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‘Blue tears’ not toxic: Taiwan researcher

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/06/16
By: Feng Shao-fu and Evelyn Kao

Photo courtesy of Lienchiang County Government

Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Fluorescent blue sparkles, dubbed "blue tears," that glow around Taiwan's offshore Matsu Islands are not caused by toxic algae and a sign of environmental deterioration, a Taiwanese researcher said Sunday in rebutting a recent study.

Chiang Kuo-ping (蔣國平), a distinguished professor at National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), said it cannot be established that the "blue tears" along beaches near Matsu are associated with toxic algae because they do not drain oxygen from the surrounding waters and kill marine life in the process as stated in the study.

He said the single-celled "noctiluca scintillans," also known as "dinoflagellates" or sea sparkles, that generate the bioluminescence described as "blue tears" when disturbed are non-toxic heterotrophs — organisms that feed on other sources of nutrition to survive.

In coastal ecosystems, they replace copepods — small crustaceans commonly found in aquatic communities — as the main consumers of phytoplankton and play the role of a "terminator" of single-cell algae called diatoms, which Chiang described as a normal phenomenon in marine ecosystems.

Gays relationship violence may go unreported: group

ALTERNATIVE ABUSE: The LGBT Hotline Association’s Peng Chih-liu said that forms of violence in lesbian and gay relationships differ from other types of relationships

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 17, 2019
By: Staff writer, with CNA

It is possible that more that 90 percent of people affected by violence in homosexual relationships do not seek help from government-run support networks, Modern Women’s Foundation chief executive officer Fan Kuo-yung (范國勇) said at National Taiwan University in Taipei on Friday.

According to the WHO, intimate-partner violence is one of the most common forms of violence and includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as controlling behavior.

Fan, a former member of the Executive Yuan’s Gender Equality Committee, made the statement at a forum held by the foundation and the Taiwan LGBT Hotline Association, a non-profit advocacy group.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Injury Prevention and Control, respondents who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual reported rates of violence at least as high as heterosexual respondents.

Solomon Islands under pressure to choose between China and Taiwan

Washington Examner
Date: June 15, 2019
By: Joel Gehrke

China and Taiwan are vying for influence over the Solomon Islands, in a diplomatic contest that could foreshadow conflict in the same place U.S. Marines fought a major battle during World War II.

The government of the Pacific Islands nation is in the early phase of a 100-day period to review diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the last holdout of the government overthrown when Chinese Communists came to power in 1949. The Beijing regime claims sovereignty over the self-governing island and has been lobbying world leaders not to recognize the independence of the government in Taipei. But a decision by the Solomon Islands in favor of China wouldn’t only be a victory for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to isolate Taiwan — it could also help China establish a useful outpost in advance of any clash with U.S. partners or allies in the Indo-Pacific.

“I think it shows what their true intent is,” said Florida Rep. Ted Yoho, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific. "I think they’re building up for a conflict.”

Yoho's fears are warranted, according to Mike Green, a top regional expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Solomon Islands' location gives them strategic significance in the region, making their friendship valuable to China for the same reasons Allied forces fought the six-month Battle of Guadalcanal to take the islands from imperial Japan in 1942 and 1943.    [FULL  STORY]

In Taiwan When Hong Kong Students Petition, Taiwan’s President Listens

The News Lens
Date: 2019/06/15
By: Michael Garber

Photo Credit: Michael Garber

Although 500 Hong Kong students were roundly ignored by their own representative office in Taipei on Wednesday, on Thursday they were invited into the presidential palace to present their case.

Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), reinforced her administration's support for the democratic ambitions of Hong Kong residents on Thursday posting a response on Facebook to a petition from an international student organization from the city who oppose amending Hong Kong law to permit extradition to China and addressing the situation at a press conference.

Critics of the amendment fear that it is a Trojan horse which would open an avenue by which Hong Kong residents who cross the Chinese Communist Party may be extradited and tried in the notoriously opaque courts of the People's Republic of China. 

At an afternoon press conference, President Tsai told assembled reporters, "This substantial protest movement in Hong Kong has attracted the whole world's attention. Seeing Hong Kong police firing tear gas and rubber bullets directly into people is an especially shocking and unbearable sight"

Taiwan activists plan rally against pro-China media

Organizers are inviting presidential contenders

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/06/15
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

NPP legislator Huang Kuo-chang (left) with his colleague Hsu Yung-ming (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opponents of Chinese influence in the Taiwanese media will rally outside the Presidential Office Building on Sunday June 23.

