The Presidential Office will reopen to visitors on Monday after more than three months' closure for security reasons, and will exhibit gifts from foreign countries that were presented since President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was inaugurated in May 2000.
"Security concerns about the president and the vice president" no longer justify restricting the public's access to the building, Presidential Office spokesman Chen Wen-chaung (
"We have removed the restrictions and retrained 116 volunteers as tour guides, and groups can apply for tours in advance," he said.
Chen opened the building to the public during his first term with the goal of "being friendly to the people," and sought to "liberate" parts of the building that were closed to the public throughout the Martial Law era.
Following the March 20 presidential election, supporters of the opposition alliance besieged the Presidential Office area with a series of protests. When some of these crowds tried to rush into the Presidential Office, the government closed the building to tours.
The Presidential Office will welcome the public every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and noon.
"The reopening's main theme is to exhibit gifts from other countries given on the occasion of President Chen's second inauguration," the spokesman said. Another exhibit focuses on Penghu, he said.
Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers recently accused the Presidential Office of improperly administering foreign and domestic gifts to Taiwan's presidents.
"How could former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) collect those gifts, which actually belong to the government, and store them at a private warehouse?" said Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator.
According to the Presidential Office, the gifts presented during Lee's 12 years as president are stored at a military base in Tashi, Taoyuan County, and the gifts presented during Chen's first term are stored in Sanhsia, also in Taipei County.
"The regulations for administering gifts from foreign and domestic donors were passed last January," said Presidential Office official Li Chin-fa (李金發), "and after the government completes its compliance with these regulations, those gifts will be handed over to Academia Historica," Li said.
According to the regulations, gifts worth more than NT$3,000 must be registered and preserved. There were 1882 gifts presented during Chen's first term, while officials said the number of gifts presented during Lee's tenure as president is not known.
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