People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu Chi University president Ingrid Y. Liu (劉怡均). “As people say: ‘No pain, no gain.’ We have suffered pain and have gained,” Chou said, adding that Taiwan had learned much from the SARS outbreak in 2003 and improved its disease prevention measures. That included amending regulations to set up a more efficient and centralized disease control command system, enhancing infection controls at healthcare facilities and setting up a mask rationing policy, he said. Taiwan acted fast to effectively block the virus through these mechanisms, as well as the use of smart technology, he added. “However, the global COVID-19 situation is still severe, so the CECC is being very careful in easing border controls,” Chou said. Until effective vaccines and drugs are developed, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and practicing the “new disease prevention lifestyle” remain very important, he said, adding that the government also needs to consider its long-term investment strategy in the public health and healthcare sectors. Chang said the CECC and advisory specialists acted rapidly and frequently discussed response measures from the early days of the pandemic. They were prepared for possible local outbreaks, but the nation kept the disease situation under control much better than they had expected, he said. He is thankful to
All Nippon Airways (ANA) yesterday resumed two weekly flights between Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda airport) after service had been suspended for almost three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Japanese airline said it has restarted the direct flight service, which had been suspended since May 9, because many Japanese businesspeople needed to travel to Taiwan and Japanese expatriates in Taiwan needed flights home. The flights would be offered on Mondays and Fridays using Boeing 787-8 aircraft, it said. About 50 passengers boarded the morning flight that departed from Haneda airport and underwent quarantine procedures required by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center upon their arrival at Songshan airport, the airline said. Airline staff cleaned and sterilized the aircraft before about 100 passengers boarded for its return flight, it said. Dubai-based Emirates Airline on June 17 resumed service between Taipei and Dubai, and people who need to travel through Dubai to Bahrain and 14 other cities in its network can book their tickets on its Web site, provided they meet quarantine requirements. Singapore-based budget airline Scoot Tigerair on Wednesday last week announced that it would resume flights between Taipei and Seoul on Aug. 16, and that flights would be added on the route to Singapore. The weekly service would leave Taipei on Friday and Sunday afternoons, with return flights leaving Seoul on Saturday and Monday mornings, the carrier said. In other news, ridership on Taipei’s MRT metropolitan railway system in the first half of this year declined by 62.69 million from a year earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said yesterday. Ridership totaled 322.63 million over the period, compared with 385.32 million in the same period last year, it said. On average, about 2 million people rode the MRT daily last year, and more than 60 million people rode the system
‘FIRST STEP’ : The augmented reality guide makes the exhibits more lifelike and allows visitors to interact with them, bringing fossils ‘back to life,’ the museum said
The National Taiwan Museum yesterday introduced an augmented reality (AR) museum guide for its Natural History Branch in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District (中正). The AR Museum Guide was jointly developed by the museum, the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau, Arplanet Digital Technology Co and Mr Fossil, the museum said. With the guide, they hope to promote the development of the nation’s AR industry, it said. It is the first time a museum in Taiwan has used an AR indoor positioning system to bring ancient organisms and fossils “back to life,” the museum said. The AR technology has not only made the exhibits at the museum more lifelike, but also allows visitors to interact with them, providing more possibilities for popular science education, it said. In the past, museum displays tended to be static, but due to the influence of electronic devices, museums worldwide have seen visitor numbers gradually decrease, museum director Hung Shih-yu (洪世佑) said. To attract more visitors, the museum has over the past few years been committed to offering interactive shows, he said. The launch of its AR guide is just the beginning, he said, adding that he believes in the future, and as technology becomes more sophisticated, museum visitors will have even more lively interactive experiences. Describing the AR guide as trendsetting, Lin Chun-hsiu (林俊秀), a bureau representative, said that he hopes it encourages people to visit the museum more regularly. Arplanet Digital Technology Co founder and chief executive officer Jennifer Pai (白璧珍) said that her team’s vision is that AR technology will become accessible to everyone, and become a part of people’s everyday lives. The AR guide is the “first step” in AR experience at museums, she said, adding that she hopes it will “no longer be a dream” for everyone to experience AR. The AR guide not only uses technology to add value to the
