The Garden of Hope Foundation yesterday called on the government to ease COVID-19 relief requirements, saying that many women and children who live separately from the family members listed on their household registration due to sexual abuse, domestic violence or other reasons might be unable to access relief. From January to March, about 32,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in the nation, up about 5 percent compared with the same period last year, the foundation told a news conference in Taipei, citing Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics. The foundation said that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has observed from its work with victims of violence an increase in family conflicts caused by economic pressure — a trend it says is happening worldwide. The UN has called the rise in domestic violence a “shadow pandemic,” the foundation said, adding that COVID-19 has put already vulnerable people at greater risk. The foundation said that the women and children it serves encounter several obstacles when they try to apply for government relief. Due to domestic violence, sexual abuse or negligent care, many of the children and young people the foundation serves left their homes at an early age and live independently, but people under the age of 20 cannot apply for relief, it said. New immigrants who have left their homes because of domestic violence but have not yet received their national ID cards also cannot apply, it said. Most of those immigrants work in the service or food industries and have been greatly affected by the pandemic, but because they do not have national ID cards, they have been excluded from the government’s relief programs, it said. Meanwhile, if someone listed on a household registration has already filed an application for relief, then the others on that registration cannot apply, it said. While social welfare in Taiwan is
Taipei is to reopen public facilities starting on Monday next week under three conditions, and allow indoor and outdoor events with fewer than 250 and 1,000 people respectively, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) yesterday. The three conditions are practicing social distancing measures or wearing a mask if the proper distance cannot be kept, enforcing a real-name registration system for indoor activities and prohibiting meal sharing, Huang said. All municipal facilities would resume operations under those principles, with the exception of school campuses, she said. School campuses at high-school level and below would remain closed to the public to protect student health, but would be opened during the summer vacation, she added. Before opening, the city is to publicize public facilities undergoing construction work or not ready to reopen. The city government is also loosening the restrictions on the size of large events, expanding the maximum number of people at indoor events from 100 to 250 and from 500 to 1,000 at outdoor events, Huang said, adding that events expecting to host more people must apply to the city in advance. For the annual Dragon Boat Festival, set for June 25 and 26, she said that on-land activities and the dragon boat tryouts have been canceled, but the Taipei International Dragon Boat Championship would still be held, with the races streamed online, as the site would not be opened to the public. Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs Director-General Tsai Tsung-hsiung (蔡宗雄) said that cultural and arts performances have been hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they sell fewer tickets to adhere with social distancing regulations. Therefore, the city government is offering significant discounts for cultural and arts performance organizers to rent venues, he said, adding that he hopes the plan would get artists back on stage and attract audiences. Huang said that the city would offer a 90
Companies have placed more than 22,000 workers on unpaid leave nationwide as of Friday, including more than 10,000 in the manufacturing sector, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the domestic and global economy, the Ministry of Labor said yesterday. A total of 1,285 companies have implemented unpaid leave programs in cooperation with their employees, up from 1,189 on May 18, ministry data showed. The total number of workers on furlough at those companies as of Friday was 22,500, compared with 21,067 four days earlier, the data showed. In the export-oriented manufacturing sector, the number of workers on unpaid leave rose by 1,383 over the four-day period, to 10,169, the highest figure among the nation’s major industries, the ministry said. Within the sector, the metal and electrical industry furloughed more than 800 workers over the period, as orders from foreign customers continued to fall sharply due to the pandemic, Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Director-General Hsieh Chien-chien (謝倩蒨) told reporters. Other industries with high furlough numbers as of Friday were the wholesale and retail sector (3,839 workers), and the hospitality and food and beverage industry (3,569 workers), the ministry said. However, the number of workers on unpaid leave in the hospitality and food and beverage industry declined by about 400 from May 18, as the government lifted some coronavirus restrictions and implemented relief measures. Among the companies with employees on furlough, the wholesale and retail sector had the highest number at 386, followed by the manufacturing sector at 283, and the hospitality and food and beverage industry at 157, it said. The number of workers on unpaid leave nationwide has reached the highest since November 2009, during the global financial crisis, Hsieh said. Furlough programs typically last less than three months, with employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, the ministry
