President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) approval rating stood at 46.8 percent in the latest opinion poll released by the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission over the weekend. \nThe results of the telephone poll released on Sunday showed that 43.8 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with his performance since he took office in May 2008. \nThe poll also found that respondents were satisfied with the Ma administration's efforts to improve relations across the Taiwan Strait, giving him an approval rating of 68.3 percent for his efforts in that regard. \nThe poll showed that 55.3 percent of respondents still supported Ma, while 32.1 percent said they did not support him. \nMeanwhile, 50.2 percent said they were satisfied with Premier Wu Den-yih's (吳敦義) performance, while 31.7 percent gave him the thumbs-down. \nThe poll, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, also found that 47.9 percent of respondents were satisfied with the Cabinet’s performance, compared with 37.4 percent who said they were not satisfied. \nOn specific aspects of government, the Ma administration's respect for democracy and rule of law gained an approval rating of 55.1 percent; its efforts to boost the economy, 54.3 percent; and its political integrity, 51 percent. \nThe government's performance in environmental protection and ecological conservation was given a 46.2 percent approval rating; its fiscal management, 45.4 percent; and its work in educational and cultural development, 45 percent. \nThe respondents were divided over the question of whether the administrative team is efficient, with 42.7 percent giving a thumbs-down, while 41.3 percent gave a positive rating. \nOverall, 49.9 percent said they were confident that the government would perform better in the coming year, while 40.1 percent said they did not believe there would be any improvement. \nThe opinion poll had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.98 percent.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group might have lost its right to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to fulfill a contract in Taiwan, civic groups Taiwan Citizen Front and the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday. In a radio interview on Feb. 17, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said that last year, Taiwan was close to signing a contract to buy doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that the deal was halted at the last moment, with some speculating that Chinese interference was to blame. On Monday last week, the center