Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the situation and tasked combat air patrol aircraft, navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to China’s actions, the ministry said. The sorties occurred following the US and the EU expressing their concern on Friday in Washington over what they said were China’s “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait. The two sides after bilateral meetings “expressed concern about China’s provocations that increase the risk of crisis in the [Taiwan] Strait.” It was unclear whether Beijing was trying to send a message to the US and the EU. China’s government sees such statements and warnings as interference in its “internal affairs.” The number of sorties over Saturday and Sunday were more than usual. The defense ministry has been posting information about Chinese warplane and naval vessel activities since Sept. 17, 2020, amid a growing frequency of incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ. An ADIZ is an area declared by a country to allow it to identify, locate and control approaching foreign aircraft, but it is not part of territorial airspace as defined by international law.
‘TIP OF THE ICEBERG’: Academics are unlikely to blow the whistle on misconduct by politicians studying for degrees, and advisers must not be compromised, an expert said
The Ministry of Education should take steps to ensure that university dissertation plagiarism is prevented, the head of an education group said on Saturday, one day after Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) had his master’s degree revoked by National Taiwan University (NTU). Union of Private School Educators president Yu Jung-hui (尤榮輝) said the cases involving Cheng and former Hsinchu mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) in August were among the largest scandals to affect NTU. The two incidents are likely the tip of the iceberg, Yu said, given that few academics and faculty members would be willing to act as whistle-blowers, and school administrators often hope that public reports of plagiarism fade from attention so they can “sweep them under the rug.” Yu’s appeal came after Cheng confirmed on Friday that NTU had determined that he had plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis at the NTU Graduate Institute of National Development. The school began investigating the thesis after a complaint was filed with NTU against Cheng in October. Lin abandoned his campaign for Taoyuan mayor ahead of the Nov. 26 elections when an investigation determined that he had plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis. Lin and Cheng had the same thesis advisor — Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), who is now the National Security Bureau director-general. All three are members of the Democratic Progressive Party. Yu said politicians who want to study for degrees should put in the required effort rather than resorting to influence peddling. Thesis advisers should be gatekeepers of academic ethics and must not be compromised by possible favors from politicians, he said. NTU should also be held accountable over seemingly lax standards for checking the originality of academic papers, Yu said. Separately, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) on Saturday was asked at an event in Taipei if his ministry would hold NTU responsible for administrative oversight. Pan said only
Idaho Governor Brad Little arrived in Taiwan with his wife, Teresa, and a trade delegation yesterday for a four-day visit, during which he is scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Little is also to meet with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and attend a banquet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the ministry said in a statement yesterday. Little is also scheduled to attend the signing of a commercial memorandum between Taiwan and Idaho, and lead the delegation on visits to the Taichung City Government, the Imports and Exports Association of Taipei and the Taiwan Flour Mills Association. The ministry said Little’s ties with the nation extend back to when he led a state legislature delegation to Taiwan in 2011 as the Idaho lieutenant governor. “As governor and a businessman, I understand the importance of building relationships and making personal visits with some of our best customers,” he said at the time, adding that Idaho had a “decades-long friendship” with Taiwan. Little won a second term as governor last month. Taiwan topped Idaho’s list of importers last year, and has been the state’s second-largest trade partner for three straight years, the ministry said. Little’s visit will bolster Taiwan’s already solid ties with the state, it added.
Tseng Sheng-kuang (曾聖光), a Taiwanese volunteer soldier who died in November while fighting for Ukraine, was honored by the Council of Indigenous Peoples at a memorial service in Hualien yesterday. Tseng was honored with the highest award of the Contribution to Indigenous Peoples for his sacrifice in resisting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as for democracy, freedom and justice, council Minister Icyang Parod said at the ceremony. Hualien County Commissioner Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), who also attended the event, expressed her condolences over Tseng’s death, and expressed sympathy for Tseng’s mother and wife given the “pain and loss” they must have felt when collecting Tseng’s ashes in Ukraine. Hsu said at the ceremony that Tseng’s father-in-law also died in the past few weeks, adding to the family’s sadness. She said that as a mother, she hoped there would be no more unnecessary sacrifices in the war, and wished that the family finds peace of mind. Tseng, 25, was an Indigenous Amis from Hualien County. He joined the International Legion of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces and died in battle in Lyman, part of the contested Luhansk region, making him the first Taiwanese volunteer soldier to die in the Ukraine war. Tseng had served in the Republic of China Army from 2017 to last year. Tseng’s family went to Ukraine last month to identify his body and deal with matters related to his death. A ceremony was held in Kyiv in his honor.
Taiwan and the US on Friday celebrated the second anniversary of a language education initiative that aims to encourage more Americans to learn Mandarin at Taiwanese study centers as China’s language and cultural centers close across the US. “Over the past two years, we have significantly increased Mandarin and English language learning and exchange opportunities. Here’s to the future!” the US Department of State’ Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs wrote on Twitter. Attached to the post was a graphic that showed that the number of US students in the bureau’s exchange programs in Taiwan has increased to about 130 from 90 over the two years since the initiative was launched on Dec. 3, 2020. The number of students attending the US-sponsored Mandarin programs is expected to rise to nearly 190 by the end of next year, the graphic showed. “Taiwan-US Education Initiative is growing from strength to strength and we hope to tell more stories about Taiwan in the years to come,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US wrote in response. The office, Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the US, followed that with a short video to introduce the Learn and Study in Taiwan Web site, which provides information on how to access to Mandarin learning courses in Taiwan and the US. The US-Taiwan Education Initiative aims to expand collaboration in the area of language education and to safeguard academic freedom. “The initiative will highlight and enhance Taiwan’s role in providing Chinese language instruction to Americans and to people around the world,” then-American Institute in Taiwan director Brent Christensen said at its launch. The initiative grew as the US began to close Beijing-supported Confucius Institutes, which were Chinese language and cultural learning centers that some governments have said are intended to extend China’s influence abroad. As of June 21, there were “104 Confucius
Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) has taken leave while sexual harassment allegations are investigated, the council said in a statement on Saturday. Hsieh on Saturday morning asked the Executive Yuan for temporary leave until the investigation is completed, the council said in a statement later that day. His request came after several lawmakers issued a joint statement earlier in the day asking Hsieh to step aside during the investigation. Mirror Media in October was the first to report allegations that Hsieh had sexually harassed several of his female secretaries. Female subordinates using pseudonyms were cited accusing Hsieh of verbal harassment and of deliberately brushing his body against them in the workplace, adding that it seemed the minister only hired young female secretaries based on their appearance. Hsieh has rejected the allegations. Following the reports, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the Cabinet would establish a special task force to investigate the allegations. Eight Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers, including Lin Yi-chin (林宜瑾) and Fan Yun (范雲), signed the statement asking Hsieh to step aside. New Power Party Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) also added her signature. The legislators referred to the Act of Gender Equality in Employment (性別工作平等法), which states that immediate action must be taken when employers become aware of harassment in the workplace. Hsieh’s presence in his position would influence the investigation if he did not step aside, the lawmakers said.
CLARIFIED: Most of the changes involved expanding definitions that had previously only referred to people of one gender, such as those for ‘lust’ and ‘voluptuous’
The Ministry of Education on Wednesday said that it has revised 301 entries in its online Chinese dictionary following criticism that they contained outdated or sexist language. Lawmakers, including New Power Party Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭), have repeatedly called on the ministry to revise two online dictionaries — the Revised Mandarin Chinese Dictionary for adults and the Concise Mandarin Chinese Dictionary for children — to address sexually discriminatory language. The ministry said that its National Academy for Educational Research, which maintains the dictionaries, has made gradual changes to both directories. In the concise dictionary, it had previously revised the entry for a traditional term for maternal grandparents — literally “outside grandparents,” based on the old notion that a wife marries “into” a family — to note that they are now only called “grandparents,” the ministry said. The latest update to the definitions of 301 words involves the revised dictionary, it said, adding that the amendments followed a gender equality-based review. One of the changes is the entry for the word “hymen,” which now uses more “medical” and “neutral” language to define it as: “a circular soft tissue (rather than “thin membrane”) on a female’s (rather than “woman’s”) external vaginal opening,” the ministry said. Meanwhile, the idiom shui xing yang hua (水性楊花), which means “fickle” but which connotes sexual promiscuity, kept the explanation stating that it is “mainly used in reference to women” but tagged it as a “pejorative term.” Ye cha po (夜叉婆), originally defined as a “fierce woman or wife,” was revised to say that it was “formerly used to describe a fierce woman, or to jokingly refer to one’s wife.” In many cases, the changes involved expanding definitions that had previously only referred to people of one gender. For example, the entry for se (色, “lust”) was revised to not specifically refer to “a man’s” strong sexual
