thin ice". Leading this party is a great honor, but at the same time, it is also of the heaviest of responsibilities. 

To all of our party colleagues seated here today, I know that our common objective is to see this party win. But for us to do so, we must persuade voters through our values. Every vote they cast is not just a choice in favor of a candidate; but indeed, it is an expression of their choice in values. So it is clear that if the DPP's values are not accepted by the people, then we will not achieve true victory.

As a result, our victory must be build on a victory of values and of ideals. It cannot be build on our opponents' failure in governance.

If our victory is dependent soley on the KMT's mismanagement in government, than this victory will be fleeting and it will be a short-lived victory. It will not bring about the change that we want to see or lead Taiwan post the challenges that so clearly exist.

A look at our current situation shows us that those challenges are enormous; our economy has lost its engine for growth in the lack of a comprehensive economic strategy.  The constitutional structure we have is broken and is unable to properly reflect the public will. Our cross-strait relationship lacks transparency and has, in fact, been monopolized by business interests. Across generations, our country has lost it grasp of fairness, and the people are losing hope in their future. 

With our county in this deep of a crisis, our responsibility continues to grow. And with the increasing hope and expectation now placed on the DPP, we need to become more mindful, and vigilant in our duties.

If we accept that politics exists as a strong response to the difficulties we face as a country, the we, as politicians, must take on a greater share of responsibility and duty for our common objectives. We must understand the challenges we face and the issues that matter to our citizens.

And what are those issues?

There are ones that affect their everyday lives; the staggering cost of housing, the increasing cost of everyday goods, and stagnating salaries. These are the issues that the public is rightfully angry about.

Then there is education. The dysfunctional plan for a 12-year mandatory education system has left our children at a loss as to what comes next.

The people also care about social welfare. For a middle class family, the increasing difficulty in taking care of the young and the elderly, further to the increasing price of everyday goods, have left people asking: "Where is the government?"

There are also problems attached to the question of food safety; 'What is safe to eat? How is it that the business that have illegally profited from selling tainted food products escaped the reach of the law?'

The KMT administration is clearly unable to manage these challenges that we face and to resolve the public discontent that has grown as a result. And in the future, the failure to address the challenges that are sure to come will lead the public to lose all trust in what the government can do. As such, it is quite evident that this government is one that is no longer capable of managing this country. 

And while this is taking place - our government in disarray and public content growing by the day - where is the president and what is he going?

He is busy. He is busy battling political foes to concentrate is own authority. He is occupied in using this country’s fragile cross-strait relationship to attain for himself some sort of historical significance. And he is engaged – in criticizing the opposition and using this confrontation to shore up his flagging popularity. 

It is clear that under his administration, the people have lost their trust in politics and in the future.

As a result of this, there are people that believe that all politics is bad and that both parties are the same. But I want to tell everyone here: To believe this is a mistake.
We look back at our own motivations for entering politics. Why did we choose the DPP – the poorer party, the one that was without resources?

It was because this party was idealistic. Within its founding spirit, this was a party that possessed the desire to formulate change in Taiwan’s politics.

It was also because of our values: Our hope for this country’s future and the desire to see the people hold on to a better one. And I’m sure that was the reason why most of us here decided to enter politics. As a result, this party remains the party of ideals for the future.

In the past, this party has proposed many different visions for the future of this country. Many times, we were in the minority when these policies were proposed. But over time, much of these proposals gradually entered the mainstream. And as time goes on, we have continued to refine and adjust those ideas so that they progress in step with the present.
We were the first party to propose the concept of building a welfare state. In opposition, we supported a broad policy of subsidies. Later in government, we also established a pension program. Now we are planning a system of comprehensive care as part of our plan to continue to improve Taiwan’s welfare structure.

We were also the party that steadfastly advocated a nuclear-free homeland, enshrining our position into the party platform at a time when opposition to nuclear power was in the minority . In 2010 we put forth an agenda for achieving a nuclear-free homeland by 2025; and today, the goal of eliminating nuclear power has become the mainstream opinion in our society.

