Summary: The CECC announces tougher pandemic measures for winter. CTi TV News license renewal has been rejected. The KMT ramps up protests over racto-pork alongside labour protest. The KMT continues to block the premier in the legislature. Revenge recalls begin to bite, with the first coming in January. And finally, Xi Jinping’s making a list, and checking it twice.
But before we get to headlines I’d like to thank our newest patron Josh, thank you very much for your support, it means a lot to us here at Taiwan Report!
More than 20,000 volunteers have signed up with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to participate in clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Taiwanese companies, exceeding their target.
All workers coming from Indonesia to Taiwan will be required to undergo 14-days of quarantine at government-designated sites starting Nov. 20 due to a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from that country in recent days.
eTurbo news is reporting that John de Fries, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, told community leaders on Hawaii Island, big announcements will be forthcoming shortly to welcome back visitors from Canada, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan.
People in Taiwan may be able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, developed and produced by international companies, by mid-2021, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
“May” being the operative word.
Antivirus software developer Trend Micro Inc has overtaken Asustek Computer Inc as Taiwan’s most valuable brand, according to the Best Taiwan Global Brands survey released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Number three on the list is the Want Want Group, which I’ll be talking about more later in the show.
The indigenous Tengyun, an uncrewed tactical reconnaissance and combat drone, is expected to enter mass production by 2024, according to Ministry of National Defense (MND) officials.
Work is also expected to begin on indigenous submarines this week.
After receiving a giant prop cheque, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (MECO) thanked Taiwan on Friday for donating US$200,000 for disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.
The country has been hit hard by three major typhoons in recent weeks.
The foreign ministry has confirmed a U.S. official has just arrived in Taiwan, but declined to name who it was.
Local media speculation is centered around Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, Director for Intelligence, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (J2).
Andrew Wheeler, the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will visit Taiwan in December.
He will be the third high-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in recent months.
A spokesman for Wheeler, was cited in a New York Times report as saying the agency is still working through the logistics but said Wheeler was invited to Taiwan “to collaborate on issues including the Save our Seas initiative and marine litter, air quality, and children’s health.”
The CECC announces tougher pandemic measures for winter
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Taiwan will mandate the wearing of face masks at eight types of public venues from Dec. 1, with fines of NT$3,000-NT$15,000 for non-compliance.
The new rules are intended to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses during their peak season in the winter months, and to prevent the overburdening of Taiwan’s healthcare system.
They also plan tougher measures at the border.
For example, all people arriving in Taiwan from abroad must either present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a plane to Taiwan, or if unable to provide a report of a negative COVID-19 test result within three days prior to boarding a plane as requested, they will be allowed to pay for a test upon arrival.
The program is expected to run until Feb. 28, but the length could be altered.
In terms of what public venues this will apply to, people will be asked to wear a mask at healthcare and long-term care facilities, public transportation, markets, schools, sports and exhibition venues, places of worship, recreational venues, and government facilities and business venues.
Yes, it will include pubs and restaurants.
CTi TV News license renewal rejected
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has rejected the application by CTi TV’s cable news station to renew its license, meaning it can only remain in operation until December 11.
For background on the issue, check out the recent show “To Want or not Want CTi while the NPP trips on itself”.
Here is how CNA described the verdict:
NCC Chairperson Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) said at a press conference following the review that CTi News was found to have repeatedly violated regulations, leading all seven commissioners to decide not to renew the privately-run station’s broadcast license.
“There is very clear and specific evidence” of CTi News violations, he said, citing complaints filed by viewers surging since 2017 to average 30 percent of all the complaints the commission received.
Chen also said the station’s internal controls on news reporting had failed, citing “outside interference” in the operations of the station’s news department.
Starting in 2018 in particular, Chen said, major shareholder and Want Want Chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) directly and indirectly interfered in the station’s news production.
It is interesting the NCC commissioners voted seven to zero, a unanimous result.
Of course, the KMT objected loudly.
Former KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu posted on Instagram a very tasteless image of what is clearly meant to represent Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, in bed together with Snow White enjoying what appears to be a post-coitus cigarette, with the CTi logo overlaying the image.
It was pretty obvious the intent was Snow White representing President Tsai and the Seven Dwarves the seven NCC commissioners.
Several groups are expected to vie to get their cable channel 52 slot, including a joint collaboration between Public Television Service and Chinese Television System, as well as Taiwan Broadcasting System.
KMT ramps up protests over racto-pork alongside labour protest
The KMT called on people to join an anti-ractopamine rally in Taipei on Sunday, which was timed to coincide with the annual “Autumn Struggle” protest.
They asked their participants to wear black shirts and masks.
Most of the KMT’s major players showed up, with the exception of former KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu, who issued a rather incoherent video statement on Facebook explaining why.
The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) joined the march and distributed 3,000 pig-themed masks, but party chair Ko Wen-je didn’t attend due his role as Taipei Mayor.
The “Autumn Struggle” protest march was traditionally a labour protest but has expanded to cover other issues in recent year this year announced they would also highlight opposition to “ractopamine pork, double standards and one-party rule,” according to the organizers.
The march is being organized by 42 labor advocacy groups.
The marchers were divided into columns devoted to the issues of food safety and labour rights, the environment and education, and land disputes and freedom of speech.
Notice their talking points echo the KMT’s, including the “freedom of speech” concern over CTi News, “food safety” being of course ractopamine, and the “environment” being a big issue for the KMT recently.
The “one-party rule” is straight out of the KMT’s playbook claiming the DPP has a monopoly on power now, which is partly true–but the KMT has only themselves to blame for getting crushed in two recent national elections.
