Master’s remarks slammed
Buddhist Master Hsing Yun’s (星雲) recent remarks about Tibetans showed he is ignorant of the fact that China has notoriously oppressed Tibetan Buddhism, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Department of Youth Development Director Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said yesterday. Chao made the remarks in response to media reports that the founder of the Fo Kuang Shan monastery had said during the World Buddhist Forum in China on Friday that there was nothing wrong with Tibetans identifying themselves as Chinese. Chao said the DPP regretted that Hsing Yun had mixed politics and religion, and added that his remarks were tantamount to rubbing salt into Tibetans’ wounds. Chao said the DPP had no comment about Hsing Yun’s comment that “there are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese,” as the Buddhist master was entitled to freedom of speech.
Ou departs for El Salvador
Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) departed for an eight-day tour to El Salvador last night to thank the incumbent government for its longtime support of Taiwan and to meet president-elect Mauricio Funes to reiterate the nation’s commitment to carry out bilateral projects as promised, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said. Ou is scheduled to meet Funes later this week and will also meet overseas compatriots. Ou will not visit any other countries during his trip, Chen said.
Ma eager for ties with India
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he hoped to see the nation’s relationship with India further enhanced and the level of visiting government officials upgraded. Ma said the recent cross-strait rapprochement has resulted in many countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan expressing an interest in improving ties with the nation. He said he hoped to see India take advantage of the rare historic opportunity to further enhance bilateral relations. The president made the remarks while receiving a delegation of Indian parliamentarians of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Presidential Office. Ma said there was much room for development.
Ma praises deceased soldier
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday praised the patriotism of deceased lieutenant colonel Lee Hsi-wen (李希文), saying he did good for the people and the land of Taiwan. Lee, a native of China’s Henan Province, came to Taiwan with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops when he was 15 years old. He retired after 40 years of military service and died in August last year. Despite his modest income, he donated NT$3 million (US$90,000) to Ying-hai High School in Tainan City and NT$5 million to National Tainan Commercial Vocational Senior High School. During his visits to the two schools yesterday morning, Ma said the core values of Taiwan and its people were honesty, kindness, diligence, loyalty, initiative and tolerance, and that Lee possessed them all.
Russian 921 teams coming
A group of Russian search and rescue workers that helped local teams during the 921 Earthquake in 1999 will come to Taiwan this September to take part in an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the quake, Department of West Asian Affairs Director-General Antonio Chen said. The 921 Earthquake occurred on Sept. 21, 1999, and killed more than 2,400 people. A number of international teams came to help with the rescue effort. At the time, Russia dispatched a group of 83 professional search-and-rescue personnel to help in the search for survivors. Because of China’s refusal to allow Russian planes to fly through its airspace, the help was delayed for 12 hours.
Eight Matsu islets off-limits
The Lienchiang County Government on Monday barred people from visiting eight uninhabited coral islets in the Matsu island chain under its jurisdiction from today through Sept. 30, when migratory terns will be nesting on the islets to rear their young. The county government’s Construction Bureau said the Council of Agriculture, in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), had declared the eight islets a wildlife conservation zone to protect the terns — a seabird species related to seagulls. Bureau officials said the Coast Guard Administration would patrol the area and warned that anybody landing on the eight islets during the six-month period would be subject to a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000. People who harm wildlife on the islets face a prison term of between six months and five years.
Taiwan night markets travel
A Taiwan night market festival is slated to be held for the second time at Hong Kong’s East Point City from April 23 to April 26, with snacks and dishes from 16 renowned Taiwanese food chains to be showcased. The festival will be jointly organized by the Taiwan Visitors Association, Sun Hung Kai Properties and the Hong Kong & Macau Taiwanese Association to promote tourism. Taiwanese pop diva Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) will act as a spokeswoman for the event and will perform at the festival, along with Aboriginal and other artist groups. Wang Chun-pao (王春寶), director of the Taiwan Visitors Association’s Hong Kong office, said the festival was an important project in Taiwan’s tourism promotion efforts this year. The first Taiwan night market festival in Hong Kong was held last year in a bid to attract more Hong Kong residents to Taiwan. Apart from Taiwanese snacks, which are always a top attraction for Hong Kong visitors, Taiwanese fruit, tea, liquor and fish will also be on display at the night market festival.