Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy New Year!

Whoa. Way too much food today.... Happy new year, ya'll!!

And if you still need food, here's an Android app with locations for over 200 night markets...

See you in three weeks!
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, January 22, 2012


Here's the real story of New Year! The cleaning.... I'm taking his month off from blogging. But I am still biking, so enjoy some pics from various rides lately. I'm also still writing, had a letter in the Taipei Times the other day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On Break

Thanks, all!

A hard fought election, a disappointing outcome. I'm taking a few weeks off from posting, being totally burnt out and urgently needing to focus on other aspects of my life. Biking pics will continue to go up, though, they are not stressful!

See you when the semester starts again in Feb.

  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.

Election Day

Lee Teng-hui speaks at the rally, courtesy of reader Michael Gruber.

To watch the vote count on the net, Sanli is here.

In a few hours we'll know, but for now enjoy some links. Lee Tenghui came out yesterday to speak at the big rally. It was an emotional moment, nicely scripted and choreographed:
“I don’t have much time left. Please support Tsai. Make her the first woman president in Taiwan who will make this country a model of democracy. Now, I put Taiwan’s destiny in your hands,” he said.
Lee is one of the great figures in the growth of 20th century democracy, in a very different way on par with people like Havel and Mandela. If Taiwan's democracy actually does change China, he will have left a towering legacy.

Meanwhile former AIT head Douglas Paal, known for unabashed anti-DPP views during his tenure and now here to perform a dog and pony show for the KMT, found AIT distancing itself from him:
AIT Director William Stanton called off a meeting with Douglas Paal yesterday morning, a source said, which was later confirmed by the Prospect Foundation, an institution affiliated with the KMT that invited Paal to visit Taiwan
Thanks, AIT. Although some aspects of Paal's analysis are dead on, his wholly uninformed and partisan viewpoint is revealed in comments like:
Paal also criticized the “Taiwan consensus” proposed by Tsai, saying the idea was “a way of saying [that Tsai has] no desire to reach cross-strait agreements.”
But enough of Paal. The Nelson Report passed this around:
Note: no details to add on the Taiwan election except that results are expected shortly after breakfast tomorrow (Saturday, DC time) and to report that serious analysts are predicting a very strong chance that challenger Tsai Ing-wen will regain the presidency for the DPP from KMT incumbent Ma Ying-jeou. Stay tuned. Sunday morning (9 am DC time) your Editor will be on CCTV-Beijing, assigned topic the Obama defense "Asia Pivot"...we'll see. Monday is a Federal Holiday so no Report that day.
Wonder who these serious experts are who think Tsai will win. Ballots and Bullets hosts the usual excellent stuff. Stephane Corcuff on identifying consensus in the Blue-Green continuum, Lee Teng-hui's last hurrah, and Jon Sullivan's great piece on Mikael Mattlin's book Taiwan's Politicized Society, which argues that Taiwan's democracy is still a veneer, because the KMT has never permitted full consolidation.

Also see longtime Taiwan scholar Richard Kagan on the election. Frozen Garlic's best flags of the year! And see his Quick Thoughts, lots of good observations. BBC's China media monitoring reports that Beijing has ordered a blackout on news and commentary on Taiwan's election. How the CCP must hate Taiwan.

Finally, a CS Monitor piece cites me on why the election is more sedate on the whole (except for the last week!).

Check Google search, Taiwan's election is right there!

No predictions here. It's going to be close. Good luck to all.
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, January 13, 2012

Links for the Election Eve

Glad this one will be over soon and I can go back to posting biking photos....

  • BBC says Beijing "is suspicious of" Tsai. Notice that while newspapers regularly report that Beijing is suspicious of Tsai -- a formulation found across the media -- no newspaper ever reports on how Tsai feels about Beijing. Wouldn't it be great if newspapers upheld democratic values of fairness and fidelity to reality?
  • Although/Since it is illegal to release information about polls, the KMT has a rundown of self-serving party estimate information from all the parties here. No polls here, no sirree! Although, I'm sure the Agency Against Corruption will want to know what the DPP was doing releasing such data.
  • DPP rips the Douglas Paal dog and pony show for the KMT.
  • The usual yadda yadda on how the election could result in changes in the economy.
  • Taiwan dollar at two month high, global investors expect Ma victory.
  • >stunned< Reuters actually covers the legislative election. Good job, guys.
  • China uses new tactic to influence the election: silence
  • Taiwanese flock home for election: WSJ
  • The Australian: China looms large.
  • AP: Ma loved in Beijing and DC, not so much at home. AP has done a good job this election, especially compared to BBC, NYTimes, AFP, and several other news orgs I could name.
  • CNN sources Taiwan election stuff from a former Beijing correspondent with predictable results.
  • Video from WaPo on how Taiwan voters are choosing course of relations with China.
  • Not a bad piece at all on what the election means from a City U of HKK academic in BBC.
  • Dem and Progressive Failure on Taiwan is mirrored by Taiwan continuing to be an issue for Republicans.
  • AFP channeling Xinhua as usual, don't bother reading, only included for completeness and opportunity to hack on AFP.

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.

WHACK! Hitting the Links in the Afternoon

Weather tomorrow predicted to be 16-21C with rain. That's tolerable weather for Taipei citizens, who after all are used to a troglodyte existence with no sunlight for months at a time. It's amazing to me that any vegetation is alive in this city. Hence don't expect the weather to affect the vote up here.
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.

Morning Linkfest

I'll be posting links periodically throughout the day...... first an announcement from Ballots and Bullets:
Jon Sullivan, who has been running the Taiwan 2012 blog at the University of Nottingham, will be live blogging on Election Day. If you are in Taiwan on Saturday and have any observations, insights etc. that you would like to share, please mail Jon (email address on the blog at http://nottspolitics.org/category/taiwan-2012/).
There's a big list of the latest from his blog below. Wonderful stuff.

The Think Tank the National Bureau of Asian Research has a bunch of papers about the election online, all from the usual suspects.
Ballots and Bullets, lots of great stuff here.
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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Links Nom Nom Lin Nom Nom Nom Li...

