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”

Former VP elected KMT chairman, same downward spiral?

152824eb-526d-4a94-a042-f58dd33bd176After 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?”

Taiwan’s quest for global health summit participation

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”

Chinese fishing boat detained for illegal fishing

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.

‘Blood Diamond’ talks disrupted by Chinese delegation over Taiwan

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.

Taiwan to further revise SE and South Asia visa policy

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.