Nine student artists on Friday were acclaimed as the winners of this year’s Chimei Arts Awards, including three who are repeat winners. The Chimei Arts Awards were founded in 1989 to promote art, and support talented music and art students, said Kuo Ling-ling (郭玲玲), director of the Tainan-based Chimei Museum and chief executive of the Chi Mei Culture Foundation. The foundation has since given 335 award winners more than NT$120 million (US$4.06 million at the current exchange rate) in grants, which have eased the financial burden on many talented students, and raised their odds of being seen on the international stage, Kuo said. This year’s winners are Hu Hsien-wen (胡銜文), Huang Chun-chieh (黃俊傑) and Lin Chien-ting (林建廷) in the fine art category; and Lu Yun (魯昀), Yang Ya-chun (楊雅淳), Hsu Ming-yu (許名妤), Lin En-chun (林恩俊), Cheng Yu-ting (鄭育婷) and Huang Ya-chung (黃亞中) in the music category. The three fine art category winners were all second-time winners, and all were highly praised by the judges, Kuo said. Hu was praised for solid sketching skills, and using classic techniques to depict modern lives and emotions; Huang Chun-chieh for using delicate shades to capture human faces and their inner thoughts; and the figure sculpted by Lin Chien-ting (林建廷) was “grandiose” and “showed fine anatomical structures,” she said. The award ceremony at the museum featured a performance by pianist Yen Chun-chieh (嚴俊傑) and violinist Wei Ching-yi (魏靖儀), who have won several prizes at home and abroad, including Chimei Arts Awards in previous years, Kuo said. The pair are also to perform at a festival the museum has organized to commemorate the 250th birthday of Beethoven, which begins with a lecture on Aug. 28 and concerts on Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Oct. 31, she said.
CORRUPTION PROBES: The Taipei Prosecutors’ Office said it would appeal the bail decision. The lawmaker’s office chief, Lin Chia-chi, is being detained incommunicado
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said that it would appeal the Taipei District Court’s decision late Sunday night to release independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) on NT$1 million bail (US$33,863) after he was listed as a suspect in a bribery case. As of press time last night, four other current and former legislators implicated in another corruption probe were in bail hearing sessions or waiting for their turn. They are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明). The court also approved the prosecutors’ office request to have the chief secretary of Chao’s office, Lin Chia-chi (林家騏), detained incommunicado. While Chao, who represents Taoyuan’s sixth electoral district, was granted bail, he has been barred from leaving the country. He allegedly pressured the Construction and Planning Agency to approve a rezoning project for two funeral service companies that wanted to develop a plot of land in Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). Prosecutors said they were planning to indict Chao and Lin on corruption charges that would carry a minimum sentences of five years in prison apiece. The second corruption probe is focused on alleged bribes given in exchange for the suspects lobbying and pressuring government officials as a group of businesspeople led by former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) tried to wrest ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store from tycoon Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) and his Far Eastern Group. Prosecutors allege that Lee and his staff worked with Knowledge International Consultancy general manager and political lobbyist Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a former aide of DPP Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), who acted as an intermediary in communications with the politicians and disbursing bribes to their top aides or office chief secretaries in both cases. Six politicians —
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is drafting anti-corruption rules in the wake of DPP Legislator Su Chen-ching’s (蘇震清) alleged involvement in a bribery case. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Saturday filed a motion with the Taipei District Court to detain Su — along with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), New Power Party chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), and independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) — over their alleged involvement in a department store bribery case. Chao was released late on Sunday night on NT$1 million (US$33,863) bail, while the others were waiting for the court’s decision as of press time last night. The DPP’s anti-corruption rules are to be divided into two parts. The first would contain principles regarding “staff recruitment, procurement and the revolving door policy” for DPP political workers and managers at state-run corporations, party sources said. The second part would involve ethical requirements for DPP political workers, including avoiding attending meals or events or engaging in financial transactions inconsistent with the images of independence, neutrality, integrity and honesty, the sources said. DPP workers would also be prohibited from abusing the power of their positions for illicit gains, including receiving inappropriate gifts or other benefits from stakeholders in their businesses, they said. The draft rules, which have been discussed multiple times by party committees, are expected to be finalized by the DPP caucus on Tuesday next week, before being sent to the DPP Central Standing Committee for final approval, they added. In related news, the Control Yuan’s latest report on property declarations by public servants showed that the value of properties declared by Su grew more than 11 times from NT$6.8 million five years ago to more than NT$75 million last year. The 159th report on property declaration by public servants published on April 17 showed that Su, who represents
Students of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Institute of Revolutionary Practice yesterday presented proposals for labor policy, including raising the monthly minimum wage to NT$32,000 (US$1,084). Their report proposes regular adjustments to workers’ salaries every year, starting next year. They suggested a “three two plan” — raising the minimum monthly wage to NT$32,000 and the minimum hourly wage to NT$200 in two stages over three years. In 2018, nearly half of employees under the age of 30 earned monthly salaries of less than NT$30,000, the students said, citing a Ministry of Labor report. The “three two plan” also recommends gradual adjustments to working hours starting next year. Technological advancements should make it possible to reduce employees’ working hours, the students said. Their plan proposes that weekly working hours be lowered to 32 hours by 2032. If an employee works more than 32 hours a week, employers would have to give them overtime pay or compensatory leave, the plan says. The students said they believe that commuting times should be included in working hours, with an upper limit to be set. Citing an actuarial report on the labor insurance program conducted last year by the ministry, the students also called on the government to explain how it plans to handle the nearly NT$10 trillion of “hidden” debt in the program, which they said is expected to go bankrupt by 2026. They urged the government to educate the public from a young age on their labor rights. During past labor strikes, many people said the strikes were acceptable as long as they did not affect their lives, which showed a lack of labor rights education, they said. KMT Culture and Communications Committee chairwoman Alicia Wang (王育敏), who, along with institute director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), held a news conference in Taipei with the students to present their report, said that labor issues are a
TAIPEI AND TOKYO: Several people at the Taipei Guest House noted Lee’s contributions to Taiwan’s democratic transition, while Japanese lawmakers visited the TECRO
Politicians and dignitaries, including former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen, yesterday paid their respects to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who died on Thursday at 97, at a memorial at the Taipei Guest House. Chen left a note on a memorial wall that read: “The spirit of Taiwan’s father of democracy lives on,” before telling reporters that despite their different political affiliations, he and Lee shared a desire to build a Taiwanese national identity, deepen and consolidate Taiwan’s democracy, safeguard national sovereignty and improve the well-being of Taiwanese. Although there had been competition and contradictions in their relationship, there was also much agreement and consensus, he said. He also voiced his appreciation for and admiration of Lee’s lifetime of devotion and his many contributions to Taiwan. Christensen, who was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), left a message offering condolences to the people of Taiwan on behalf of the AIT. As a defender of democracy, Lee played a key role in Taiwan’s transition to a democratic government, Christensen’s message read, adding that his courage and vision would be long remembered by people around the world. He praised Lee as a great hero in Taiwan’s transition to democracy, saying that the reforms Lee promoted have been successful in transforming Taiwan into a beacon of freedom and democracy. The US would continue to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan, which is based on shared democratic values to honor Lee’s political legacy, Christensen added. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) left a message on the memorial wall that simply read: “Taiwan keeps going.” Lee was a man of courage and wisdom, whose greatest contribution was allowing Taiwan to be democratized at a low cost, Ko told reporters. Others who attended the memorial yesterday included Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and former
