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”

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Chinese Taipei?

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Every four years, whenever the Summer Olympics comes along*, I inevitably get the question, “why is Taiwan called Chinese Taipei in the Olympics?”

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Taiwan’s official flag, Chinese Taipei Olympic flag, and the Olympics rings

CNN provides an explanation for this, but I want to give it more context. Continue reading “Chinese Taipei?”

Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural address

tsaiTsai Ing-wen was sworn in as President of Taiwan today in a ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, becoming the first female to lead the country. The ceremony included performances from the joint military marching band of Taiwan’s armed forces, a presentation on Taiwan’s history featuring a questionable and offensive sinocentric narrative (especially in regards to the indigenous populations of Taiwan), which was only saved by the performances of Panai Kusui, Sheng Xiong Band, Fire EX, and the sounds of Timur Elementary School Chorus and Puzangalan Children’s Choir later on (their rendition of the national anthem is particularly worth listening to).

But perhaps the most anticipated part of the ceremony to international observers was President Tsai’s inaugural address. China has openly called for Tsai to endorse the so-called 1992 Consensus, under which the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party both recognize Taiwan and the mainland as part of “one China” but each side has its own understanding of what that means. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party disputes the existence of a consensus, while much of Taiwan’s population doesn’t have a clear understanding of what the consensus explicitly refers to as “China”. To the rest of the world, “China” clearly refers to the PRC, and the Taiwanese people definitely do not agree that Taiwan is a part of the PRC. Continue reading “Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural address”

Taiwan Presidential Inauguration Live Streaming

Taiwan President-elect Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen will take their oaths of office on 20 May 2016. The inauguration ceremony will be streamed live on the website of the Presidential Office, YouTube, and Hievent. The ceremony is expected to start at 9 am Taiwan Time (GMT+8). Tsai’s inauguration speech is expected to outline her vision for governing the country as well as how her government plans to handle cross-strait relationship. Delegations from around the world have already arrived in Taipei and will attend a state banquet on the same day.

Tsai Ing-wen, 59, is the current chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party, which holds majority in the Legislative Yuan. She is the first female and fourth person to be directly elected to the office of the President of the Republic of China, after Lee Teng-hui (1988-2000), Chen Shui-bian (2000-2008), and Ma Ying-jeou (2008-2016). Dr. Tsai is single, but has two cats and will be adopting three retired service dogs, all Labradors.

Gender imbalance in new cabinet draws protests and concern

In preparation for the government transition on May 20, Taiwan President-elect Tsai Ing-wen has been searching and nominating members of her new cabinet in the past few weeks. The 2016 election created the first female president of Taiwan as well as a legislature with historic high female proportion (43 out of 113, 37.2%). However, among the list of 40 cabinet ministers proposed by Premier-designate Lin Chuan 林全, only 4 are female. Women’s rights groups held protest in front of the DPP headquarters today, while Tsai acknowledged the imbalance on her Facebook page and promised to place gender equality as a priority for the new government. DPP maintained that many female candidates have been consulted but turned down the offers.

In this day and age, it is rather disappointing to have yet another government made up of heterosexual men mostly in their 50s and 60s. President-elect Tsai has said prior to the election that she would like Taiwan to be a place where every girl feel like they can freely pursue any occupation they want, regardless of sex, including the highest office of the land. For that to be true, more female role models would certainly help. Looking at the Canadian Cabinet named last November, I can only hope that one day Taiwan would be able to match its diversity in a government cabinet.

Tsai Ing-wen elected President of Taiwan, first female to hold office

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Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan

Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party 民主進步黨, Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文, has won the 2016 Presidential Election of Taiwan. Together with her running mate, Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen 陳建仁, they received 56.12% (6,894,744 votes) of the ballots cast, winning in a landslide against candidates from the governing KMT Chairperson Eric Chu 朱立倫 (31.04%, 3,813,365 votes), and PFP Chairperson James Soong Chu-yu 宋楚瑜 (12.84%, 1,576,861 votes). Tsai and Chen will be sworn into office on May 20, 2016.

View her victory press conference here (in Mandarin and English):

Continue reading “Tsai Ing-wen elected President of Taiwan, first female to hold office”