More links! DPP rally at Shr Jeng 2 Road and Henan Rd.....
NOT ELECTION: Fighting for the future on Orchid Island
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.

Longtime Blue on why he's supporting Tsai

SY, the longtime commenter here, left this useful translation in the comments of the post below. It is worthy of its own post. Enjoy.


Nan-fang-suo (pen name of Mr. Wang Hsing-ching 王杏慶, born in China in 1946) is a veteran political columnist. His stand for a "unification" of Taiwan with China is well known. Under the rule of the Chiang family (before 1988), he was a mild proponent for the democratization of Taiwan. After the formation of DPP, he started to drift away from the opposition due to his opposition of Taiwan's independence.

In 2008, he actively supported Ma Ying-jeou's bid for the presidency. Ma has publicly named him one of his two "big brother - mentors". Due to his long-term media contact and connections with the Ma "inner circle", he knows very well how the inner and outer circles of Ma (and King Pu-tsung) operate.

Today (Jan 12, 2012), the Journalist published an article of him in which he declares his support for Tsai as next president. The article was already circulated yesterday (Jan 11, 2012) on the net.

I find his note on the so-called "1992 consensus" very telling. He wrote that "...it is very unethical [or "immoral"] and wrong for Ma to use [the so-called] "1992 consensus" to threaten the Taiwanese people."

I thought the article is an interesting read. So, I did a quick (and probably "dirty", i.e. not proof-read and spell-checked) translation below. Texts in square quotes are mine.

Note that Nan-fang-suo's writing style commonly applies ambiguously structured sentences and not well defined phrases [easily done/coined by freely combining Chinese characters]. It makes the translation difficult. At times, I "best-guessed" to give a level of precision to what he wrote in order to properly rephrase the text in English. Overall, I've tried to be true to what he meant to say as much as I could.

Why I support Tsai, instead of Ma, in this election
Nan-fang-suo (Wang Hsingching)

For a long time, my political conviction has always been one of a pro-blue reformist.

But, after four years of KMT rule [in Taiwan], my disappointment [in KMT] has been growing by the day; therefore, I am supporting Tsai [Ing-wen] in this election, instead of Ma [Ying-Jeou]. Before doing so, I have gone through a process of conversion that might be of referential use to other intellectuals in Taiwan.

I am convinced that four more years of Ma's presidency won't beget a more stable relationship between the two sides [of Taiwan Strait]; rather, it will only drag the Taiwan society into a much worse shape.

Four years ago, the Taiwanese voters granted Ma the presidency by a landslide margin of 16.9% percentage points. With such a mandate and having the control of more than three quarters of the parliamentary seats, he would absolutely have been able to bring about a new era by carrying out political reform and economic development, had he had a solid political conviction and the personality [of a true leader].

This is especially true at this particular time of the 21st century when the whole world understands the importance of transformation. Taiwan would have been set to going through a great enterprise of transformation [, had Ma been up to the job.]

A leader without core values

The problem lies in the fact that Ma is a plain power-player type of politician who does not have real care about the society and does not have any interest in broadening his views and perspectives. He only enjoys engaging in petty political power trickery by taking advantage of the loopholes within the existing political power structure. He lacks the ability to own a political conviction which is of core importance to a political leader. Thus, we are witnessing the trapping of a leader [in a block hole] without core value.

Without a core value, he consequently cannot discern political matters by his own measures. In the past four years, from his so-called "laissez-faire presidency" in his early presidency, to the absolutely impotent response to the Morakot Typhoon disaster, to the policy failure regarding the Kuokuang Petrochemical development project, to nominating a controversial judge for Grand Judge candidacy, to his flip-flop in Farmer's annuity pay by greatly topping it up after vehemently opposing any increase, his lack of a core value and his weather-vane personality were fully on display. The accusation of him governing by reading newspapers is not at all unjust. I've written to criticize his habit of taking "public perception" to heart. Without one's own perception and conscientious guidance and with the sole focus on how the mass media opine, how can one lead the country properly?

In recent years, I haven't agreed with many key policies [of Ma]

Take "1992 consensus" as example: Everyone knows that, by it, Beijing means something totally different from what the Ma administration claims. Therefore, it is very unethical [or "immoral"] and wrong for Ma to use [the so-called] "1992 consensus" to threaten the Taiwanese people. The Ma government applies a trick well. It is using Chinese Communists to threaten the Taiwanese and using Taiwan Independence to threaten Beijing; somewhere in-between he finds his pork chops.

As far as I know, Beijing has become aware of it. If Tsai Ing-wen wins the election, will Beijing really do anything to Taiwan? I would say that Beijing will get a headache for a while but won't do anything particular. Beijing is in fact prepared to deal with a DPP government, in order to win the heart of the Taiwanese people anew. That Ma administration uses Beijing to threaten the Taiwanese is an attempt to create a currently non-existent hatred between Beijing and the Taiwanese. I don't buy [the threat], neither do the Taiwanese.

Take ECFA as [another] example: I have been opposing it from the start. Some politicians [in the Ma government] and [KMT] legislators were unleashed to bark and scorn at me for that. I don't oppose any trading and economic relationship between the two sides [of Taiwan Strait], but [in the process,] Taiwan needs to have its own economic policy. South Korea, for instance, trades with Mainland [China] at US$220 billions [a year]. Had South Korea been more willing, the commerce could easily go up to US$500 billions [a year]. But, South Korea understands the importance of having its own [economic] strategy. After assuming the presidency, Lee Myung-bak undertook to upgrade South Korean industry; Samsung, Hyundai and Kia have become world class enterprises.

In contract, the Ma administration, which commenced about at the same time as Lee's, totally is incapable of any initiative in this regard. Taiwan has become too dependent on the market of Mainland [China], Taiwan's industry continues to hollow, employment conditions and opportunities deteriorate acceleratedly. The economic performance of the Ma government indeed pre-requires the loss of the
Taiwanese people's interest.

Taiwan needs economic transformation. As the Nobel laureate [in economic science] Douglass North pointed out, a transformation requires a very strong intentionality, which includes an integration of knowledge and a drive to achieve. In this regard, the Ma government has done nothing, zero. If it were to be given four more years [of governing mandate], the current situation will only continue to worsen.

Two years ago, Prof. Charles HC Kao [a pro-blue professor/businessman] wrote an article titled "Impotence is worse than corruption", it appears to have been a foresight when read today; very suiting to [the name of the magazine] "Global View" [, "Foresight" in Chinese, he publishes].

The Ma government was founded on the case against Chen Shui-bian. As soon as Ma assumed the office, he should have left Chen's case behind and moved forward. It's just that the Chen case is such a convenient [political] ATM that Ma thinks of it whenever a political crisis arises. The keynote of the Ma campaign in this election is still the Chen case. They even use the Chen case to project and shoot in all directions randomly.

The head of a country should concern himself with the [inspiration of a] vision of the country and the people. The current Ma campaign team has only the Chen case to play with, other than using Beijing to threaten the Taiwanese people. The leader [of the country] is in fact a "fear-monger" [in Chinese, it is written; thus read, as "pimp of fear"]. How can people agree [with it]?

The fear-monger lives on twisting facts.

The Western political scientists have recently identified a phenomenon. It is that elected officials, assisted by mass media, have converged to a personality which is to do nothing of foresight, to avoid troubles, to shy away from seeking accomplishment and to act to please the public. Comes election, they immediately assume the role of fear-mongers.

John Dean, who served as White House counsel [under Nixon] and played a key role in [breaking] the Watergate scandal [with his testimony], published a book "Conservatives Without Conscience" two years ago. Dean is a conservative but he insists on the Conscience of Conservatives and was an important critic of [George W.] Bush. Bush often plays fear-monger, especially when campaigning for election; spreading the fear of the Arabs. Dean thinks that fear-mongers aim at twisting facts to create fear for their own gains; in so doing, they twist the direction where the country is going. This was what he most disliked about the Bush administration.

In sum, Taiwan as a country needs a transformation and yet has not been given the chance. Four years have been wasted. The state of sitting in the mud needs to be stopped. Election is the time when a change can be initiated.
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.

More links.....

"Come into my parlor...."

Monitoring, monitoring, monitoring.... blogging later today. Last couple of days of the semester, election, papers to write. Totally overworked.

What? The election located the day after the last day of the semester at many universities in Taiwan so travel will be nasty today and tomorrow, deterring people from returning home to vote? Nah, it can't be deliberate. Probably just a coincidence.....
WAY COOL: The Taiwan Air Blog has a great post on WWII bombing of Byoritsu Airdrome in Miaoli.
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, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Links

All over Taiwan, little processions like this are whipping up the vote....

Only a few more days... today's links:

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.

CLSA + "Gallup Taiwan" = Nonsense

There is some apparent disinformation making the rounds. It consists of poll information that purports to come from CLSA consulting and contains poll data allegedly from "Gallup" in Taiwan. The mailing states that the operator of "Gallup" in Taiwan is pro-Green.

Once again, let me make this clear. There is no Gallup Marketing, Gallup polling, etc in Taiwan that is connected to USA Gallup. The company that styles itself Gallup in English is not connected to the US firm. Gallup USA severed connections with that company in 2002. Everything by Gallup in Taiwan from after 2003 is purely from a private concern that has nothing to do with Gallup USA. I have myself personally confirmed that the recent CLSA/Gallup poll information has nothing to do with Gallup USA by email with officials of Gallup USA (also some links in Chinese I found with others who have done that)

The operator of the poll, Dr Ting, is currently a Deputy Mayor of Taipei, whose Administration is KMT, and close friend and advisor of Deep Blue mayor Hau. To put it mildly, it is highly unlikely that he is pro-DPP.

This could well be a bit of disinformation designed to trap the unwary into posting a "pro-Green" poll on the public internet in violation of election rules, enabling the Blues to attack the Greens for illegal activity, attempting to influence the election, corruption,  the sun rising in the west, lions whelping in the streets, and Chen Shui-bian being Arioch, eater of souls. You know the drill.

Do not circulate this information. Do not repost it. Delete and forget. Now is the time for dirty tricks. Be vigilant!
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.


"We're still a little short, without you we won't make it" -- a DPP ad appealing to people to get out and vote for it, since they are still a few votes short. It ends by exhorting people to go home and vote.

The DPP's performance in the election so far has been amazing. Let's not forget -- Ma is backed by the upper echelons of the bureaucracy, the educational system (especially at the local level), the military, and the police, as well as local factions, most local media, Big Business, Beijing, and Washington, along with local organized crime, Wall Street and international finance. The KMT is probably still the richest political party in the world, and commands vast resources to reward and punish. It is a testimony to the appeal of Tsai Ing-wen and to the incompetence of the KMT that despite all those advantages, the DPP can still win this election.
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, January 09, 2012

Election Links

Partying at the BBQ place in town.

No time for full links today.... some election stuff:

