This culminated to yesterday, where over 10,000 demonstrators protested the changes at various places in Taipei. New Bloom’s detailed account is worth a read. While police declared parts of the protests illegal due to an unapproved route change, the Taipei Bar Association and rights groups have accused the police of illegally detaining and transporting several demonstrators and volunteer lawyers at the scenes of protest and demanded apologies from the government.
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”
Tsai 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 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.
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.