Constitutional Court heard debate on same-sex marriage

Taiwan’s Constitutional Court today heard a case brought by LGBT activist Chi Chia-wei and Taipei City Government on whether the Article 972 of the Civil Code, which states marriage as between “the male and the female parties,” is unconstitutional.

ROC Constitution, Article 7: All citizens of the Republic of China, irrespective of sex, religion, race, class, or party affiliation, shall be equal before the law.

The high court heard oral arguments from attorneys representing the petitioners as well as from the justice minister, representative from the interior ministry, and representative from the Chi’s local household registration office. Six expert witnesses, all constitutional law experts, were also selected by the 14-member court to offer their opinions on the case (one of the 15 justices recused himself). The petitioners believe that same-sex marriage should be included in the Civil Code, while the justice ministry believes that a separate law for civil partnership is more appropriate until further consensus among Taiwanese people on the issue is reached. Continue reading “Constitutional Court heard debate on same-sex marriage”

Chinese, Taiwanese, or Chinese Taiwanese?

There are many factors that play into how Chinese and American people see their identities. Chinese people pride themselves on being a civilization with 5,000 years of history, and hence everyone who is born into a Chinese family, no matter the geographic location, is obliged to always identify him or herself as Chinese. Otherwise it’s a dishonor to the family and what have you.

On the other hand, other than the Native Americans, the U.S. is a country of immigrants, who left their home countries in hope of finding a better life in the states. They may retain the cultural heritage of their country of origin, but they and their descendants primarily identify themselves as Americans (e.g. Asian American, African American, European American, etc.). Continue reading “Chinese, Taiwanese, or Chinese Taiwanese?”

The polite fiction of “one China”

The great obfuscation of one-China published by The Economist is an excellent, though introductory, read on the Taiwan-China-U.S. relations. Some key points from the article:

China itself does not actually have a one-China policy. It has what it calls a one-China principle, which is that there is only one China, with its government in Beijing.

America does not accept the one-China principle. Instead it has the one-China policy, which acknowledges that China has such a principle—not quite the same thing. America does not recognise Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, nor does it recognise Taiwan as an independent state.

In Taiwan itself the one-China formula has an even stranger history. It is rooted in the fiction that the island’s first president, Chiang Kai-shek, who fled there in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists, would one day recapture the whole of China.

Among [the proportion of] people [on the island] between 20 and 30, 85% say they are Taiwanese.

The simple and natural solution is to admit there are two Chinas.

A more detailed analysis on the historical progression of “one China”: The “one China” of the U.S. is not the same as the “one China” of China (in Chinese).

Oil spill covers Green Island shore

Seashore of Green Island off Taiwan’s southeastern coast was found covered in heavy waste oil on March 10. A local resident first posted about the spill on Facebook, prompting the government to rush to contain and clean up the waster oil. The oil appeared to have been illegally dumped north of Green Island by a large vessel.

Environmental Protection Administration official estimates today that the clean up will take a week to complete, while a vessel has been identified as possibly responsible for the spill. EPA and foreign ministry officials have not named the ship company nor its nationality.

2.28

February 28 is a public holiday in Taiwan, designated as Peace Memorial Day to commemorate the massacres that began on February 28, 1947 and the White Terror period that followed for the next four decades (1947-1987). 70 years have since passed, but it is still a contentious topic in Taiwan due to the fact that Kuomintang (KMT), the political party that massacre perpetrators belong to, is still a major (though currently in minority) player in Taiwanese politics. In many ways, KMT during the White Terror period behaved very much like the Communist Party of China today, as the incident was a taboo subject during those 40 years, and was not even taught in schools until 1990s. Taiwan Bar’s video above (English subtitle/CC available) provides an introduction to something many families in Taiwan still grieve about today.

From the Washington PostFor decades, no one spoke of Taiwan’s hidden massacre. A new generation is breaking the silence.

Taoyuan Airport Metro to start operation

The recently-finished Taoyuan Airport MRT will begin commercial service on 2 March 2017, after construction first started in 2006 and was delayed multiple times. Trains run from both terminals of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (A12 & A13) eastbound through New Taipei and Taipei to Taipei Main Station (A1) and southbound through Taoyuan City.

Travel time for express trains (purple, stopping at A1, A3, A8, A12, and A13) between the airport and Taipei Main Station is 30-40 minutes and are expected to run 4-5 times every hour (6 am-11 pm). Travel time for commuter trains (blue, every stop) is about one hour and will run every 15 minutes. Tickets between the airport and Taipei Main cost NT$160/person. Fares to other stations start at NT$30. EasyCard, iPass, and HappyCash are accepted. Tickets are 50% off during the first month of operation (2 March-1 April).

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Passengers can transfer to Taipei MRT in stations A1-A3, to high speed rail in stations A1 (HSR Taipei) and A18 (HSR Taoyuan), and to regular railway in stations A1 (Taipei Main) and A23 (TRA Zhongli, not yet open). Passengers flying China Airlines, EVA Airways, Mandarin Airlines, and UNI Airways can check in and drop their luggage at Taipei Main Station for flights departing after 9 am on the same day.

Taoyuan Airport MRT is the first line (Blue line) of Taoyuan Metro to open. Three more lines (Green, Orange, and Brown) are being planned and will connect stations A10, A11, A16, and A21 of the Airport MRT.