That is an interesting development, as they had previously opposed then KMT President Ma Ying-jeou.
About this, the CNA included these two lines:
The annual “Autumn Struggle” is one of Taiwan’s oldest domestic labor demonstrations that challenges the government to fight for better rights for workers in the country, but some of the organizers were unhappy about the KMT’s seeming takeover of the event.
“During the administration of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the KMT had a record of doing serious harm to the interests of working people, whether in terms of its labor, land or food safety policies,” the Taoyuan City Trade Union said in a statement Nov. 17.
Organizers claimed 50,000 attended, but these numbers are always inflated–but CNA felt confident enough to cite “tens of thousands”.
The crowd was indeed pretty big, as Lev Nachman said about it on Twitter “it’s very…intense.
It feels like all 5.5 million Han Kuo-yu voters came out today”.
In short, this was a successful political rally.
However, it wasn’t all bad news for the DPP.
On the composition of the crowd, Lev observed “The vast majority people here are older.
I doubt there are a dozen under 40 here who are genuine supporters and aren’t here to just take pictures like me.”
As to tone, he stated “Mostly vitriolic hate for Tsai, lots of “she doesn’t have children how could we trust her with ours” and the like.”
KMT continues to block the premier in the legislature
The KMT has boycotted Premier Su Tseng-chang, blocking him from delivering his report to the legislature, for 11 times in a row now over the issue.
The KMT is demanding an apology for the government’s handling of imports of US pork containing traces of ractopamine.
The irony is that during the Ma administration, the KMT was for the imports, and the DPP against.
However, parties swapping issues when in power in Taiwan is fairly common.
Revenge recalls begin to bite, with the first coming in January
Following the successful recall campaign of KMT Kaohsiung Mayor Daniel Han Kuo-yu, a series of so-called revenge recalls were launched by Han supporters against pan-green politicians.
One has now successfully passed both phase one and phase two signature collections, and a recall vote is now scheduled to take place against Taoyuan City Councillor Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇) of the DPP on January 16.
As a side note, Wang has a surprisingly long and extensive Wikipedia entry for a city councillor.
Meanwhile, a group seeking to recall currently independent, but previously of the New Power Party (NPP), Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Chieh (黃捷) has delivered the second phase of signatures to the Kaohsiung City Election Commission for approval.
Huang has said that she wants to develop “rainbow” industries in her Fengshan District.
Opponents have attacked the plan, saying it would lead to social instability and would not respect heterosexuals.
Exactly how it would create social instability is beyond me, and I’m confused as to why it would not respect heterosexuals, but apparently 40,918 signatories live in terror of rainbow industries.
Xi’s making a list, and checking it twice
Xi’s making a list and checking it twice, to find out who’s a diehard Taiwan secessionist and who’s a nice lapdog.
I’ll let our favourite CCP mouthpiece Global Times bring us up to speed:
“The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Wednesday indirectly confirmed that the mainland is formulating a blacklist of “diehard Taiwan secessionists,” after Hong Kong media revealed the news recently.
Su Tseng-chang, head of Taiwan’s executive body and an extreme secessionist with strong hostility against the Chinese mainland, is on the blacklist of diehard Taiwan secessionists, an authoritative source told the Global Times.
Mainland experts believe that although the content of the list remains unknown, the blacklist itself would be a huge deterrent against Taiwan secessionists, as it shows that the public opinion and legal basis for the mainland to crack down on Taiwan secessionists and their paymasters have been completed.”
The article goes on to say this:
“The Global Times learned from mainland pundits that this kind of list was first put forward by some netizens and then scholars on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.
Taiwan affairs experts on the Chinese mainland drew up a blacklist of dozens of Taiwan secessionists in 2019.”
Wow, scholars have managed to come up with a list of “dozens” in a year.
In another more unhinged Global Times piece speculating on the list, they lay out exactly what the threat of the list would be:
“Chinese mainland experts said once the blacklist is officially released, it would have the same significance as “the war criminals list of the civil war” which was issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in December 1948 and January 1949, a few months before the last major battle launched by the People’s Liberation Army against the KMT military forces to reunify the Chinese mainland.
Issuing the 1949 war criminals list told people across the country who should be held responsible for the war, and clearly explain the legitimacy and necessity of the CPC to bring them to justice, said experts, adding that the potential Taiwan secessionist blacklist will have the same function.
Apart from clarifying who should be punished, it also lists who should be held responsible for the worsening cross-Straits ties and any potential war.
Most Taiwan secessionists that would likely be on the blacklist are politicians, heads of Taiwan secessionist NGOs, and people who sponsor them.”
The key phrase in that is “officially released”.
They’ve had lists for a long time, that’s hardly new.
I know I came to their attention in the early 2000s, so I’m pretty sure I’m on some list somewhere in the PRC.
So, who will the pick to be on this list you may wonder?
I doubt I’ll have the honour of being on the public list initially however, as they put it “The first blacklist won’t be long, and it might have some names added to list in the future according to the changing situation.”
So, who will be on the list you may wonder?
Both articles were clear only on one name, as this rant makes clear:
“Chinese mainland experts noted that Su Tseng-chang, head of Taiwan’s executive body, who is being extremely terrible and hostile toward the mainland, and has caused harm to cross-Straits relations, is very likely to be included on the blacklist.
Su is a typical extreme, die-hard Taiwan secessionist ideologue who holds strong hatred against the Chinese mainland.”
The rant continues for paragraphs devoted entirely to Su, but you get the idea.
Image courtesy of People’s Daily, China Facebook page