Kaohsiung City Councilor Wu Yi-jheng (吳益政) of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) is closing in on Kaohsiung City Councilor Jane Lee (李眉蓁) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), although they both trail far behind former vice premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate for the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election, an opinion poll found. Wu’s campaign office yesterday held a news conference to announce the survey results, as polls cannot be released 10 days before an election, which means as of 12am tomorrow for the Kaohsiung vote on Saturday next week. The All Dimensions Public Research poll found that 46.2 percent of respondents support Chen, 13.9 percent back Lee and 7.7 percent favor Wu, while 32.2 percent said they had no comment, All Dimensions chief executive Huang Chih-cheng (黃志呈) told reporters. However, when the poll asked those who supported Lee or had no comment an additional question — “as news reports imply that it would be impossible for Jane Lee to win because she plagiarized her master’s degree thesis, would you be willing to vote for Wu Yi-jheng to counteract the DPP?” — 46.5 percent said they would back Chen, 12.8 percent backed Lee and 11.5 percent favored Wu, while 29.2 percent had no comment, he said. Separately yesterday, Wu filed a Control Yuan petition, asking former Kaohsiung mayor and newly installed Control Yuan President Chen Chu (陳菊) to ask the Executive Yuan “to give back” the NT$81.8 billion (US$2.77 billion at the current exchange rate) in tax revenues the central government owes following the merger of Kaohsiung county and city into a special municipality in 2010 through 2015. Meanwhile, Lee said the final poll of the city’s residents would be on the results of the Aug. 15 vote. Additional reporting by Wang Rong-hsiang and Hsieh Chun-lin
The National Communications Commission plans to amend three key media laws to address a series of challenges facing the cable television industry, newly installed Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) said yesterday. Chen, who had been acting chairman, along with Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) and three commissioners — Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏), Lin Lihyun (林麗雲) and Wang Wei-ching (王維菁) — took office yesterday following their confirmations by the Legislative Yuan last month. “The commission is reviewing the Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法), the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) and the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), and will propose amendments to address problems highlighted by recent disputes in the industry. Specifically, we want to establish a well-rounded mechanism to govern how cable operators arrange channel lineups. We would also stipulate supporting measures to be implemented when the nation enforces a tiered-pricing policy for cable services,” Chen said in a speech at the inauguration of the new commission members. He also recounted the commission’s accomplishments since he became acting chairman in May last year: In February it completed the auction for the spectrum to be used for 5G service, generating a total of NT$142.19 billion (US$4.81 million) in bids; Taiwan entered the 5G era with the launch of services by telecoms on June 30; the Telecommunications Management Act (電信管理法) was implemented on July 1; the commission has revised more than 80 supporting regulations in accordance with the act, and all cable services in the nation were digitized, as of June 30, Chen said. The commission on July 15 presented its draft for an “Internet audiovisual service management act” (網際網路視聽服務管理法) to regulate the over-the-top service, and it is now soliciting opinions from the public about the draft, Chen said. “We would gather opinions and revise the draft act if necessary before submitting it to the
The number of furloughed workers in the nation rose over the past week as activity in the manufacturing sector slowed due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labor has said. As the end of last month, 1,122 companies had unpaid leave programs, while a total of 27,058 workers had agreed to go on furlough, up by 1,877 from a week earlier, ministry data showed. Among the companies that have furlough programs, 372 are manufacturers, 346 are retailers or wholesalers and 80 are in the service sector, the data showed. The majority of employees on unpaid leave were in the manufacturing sector at 17,508, followed by the retail and wholesale industry with 4,891, and the transportation and warehousing sector at 1,595. Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Deputy Director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) said that the increase in furloughs can be attributed to slowing activity in the manufacturing sector, as overseas demand for Taiwan’s exports have been declining due to the pandemic. Manufacturers of machine tools and textiles, as well as traders in the retail and wholesale sector, have been the hardest hit, Huang said, adding that the international transportation and travel industries have also been affected. While the government’s Triple Stimulus Vouchers have helped boost local tourism, the industry’s long-term outlook remains uncertain, he added. Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms with workforces of fewer than 50 people, the ministry said, adding that the unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month. The ministry updates furloughed worker data on a weekly basis. The numbers only include unpaid leave plans put in place by companies that are registered with the ministry.
