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Taiwan’s ban on books, TV shows ‘the work of the thought police’, co-founder of ruling party says

  • Children’s picture book from Chinese mainland removed from shelves while pro-Beijing cable channel’s licence is not renewed
  • Taiwan’s culture minister says more restrictions are likely, targeting PLA and Communist Party publications

Souh China Morning Post
Date: 3 Jan, 2021
By: Lawrence Chung

A scene from Waiting for Dad to Come Home, a children’s book which has been banned in Taiwan. Photo: Handout

A founding member of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party has slammed the banning of a children’s book and the silencing of a pro-mainland cable television channel as a return to the island’s authoritarian past.

The picture book, Waiting for Dad to Come Home, was ordered off the shelves on December 2 by the culture ministry, which said this week it was considering censoring other books from the mainland.

Just days after the title was removed, the CTi news channel was also taken off the air when the broadcasting regulator declined to renew its licence.

Evergreen boxship loses 36 containers in rough seas
Date:  January 4, 2021

By:  Jason Jiang

Taiwanese containerline Evergreen Marine has announced that 36 containers have fallen off its 2014-built post-panamax vessel Ever Liberal due to rough sea conditions.

The incident happened while the ship was en route to Los Angeles after leaving the Port of Busan.

According to the company, the 8,452 teu ship encountered strong winds off the south of Kyushu, Japan, causing the collapse of container stacks on the vessel. Twenty-one containers fell onto the deck, while 36 fell into the sea.

Taxi driver in Taiwan offers free rides in return for singing karaoke

Tu Ching Liang’s videos of warbling passengers have been viewed millions of times

The Guardian
Date: 3 Jan 2021
By: Helen Davidson in Taipei

The karaoke taxi driver turning passengers into ‘superstars’ in Taiwan – video

Tu Ching Liang adjusts his yellow novelty hat, as disco lights bounce off the medical mask across his face, and speeds up his taxi.

“No one is as lucky as me, walking out the door every day rushing to go to work and not make any money,” he says, laughing.

It’s a cold day in central Taipei. Three weeks of near constant rain have worn people down and they morosely splash through shallow puddles and struggle with their umbrellas against the wind. But inside Tu’s yellow taxi – identifiable from the outside by a pink neon star on the dashboard – it’s warm and we’re listening to a previous passenger gleefully warble Despacito.

In a city that loves to sing you can find karaoke just about anywhere, including in numerous taxis. The local taxi app even has “karaoke” as a selection alongside “English-speaking driver” or “wheelchair accessible”. Stumble off the pavement and into a car, and you might find a microphone thrust into your hand and an iPad ready to play Youtube clips of any song you can think of, with lyrics.

But Tu, 57, will tell you he’s the famous one.

Taiwan addresses water shortages following unusually dry year

Experts suggest water management, environmental protection should be priority

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2021/01/03
By:  Central News Agency

Tsengwen Reservoir on Jan 2., 2021. (CNA photo)

Experts suggest that water-saving and management, as well as environmental protection, should be the priority as Taiwan is in the process of adopting several measures to cope with water shortages following a particularly dry year in 2020.

Last year marked the first time since 1964 that a typhoon did not hit Taiwan during flood season which is from May to November, said Wang Yi-feng (王藝峰), deputy director-general of the Water Resources Agency (WRA). As a result, there were only 661 millimeters of rainfall from June to November, an all-time-low, compared with average annual rainfall in the period of 1,635 mm, WRA data showed.

During the fall, Feitsui Reservoir in New Taipei and Shihmen Reservoir in Taoyuan saw their water storage level fall to 48 percent and 43 percent, respectively, according to the agency. In response, the government introduced a raft of measures, including ceasing water supplies for agricultural irrigation in some regions south of Taoyuan.

An additional NT$1.4 billion (US$49.8 million) has been budgeted by the Executive Yuan to improve the storage, distribution, and manage water resources, which is expected to increase supplies by 780,000 metric tonnes. The measures, likely to be in place by February this year to meet the dry season, also include new practices like the more extensive use of recycled effluent and desalination of seawater, Wang said.   [FULL  STORY]

Restaurants face pork price dilemma

RACTOPAMINE FEARS: Domestic pork vendors are planning to raise their prices, as Taipei’s new pork policy is expected to boost demand for local meat, operators said

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 04, 2021
By: Staff writer, with CNA

A man looks at lunch boxes at Taiwan Railways Administration’s bento box store at Taipei Main Station on Saturday. A “Taiwan pork” sign is displayed at the store.
Photo: CNA

they are under pressure to raise prices to reflect expected increases in the price of locally produced pork amid health concerns about pork containing traces of ractopamine.

