When a Greenpeace activist was arrested for climbing onto a ship’s anchor cable to protest unsustainable fishing practices, the ship’s owner stated that activists “shouldn’t take such irrational action” (“Activist arrested for tuna protest,” Jan. 25, page 2).
Excuse me? The only behavior here that is irrational is to continue the unsustainable fishing practices that have led to severe overfishing of the seas and oceans, and ultimately threaten food security and thousands of jobs in the fishing industry. Overfishing of tuna, sharks and other sea life is directly responsible for the continuing decline and perhaps eventual collapse of the ocean’s fisheries, as has been well-documented in many scientific reports.
Asia’s relentless appetite for delicacies such as shark fins, is driving the imminent extinction of many species (“Taiwan is world’s fourth-largest shark catcher, report says,” Jan. 28, page 1).
This biodiversity crisis is accelerating, possibly leading to the extinction of species. The causes are well-known: Besides overfishing, they are habitat destruction, invasive species and pollution including global warming.
What are we to do? Are there any solutions or will we just have to accept that we will live in a vastly impoverished world with collapsed ecosystems?
It is time to shine the light on some of the good work done by the nation’s own biodiversity institute, the Endemic Species Research Institute. It has supported many projects to research the nation’s biodiversity, educate the public and support sustainable development.
For example, it supported an educational Web site with text and videos about the biodiversity crisis, as well as possible solutions. Together with National Taiwan University, it also runs a project that attempts to identify those areas of the country which are most valuable in terms of biodiversity, but have not been protected yet.
However, for this research to have any bearing on the real world, decision-makers must realize that the main causes of the biodiversity crisis mentioned above must be urgently addressed. While customers can reduce their impact by not consuming endangered species, what we also urgently need is national and international regulations that set sustainable harvesting limits for marine animals (“Just say no to shark’s fin,” Feb. 2, page 8).
Furthermore, biodiversity needs wild spaces to thrive. The recent plans by the government to build more gigantic industrial projects and dams to supply them with with water, besides having a negative impact on health and food security, displace animals because there is no space for them anymore as forests, wetlands and other natural habitats simply disappear (“Bird migration to Philippines falls sharply,” Jan. 26, page 5).
Therefore, calls for important habitats to be protected must be heeded to avert a biodiversity crisis in Taiwan, whether it be terrestrial or marine (“Environmentalists urge protection for Changhua wetland,” Jan. 26, page 3 and “Marine park mulled for southern Penghu islets,” Feb. 2, page 2). Our children will be thankful if we sustain the diversity of life.
Spineless in Manila
I just want to interject a few comments on Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay’s statement that Taiwan shouldn’t retaliate against poor Filipino workers in response to the deportation of Taiwanese suspects to China. (“Philippine VP says Filipinos shouldn’t bear Taipei’s anger,” Feb. 12, page 2).
A little advice for Binay: The next time Taiwanese suspects are up for deportation, send them to Taiwan instead of another country. Are Australian suspects in the Philippines deported to the UK instead of Australia? How about Taiwan deporting Filipino suspects to Spain instead?
Not only was no apology offered, but the “get over it, let’s get back to business as usual” attitude is appalling. If the employment of his poor countrymen is so important, then why offend one of the overseas employers of your poor countrymen?
If he cares so much about his poor countrymen, then why do his poor countrymen have to leave the Philippines and go to places such as Taiwan, the Middle East and the US to make a living?
Did the Philippine government receive any kickbacks from China to denigrate Taiwan or did they simply cave in because of a lack of a backbone? Taiwan deserves better and frankly, so do Filipinos.
As Taiwan strives to attract more international students, yet another embarrassing incident of mistreatment came to light this week. The incident, involving students from Uganda, is yet another blemish on the nation’s human rights record, which is otherwise progressive. Online media firm The Reporter wrote in an investigative report that Ugandan students at Chung Chou University of Science and Technology in Changhua County’s Yuanlin City (員林) were denied promised scholarships and forced to work overnight factory shifts after they had been promised “paid internship opportunities.” There were also few classes in English compared with what was advertised, students said. Like many migrant workers
US-China relations are built on a series of fabrications about Taiwan. In fact, one of the major reasons the US-China relationship is so contentious right now is that Chinese belligerence is exposing these carefully constructed fictions to common sense. Readers know the story. In the 1970s and 1980s, American officials said what they needed to make common cause with Beijing vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Diplomats couldn’t talk about Taiwan as a “country” — let alone an independent one — which it so clearly is. They enshrined in US policy that “all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there
Once a month, a government vehicle pulls up outside Government House, the official residence of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥), and an official from the Treasury Bureau alights to deliver a case laden with wads of Hong Kong dollar bank notes. Like the godfather of a mafia organization, Lam stockpiles her monthly salary in cash at her home. This is because Lam, who earns an annual salary of HK$5.2 million (US$667,517) and is one of the world’s highest-paid leaders, has no bank account. After Lam colluded with Beijing to impose a new National Security Law on the territory in
As we embark upon a new year, tensions across the Taiwan Strait continue to heighten by the day. While countries around the world are preoccupied with combating a fresh wave of COVID-19, China is using the opportunity to employ increasingly repressive measures in Hong Kong, Xinjiang — particularly to Turkic Uighurs — and Inner Mongolia. Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is using every method at its disposal to continue to harass Taiwan, elevating the Taiwan Strait on a par with Ukraine as an issue of primary concern for the international community. Paradoxically, Taiwan’s economic and trade dependence on China has not declined,