Panama breaks diplomatic relations with ROC

Taiwan’s foreign ministry today announced that it has terminated diplomatic relations with the Republic of Panama, after the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced the decision to recognize the People’s Republic of China in a televised address. Panamanian Vice President and foreign minister and Chinese foreign minister formalized the relationship in Beijing shortly before the address.

 

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Indigenous territories in Taiwan

Despite President Tsai Ing-wen’s apology to the indigenous peoples in August last year, indigenous rights still have a long way to go in Taiwan. In February this year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) started drafting regulations on defining traditional indigenous territories. These territories expand from current indigenous reserved territories, and are meant to include territories occupied by tribes before foreign invasions.

As most of Taiwan’s current population resides on the western side of the island, the current discussion is only on the 16 government-recognized tribes, who mostly reside on the eastern part of the island and in the Central Mountain Range. Surveys conducted by the CIP during 2002-2007 suggested that traditional indigenous territories are about 180 hectares, or ~50% of Taiwan. The draft CIP created this year, however, only included 80 hectares, as it excluded private properties and land owned by the government and its agencies, most of which were obtained through force and deceit in the last century.   Continue reading “Indigenous territories in Taiwan”

Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage

After hearing oral arguments on the case concerning same-sex marriage brought by activist Chi Chia-wei and Taipei City Government two months ago, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court today ruled that the marriage chapter of the Civil Code, which states marriage as between “the male and the female parties,” to be unconstitutional. (Read the Court’s English press release.)

In its Interpretation 748, the Court contends that Part IV Chapter II of the Civil Code on marriage violates ROC Constitution Article 22, protecting people the freedom of marriage, and Article 7, stating all ROC citizens to be equal. The Court rules that relevant authorities must amend or enact laws within two years to protect the right of marriage for same-sex couples. However, the Court did not specify whether the parliament should amend the Civil Code, add additional articles allowing same-sex marriage, or to create a separate law allowing same-sex civil union. Continue reading “Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage”

Former VP elected KMT chairman, same downward spiral?

152824eb-526d-4a94-a042-f58dd33bd176After losing both the presidency and, for the first time, control of parliament in the 2016 elections, the century-old Kuomintang today elected former Taiwan Vice-President Wu Den-yih 吳敦義 as its new chairperson. Of the 476,147 eligible party members, 58% voted, 52.2% (144k) of which voted for Wu, just past the 50% that would otherwise have triggered a runoff election between Wu and incumbent chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu, who received the second most votes (19.2%). The six candidates include Wu, Hung, former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin, former health minister Steven Chan, former MP Han Kuo-yu, and former MP Tina Pan. Continue reading “Former VP elected KMT chairman, same downward spiral?”

Taiwan’s quest for global health summit participation

The annual World Health Assembly meeting is scheduled for May 22-31 in Geneva, Switzerland. Taiwan has been lobbying the international health governing body as well as friendly countries for an invitation to attend the meeting, but still has not received an invitation by the registration deadline. Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei in 2009-2016, when the then Ma Ying-jeou government publicly recognized the so-called 1992 Consensus. Since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected into office last January, China has been pressuring her government to accept the consensus. Continue reading “Taiwan’s quest for global health summit participation”

Chinese fishing boat detained for illegal fishing

A Chinese fishing boat was detained by Taiwanese coast guards on Saturday in the waters northwest of Hua Islet, Penghu for operating during closed fishing season, refusing inspection, and fishing in Taiwanese waters.

The fishing boat, Nan’ao 31409 of Guangdong, disregarded the non-fishing period of May 1 to August 16 mandated by Chinese authorities and was found fishing in the Taiwanese side of the Taiwan Strait. The crew ignored numerous inspection requests, attempted to escape, and hung on the edge of the boat to stop coast guards from boarding. The Penghu Maritime Patrol eventually fired rubber bullets to board the vessel. Two of the seven crew members were injured and sent to Penghu for treatment, while the boat and rest of the crew were detained.

In 2016, Taiwanese coast guards dispelled 1325 Chinese fishing boats for fishing in Taiwanese waters, detaining 108. To date in 2017, 346 Chinese boats were dispelled and 36 detained. Requests made to relevant Chinese authorities to restrain fishing boats have been ignored.