ANOTHER IMPORT: A Filipina who arrived on Friday to visit family developed a fever on Saturday and test results yesterday were positive, making her Taiwan’s 465th case
The government’s real-name mask purchasing system is to be continued until at least the end of the year, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a new imported COVID-19 case from the Philippines. The center would continue to requisition mask production to ensure people can buy masks using the real-name system until the end of December, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman. While the CECC requisitions about 8 million masks per day to ensure there are enough for the real-name system, more than 10 million masks are produced per day for sale domestically or overseas, so people can also purchase masks from various retailers, he told the CECC’s daily news conference, after being asked about former vice president Chen Chien-jen’s (陳建仁) suggestion that each household have a mask reserve to last them three months. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is raging worldwide, Taiwan could face the challenges of low herd immunity, an increase in imported cases as border controls are gradually eased, the lack of a vaccine and the possibility of COVID-19 cases being mistaken for the flu during flu season, said Chen, an epidemiologist and public health expert, adding that having a mask reserve was a practical suggestion. Chuang said a Filipina in her 20s who has an Alien Resident Certificate arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Friday to visit her family and was given a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival, as all Filipinos must now do as of Wednesday last week. As the woman did not have any COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival, she was taken to a hotel to undergo quarantine. However, on Saturday she developed a mild fever and was tested again, and the test result received yesterday was positive, raising the total number of confirmed cases
CHINESE MEDICINE PRESCRIPTIONS: Blood tests showed that Taichung City Councilor Chang Yen-tung and his father had dangerously high levels of lead in their bodies
The Taichung Health Bureau yesterday suspended operations at a Chinese medicine clinic for a month and fined the owner, after a preliminary investigation into the lead poisoning of Taichung City Councilor Chang Yen-tung’s (張彥彤) family indicated the source was herbal medicine prescribed for them at the clinic. Chang on Thursday said that he had become critically ill after being treated by the clinic and was diagnosed with multiple organ failure. He, his sister and parents all reportedly suffered from lead poisoning, he said. Chang on Friday said that blood tests showed that his lead level was 88 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL), nearly nine times the normal level of 10 mcg/dL for an adult, while his father’s was 367mcg/dL. His sister and parents are still hospitalized, he said. The health bureau on Thursday collected samples of the herbal medicine powder the Chang family had taken from the clinic for examination, and on Friday said the powder contained high levels of lead and that it had filed a legal charges against the owner of the clinic. The bureau yesterday said its examinations on the traditional medicinal powder from the clinic show that its cinnabar, which is a prohibited medicinal material, had a lead concentration of up to 15,281 parts per million (ppm), about 509 times the maximum allowable level of 30ppm. Although the Taichung Prosecutors’ Office is still investigating the incident, Taichung Health Bureau Director Tseng Tzu-chan (曾梓展) said the clinic’s owner has been fined NT$100,000 for not truthfully registering medicinal ingredients on patients’ medical records. The owner could also be fined up to NT$500,000 under the Physicians Act (醫師法) if they are found to have prescribed prohibited medicinal material to patients, Tzeng said. Hung Tung-jung (洪東榮), a doctor in China Medical University’s toxicology department, on Saturday said that the public should ensure that prescribed Chinese herbal medicine is from manufacturers
The incidence of child abuse in Taiwan is closely linked to parents’ unemployment, so recent job losses and furloughs due to the COVID-19 crisis are cause for concern, a physician from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou said on Tuesday, citing one of the hospital’s studies. The correlation between unemployment and child abuse became evident in the US during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the number of children hospitalized with brain damage nearly doubled from previous years, said Hsin Yi-chen (辛宜臻), an attending physician in the pediatric department. It was later discovered that the spike in child abuse during that period was closely related to the high unemployment rate at the time, Hsin said. In 2018, a team at the hospital conducted a similar study, using unemployment data from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics from 2004 to 2015, and a correlation between the two factors was also found, she said. Over that period, the study found that there were a total of 161,183 abused or mistreated children, or an average of 36 victims per day, Hsin said. The study also found an increase in the average daily incidence of child abuse, from 14 per 10,000 children in 2004 to 23.4 per 10,000 in 2015, peaking at 43 per 10,000 children in 2012, Hsin said. In areas of the nation where the unemployment rate was higher, the incidence of child abuse was also higher, the study found. There was also a delayed effect in the correlation between parental employment and child abuse, which meant that the latter could rise a year after an increase in the former, the study showed, she said. It estimated that for every 1 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate, the incidence of child abuse increased by seven per 10,000 children in the following year,
