Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his parents have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19, but the baby’s antigen test upon arrival was positive, while his parents’ were negative. The second case is a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who went to Japan for work on Wednesday last week, after paying for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on Monday last week, which was negative. Her antigen test upon arrival was also positive, but another PCR test on Tuesday came back negative, Chen said. The third case is another a one-year-old Taiwanese boy whose parents live permanently in Japan, Chen said. The baby came to Taiwan with his mother in January, while his father returned in February. The parents sought treatment for their son for a fever and respiratory symptoms on Sept. 28, and he appeared better on Oct. 5, however, an antigen test upon arrival in Japan on Wednesday last week came back positive, while his parents tested negative, Chen said. A total of 155 close contacts of the two infants and the woman have been identified, and 147 were tested; 114 people received a negative PCR test result, while 33 tested negative in both a PCR test and an antibody test. As of yesterday, a total of 49 travelers from Taiwan
COMMITTEE MEETING: Legislators focused their questions on how the board released its final report, rather than on the substance of its findings
The Taiwan Transportation Safety Board (TTSB) yesterday came under fire from members of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee over its release on Monday of the final investigation report on the 2018 derailment of a Puyuma Express train. Board Chairman Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智) was at the committee meeting to brief lawmakers about the board’s performance over the past fiscal year and answer questions about its budget for the next fiscal year. However, as yesterday was the second anniversary of the derailment, which killed 18 people and injured more than 200, the committee chairman, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀), asked participants to stand for a minute of silence for the victims before starting the question-and-answer session. After that, lawmakers focused their questions on how the board released its 435-page report, the culmination of a year-long probe. They criticized the board’s meeting with victims’ families on Sunday to tell them about the report, where the relatives were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements before the meeting began, even though the agreements had been designed for investigators working on the board’s probe and board members. Young was also criticized for saying that the board would not give a media briefing when it released the report to avoid raising painful memories for family members, only for the board to notify reporters at 10:05am on Monday that it would hold a news conference at 10:30am to present the report. There is nothing wrong with considering the feelings of family members, but what relatives want is the truth and to know that such a tragedy would not be repeated, lawmakers said. The board decided to hold a news conference after family members said such an event would not hurt their feelings, and after it received requests for interviews from multiple media outlets, Young said. The board rarely hosts an information
The first data users’ workshop for the Taiwan-US weather satellite constellation Formosat-7/COSMIC2 opened virtually yesterday, hosted by the Hsinchu Science Park-based National Space Organization (NSPO). The three-day event, also called the 5th International Conference on GPS Radio Occultation, has drawn 285 participants from 33 nations, including US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Neil Jacobs. The six-satellite constellation was launched in June last year, and opened its data to public use in March. The NSPO received 68 research papers for the workshop, highlighting findings about the atmosphere, space weather and ionospheric changes, Formosat-7 project head in Taiwan Vicky Chu (朱崇惠) said at the opening ceremony at NSPO headquarters,. The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in July started analyzing the data transmitted by Formosat-7 and found it helpful for improving forecasts for tropical areas, Chu said. CWB’s analysis showed that the precision of temperature forecasts 6km from the ground in tropical areas within five days has improved 4 percent, she said. While the NSPO has said that Formosat-7 data would improve weather forecast by 10 percent, that estimate was based on simulation models, and the levels of improvement would vary among different statistical bases, CWB Deputy Director-General Mark Cheng (程家平) said. Workshop participants are also marking the decommissioning of the Formosat-7’s predecessor, the Formosat-3/COSMIC constellation, which was launched in 2006. Designed to last five years, it was used for 14 years until its formal decommissioning on May 1. The forum had been scheduled for May, but was postponed and changed into a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that Jacobs had to cancel his plans to visit Taiwan. Addressing yesterday’s opening, Jacobs said that the wide use of radio occultation (RO) by weather prediction centers worldwide was largely due to the successful demonstration of the technology achieved in the COSMIC-1/Formosat-3 program. COSMIC-2/Formosat-7 features advanced technology and its data
The inaugural Taiwan Creative Content Fest (創意內容大會) is to be held next month to connect Taiwanese creators with buyers from around the world, the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) said yesterday. The showcase, with a theme of Human Touch: A Closer Future (眾感未來), is to feature live and virtual events from Nov. 17 to Nov. 22. It aims to expand on existing events such as the Taipei International TV Market & Forum and XMediaMatch, and include programs designed to facilitate content development, international coproduction and venture-capital matchmaking, the TAICCA said. Tea Uglow, creative director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney, and Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳), are to give the keynote addresses. WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks Asia Pacific president Ricky Ow, Studio Dragon chief producer Hannah Lee and European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs producer Christophe Bruncher are scheduled to speak as part of a discussion on the television industry in the Asia-Pacific region from a global perspective. As of yesterday, 113 buyers from 21 countries have registered for the event, the agency said.
