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”
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.
The Chinese delegation disrupted the opening ceremony of the Kimberly Process, an initiative to stop conflict diamonds, in Perth, Australia on Monday. According to attendees, the Chinese delegation “hijacked the microphone” during a traditional Aboriginal welcoming ceremony, as a Kimberly Process Chair Robert Owens-Jones was introducing Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. They demanded to know whether Taiwan was officially invited to attend the four-day conference and insisted that the meeting be suspended until the matter was resolved.
“It was disgusting,” one high-level Australian attendee told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was extraordinary, so uncalled for and so inappropriate, and so disrespectful.”
Though not an official member, Taiwan has participated in the Kimberly Process as the Rough Diamond Trading Entity of Chinese Taipei, which meets the minimum requirements of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, since 2007. Taiwan was invited as a “guest of the Chair” this year. The Taiwanese delegation was eventually forced to leave the conference for it to continue.
Update (4/10): Lee Ching-yu was denied boarding today at Taoyuan International Airport after the airlines received notification from the Chinese public security ministry that her Mainland Travel Permit has been cancelled.
Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che was reported missing on March 19 after entering the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai from Macau by land. His wife was notified after he failed to meet a friend for a meeting the same day. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office confirmed on March 29 that Lee has been detained and is under investigation on suspicion of harming national security. Chinese authorities have so far refused to release where Lee is being held and when he is expected to be released.
Lee, 42, works at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and frequently travels to China. He has extensive contacts with NGO workers in China and is critical of how human rights lawyers are being treated in China. Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu, is planning on traveling to Beijing on April 10 to seek her husband’s release from relevant authorities.
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).
Kuomintang Chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu begins her five-day visit to China today, first stopping in Nanjing to pay respect at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Sun Yat-sen is widely considered to be the founding father of modern China as well as the founder of what became modern-day KMT. Hung is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his capacity as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing tomorrow.
China has welcome this visit as an important step towards peaceful development of cross-strait relations, again citing the “1992 Consensus” as the basis for cross-strait relations. Of particular importance to China is the one-China principle, while KMT believes the “China” of such principle refers to the Republic of China instead of the People’s Republic of China.
Many in Taiwan, including President Tsai Ing-wen’s government and her Democratic Progressive Party, are watching closely, as some fear that Hung will publicly commit Taiwan to a peace agreement with China, even as KMT lost both the presidency and parliament majority this January. Hung has previously publicly endorsed the idea of both sides belonging to one China without specifying the Republic of China, drawing controversy and ire from many within her party.