As the typhoon howls outside our windows on its way to wreak havoc in south China, a friend reports that finally, the Taiwan High Speed Rail was placed the word “Taiwan” on their tickets. In ordinary print. On the back. *sigh*

Taiwan News pointed out a little ray of light in an editorial today:

In their status as the Constitutional Court, the 11 grand justices issued Interpretation 644 which immediately struck down Articles 2 and 53 of the Civic Association Law which, respectively, banned civic associations from “advocating communism or division of the national territory” and mandated vetting of new civic organizations and prohibited the registration of any that had such advocations on the proper grounds that such restrictions violated the guarantee of the right of free speech in Article 14 of the Republic of China Constitution.

The interpretation was issued in response to a request by former presidential secretary general Chen Shih-meng to clarify the constitutionality of ban on the “advocation of communism or the division of the national territory” in the Civic Associations Act, which the Taipei City Social Welfare Department cited in 1998 to reject the application for the Goa-Seng-Lang Association for Taiwan Independence (GATI), a group of mainlander “new immigrants” who support independence, to register as a civic organization.

But just in case anyone was dumb enough to think that freedom of speech actually meant, well, freedom of speech, the KMT was quick to disabuse them:

The response of the KMT government to Interpretation 644 reflected its continuing authoritarian mentality. The Ministry of the Interior acknowledged Friday that Interpretation 644 will block the MOI from refusing to register political parties or civic groups that advocate “communism or national division.”

However, the interior ministry declared that if such political parties act in ways that “threaten the existence of the ROC or the free and democratic constitutional order,” it will apply to the Constitutional Court to dissolve such parties as “unconstitutional.”

Similarly, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng warned the opposition center-left Democratic Progressive Party not to take Interpretation 644 as a “protective amulet” to advocate “Taiwan independence” and declared that while advocacy of communism belonged to the sphere of freedom of speech, advocacy of “division of national territory” or Taiwan’s independence “involves sedition.”

It is worth pointing out that there are now only 11 Grand Justices, four short of the mandated 15, because the KMT-controlled Legislative Yuan refused to confirm four scholars nominated by former president Chen Shui-bian on the grounds that they had “politically incorrect” positions on issues such as whether they believed the R.O.C. still exists or how would they rule on the definition of the R.O.C.’s territory.

In the meantime, the new Ma regime continues make our stock market (go) boom, as today the pro-KMT China Post published the pleadings of the Financial Supervisory Commission Vice Chair….

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Vice Chairwoman Susan Chang called on investors yesterday to have more faith in the local bourse, despite an estimated average loss of NT$440,000 by each stock market investor in the month since the Kuomintang (KMT) government took office.

One month after the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou, the weighted index, Taiwan stock market’s key barometer, on June 20 recorded a drop of 1,166 points, from 9,068 to 7,902 points. The stock market value slid by NT$2.94 trillion, or 12 percent, from NT$23.3 trillion to NT$20.86 trillion during the same period.

The share prices was trading as high as 9309 points when the market opened on May 20, but have lost steam since.

Finally, Reuters reports that Chinese banks will be permitted to purchase stakes in Taiwan banks.

Chinese banks will be allowed to buy up to 20 percent of their Taiwan counterparts under a plan being developed by Taiwan’s banking regulator, local media reported on Tuesday.

The plan being developed by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) is part of a broader series of moves aimed at boosting Taiwan’s economy through closer ties with political rival China under the administration of new President Ma Ying-jeou.

The 20 percent ceiling in the plan parallels a similar rule imposed by China, which limits foreign investment in its banks to 20 percent or less, the Chinese-language Commercial Times reported, citing an FSC official.

Here’s an idea: our banks are running a bit short due to dodgy loans — let’s bring in the suckas from across the Strait to shore them up.