PROTECTING BONES: Nearly 40 percent of women over the age of 60 do not exercise regularly, data show, but a doctor said that fitness is key to preventing bone erosion
Older women should exercise regularly, with mild resistance training, to maintain muscle strength, a doctor in Kaohsiung said. Women’s bones begin to rapidly weaken following menopause, and one in three older women experience a bone fracture, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital physician Chen Chung-huan (陳崇桓) said. Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics show that nearly 40 percent of women over the age of 60 do not exercise regularly, and many say that exercise is futile, as there is no cure for osteoporosis, he said. However, exercise can be helpful for bone growth in older women, he added. A person’s bone quality peaks during their 20s, and gradually weakens from age 30, he said. During advanced age, if bone erosion becomes too severe, osteoporosis will occur, which is when bone density lessens and the bones become weak and brittle, he said. Estrogen inhibits damage to bone cells, but as estrogen levels in women fall following menopause, bone erosion hastens, National Cheng Kung University Hospital physician Wu Chih-hsing (吳至行) said. Although some people with osteoporosis become noticeably shorter or develop a hunched back, most people show no obvious symptoms, Chen said. Often people are unaware of the condition until they break a bone in a fall or while carrying something heavy, he added. As all older people experience bone erosion, it is important for them to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise, he said, adding that bone erosion is reduced through resistance exercises. People who can handle jump rope exercises should do so, he said. Alternatively, fast walking is a safe and effective exercise, he added. People over 60 should consider being checked for osteoporosis, Wu said. Calcium supplements are also a good way to slow bone erosion, even though they are ineffective in increasing or maintaining bone density, he said.
A Formosan black bear that was released to the wild on May 16 is adapting to its new surroundings, the Taitung Forest District Office said on Sunday, citing GPS data and satellite imagery. The office made the announcement on Facebook following public queries about the one-year-old female bear’s condition. The bear, named Mulas, is active in a habitat that is ideal for the species and rich in food resources, it said. The cub was found in Haiduan Township’s (海端) Guangyuan Village (廣原) in July last year. Office personnel cared for the bear for 10 months, teaching it skills it would need to survive in the wild, such as hunting and cave-building. The personnel then transported the cub to an area in the Central Mountain Range on a helicopter and released it, the office said. Mulas was fitted with a collar that can transmit GPS data to track its movements following its release, it said The collar is designed to fall off in about a year, it added. The bear maintained a diurnal lifestyle, with occasional visits to rivers in the valleys for water, it said, citing GPS data. Weather and terrain occasionally interfere with GPS data transmission, but 90 percent of the transmission efforts were successful, it said The office added that it would continue to monitor Mulas’ movements for at least six months. It said that it would not disclose Mulas’ exact location to prevent people from disturbing the cub. Additional reporting by Chen Hsien-yi
KMT, NPP, TPP: The parties hoped for full democracy in Hong Kong, where the situation is becoming ‘increasingly dangerous’ and protesters need help urgently
The legislative caucuses of three parties yesterday reiterated calls to amend a law governing relations with Hong Kong to elucidate steps the government could take to help protesters there. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the New Power Party (NPP) said that they have separately created draft amendments to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例). The article requires the government to aid Hong Kongers who face political persecution, but does not specify a specific course of action. The KMT’s proposal, which would create a way for Hong Kongers with criminal records who are believed to be victims of political persecution to be allowed to enter Taiwan, was submitted by KMT Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信). Individuals with criminal records would normally be required to apply for special permission to enter Taiwan, and entry without permission is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to NT$90,000, according to Article 74 of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The KMT’s amendment would exclude Hong Kongers from Article 74. It was necessary for the amendment to address entry into Taiwan, as this is not covered by the laws governing Hong Kong, Chen said, adding that the change must be stipulated so that Taiwan can effectively provide emergency help to Hong Kongers. The proposal would be ready for review by Friday at the earliest, he said. Chen said he still hopes that full democracy would be implemented in Hong Kong. Separately, NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said that his party finished its proposed amendment at the end of last month and was waiting for the draft to be reviewed. An amendment is crucial, as the situation in Hong Kong is becoming “increasingly dangerous,” and there will likely be a spike in the number of people seeking help from