Activists are worried that as China ramps up its efforts to isolate Taiwan, pro-unification media would follow its guidance and spread more propaganda and even disinformation to divide Taiwan and undermine the public’s will to defend its hard-earned democracy, the Central News Agency reported Saturday (June 15).

At the origin of the protest plans are statements by YouTube celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) criticizing some Taiwanese media for failing to supply sufficient news about the Hong Kong protests against plans for an extradition law. He asked New Power Party legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) to take concrete action, which resulted in the booking of Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei for the afternoon of June 23.

Taiwan blasts HK for using murder case to justify extradition bill

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/06/15
By: Stacy Hsu

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Taiwan's Presidential Office has blasted the Hong Kong government for using a

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正/CNA file photo)

murder case involving Taiwan as an excuse to legislate a bill that raises human rights concerns, calling such a tactic "irresponsible and immoral."

"The Hong Kong government's use of a (criminal) case involving Taiwan as a pretext to legislate a bill that may violate human rights is irresponsible and lacks a sense of morality," the office said in a statement Saturday evening.

The office was referring to remarks by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) on Saturday that used Taiwan as an excuse to suspend the bill's legislative process after citing Taiwan as the reason to push for it.

Hong Kong proposed the bill after a case implicating Chan Tung-kai (陳同佳) in a murder in Taiwan exposed a legal loophole in Hong Kong's judicial system, Lam said, reiterating the use of Chen's case to justify the bill by Hong Kong authorities.    [FULL  STORY]

Mainland Affairs Council urges HK to cooperate on rule of law, human rights

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 16, 2019
By: Chu6n Li-hua and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday called on Hong Kong to work with Taiwan in upholding the rule of law and human rights, after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) indefinitely suspended a controversial Beijing-backed extradition bill.

Under no circumstances could Taiwan support the proposed amendments to extradition laws in Hong Kong, the council said in a statement.

The bill was drawn up to subordinate the judicial interactions of Taiwan and Hong Kong under Beijing’s “one China” principle, which would have led to serious infringements of human rights, freedom and the sovereignty of Taiwan, it said.

“We are steadfastly opposed to the political conspiracy disguised in judicial clothing,” the council said.

Taiwan looks forward to working with new US Asian affairs diplomat

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 14 June, 2019
By: Shirley Lin

US State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell (Photo by the US Air Force)

The foreign ministry says it hopes to work closely with US diplomat David Stilwell, who has been appointed to a top post in Asian affairs.

At a confirmation hearing at the US Senate, Stilwell said that China should stop pressuring Taiwan. Instead, he said that the two sides should resume dialogue.    [FULL  STORY]

Hong Kong Extradition Protests Spark Fears in Democratic Taiwan

Radio Free Asia
Date: 2019-06-14

Taiwanese people hold signs reading “No Extradition to China” to support Hong Kong people as the administration prepares to open debate on a highly controversial extradition law, in front of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Culture Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, June 12, 2019.

Hong Kong students and residents living in democratic Taiwan have petitioned the island's president to place immigration restrictions on officials from the Hong Kong who have expressed support for amendments to the city's extradition law that would mandate that suspects be sent to mainland China to face trial.

The students presented the petition to President Tsai Ing-wen's staff on Thursday, calling on Taiwan’s authorities to take into account the human rights records of applicants for visas and other immigration permits.

Dozens of students gathered on Friday morning, also calling on Tsai to ensure the safety and freedom of Hong Kong residents in Taiwan, and to provide them with emergency assistance if necessary.

Tsai's secretary-general Chen Chu later told the st3udents that the president is very concerned about the situation in Hong Kong and has promised to ensure the safety of Hong Kong students in Taiwan.

Spain extradites more Taiwanese citizens to China, ignoring UN High Commissioner

Disregarding EU conventions on human rights, Madrid deported two more Taiwanese citizens to Beijing on June13

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/06/14
By: Duncan DeAeth, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After Spain shocked international observers by extraditing 94 Taiwanese nationals to China just days after the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Madrid sent two more Taiwanese suspects to Beijing on Thursday (June 13).

The actions of the Spanish government are in total disregard of United Nations (UN) protocols for extradition to states where suspects may face torture and China’s reputation of a Draconian and abusive criminal justice system.

In December 2016, Spanish police arrested a total of 237 suspects for crimes related to a telecom fraud ring. A large number of them were deported to China in December 2017. After the 94 extradited on June 6 and the two individuals extradited on Thursday, 220 Taiwanese citizens have been deported to China instead of to Taiwan by the Spanish government.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called again on the Spanish authorities to halt any further extraditions to China, citing Spain's own stated commitment to avoid deportations to countries with a high likelihood of torture or capital punishment, reports EU Reporter.    [FULL  STORY]