Human Rights

Taiwan unveils long-awaited gay marriage bill

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party unveils a bill offering same-sex couples ‘permanent unions’ as well as limited adoption rights, despite stiff opposition from conservatives

Date: May 11, 2019

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s ruling party unveiled its latest attempt to create Asia’s first gay marriage law on Thursday, May 9, a bill offering same-sex couples “permanent unions” as well as limited adoption rights, despite stiff opposition from conservatives.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has had a stuttering and troubled journey towards delivering on their 2016 election promise to grant same-sex couples equal marriage rights.

In November, conservatives won a referendum against revising the island’s Civil Code to allow gay marriage, in a blow to President Tsai Ing-wen’s party and a stark illustration of the social divide caused by the issue.    [FULL  STORY]

Human rights proponents in Taiwan plead for public to vote in favor of equality

Delegates from religious groups and LGBTQ organizations held a joint press conference today

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/11/23
By: Ryan Drillsma, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Human rights proponents from various walks of life at today’s press conference (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Representatives from human rights committees and religious associations appealed to the public to support human rights and make the right decision during tomorrow’s vote in a press conference held today (Nov. 23) at the Legislative Yuan.

Hongshi Buddhist Cultural and Educational Foundation, True Light Gospel Church, Taiwan Hesed Association, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, and Equal Love Taiwan jointly held the conference entitled, “We are all one family, let’s build a loving Taiwan together” 我們都是一家人.共同打造慈愛台灣.

Ye Dahua (葉大華), a member of the Presidential Office’s Human Rights Consultative Committee and Secretary General of the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare was present and pleaded that we not forget the national commitment to upholding human rights we made, lest Taiwan’s progress on social issues be disrupted.

Turning the language of the anti-LGBT opposition on its head, Ye asked voters to think carefully about how we can create a friendlier environment for future citizens and ensure “the happiness of the next generation” when voting. Happiness of the Next Generation (下一代幸福聯盟) is, conversely, the name of the anti-marriage equality association that proposed the three referendums opposing LGBTQ rights.

MAC urges China to release Taiwanese activist after hearing

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2017/09/11
By: Lu Hsin-huei and Ko Lin

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Monday urged

CNA file photo

authorities in China to release Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and to assure his safe return to Taiwan.

In a statement released late Monday after the hearing, the MAC commended China’s act of good will for allowing Lee’s wife and mother to attend his hearing in China, and it said the government will do everything it can to help Lee’s family to secure his release.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also called on China to consider the impact Lee’s case would have on cross-strait relations and urged Chinese authorities not to make Taiwan-China relations even more tense than they already are.

The Taiwanese human rights advocate went missing after entering China via Macao on March 19, and he was later confirmed to have been detained by Chinese authorities.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan will help free Lee by all means: Presidential Office

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2017-09-11

Taiwan’s Presidential Office has responded to the news that human rights advocate Lee Ming-che has pleaded guilty to “subversion of state power” in China.

Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang said Monday that the government and the president have been monitoring the case and looking for ways to assist Lee’s family, with the primary goal of bringing him back to Taiwan.

“Actually, since the very beginning the president has been very concerned about this case, wanting to know about Mr. Lee Ming-che’s situation and his health,” said Huang. “She has continually brought up with various agencies, including the Mainland Affairs Council, things like offering assistance to the family, asking whether things can be sped up, and finding ways to get him back as soon as possible.”

Taiwan democracy activist pleads guilty in Chinese trial

Lee Ming-Che is standing trial accused of subversion of state power, the first prosecution of a non-profit worker on criminal charges since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organizations. (Taiwan Association for Human Rights via AP)

ABC News
Date: Sep 11, 2017

A Taiwanese pro-democracy activist pleaded guilty Monday in a Chinese court to

The Associated Press
In this photo released by Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Lee Ching-yu, right, wife of detained Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-Che, poses for a photo with Wang Li-ping, a former Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, before entering the Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court in south China’s Hunan province,

subverting the power of the state, but his wife dismissed the trial as “a political show” and his supporters said he had been forced to confess to crimes he didn’t commit.

Lee Ming-che’s trial marked China’s first criminal prosecution of a nonprofit worker since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organizations.

Lee told the court in the central Chinese city of Yueyang that he had “spread articles that maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China, China’s existing system and China’s government.” He said he had also organized people and wrote articles “intended to subvert the state’s power.”

