Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 7

Independent Kaohsiung City Councillor Huang Jie has survived the recall attempt against her by a respectable margin.
The final results of the election in her district of Fongshan showed 65,391 votes–or 54.2 percent–against the recall and 55,261 votes–45.8 percent–in favor of it, with a 41.54 percent turnout.
For a recall vote to pass, at least 25 percent of eligible voters–or 72,892 in Huang’s case–must vote in favor of it, and they must outnumber those who vote against it.
The recall effort failed on both counts.
As the results became clear, Huang was initially in tears and at a loss for words, but then began by thanking Fongshan residents for their support.
She also thanked DPP members and other politicians from the pan-green camp.
She said “we do not want hatred to spread in Taiwan. Fongshan people acted to stop this hatred, to end this retributive recall drive.”
“This is a victory for the forces of democracy…and a victory for pro-Taiwan forces.”
Former President Ma Ying-jeou called the loss an “honourable defeat”.

Taiwan’s foreign exchange reserves hit a new high at the end of January as the central bank stepped in to cap the appreciation of the NT$ against the U.S. dollar.
Data compiled by the central bank showed that the country’s forex reserves as of the end of January stood at US$541.48 billion, up US$11.57 billion from a month earlier.

More than 400 people protested in New Taipei on Saturday in support of Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently detained in a military coup.
Many were members of Taiwan’s Burmese community.

State-owned Chinese Television System (CTS) and Homeplus Digital Co have partnered to file an application for CTS News and Info channel to move to Channel 52, which has not been in use for the past two months following pro-China CTi News failing to get their license renewed.
Public Television Service (PTS), also state-owned will be cooperating with CTS.
CTS News and Info would feature talk shows and features, and–if the license is approved–incorporate PTS content from its Hoklo and Hakka-language news channels.
They also have plans to include news in the various languages used in Southeast Asia.
Homeplus is to act as their agent.
Losing channel 52 was a big blow to CTi News–but not a deathknell.
They are still, for some reason, allowed to broadcast on Chunghwa Telecom’s MOD TV service, in spite of media reports saying otherwise.
Their Youtube channel has attracted nearly 2.4 million subscribers, but as of this writing on Sunday afternoon, only 16,000 were actually watching.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has released the results of a survey titled the “Division on US-China Policy: Opinion Leaders and the Public” conducted last summer.
The survey was carried out on 900 opinion leaders, comprising executive branch officials, congressional staff, think tank scholars, academics, journalists, and interest group representatives.
For the public portion of the survey, they polled 2111 adults.
When the opinion leaders were asked whether they would favor or oppose deploying troops if China invaded Taiwan, 85 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats, and 58 percent of independents said they are in favor.
When posed with the same question, 41 percent of the public voiced support for boots on the ground to defend Taiwan.
Public support was 26 percent in 2014, so that’s a big jump.

Legislators from Japan’s ruling party are calling for a new law similar to the Taiwan Relations Act passed in the U.S., looking to help Taipei defend itself amid Beijing’s repeated incursions into Taiwan’s airspace.
I will be discussing this with more analysis and context in an upcoming Taiwan Report News Brief, though not the next one–that’s a big show on the chaos that Jaw Shaw-kong has sown in the KMT chair race, a look at the main players, and exploring why it is so important.
And fascinating.

Image courtesy of Huang Jie’s FB page

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