Beijing will take both a harder and a softer line when dealing with Taiwan in the future, making more concessions on non-political topics while remaining uncompromising on sovereignty issues, academics said yesterday. \nCross-strait experts speaking at a forum pointed to the two primary events affecting the Taiwan Strait since last month's legislative elections to prove their point. They said the launch of non-stop cross-strait charter flights this year is a result of compromise and the shelving of political differences. On the other hand, China has simultaneously upped the ante politically with its proposed anti-secession legislation. \n"If China wants to be `soft,' it will be softer than before. If China wants to be hard, it will be harder than before," said Chang Wu-Ueh (張五岳), a professor at Tamkang University's Institute of China Studies, pointing to the polarization of Beijing's Taiwan policy in recent years. \n"China will take a soft line on matters when it serves their interests," said former Mainland Affairs council vice chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通). \nAs today is the anniversary of former Chinese president Jiang Zeming's (江澤民) pronouncement of his "Eight Points" -- an occasion Beijing's leaders have often used to signal their Taiwan policy for the coming year. Pundits have probed China's recent policies for hints as to what its policies will look like this year under President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). \nInstitute for National Policy Research executive director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said China has begun taking a more proactive role, forcing Taiwan to continually react to situations that Beijing initiates. \n"After the legislative elections, when everyone expected a decline in tension, China brought up the anti-secession law ? and when everyone expected Beijing to make a move during the anniversary of Macau's return to Chinese sovereignty, Hu didn't say anything," Lo said. \nChang agreed with Lo, adding that while the framework of China's Taiwan policy would not be altered significantly, it's method of implementation would probably differ in the future. \n"China will still insist on its `one China' principle and `one country, two systems' ? but in the future it will accord different treatment to different people and issues," Chang said. \nHe said China would increase both its willingness to compromise and to take a hard stance on Taiwan. \n"Those who support Taiwanese independence will be treated differently from those who don't," Chang said. \nChen, however, noted that while China will be uncompromising on its proposed anti-secession law, since Hu consolidated his power Beijing has refrained from mentioning the "one China" principle as often as before. \n"Whether China mentions the `one China' principle tomorrow [today] will be an important signal to look for," Chen said. \nBut Chen predicted that given Hu's leadership style, there would not be any surprises in his speech today. \nLin Wen-cheng (林文程), vice president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, however, was not as optimistic. \nHe said that if Beijing's Taiwan policy was viewed within a simplistic spectrum of either moving toward war or peace, then the statement made on May 17 last year was definitely a move in the direction of war from Jiang's "Eight Points" in 1995. \nLin said that the cross-strait charters flights were only possible this year because Taipei had conceded to all of Beijing's requests -- namely round-trip, non-stop flights serviced by both Taiwanese and Chinese carriers. \nThe pundits agreed that the real task was building from the momentum of the cross-strait flights to move Taiwan-China relations in a positive direction. \n"Does the success of the charter flights represent a dove bringing peace or is it just a one-off?" Chang said. \n"The cross-strait flights show that cross-strait disagreements can be as easy as they are difficult," Chang said, adding that relations should be built on interaction on topics where agreement is possible. \n"There is no point repeating things that are not constructive and that you know the other side just can't and won't accept," he said. \nChang said that this year's experience with Lunar New Year charter flights could set the stage for charters for other purposes, such as tourism and medical or humanitarian needs. He also said that this year's flights could be a step towards making cross-strait charter flights a regular occurrence.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
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
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”