Six preservers of traditional performing arts and craftsmanship were recognized by the Ministry of Culture on Saturday. Wang Jen-hsin (王仁心) and Chen Feng-kuei (陳鳳桂) were recognized in the performing arts category for their efforts to preserve koi-a-hi or gezai opera (歌仔戲, Taiwanese opera), while in the craftsmanship category, Chen Hui-mei (陳惠美) was recognized for silk-wrapped flowers (纏花), Liu Chien-shao (劉千韶) for embroidery, Huang Lan-ye (黃蘭葉) for kesi (緙絲) silk tapestry and Chen Chi-tsun (陳啟村) for wood carving, the ministry said. Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) presented the six with certificates at a ceremony held by the Bureau of Cultural Heritage in Taipei. Lee thanked the “national treasures” on behalf of the nation, saying they have dedicated a lifetime of strength, time and talent to preserving and passing down traditional arts. Their dedication has highlighted the nation’s cultural strength, and allowed Taiwan’s diverse and rich culture to be seen by the world, he said. The ministry would continue to integrate and increase the resources for the bureau, the National Center for Traditional Arts and the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, and invest more money so that all Taiwanese would be able to develop an appreciation and understanding of the nation’s culture, and to let the world better see Taiwan, Lee said. An exhibition of work by the six is on display at the Cultural Heritage Park in Taichung from 9am to 6pm through Saturday next week, the ministry said.
An 80-year-old Rukai manfrom Pingtung County has won this year’s Best Trail Builder/Repairer Award from the Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association (TMI Trail) for his seven decades of work and sharing his experience with the next generation. Ripunu Abalriini, who lives in Wutai Township’s (霧台) Adiri Village (阿禮), was nominated for the award by the Community Forestry Laboratory of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. Abalriini started to learn masonry from his father at the age of 10, he told TMI Trail in an interview. “The trails needed to be repaired once a year, by removing grass and other work, and I always accompanied experienced craftsmen and learned the skills from them,” Abalriini said. It is not easy to acquire slate and shale, because they are found next to rivers in the southern part of the Central Mountain Range, the laboratory said. Abalriini and other Rukai usually use hoes and crowbars to extract the rocks, break them into suitable sizes and carry them back to their villages, carrying about 20kg per person, the laboratory said. Chen Mei-hui (陳美惠), a professor at the university, said Abalriini is one of the few Rukai tribal elders who learned traditional masonry skills, and he teaches younger members a range of cultural skills, such as hunting, and how to build stone slab houses and trails. Masonry is an essential skill for the area’s Aborigines, because their houses and trails are made from stone slabs, Wutai Township Mayor Tu Cheng-chi (杜正吉) said. However, nowadays, a blend of traditional masonry skills and modern architectural techniques are used, with faux shale and granite widely used to build housing, Tu said. The association, a non-profit organization established in April 2011, aims to preserve natural beauty and create an eco-friendly environment in Taiwan by building and maintaining a network
‘ZERO TOLERANCE’: Chiu Hsien-chih has taken over as the party’s acting chairman, and said he would work on the party’s ability to detect and address corruption
The New Power Party (NPP) on Saturday suspended party chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) over his alleged involvement in a bribery case. The NPP made the decision after the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Saturday afternoon filed a motion with the Taipei District Court to detain Hsu, along with legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇), an independent, over their alleged involvement in a department store bribery case. The NPP said it has appointed caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) as acting chairman until an intra-party election for chairperson is held early next year. Chiu was NPP chairman from March to August last year. In response to Hsu’s alleged involvement in the corruption case during his tenure as an NPP legislator from 2016 to this year, Chiu apologized to the public and NPP supporters on behalf of the party, saying that as acting chairman, his most important tasks are to regain public trust, reflect on old mistakes and guide the party forward. The NPP has “zero tolerance” for corruption, he said, adding that he was thankful for the investigation, as it has given the party an opportunity to improve. Chiu said he would improve the party’s mechanisms to detect and fight corruption, and would present more details about how to achieve those goals in two weeks. As to whether Hsu would be stripped of his party membership, Chiu said that its disciplinary committee was following party regulations in suspending Hsu’s chairman position for the moment. While there are only 11 members left on the party’s decisionmaking committee, Chiu said he would propose that they resign and be replaced with new candidates to break fresh ground. Chiu said that he stepped down as chairman in August last year to take responsibility for failing