The redoubtable Jenny Hsu in WSJ on the Super Sunday rallies:
While political analysts largely agreed that a Tsai triumph this Saturday could cause a temporary freeze in cross-strait talks and a dip in trade, many say that Beijing, despite its stern rhetoric, is likely to take a softer approach to the island’s elections this time as part of an effort to win Taiwanese hearts and minds.
TIME on the election:
There's a more crucial, cosmic element to Taiwan. It is worth defending, if not as a territory, then as an idea: that freedom is compatible with the Chinese world. Taiwan could do a better job strengthening rule of law and fighting corruption. But in many stellar ways, it is the un-China: a vigorous democracy; an alternative fount of Chinese language and culture; an arena of fiercely competitive (and partisan) media; a crucible of creativity (tech, film, food); a haven of environmental consciousness (you'll find recycling bins on remote hilltops). Heck, even the people are nicer -- literally a civil society. China has muscle; Taiwan has soul. It's the true people's republic.
Dennis Engbarth at IPS on how the election will determine the fate of the nuke plants:
Speaking to Taiwan’s six major industrial and commercial federations in late November, the DPP chairwoman said that 'nuclear power is not a clean and inexpensive source of electricity but actually is the most expensive source of power when front-end and back-end and externalised costs, such as dealing with radioactive waste, are considered.'
From AP, China uses trade to influence the election:
The latest polls show Ma and Tsai running nearly neck and neck, and Ma's Nationalist Party losing seats in the legislature but retaining control. Beijing wants to help Ma but realizes that the bombast of the past would alienate the centrist voters he needs to win. So unlike in earlier elections, it is saying little and hoping its economic favors will do the trick instead.
Paul M and Jenny H again in the WSJ:
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of economic opening to China has frustrated a key constituency: struggling middle- and low-income workers, who could cost him elections this week. That outcome would alarm Beijing and heighten uncertainty in an area that has long been a flashpoint in U.S.-China relations.
Bloomberg reports:
“What it comes down to is we think Ma isn’t firm enough and he is led by the nose by China,” C.P. Chen, 76, a retiree, said at Tsai’s rally. “Tsai cares about what the people think and we want someone who will listen to us.”
VOA on the "latest opinion polls":
Latest opinion polls in Taiwan show that President Ma Ying-jeou has lost a once comfortable lead over opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic Progressive Party ahead of presidential elections scheduled for January 14.
Tsai says she wants a coalition government. Hint: we tried that in the first Chen Administration. Didn't work.

AFP, as usual, can't get anything right. Ma gets surprise boost:
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s re-election chances got a boost Monday when he unexpectedly was endorsed by a close friend of an independent candidate widely seen as diverting votes away from him.

Fu Kun-chi, an influential official in east Taiwan’s Hualien county, said that despite his admiration for the independent, James Soong, he believed Ma was the best choice for the island’s voters.
Fu is a longtime KMTer who left the KMT to run as an independent for the County Chief seat when he didn't get the nomination as the party candidate thanks to some corruption thing or other. It won't have much effect since Hualien is already overwhelmingly pro-KMT and doesn't have many voters to begin with.
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.

Foreign Policy Follies

Hello, Mr Caterpillar!

Well, I've been using Kindle for over a month now. Let me put it this way: if you want my Kindle, you will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. The whole family has one -- so far only one problem: bathroom stays have lengthened considerably.....

Zbigniew Brzezinski writes in Foreign Policy, managing to concentrate an amazing variety of error and Beijing-flavored misunderstanding in just a small space:
Since 1972, the United States has formally accepted the mainland's "one China" formula while maintaining that neither side shall alter the status quo by force.1Beijing, however, reserves the right to use force, which allows Washington to justify its continued arms sales to Taiwan. In recent years, Taiwan and China have been improving their relationship.2 America's decline, however, would increase Taiwan's vulnerability, leaving decision-makers in Taipei more susceptible to direct Chinese pressure and the sheer attraction of an economically successful China. That, at the least, could speed up the timetable for cross-strait reunification, but on unequal terms favoring the mainland.3
1 - US policy is that Taiwan's status is undetermined. As the CRS writes:
The United States has its own position on Taiwan’s status. Not recognizing the PRC’s claim over Taiwan nor Taiwan as a sovereign state, U.S. policy has considered Taiwan’s status as unsettled.
In the 1972 Communique the US acknowledges but does not recognize China's claim to Taiwan. How could someone who once had a major influence over US policy be so ignorant of what that policy is? On the other hand, why am I not surprised?

2 - The CCP and the KMT, not China and Taiwan, have been improving their relationship, using Taiwan as a bargaining chip.

3 - Who on earth could imagine that China would ever annex Taiwan on terms unfavorable to itself? All forms of annexation are inherently favorable to China since it has no valid claim to Taiwan! Nor is "reunification" taking place, since Taiwan has never been part of any Chinese emperor's domain. It is sad that Brzenzski adopts the language and attitude of Beijing throughout this little paragraph.

Speaking of our expansionist counterparts from across the Strait, The Times of India reports that China is once again playing visa games with the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh:
India has put "on hold" the visit of a 30-strong military delegation to China next week after Beijing refused to issue a visa to one member, a colonel-rank IAF officer who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.
This comes at a time of cooling tensions, too. China says Arunachal Pradesh is part of China because it contains many ethnic Tibetans, who are "Chinese" because China has annexed Tibet, so all Tibetans are "Chinese." It calls Arunachal Pradesh "South Tibet" and has done other things, such as attempting to block international loans for development in the region, to enforce its completely bogus claim.

The implications of this are scary. How many more years until China starts playing similar visa games with other areas on its radar, like Okinawa? It also shows how one acquisition, Tibet, has lead inexorably to a new claim.

LOVE THE FRAMING: Bloomberg Businessweek reports:
The Philippines protested a new “intrusion” by China in waters it claims to be Philippine territory, a move that threatens to revive tensions over areas of the South China Sea that may contain energy reserves.
LOL. The cause of tension isn't China's increasing aggressiveness, but protests of that aggressiveness.
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, January 08, 2012

The US-Taiwan Business Council & U.S.-Taiwan Relations - 2011: President's Report

The US-Taiwan Business Council and U.S.-Taiwan Relations: 2011 President's Report is out and all there down below. It's quite useful and balanced. An excerpt:
Despite his significant achievements in cross-Strait relations, and some of the economic benefits that have accrued from those achievements, President Ma has been struggling to maintain a truly meaningful lead over his DPP rival. His leadership and decision-making style – coupled with his chronically tenuous relationship with the party old guard and the political machine they often represent or are associated with – has hurt party cohesion. Key senior Kuomintang (KMT) leaders, such as former Party Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, have even openly admitted that President Ma could use more skill and refinement in his “inter-personal relations”.

In addition, lack of progress on important reforms, lingering public uneasiness with the ultimate objective of his China policy, and an apparently cooling economy have all contributed to Ma’s inability to better capitalize on his incumbent advantage. Taiwan’s economy slowed into the third quarter, with quarterly GDP growth at only 3.37% and with the latest revised yearly GDP growth at 4.38% – down noticeably from the 5.52% originally projected during the summer. The slowdown has been mainly due to an export market dampened by the weakening global economy, currency appreciation, and significantly reduced capital investments in the manufacturing sector.
To see the whole thing, click READ MORE:

Just a note on Soong and Chen

A PFP candidate's poster in Fengyuan in Greater Taichung

I've been riding the bike on short jaunts lately, around the area, due to overload of work, rain, and cold. One thing I've noticed is that the Soong campaign does not appear to be stinting or going into draw down -- I've seen new posters and sound trucks all over the northern section of the Taichung area and southern Miaoli. While this is only a tiny sample of the island, it appears to me to indicate that Soong is going to stay in to the bitter end, and not drop out and ask people to vote for Ma. If he can get his vote total up to the 6-10% that some polls show, he might enable the Tsai campaign to win despite the ugly negative turn in the campaign.

Go Soong!

Chen Shui-bian came out for the funeral of his mother in law this week. Fortunately, he engendered no controversies. Good news, that.
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.

More violations of political neutrality? =UPDATED=

Word coming down the grapevine is that NEXT media's cable TV channel launch will be delayed. Since Next broke the story of the security agencies apparently collecting information on DPP candidate Tsai for use by the Ma campaign, the National Communications Commission has begun throwing up obstacles to completion of the launch of the new station, say Next insiders.[UPDATE: I've heard that the NCC points out that the license was granted in the summer so any problems that Next is encountering are between Next and its cable operators.]

The Miaoli county prosecutors office made a move that sure looks like it was aimed at impairing a DPP legislative candidate's election prospects: it indicted him for defamation....
The Miaoli District Prosecutors’ Office’s decision on Thursday to indict political commentator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) and Ho Po-wen (何博文), a DPP legislative candidate, on charges of public defamation just days before the elections was unacceptable, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said yesterday.
Just days before the election. The defamation case dates from June of 2010, the two men in question had already issued public apologies, and suddenly, 18 months later, right before the election, the prosecutors issue an indictment for defamation.

This case highlights how criminalizing mere public insult has an underlying authoritarian application....
Daily Links:
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.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Brookings Monster Seminar on Election on Jan 17

Zoca Pizza (location). Easily the best pizza in Taipei; the crust is pure heaven. 

Brookings is hosting a big seminar on Jan 17 to discuss the elections. Both pro-Ma and pro-Tsai speakers and discussants. Although most of the names will be familiar at least, with the next president known, they might have something new to say. Click on READ MORE for the info....

Friday, January 06, 2012

Chinese tourists want to experience election atmosphere

WantChinaTimes reports....
Seventy-eight flights from China to Taiwan have been added Jan. 13, the day before Taiwan's presidential election. The figure amounts to almost half of the additional 174 flights during the first traveling peak for Chinese tourists, which is expected to occur between Jan. 9 and Jan. 13, reported the Want Daily, the Chinese-language sister newspaper of Want China Times.
The Chinese definitely can learn from the experience of Taiwan. News like this shows why the CCP is absolutely terrified by Taiwan's democracy and how potent this soft power is.
Daily Links:
  • A very positive, but sometimes unintentionally humorous article about Tsai from Reuters. It reads like the writer hasn't spent much time here -- on an island full of skilled freelancers, why do papers continue to source reports from such individuals? The same writer also produced one on Ma Ying-jeou.
  • Paul Mozur in the WSJ with a really good piece on Taiwan, temples, and politics. From The Chung, no less. Not often in the mainstream media do we see a piece noting the role of temples.
  • Ma camp says its margin of victory will be about 500,000 votes. I guess publishing of poll results is ok provided they don't talk about percentages... as Soong said:  “That is obviously playing games with the law." 
  • NYTimes interview with Tsai Ing-wen: here and Ma Ying-jeou here.
  • Americans must stand up for Taiwan's democracy.
  • Mongabay with a great article on saving the Alangyi Trail
  • Huge local news here: two Taiwanese students killed in Japan. This looks like one of those possessive male crimes, man killing a woman who had turned him down. Very sad. 
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.

Donnelly and Armstrong: Awesome

CSMonitor hosted a wonderful opinion piece from two longtime Taiwan analysts and observers, Fulton Armstrong and Neal Donnelly. Please read the whole thing, but here's a highlight....
In politics, the Taiwanese feel that, in addition to building a democratic culture, they have worked hard to coexist with the Chinese among them and across the Taiwan Strait. Except in isolated incidents in the aftermath of the “2-28 Massacre” in 1947, in which thousands of Taiwanese died, the mainlanders have never been attacked or even harassed. The Taiwanese have voted for mainlanders, including President Ma, when they campaigned on pro-Taiwan platforms.

This is the pattern for Taiwanese – humiliation to which they respond with patience. In a remote hamlet of eastern Taiwan in 1968 with no inns, a Taiwanese family offered an American cyclist a bed for the night, but the police said the foreigner had to leave – until a mainlander next door volunteered to take him in. The Taiwanese family was deeply embarrassed, but they gracefully gave way to the mainlanders.

Taiwanese children punished for speaking their native tongues in school have over time accepted Chinese as the official national language. When the deadly SARS virus spread to Taiwan from China in 2003, and China blocked Taiwan’s participation in international meetings about it, the humiliation was profound. But Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian channeled all energy into overcoming the crisis.