A draft amendment that would allow priority seats on public transportation to be given to “people with actual need” instead of only elderly people, women and children passed a legislative committee on Thursday. The legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee passed the draft amendment proposed by the Executive Yuan to the People With Disabilities Rights Protection Act (身心障礙者權益保障法). The amended version removes the words “elderly, women and children” to allow “people with actual need” to use priority seats, said Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟), director of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Social and Family Affairs Administration. A similar proposal has also been put forward by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴), Lin Yi-chin (林宜瑾) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) along with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Yu-mei (張育美). Article 58, Paragraph 2 of the act stipulates that people with disabilities and one of their necessary companions may also use priority seats. The committee agreed to remove the word “may” from the paragraph following a suggestion by Wu. Wu and others also proposed a draft that would require city and county governments to integrate local transportation methods, including taxis, Rehabus — a government-sponsored bus service for transporting people with disabilities — and other accessible transportation services to meet the needs of disabled people. Local governments have made efforts to provide more convenient transportation services to people with disabilities, but the proposal was made as there is room for improvement, Chien said. The proposal was passed by the committee. Article 59 of the act stipulates that people with disabilities may be exempted from admittance fees when entering public scenic areas, entertainment venues, or cultural and educational areas, and would only pay half the price at private ones. Wu proposed to include sports and exercise facilities to the article. Chien said that public sports venues already provide discounts to disabled people,
A school journal dating back to 1944 and 1945, donated by an antiques collector on Friday, has given a glimpse into daily life at Chiayi County’s Shuishang Elementary School near the end of World War II, when Taiwan was under Japanese control. Sun Ching-hung (孫慶鴻) on Friday donated the journal to the school it originated from, ahead of the school’s 120th anniversary celebration. The teacher who held the journal recorded class content and daily schools activities in the beginning, Sun said. “However, as the war progressed there were increasingly more days when classes were suspended,” he said. “Later on, the teacher began holding air-raid drills with the students, and eventually the school was temporarily closed due to US bombing raids on southern Taiwan,” he added. The journal gives a rare first-hand look at the period’s changes from a grassroots perspective, he said. The school was established in 1903 as Minakami Elementary School and was renamed Minakami Public School in 1921. In 1941, under a decree from Tokyo, all Japanese public schools and elementary schools were renamed “national schools” (kokumin gakkou, 國民學校). Following Japan’s defeat in WWII and the arrival of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to Taiwan, the school underwent several name changes before it was given its current name, Shuishang Elementary School, in 1968. Sun said he came upon the journal four years ago when an old house near the school belonging to a late doctor was being demolished. The doctor’s family contacted Sun saying they were preparing to demolish the house, and asked him to look inside first to see if there was anything worth preserving, he said. The journal also provided an insight into what classes students took in school during the late Japanese colonial era, he said. The journal’s first entry on April 17, 1944, mentions reading, arithmetic, history, gymnastics, traditional Chinese painting and
Local department stores have said they expect sales of cosmetic and skincare products to soar following the lifting of an outdoor mask mandate on Thursday. The mandate had come into effect on May 19 last year, requiring people to wear masks outdoors at all times. Cosmetics sales have since been dominated by eye makeup products, Uni-Ustyle Department Store in Taipei said. However, it has recorded a surge in the sales of lipsticks and other cosmetic products since the lifting of the mandate, it added. A senior official at Far Eastern Sogo Department Store yesterday said that cosmetics sales usually peak near Mother’s Day and during anniversary sales. However, many people did not purchase cosmetic products for Mother’s Day this year, as they were still using the products they had bought during anniversary sales near the end of last year. Sales of cosmetic products at the store fell about 20 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that people were not concerned about beauty care, the official said. In addition to lipsticks, sales of foundations and other skincare products also soared since Thursday, they said, adding that the company expects the sales of such products to rise 10 to 15 percent in the short term. International cosmetics brands have been focusing on the Taiwanese market as China continues to implement harsh lockdown measures to stamp out COVID-19 cases there, the person said, adding that Taiwanese consumers can expect a variety of new product launches. Global Mall said that sales of cosmetics, electric toothbrushes and razors rose after the mask mandate was lifted. Female office workers aged 30 to 40 were the main buyers of electric toothbrushes, while razors were mostly inquired about by males aged 40 to 50, the mall said. The mall expects its sales of cosmetics to increase 30 percent amid soaring demand for lipsticks, foundations, primers and blushers.
