ad info

 > magazine
 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
TIME Europe
Asiaweek Services
Contact Asiaweek
About Asiaweek
Media Kit
Get up to 3 months of Asiaweek free when you subscribe online!


Politics of Compromise
Will Chen break promises?

The 100-Day Itch:
Why Chen Shui-bian's honeymoon as president is over, and what he mu st do to restore credibility
'Let's Meet, not Holler': So says the DPP chief about China
It's Business as Usual: Taiwan's China investments are growing

During the presidential campaign earlier this year, Taiwan's main labor unions sponsored an event featuring the candidates. They or their designates were to give speeches and the unions were supposed to endorse one of them after the event. The DPP's candidate, Chen Shui-bian, personally showed up, as did Lien Chan of the KMT, while the rest sent their vice-presidential running mates. Chen gave the most rousing speech, and the audience gave him the loudest applause. Despite Chen's good show and the fact that the DPP traditionally has represented their interests, the unions refused to support him. In fact, they wound up endorsing no one.

Despite not getting official labor backing during the election, Chen is pushing through with major labor reforms, chief among them cutting mandatory working hours to 42 hours a week. He has also tabled a major social reform package, including raising social security benefits for the elderly. Also on his agenda is raising Taiwan's environmental protection standards and strictly enforcing existing environmental laws. But Chen is also coming to grips with reality. In order to remain competitive, Taiwan must not overregulate the private sector. After all, if it weren't for the support of some of Taiwan's major tycoons, it's doubtful that he would have been elected in the first place. "He's in a juggling act," says Linda Gail Arrigo, a founding member of the Democratic Progressive Party and a longtime political activist. "He's doing some things that are favorable to labor. But there's a question now on just how much he's going to compromise with business."

Lobbying by business groups has caused Chen's administration to back down on proposals to tax stock options, among other measures. Also, in order to avoid a budget deficit, Chen is mulling over cutting some of the social security benefits he promised during the campaign. One of his proposals on subsidized mortgages, originally intended for the working class, has been modified to target primarily the middle class, drawing criticism from organized labor. The chairman of a large Taiwan conglomerate says he is not surprised that Chen and the DPP have toned down their advocacy for the "little people." "Chen Shui-bian knows that he can't lose his economic advantage," says the tycoon. "If he loses that, he'll lose his main weapon in all cross-strait dealings." Wise words.

Write to Asiaweek at

This edition's table of contents | Home


Quick Scroll: More stories from Asiaweek, TIME and CNN


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?


COVER: Taiwan: The first 100 days
How has Chen fared in his first 100 days?
Interview: DPP chairman and Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh
DPP:The struggle between the party's two souls
Cross-strait: It's business as usual between Taipei and Beijing

Indonesia: President Wahid's new cabinet — stacked with his
own people — promises renewed battles with parliament

Philippines: Money, guns and lives — the crisis continues in Jolo

Koreas: After an emotional reunion, Koreans hope for more

China: Succession and other issues are on the table at Beidaihe

Newsmakers: Lee Kuan Yew tells it how it is

Viewpoint: Hugs, smiles only start Korea's peace process

ASEAN: As the grouping loses clout and cohesion, a broader

Dogfight: An airline free-for-all in Indonesia's skies

Interview: The IMF's Stanley Fischer on Asia's recovery and America's slowdown

Investing: What U.S. political uncertainty means for Asia

Business Buzz: ZIRP: RIP

Profits: A Chinese tech company must change its focus

Baang: South Korea's edgy computer cafes

Language: Computer scientists borrow from mother nature

Cutting Edge: Compaq unpacks its new Net devices

People: Indonesian singer Anggun's driving ambition

Malaysia: Tensions over Anwar make reform imperative

Migrants: Hong Kong's mainlanders deserve just treatment

Letters & Comment: India — great and poor

The Bottom Line: Asiaweek's ranking of world economies

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.