A sharp decrease in the number of Taiwanese marrying Chinese is likely due to businesses relocating away from China, a researcher said on Saturday. In 2003 there were 34,109 cross-strait marriages registered in Taiwan, but only 6,262 last year, said Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology research fellow Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘), citing information from the Ministry of the Interior. In 2003 the number of cross-strait marriages was so high that the government began conducting interviews with registrants to filter out fake marriages, Lin said. “In the early years there were many fake marriages involving Chinese coming to Taiwan for work, but circumstances on both sides have changed,” a Mainland Affairs Council official said on condition of anonymity. For the past several years the government has been promoting closer economic ties with Southeast Asian countries, which has resulted in a change to marriage patterns, Lin said. However, while the annual number of cross-strait marriages has been declining, Chinese still account for the majority of non-Taiwanese spouses registered in Taiwan at nearly 350,000, or 65 percent of all non-Taiwanese spouses, he said. There are 190,000 spouses from Southeast Asian countries registered in Taiwan, he said. Of the Chinese spouses, 130,000 are naturalized, while 110,000 have Alien Resident Certificates and 110,000 have entry permits for family visitation, he said. While the large majority of the Chinese spouses are women, 19,000 of them are men, he said. In 2010, Taiwanese investment in China began to wane and there was a sharp decline in 2014 following the Sunflower movement, Lin said, adding that the number of marriages involving Chinese spouses registered in that period also declined. In 2014 there were only 9,322 cross-strait marriages registered — the first year the number dropped below 10,000. At the same time, China’s economy was strengthening and the number of Chinese wanting to have children also declined, both of which contributed
TWO CASES: A man in New Taipei City complained that officers who raided his home had a search warrant only to look for firearms, not for drugs, which they also found
Police over the weekend made arrests in two cannabis cases in Taoyuan and New Taipei City. A man surnamed Chan (詹), 22, was found with about 100 cannabis plants and 200 cannabis seeds at a rented house in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), Taoyuan City Police Department chief Chen Kuo-chin (陳國進) said yesterday. A raid was conducted on Saturday, during which officers also found 400g of mixed synthetic drugs, Chen said, adding that a preliminary estimate valued the drugs at NT$1 million (US$32,995). Chan was tracked and put under surveillance after police received a tip that someone was selling cannabis online, while police records showed that he was wanted on separate charges for fraud and assault. Taoyuan prosecutors said Chanfaces charges over breaches of the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), which lists cannabis and its derived products as a category 2 narcotic. Police said that he had a sophisticated set-up to cultivate cannabis plants, with devices to regulate temperature and humidity, equipment for watering and lighting, and a spacing arrangement for optimal growth of the potted plants. Police said that Chan told them he had learned how to put the operation together from research online. In New Taipei City, Banciao Police Precinct officers conducted a search in the city’s Shulin District (樹林), where they found 15 cannabis seedlings, a container of cannabis seeds and a workshop where firearms were made. One unfinished handgun was seized, officers said. Police said they questioned a 44-year-old suspect surnamed Lin (林) who lives at the address. He faces charges over alleged breaches of the narcotics act and the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), they said. Police said that Lin protested that the search warrant was for firearms, and not for illegal drugs. However, an officer told him: “Cannabis plants are illegal and were found during our search. We cannot pretend that we did not see
Police in Taichung have been criticized after images emerged of a five-year-old boy taking a breath alcohol test after he crashed his bicycle into a car parked in an alley. The sobriety test is a standard police tool used in all traffic-related incidents, the Wufeng police precinct said on Saturday. All people involved in a traffic accident, regardless of age, must be checked for alcohol, even if a bicycle is involved, it said. The National Police Agency said that in accordance with the principle of fairness, officers are required to take statements from all parties involved in an accident, sobriety tests included. There was no misconduct on the part of the officer, as he acted in accordance with standard police procedure, it said. The incident came to light when the owner of a white Tesla posted a photograph of the boy taking the breath test on social media on Friday, writing: “The little boy was really brave and faced up to the problem” and: “Luckily, the boy is OK.” After being criticized for posting the photo, the owner said that his intention was to show how responsible the boy was, as he did not run away, but called his parents and explained what had happened. While some derided the police for submitting a child to an alcohol test, others criticized the car owner for overreacting to a trivial matter, saying he should have settled the matter with the boy’s parents instead of calling the police. However, the owner said he contacted the authorities because he needed an official police report to give his insurance company to cover the repairs. He reached an agreement with the family, who live next door, over repairs to the car, he wrote. The boy’s mother asked why the breath test was needed and suggested that the police should be more flexible in such situations. The Wufeng
The main rail route circumnavigating Taiwan would be fully electrified once the South Link Line upgrade is completed this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Railway Bureau said on Tuesday last week. The South Link Line is about 98.2km long and the work to electrify the line was challenging, as it had to be done after trains stopped running at midnight each day, the bureau said. Moreover, a section between Duoliang (多良) and Longsi (瀧溪) in Taitung’s Taimali Township (太麻里) had to be moved because there was insufficient headroom in the tunnels to add electrification infrastructure, it said. As most of the South Link Line is in remote areas, most of the materials, machines and personnel had to be delivered via rail, the bureau said. The section between Chaochou Township (潮州) and Fangliao Township (枋寮) in Pingtung County has had its electrification completed and the upgraded line has been in use since December last year, it said. That left the section between Fangliao and Jhihben (知本) Station in Taitung as the only one in the round-Taiwan rail system yet to be electrified, it said. Once the South Link Line is fully electrified, Taroko Express and Puyuma Express services can operate on the line, providing eastbound travelers a fast, safe, scenic, comfortable and energy-efficient rail service, the bureau said. This would help boost the east coast’s tourism industry, it added.
A physical education teacher at a school in Taipei has been charged with sexual harassment after complaints accused him of fondling and groping female students, reports said yesterday. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted the teacher, surnamed Tseng (曾), who worked at a junior-high school, after completing its investigation. Tseng allegedly took advantage of teenage students during classes and at his office, prosecutors said. The incidents began in September 2018, with Tseng allegedly touching a student’s breasts, thighs and genital area during an outdoor class, prosecutors said. Another female student accused Tseng of fondling her several times during swimming lessons and also when he asked her to sign forms in his office, they said. The third girl wrote in a complaint that during outdoor training, Tseng patted her on the buttocks and groped her inner thighs and genital area, prosecutors said. Tseng denied the accusations. Investigators gathered evidence for indictment, including statements from students, footage from surveillance cameras, and interviews with other students and teachers, they said. In a separate case, the High Court upheld a guilty verdict against a national coach for having sex with a female athlete, although his sentence was suspended. Investigators found that the male coach took the athlete to motels in Taichung for sex over a two-year span starting in 2013, when she was a second-year university student, to 2015, when she stopped the meetings. The coach said that it was consensual sex, but judges in the first ruling convicted him on offenses against sexual autonomy, in that he abused his authority to coerce her into having sex. The High Court handed him a suspended sentence of 10 months, with judges saying that the two had reached a settlement. It found the coach guilty of only two instances of sex in violation of the woman’s sexual autonomy and acquitted him on 28 other instances. The defense cited messages
CONTAGION RISK: The government should install sensors at tourist hotspots and at the entrances of night markets to monitor the number of visitors, an academic said
Crowd control measures should be implemented at night markets and other crowded areas to prevent cluster infections of COVID-19, an academic said yesterday. Wayne Liu (劉喜臨), a professor at the Graduate Institute of Tourism Management at National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, made the suggestion after large crowds gathered at tourist destinations during the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend, which ended yesterday. The sight of tourist spots packed with people, some not wearing masks, on Saturday prompted the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to send warning text messages to mobile phones in the areas to remind people to avoid crowded places and practice social distancing. Liu yesterday said that disease prevention at this point calls for the concept of “tourism carrying capacity,” which refers to the maximum number of people who can visit a destination without harming the environment and causing a decrease in the quality of the visitors’ satisfaction. The government should adopt crowd control measures in not only closed spaces, but also open spaces, such as Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) and Chiayi County’s Alishan (阿里山), by using infrared devices to limit the number of visitors, Liu said. Sensors should also be placed at night market entrances to monitor foot traffic, Liu added. The government should strive to protect the public’s well-being regardless of whether some people would try to circumvent its control measures, Liu said. The CECC’s alerts on Saturday led to booking cancelations and requests for refunds, but hoteliers, despite complaining about the suddenness of the alerts, still prioritized disease prevention and cooperated with the government, Liu said. The alerts were necessary, as the US and Japan saw infections soar after extended breaks, Liu said, adding that the spread of COVID-19 could get out of hand if large-scale community infections break out in Taiwan. Tatung Institute of Technology’s Department of Travel and
Taiwanese have significantly reduced their use of public transport hubs and visited parks more frequently amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data released by Google showed on Friday. The number of visits to MRT, bus and train stations on March 29 was down by 24 percent from the average number for the period between Jan. 3 and Feb. 6, the search engine’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports showed. The number of visits to indoor venues, such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centers and movie theaters, fell 9 percent over the period, the data showed. However, the number of visits to outdoor locations, such as parks and beaches, increased 17 percent. The number of grocery and pharmacy visits also increased 3 percent over the period, the report said. Google said it has prepared similar reports on 131 countries and regions to chart movement trends to show how community mobility has changed since extensive outbreaks were reported worldwide. The reports were created by collecting aggregated, anonymized data from users who have enabled the location history setting on their smartphones, it said. The company does not provide the number of visits to places and has said that it does not collect personally identifiable information about users. By providing the data, the company said it hopes to help local governments and public health officials manage the pandemic. The reports show that activity at workplaces and shopping centers have dropped worldwide, especially in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus. The report for Italy, which is one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, with more than 124,000 cases and 15,000 deaths, shows that retail and recreation activity fell 94 percent, grocery and pharmacy visits fell 85 percent, and trips to parks and beaches plunged 90 percent. Activity at Italy’s transit stations fell 87 percent and activity at workplaces fell 63 percent,
‘USE ECONOMICALLY’: People can use rice cookers to sterilize masks and reuse them three to five times, the FDA director-general said, reminding people not to use water
People should not waste masks even with the purchasing quotas increasing this week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that sterilization with a rice cooker is a good way to extend supplies. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from Thursday, people can buy nine masks per 14 days, which should be sufficient. “However, I have to urge everyone to use masks economically,” Chen said, adding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released information on how masks can be reused. FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said that masks can be put in a metal container on a metal rack in a rice cooker without water to dry for three minutes with the power on and another five minutes with no power. “We have to remind people about one critical point: Do not add water, as steam can damage the mask’s structure, just as using alcohol to disinfect masks can also affect their structure,” Wu said, adding that the method has been tested by academics and the FDA. People can dry masks in this manner three to five times and their effectiveness would remain at about 99 percent, she said. “However, we do not suggest using this method if the mask is stained or broken,” she said. “We also suggest that people with respiratory symptoms, chronic diseases or who have visited a hospital dispose of masks after a single use.” Chung Shan Medical University Department of Occupational Safety and Health associate professor Lai Chane-yu (賴全裕) said that the inner wall of rice cookers can reach 165°C and the temperature inside the cooker about 110°C, which kills all bacteria and viruses, so there is no need to use a separate cooker to disinfect masks. Masks that are to be used again should be kept in a dry, ventilated
Migrant fishers in Yilan County on Saturday called for increased support from the government to help them avoid contracting COVID-19. A Philippine fisherman, identified as Adones, said he has been unable to purchase masks at his local pharmacy due to long lines. Facing the same situation, Julio Guimawa, another Philippine fisherman, said that his employer only ever gave him one mask and that was when he visited a hospital for treatment after fracturing his left hand in a fall while at sea last month. The lack of masks is not only affecting Nanfangao Port (南方澳) . Norcelito Lebron, a Philippine fisherman at Wushi Harbor (烏石港), said that his labor broker has been giving him and his coworkers four masks each per month. “I am very worried about the pandemic, but I am convinced that the government is committed to containing the coronavirus, because coast guard personnel take our temperature every time we return to shore,” Lebron said. The fishermen expressed their concerns on Saturday as Saint Christopher’s Church in Taipei delivered clothes, food, masks and information on COVID-19 prevention. Gioan Tran Van Thiet, an assistant priest at the church who visits migrant fishermen in Yilan every week, said that he and his volunteers were helping because the assistance provided by the fishers’ employers and brokers is limited. “Many of the fishermen only know the virus is deadly, they do not know to how avoid it and do not have the resources do so,” Thiet said. The novel coronavirus would spread easily among the community, because crews work and sleep in relatively cramped conditions where social distancing is difficult, Thiet said. Ministry of Labor statistics from the end of February showed that there were 12,368 migrant fishers in Taiwan.
Former Tourism Bureau director-general Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) has been demoted to a Ministry of Transportation and Communications counselor for failing to ensure that all bureau employees comply with the government’s disease prevention efforts, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday. Chou’s demotion came after a bureau employee stationed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Tourist Service Center contracted COVID-19 (case No. 269), who then infected his five-year-old son (case No. 299). The kindergarten that his son attended was also ordered shut for 14 days. A ministry investigation has found that the center director on March 20 ordered the employee to greet the bureau chief secretary’s son, who was returning from the Philippines, and to take him to have coffee while he waited for his father to pick him up. At the time, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) had raised its travel advisory for the Philippines to a level 3 “warning,” meaning that the son had to directly take a designated “disease prevention” taxi or arrange to be picked up and quarantine himself at home for 14 days. Instead, the employee spent about 30 minutes accompanying the director’s son before his father arrived, the CECC said. The director’s son later tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the nation’s case No. 277. The investigation also found that the chief secretary had only verbally requested permission to leave the office and no such request could be found in the human resources system. As picking up a family member does not constitute urgent business, he did not follow due procedure when asking for a leave of absence, the ministry said. The chief secretary was last week demoted to bureau specialist, as his actions have damaged the government’s disease prevention efforts, while the center director was removed from office and placed in a different position at the
The outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted cultural life nationwide as health authorities advise against indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and urge social distancing. Several performances have been canceled since March 19, including the Taiwan International Festival of Arts. The event, hosted by the National Performing Arts Center, has been an annual showcase for local and global artists for more than a decade. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center on March 25 announced an advisory against indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor events involving more than 500 attendees. The advice led the Ministry of Culture to suspend events that were to be held at its venues or by affiliated groups, including the performing arts center. The National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei, the National Taichung Theater in central Taiwan and the National Kaohsiung Center of Arts (Weiwuying) have either canceled performances by foreign artists or postponed those by local performers. The National Theater and Concert Hall said that a couple of privately organized performances are still scheduled to go ahead this month, but it has stopped offering guided tours. Restaurants and shops at the venue late last month reduced service hours in response to the outbreak. National Taichung Theater is keeping its public area open, but all performances scheduled for this month have been canceled or postponed. The venue, a tourist hotspot designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, still provides guided tours, but to smaller groups. Weiwuying has also canceled all indoor performances for this month. It continues to offer guided tours, but the number of people in tours has dropped, often to fewer than 10. Weiwuying said it would continue to host a series of free monthly outdoor dance events. However, a ballroom dance-themed program on Wednesday last week was changed to a single-person format to avoid
Taiwanese have donated more than NT$10 million (US$329,946) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, following an appeal for help by a Yilan-based Italian priest to save his “other homeland.” Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone on Wednesday issued a public letter asking for donations to be made to the fundraising center of Camillian Saint Mary’s Hospital Luodong to purchase emergency provisions, including surgical masks and protective gowns, for medical personnel in Italy. Didone yesterday expressed his gratitude and said that he was touched by the love shown by Taiwanese. While state-funded hospitals in Italy are mostly adequately supplied, many local clinics are suffering from massive shortages of masks, ventilators, protective gowns and medication, Didone said on Thursday. Following the appeal, many Taiwanese wired money or made donations in person, among them a 83-year-old woman surnamed Ho (何). She yesterday went to the hospital to donate eight masks and her week’s earnings of NT$800 from selling vegetables. The fundraising deadline is April 15, the hospital said. Didone, who came to Taiwan in 1965, established special care centers for intellectually disabled people in Penghu and Yilan counties, and serves at the hospital in Yilan’s Luodong Township (羅東). PRAGUE MESSAGE In separate news, two Czech politicians have thanked Taiwan for donating medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday posted a video on its Facebook page, in which Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib and Czech Senator Jiri Drahos thanked Taiwan after the nation on Monday last week announced the donation of 10 million masks to countries seriously affected by the outbreak, including the Czech Republic. Taiwan also donated 25 pulmonary ventilators and other equipment, such as ventilator filters, medical visors and disinfectant spray, to the Central European country. “Thank you very much also for the donation of ventilators. They will be used to save lives in
