Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US, had an opinion piece on our democracy here in a US paper.

Taiwan’s democracy is young and vibrant, though by no means perfect or fully matured.

In Taiwan, for example, the public has become increasingly dissatisfied with its media’s turn toward sensationalism.

Media companies in Taiwan seem more interested in expanding their individual market shares than in the pursuit of excellence in journalism. It is an affliction common to journalism elsewhere, as well.

Yet, media reform in Taiwan must come from within the profession itself, upon the demands of the consuming public. Government attempts would be viewed as a violation of media freedom.

As the United States has the Federal Communications Commission, Taiwan has the regulatory National Communication Commission, modeled after the FCC.

But, as in some sectors of the U.S., the public is wary of the role of the NCC, as its leadership is based on “party-proportional representation.” This principle guarantees the politicization of a commission intended to be a neutral rule-maker and enforcer for Taiwan’s media market.

Taiwan’s Council of Grand Justices — the constitutional court — has ruled that NCC’s system of proportional political representation is unconstitutional. Yet, reorganization of the NCC does not appear to be forthcoming at the present time.

The piece focuses too much on the NCC, which will not be something American readers will know or care about, and not enough on perfidious Beijing, but it does sound the alarm on Beijing’s behavior:

The extremely hostile PRC government continues to view Taiwan as part of China, and this dangerous irredentist claim, paired with constant military threats against Taiwan, has prolonged and intensified a polarizing domestic debate on the island over whether Taiwan is — or ought to be — an independent country.

It is, indeed, a wonder that, with the currently hostile political environment created by the PRC government, any political party on Taiwan would continue to claim that Taiwan is a part of China.

Despite the fact that Taiwan’s democracy is neither perfect nor mature, the reality of competitive elections at regular intervals under the watch of an open media and the active scrutiny of the political opposition, means that Taiwan nevertheless is a vibrant and enviable democracy.

Furthermore, Taiwan’s democratic success stands as an excellent counterargument against the fallacious proposal, vis-à-vis China, that traditional Chinese culture cannot sustain a Western-style democracy.

Also from the US is this blurb I found in my email on Obama’s right-hand man. The info is originally from the NY Sun:


Reporter Eli Lake describes an “inner circle” of three top advisors…former Clinton National Security Advisor Tony Lake, former Iraq Study Group staffer Ben Rhodes, and retired Air Force Gen. Scott Gration.

“They are part of a nine-person team, in contact every day, often by e-mail. The team develops policy positions, clears language for use in comments to the press, and prepares [Obama]……for a dangerous world and a global war.”

Global war? Gulp…

Continuing…”The…team funnels input to Denis McDonough, an Obama campaign staff member who briefs the candidate…” And McDonough helps coordinate “a broader group of 250 advisors…divided into [20-member] groups dealing with the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Russia-Europe, defense, veterans, counter-terrorism, democracy and development, and multilateral institutions.”

(We’d note that Denis, with one “n”, McDonough is a veteran of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s staff, and has spent the past few years at The Center for American Progress. He is well-versed in Asia issues, especially those involving Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan.)


Daschle was a longtime friend of Taiwan. The Center for American Progress, which bills itself as a progressive think tank, is here. McDonough is profiled on the CAP website.