Suspension of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例) would be the equivalent of cutting off Hong Kong, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday. “Without [the act], how will you stand with the people of Hong Kong?” Chiang asked outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday wrote on Facebook that Taiwan, like all democratic nations, stands with the people of Hong Kong as she expressed concern over China’s plan to impose a national security law for Hong Kong. For security reasons, Tsai said her administration would consider invoking Article 60 of the law if the situation gets worse. Article 60 stipulates that if any change occurs in Hong Kong or Macau that endangers Taiwan’s national security, the Cabinet may ask the president to order a suspension of the application of “all or part of the provisions of this act.” Chiang yesterday questioned whether Article 18 — which states that “necessary assistance shall be provided to Hong Kong or Macau residents whose safety and liberty are immediately threatened for political reasons” — would still apply if the legislation were to be suspended. If Beijing’s draft national security law, which has sparked renewed protests in Hong Kong, is to be implemented without communication with Hong Kongers, the territory’s long-standing freedom and rule of law would be greatly affected, Chiang said. There would also be a significant effect on self-governance and the development of democratization in Hong Kong, he said, urging Beijing to handle the matter carefully. The KMT does not want to see Hong Kong’s freedom and rule of law, or Beijing’s promise to let Hong Kongers administer the territory, vanish, he said. Chiang called on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to respond to the situation in Hong Kong. On Sunday, the KMT issued a statement calling on the
The government should amend the law to assist people in Hong Kong ahead of China’s passage of a national security bill that would affect the territory, researchers at Academia Sinica said yesterday. If Taiwan were to “help Hong Kong, it would help itself,” Academia Sinica research fellow Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘) said, adding that the government should rewrite Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例) to make explicit what action the nation would take. “Necessary assistance shall be provided to Hong Kong or Macau residents whose safety and liberty are immediately threatened for political reasons,” the article says, although it does not specify what type of assistance. China on Thursday last week announced at its National People’s Congress that it would introduce legislation to ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in the territory. New legislation in Hong Kong is normally debated and passed by the Hong Kong Legislative Council. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday wrote on Facebook that Beijing was “seriously threatening Hong Kong’s future” by bypassing normal avenues to introduce the bill. “If this [national security] law is implemented, Hong Kong’s core values, its democratic freedom and its independent judiciary will be seriously eroded,” Tsai wrote, adding that the promise that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy would be unchanged for 50 years was “on the verge of bankruptcy.” Taiwan, like all democratic nations, stands with the people of Hong Kong and would provide “necessary assistance on the foundation of existing” institutions, she wrote. Academia Sinica research fellow Wu Chieh-min (吳介民) said that although Tsai had clearly expressed the position of her administration, it must show its sincerity by drafting legislation that implements Article 18. The government has done some things to help Hong Kongers, but it needs a political mechanism to clearly lay out what it can do, Wu said. “Hong
TRAVEL FACTOR: The party’s chairman said that the key to a successful recall of the Kaohsiung mayor was turnout among young voters from outside the city
More than 55 percent of Kaohsiung residents said that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) should be recalled, the New Power Party (NPP) said yesterday, citing a poll. The COVID-19 situation and turnout among young people would be two key factors determining whether Han is removed from office, the NPP said. The telephone survey showed that 59.5 percent of respondents said they would vote in the recall election, down 6.1 percentage points from the results of a similar poll last month. Those who said that Han should be recalled rose 4.3 percentage points to 56.4 percent, while 28.9 percent said they disagreed with the recall attempt, down 6.3 percentage points, the survey showed. Han’s apology for requesting a leave of absence from the city government to contest January’s presidential election had little