PEOPLE IN POWER: KMT Legislator Wan Mei-ling said many cases that occur in the workplace involve people abusing their authority to sexually harass colleagues
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) is calling for larger fines for sexual harassment, saying that current fines have failed to act as a deterrent amid a growing number of cases. Over the past 11 years, the number of reported cases of sexual harassment has grown nearly fivefold, but offenders have only been fined about NT$20,000 on average per offense, demonstrating that fines have failed to deter such behavior, Wan said on Friday. Laws should be amended to increase the fines from the current range of NT$10,000 to NT$100,000 per offense to NT$30,000 to NT$300,000, she said. Citing data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Wan said that the number of reported cases of sexual harassment grew from 154 in 2007 to 546 in 2018. Of the 546 cases in 2018, 287 occurred in the workplace, where offenders abused their authority or took advantage of the work environment to harass colleagues, Wan said, adding that offenders in those cases were fined an average of only NT$20,350. Wan and other advocates of increasing fines have submitted draft amendments to Chapter 5 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法), which stipulates the penalties for offenses. One amendment calls for a 50 percent increase in jail time for those who harass people in the workplace or take advantage of another person’s failure to resist advances to harass them. In most sexual harassment cases, the victim and offender know each other from a workplace, training environment, educational setting or encounter in which one of them is seeking employment, Wan said. Due to the power imbalance between the two parties, the victim is often unwilling to come forward about harassment, she said. One particular example is in the military, where most sexual harassment cases go unreported, Wang said, adding that the Control Yuan has issued corrections to the Ministry of National
The EU yesterday called on Taiwan to refrain from using the death penalty, following the execution of murderer Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) on Wednesday. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced Weng, 53, to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, his niece, his nephew, his nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregiver in 2016. Weng was executed in New Taipei City on Wednesday evening. “The European Union condemns this crime in the strongest terms and expresses its sincere sympathy to the family of his victims,” the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan yesterday wrote on Facebook in English, relaying a statement from the EU Foreign Affairs Council. “At the same time, the EU recalls its opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances. The EU believes that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” it wrote. “The European Union therefore calls on Taiwan to refrain from any future executions, to reinstate and maintain a de facto moratorium and to pursue a consistent policy towards the abolition of the death penalty in Taiwan,” it added. Weng’s was the second execution carried out since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, following the execution of death row inmate Lee Hung-chi (李宏基) in 2018. The Ministry of Justice on Wednesday said in a news release that it understands there are different opinions about the death penalty, adding that it has been cautious about conducting executions before Taiwanese society reaches a consensus to abolish capital punishment. The ministry said that it would continue communicating with advocates of abolishing or suspending the death penalty and working to strengthen social security and victim support networks, as well as educational initiatives on restorative justice, human
LOOPHOLE? A lawmaker expressed concern about employees with access to classified files transiting through Hong Kong 25 times over the past year
Work is under way on amendments to the Act for the Establishment of the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (國家中山科學研究院設置條例) that would extend travel restrictions for military personnel to Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology employees, a source said on Tuesday. As the institute in 2014 became a private entity, it is no longer under the direct control of the Ministry of National Defense. The transition removed all travel restrictions for the institute’s employees, who are no longer considered military personnel. However, any employees who want to travel abroad must obtain approval from the institute. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) had previously expressed concern that the arrangement posed a potential loophole in information and national security, saying that there were 15 incidents of institute employees with access to classified information transiting through Hong Kong from May to October last year and another 10 incidents from October to February. At a legislative question-and-answer session early last month, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said that the ministry would propose amendments to the act to close the loophole. Under the amendments, institute employees entering or departing the nation would have to follow the same regulations as military personnel, with the authority to approve requests to travel abroad elevated from the institute to the ministry, the source said. Institute staff with clearance to access classified information would also be prohibited from traveling to China, Hong Kong and Macau for three years from the day they resign or are removed from a position that grants them the clearance, the source said. The ministry said that it is in the process of drafting the regulations into amendments, which would grant it a legal basis for enforcement. Talks continue on the details and method of implementation, it said. The institute said that it would comply with the regulations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on projects that provide assistance to disadvantaged groups, especially children, in Africa, as well as India and other countries. One of the projects, which involves digging wells, building water tanks and promoting water safety awareness in India, is expected to provide cleaner water and reduce the number of local residents who fall ill from drinking contaminated water, the ministry said in a news release last week. The project is to be carried out with Good Neighbors Taiwan, which was established in July last year to support vulnerable children and high-risk families in developing countries, it said. Another project, in cooperation with the Pu-Hsein Educational Foundation and Amitofo Care Center African Executive Association, is to help African orphans learn Chinese to enhance their competitiveness as adults, the ministry said. The education program by the two Buddhist charity organizations, which began in 2013, has benefited more than 9,000 African children and youths, it said. The program involves sending instructors to teach traditional Chinese characters and the Chinese language in seven schools that shelter orphans in Eswatini, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Madagascar, it added. The ministry said that it would also help the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation-Taiwan, which is dedicated to helping people with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial deformity, in its project with the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital system. The project involves holding international conferences and training medical personnel from other nations, it said. Other cooperation projects include a Taiwan-Vietnam education project with the Zhi-Shan Foundation Taiwan, which promotes academic exchanges, and a young women’s empowerment project with the Garden of Hope Foundation, which is focused on organizing training camps for young women and hosting the annual Asian Girl Awards that highlight the achievements of girls, the ministry said.
Several prosecutors have voiced support for decriminalizing adultery as the Council of Grand Justices on Tuesday heard arguments that treating adultery as a crime is unconstitutional. Eighteen judges and a defendant in an adultery case have over the past several years repeatedly asked the council for a constitutional interpretation of Article 239 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that a married person who commits adultery and the other party to the adultery should each receive a prison term of less than one year, but that there can be no trial without a complaint from an alleged victim. Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) concluded Tuesday’s hearing by setting a date for a constitutional interpretation of the matter within the next month. One prosecutor said on condition of anonymity that while it might seem that Article 239 is necessary to keep families intact, in reality it does not help reduce the divorce rate. Legal proceedings for adultery waste judicial resources and force spouses to confront each other in court, so it is questionable whether criminalizing adultery is even necessary, they said. Another problem is that judges often require alleged victims to prove that their spouses had sex with a third party, which can force complainants to breach privacy laws when trying to collect evidence, the prosecutor said. If the complainant is then counter-sued for breaching privacy laws, the question of who is actually punished during court proceedings for adultery becomes murky, they said. Another prosecutor said on condition of anonymity that the punishment for an adultery conviction is meaningless, as the sentence imposed is almost always commutable to a fine. “How could a change in one’s feelings possibly be altered by a fine of hundreds of thousands of [New Taiwan] dollars?” the prosecutor said, adding that a verdict cannot help rebuild a relationship when
ORGANIZING HELP A group of lawmakers said that Taiwan should develop a way to allow people to donate masks and for other countries to request medical supplies
Taiwanese who are able to should consider donating masks to other nations to aid the global fight against COVID-19, Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan executive director Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said yesterday. Taiwan’s medical capabilities have drawn global attention, particularly after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday announced that the nation would donate 10 million masks to countries affected by the pandemic. The donation includes 2 million to the US, 7 million to Europe and 1 million to diplomatic allies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Appreciative remarks from some of those nations have been posted on social media, including from the European Commission and the US Security Council. Mask donations are not just for earning goodwill toward a bid to join the WHO, although the world would be better if Taiwan were included, Lin said. Through donations, the public would learn to cherish the nation’s medical resources, while the world can see the caring side of Taiwan, she said. The nation has received help from the US and the global community, and now it is able to give something in return, she added. Showcasing Taiwan’s medical expertise is the best way to push for it to join the WHO, as protesting its exclusion has often been met with political pressure, she said. This is the moment to show Taiwan’s medical power to the world, she added. Prior to Tsai’s announcement, several lawmakers had been planning a news conference to encourage members of the public to donate masks to other countries, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said yesterday. They are also urging the government to develop a platform that allows people to donate masks and for other countries to make requests for medical supplies, he said. For example, the government can add an “international medical aid” option to its online mask order system, so that people can
‘TAIWAN IDENTITY’ The outbreak in China occurred as Taiwan was promoting its own national character, which is fundamentally changing cross-strait exchanges
China’s initial cover-up of the COVID-19 outbreak has further deepened the distrust between Taipei and Beijing, dealing an irreparable blow to cross-strait exchanges, analysts said. Since March 2018, when a US-China trade dispute began to unfold, decoupling from China has become a worldwide trend, which has been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology professor Yen Chien-fa (顏建發) said on Friday. Taiwan started distancing itself from China before the rest of the world with its New Southbound Policy and deepening its ties with like-minded nations, he said. Yen said that he does not believe that anyone would buy China’s claim that it has no new confirmed COVID-19 cases, adding that the assertion has only deepened concerns among prospective investors about having to pay a huge price were they to start a business in China. “Over the years, two stereotypes have become associated with China: Poor sanitation and a general disregard for lives,” Yen said. “There is no telling what virus would emerge [in China] next. This scares people and discourages them from taking risks,” he said. The pandemic has led Taiwan and other nations to take a good look at the flaws in China’s political system and governance, National Cheng Kung University professor of political science Hung Chin-fu (洪敬富) said. The outbreak is happening as the “Taiwan identity” is being reinforced, which is fundamentally changing cross-strait exchanges, he said. As complications in US-China relations are amplified by Washington’s ratification of the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, cross-strait relations are also moving in a new direction and could never be the same, he said. Commenting on the nation’s success in containing COVID-19, Hung said that it was helped by China banning individual tourists from visiting Taiwan. Due to the political climate in the Taiwan Strait, Taipei has distanced itself from Beijing, which helped
An article posted on a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site has highlighted Taiwan’s early steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, especially its coordination and use of data. “Of note, the centralized, real-time database of the country’s National Health Insurance (NHI) helped support disease surveillance and case detection,” the article said. The article, titled “Policy Decisions and Use of Information Technology to Fight 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease, Taiwan,” on the Web site for the agency’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal is listed as an “early article” to be published in July. The report, written by a research team that included members of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said that the comprehensive response and innovative use of the NHI database by the CDC effectively delayed and contained community transmission in Taiwan, even as the number of confirmed cases surged in neighboring countries starting in mid-February. As soon as China on Dec. 31 reported an unidentified outbreak of 27 cases of unknown pneumonia in Wuhan to the WHO, Taiwan assembled a task force and began performing health checks of passengers inside planes from Wuhan after they landed in Taiwan, it said. Thanks to its rapid implementation of disease prevention measures, Taiwan detected and isolated its first coronavirus case on Jan. 20, it said, adding that laboratories in Taiwan developed four-hour test kits and isolated two strains of the virus before February. The nation then added people’s travel histories to China and all confirmed and suspected case contacts to the NHI database. Those additions, along with real-time NHI data on people’s health history “helped pinpoint high-risk patients” and gave the CDC “the ability to quickly identify new patterns of symptoms or clustered cases and the source or path of infection,” the article said. Other factors that led to an effective response were its experiences during the 2003