Summary: There’s a KMT app for that. The KMT is broke and plans to borrow their way out of trouble. The KMT plans a drive to get a ractopamine referendum. The KMT is considering attending the Straits Forum in China, and you’ll be surprised at the rumoured delegation head. A new poll is out on local politicians and a new poll on potential candidates for Taipei mayor has been released. Finally, a US Military Report is alarming reading.
National Taiwan University (NTU) has been ranked the 97th best university in the world, the first time the school has made it into the survey’s top 100 list, according to a Times Higher Education (THE) survey.
Two-hundred-and-thirty locally listed companies had a woman as one of their top executives in 2018, an increase of 30 percent from 117 in 2015, according to a white paper released by the Taiwan Women on Boards Association.
However, there are over 1200 listed companies in Taiwan.
According to local residents, Asia Cement is allegedly illegally expanding its mining operations in Hualien and there have been rockfalls as a result.
Residents are worried about the impact on indigenous villages in the area if the falling rocks end up blocking water drainage pipes.
Asia Cement mining operations have long been a source of contention with the local indigenous population.
Google is establishing a third data center in Taiwan, confirming earlier reports that it was interested in a plot in Yunlin County.
Google has confirmed to reporters this week, that it has acquired around 200,000 sq m (2,150,000 sq ft) of land in the Yunlin Technology-based Industrial Park, at the city of Douliu.
The facility should be up and running by 2022.
Lawmakers of all three of Taiwan’s opposition party caucuses on Saturday demanded that the government’s standards on the amounts of ractopamine residue allowed in imported U.S. pork be subjected to review by the legislature.
The Council of Agriculture said on Saturday that the government is planning to launch labeling for pork that is domestically produced and a system that will offer consumers information regarding production.
The new labeling will work like the existing labeling scheme for organic food and the Taiwan Agriculture and Food Traceability System.
Hundreds of people took part in Taoyuan’s first pride parade on Saturday, including Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who expressed the city government’s support for such events.
Taiwanese are joining in solidarity with Hong Kong activists in calling for a boycott of the controversial Disney film “Mulan,” as two of its featured actors have publicly voiced support for the brutal police crackdown against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The Pacific island nation of Palau–one of the few countries to diplomatically recognize Taiwan–has urged the US military to build bases on its territory.
If it goes ahead, it could open more opportunities for the US and Taiwan to cooperate, including militarily.
There’s a KMT app for that
The KMT has launched the party’s “digital chapter,” a mobile app that it says represents its willingness to “keep up with the times.”
The app’s functions allow KMT members to verify a membership card or pay fees, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told a news conference in Taipei.
A map lets users find chapter locations and shops that offer discounts to party members, he said.
“More importantly, we can keep in touch with you,” Chiang said, adding that the party can use the app to update its members on party events and make announcements.
The app could also be used to conduct polls in real time to “understand the views of more party members and even non-party members,” he said.
This concept is interesting, and the idea of polling members in real time isn’t a bad one–if it can get a large number of people to use the app.
The problem is that with only 3% of the party under the age of 40, they don’t exactly have an early adopter demographic.
The KMT is broke, plans to borrow their way out of trouble
The KMT has announced they ran out of cash at the end of August, and only have access to NT$600 million in assets.
They plan to borrow NT$120 million by the end of the year.
They are already NT$270 million in debt.
Last year they lost NT$140 million.
According to the party, they have NT$21.7 billion total in assets, but after deducting debt and assets frozen by the government under the ill-gotten assets law, they only have NT$600 million left.
The assets frozen were assets seized by the party when Taiwan was effectively a one-party dictatorship.
The party is considering further ways to save money, including merging offices or moving to cheaper locations.
They are also discussing raising party membership fees from NT$200 to NT$500 at the party congress currently underway.
Before their ill-gotten assets were seized, the KMT was often billed as the “world’s richest political party”.
Flush with cash they would use plum party jobs as rewards for loyal supporters.
While the party has removed many of these positions, they are still on the hook for their pensions, which means their costs vastly outsize those of the DPP, in spite of having similar operating costs.
The party has repeatedly sued to try and get assets unfrozen, but have failed every time.
They also offered to give away all the ill-gotten gains, after deducting payment of pensions.
The DPP has shown no interest in such a deal.
KMT plans drive to get ractopamine referendum
The KMT on Wednesday said it will petition to hold a national referendum opposing the government’s decision to lift a ban on imports of pork containing trace amounts of the controversial feed additive ractopamine.
Of course they are.
Speaking at a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the party was planning a range of actions to oppose the policy, including a joint statement with industry and civic groups, possible protests and the organization of a national food safety referendum.
The party argued that effective food labeling was not enough to ease its concerns with the policy, given the wide variety of processed pork products consumed in Taiwan, which can contain meat sourced from multiple sources.
Meanwhile, farmers in Changhua County — where about 750,000 pigs are raised annually, accounting for an output value of over NT$10 billion (US$340.7 million) — gathered at the county government to express their opposition to the central government’s policy.
Addressing the protesters, KMT Changhua County Commissioner Wang Huei-mei (王惠美) asked: “If ractopamine has no effect on the human body, why aren’t Taiwanese farmers allowed to use it?
And why did the Ministry of Education send a letter to schools stating that they can only use domestic pork?
And if this was a trade-off, what did we get in return?”
Although the KMT used to support lifting the ban, they are now opposed, and the party has called on local KMT officials to oppose the central government’s move.
In related news, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday said that although all pig parts containing ractopamine could be imported from the US, the delicious taste of local pork would give it an advantage.
Also, according to a local media report, a DPP poll showed that support and opposition to ractopamine were split evenly at 43% each.
That’s a big difference from a poll recently which showed ¾ of the public against it.
The KMT is considering attending the Straits Forum in China
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) has confirmed that the KMT may send a delegation to the annual Straits Forum in the Chinese city of Xiamen, and said details of the trip are currently under review.
He said the decision is not final and factors such as the coronavirus pandemic and the cross-strait climate could influence the discussion
There are rumours that the delegation may be led by former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, who has said he hopes he has a chance to go.
This would be an interesting choice, as when he was the head of the legislature he refused to use force to remove the Sunflower movement protestors who occupied the legislature in protest over, in part, increasing Chinese influence in Taiwan.
A new poll is out on local politicians
A new poll is out, and it once again shows that New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih of the KMT is the most popular politician in the country.
The poll’s so-called Public Trust Index showed 74.1% had faith in Hou.
Taoyuan’s Tseng of the DPP got 62.2% and Vice President Lai got 61.9%.
President Tsai got 59.7% and former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu got 56.5%.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je only got 45.5%.
On favorable impression on political parties, the DPP came in tops at 55.3%.
Interestingly, it was the Taiwan People’s Party that came in second at 31.%, ahead of the KMT’s 29.2%.
The New Power Party got 26.8%.
A new poll on potential candidates for Taipei mayor released
That was not the only new poll released, ETtoday has released a poll on potential candidates in the 2022 Taipei mayoral race.
In a head to head matchup between the two potential candidates considered most popular, KMT Legislator and great-grandson of Chiang Kai-shek, Wayne Chiang, got 43.7% versus Health Minister Chen Shih-chung representing the DPP getting 39.1%.
In a four-way race with Huang Shan-shan representing the Taiwan People’s Party and Huang Kuo-chang representing the New Power Party, Chiang drops to 37.4%, Chen drops to 35.1%, Huang Shan-shan picks up 10.7% and the NPP’s Huang gets only 5.5%.
US Military Report alarming reading
In its “2020 Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China,” the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to prepare for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait to deter Taiwan to move toward independence.
Taiwan has “historically enjoyed military advantages in the context of a cross-Strait conflict, such as technological superiority and the inherent geographic advantages of island defense,” the report said.
But many of these advantages have been eroded or negated by China’s “multi-decade military modernization effort” as Beijing’s official defense budget has continued to grow over the years and was roughly 15 times that of Taiwan’s in 2019, it said.
According to the Pentagon report, the PLA has a range of options to coerce Taipei based on its increasing capabilities in multiple domains, including air and maritime blockades, air and missile campaigns, and an amphibious invasion of Taiwan.
However, Forbes ran a highly critical article on the report:
“The 2020 edition of Chinese Military Power Report mostly portrays China as a seemingly unbeatable martial monolith with limitless resources and ambitions and few viable rivals.
Nowhere in the report is this more painfully obvious than in the several sections the report’s authors devote to Taiwan.
Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province.
It’s the central tenet of the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy that China eventually and somehow should fully “unify” the island country with the mainland.”
The article goes on to describe how difficult it would be to invade Taiwan, then continues with this:
“All that is to say that Taiwan’s defensive advantage is huge.
Much huger than Chinese Military Power Report acknowledges.
And Taipei is leveraging that advantage by investing in asymmetric capabilities.
Sea mines are one. Anti-ship missiles are another.
One key Taiwanese capability that Chinese Military Power Report totally ignores is Taipei’s growing arsenal of long-range cruise missiles.”
Military analysts range pretty widely on whether China has the capability to invade Taiwan now on its own, or would be able to defeat both Taiwan and the US.
All agree an attempted invasion would be hugely costly, and most agree that Taiwan backed by the US could hold off the People’s Liberation Army.
Most also agree that within the next five years China’s capabilities will make it considerably more formidable.
Image courtesy of Johnny Chiang’s FB page