Skip to comments.Taiwan:Legislative session opens with mayhem(fisticuff, shouting match, flying refreshment)
Posted on 09/15/2005 4:27:51 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
NATION'S ELITE: Fisticuffs, shouting matches, flying refreshments -- the first day of the new legislative session was entertaining, but not much useful was accomplished
By KO SHU-LING
Wednesday, Sep 14, 2005,Page 1
|DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui, left, attacks KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun, right, after Kuo tore up a copy of Premier Frank Hsieh's policy report that he was scheduled to deliver yesterday at the opening of a new sitting of the legislature.
Premier Frank Hsieh (ÖxéLÍ¢) was forced to postpone his scheduled policy report until Friday, amid vociferous protests inside and outside the legislative compound.
Chanting "Fight corruption, save Taiwan" and "Re-elect the president and the legislature," pan-blue lawmakers occuppied the legislative floor at 10:20am, holding placards and a white banner reading: "Re-elect the president, vice president, premier and legislature."
Pan-green lawmakers responded by chanting "Dismiss the legislature" and "Begin the session." In addition, some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers held signs reading "Pan-blues, please file a no-confidence vote" and "the government cannot operate in neutral gear."
The first round of lawmaking mayhem climaxed when DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui (ÍõÊç»Û) started shoving Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (¹ùËØ´º) after Kuo tore up Hsieh's report, strewing the pieces about.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (Íõ½ðÆ½) then ordered a break until 2:30pm.
The turmoil came after pan-blue lawmakers condemned Hsieh during the National Affairs Forum, which preceded yesterday's legislative sitting.
They demanded that Hsieh step down or take personal leave, to avoid any conflict of interest while an independent investigator conducts a probe into a riot last month by Thai workers in Kaohsiung, where Hsieh was formerly mayor.
In a bid to resolve the political stalemate, Wang called an emergency meeting with caucus leaders during the recess, during which the DPP caucus agreed to the KMT caucus' request to establish five commissions of inquiry to probe into different "corruption incidents," in exchange for the pan-blue camp's agreement to let Hsieh deliver his policy report.
The five commissions are to probe Kaohsiung City's mass rapid transit system, the north-south high-speed rail system, the release of the Chunghwa Telecom stake, the privatization of the Taiwan Business Bank and allegations of widespread insider trading on the stock market.
During round two of the legislative sparring, the pan-blue alliance reneged on its promise and resurrected its vocal portests during the afternoon session.
Shortly after that session began, DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (ÁÖÖØÖ) engaged in a physical clash with KMT legislators Huang Chao-shun (üSÕÑí) and Chu Feng-chih (ÖìøPÖ¥) after the premier walked out of the room, apparently upset by the placards placed in front of his desk.
DPP Legislator Kuan Pi-ling (¹Ü±ÌÁá) then sprinted to the legislative speaker's desk, and started to tongue-lash pan-blue lawmakers via microphone.
"Why can't I stand here, while opposition parties get to occupy the legislative floor?" she shouted.
The second round of the legislative session ended in style, with Huang Chao-shun and DPP Legislator Lee Ming-hsien (ÀîÃ÷) starting a water-cup throwing match, trying to hit each other without much success. Finally, DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (ÐìøÓÂ) and KMT Legislator Wu Ying-yih ( ÇÓ¢Òã) went head to head in a brief skirmish that ended with the victorious Hsu pushing Wu to the ground.
Wang then ordered another recess, which lasted for about 15 minutes.
Round three then began, but the session was again disrupted at 3:15pm, when Hsieh tried to take the podium, only to have Huang Chao-shun complain that Wang had failed to inform the legislature of the agreement reached at noon.
Upset by the pan-blue camp's obstructions, the DPP caucus condemned the KMT, attributing the political deadlock to an internal conflict within the KMT.
"Today, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (ñRÓ¢¾Å) has sent a clear message that he is the real boss of the KMT -- not [Legislative Speaker] Wang Jin-pyng -- even though Ma keeps saying that he respects the autonomy of the KMT caucus," DPP caucus whip William Lai (Ù?µÂ) said.
"Ma has proven that he has not only changed a lot after taking the KMT's helm, but that he also knows how to manipulate the legislature," he said.
Dismissing the DPP's accusations, KMT caucus whip Cho Po-yuan (×¿²®Ô´) told Hsieh to apologize for the Thai labor riot and to keep his promise regarding the five commissions of inquiry.
Meanwhile, the clashes inside the Legislative Yuan were matched by protests that took place outside the legislative compound.
Members of an "anti-arms procurement group" voiced opposition to pushing through the arms procurement bill to committee for review, while the Nuke-4 Referendum Initiative Association requested that the legislature lower the thresholds for constitutional amendments and ratification.
Other protesters included the members of the Taiwan Business Bank labor union.
Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (ÌKØ²ý) yesterday called Ma an "irrational chairman" who indulged KMT lawmakers and allowed them to prevent Hsieh from giving his administration report.
"Ma has changed since he became the KMT chairman. His leadership of the KMT is so disappointing," Su said after the DPP's Central Standing Committee meeting.
"The chaotic legislative session proves that Ma is not a rational chairman," Su said.
