MAC urges better Macau ties
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday called for Macau to consider establishing a liaison office in Taiwan to help boost bilateral relations and exchanges. In a statement, the council congratulated Fernando Chui (崔世安) on his selection as the new chief executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region and called on him to increase bilateral ties. Noting that both Taiwan and Macau act as gateways to China, the council said stabilizing ties between Taiwan and Macau would be conducive to the development of cross-strait relations. The council statement expressed hope that Chui, who will replace Edmund Ho (何厚鏵) as chief executive of Macau, will strengthen ties with Taiwan based on the solid foundation that was laid by Ho and his administrative team over the past 10 years.
More men commit suicide
The number of men who committed suicide last year was twice as high as the number of women who killed themselves, while the number of women who sought help from suicide prevention networks was twice as large as men, Taiwan Society of Suicidology secretary-general Liao Shih-cheng (廖士程) told a news conference yesterday. Liao said the reason behind the difference may be the social expectation that men should be tougher and more self-reliant when it comes to emotions. He therefore urged men not to hesitate to find help, while also calling on families and friends to extend more psychological support to those in need. Meanwhile, the society’s chairman, Lee Ming-pin (李明濱), urged the government to create a suicide prevention hotline for men because female social workers answering existing hotlines may not be able to help suicidal males.
Prisons overcrowded: MOJ
Two years after the government commuted jail sentences as part of its effort to ease prison overcrowding, local penitentiaries are again jammed with inmates, judicial authorities said on Sunday. Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) show that 65,148 people are now imprisoned, which is 10,224, or 18.6 percent, more than local prisons have the capacity to hold. The ratio is approaching the previous peak set in 2007, when the number of inmates exceeded prison capacity by 22.7 percent. That prompted the government to commute the sentences of many prisoners to free up prison cells.
Number of temples grows
There are 14,993 temples and churches for the nation’s 23 million residents, approximately one place of worship per 1,500 residents, statistics recently released by the Ministry of the Interior show. At the end of last year, Taiwan had 11,731 registered temples, 2,356 more than 10 years ago, and 3,262 churches, an increase of 145 over the same period. The 9,202 Taoist temples, many of which not only house Taoist folk deities but also idols of Buddha and the Buddhist goddess Guanyin (觀音), account for 78.4 percent of all temples. The 2,291 Buddhist temples account for 19.5 percent of the total and the 200 I-Kuan Tao temples account for 1.7 percent. Southern counties and cities have more temples than elsewhere in the country, with Tainan County leading the list with 1,245, followed by Kaohsiung County with 1,142 and Pingtung County with 1,068. Taipei City has the largest number of churches, with 432, followed by Hualien County’s 300 and Taitung County’s 266. Protestant churches outnumber Catholic churches by approximately three to one.