At the same time, we have always been the party that places Taiwan first and supports Taiwan-centric values. Even during the martial law era, when it was illegal to have a Taiwanese identity, we pushed ahead with the idea that the future of our country could only be determined by the people of Taiwan. And with the passage of time, we enshrined the definition of Taiwan and the Republic of China as a sovereign and independent country in the 1999 ‘Resolution on Taiwan’s Future” ’ – and that any change to this will have to require the approval of our 23 million citizens. In modern Taiwanese society, this is the proposal that has already reached the strongest of all consensuses.

Now, as we look to the future and the difficult challenges that this country faces, we must once again start from ourselves. We must reflect, and we must reform.

To do so, we will open the doors to the DPP. We will integrate the party with society and society with the party. And we have endeavored to include the many different voices we have in society in our party personnel and in the board of directors for our think tank, the New Frontier Foundation.

In order to make civic participation a reality, we have already begun the process of public discussions both on-line and in person. Through our interactive platform – DPP on Line – we will empower each and every citizen to be able to raise their own proposals for our party to work on. And this is a mechanism that will serve as a constant remainder for us to be able to acutely respond to what the public expects of the DPP.

At the same time, the party’s internal structure is also undergoing a process of change. The handover of responsibilities to the emerging generation of leaders is well underway. As part of our self-assessment and reform, we are employing younger staff in greater numbers, and at the same time giving them greater responsibilities. And in the process of changing Taiwan – we want to emphasis that the DPP is not alone. We continue to coordinate with each of the forces in opposition so that we can affect the kind of diversification, rejuvenation and invigoration that are party wants to see.

Furthermore, to encourage greater numbers of younger people to enter politics and public affairs, we have launched a ‘Grassroots Democracy’ plan to support young candidates in borough and village chief elections. We will , empower them to initiate change from in their own hometowns from the bottom-up. We have also formed a ‘“Youth Congress’ project” to cultivate the next generation of Taiwan’s .social and political leaders.

In the discussion of public policy, the DPP will become more forceful in reflecting the concerns on this country’s future shown by many of our citizens. In both the Citizens Economics Conference’’ and the ‘Citizen’s Constitutional Conference’ that we have coming up, we will begin to engage in a wide-ranging dialogue about our “‘new model of economic development,' as well as alternatives for reforming our constitutional framework. Our hope is that the DPP, together with civil society, can put forth consensus-based proposals that are able to address the daunting task of addressing Taiwan’s many challenges.

The DPP is also changing in other ways; we hope to infuse it with more capacity and more vitality, so that it becomes capable of not only reflecting concerns raised by the public, but also to reform and change itself so that it can more closely understand what the public wants to see. And we will continue to make the DPP even stronger and better prepared to respond to the challenges that we continue to face as a country.

‘Clean and Diligent Governance: Pushing Forwards with New Reform’ is the theme of this year’s National Party Congress. The theme is also a solemn remainder for us. We must constantly ask ourselves whether we are ready and prepared to deal with the challenges we face. 

The theme also reflects the expectations that the society holds towards the DPP, as well as the standard by which we will judge ourselves. For it is clear that if our actions become diverge from those words, we will lose the support of the people.

As a result, at the DPP, we cannot only make the promise of reform to the people. From this day forward, we must also engage the full range of our capabilities to push forward this task as a response to our challenges. The 2014 elections will mark the beginning of the transformation of Taiwan’s politics.

Based on our values, we will continue to push forward, on Taiwan’s road to reform. This is a road that will also lead to the DPP’s return to governance. I invite everyone to join us in this forward march . Together, we will accomplish the monumental task of reform, and together we will overcome our country’s national crisis. Please accompany me as partners in our undertaking. Thank you very much.


Chicago Policy Review Interviews DPP Secretary General and U.S. Representative Joseph Wu

From Chicago Policy Review

No Opposition Party is an Island: Taiwan’s Defense and Domestic Politics

Newly elected DPP Secretary-General and opposition party member Dr. Joseph Wu discusses upcoming elections, mainland China, and Taipei’s defense posture as part of the wider US-Asia/Pacific rebalancing effort. 

Jaushieh Joseph Wu is the Secretary-General of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan. Prior to his current appointment, he was the party’s chief policy official and the party’s representative to the United States. He also served as Deputy Secretary-General to the President of Taiwan from 2002-2004, Minister of Mainland Affairs from 2004-2007, and Taiwan’s official Representative to the United States from 2007-2008. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from The Ohio State University in 1989 and was a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University. 

The DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) has been out of office since 2008. What are the main policy agenda items you feel are most important prior to the election cycle in 2016?

The economy is certainly the number one issue of concern for the Taiwanese voters. The KMT (Kuomintang) government came to power with promises to achieve an average of 6 percent real GDP growth, 3 percent unemployment, and US$30,000 GDP per capita, but has failed in this regard. The people of Taiwan generally feel that the economy is worse than before, that income rates have stagnated, and that the cost of consumer goods is higher than ever.The DPP will certainly focus on important economic policy issues to address this public anxiety, especially in regards to the revitalization of Taiwan’s manufacturing sector.

Recent demonstrations attest to my depiction of Taiwan’s overall social and economic situation. In March and April of this year nearly half a million young people protested over the issue of generational justice, or the idea of ensuring younger members of society with better futures across the policy spectrum, not just economically, although this continues to play a significant role in current discussions. Notably, job training, loans, educational reform, higher average wages, and incentives for the private sector to hire younger employees have been on the agenda.

Beyond strict economic policy issues, wealth distribution in Taiwan has suffered a number of setbacks in the last few years. In short, the winners win more and the losers lose more. Social justice, better distribution, encouragement of equality, and education reform will also be on the DPP’s agenda. The issue of social justice carried the DPP’s election in 2012, and it was seen as a very successful undertaking. We anticipate following a similar strategy in 2016.

Finally, cross-straits policy is something none of the major or minor political parties in Taiwan can ignore. KMT’s recent strategy has been to agree to the One China Principle, a position that China prefers, with the result of giving the KMT the image of effectively managing cross-strait affairs, a portrayal that wasn’t lost on voters in the last national election.

However, after six years in power, public sentiment in Taiwan is that the KMT’s overwhelming submission to China may not be in Taiwan’s best interest. The hastily signed June 2013 Service Trade Agreement and the impatient maneuvering inParliament brought about public anger regarding the KMT’s control over cross-strait policy. Like the recent demonstrations over the nuclear issue, there is some concern by the people of Taiwan that the KMT government will announce new agreements with China without proper parliamentary, judicial, and public review and revision. The DPP advocates a more cautious approach that incorporates public sentiment to avoid the current climate of skepticism regarding the KMT’s long-term intentions.

The DPP takes a strong stance on national defense. What improvements should be made over the next ten years?

The DPP has published five defense blue papers to outline the areas Taiwan needs to strengthen its defense capability, ranging from overall principles to decision making, research and development, Taiwan-US cooperation, and threat assessment. We will continue to publish defense blue papers to highlight our determination to strengthen Taiwan’s defense. Specifically, the DPP has advocated an increase in the defense budget up to 3 percent of GDP, including funding for R&D programs such as at the Chung-san Institute for Science and Technology.

After publishing our fifth defense blue paper in March of this year DPP Chairperson Su Tseng-chang strongly advocated the DPP’s position that Taiwan should undertake an indigenous submarine program, establish a cyber security command, and engage in the research and production of UAV and UCAV. He stressed the absolute necessity that there must be a substantial increase of the defense budget.

The recent passage of HR 3470 authorizing the sale of four naval missile frigates is an excellent indication of continued American support for Taiwan’s defense. Unfortunately, the current administration in Taiwan subsequently chose to purchase two, citing budget constraints. The DPP is committed to a much more robust defense policy position than this, when and if the DPP comes back to power.

How can Taiwan better partner with the United States over defense policy in the Asia-Pacific region?

Taiwan should never be seen as the weakest link in the US strategic planning in the Asia-Pacific, and therefore should strive to improve the good existing security ties with the US in the areas of information sharing, cyber security, force assessment, war gaming, and joint training exercises. Taiwan also has a responsibility to better tighten its domestic control over sensitive information leaks, China’s espionage activities, and the loyalty of its own military officers.

Moreover, Taiwan should also improve its relations with its neighbors, particularly China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The reason for improving relations with China is clear: it is the main threat against Taiwan, and Taiwan should work to improve mutual trust as a means of conflict prevention. As for Japan, it is the most important regional ally of the United States and is a strong partner in the US regional force rebalance. Taiwan should work hard to ensure friendly relations with Japan so that the two can gradually move into security cooperation as well.

How should the Republic of China interact with its neighbors over shared maritime lanes, specifically in regard to security?

Taiwan’s relations with its neighbors are paramount. After the signing of the fishery agreement, there has been increased cooperation between Taiwan and Japan for example. The two signatories should have more proactive engagement between our respective coast guard forces however, beginning with joint search and rescue operations and gradually moving into cross-military cooperation, such as force observation exercises and officer exchange programs. The same principles should be applied to Taiwan’s interactions with the Philippines.

In light of the recent serious dispute between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea, Taiwan, as a claimant, should also clarify its claim of sovereignty over the highly disputed and highly charged area so it can positively contribute to the existing complex situation. Taiwan’s adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of Sea is clear with regard to its sovereignty claim; it is in active control and administration of Tai-ping, the largest island in the South China Sea. Taiwan should also actively seek possibilities for participation in multilateral forums for joint codes of conduct, and when it is not able to, should nonetheless do so in spirit by subscribing to the principles that emerge from such forums. Additionally, Taiwan currently endorses the principle of the freedom of navigation and should publicly announce its intentions to eschew cooperation with China against other claimants on the sovereignty issue.

In what ways does the DPP encourage focus on its commercial and banking networks from cyber security threats?

Cyber espionage is the most serious security threat in peacetime, and Taiwan suffers constantly, along with the United States, from China’s cyber attacks. Taiwan should expand the operations and mandate of its Technical Service Center (cyber security unit) to improve coverage of important financial transactions to prevent China or any other hostile state- or non-state agent from gathering critical information and gaining access to the banking institutions. In this regard, potential Chinese interruptions to Taiwan’s normal financial activities during military hostilities have risen in recent years.

Taiwan is by and large the principal testing ground of China’s computer hackers, who direct efforts not only against government institutions but also civilian institutions and individuals in the public and private sectors. To counter this tendency Taiwan has developed advanced defense abilities in cyber security, including signing an information security cooperation agreement with the United States, which has proven to be important to the information and cyber security sectors of both countries. More broadly, Taiwan needs to expand its cyber security cooperation with other democracies and share its information and technology to prevent Chinese cyber espionage activities from creating further problems for the rest of the world.


Democracy & Progress June 2014

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Chair Tsai Ing-wen: Our Role in Maintaining Regional Stability

Chair Tsai Ing-wen's remarks at session with Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club on July 1 at the DPP Headquarters. 

Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome all of you today to the DPP and I’d like to especially thank the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club for joining us and ensuring that we have a very productive session today.
During my last talk with the TFCC in 2011, one of the main issues that I talked about was the importance of maintaining the right balance in our external relations: the balance in our relationship with China and the rest of the world. With the events that have taken place in Taiwan over the past year, and especially the recent controversies over the Service Trade Agreement and the political context of our relationship with China, it is clear that this topic continues to be of the highest importance. 
To start, many things have been said about the DPP and free trade. It is important to note and iterate that the DPP is not against trade liberalization. Our economy is dependent on trade, and for us trade liberalization and globalization is not a question. It is a challenge and an opportunity that Taiwan must deal with. And we must do so in a manner that will provide the greatest benefit to our economy and is acceptable to the public here.
This is a process that also has to be closely monitored and carefully supervised. We have to ensure that those who are less likely to benefit from the open market and free trade are looked after.
Hilary Clinton, as you may know, recently made a number of remarks about Taiwan’s economic relationship with China. She mentioned that we must decide ‘how economically dependent do we want to be?’ She also said that Taiwan must look at the ‘unintended consequences’ of this relationship. I agree. For China, it cannot just be one economic agreement after another, without looking at questions of our economic and political dependency, its impact on our economy and our relationships with our other trading partners.
China is important. But this relationship cannot take place in isolation. This is why we have expressed to our friends in the US and elsewhere, our interest in the TPP, the RCEP and other trading blocs. And as our partners in the US have mentioned on many occasions, integration in the TPP is a process that does not, as President Ma claims, have to go through China.
Second is matter of Taiwan’s defense. Under President Ma’s administration, we have seen a continuous shift of resources away from national defense; at the same time that our military imbalance with China continues to grow rapidly. I believe that a solid national defense is essential for Taiwan to be able to negotiate on equal footing with Beijing.
A future DPP government will signal a renewed priority in national defense. To do so, we will start with a commitment to raise military spending to 3% of GDP, which the current administration has consistently failed to do, and to use defense budgets more wisely. With increased tensions in the region especially between Japan and China, as well as in the South China Sea, we feel there is a need for Taiwan to play an active role in ensuring peace and stability with our neighbors and think creatively about how to resolve longstanding problems.
Finally, is the matter of our cross-strait relationship. What we have seen over the past few years is the failure to properly manage our cross-strait relationship with the Taiwanese public. Our people have been quite clear, including what we saw during Zhang Zhijun’s visit to Taiwan, that discussions over the cross-strait situation cannot supersede our freedoms, liberties, democracy and way of life.
At the DPP, we understand the importance of managing this relationship so that it is credible and acceptable to the Taiwanese public. In the past, the KMT’s monopolization of dialogue with China has led to misunderstandings in what China can expect. For our part, we need to ensure that China knows that public opinion and a respect for our democracy remains the highest guiding principle in cross-strait relations, so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
We must continue to improve the quality of dialogue with China to provide them with this alternative view. This will be done through cross-strait exchanges as well as effective communication about our policies and our platform. To be clear, under a future DPP administration, maintaining peace and stability for Taiwan and the region will be of the highest priority. Strong communication will ensure that cross-strait ties remain consistent and predictable to China and the international community.
Again, I would like to thank you for joining us at the DPP today.