"If Ma does not rectify this situation, I believe that the people of Taiwan will spurn the KMT in the elections," the DPP chairman said.
In response to this criticism, Ma yesterday said that "long-winded speeches" -- filibusters -- were one of the strategies often used in democratic countries.
"In democratic countries, the so-called `long-winded speech' is actually a strategy used by opposition parties to force the ruling party to make some concessions," Ma said.
Defending the KMT caucus for using an "acceptable" strategy to express its disagreement with the ruling party, Ma said that the "long-winded speech" measures were not necessarily equivalent to taking over the podium.
"I expect the caucus to take reasonable measures when making a stand against the ruling party," he said.
Additional reporting by Jewel Huang and Mo Yan-chih
Yep. Food fight with noodles dishes would be picturesque, but messy.
Wouldn't you like to see that happen in the US Senate or House just once ? I would love to see someone take on old Teddy :-)
You know, it will go postal pretty fast if it ever happens in U.S. House or Senate. After the moments of intense violence, "gun nuts" will emerge victorious.:)
wow a cat fight!!!! bet dole could whip pelosi !!!!
Just another day in playland for these yokels.
The fun never stops.
I normally strongly support Taiwan. However, things like this and their decision earlier this week to refuse the arms package offered by the US makes me wonder how much longer until they fall to the Communist Chinese. If a nation has so little respect for itself that it allows physical combat on the floor of its main legislative body, how can it expect the rest of the world to take it seriously?
"I do fairly regular pieces for an academic journal called the American Journal of Chinese Studies.
Most of the time I am writing on legal or criminal justice issues but the current edition (June 2005) is a Special Issue regarding the elections so they wanted me to write on the Legislative Yuan elections.
I was happy to tell the academic world what I thought about Taiwan's legislators and their elections.
Although the bulk of the article is a somewhat dry discussion of the political science of it all, the piece does include such sections as:
XVII. HOW LEGISLATORS ARE VIEWED
He is wearing his fake Ray Ban sunglasses indoors, sporting a black suit, the photo on the front page of the newspaper shows him, to put it in rap music terms, bitch slapping one of his coworkers.
Nice big photo about a month ago; who was he? He was a Taiwanese legislator reasoning with one of his fellow legislators on some important civic matter.
And a few months before that we were treated to the Great Legislative Yuan Food Fight.
It is too bad the American Journal of Chinese Studies does not use photos, there would have been some great one.
Well, you can google around and find them.
The Associated Press gave a blow by blow account in an Oct. 26 2004 news flash; It was difficult to figure out who started the battle. Local TV showed the legislators yelling at each other as they sat at long tables in a committee room during a lunch meeting And given the food fights, the fist fights and the other shenanigans that occur in the Legislative Yuan, it comes as no surprise that less than 10 percent of the respondents believed that the legislature is capable of acting with discipline.
There is nothing I enjoy more than giving American academia a real view of Taiwan.
It is amusing, for example in the current issue you have a bunch of local scholars and "American scholar experts on Taiwan" trying to sound real f***ing serious about the legislative elections with all their pie charts and sociology and poly-sci speak.
My piece was basically saying the Legislative Yuan is a bunch of brainless hicks playing backwater politics.
"The general theory seems to be:
Name recognition matters (which is true in any democracy) Since legislators rarely pass any legislation that matters, their name is rarely in the papers (i.e. you do not have things like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; which puts the legislators name on the front page)
So how to get name recognition?
Get your name in the paper for holding the left flank in a KMT v. DPP food fight or getting in a slap fight with Diane "Left Hook" Lee.
No fooling, this is why. I was also told that for many Taiwanese (my breakfast store laoban clued me in on thishe is from Jiayi the home of Punch Out Politics, so he knows what is up) getting involved in fist fights, shoving matches and spittle laced screaming matches shows---the legislator is tough and fighting for his constituents.
And it is truly admired by many (at least southern and central) Taiwanese voters."
Since I stopped taking Taiwan seriously I find the non-stop comedy of it all very amusing and am happy to share my amusement with the greater world.
Yours in Taiwanese democracy,
Dr. B.K., Esq.
And, these a**clowns earn $13,636.36 USD a month... (450,000NT)
thats $163,636.32 a year! More than half as much as what the President of the United States makes!
And that is one hell of a lot of coin here in Taiwan.
"I normally strongly support Taiwan. However, things like this and their decision earlier this week to refuse the arms package offered by the US makes me wonder how much longer until they fall to the Communist Chinese. If a nation has so little respect for itself that it allows physical combat on the floor of its main legislative body, how can it expect the rest of the world to take it seriously?"
We're not doing too much better. I mean, we don't have fist fights on the senate floor, but look at the level of division and irrationality, and the outright conspiratorial views that have become commonplace in the political debate in the U.S. This period is apparently the time for dictatorships worldwide to gather power while watching and laughing at the growing divisions in democratic countries. It seems to me that the U.S. is closer to a revolution or revolt at this time than communist China. No doubt China is loving all this and making an effrot to gain the greatest possible advantage from it. In any case, all signs point to very rocky times ahead - better tighten your seatbelts.