A sombre Ma overlooks an intersection in Taichung.

First, Taiwan News reports some good news out of the EU:

Members from the European Parliament yesterday issued a statement supporting Taiwan’s efforts to become a member of the United Nations, and urged other European Union countries and U.N. members to support Taiwan’s U.N. bid.

In the statement, the parliament members also criticized U.N.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his earlier remarks that claimed Taiwan is an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.

A total of 100 members from the European Parliament yesterday jointly issued the statement, saying Taiwan, with its 23 million citizens, is a sovereign state. Taiwan has its own Parliamentary and Governmental systems, an independent territory and a distinct population, the statement read.

“Taiwan has never been under the control of the People’s Republic of China. On the contrary, Taiwan is a full-fledged democracy that realizes the rule of law and universal human rights. Furthermore, Taiwan has diplomatic relations with 23 sovereign States. For all these reasons the U.N. Secretary-General’s statement that said Taiwan is an integral part of the People’s Republic of China is clearly false and unjustified,” the statement said.

Members of the parliament said in the statement that the parliament has passed many bills to call for more support for Taiwan’s 23 million people’s participation in international organizations.

A very strong statement, and most welcome! “False and unjustified!” Strong language….

85 year old Peng Ming-min, the 1996 DPP presidential candidate and a lifelong independence advocate, speaks out in an interview with the Vancouver Sun:

“For democracy to function you have to have some self-control. You have to have some restraint,” said Peng whose 1964 secretly printed manifesto launched Taiwan’s democracy movement with its demand for an end to one party rule and a declaration that the island is a nation independent from China.

That act of defiance against the military rule of the KMT former nationalist government of China, which fled to Taiwan after being defeated in the civil war by Mao Zedong’s Communists, earned Peng an eight-year prison sentence. But he escaped to Sweden and then lived in exile in the United States.

Peng returned to Taiwan in 1991 after martial law was lifted and the transition to multiparty democracy affirmed. He was the DPP’s unsuccessful candidate in the first free and fair presidential elections in 1996.

What Peng called “the epoch-making moment” came at the next elections in 2000 when current DPP president Chen Shui-bian won and was then re-elected in 2004.

But Chen is leaving on a sour note of public unhappiness, the whiff of scandal and the air of failure.

Peng’s bleak view is therefore fuelled not only by the particular grubbiness of Taiwanese politics at this time, but also the strong possibility that Ma and the old one-party dictators of the KMT will return to power.

Most observers would say that the modern KMT is not the repressive and massively corrupt organization that occupied and ruled Taiwan like a subject colony for half a century until forced into the democratic transition 20 years ago.

There’s two pages of it. Great stuff. Frank Hsieh was Peng’s vice presidential candidate in 1996….