President Ma’s Willful Misrepresentation of Facts Regarding Service Trade Agreement Controversy

In an interview with the U.S.-based Forbes magazine, President Ma engaged in willful mischaracterization of the truth with his claims that the negotiation, signing, and review process of the controversial Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) were “transparent,” and that the March student protest movement was caused by the DPP’s obstruction of the legislative agenda. 

1. President Ma says in the interview that before concluding the cross-strait agreement, his administration communicated with 46 different industries and consulted with 264 private sector stakeholders, therefore the process was not a “black box”.  However, as of 2013, Taiwan’s service sector made up 70% of our GDP, encompassing over 1,000 different industries and 6 million employees.  The signing of the cross-strait economic agreements has a potentially grave impact on countless citizens and industries.  President Ma’s assertion is a reckless misrepresentation of the facts, demonstrating his administration’s complete disregard for the interests and future development of our national industries.

2. CSSTA caused massive controversy in our society because the negotiations and the signing process were opaque and non-transparent.  The Ma administration not only did not engage in sufficient communication with the potentially impacted industries ahead of time, but even the impact assessment report that holds the key to the agreement’s success or failure was produced after the backroom agreement had already been signed, and then only under the pressure of public opinion and civil society groups.  The report was hastily and sloppily prepared by a contracted agency.  In the subsequent 20 “public hearings” that President Ma called “open and transparent”, the administration did not budge from its position that not even one word of the agreement could be changed, in spite of the barrage of doubts and skepticism expressed by the representatives of various industries in the hearings.  Given the government’s refusal to submit to public oversight, the resulting backlash is not at all surprising.

3. The party caucuses reached an agreement on June 25, 2013, stipulating that the CSSTA should be reviewed clause-by-clause in the Legislative Yuan (LY).  But before the pact was reviewed, in a session of the Internal Administrative Committee on March 17, the KMT declared that as the 90-day review period had expired, the pact should be considered as reviewed.  The KMT attempted to force through the pact directly to a vote.  It was this kind of deal-breaking, democracy-reversing behavior that fundamentally triggered the students’ LY occupation and the public uproar in March.  In the Forbes interview, Ma’s claim that “this [30 seconds review by KMT legislator Chang Ching-chung] was interpreted by some as a move to pass the agreement.  In fact, it had not been passed and had not even left the Legislative Yuan,” and that the student movement was a “misunderstanding” are willful mischaracterization.

4. The DPP condemns President Ma’s purposeful distortions of the facts to the international media, his refusal to communicate with the people, and his persistent provoking of partisan confrontation and social conflict.