Taiwan is still full of reminders of the authoritarian era under Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), with a total of 1,814 sites, monuments and office spaces named in memory of them, an average of one for every 20km2 in the nation, a Transitional Justice Commission report said.
Excluding the 227 statues of Chiang Kai-shek and two of Chiang Ching-kuo at the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park in Taoyuan, there are 848 statues of Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan, of which 511 belong to local governments and 337 belong to the central government, the report said.
Death row inmates will soon be required to wear a hood when they are being executed to make the job of the executioner less traumatic, according to new rules announced by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) that took effect Wednesday.
Presumably, that makes the experience more traumatic and claustrophobic for the victim.
Taiwan is the second safest country in the world, after Qatar, according to visitors to an online database, who voted on 133 countries/territories globally.
In the Crime Index by Country 2020 Mid-Year survey, Taiwan scored 84.74 out of 100 for safety, the online database Numbeo showed.
Apparently not everyone feels Taiwan is so safe.
The police chiefs of Kaohsiung and Tainan are to be replaced to take responsibility for a recent spate of shootings and murders in their jurisdictions.
Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) face on Saturday appeared much whiter than usual and drew people’s attention with his “uncanny” white face.
There were no dots on his cheeks, he wasn’t wearing a traditional cap and he did not stick his arms out in front of him and hop, however.
Lawmaker Su Chiao-hui, who is the premier’s daughter, said that her younger sister buys their parents’ skin products, and Su Tseng-chang grabbed the colour-correcting cream when leaving home on Saturday, mistaking it for sunscreen lotion.
The lobby of Taipei Main Station has a new look with smiling, laughing and blinking emoji floor stickers and the word “smile” written in a dozen languages including Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Indonesia, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and indigenous dialects.
Taiwan Railways decided to use smiley floor stickers to create a “friendly” environment.
Seismologists in Taiwan have found a volcanic conduit under Yangmingshan National Park, which they said could become a vent if any of the volcanoes in the north of the country erupted.
Record heat is bringing record electricity use this month, after peak electricity consumption Tuesday broke all historical records, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said.
Taichung Power Plant’s No. 2 coal-fired generator was yesterday running at full capacity, the company said.
“We could not have done without it,” Taipower said, adding that without the generator’s contribution of 0.55GW of electricity, the operating reserve margin would have fallen below 10 percent.
The Taichung City Government had tried to stop Taipower from reactivating the No. 2 generator.
Banks have approved NT$1.25 trillion (NT$42.25 billion) in loans for 176,663 companies and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as of Wednesday last week, Financial Supervisory Commission data showed.
The amount of loans is expected to continue rising later this month, as the government’s relief programs have been extended to September, a commission official said
The National Development Council (NDC) yesterday unveiled a four-year economic development plan with an aim to pursue GDP growth of 2.6 to 3.4 percent backed by 5G wireless communication, artificial intelligence and technology supply chain realignment.
The council mapped out economic goals that also seek to bring the jobless rate down to 3.5 to 3.8 percent, with increases of 1 to 1.5 percent in consumer prices.
Academia Sinica has cut its forecast for Taiwan’s GDP growth this year to 1.15 percent, from its estimate of 2.58 percent growth seven months ago, to reflect the pandemic’s effects on exports and private consumption.
According to a report in Reuters, three sources with direct knowledge said Taiwan’s financial regulator held an emergency meeting last week with major banks to discuss the soaring Taiwan dollar due to concern from exporters and the highest levels of government.
The Taiwan dollar has strengthened 2.1% against the U.S. dollar this year, with the central bank intervening daily to try and prevent it rising further.
Reuters is also reporting that Taiwan plans to enhance scrutiny over investment from Hong Kong to prevent illicit money from mainland China “infiltrating” its economy after Beijing imposed a new security law on the Asian financial hub.
Taiwanese authorities have discovered more than 100 instances of Chinese products being labelled as made in Taiwan since 2018, in what officials believe are attempts to evade U.S. tariffs.
The Bureau of Foreign Trade has recently raised fines for companies mislabeling Chinese goods as being manufactured in Taiwan.
The Central Epidemic Command Center has announced that the parents of children in China under the age of two, who have one Taiwanese parent and who hold an Alien Resident Certificate, would be permitted to apply for their children to enter Taiwan.
More than 2,000 Chinese minor children of Taiwanese-Chinese couples are stranded in China due to tightened border controls, and more than 100 children under the age of two would be eligible to apply to return to Taiwan.
No explanation of why age two was the cutoff, but they said the policy might be gradually expanded to include more children.
Japan has begun allowing business travellers from a select few countries to enter, and Taiwan is on top of the next list, according to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Han Kuang exercises on, but tragedy strikes
Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercises (漢光演習) begin Monday and are featuring the debut of Taiwan’s combined arms battalions.
The Han Kuang exercises, aimed at honing the capabilities of Taiwan’s military in repelling a potential invasion from China, will last for five days, consisting of live-fire drills and computer-assisted tabletop training.
The exercises kicked off with a simulated attack by China.
They are also testing the combat readiness of Taiwan’s military and reserve forces, together.
Unfortunately, the exercises have already seen one tragedy.
