Taiwanese activist tried in China

After Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-cheh was abducted when crossing into China almost six months ago, his wife Lee Ching-yu received a phone call from a Zhang Zhongwei on September 6. Zhang claimed to be Lee’s attorney and asked Lee’s wife to travel to Yueyang, Hunan, China, where Lee would be due to attend trial. Lee’s wife departed for China on September 10 and had to sit through what could only be described as a farce of a trial the next day.

During the trial, Lee “confessed” to charges of “subverting state power” through posting articles on Chinese social media platforms QQ, Weibo, and WeChat with the intent to “maliciously discredit” the Community Party of China and promote democracy. He also added that he received “well-rounded education” during his detention and had come to recognize the progress China made in development. He further expressed his appreciation in China’s “civilized justice system”. The court uploaded Lee’s trial in edited segments to its Weibo account. The court will sentence Lee at a later date.

We may never know what actually led to Lee’s “confession” until and if he is released back to Taiwan. Most people who voted in Taiwan’s election or anyone who has voiced support for an independent Taiwan are guilty of those “charges” Lee “confessed” to. But one thing has never been clearer: China will prosecute and hunt down whoever it wants, under whatever reasons it deems necessary, but it is definitely not convincing any sane Taiwanese that the Communist Party of China, its one-party authoritarian rule, and unification are desirable in Taiwan’s future.

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Tai Tzu-ying won Badminton Title

Taiwanese badminton player Tai Tzu-ying 戴資穎 won the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open in women’s singles in Kuala Lumpur on April 9 in the final matches (2-1) against Spanish opponent Carolina Marin. Marin won the first game before giving way to Tai in the following two. This is Tai’s fourth successive World Superseries win (after Yonex All England Open 2017, Dubai World Superseries Finals 2016, and Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open 2016). Tai, 22, has been ranked as no. 1 in the Badminton World Federation world rankings for women’s singles since December 2016.

In men’s singles, Chou Tien-chen, currently ranked no. 7, was eliminated in round 2 against Indonesian player Jonatan Christie.

Taiwanese activist abducted in China

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-cheh 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.

Kuo Hsing-chun won bronze in Rio!

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2016 Getty Images – Lars Baron

Kuo Hsing-chun, 22, of Taiwan won the bronze medal for women’s 58 kg weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 9 August 2016. Kuo is of the Amis indigenous tribe from Taitung. She previously competed and won gold medal in the same category in the 2013 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, and the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships in Wrocław, Poland.

Taiwan currently has one gold medal and two bronze medals.

Hsu Shu-ching won gold at Rio!

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2016 Getty Images – Lars Baron

Hsu Shu-ching, 25, of Taiwan won the gold medal for women’s 53 kg weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 7 August 2016. Hsu previously competed in the same category in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and tied for second place for total weight lifted but was awarded the silver medal due to lower body weight. Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan, who was first place in 2012, has been accused of doping and was stripped of her gold medal, making Hsu the gold medal winner for 2012.

On the same day, Taiwan’s women archery team, Tan Ya-ting, Lin Shih-chia, and Le Chien-Ying won the bronze medal against Italy.

Taiwan President apologizes to indigenous peoples

On behalf of the Government of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen today issued a formal apology to the country’s indigenous peoples in a ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Taiwan is home to about 550,000 indigenous peoples (~2.3% of Taiwan’s population), who research suggests started living on the island about 8,000 years before the Sino-Tibetan Han migration began in the 17th century. They are Austronesian peoples. Much like indigenous peoples in other parts of the world, these native peoples became victims of forced land acquisition, mass murder (some may say genocide), forced cultural assimilation and acculturation, and culture, language, and identity lost when different colonizing powers and populations started arriving on the island. Today, they face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. Continue reading “Taiwan President apologizes to indigenous peoples”