Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 27, 2021

The annual Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage, the largest religious procession in Taiwan, will begin on April 9 and conclude on April 18.
The dates were set after Dajia Jenn Lann Temple Chairman Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) performed a ritual to seek instructions from the sea goddess Matsu.
The temple said disease prevention measures similar to those introduced last year will be put in place again.

The DPP has to suspend three of its lawmakers who defied the party last December by abstaining from a series of votes regarding the lifting of restrictions on imports of pork containing the controversial feed additive ractopamine.
Each suspended from running for party leadership positions for a period of one year as a result of their breach of party discipline.
What didn’t make the English papers is that there was a fierce battle between DPP factions over the vote.
One of the key issues relates to Yunlin legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國), who is a likely candidate for Yunlin County Commissioner in 2022.
If the DPP holds a primary, and the date is set before the end of his suspension in March of next year, he’ll be disqualified from running.
DPP factional infighting now over the 2022 elections will be worth watching closely, as they could be using gains in that election to position themselves for the inevitable battle over control of the party that will start in earnest in 2023 and 2024 as President Tsai prepares to leave office, and presumably the party chair position.

Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the DPP said Friday he was relinquishing his membership in the party until he could clear his name in a bribery case.
In a statement he said “To protect my beloved DPP from harm and to avoid causing trouble to the relevant government agencies, I am announcing my resignation from the party, effective immediately, until I am proven innocent.”
Su is the nephew of former legislative speaker and vice presidential candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).
Su and other family members have been in conflict with the local DPP in Pingtung in the past, and there is considerable suspicion his real intent is to launch an independent run for County Commissioner in 2022, though he has denied this was his intent.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.66 percent last month, falling for the sixth straight month.
The rate was the lowest in 12 months, but remained at a four-year high for January, most likely to lingering effects of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has announced that freight businesses have promised the total 330,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity of the 46 vessels will prioritize the needs of local exporters and importers.
They will be needed to handle Taiwan’s booming exports.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs stated that retail sales “defied expectations” in January to rise to NT$368.1 billion–US$13.03 billion–last month, a 3.6 percent month-on-month increase and up 3.6 percent year-on-year.
They added “we actually expected negative growth, but strong auto sales, online shopping and demand for cold-weather related items drove growth.”
In even better news, they said internal demand is “on a steady upward trend” in general.

In 2020, the government issued 10,813 residence permits and 1,576 settlement permits to people from Hong Kong, according to the National Immigration Agency (NIA).
The figure is almost double that of 2019, when 5,858 residence permits and 1,474 settlement permits were issued.
However, some have been rejected.
The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has rejected applications by Hong Kong actor and film producer Charles Heung (向華強) and his adult son for residence in Taiwan.
While the NIA did not cite the specific grounds on which the applications were rejected, the family is known to have expressed support publicly for the controversial National Security Law that China imposed in Hong Kong last year, while the son Jacky Heung (向佐) is said to be a member of a youth organization under the Chinese Communist Party.

At an annual meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission Japan, China, Taiwan and five others agreed to set a cap on saury catches in 2021 at 333,750 tons, about 40 percent lower than in 2020.

China announced plans to suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting Mar. 1 in response to what it said were various types of mealy bugs found in several batches of fresh pineapples shipped from Taiwan in 2020.
Reportedly, the pests were only discovered in 13 out of some 6,200 batches of pineapples.
The standard international practice is to accept the batches after they’ve undergone fumigation, as Japan has done in similar situations.
The ban comes at the beginning of harvest season, so there are suspicions of political motivations.
While China takes over 90 percent of Taiwan’s exports, that only accounts for about 10 percent of Taiwan’s total production.
Politicians are calling on the public to increase consumption of locally-grown pineapple.

Image courtesy of the Dajia Jenn Lann Matsu Temple FB page

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