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’
Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) “one China, with different interpretations” framework that formed the foundation of the “1992 consensus,” Ma said. The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. In his post, Ma had called upon the public to “remember the historical importance of this resolution,” which he said both sides of the Taiwan Strait persistently promoted. In August 1992, the year the resolution was passed, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits worked out a consensus on what “one China” means, and it was on the basis of that agreement that cross-strait relations developed prosperously through Ma’s presidency from 2008 to 2016, Ma said. Huang said that Ma was “immoral and insincere for distorting history at a time like this.” Huang — who in 1992 was Ma’s superior, serving as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) minister, while Ma was a deputy minister — said the meeting in Hong Kong where Ma said the “1992 consensus”
Crowds yesterday gathered at a memorial for late president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) set up by the Presidential Office at the Taipei Guest House to pay their last respects to Lee, who passed away at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Thursday aged 97. Control Yuan President Chen Chu (陳菊), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), former Judicial Yuan president Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生), Democratic Progressive Party Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and former Research, Development and Evaluation Commission chairman Sun Te-hsiung (孫得雄) were among those who visited the memorial. Chen Chu said what moved her most and was most memorable of him was when Lee, then aged 90, visited the Siaolin Village Memorial Park to pay his respects to the victims of Typhoon Morakot. In a note she left on a message wall, Chen Chu asked Lee to “protect the land of Taiwan and guard the kind people.” In their notes, Chen Shih-chung wrote that a “giant of an era” had passed away, while Cheng wrote “illuminate Taiwan, protect democracy.” Cheng said that during the Wild Lily student movement, Lee was the main figure who spoke to the students, and promised to open Taiwan’s doors to democratization. Lee played a crucial role in Taiwan’s transition from authoritarianism to democracy, he added. Lin in his note wrote that he and people of his generation would fulfill Lee’s wish and bolster Taiwan’s democracy, develop the nation and make its people happy. Sun, among the first batch of students Lee taught at National Taiwan University Department of Agricultural Economics, placed a handwritten letter in front of the late president’s photograph. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who succeeded Lee in 2000, remembered him in a Facebook post. He recalled how after the transfer of power on May 20, 2000, he personally saw Lee off. “The sight of his back was
The time has arrived for Taiwan to have a second “silent revolution,” Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) told the party’s conference yesterday afternoon at the National Taiwan Sport University in Taoyuan. The first “silent revolution” was the democratization process in the early 1990s initiated by then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The conference in the school’s gymnasium was attended by 5,141 TPP members. In his opening remarks, Ko talked about political reform under Lee and the need for reform today. “Lee’s greatest contribution was setting Taiwan on an irreversible path to democratization, without which we would not be meeting today to discuss Taiwan’s future,” Ko said. “Direct presidential elections were held and a Taiwanese consciousness was established, but today political power goes unchecked and the major parties vie for power,” he said. A “second silent revolution is needed for social inclusion [in politics] and the realization of national governance.” The TPP could hopefully be a “model” party in the legislature, engaging with legislators from other parties rather than confronting them, he said. Social inclusion could be achieved through communication with the public, Ko said, citing the Taipei-Shanghai twin-city summit, which he said was of benefit to Taiwanese businesspeople and students in China, despite being “smeared as a pro-China” activity. The central government must “create flexible international space” and must not let ideology prevent it from communicating with China, he said. The TPP would continue to act as a check on budget spending, promote constitutional reform and fight for issues such as housing justice and amendments to the Mining Act (礦業法), he said. The party needed to elect a public liaison official, and would hold smaller member meetings in every county and municipality, he added.