effect, with 57.4 percent of respondents saying that he should still be recalled, the NPP said. However, the proportion of people who said that Han should not be recalled rose to 31.8 percent, the survey showed. In a breakdown by age group, 79.6 percent of 20-to-29-year-olds said they backed a recall despite Han’s apology, up 8.2 percentage points from last month, while 27.8 percent in the 30-to-39 group said they would not vote to recall Han, up 7.7 percentage points. Despite Han’s call for supporters to skip the election, 58.4 percent of the survey’s respondents said they would vote. The survey analyzed voting inclinations among people who supported President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and those who backed Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate, in the presidential election. While 89.8 percent of Tsai’s supporters said that Han should be recalled, 75.8 percent of Han backers disagreed. This means that about one-quarter of Han’s voters have ditched him, the NPP said. The results do not mean that Han will be recalled, the NPP said. Voter turnout would slide to 55.5 percent should the
The Atomic Energy Council should improve emergency drills at the nation’s nuclear power plants by including simulated terrorist attacks, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said yesterday, adding that the council should submit a plan on how it would implement the drills. Beijing has increased its threat to Taiwan by dispatching fighter jets and surveillance planes into the nation’s airspace several times, and leaked People’s Liberation Army documents show that Taiwan’s nuclear power plants could be the targets of attacks, Huang said. The government in 2011 issued a list of items that are to be inspected at nuclear power plants, which include their ability to withstand terrorist attacks, he said. However, he questioned whether Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) had thoroughly evaluated the safety of nuclear power plants based on the list, asking whether the company has addressed the possibility of terrorist attacks in its drills. The nation’s nuclear power plants were designed according to US safety regulations, the council said in response, adding that Taipower has established points of contact with the military and police to help it handle various emergency situations, including large fires. The council also regularly inspects the facilities at nuclear power plants, including ensuring that they have alternative sources of water and electricity, it said. Many different types of drills take place at nuclear power plants and the photographs of drills on the council’s Web site have been chosen with security considerations in mind, it added. The council has signed agreements with the police, military and Coast Guard Administration on jointly conducting emergency drills, although the military branches are only involved in drills outside of the plants, it said. The council would ask Taipower to ensure that all its facilities meet the required safety standards and to consider improvements to its emergency drills, it added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that “only the government elected by Taiwanese can represent Taiwanese,” rejecting Beijing’s “one China” principle, which Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) endorsed on Sunday. “Taiwan is a universally recognized democratic country and only Taiwanese have the right to decide Taiwan’s future,” the Taiwanese ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday. The statement came in response to Wang’s comments at a news conference in Beijing, where he said that the “reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is a definite trend of history.” “The Chinese government’s intention to impose ‘unification’ on democratic Taiwan highlights the fact that its ideology goes against common values shared by democratic countries,” the Taiwanese ministry said. The nation would adhere to the principles of “peace, parity, democracy and dialogue” in cross-strait relations, it said, citing President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) speech on Wednesday last week during her inauguration for her second term. Both sides are responsible for maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the Chinese government’s suppression of Taiwan’s international space runs counter to that goal, it said. Meanwhile, in an opinion poll released yesterday by the Taiwan-based Asia-Pacific Elite Interchange Association, a majority of respondents said they agreed with Tsai’s position on cross-strait relations. Nearly 89 percent supported Tsai’s principles for interactions with Beijing — “peace, parity, democracy and dialogue” — and 81.3 percent agreed that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) should do his part to maintain cross-strait stability, the survey showed. However, the survey showed that while 71.7 percent were satisfied with Tsai’s position on cross-strait relations expressed in her inaugural address, only 67.6 percent are confident that she can handle cross-strait ties properly. A majority said they were concerned about relaxing restrictions on Chinese visiting Taiwan and that a Hong Kong national security law proposed by Beijing would
ELDERLY CARE: The Oluanpi Day Care and LOHAS Center is Pingtung’s 31st day care center. The county aims to have one day care center in each township next year