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CtiTV is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet
Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CtiTV News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CtiTV News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be one voice in the nation,” New Party Chairman Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典) told reporters. “Freedom of the press in a democratic country cannot be compromised. The government can use the law to handle any technical infraction committed by the news channel, but it cannot use its political judgement to determine if the channel should or should not be closed. That decision should be made by the market,” he added. National Civil Servant Association honorary chairman Harry Lee (李來希) said that former NCC chairwoman Nicole Chan (詹婷怡) resigned after being scolded by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at a Cabinet meeting for the commission’s failure to curb the spread of misinformation. This shows that the NCC is no longer an independent agency, Lee said. NCC Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said the commission respects comments from the public. “The commission is an independent collegial administrative organization and we hope that the public would leave us room to handle CtiTV News’ license renewal application independently,” he said. Meanwhile, pro-Taiwan activist groups called on NCC members to conduct a rigorous review and not act leniently against CtiTV News when having verified serious breaches and illegal conduct by the channel. In light of the findings, the channel’s
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CtiTV News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CtiTV News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn the baseless accusations in CtiTV News’ advert, which claims that the DPP is a ‘black hand’ that has politically interfered with the NCC’s [operations]... CtiTV News is fabricating news to make false accusations against our party,” Yen added. The advert on the bottom front page of the Chinese-language China Times, a CtiTV News affiliate, features two slogans — “Defend media freedom” and “Safeguard democratic values” — and allegations that the DPP had pressured the NCC into “shutting down” CtiTV News. It also says that while “the DPP prides itself on upholding Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is now burning down those values.” Yen said the advert got only one thing right — that the DPP leadership and top officials have not expressed their views on CtiTV News’ case, as “our party has defended media freedom, and we respect the NCC’s review process.” “The advert actually proves that the DPP did not politically interfere in the process,” she added. CtiTV News has in the past few days been presented a series of reports and programs that reflect the stance of Want Want China Times Group, the parent company of CtiTV News, to attack lawmakers and academics, she said. “Is this in line with
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken
The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon, so people have to adapt to “the new normal,” Ko said. “The world is not the same anymore and there is no way of returning to [the way things were] before,” Ko said, adding that people have to practice risk management in this new situation. If Taiwan does not report any local infections for a long period, the New Year’s Eve Party would be held as usual, he said. Citing examples of cluster infections in South Korea, Japan and Singapore, Ko said 15 new COVID-19 cases could emerge in a short period if precautionary measures are not fully implemented. “When people ask me if the New Year’s Eve Party will be held, my answer is: ‘Who knows?’” Ko said, adding that the events could be canceled only three days before their scheduled date, as anything could happen, so risk management is crucial. Asked about Ko’s remarks in a separate setting, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said that as infection risk is low in Taiwan, the center respects local governments’ decisions on whether to hold large events, but urged attendees to wear a mask. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday released the virtual reality (VR) video Three Crucial Steps (關鍵三布局) to share Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the world, adding that people would be able to experience it at the Presidential Office Building from next month. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) demonstrated watching the video with a VR headset at a news conference in Taipei. After the ministry last year introduced VR videos about its Twin Oaks estate in Washington as part of the events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act, it this time is employing VR technology to share the nation’s struggle to contain the pandemic, he said. A VR experience section would be set up at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei next month, where visitors can put on VR headsets to experience the video in immersive surroundings, the ministry said. The video has English-language and Chinese-language versions, with the Chinese version featuring narration by former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), an epidemiologist. Chen says in the video that when seven atypical pneumonia cases were reported in China at the end of last year, his first thought was: “SARS is coming back.” Taiwan’s experience in fighting SARS in 2003 prepared it for COVID-19, he said, adding that prudent action, rapid response and early deployment are the three key principles in the nation’s effective response to the pandemic. Solidarity among 23.7 million Taiwanese and transparency also account for the nation’s success, Chen said. The pandemic would be effectively controlled across the world if governments and people trust each other, he added. While it was difficult to buy masks in Taiwan at the early stage of the pandemic, the government in February started working with local engineers to develop more than 100 kinds of applications to check mask stocks at pharmacies, Minister Without Portfolio