Subversion of state power is a vaguely defined charge often used by authorities to muzzle dissent and imprison critics. The court has not yet announced a punishment for Lee.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan’s Tsai urges Beijing to face June 4th Incident with open mind

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2017/06/04
By: Lu Hsin-hui and Elizabeth Hsu

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has called for Beijing to face

CNA file photo of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

what she called the Tiananmen Square Incident — also called the June Fourth Incident — of June 4, 1989 with an open mind, and said Taiwan is willing to share with China its experiences in democracy transformation.

Tsai made the call in a Facebook post on Sunday, the day peaceful protesters were killed during a government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing 28 years ago.

On that day, “a group of students and citizens challenged the reality of mainland China,” Tsai wrote, saying that their action enlightened a whole generation.

Entire Marine Corps battalion deployed in Taipei for first time

The China Post
Date: April 13, 2017
By: Joseph Yeh

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a first, an entire Marine Corps battalion has been stationed in Taipei

Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) inspects an infantry battalion at the Political Warfare Cadres Academy at Fu Hsing Kang (復興崗) in Taipei on Tuesday, April 11. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense)

as a precaution against a possible Chinese invasion of the capital.

The marines will stand alongside the Military Police’s 239th Battalion in Taipei’s Dazhi neighborhood as the two top teams responsible for counterattacks in the case of an invasion.

The infantry battalion of the New Taipei-based 66th Marine Brigade has been stationed at the Political Warfare Cadres Academy in Fu Hsing Kang (復興崗), in Northern Taipei’s Beitou District, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said late Tuesday.

There are currently marines stationed at military units in Taipei, but this is the first time an entire battalion has been assigned anywhere in the city.    [FULL  STORY]

Tsai vows to fight for Taiwanese rights

Taipei Times
Date: Apr 08, 2017
By: Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter

Marking the nation’s first Freedom of Speech Day, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a ceremony commemorating the 28th anniversary of the death of democracy pioneer Deng Nan-jung at his tomb in New Taipei City’s Jinbaoshan Cemetery yesterday. Photo: CNA

yesterday pledged to continue fighting for Taiwan’s “people of democracy and freedom.”

Tsai made the remarks during a ceremony commemorating the 28th anniversary of the death of democracy pioneer Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) at his tomb in New Taipei City’s Jinbaoshan Cemetery. Deng’s widow, former Presidential Office secretary-general Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), was at the event.

Deng, who ran a number of dissident magazines, self-immolated on April 7, 1989, in protest against government restrictions on freedom of speech. In December last year, the Tsai administration designated April 7 as Freedom of Speech Day to honor Deng’s pursuit of freedom of expression.

“When Deng immolated himself in 1989, many things were left undone. At the time, the National Assembly had yet to be re-elected and there were no direct presidential elections, while Article 100 of the Criminal Code and the Punishment of Rebellion Act (懲治叛亂條例) restricted people’s freedom of speech,” Tsai said.    [FULL  STORY]

Justice minister rejects criticisms of newspaper editorial

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2017-03-27

Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san on Monday rejected criticisms that a newspaper editorial

Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (CNA)

aimed at him over recent comments he made about same-sex marriage.

The editorial in Monday’s edition of the mass-circulation United Daily News, in particular took offense at Chiu’s remarks in a constitutional court debate on Friday. During that debate, Taiwan’s grand justices heard arguments about whether the right to gay marriage is constitutional.

The editorial said that Chiu had opposed same-sex marriage on the grounds that it conflicted with the traditional custom of how to refer to people on ancestral tablets. The opinion piece said the justice minister’s comments were not befitting of his position, and showed that the current administration was more concerned about insuring reelection.    [FULL  STORY]

Workplace unfriendly to gays: poll

Taiwan News
Date: 2016-10-22
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – At least 60 percent of gays will not come out of the closet at work because they

Taipei's 2014 Gay Pride Parade.

Taipei’s 2014 Gay Pride Parade.

fear it will harm their chances for promotion, according to the results of a poll released Saturday.

Taiwan is known as one of the most gay-friendly nations in Asia, even though proposals to legalize gay marriage have so far failed to make it through the Legislative Yuan.

A survey by the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association found that 11 percent of gay workers were unwilling to acknowledge they were gay to colleagues or superiors at work, while more than 50 percent of those who had, believed there were still colleagues who had not come out of the closet.

A total of 25 percent of gay employees were afraid they might lose their job if it became known at work they were gay, while 40 percent said it would affect their chances for promotion or their career in general, or lead to harassment by superiors.    [FULL  STORY]