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) yesterday announced the opening of the Oluanpi Day Care and LOHAS Center in Pingtung. Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), attended the opening with top health officials on the second morning of his two-day trip to Pingtung’s Kenting (墾丁) to promote domestic travel while practicing the CECC’s “new disease prevention lifestyle.” The officials were greeted by locals playing the yueqin (月琴, moon lute) while 86-year-old Hengchun folk song master Chen Ying (陳英) sang a song in her unique husky voice. She incorporated a line into the song to remind people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two-story day care center for elderly people at the southern tip of the Hengchun Peninsula (恆春半島) offers a spectacular sea view, Pan said. The building used to be a police station and its reconstruction was funded by the government’s Long-term Care 2.0 program, he said. According to the Pingtung County Department of Social Affairs, elderly people account for 17.5 percent of the county’s population, and the aging population is an especially serious issue in the Hengchun Peninsula and Manjhou Township (滿州). Pingtung County has set a goal of establishing at least “one senior community care center per village” or “one day care center per township,” Pan said, adding that there are 359 community care centers in the county, covering 77.54 percent of the villages, the highest density in the nation. The coverage rate of day care centers is 63.64 percent, with day care centers established in 21 of the county’s 33 townships, he said. The Oluanpi Day Care and LOHAS Center is the 31st day care center in the county, he said, adding that the coverage rate would reach 82 percent by the end of the year, and the goal
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) should not use the government’s disease-prevention policy as an excuse to block people’s access to the Taipei Railway Station’s main hall, the Taiwan International Workers’ Association said yesterday. The association held a protest at the station after what organizers said were about 400 people staged a sit-in on Saturday to demonstrate against the TRA’s proposal to ban sitting on the floor of the main hall. In accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s disease-prevention measures, large gatherings have been banned in the hall since the end of February. After protesters yesterday expressed their grievances at the southern entrance to the station, they marched toward the center of the main hall and sat down, saying they dared police to drag them away. Station Master Huang Jung-hua (黃榮華) said that the protesters would not be fined, as they were simply expressing their opinions. “We will include the group next week when we discuss how the public space should be used,” Huang said. The railway agency distributed bottled water to people at the railway station, most of whom sat around the pillars in the main hall. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the TRA last week said that the main hall would be open to the public after the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control, although they would set rules on how the main hall should be properly used. Until then, the hall would remain closed to public events, including yesterday’s Eid al-Fitr celebrations, they said. Association representative Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said that the issues of where migrant workers should go to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and whether migrant workers could gather at Taipei Railway Station for such an event are covered by the media whenever the Muslim festival approaches. Rather than focusing on whether migrant workers should be allowed to sit
DAMAGE: Torrential rain has resulted in agricultural losses totaling NT$19.80m, with Pingtung and Yunlin counties and Kaohsiung being the worst affected
While the torrential downpour that began on Friday eased up yesterday, the plum rain front is to head north today and could bring heavy rain to the west and northeast of the nation, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Throughout Taiwan yesterday, there was less rain as the front that brought the deluge moved south toward the Bashi Channel, the bureau said. The plum rain front is to move north again today, and could bring torrential rain to the west and northeast of the nation between tomorrow and Thursday before stabilizing on Friday, it said. Over the past three days, mountainous areas in Pingtung County and Kaohsiung recorded the heaviest rainfall nationwide, reaching 600mm to 900mm, bureau data showed. The downpour led to road being damaged and traffic disruptions, with one fatal incident attributable to the rain. A Directorate-General of Highways official reportedly died while patrolling road and flood conditions in Taitung County. Meanwhile, the torrential rain over the past few days has resulted in agricultural losses of NT$19.80 million (US$659,802) as of yesterday, the Council of Agriculture said. Pingtung and Yunlin counties, and Kaohsiung were hardest hit, reporting agricultural losses of NT$13.3 million, NT$4.93 million and NT$1.48 million, respectively, as of 5pm yesterday, it said. In terms of produce category, rice was the worst affected at 455 hectares, followed by corn, bellfruit, bitter melons, peanuts and bananas, the council said.