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is to hold a series of commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of Taiwan’s retrocession on Sunday, including a concert that would be attended by several former KMT chairpeople, it said yesterday. KMT Culture and Communications Committee chairwoman Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei that on Oct. 25, 1945, Taiwan “officially returned to the domain of the Republic of China and cast off Japanese colonization.” “Taiwan’s retrocession is a day that is very worth commemorating,” she said. “However, now we see that the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] administration does not even commemorate [it] anymore,” she added. At a time when the DPP administration says that the People’s Republic of China should not hold Retrocession Day activities, it should organize activities of its own to show that the day “is meaningful only when commemorated in the Republic of China,” Wang said. The KMT has invited Mainland Affairs Council officials and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to a commemorative concert, but they turned down the requests, she said. The National Policy Foundation, a think tank affiliated with the KMT, is to hold a seminar today to discuss the significance of Taiwan’s retrocession in areas including society, culture, economics, politics and national defense, as well as the role that the KMT played before and after the retrocession, the party said. The seminar is to be moderated by KMT Deputy Secretary-General Huang Kwei-bo (黃奎博), it said. Tomorrow, the KMT is to launch an online exhibition featuring historical materials and photographs preserved by the party related to the retrocession, it said. A commemorative concert focusing on local songs performed in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) is to begin at 2:30pm on Sunday, Wang said. Several former KMT chairmen — including former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), former vice president
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) on Tuesday said that Taiwan must not take sides in the US presidential election, adding that the nation’s security has to be its top priority amid a confrontation between the US and China. “Taiwan must adhere to its own position in the face of the confrontation between the US and China. Taiwan’s national interest must be its first concern and cross-strait peace is the most important issue,” Chu said in response to media queries for comments after attending a video conference on US-China-Taiwan ties and the US presidential election hosted by Shelley Rigger, a professor at Davidson College. Chu said he is sure that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is fully aware of the danger posed by Taiwan siding with either candidate in the election and warned that to do so would risk catastrophe. US academics taking part in the meeting also urged Taiwan not to take sides in the election, he said. Asked which candidate he would prefer to win the election, Chu said he is neutral. “No matter who wins the election, it is imperative that Taiwan and the US maintain close relations, which is extremely important to the nation’s security, and its trade and commerce,” he said. US academics have said that Washington would continue to adhere to the position, and urged Taiwan not to base its security on any particular US administration or president, he said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) on Tuesday expressed concern over plasticizer content in floor mats sold in Taiwan and urged the government to make inspections of such products mandatory. Lin told a news conference in Taipei that she received complaints from people who said they suspected floor mats made in South Korea contained excessive amounts of plasticizer, as they have a strong smell of plastic. Lin said that in August she asked the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspections to inspect floor mats sold in Taiwan, several of which were found to contain excessive amounts of plasticizer. Taiwan has plasticizer standards for floor mats, but there are no regulations requiring inspections be conducted to ensure public safety, Lin said. Floor mats are not covered by the Commodity Labeling Act (商品標示法), which requires companies to label the materials their products contain as a safety precaution, she said. “It is not unusual for us to see babies crawling on plastic floor mats,” she added. “I am concerned that it could be harmful to them if they touch such hazardous floor mats over a long period.” “However, in Taiwan, authorities have not imposed any mandatory inspections of [those] products,” Lin said. She called on the bureau to regularly inspect floor mats sold in the nation. Lin also asked the Department of Commerce to require that floor mats be labeled to better inform consumers about the chemicals contained in the products. Bureau inspection section chief Lai Chun-chieh (賴俊杰) said that although inspections of floor mats are not mandatory, the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法) stipulates that vendors who design and manufacture such items must “ensure that their products comply with contemporary technical and professional standards with reasonably expected safety requirements.” This means all products must meet legal standards, Lai said. Vendors who fail
UPGRADE: The system is more efficient than others, which typically involve longer procedures that can produce pseudo-positive or pseudo-negative results
The National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center yesterday unveiled an infrared wax physisorption kinetics imaging system, which it said efficiently detects 10 types of cancer. Through scanning tissue section samples, the imaging system can detect colon, breast, stomach, oral, ovarian, cervical, prostate and skin cancer, as well as neuroendocrine tumors and glioblastoma, center associate research fellow Lee Yao-chang (李耀昌) told a news conference in Taipei. The system uses paraffin and beeswax with organic solutions as developers for its infrared imaging device, which can mark abnormal polysaccharides on the surface of cancer cells in six to 15 minutes, while the wax is absorbed by healthy cells, he said. Normal human cells are covered by polysaccharides, which are key to the connections between cells and their external environments, but during the canceration process, the polysaccharides are altered and cause cell malfunction, he added. In addition to cancer cells, the imaging system can detect precancerous lesions on cells, Lee said. Paraffin, an inexpensive material, has been widely used to preserve tissue samples at hospitals, but the research team is the first to use it to differentiate between normal and pathological cells, he said. Lee said that the team has also developed software called iPathologist, which can analyze the scanned tissues and help surgeons prescribe timely treatment for patients. The system is more efficient than other cancer screening techniques, including pathological analysis of tissues, mass spectrometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which usually entail complex procedures that take hours or even days, and might produce pseudo-positive or pseudo-negative results, Lee said. The system, including the imaging device and the software, was developed for about NT$200,000, he said. The center worked with Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, Hsinchu Mackay Memorial Hospital, National Cheng Kung University College of Medicine, Chi Mei Hospital and Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to conduct clinical tests, he added. The system was