However, there are also concerns that doing so could scare away potential customers.

A policy allowing imports of US pork containing the animal feed additive came into effect on Friday. Local producers are not allowed to use ractopamine.

Several major restaurant chains in Taiwan, such as Wowprime Corp (王品), Tai Tong Food & Beverage Group (TTFB, 瓦城泰統集團), Hi-Lai Foods Co (漢來美食), Bafang Yunji International Co (八方雲集) and Tofu Restaurant Co (豆府), as well as Formosa International Hotels Corp (晶華國際酒店集團) and LDC Hotels & Resorts Group (雲朗觀光集團), said they are using only pork produced in Taiwan or pork from countries that do not use ractopamine.

2021 Presidential Office flag-raising ceremony streamed online

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 01 January, 2021
By: Leslie Liao

The presidential office holds its first flag raising of 2021 on Friday morning

Taiwan’s Presidential Office held its 2021 New Year’s flag-raising ceremony on Friday morning. Most years, people are allowed to attend the flag-raising ceremony. However, organizers closed this year’s event to all but an invited few as a pandemic precaution. Instead, organizers streamed the ceremony online. 

All invitees wore masks throughout the proceedings.    [FULL  STORY]

The world is watching, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen tells China in talks offer

South China Morning Poast
Date: 1 Jan, 2021
By: Lawrence Chung

  • In New Year’s Day speech, Tsai Ing-wen says she hopes for a gradual return to regular people-to-people exchanges with Beijing once pandemic eases
  • Tsai might need to be more cautious if the new US administration changes policy, observers say

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hailed Taiwan’s progress in containing Covid-19 and growing the economy while facing military threats from Beijing. Photo: AP

With the start of a new US administration less than a month away, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has stressed the need for cross-strait stability and offered talks with Beijing to end confrontation.

But the prospects for such talks were low, with Beijing’s continued insistence that Taipei abide by the “one China” principle and abandon any thought of independence, observers said.

In her New Year’s Day address on Friday, Tsai said stable cross-strait relations no longer concerned just the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.    [FULL  STORY]

Chinese warplane intrudes into Taiwan’s ADIZ on first day of 2021

Incursion continues China's policy of intimidation

Taiwan News
Date: 2021/01/01
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

A Y-8 warplane (CNA, Ministry of National Defense photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China showed no sign of ending its campaign to send warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), despite a conciliatory New Year’s address by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) Friday (Jan. 1).

For several months, aircraft and ships from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been approaching Taiwan in what has generally been considered a campaign of intimidation against the island’s independence-minded government.

While there was never any inkling that Beijing might stop the incursions just because a new calendar year started, the appearance of a Chinese military aircraft Friday morning at 11:35 dashed any hopes for a different approach.

As on previous occasions, the plane entered the ADIZ from the southwest and was soon told by Taiwan’s Air Force to turn back, the Liberty Times reported. Netizens speculated that the intruder was a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, one of the most frequent airplane types involved in the incidents.    [FULL  STORY]

CORONAVIRUS/’Electronic fence’ nabs individuals breaching COVID-19 protocols

Focus Taiwan
Date: 01/01/2021
By: Chang Ming-hsuan,
Chen Yu-ting and Chung Yu-chen

Mayday concert on Dec. 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of B’in Music

Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) Five people in Taiwan who attended a New Year's Eve concert in violation of COVID-19 protocols were caught Thursday by a mobile phone-based "electronic fence" launched by Taiwan's health authorities.

The individuals were spotted at the concert within 30 minutes after it started by "Skynet," an electronic fence that relies on GPS location tracking to enforce quarantine or health management restrictions, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The violators, who attended the year-end concert in Taoyuan featuring the Taiwanese pop band Mayday, were required to follow "self-health management" guidelines.

The guidelines, which arrivals to Taiwan must follow for seven days after completing mandatory 14-day quarantines, normally require people to wear masks at all times and take their temperatures twice a day and suggest that they not to go to public places.

Changhua man sentenced for spying

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 02, 2021
By: Jason Pan / Staff reporter

A Changhua County businessman was on Thursday sentenced to a three-month prison term for contravening the National Securities Act (國家安全法).

The Taipei District Court said that Fu-Mei Scissors and Tools Manufacturing Co chairman Huang Chiung-tun (黃炯墩) was recruited by Chinese intelligence officers after he in 2000 established a factory in the country.

The sentence can be commuted to a NT$90,000 fine.

The court filing showed that Huang was recruited to gather information on Falun Gong and the Democratic Progressive Party members, and military installations in Taiwan.   [FULL  STORY]