Daily Bloom, 7.7.14

Welcome to the Daily Bloom! The Daily Bloom will be a daily shortform blog with updates on the day’s political going-ons. If something particularly exciting happening in Taiwan, we will be providing live updates on our Facebook page and Twitter account. At the end of the day, we will compile the live updates to provide a chronological timeline of the day’s events. If not, we will simply report on what happened that day, or what might be of note that happened. If you have news tips about what would be interesting to cover, send to [email protected]!

July 7, 2014

Former chairperson of the DPP, Lin Yi-Hsiung, announces the formation of the People Rule Foundation aimed at legal reform to further Taiwanese democratization. Aimed for reforms include amendment of the constitution and repeal of the so-called “birdcage” Referendum Act, often criticized for having impossibly high standards for public referendum. Immediately following the end of the student occupation of the Legislative Yuan during the Sunflower movement, Lin Yi-Hsiung’s hunger strike against nuclear power subsequently drew in much of the energy that had been directed towards the CSSTA issue since then.

Along the same vein, on July 6th, members of the Taiwan March group formed by prominent Sunflower movement student leaders Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting, held a protest in in Taipei also aimed at repeal of the Referendum Act. In comments, speakers pointed to the limitations of Taiwanese democracy in its present form. If one is to speculate as to future shifts in Taiwanese activist politics in the near future, while the Referendum Act has been controversial since its passing in 2003, it appears that legal reform of the Taiwanese democratic system may become the new orienting paradigm. It will be a question, then, how the DPP’s response will be in regards to upcoming elections. Notably, legal reform of Taiwanese democracy would seem to have the backing of student activist groups coming out of the Sunflower movement, but also electoral oriented activists not part of the DPP or KMT camps alike. In the case of Lin Yi-Hsiung, Lin is former chairman of the DPP, but left the DPP in 2006, and subsequently was involved in the formation of the Taiwan Citizen Union political party aimed at challenging both the DPP and KMT in March of this year.

Conflict over Taiwan’s relation to the repeal of Japan’s Article 9 continues with the possibility of Japanese military force as countering Chinese aggression towards China attendant with forebodings of potential increased Japanese militarism in the region. Pro-independence Taiwanese think tank Taiwan Brain Trust voices approval of Article 9’s repeal, while Taiwanese academics including professors from Fu Jen Catholic University, Tunghai University warn that a Japanese military no longer straightjacketed by Article 9 from foreign intervention may not necessarily be beneficial to regional stability. A protest was also held in front of the Japanese Interchange Office today by the Labor Party against the repeal of Article 9, though this was on pro-China, anti-Japan grounds.

With the inability of the Special Legislative Session held in the legislature to resolve the issue of appointments to the Control Yuan and trade policies criticized for rendering Taiwan vulnerable to Chinese domination, the KMT calls an extra session to be held from July 28th to August 8th. The previous Special Legislative Session had been held from June 13th until July 4th.