Taiwan Headlines, Apr. 17, 2021

The Hualien District Prosecutors Office has indicted seven for offenses related to the Taroko Express train crash on April 2 that killed 49 people and injured more than 200 others.
The driver of the crane truck, who also owns a construction company, was indicted for negligence resulting in death and property damage, causing an accident involving a public transportation vehicle, fleeing the scene of an accident, document forgery, accounting fraud, and breaches of the Government Procurement Act.
Another company had lent their license to them so that they could win the tender for the project.
Meanwhile, the families of those who died could each receive NT$15 million from a total of NT$1.06 billion collected by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in donations for the crash victims.
To take responsibility for the accident, transport minister Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) resignation has been accepted, and will take effect on Tuesday.
He will go back to Taichung, where he likely will busy himself with a foundation he founded after losing the mayoral election in 2018.
There is also a decent chance he will work on re-connecting with key people in Taichung in preparation for running for mayor again in 2022.

The European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan Director, as the sole guest speaker at seventh installment of the KMT’s International Democracy Salon Series in Taipei, gave his audience some very undiplomatic comments.
The Taipei Times reported his remarks this way:
As one of the oldest political parties in the world with “the longest history of being active as a participant of political life in Taiwan,” the KMT is “now in a crucial phase of its development,” he said.
The party “is probably now trying to reinvent itself to prove to the voters that it’s still relevant,” he said, adding that he believes that the KMT needs “new ideas.”
The EU’s views on human rights could be a “very practical” inspiration for the development of the KMT, he said.
That’s right, he said they are old, irrelevant, need new ideas and–bizarrely considering the KMT’s past–should look to Europe for inspiration.
I’m guessing they’re not going to invite him back.

A bid by the Canadian government to, on behalf of Beijing, to bully the Halifax International Security Forum into not awarding its 2020 leadership prize to President Tsai Ing-wen has blown up in their face.
The bullying took place in a phone call between Deputy Defense Minister Jody Thomas and the Halifax Forum President after the Chinese embassy got in touch with the Canadian Government.
Thomas said that if the Tsai award went forward, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan would not participate and the funding relationship would be dissolved.
During testimony to a Canadian parliamentary committee, Sajjan called the initial report “absolutely false.”
It has, however, been confirmed by both Politico and the Washington Post, citing multiple sources.
Outrage ensued, and the scandal quickly reached the top.
Opposition Conservative lawmaker Michael Chong slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying “The government’s attempt to silence those critical of China is shameful, and it plays right into China’s desire to silence its critics abroad.”
To underscore the point, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution calling the Taiwanese president an ideal candidate for the McCain prize and calling on the Liberal government to continue funding the Halifax Forum even after it honors Tsai.
Trudeau promised he would do so.
A Chinese spokesperson responded “China deplores and rejects the wrong motion related to Taiwan passed by the Canadian House of Commons.”
So, this ham-fisted attempt to appease the Chinese Communist Party by threatening the forum to pull the award has made things worse.
It has embarrassed the Canadian Government, reminded the world why President Tsai deserves the award, united the House of Commons in support of Tsai and against Beijing…and in the end did nothing to appease the PRC.
So why did the Canadian Government do this in the first place?
Because of the two Canadian hostages, the “two Mikes”, that are being held in China.
Here is how Josh Rogin in the Washington Post summed up the error of this:
“What does the taking of two Canadian citizens as hostages have to do with Taiwan?
In reality, nothing.
The linkage only exists because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using the issue to try to get concessions from Canada on any and every issue it feels insecure about — and the list is long.”
A bit further down in the piece he adds:
“It’s very common for the CCP to use whatever leverage it has over a government to try to link all the other issues it deems sensitive.
The Canadian government’s fundamental mistake was to go along with that linkage.
But by letting the negotiations over the two Mikes constrain it on Taiwan, Ottawa was not only rewarding the hostage-taking but also giving Beijing an incentive to never let the two Canadian citizens go free because the Chinese are getting so many interim benefits from the situation.”
Well put.

Image courtesy of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s FB

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