The abrupt transfer of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from a hospital in Taipei to a prison hospital in Greater Taichung disrupted the legislative session yesterday, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers occupying the floor to boycott the meeting.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers had planned to request a vote in an attempt to push through the government-backed proposal to stage a national referendum on the fate of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) at the session.
The DPP planned to propose an immediate halt to the construction of the plant, a motion the TSU and the People First Party supported.
At 3pm, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced that the session was adjourned until Tuesday next week.
Lawmakers engaged in a fierce exchange of words over the relocation of Chen Shui-bian and several KMT lawmakers’ mockery of former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), who previously led several round-the-island walks campaigning for a referendum on the nuclear plant.
With douli, or bamboo hats, on their heads and placards bearing slogans used in Lin’s campaign meant to resemble the clothing of Lin and his followers in the campaign, KMT lawmakers Wu Yu-jen (吳育仁), Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恒), and six others took a short walk on the floor.
KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), in the same costume, sat on the ground, mimicking Lin, who staged various sit-in demonstrations in front of the front gate of the legislature to push for the enactment of a referendum act.
While they were performing the imitation, some DPP lawmakers became irritated, with some shouting words such as “shameless” and “nasty.”
DPP lawmakers placed several placards in bird cages with the name of the Referendum Act (公民投票法) in Chinese characters to highlight the flaws in the legislation, one of which was the required turnout of at least half of the electorate for a national referendum to be considered valid.
“The KMT should offer Lin I-hsiung an apology. When the bird-caged Referendum Act was passed, he launched a campaign demanding the KMT make revisions to the law. Now the KMT ridicules him in such a disrespectful manner. It’s disgraceful,” DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said.
KMT legislative caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) was trying to remind the DPP not to forget the spirit and ideals advocated by Lin.
Not long after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) proposed the referendum, Lin has voiced opposition to the plan, which he called a “prank.”
Lin said that the referendum proposal was “full of political calculations,” and “a cheap trick and a prank that plays the public for fools.”
The Referendum Act laid down “unreasonable and strict” regulations that made the passage of referendums “almost impossible,” Lin said.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under