Joint statement between President Juan Carlos Varela and Beijing says ?Taiwan is an inalienable part of China?s territory?
Panama has switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, handing a huge victory to Beijing in its drive to isolate the self-governing island it claims as its own territory.
Panama?s president, Juan Carlos Varela, announced the change ? which entails breaking off formal relations with Taiwan ? in a televised address, saying it represented the ?correct path for our country?.Continue reading...
Leaked email to Taiwanese staff says airline has been instructed by Beijing to follow One China policy
Emirates airline has waded into a decades-old diplomatic spat after ordering Taiwanese cabin crew to swap flag pins worn on their uniforms for Chinese ones, sparking anger and calls for boycott on social media.
The airline sent an email to staff saying Emirates was ?instructed by the Chinese government? to ?follow the One China policy?.Continue reading...
A landmark judgment reflects how quickly attitudes can change ? but usually thanks to campaigners who persist against the odds
The crowd in Taipei on Wednesday was not huge; a few hundred people. But the joy and relief on their faces radiated around the world. The constitutional court had just ruled in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, in Asia?s first such judgment. The legislature now has two years to amend the civil code, which defines marriage as occurring solely between a man and woman, or pass laws addressing the issue. If it does not, same sex-couples will be able to wed anyway.
The news was all the more welcome given its backdrop. Just last week, in Asia alone, a South Korean army captain was sentenced for having sex with other servicemen following what campaigners describe as a witch hunt by the military, while in Aceh, Indonesia, two men were caned publicly for consensual gay sex. It is a matter of weeks since reports emerged of a horrifying anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya, involving well over a hundred men, some of whom are believed to have been killed.Continue reading...
Li Ming-che, a 42-year-old NGO worker known for supporting human rights, went missing in mysterious circumstances in China on 19 March
A Taiwan rights activist who was secretly detained in China in March has been officially arrested on suspicion of subversion, charges Taiwan said were vague and unconvincing.
The case has strained already poor relations between China and Taiwan, which have cooled since Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took power last year, because she refuses to concede that the self-ruled island is part of China.
Related: 'I know he is alive': wife of Taiwan activist seized by China pleads for releaseContinue reading...
Landmark ruling will mean country is first in Asia to allow gay couples to marry and cements reputation as beacon of liberalism
Taiwan is to become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, after the island?s constitutional court ruled current laws defining unions as between a man and a woman are invalid.
Taiwan?s highest court, the council of grand justices, said barring gay couples from marrying violated ?the people?s freedom of marriage? and ?the people?s right to equality?.Continue reading...
Landmark court case this week is likely to determine the success or failure of draft laws currently before parliament
Chi Chia-wei will find out on Wednesday if his decades long fight to make Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage has been a success.
Chi, 59, a pioneering Taiwanese gay rights activist, is the celebrated face behind one of the most controversial legal cases the island democracy has seen in recent years, where 14 judges must rule if the civil code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.
Related: There are reasons to be cheerful ... LGBTI rights gains in unlikely countries | Peter TatchellContinue reading...
Lam Wing-kee plans to open an offshoot of Causeway Bay Books in self-governed Taiwan as a ?symbol of resistance?
One of the five Hong Kong booksellers abducted by China in 2015 for running an independent bookstore selling politically sensitive books has vowed to reopen his shop in neighbouring democratic Taiwan.
Lam Wing-kee, 62, who was detained in China for eight months, told Japan?s Nikkei Asian Review that he planned to open Causeway Bay Books in self-governed Taiwan as a ?symbol of resistance?.
Related: Chinese agents acted like triads, says bookseller in abduction rowContinue reading...
Lee Ming-che has been detained by Beijing authorities amid a targeting of activists, dissidents and scholars based abroad
The wife of a Taiwanese human rights activist detained in China for over a month without charge has vowed to take her fight for justice to the US and European Union, urging them to pressure Beijing to release him.
It has now been 40 days since Lee Ching-yu?s ?partner, best friend and confidante? suddenly disappeared while travelling to visit friends in Guangzhou, southern China.
Related: A human rights activist, a secret prison and a tale from Xi Jinping's new China
Related: China 'eliminating civil society' by targeting human rights activists ? reportContinue reading...
Liang Sheng-yueh, 21, from Taiwan was trapped in a remote Nepal valley with his girlfriend but she died three days before rescuers found them
Two Taiwanese trekkers who went missing in a remote area of Nepal seven weeks ago have been found ? but only one survived the ordeal.
Liu Chen-chun, 19, died just three days before the rescue team located the couple in the Dhading region of central Nepal, but her boyfriend managed to survive despite running out of food.
Related: Sean Conway, Britain?s wildest adventurer: ?This is such a cool island?Continue reading...
Consumption attracts large fine and repeat offenders could be named and shamed under law that is first of its kind in Asia
Taiwan is set to become the first country in Asia to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat, as increasing pet ownership across the continent has seen attitudes shift.
The revised Animal Protection Act imposes a fine of up to 250,000 Taiwan dollars (£6,500) for eating dog or cat meat, while the penalties for animal cruelty or slaughter were raised to up to two years in prison and fines of up to 2m Taiwan dollars (£52,000).Continue reading...
Lee Ming-cheh held on suspicion of endangering national security as relations worsen between Beijing and Taipei
China says it has detained a Taiwanese NGO worker and human rights activist on suspicion of endangering national security, amid worsening relations between Beijing and Taipei and an ongoing crackdown on civil society.
Lee Ming-cheh, a volunteer for the Taiwan Association for Human Rights , disappeared on 19 March after crossing into China from the semi-autonomous city of Macau.
Related: Taiwan to ask US for stealth fighters to combat China threatContinue reading...
Defence minister announces air force overhaul after defence review says island faces increased risk from Beijing
Taiwan has said it plans to upgrade its F-16 fighter jets and will seek cutting-edge stealth aircraft from the US in the face of a growing military threat from China.
Taiwan?s defence minister, Feng Shih-kuan, told lawmakers the country was focusing on inexpensive but effective ?asymmetric warfare? techniques to combat threats in the air and seas. He said the budget amounted to 2.05% of Taiwan?s economy but that he hoped it would increase to nearly 3% next year.
Related: China threatens to 'take off the gloves' if Trump rips up status quo on TaiwanContinue reading...
Iraq, Tunisia and Lebanon have recently made progressive steps forward in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights
In the last 12 months, Martin Luther King?s ?arc of the moral universe? has bent towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights.
Related: Live chat with Peter Tatchell: what can we do to support LGBTI rights around the world? Mon 20 Feb, 2-3.30pm
Homosexuality remains criminalised in 36 out of the 52 Commonwealth member states
Related: Where are we now? The global outlook for LGBTI rightsContinue reading...
After nearly three weeks as president Trump talks to Chinese leader and, when asked, agrees to maintain status quo
Donald Trump has held his first telephone conversation with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, since entering the White House, telling the Communist party leader he will not challenge Beijing by upending longstanding US policy towards Taiwan.
In a brief statement the White House said the leaders of the world?s two largest economies had held a ?lengthy? and ?extremely cordial? telephone call on Thursday evening in which ?numerous topics? were discussed.
Related: Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say expertsContinue reading...
Donald Trump?s first letter to Xi Jinping counts, by the US president?s low standards, as a successful stab at basic diplomacy. It tepidly anticipates constructive relations with the Chinese president. Sent almost three weeks after his inauguration, it wishes the Chinese people a prosperous Year of the Rooster, which began almost a fortnight ago. The 20 or so world leaders to whom the new president has spoken have not included the man on the other side of arguably the most important bilateral relationship.
Even if the letter precedes a phone call, China?s anxiety is understandable. Mr Trump?s manifesto described it as ?our enemy?. He has questioned the status quo over Taiwan, a red line for Beijing. Peter Navarro, head of his national trade council, is author of the menacingly titled book Death by China. Last year, Steve Bannon, Mr Trump?s chief strategist, said there was ?no doubt? the nations would go to war over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has said China should be blocked from using the artificial islands it has built there. On the other side of the scales ? rather lighter at present ? are defence secretary James Mattis?s observation that he saw no need for dramatic military moves and the Chinese ambassador?s reportedly ?cordial? dialogue with Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and adviser.Continue reading...