Taiwan Headlines, Mar. 1, 2021

Amid a flood of orders from companies around Taiwan following China’s import ban on Taiwan pineapples, prices have remained steady at NT$24.4 per kilogram over the weekend, well above the government support price of NT$11.

The election commission is budgeting NT$1.7 billion for this year’s referendum vote on August 28.
So far the KMT’s referendums on scheduling future referendums alongside elections and another targeting racto-pork appear to have attracted enough votes to qualify.
Another proposed referendum calling for a halt to building a liquid natural gas terminal in Taoyuan’s Datan is gaining momentum.

Former KMT Chair Eric Chu will be embarking on a “public welfare” tour to remote areas of Taiwan starting in March.
He will be concentrating on, among other things, elder issues and the low birth rate.
In spite of having yet to declare himself a candidate in the KMT chair race in July, this and other actions strongly suggest he is planning to run.

The Executive Yuan has unveiled a five-year, NT$11 billion (US$388.6 million) investment plan for the development of a 5G artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) innovation hub in Kaohsiung’s Asia New Bay Area.
The goal is to build Taiwan’s most comprehensive 5G and AIoT testing and demonstration facilities.

According to the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), the composite index for the manufacturing sector, which gauges business sentiment among manufacturers, rose 0.41 points from a month earlier to 106.42 in January, the highest in 13 years.
In the service sector, the index moved higher in January by 1.30 points from a month earlier to 98.02.
However, the index for the local property sector fell 2.23 from a month earlier to 106.73, marking the third consecutive monthly decline.

According to the central bank, Taiwan posted a record balance of payments surplus in the fourth quarter of last year as the central bank intervened in the local foreign exchange market to reduce volatility faced by the New Taiwan dollar.

Lawmakers are raising the alarm and calling on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among indigenous communities.
DPP Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community, said “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting indigenes.”
She added “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to establish a network of indigenous friends and influencers.”
She outlined a long list of United Front activities, including that China has used its United Front strategies to garner influence, with all-expense-paid trips, Chinese companies helping to finance indigenous businesses, subsidies for indigenous farmers traveling to China for business, establishing “Taiwan agricultural trade emporiums” in China, donating to indigenous youth programs, financing school lunch programs, and funding harvest festivals and traditional events.

As countries around the world have started pulling the plug on China’s Confucius Institute learning centres indoctrinating students in Beijing’s political line, Taiwan has been making moves to fill the void.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) US$2 million.
Of the money given to UCLA’s Asia Pacific Center, US$800,000 would be used to create a program on “Taiwan in the World,” while the remaining US$1.2 million will go toward establishing an endowment fund to help permanently support the Taiwan Studies Program.
The program will “promote Taiwan studies in a global context and train a new generation of scholars and professionals in Taiwanese society, history and culture.”
Students in the program will gain bilingual proficiency in English and Mandarin, including the ability to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
Harvard University recently also received money from the government in Taiwan to further studies there.

Image courtesy of President Tsai’s FB page

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