The cultural symbols of the Taiwanese remain the yam and the water buffalo – not the Chinese dragon or Japanese rising sun. The people of Taiwan are not out to make the world in their image, but simply ask the world to let them be themselves in peace and freedom.
The incident referred to is a story of Neal Donnelly's. In 1968 he biked the east coast (imagine that). One night he stopped at a hamlet and asked for a place to stay. Of course a local Taiwanese family offered to take him in. Unrestricted access to the local Taiwanese couldn't be permitted by the mainlander security state running Taiwan, so the police came over and made him leave -- though he was permitted to stay at the house of a mainlander who volunteered to take him in, since that was politically acceptable. Hopefully Neal will be able to run down his pics of that trip so I can post them here on the blog...
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.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

NYTimes: Ripe badness turning purplish-black in the harsh light of the facts

I'll start this post with my customary thanks: thanks, media, for writing mediocre, erroneous, shallow stuff. Thanks for regurgitating the political propaganda of authoritarian parties. Thanks for adopting the Establishment's shibboleths as analytical stances. These ugly habits means that we bloggers will always have an audience hungry to know what is actually going on. Thanks, guys.

Today my gratitude specifically goes out to the NYTimes writing on the election, whose organization, apparently, has de-installed Google from its office machines.

Lots of things caught my eye, starting with this:
Even in some of Ms. Tsai’s party’s traditional bases of support, like the largely ethnic Taiwanese population of southern Pingtung County where she was born, are tilting toward the Nationalists. Since 2008, mainland officials, encouraged by Mr. Ma’s new trade policies, have been offering princely sums for every last mango, banana and orchid the Pingtung farmers grow.
Well, we have had a few well publicized trade missions, but the underlying numbers are quite different from what the NYTimes implies. The US, Japan, and Netherlands take ~ 40%, 30% and 5% of Taiwan's orchid exports, respectively (source). Orchids are interesting because the most cursory search of the internet will immediately turn up John Adams' article from the Global Post on orchids (Taiwan is the world's leading producer). The actual relationship between China and Taiwan in the orchid market is a good example of how the new closeness to China harms the island in the long run while enriching its firms in the short run.
Taiwan firms have also played a key role in the birth of mainland China's mass-produced flower business. Beginning in the early 1990s, Taiwan firms moved across the Strait, especially to the area around Kunming, in southwest Yunnan Province, which has an ideal climate for horticulture.

Taiwan firms typically produce for the Chinese domestic market, and serve as middlemen between Chinese growers and foreign breeders.

Tai-Ling serves the China market from a branch in Shanghai that employs 70 to 80 Chinese workers. Production costs are half what they are in Taiwan, but managing director Liu says Taiwanese workers are far better — one of them can do the job of two typical Chinese workers, he says, erasing the mainland's cost advantage. And Japan remains his most important market by far, he says, because Chinese still don't have regular buying patterns.
Wait...what? Taiwan tech gradually transferred to China and the local market serviced by local production, while exports from China-based Taiwan firms compete with Taiwan-based exports in traditional markets? That's probably too complex for the NYTimes, and doesn't fit the prevailing establishment narrative about the greatness of ECFA (there's another good backgrounder here). The NYTimes could have used this as a teachable moment so its audience could get a better handle on why Tsai and Ma are running neck and neck in the election.....

As I said, pieces like this show how Taiwanese firms are transferring know-how to China -- this flow is so important that China has established agricultural industrial districts whose express purpose is to poach ag tech from Taiwan:
The mainland Chinese authorities have reportedly established 25 "Taiwan Farmers Pioneer Parks", whose sole purpose it is to steal Taiwanese agricultural know-how. Despite Taiwan's farming industry constituting only 1.5% of gross domestic product, or US$11.8 billion, the cross-strait transfer of farming secrets is considered a threat to the 540,000 Taiwanese employed in the sector.   
But never mind that, the NYTimes says everything is simple and peachy-keen and so it is. Orchid exports to China are of course rising, but this is because the orchids and more importantly, the technology for producing them, travels along supplier-distributor networks from Taiwan to China whose establishment and growth long predates ECFA.

Speaking of ag, what about those bananas? For that I just searched my blog:
Sources said six agricultural items from the early harvest list failed to reach NT$1 million in export value and the total shipment was less than 4 tonnes, with squid not being sold at all.

Less than 1 tonne of lemons and less than 2 tonnes of both honeydew melons and dragon fruit were sold, they said.

The export value and volume of oranges and bananas were only 50 and 20 percent respectively, compared with last year, sources said.
What, exports of bananas falling off? Say it ain't so!

Finally, for mangoes, Google will soon reveal that Japan is Taiwan's biggest mango export market and that mangos sell in Japan for several times more than the "princely sum" China puts out... but there's no need for me to tell you. You have Google on your computer.

So what about that awesome agricultural gain from ECFA that's causing all those Pingtung farmers to think Blue? I took a look at the numbers a few months ago:
Ok, in the 18 ag product categories, there was a total gain of US$95.7 million. Now hold still, because a couple of paragraphs later come some numbers.
In the 18 categories, the sale of live groupers surged by a whopping 192 percent year-on-year to an export value of US$79.66 million, she said. Chang attributed the increase mainly to the ECFA “early harvest” tariff concession program and the opening of 15 Chinese seaports for direct shipping links.
So... maybe I am reading this wrong, but of the $95.7 million increase, $79.66 million is groupers. 83% of the increase is from one product! Add the number given by the spokesperson for tea exports, $7.37 million, and 90% of the gain is from just two products.  We're not succeeding in agricultural products, just in raising fish. Subtract that $79.66 million and the agricultural deficit sucks -- which shows how important definitions of what counts as agriculture are -- most people when they hear the word "agriculture" don't think of fish.
Oh yeah, there is no awesome gain even using the COA's own numbers. Are the Pingtung farmers turning blue? Well, perhaps, but its more likely to be from holding their breath waiting for the profits from China to arrive (latest ag figures show no mighty gains or losses).

Always a problem, but never mentioned in neoliberal discourse: agricultural smuggling from China has skyrocketed, meaning that Taiwan's exports are duly counted by the government, but imports from China are duly undercounted. Hence trade gains are overstated.

C'mon folks, all this stuff is on the blog and net and readily accessible. Argh. If I were to speculate, I would bet money that the head of the association Jacob quotes on the bottom of the first page is merely spreading some pro-Ma propaganda. Making sure that associations are headed by pro-Blue types is one of the most important ways the KMT retains control of local institutions and local messaging.

