Scientists and academics called for renewed efforts to protect the nation’s unique natural landscapes and distinct cultural traditions to set the foundation for the nation’s bid to have them included in the UN’s list of World Heritage sites.
Geography and natural resources professor Wang Hsin (王鑫) said Taiwan is blessed with a wide diversity of ecological environments and geological terrains, such as its coasts, lowland hills, high mountains, volcanoes, forests, wetlands and coral reefs.
“Many of these are unique in the world, and are found only in Taiwan,” he said.
Photo: Yang I-min, Taipei Times
However, because of “political interference from China at the United Nations level, these have yet to be listed among the World Heritage sites,” he said.
Wang, a member of the Council for Cultural Affairs’ World Heritage Promotion Committee, was speaking at a seminar on the “UN, Taiwan, and Natural World Heritage Sites” organized by the Taiwan New Century Foundation on Saturday in Taipei.
Since the committee — composed of scientists and other experts — was formed in 2009, it has chosen 17 natural landscapes and cultural sites around the nation as leading candidates for World Heritage site listing.
They include some of the best-known mountain regions: Yushan National Park, the Datun Volcano Group (大屯火山群), Taroko National Park and Cilan Mountain Cypress Forest Reserve (棲蘭山檜木林).
The candidates for cultural heritage sites are the Alishan Forest Railway, Tamsui’s Fort San Domingo, the Japanese-era Old Mountain Railway of Miaoli County, Kinmen Battlefield Culture and the Beinan Relic Site.
“Even though there are international political barriers, and it may be a long road, we must continue to engage in this work,” he said.
“I encourage more interested individuals and civic groups to participate in the various conferences held by UNESCO and the World Heritage Convention Committee, so they can get to know more about our world-class natural landscapes and cultural heritage sites. All of them are unique and cannot be found anywhere else,” he said.
Wang said Taiwanese can also set up their own recognition system and establish Taiwan’s own heritage sites.
“It is also important to show the world our success in natural resource conservation, with our national parks and forest conservation programs,” he said.
“The effort to join UNESCO’s listing is also a movement to promote local communities’ identity, and for individuals and civic groups to work together to protect and take pride in their natural environment and cultural traditions,” Wang said.
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
SCENIC TRAIN TOURS: TRA Director-General Du Wei said experts on aesthetics and railway culture have worked for 10 months to restore the blue locomotive Breezy Blue, the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) tourism train, is to be launched on the South Link Line on Saturday. The railway operator spent about 10 months restoring the blue diesel-powered train, which first provided service to students and commuters before being outsourced to Lion Travel, which organizes railway tour packages. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township (枋寮) that the agency hopes that the restored Breezy Blue would provide an authentic experience to railway fans as well as those with fond memories of riding the blue trains to work or