The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday refused to confirm or deny that the government had rejected appeals for political asylum by four Chinese judicial officials and policemen earlier this week. \nThe United Daily News reported that because the asylum seekers were low-ranking officials and the documents they offered as intelligence were of little value, the government decided to return the four to Macau with the same sightseeing group with which they had been traveling. \nMAC Vice Chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) was tight-lipped about the matter at a press conference yesterday. \n"We cannot confirm the report, so we have no comment on it," he said. \nDeclining to say whether the council had any knowledge about the matter, Chen said the nation does not have a political asylum law. \nAsked whether the council would investigate the report, Chen said it was the business of the United Daily News to verify the claims it made in its story. \nThe purported asylum seekers from Guangxi Province were part of a tour group that arrived on Dec. 14. They left the group during a visit to Taipei's National Palace Museum the next day, the report said. \nOne of the asylum seekers went to a Taipei police station and told police that he and his companions, having suffered oppression at the hands of their superiors, hoped the government could grant them political asylum, the report said. \nThe police station then allegedly transferred the three men and a woman, reportedly carrying "significant documents," to the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation. \nAfter two days of interrogation, investigators and officials from the MAC, National Security Bureau and Tourism Bureau told the group on Dec. 17 that they would not be granted asylum, the report said. \nThe paper said the asylum seekers were "astonished" after being told their appeal had been turned down. \nThey were said to have questioned Taiwan's respect for human rights and said they should at least be sent to a safe country. \nThe report said the group had threatened to contact media outlets during their interrogation to draw attention to their situation. \nChen said the government evaluated asylum applications on a case-by-case basis. \nChinese nationals were eligible to apply for residence or temporary stays in Taiwan if they met certain conditions, Chen said. \nThese conditions included contributions to Taiwan's defense and security, international image or domestic stability, or providing information that assisted authorities in better understanding Chinese affairs, he said. \nLeaders of democratic movements, people directly threatened with persecution and influential political or religious figures were also eligible to apply for asylum, Chen said. \nChen cited Wuer Kaixi (吾爾開希), one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement, as one of only a few Chinese nationals who had successfully applied for political asylum.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung