`Lost' boat near Indonesia
A Taiwanese fishing boat that lost contact with its company on Sept. 8 was found yesterday in Indonesian territorial waters with the help of the Indonesian Navy, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Michel Lu (呂慶龍), said yesterday. "The Taiwanese captain has already phoned his family this morning, letting them know he is safe. The crew will arrive in Jakarta for an investigation tomorrow," Lu said. The boat, Chi Li Wang, with a Taiwanese captain as well as eight Filipino and three Indonesian crew members, was originally fishing off the coast of Mauritius on Aug. 26. With the help of satellite positioning equipment on the boat, the MOFA established that the vessel was heading to Indonesia after the company lost contact with the boat and asked the Indonesian government for help through Taiwan's representative office, Lu said. Lu said earlier last week that the government suspected the Indonesian sailors on board had staged a mutiny. The incident will be investigated.
Taiwanese top Aichi's list
Taiwan tourists topped the list in terms of number of foreign visitors to Expo Aichi 2005, an official of the exhibition said yesterday. Expo Association Secretary-General Toshio Nakamura said that Taiwanese tourists accounted for 18.8 percent of all foreign visitors. The expo will draw to an end today. They were followed by South Korean visitors at 15.7 percent, American visitors at 13 percent, Chinese visitors at 11 percent, and Australian visitors at 4.1 percent. Nakamura said that the goal of 15 million visitors to the exhibition was achieved Aug. 18, and that as of yesterday, the number topped 21.69 million. Foreign visitors accounted for 5 percent of all visitors to the park, or around one million people, coming from more than 60 countries around the world, he added. The Japanese parliament passed a special bill granting 90-day, visa-free entry to Taiwanese visitors from March 25 through Sept. 25 in connection with the eco-friendly World Expo in Aichi prefecture in central Japan. Japan later announced a permanent visa waiver for Taiwan tourists effective from Sept. 26.
Activist insists on asylum
A group of 190 dissidents in China and overseas has appealed to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to grant asylum to a democracy activist, a rights group said yesterday. Yan Peng (燕鵬) fled to Taiwan from China in June last year but remains in official limbo more than a year later because of procedural delays, the New York and Hong Kong-based Human Rights in China (HRIC) said. The letter urges the Taiwanese government to promptly settle Yan's status, either by facilitating his asylum overseas or by allowing him permanent residency in Taiwan and permission to work here. Yan, from eastern China's Shandong Province, described his dramatic escape to Taiwan and his frustration with organized demonstrations in his home city of Qingdao during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was jailed for 18 months in 2002 on charges of attempting to overthrow the Chinese government. After his release, he continued to help fellow democracy activists by giving them financial aid and setting up pro-democracy Web sites. He told the BBC that he fled to Taiwan after learning he would likely be re-arrested ahead of the 15th anniversary of the Tianan-men Square protests.