Although his prize-winning painting was disqualified from becoming a commemorative stamp because the UNESCO succumbed to pressure from Beijing, the 15-year-old Yang Chih-yuan (楊智淵) said yesterday that he will not be frustrated by China and will stand by his passion for the arts and his country. \nLast Thursday, Beijing pressured the UNESCO to scrap Yang's selected work which was meant to be printed on stamps to commemorate International Peace Day on Sept. 21, saying that Taiwan's national flag shown in the boy's painting was an attempt at "splitting China's territory." \nIn addition to Taiwan, five other paintings drawn by child artists from Thailand, Israel, Indonesia and Peru and Philippines were also chosen to become commemorative stamps. Yang's work, however, was soon dropped and replaced by the work of a Belize boy after UNESCO buckled under pressure from Beijing. \nPan Wen-chuang (潘文忠), director of Taipei County's bureau of education yesterday went to Yang's Junior High School in Hsinchu to encourage Yang to continue to be a voice for Taiwan through his art. Pan gave Yang a commendation and a new set of paint supplies as motivation to continue his work. \n"China's actions toward this child are unacceptable," Pan said yesterday. \n"The creation of art should not be hindered by political matters ... that they would stoop so low is regrettable," he added. \nWith an impressive array of colors, Yang's work represents children's desire for peace and security. \nIn the picture, two children are riding a dove, symbolizing the escape from war and towards a peaceful nation. The right side shows a scene of war, with homeless children crying amid looming tanks, while the left side of the picture shows a joyful earth with vivid colors. \nMost noticeably, a string of DNA-like spiral comprising national flags goes around the dove. The ROC flag is among them. \nYang said that his painting was inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. \n"I just don't understand why my art was dragged into politics," Yang said yesterday. "I was born in Taiwan. I just want to draw what is in my mind. I will go on painting and I will have no misgivings about drawing the national flag into my work," Yang said. \nYang suffered from hydrocephalus when he was born. At only 3 months old he underwent an operation to install a tube in his head to channel water to his abdomen. This tube created limitations for the child, and his sense of equilibrium and motor skills were also hindered by the surgery. \n"But it also helped me concentrate on painting," the boy said. "I can always have a calm head." \nThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized China's move by issuing a protest statement on Sunday, and the Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政公司) will soon publish stamps of Yang's work at the suggestion of the Presidential Office.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu