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”
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”
After 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?”
To further attract visitors from Southeast and South Asia and in continuation to its visa policy from last year, visa-free travel for citizens of Brunei and Thailand will be extended to July 31, 2018. Citizens of the Philippines will be able to travel to Taiwan without applying for a visa starting June 1, 2017 in an one-year pilot program. Citizens of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam who have received a Taiwan visa (excluding the foreign worker visa) will be eligible to apply online for a multiple-entry permit. Citizens of Bhutan and Sri Lanka will be eligible for tourist visa. Business travelers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka will be able to apply for the eVisa with recommendation from the local office of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).
For more information, contact Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bureau of Consular Affairs or the nearest Taiwan embassy/consulate/representative office.
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”
President Tsai Ing-wen is leading a delegation to visit four of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, in that order. The delegation will depart Taipei on 7 January, make fueling stop at Houston on the way there, and return to Taipei on 15 January via San Francisco. EVA Airways is selected to handle the delegation visit this time.
President Tsai is expected to meet with the head of state of each country, and also attend the inauguration ceremony of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on 10 January. She will also visit Taiwanese business in the region and the Secretariat of Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA, Central American Integrated System, in which Taiwan is an observer) in San Salvador. The ROC first established diplomatic relations with Honduras in 1965, with Guatemala in 1960, with Nicaragua in 1990, and with El Salvador in 1961. Other allies in the region include Belize and Panama (Costa Rica broke relations with the ROC in 2007), making Central America the most Taiwan-friendly region in the world.