The anger expressed by the more than 100,000-strong “White-Shirt Army” at a mass protest on Saturday served as a serious warning on the legitimacy of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and political stability in Taiwan, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
“People are the masters of their country. The ‘White-Shirt Army’ movement was a perfect example of why people’s voices matter and showed that citizen participation will feature in policymaking in the future,” she said.
The demonstration was held to protest against the government’s poor handling of the investigation into the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).
Tsai made the remarks as she prepared to work with lawmakers across party lines today to reissue a demand to Ma to hold a national affairs conference.
The DPP heavyweight wants the conference to deal with major issues that have recently sown social divisions and bred public mistrust of the government, such as pension reforms, cross-strait engagement, military reform and nuclear energy, among others.
She made a similar appeal earlier this year that was primarily focused on the pension system reforms.
In a recent interview with Internet news channel UDN TV, Tsai reiterated that the direction the country takes should be agreed upon by the public, but that Ma appeared to be making the decision unilaterally and according to his personal political agenda.
This is especially true of the cross-strait service trade agreement, she added.
Tsai yesterday urged the president to establish a platform that would promote citizen participation in national affairs.
She also advised Ma to cancel a planned trip to the Caribbean and Latin America, which is to begin on Sunday, as domestic political and social instability is the primary concern right now.
Tsai appeared to give a lukewarm reception to the idea of a one-on-one meeting with Ma, who had said through a presidential spokesperson that he welcomed such a meeting after his overseas trip.
“I didn’t feel that his response was sincere. It seems to me that he still has the mentality that he can get by just with casual responses and lip service,” Tsai said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
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The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung