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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
Quite a lot of people won't be happy, come the coming Chinese New Year or the next. They are some 440,000 retirees. Why? It's because Premier Sean Chen declared on last Tuesday that their yearend bonus wouldn't be paid.
One thing must be made clear. Despite the recent saber rattling, there won't be a Sino-Japanese war over the disputed islands called the Diaoyutais in China and Taiwan, and called Senkakus in Japan. The fact is that neither China nor Japan wants war and all that Uncle Sam has to do is to persuade Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda to admit that the sovereignty dispute exists among Japan, China and Taiwan.
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Almost all men and women of letters in Taiwan are glad Mo Yan, one of China's leading writers of the past half century, won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature last Thursday. Chinese the world over are happy one of them has finally won the prize, though he isn't the first Chinese-born writer Nobel laureate in belles lettres.
Let me make it very clear first. I used to be a very heavy smoker. I smoked at least two packs of cigarettes a day, on top of enjoying quite a few pipefuls of tobacco, while I was working as managing editor of The China Post. I also smoked cigars my friends gave me as presents. Well, that's more than half a century ago.
Japan's largest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, elected former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe its leader last week. On election back to his job as LDP leader again, Abe promised to do his utmost to return his party to power, not only for itself but for the purpose of building a strong and prosperous Japan where the people will feel happy being Japanese.
China has a long tradition of imperial censors (御史), which dates as far back as the Qin Dynasty (255-206 B.C.) They supervised government officials on behalf of the emperor like a national branch of Transparency International which, however, doesn't have teeth. Unlike modern-day Transparency International which nobody fears.
Salman Rushdie published “The Satanic Verses” toward the end of 1988, prompting Ayatolla Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa to kill him and his publishers or to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not. Rushdie, well protected in the United Kingdom, has never been physically harmed for the book, but others associated with it have suffered.
Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, blasted President Ma Ying-jeou for visiting Pengchia Islet on last Friday as “making himself an Ah Q.” The northernmost islet of Taiwan, Pengchia Islet is called Hokasho by the Japanese who administered Taiwan as a colony from 1895 to 1945.
It was a summer night 53 years ago. Typhoon Gloria was expected to hit Taipei and heavy rains started lashing shortly before 6 o'clock. My wife asked me at supper whether I had to go out on a typhoon night. I told her I should.
To release or not to release former President Chen Shui-bian from prison isn't a question, at least now. But Hau Lung-bin, mayor of Taipei, asked that question last week to cause a stir while hoisting a name plate for a lane on which the Deng Nan-jung Foundation is located. Deng.
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