Tibetans receive ARCs
Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commissioner Kao Su-po (高思博) yesterday handed temporary Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) to 109 Tibetans living in exile in Taiwan. The Tibetans had entered the country on forged Nepalese and Indian passports and continued to live illegally in Taiwan after their visas expired. Last month, they staged a sit-in in Taipei’s Liberty Square, asking the government to grant them asylum as refugees. After negotiations with the government in which they received help from human rights and Tibetan support groups in Taiwan, they were granted residency after a decision was made to revise the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The Tibetans were granted temporary residency while the revision of the law is in progress.
PRC schools not popular
Taiwanese parents have shown little interest in sending their children to China to receive higher education, the results of a survey released on Thursday by the Ministry of Education (MOE) show. The survey was conducted last month among 4,777 parents of students from 97 senior high schools and senior vocational schools nationwide. The results showed that 77.2 percent of the respondents said they would not consider letting their children study in China. On their reasons, 69.5 listed poor public order in China, while 58.9 percent expressed concern about the problems their children might face adapting to life there. More than 70 percent of the respondents expressed support for the restrictions imposed by the government on Chinese students studying in Taiwan, including limiting the number of Chinese students allowed, not offering favorable treatment to Chinese students and banning the students from accepting employment or entering the civil service in Taiwan after graduation.
Tobacco plantations wane
Since the liberalization of cigarette imports to Taiwan in 1987, the tobacco plantation area in the country has diminished sharply year by year, with areas used for growing tobacco falling by more than 60 percent over the past five years, government figures show. Data made public recently by the Agriculture and Food Agency Council show total tobacco plantation area in the country dropped from 2,196 hectares in 2004 to 703 hectares in 2007, a 67.98 percent drop, a council official said yesterday. The amount of land used for planting tobacco last year is still being calculated, but the trend is expected to continue.
Official avoids impeachment
James Chen (陳晉源), former director-general of highways under the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, yesterday survived another impeachment motion after the Control Yuan voted it down. The Control Yuan last month impeached Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢), director-general of the Water Resources Agency, over the collapse of Houfeng Bridge (后豐橋) in a typhoon that claimed two lives and left four people missing in September last year. At the time, the Control Yuan incurred criticism for failing to punish any ministry officials responsible for the bridge’s maintenance. The Control Yuan yesterday held a meeting to reconsider the case at the request of the Control Yuan members in charge of the investigation into the incident, but a proposal to impeach James Chen was again voted down. James Chen stepped down one week after the incident.