A group of parents yesterday accused a Hualien school principal of exploiting students by asking them to make soap as “public relations gifts” to be sent to government officials, urging the Ministry of Education to remove him from his position. Gathering outside National Hualien Special School, the parents accused principal Sung Ping-kun (宋秉錕) of disregarding the students’ right to education by asking them to manufacture soap during school hours, resulting in them missing out on the equivalent of 36 classes of 45 minutes each. Sung claimed that the soap would be donated to frontline medical workers, as a way for the school’s physically challenged students to contribute to COVID-19 prevention efforts, but he sent all of the soap to central government officials instead, said Chiang Wan-fu (蔣萬富), vice chairman of the school’s parents’ association. Sung included his personal resume and a signed letter in each package, Chiang added. Sung treated the students as if they were unpaid child labor and used a special classroom, where air conditioners and dehumidifiers ran for 96 hours, to shorten the two-month soap-making process, Chiang said. Some teachers said that they were asked to help package the soap under the pretext of “an emergency meeting,” when they should have been teaching or preparing for classes, Chiang added. “How can his public relations efforts outweigh the rights of teachers and students?” Chiang asked. Sung had been asked to take two weeks of compulsory leave by the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration, after a group of faculty members reported that he had used derogatory language to scold them on multiple occasions, said a faculty member, who asked to remain anonymous, adding that his leave ends tomorrow. Seventeen faculty members have sought help from psychiatrists because of the school’s working conditions, the faculty member said. When Sung learned that parents planned to file a complaint with lawmakers, he
SEEKING OPTIONS: A Sinyi Realty corporate realty official attributed the spike to proposed legal changes in the territory and the ongoing pro-democracy protests
More Hong Kongers purchased real estate in Taiwan last year than other foreigners, Ministry of the Interior statistics showed. The ministry attributed the spike to a proposed extradition law that the Hong Kong government submitted last year, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to China and other nations, which sparked mass protests that are continuing. The rate of purchases last year by Hong Kong natural and juridical persons stood at 40 and 60 percent respectively, with building area purchased by both standing at 47.41 percent and 52.59 percent respectively, ministry data showed. Department of Land Administration statistics showed that Hong Kongers purchased 11,200 ping (37,025m2) in total land area, a new high for Hong Kongers’ real estate purchases. The British Virgin Islands were second with 3,102 ping, with Belize in third with 2,210 ping, Malaysia with 1,358 ping and US nationals or companies in fifth place with 1,185 ping, the statistics showed. Hong Kongers’ land area purchases exceed those of other countries by 1.43 times, the statistics showed. In terms of building area, Hong Kongers purchased 48,000 ping, the British Cayman Islands nearly 20,000 ping, the Virgin Islands about 9,600 ping, the US nearly 8,000 ping and Malaysia more than 5,300 ping, the data showed. The department said that purchases from the Virgin and Cayman islands were made through juridical persons. Realtors in the know said that many Taiwanese companies have established subsidiary firms in the Virgin and Cayman islands, so the actual purchasers could be Taiwanese companies using a different name. The difference between those purchases and those made by natural and juridical persons from Hong Kong is that the former are making investments while the latter are considering moving to Taiwan, they said. Sinyi Realty corporate realty research project manager Tseng Ching-te (曾敬德) said statistics show that the spike in Hong Konger purchases is due to
The screening of entry permit applications by Chinese nationals affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been tightened over the past year to make sure that their visits are not for propaganda purposes, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday. The agency last year denied a total of 3,742 applications from Chinese nationals who were found to be associated either with the CCP, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), or administrative or political bodies, an NIA official said. The number represents a 7.18 percent in denial rate out of 52,144 applications, a 72 percent increase — or 1,567 more rejections — over the number rejected in 2018, said the official, who declined to be named. The NIA is beefing up screening to prevent Chinese from visiting to try to infiltrate the nation, the official said, without elaborating on the reasons for the rejections. By law, all Chinese who wish to visit Taiwan have to apply to the agency for an entry permit. It collaborates with the National Security Bureau and the Mainland Affairs Council to screen applications by Chinese associated with the CCP, the Chinese government or the PLA, the official said. Such people, if given permission to visit, would be interviewed by the agency during their visit to make sure they are not undertaking any work inconsistent with the stated purpose of their visit, the official said. Those found contravening the terms of their stay, including making inappropriate public comments regarding Taiwan, face being barred from entering the nation again for a certain period of time, the official added.
The Taiwan Equality Campaign yesterday marked the first anniversary of the implementation of a special law for same-sex marriage by outlining its four major goals for the next three years. There is still much work to be done to achieve equal rights, as discrimination and misunderstanding involving the LGBT+ community has not been eradicated, the group said. Although a poll it released on May 15 about attitudes toward LGBT+ and same-sex marriage showed generally positive results, it still found that 28.4 percent of respondents aged 18 and older believe the passage of the Act for Implementation of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第七四八號解釋施行法) had a negative impact on society, it said. Now an independently registered organization, the Taiwan Equality Campaign was preceded by the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan — a collection of five groups: the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association, the Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, the Awakening Foundation, the Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights and GagaOOLala. The four main goals the campaign has set span the legal, political, educational and international arenas. One objective is to push for legislation to extend the legal rights of LGBT+ people when it comes to adoption, the use of assisted reproductive technologies and transnational same-sex marriage. The act now only gives same-sex couples the right to adopt the biological child or children of their spouse, while transnational marriages are only allowed when both parties come from a nation where same-sex marriage is legal. The Taiwan Equality Campaign said it would also work with other gender equality advocacy groups and human rights experts to draft an “equality act” to protect against LGBT+ discrimination outside a workplace or school, something the laws currently do not do It hopes to expand its exchanges with LGBT+-friendly lawmakers and their aides, form networks of local city councilors who are supportive of gender equality, and host
The “Wecare Kaohsiung” coalition of civic groups behind the recall campaign against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is capping off their effort with three rallies in the city ahead of the recall vote on Saturday next week, starting with one last night in Cishan District (旗山). The second rally is to be held in Gangshan District (岡山) on Saturday night and the third in Fongshan District (鳳山) the following night, the coalition said. Wecare Kaohsiung members yesterday distributed yellow ribbons printed with “June 6, Free Kaohsiung. 2020, Kaohsiung people will make history” and “We care. We vote. June 6, God Bless Taiwan” at major intersections in the city. Taiwan Statebuilding Party members in Hsinchu and other cities also handed out ribbons and encouraged Kaohsiung residents to return home to vote Meanwhile, Kaohsiung prosecutors on Friday said they would deploy prosecutors at all local police precincts on voting day to assist investigations into allegations of interference or other illegal efforts to hinder voting. The announcement came after recall campaign initiator Chen Kuan-jung (陳冠榮), a lawyer, visited the Kaohsiung Ciaotou District Prosecutors’ Office to request prosecutors oversee the whole process from the casting of ballots to the final tallying. Also on Friday, former Han presidential campaign spokeswoman Anne Wang (王淺秋), a close aide of the mayor, created a furor when she said in a radio interview that Kaohsiung residents were easy to rile up. Referring to the recall campaign, Wang said: “We feel that Kaohsiung is so different from Taipei ... that we see many trivial matters being distorted and blown up to become big issues. I have seen that Kaohsiung residents’ mentality and emotional make-up are totally different from those in Taipei; that in Kaohsiung, they are more easily incited.” Chang Po-yang (張博洋), a representative of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party and a Kaohsiung resident, responded by saying that
MONEY QUESTIONS: Government funding was given for a three-stage project, but only one stage was built, and a rental agreement was not signed until last year
A nursing home run by an organization believed to be affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) operated for more than 35 years without paying rent for the public land it occupies, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee said yesterday. The Cuei Bo Nursing Home, run by a subsidiary of the Chinese Association for Relief and Ensuing Services — which is believed to be a KMT-affiliated organization — occupies 24.2 hectares in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止). The nursing home occupied the land for 35 years without paying rent and did not sign a lease for the property until November last year, the committee said. During the Martial Law era, the government allocated NT$358.5 million (US$11.95 million at the current exchange rate) to build the nursing home, which was never repaid, and the association also owes NT$6.2 million in rent, the committee said. Information from the National Property Administration shows that the agency reached an agreement with the nursing home’s owners to pay an initial NT$1 million and then NT$80,000 per month until the rent arrears are paid, it said. Asked how the nursing home could operate for so long without paying rent, the committee said that the association had in July 1979 suggested establishing the facility to provide care for “elderly patriots who had resisted the Chinese communists” as well as retired public servants. The Ministry of the Interior in September that year asked the Ministry of Finance for funds for the facility and in 1980 permission was granted for the use of the Sijhih site, the committee said. From 1979 to 1982, the Ministry of Finance allocated a total of NT$358.5 million for the nursing home as more buildings were added, the committee said. The final plans called for three phases of construction — for which funding was allocated — but only one phase was