HK gives Taiwan rep office a middle finger over “one China”–Taiwan Report News Brief transcript

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Headlines

Two people who recently returned from the Philippines have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in Taiwan since the start of the pandemic to 454.

Foreign nationals who entered Taiwan as visitors on or before March 21 will be eligible to obtain another 30-day extension of stay, given that international flights have not yet fully resumed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday.

Two pilots of a military OH-58D helicopter who died in a fatal crash did their best to avoid crashing into civilian houses before their chopper made a crash-landing at the Hsinchu Air Base, according to a senior Army official.
President Tsai referred to them as “heroes.”

National Taiwan University (NTU) student groups held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for a planned memorial square honouring Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), a democracy activist who died under mysterious circumstances and whose body was found on the NTU campus in 1981.
Chen was a 31-year-old mathematics professor at Carnegie Mellon University who was visiting family in Taiwan when he was found dead near NTU’s main library on July 3, 1981, one day after being summoned to an interrogation by the Taiwan Garrison Command, the since-disbanded state security force that was widely used to suppress political dissent.

About 83 percent of the nation’s chief executive officers expect a global recession and diminished consumer confidence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Taiwan showed.
The survey conducted from June 1 to 15 found that 59 percent of the respondents believed that COVID-19-related disruptions have exposed corporate inadequacy in risk management, decisionmaking and cross-region coordination, PwC said.

A doctoral candidate at National Sun Yat-sen University has discovered four new terrestrial crab species along a river in Taiwan’s Kenting National Park.

Control Yuan nominees voted in amid chaos

Taiwan’s Legislature on Friday broke out in scuffles and water balloon throwing — the third fight in the past two weeks — but lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) eventually managed to approve the controversial appointments of all 27 nominees to the government watchdog body Control Yuan, including former presidential aide and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) as its president, as hundreds of people opposed to the nominations protested outside.
Chen was confirmed in a 65-3 vote, with two votes invalidated, in the 113-seat Legislature which has a DPP majority.
The KMT legislators shouted slogans and attempted to overturn ballot boxes set up at the front of the legislative chamber.
When the vote closed at noon, members of the KMT lobbed water balloons at Legislative Yuan Speaker Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) and at whiteboards set up to tally the votes, while DPP lawmakers clad in rain ponchos attempted to shield him with large styrofoam boards.
Another local report from CNA, so probably reliable, stated the Taiwan People’s Party threw eggs outside the legislature.
That is odd, as just a few weeks ago during the first KMT occupation they ridiculed the KMT’s tactics, calling them “little clowns” and emphasizing that their party was rational and wouldn’t be drawn into pan-blue, pan-green “farce.”
Local media reports included, among other details on the fights and the crowded pushing and shoving, four people hospitalized, five restrained by police, one police officer vomiting, glasses broken and clothes ripped.
The only cinematic thing missing from this scene of utter chaos was chickens running around.
NEXT TV news reported a KMT lawmaker from Kinmen stuck her hand into independent lawmaker Freddy Lim’s pocket, either to try and steal his ballot…or to eat his tofu, meaning to cop a feel.
As ridiculous as that sounds on the surface from a serious news station, it should be said Freddy Lim is a handsome rock star, so it is possible she was sexually harassing him.
Speaking of harassment, 26 women’s groups have backed DPP lawmaker Fan Yun’s claims that KMT Legislator Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生) sexually harassed her with his belly in one of the earlier melees.
They are demanding he apologize.
Chen said his belly did make contact with her, and added “What is her problem? She thinks too highly of herself.”
“I do not have feelings for her,” he said. “She is being vain and self-important.”
He also said, “It was not sexual harassment, as it is impossible to become pregnant from a belly.”
Apparently he doesn’t understand the concept of sexual harassment.
The melee was indeed tightly packed with a lot of physical pushing and pulling so there would have been a lot of physical contact.
However, I would assume Fan could tell the difference between simple contact under the circumstances and something more sleazy, so I’m inclined to believe her account.

Taiwan People’s Party set to shrink

According to a report in Up Media, the Taiwan People’s Party is set to shrink, intentionally.
In the less than a year of the party’s existence, they gained around 12,000 members.
However, with their anniversary coming up in August, according to regulations they need to hold a party general assembly.
For it to be legally binding, they need to have half the membership show up–but they’ve only managed to sign up around 2000.
To comply with the regulations, the only choice they have apparently is to purge the rolls of what they are terming as “lost” or “lost contact with” members.

Hong Kong gives the middle finger to Taiwanese rep office

Taiwan’s top acting representative in Hong Kong Kao Ming-tsun (高銘村) reportedly left the city on Thursday after he refused to sign a statement supporting the “One China” policy in exchange for a work visa extension.
According to an exclusive report by Taiwan-based online news outlet Up Media, local authorities asked Kao, who is the acting head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, to sign an affidavit expressing support for the “One China” policy for his recent visa extension application.
Reuters is also reporting something similar:
“Several Taiwanese officials at its de facto Hong Kong consulate who were due to renew their visas have been asked by the city’s government to sign the document, a senior Taiwan official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The official said the move was unprecedented and presented an “unnecessary political obstacle” for Taipei-Hong Kong ties.
“They won’t issue the visa if we don’t sign the document,” the official said, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. “It’s entirely a problem created by them.”
“We will try our best to defend our stance. Our representatives in Hong Kong will hold fast to their position.”
The Hong Kong Immigration Department said it would not comment on individual cases, but added that it acts in accordance with the relevant laws and policies when handling each application.”
CNA is reporting with the departures, of the five divisions at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, four of them, responsible for consular, press and cultural, and liaison services and general administration, were without division chiefs.
This is a huge middle finger to Taiwan by the Hong Kong authorities, and a huge problem.
The first question that comes to mind is was this decision made by some over-zealous mid-level functionary, or was this planned as a deliberate provocation from the top?
There are good reasons to think it is one, or the other.
On the deliberate provocation side, it’s worth noting that the Taiwan office in Hong Kong has been without a director-general since July 2018 because Hong Kong refused to issue a work visa to Taiwan’s nominee for the post.
This smells like a continuation of that, and is a reprisal to Taipei for condemning the new Beijing-imposed national security law and Taiwan’s creation of an office to help Hong Kongers move to Taiwan.
On the other hand, Taiwan and Hong Kong conduct considerable, and important interactions with each other.
Gutting the office that issues visas, handles marriages and facilitates issues related to the large amount of trade between the two is clearly a stupid move–and very costly for both sides.
Surely they are aware of that, and considering all the backlash from overseas they’re already dealing with right now, it seems odd they’d be so keen to create yet another big headache while they are already in the middle of a storm of bad news.
However, they could be just that stupid.
They may have calculated, wrongly, that the Taiwan side would cave and sign the “one China” pledge.
The Chinese and Hong Kong side now have a potentially huge problem on their hands.
If they dig in their heels, it will be very costly.
However, they haven’t issued any official public pronouncements on this.
A more likely result is the Chinese and Hong Kong side will quietly drop the requirement, and whether the decision came from the top or not, they’ll blame an over-zealous mid-level functionary.
Whatever they choose, this needs to be watched closely.

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