Two soldiers died when a military OH-58D helicopter crashed at an air base in Hsinchu on Thursday, according to the Army.
In other military news, the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is tilting in China’s favour, and the gap is widening as the Chinese military modernizes its arsenal, according to an annual defence white paper released by Japan’s defence ministry.
A striking figure has been making the rounds, which is that Taiwan’s military spending, compared with fiscal 1995 and adjusted for inflation based on the consumer price index, has only increased by 4 percent.
That’s a shockingly tiny increase considering how much the economy has grown in the last 25 years.
Under President Ma Ying-jeou, military spending withered to below 2% of GDP.
This year, under President Tsai, it has risen to around 2.3%.
That is, however, a far cry from the 3% she campaigned on in 2016.
China to impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin
China said it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin Corp. in response to U.S. approval of a possible deal for Taiwan to buy parts to refurbish defensive missiles built by the company.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the announcement at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, adding that the U.S. should cut military ties with Taiwan “so that it doesn’t do further harm to bilateral relations and damage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
“China firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan,” Zhao said, adding: “China decides to take measures to protect national interests.
We will impose sanctions on the main contractor of this arms sale Lockheed Martin.”
It is curious they are taking this step, as propaganda mouthpiece Global Times ran an article the other day with the headline “US arms sales to Taiwan more ‘symbolic’ than of military value: expert”
I guess the Chinese side doesn’t think they are so “symbolic” after all.
The sanctions aren’t expected to do much harm to Lockheed Martin.
Measuring the hate in the Kaohsiung byelection
The byelection campaigns for Kaohsiung mayor have received their ballot numbers, with the DPP’s Chen Chi-mai drawing the number “1,” Taiwan People’s Party candidate Wu Yi-cheng drew the number “2,” and KMT candidate Jane Lee drew the number “3.”
As usually happens in Taiwanese elections, they had prepared slogans and things to say, depending on the numbers.
Chen Chi-mai said “I will work hard to become the number one mayor. I’ll be number one in resolving problems and administrating, and I’ll also have the number one approval rating.”
When Wu Yi-cheng received the number “2,” he flashed a peace sign.
Jane Lee was also happy with the outcome, saying the hand gesture to express the number three is cute.
For some bizarre reason the Taiwan People’s Party conducted a poll on which candidates people hated in the Kaohsiung race.
Jane Lee was the most hated at 17.1%, Chen Chi-mai was hated by 14.3% and Wu Yi-cheng by 7.7%.
DPP seizes back the podium in melee
After several days of occupying the podium in the legislature to block report by Control Yuan presidential nominee Chen Chu (陳菊) and her confirmation vote, the DPP has–after a physical melee–seized back the podium.
This wasn’t the first physical battle between the two parties this week.
The KMT had been camping out to protect their territory 24/7, and the DPP has vowed to do the same.
The KMT isn’t ruling out trying to take it back, but they are heavily outnumbered by the DPP in the legislature.
If the DPP holds the podium, they should be able to confirm Chen, as they hold a majority.
Chen, meanwhile, has written on Facebook she said that she hopes to take on the role of the last President of the Control Yuan and will step down proudly after completing her last task.
So, it looks like the Control Yuan will probably be abolished.
This brings up the question, why is the KMT so adamant on blocking this confirmation, which is constitutionally required.
I’ve gone into the arguments on her and the Control Yuan in previous shows, but why is the KMT doing this from a strategic perspective?
Aside from rallying the base, frankly this doesn’t make much sense.
Perhaps they think that their point that Chen is too partisan a pick for a watchdog position–which I agree they’re right about–will win them points with the general public.
I doubt it will help them much, most people simply don’t care.
Perhaps they are simply paranoid, fearing Chen will unleash a reign of terror on KMT-run local governments in revenge for the KMT one-party state imprisoning her during the martial law era.
That seems unlikely to happen, though–Chen, while partisan, hasn’t displayed a strong bent for revenge in the past.
Even more baffling is that they are doing this during the Kaohsiung mayoral byelection–and Chen Chu was a beloved mayor of the city for many years.
Vilifying her isn’t likely to win any points for their candidate, if anything it will turn off voters from the KMT.
One detail that I heard, but haven’t confirmed, is that during the first occupation weeks ago, KMT chair Johnny Chiang was in Taichung and was caught off guard.
If so, it suggests that hardliners in the KMT caucus were acting on their own, without the input of their chairman and fellow lawmaker.
Chiang did join in, and very publicly supported it, but I’m curious as to what he really thinks.
New representative to the US vows to build trust
Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Taiwan’s representative-designate to the United States, has vowed to develop a trust-based partnership with the U.S.
As opposed to what?
She told CNA “I lived in the U.S. for 10 years, went to high school and graduate school and then found a job in Washington D.C.
I feel like God wants me to serve as a bridge between Taiwan and the U.S.”
I’ve heard President Tsai called many things, but “God” hasn’t been one of them.
Hsiao went on to say she intends to push for wide-ranging cooperation with the U.S. in such areas as national security, agriculture, trade, industrial restructuring, and technology security, with technology likely a priority.
Through various sources in the US diplomatic community, I’ve heard nothing but praise for Hsiao and consider her an excellent choice.
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