The Taipei District Court on Friday ruled that a child at the center of a custody battle between an Italian father and a Taiwanese mother should spend part of her school vacations in Italy with her father. The court said that to strengthen the child’s “direct and personal relations with her father and [paternal] relatives,” she should spend 10 and 30 days respectively of her winter and summer vacations in Italy. The legal battle started in 2017, when the father took the girl — who at the time lived with her mother, surnamed Chan (詹), in Taiwan — to Italy to visit his family, where she remained against the will of her mother. Chan later traveled to Italy and brought her daughter back, which the father described as abduction. He subsequently traveled to Taiwan to fight for legal custody of the child. The girl was born in 2014, but the parents were never married. In January, the court ruled that the father had sole parental rights and ordered Chan to return the child to her father by March 14. Chan lodged an appeal in February, but the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision. The case garnered media attention after the girl wrote a widely publicized letter to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), in which she said she wished to stay in Taiwan. After the girl refused to be taken by judicial officers from her school on March 14, Chan appealed to the Constitutional Court later that month, requesting a stay of execution, which was granted. After hearing the case, the Constitutional Court in May found that the Supreme Court’s ruling had contravened the Constitution’s intent to protect the personal rights and dignity of minors. It returned the case to the Supreme Court, which in October invalidated its initial ruling and sent the case back to the Taipei District
MIDNIGHT SNACKS: Delivery orders for instant noodles and energy drinks soared at supermarkets, while one operator said people have been buying beer by the case
The nation’s major supermarket and convenience store chains yesterday said that they have seen an increase of about 30 percent in evening and late-night deliveries since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup last month, with snacks, instant noodles and energy drinks among the top sellers. Carrefour Taiwan said many major sports events began last month, such as the FIFA World Cup, the MLB World Series, the CPBL championship and the new NBA season, while former NBA player Dwight Howard joined Taiwan’s T1 League. The events boosted the stay-at-home economy, Carrefour said, adding that evening orders for fresh food deliveries rose by about 30 percent. Sales of beer at its physical stores also grew about 30 percent, as many people bought beer by the case, Carrefour said. PX Mart said its evening delivery orders have risen about 15 percent since the beginning of the World Cup, with the most popular items being instant noodles and eggs. Many retailers have launched promotions aimed at sports fans, with Carrefour offering discounts for late-night deliveries, giving out coupons for successfully guessing the winner of a game and holding a draw for a chance to win a year of free delivery service. PX Mart gives out coupons linked to the number of goals scored during the World Cup semi-finals and finals. Convenience store chain operator Taiwan FamilyMart said that sales of food products often increase in the evening when there are major sports events in other countries, adding that commonly purchased items were deep-fried food and braised snacks. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven said that people who stay up late to watch the World Cup visit convenience stores to buy snacks, instant noodles and popsicles. The chain said it has established special “bar areas” offering grilled food and beer at 60 of its branches, allowing customers to enjoy freshly grilled food while watching the
An exhibition that aims to raise awareness about spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) opened at Popop Taipei in the city’s Nangang District (南港) yesterday. The exhibition, titled “Include,” seeks to present the struggles facing people with SMA through visual art and advocate for greater government support so that “no one is left behind,” said the Become the Miracle Association, which organized the event. The association also called on the government to expand the scope of free drug coverage for about 420 people with SMA in Taiwan. SMA is a rare neuromuscular disorder that results in weakness and muscle wasting, eventually causing paralysis and death. It is different from the better-known amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, as it primarily affects infants and children, and is a major genetic cause of infant mortality. Association chairwoman Lee Yi-chieh (李怡潔) said a majority of SMA patients in Taiwan lack access to free treatment due to strict requirements. One SMA treatment, Spinraza, became available in Taiwan in 2020, but patients must be diagnosed with the disease before they turn one year old to be eligible for National Health Insurance (NHI) coverage, Lee said. By the end of last year, the NHI system had spent NT$510 million (US$16.7 million at the current exchange rate) to cover the cost of Spinraza treatment for 39 eligible SMA patients, Lee said, citing government data. However, nearly 400 other patients have not met the threshold and face substantial financial burdens, the association said. Guatemalan Ambassador to Taiwan Oscar Adolfo Padilla Lam, who attended the exhibiton’s opening ceremony, said he hopes the event will bring hope to SMA patients who need more public attention. The exhibition is to run through Sunday, the association said, adding that admittance is free.
Members of the Taoyuan City Female New Immigrants Care Association pose for a photograph at Taoyuan Railway Station yesterday. The group performed a traditional Vietnamese dance to promote an International Migrants Day celebration that is to be held at the Taoyuan Women’s Center and the nearby Yanping Park on Saturday, featuring local cuisines from several countries as well as cultural exhibitions.
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said
China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy is apparently changing after the ‘white paper’ movements, so the lockdowns are expected to be loosened, the risk of the virus spreading farther is likely to increase and experience from many countries suggests case numbers will grow exponentially fast in the early stages of an outbreak.” Wang said China is expected to meet many harsh challenges as COVID-19 spreads. First, there would be a big effect on vulnerable groups, including elderly people, people with severe comorbidities, unvaccinated people and care home residents. Second, only a very low percentage of China’s population has been infected, so they have almost no natural immunity, he said, adding that the protection provided by China-made vaccines is not ideal, and that vaccine uptake among elderly people is still lower than expected. Third, it would be difficult for China to prepare enough effective antiviral drugs for its population, and to allocate them efficiently across its vast territory, especially as it faces a rapid increase in healthcare demands, Wang said. Fourth, when the virus starts spreading, it is expected to reach its peak in about two months, which would be around the Lunar New Year holidays, when people often travel and attend gatherings. Lastly, although the severity and fatality of Omicron cases is
HONORARY CITIZEN: The triathlete, who visited Taiwan this week, said everyone has luck within themselves, but they just need something to help draw it out of them
When Norwegian triathlete Gustav Iden was crowned 2019 Ironman 70.3 world champion in Nice, the last thing he could have imagined was becoming a household name in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese cared little about Ironman events or even knew what they involved, and it made no difference to them that with his win in France at the age of 23, he became the youngest-ever Ironman world champion. However, what did catch their attention was the baseball cap he wore as he crossed the finish line in Nice. It showed the name of a Taoist temple in Changhua County in Chinese characters, making him a local star and the cap from Puyan Shunze Temple (埔鹽順澤宮) a must-have. The temple, which honors Xuantian Shangdi (玄天上帝, Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven), one of the higher-ranking Taoist deities, made only 500 caps to give to worshipers for free in 2019, but had to make 370,000 more to meet demand since Iden was seen wearing it in Nice in September 2019. Iden said he found the cap on the ground in Japan before the Tokyo Olympics test event earlier in 2019. “Just thought it looked cool, so I cleaned it up and started to use it,” he said in an interview after winning the race in France. However, what has prompted the craze for the temple cap in Taiwan goes beyond what it looks like or that a foreign athlete wore it; it is in high demand because of the supposed luck it brought the Norwegian ironman. Including his breakout win in Nice, Iden has won all 10 races in which he wore the temple’s cap. His latest win while wearing the cap came in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in October — a 225km journey comprised of a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42km run — that Iden completed
Attendees at the fourth annual Asia Trails Conference on Friday exchanged their experiences with building and maintaining sustainable hiking and walking trails, highlighting the importance of international cooperation and community participation. The five-day conference in Taipei, which celebrates the world’s greenways and the pairing of hiking trails in Taiwan with those from around the world, underscores ways to make the routes more resilient and accessible, particularly in the face of challenges such as global warming and pandemics. It is crucial to solicit community input for trail operations, allowing residents to have a say in planning trail services that can boost the local economy, Forestry Bureau Director-General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶) told the conference. A good example is the contribution made by the Tsou people to the Mountains to Sea National Greenway, which was established in 2018 and connects the central mountain range with coastal areas in Tainan, Lin said. During the conference — which was attended by 84 international experts from nine countries and regions — an agreement was signed between the bureau and the Bruce Trail Conservancy in Canada to establish that route as a sister trail with the Mountains to Sea National Greenway. Attendees also paid tribute to 100 years of trail history since the establishment of the Appalachian Trail in the eastern US in 1921. The 3,500km trail, an initiative led by forest conservationist Benton MacKaye, helped develop a legacy of long-distance hiking and became an inspiration for wilderness protection, said Laura Belleville, vice president of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Conservation and Policy Division. Attendees of the conference planned to experience some of Taiwan’s most popular trails after the symposium ended yesterday, the Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association said. The association is an organizer of the conference. Masafumi Saito, a long-distance hiker and writer from Japan, is to make a foot journey along the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails, the
The government is seeking to improve the management of pesticide used in the production of high-risk agricultural products, officials said on Friday, after more than one-third of produce failed a recent inspection. The Consumers’ Foundation on Thursday announced the results of an inspection of 80 food items in four categories, in which 36 percent of the total failed tests for pesticides. The failure rate was much higher than in other inspections over the past few years, the foundation said. Executive Yuan Food Safety Office Director Hsu Fu (許輔) and Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said that food products that are at high risk of excessive pesticide residue would be more closely monitored, adding that guidance would be provided to farms. The foundation tested bell peppers and two kinds of bok choy, which had a combined failure rate of about 30 percent, as well as hot peppers, which had a failure rate of about 60 percent, it said. Of the 80 items, 67 were bought in outdoor markets, public markets and small shops, and 26 of them, or 38 percent, failed the inspection. The remaining 13 items were bought at large chain stores, hypermarkets and supermarkets, of which three, or 23 percent, failed inspection. Hsu said that managing pesticide residue is the responsibility of two agencies: the council before the item hits the shelves and the Ministry of Health and Welfare thereafter. Local health bureaus are responsible for conducting annual inspections on 4,500 produce items, he said, adding that items that fail inspections would in the future be handled by an interdepartmental team. Five years ago, the government found high levels of pesticides in locally grown passionfruit and spices, but levels were brought under control with strict management, he said, adding that officials would draw from that experience. Chen
‘BEWARE OF MEDDLING’: China seeks to ensure that a pro-China party with close links to Beijing wins the 2024 elections, the United Formosans for Independence head said
Taiwanese should act to “resist China and protect Taiwan” after the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) weaker-than-expected showing in the local elections on Saturday last week, the World United Formosans for Independence said yesterday. China’s infiltration of and information warfare against Taiwan would not cease after the DPP’s historic election defeat, group chairman Chen Nan-tien (陳南天) said in a statement. China might instead increase its efforts to divide Taiwanese society, Chen said, adding that it would likely use proxies in Taiwan to increase its political and financial influence in the nation. China’s campaign would likely focus on traditional news media, social media, news Web sites and messaging apps, Chen said. “China and its agents have infiltrated all these sectors in Taiwan to create social division and vilify pro-Taiwan political forces,” Chen said. China’s main aim is to remove the governing party in the 2024 elections and bring a pro-China party with close links to Beijing back into power, he said. After its losses in the local elections, the DPP has “to make the changes that are necessary,” he said. Taiwanese must remember that China and pro-China forces in Taiwan are promoting the idea that it is futile to resist China, he said, adding that these forces seek to lay the groundwork for China’s military takeover of the nation. They seek to obscure the distinction between the nation and its enemy, he added. China seeks to depoliticize Taiwanese society by bringing to the fore the “dirty aspects” of politics, he said. China wants Taiwanese to be disinterested in public affairs, Chen added. It might not be in the DNA of Taiwanese to resist China and protect their nation, but they still have the determination to defend Taiwan from the enemy, he said. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is downplaying the risk of a Chinese attack, Chen said, adding that KMT officials did not do
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) yesterday said he had his doctoral degree revoked by National Taipei University for plagiarism in his dissertation. Tsai, who ran in the Keelung mayoral election on Saturday last week, but lost against Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said he had been informed by the university that its Graduate Institute of Urban Planning revoked the degree after a recommendation by the school’s academic ethics committee. However, he had not received a formal notice from the committee, he wrote on Facebook. Tsai passed his dissertation defense in October 2019 and received his doctorate in 2020, after he was re-elected as a legislator by his constituency in Keelung in January that year. However, several Keelung and Taipei city councilor candidates from the New Power Party in September accused Tsai of plagiarizing his dissertation and filed a report with the university, which then announced a review of his dissertation. Tsai said he respected the university’s decision and apologized for his negligence in not listing all of the necessary citations in his dissertation, as well as for the trouble caused to his teachers and the school. Tsai said he had spent almost 10 years to complete the dissertation, including conducting field studies. Despite the missing citations, his dissertation was original, he said, adding that only 2 percent of its content was similar to other works. During the review, he appeared before the committee in person and offered to add the missing citations, he said. Tsai said he is planning to file an appeal to protect his own interests and prove that his dissertation is original. When he served as a Keelung City councilor, he pursued a doctoral degree in urban planning because he had seen the city’s stagnation, hoping that the studies would enable him to help improve its development, Tsai said. He