Let's look at some of the other stuff, which I think reproduces so many of the problems we've been seeing in the international media over the years.... first there are the "striking similarities"....
On paper and in person, the two bear striking similarities. Educated abroad — Mr. Ma at Harvard and New York University, and Ms. Tsai at Cornell and the London School of Economics — they spent their early careers in academia. Both are reluctant campaigners, wonkish rather than telegenic. Each promises generous social spending and a city’s worth of low-cost housing.
"...they spent their early careers in academia." Once again, that amazing invention, Google, takes you to another incredible invention, Wiki, whose entry on Ma will rapidly inform you that Ma's early career was spent in politics and government, first in the President's office under the second of the Chiangs, then to the RDEC, then the MAC, and then the post of Justice Minister. Academia was where Ma fled to from politics after Lee removed him from that last post. I'll leave finding Tsai's Wiki page an exercise for the reader, who, unlike the NYTimes, probably has access to Google.

There's another way this equivalency is false, and that is its significant omission: Ma was a scion of the KMT security state, and studied at Harvard in one of those programs aimed at cultivating up and coming talent from security states allied to the US. As I predicted months ago, no foreign publication from a democratic state is ever going to put Ma in the proper context of his long opposition to democracy and support for authoritarianism. Sad. There is no equivalency between Ma and Tsai, except the most superficial one of a foreign education. Trust the NYTimes to reach for that one.

Even Ma's alleged wonkishness is no more than a veneer of brains and the ability to stay on message. The actual policy wonk is Tsai, who spent many years toiling behind the scenes in policymaking positions.

I hope the next media report drops this stereotypical approach to Ma and Tsai and instead shows how completely different they are.

The NYTimes observes in another reach for (false) "balance":
The race has been dominated by parochial concerns and mudslinging. Last week, Ms. Tsai and her surrogates accused the president of using the intelligence authorities to monitor her campaign illegally. The Ma camp has been raising questions about Ms. Tsai’s role in a state-financed biotech company that yielded her handsome profits. Both have denied any wrongdoing.
ROFL. There's so much awesome badness I could spend the whole blog post unpacking it. Quickly...
  1. Of course the issues are parochial from the NYTimes' perspective, it's an election held in another country!
  2. The negative campaigning is only a feature of the last couple of weeks.
  3. The accusation that the government is spying on Tsai was not made initially by the Tsai camp but by NEXT media which is hardly a surrogate of the Tsai campaign. For shame. Whereas the attacks on Tsai come from a government minister and appear to be a violation of neutrality.
  4. The "handsome profits" claim is total KMT propaganda over which the DPP is now suing and from which its original proponents have all quietly backed away. Disgusting that the NYTimes has chosen to give it the imprimatur of a paper of record. Tsai's "investment" was $220 million of which she was paid $10 million for the use of her money for pitiful annualized gains of ~3.5% (here's the pro-KMT China Post on it). But I guess the NYTimes didn't dare look that one up in Google -- might break a fingernail typing or something. Although I suppose to that when you come from the anemic economy whose screwed-up Establishment the NYTimes cheerleads for, 3.5% a year probably does seem like handsome returns.
  5. No mention of the government getting busted engaging in what looks like forgery in attempt to rewrite the history.
Rather than go for a "balance" the NYTimes could have simply printed the truth, which is much more interesting. Imagine:
The election has been dominated by key local concerns. Until a few weeks ago, when the KMT accused Tsai Ing-wen of illegally profiting from an investment in a government-funded biotech firm, the campaign had been going to the DPP, which had run a tight ball-control campaign with few mistakes, while the Ma camp stumbled from one error to another. The Ma camp's poor showing in the campaign, combined with locally important issues such as income stagnation, rising housing prices, and the widespread perception that Ma is too close to China, explain why Tsai has managed to pull even with Ma in the election. 
If you read the article carefully, it does state that the two candidates are neck and neck but does not appear to clearly explain how they got that way.

Interestingly the article headed in that direction at the beginning with its excellent opening emphasizing that Ma faces many of the concerns faced elsewhere in the world, but the quickly turned to the bog-standard outside view that Taiwanese spend their days thinking about the cross-strait relationship.The NYTimes presents a quote from Nathan Batto of the excellent blog Frozen Garlic....
Nathan Batto, a political scientist at the Academia Sinica, a research institute in Taipei, said that the underlying issue for many voters was whether Taiwan could remain autonomous.

“The single question that frames all elections here is who we are and what do we want to be,” he said. “Should Taiwan get closer to China or keep its distance?”
Outsiders look at Taiwan and see only the cross-strait relationship; that is the framing the NYTimes is using (not Batto). But for locals the cross-strait relationship is a thing that they do every day and the "negative" side of which is already settled in their minds: we are not part of China and we don't want to be part of China. The "positive" identity: What is Taiwanese/Taiwan/ROC and how are they related, is still being worked out, and I feel it is likely that at some point the Taiwanese will become a sort of Not-China in the way Canada is a kind of Not-America. In any case it is precisely because Ma violated the negative consensus by moving Taiwan too close to China that he got in trouble.

In Taiwanese minds how China should be handled is simple: no political closeness, plenty of economic interaction -- that is what the locals want, and that is why Ma repeatedly has shushed talk of political negotiations. In other words, for outsiders, Taiwanese identity is seen in the shadow of cross-strait relations, for locals, it is the other way around......

Thus, the question is probably more like "how should our closeness to China be managed so that we don't get swallowed". To the extent that voters are voting on China, that is what they are voting on. But mostly they are voting on a host of far more urgent local concerns, ranging from nuclear power to land prices to incomes to farm subsidies to local identities.

There's so much more I could say (are the businessmen in China as pro-Ma as the NYTimes thinks? What data is that based on?)(the DPP didn't irritate China; China chooses to be irritated). But I have to stop now. My fingernails are all chipped from too much accessing of Google....

PS: Yup. As of Sunday the 8th, The NYTimes does not appear to have taken a single letter on this piece.

REF: Longer article on orchids.
Daily Links:
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.

The future of Ma

A friend sent my this asking rhetorically why anyone votes KMT.

The majority of locals detest President Ma. KMT party elites refused to support him during his first Chairmanship run, instead supporting current legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. Many voters picking him support him out of the quasi-religious social identity that makes one KMT, or because they imagine that he is good for business. One almost feels sorry for him, he's so widely disliked.

So it's fun to think about what kind of effect losing the upcoming election will have on his political future. What will post-Presidential life be like for the man? Leave a comment.....
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, January 04, 2012

Spying Story has Legs!

Ballots and Bullets, which is offering some really excellent pieces on the election, serves up Bo Tedards' piece on the Spying Scandal that lays out everything quite clearly....
Moreover, the history of these agencies, especially the MJIB (known during the Martial Law era as the Garrison Command) makes such activities seem plausible. Wiretapping has always been widespread in Taiwan, and as recently as Chen Shui-bian’s term in office, the KMT accused him of carrying out quite similar election-related operations. Amid such accusations, a law to prohibit misuse of the intelligence agencies was enacted for the first time in 2005. Ma made a very specific point of including in his inauguration speech in 2008 that under his Administration, illegal wiretapping would not be tolerated, showing that he understood this to be a current issue.
This story is reverberating across the international media, so Tedards' piece is timely. AP had a story the other day; today it was the Guardian, whose article is worth accessing because of the pricelessly loony picture of Ma Ying-jeou they used. BBC also wrote a good piece on it. I've often argued that BBC's pro-China stance is a problem of the editors and not of the correspondents in the field, and their take is good evidence. The article ends with:
The two intelligence agencies have not explained why they allegedly gathered information about potential votes Ms Tsai could get from her supporters, says the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei.

Improving ties
The president has denied receiving any information about Ms Tsai. His campaign spokesman has said that the allegations were without evidence and irresponsible.

The jostle between the two candidates is being closely watched by the US and China.

Our correspondent says that Taiwan's relations with China could take a turn for the better or the worse depending on who is elected.
Note the subheading there -- "improving ties." Nothing in the text discusses "improving ties". The correspondent didn't mention it. Somewhere an editor inserted that reflexively, because the article mentioned Ma Ying-jeou, who is reflexively associated with "improving ties." This error neatly captures BBC's reflexive support for the pro-China side. Note that the reporter, Cindy Sui, ends the piece on spying allegations by affirming the claim that the agents were collecting data on voting patterns.

The last paragraph is wrong, of course -- China relations will take a turn for the better or worse depending on what China does. They could well take a turn for the worse if Ma is elected and China decides it wants to annex Taiwan NOW. D'oh.
Daily Links:
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, January 03, 2012

Poll Hilarity from AFP =UPDATED=

I don't understand why AFP, the French press group, bothers to station people out here when they can just source their news from Xinhua with exactly the same effect and at much lower cost. Today AFP ran a piece on the polls....
Forty-four percent of 2,011 people interviewed by the United Daily News said they would vote for Ma...

A TVBS news channel poll showed similar results, as Ma maintained a lead of eight percentage points with 45 percent over...

However, Ma and Tsai were much closer in a survey issued by the Taipei-based China Times...
Yes, that's right. AFP ran a piece on the polls from this election, used only polls from pro-Ma newspapers, and didn't mention to its readers (the poor things) that the polls it was using were from papers supporting Ma.

But there is more....
Taiwan polls issued close to presidential elections have a history of predicting the outcomes relatively accurately.

In 2008, opinion polls indicated that Ma enjoyed up to a 20-point advance over DPP candidate Frank Hsieh, and he went on to win the election by almost 17 percentage points.
In 2008, late Feb polling for the Mar 22th election had the KMT up by 28% (UDN) and 26% (China Times), not "up to 20%". In the China Times March 10 poll, the numbers were an identical 26% (UDN had Ma with a 30% lead according to this). They did predict the winner correctly, but underestimated the DPP numbers by 17-18% (and Ma's by about 10%). They way overestimated the victory margin. I suppose you could call that relative accuracy.....

It is quite true that in '04 a number of polls, including the last China Times polls, had the two sides much closer. It is difficult to quickly round up poll data from the 2000 election. Niou and Paolino note:
According to a telephone survey conducted by the China Times on January 20, 24% of the respondents were inclined to vote for the independent candidate James Soong, 23% for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian, and only 19% for Lien if the election were held then.
In 2000 the publicly reported polls were so bad, especially the KMT polls which claimed that Lien had a huge lead over Soong but was neck and neck with Chen, that many KMT voters were misled into thinking that Lien was leading and voted for him even though he had no chance of winning.

This experience may explain the kind of polling that is being reported in the local media for the current election. Apparently many netizens are reporting being called by pollsters who proceed to ask only about Ma and Tsai, and do not mention Soong at all. If these reports are true, by reducing Soong's chances to win, perhaps certain pollers may be hoping that voters will vote strategically for Ma.

ADDED: There is a round-up of current polls here:
To summarize the results, all standard polls show Ma in the lead, with a range of margins ranging from 8 points (United Daily News, TVBS) to 0.7 points (Taiwan ThinkTank). The respective blue and green biases of those three sources seem to show through clearly. The DPP also released its internal polls, which are historically quite accurate, but of course they don’t release the parts they don’t want people to see. With a different methodology consisting of combining polls from over 60 legislative districts, they announced that they expect Tsai to win by 1 point, on a turnout of 78-80% (for more details of the DPP’s methodology, see this report in the Taipei Times.) Finally, the much-talked about xFuture/NCCU Exchange of Future Events has Tsai in the lead by 7.2% (Tsai 49.8, Ma 42.6, Soong 10.7) and this trend has been consistent since mid-December. Exchange of Future Events claims accuracy of 95% two months ahead of 2008 presidential elections and 97.6% on the eve of the election day. 
The "International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan" which operates the website consists largely of pro-Green individuals.

UPDATED: Businessweek (Bloomberg) did the same thing.
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.