TOO LITTLE DATA? The Consumers’ Foundation said that the government would hopefully take the public’s concerns seriously after many people sign the petition
The Consumers’ Foundation and several civic groups yesterday launched an online petition to demand that the government scrap its executive order easing restrictions on imports of US pork containing the leanness-enhancing agent ractopamine. Ractopamine is harmful to animals and there is insufficient data on its effects on the health of humans, the foundation said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 announced that, starting on Jan. 1, Taiwan would ease restrictions on imports of US pork containing traces of the animal feed additive, as well as beef from cattle aged 30 months or older. Seeing the number of people who sign the petition, the government would hopefully take what people are saying more seriously, the foundation said, adding that the government could use the petition as a bargaining tool in economic and trade negotiations with other nations. Toxicology Society of Taiwan chairman Li Jih-heng (李志恆) said that although the Codex Alimentarius Commission set safety standards for ractopamine two years ago, they were based on a study that included only six participants. The European Food Safety Authority has questioned the results, saying that they were only preliminary and, as it was not a double-blind study, the results might be biased, Li said. The level of neurotoxins in ractopamine and the effects on people with cardiovascular disease are unclear, he said. Some animal studies have identified links between ractopamine and uterine fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that can grow in the uterus, he added. Psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩) said that despite the government’s claims that ractopamine only poses health risks if consumed in large amounts, long-term exposure to low doses is more dangerous. Such exposure can affect fertility, increase the prevalence of certain types of cancer and aggravate schizophrenia, Su added. The petition can be found at https://reurl.cc/4mbLrX.
The Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office on Monday indicted a Chinese sea captain over his alleged involvement in the killing of four pirates at sea in 2012, while serving as the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The suspect, identified by the media as 43-year-old Wang Fengyu (汪峰裕), was charged with homicide and breaches of the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), the indictment read. Wang asked two Pakistani mercenaries that he hired as acting captain of the Kaohsiung-registered Ping Shin No. 101 to fire on and kill four suspected Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean off the Somalian coast on Sept. 29, 2012, the indictment said. Despite charging Wang with homicide, the prosecutors recommended that the court grant him leniency, as the alleged pirates opened fire on his vessel first. Wang said he ordered that the four be shot so that they could not flee and ask other pirates to hijack his ship, prosecutors said. In Taiwan, homicide carries a minimum 10-year sentence and is punishable by the death penalty. Wang has been in custody since Aug. 22, when the latest ship under his charge, the Seychelles-flagged Indian Star, docked at the Port of Kaohsiung and he was arrested. Wang was hired by a Kaohsiung company to serve as acting captain of the Ping Shin No. 101 in 2011, prosecutors said. On Sept. 29, 2012, the vessel was operating in the Indian Ocean about 595km southeast of Mogadishu when a ship with four men fired on it, the Kaohsiung-registered Chun I No. 217 and two unidentified fishing boats, prosecutors said. In retaliation, one of the ships rammed the pirate ship, capsizing it and throwing the four men into the sea, the prosecutors said. The four had no way to defend themselves, but Wang instructed the mercenaries to shoot and kill them, they said. The investigation was opened after a video clip
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three cases of COVID-19, involving travelers from the Philippines, bringing the nation’s total number of cases to 543. Two of the travelers are Filipinos who on Oct. 5 took the same flight to Taiwan, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said. Case No. 541 is a woman and case No. 542 is a man, both in their 20s, who were taken to a centralized quarantine center after arriving in Taiwan, and had shown no symptoms as of yesterday, said Lo, who is also the CECC’s medical response division deputy chief. However, the two were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday before the end of their quarantine, with the results returning positive yesterday, he said. Case No. 543 is a Taiwanese man in his 50s who works permanently in the Philippines and last departed Taiwan in January. The man had a mild fever, muscle pain, coughing and difficulty breathing on Oct. 5 and was diagnosed with pneumonia in the Philippines on Thursday last week, but was not hospitalized, Lo said. The man was prescribed medication and had a COVID-19 test, but left the Philippines on Sunday before his results returned. He reported his respiratory problems to quarantine officers upon arrival in Taiwan and was admitted to a hospital. His COVID-19 tests in the Philippines and Taiwan, which came out on Monday and yesterday respectively, were both positive, Lo said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday provided tips on how to safely dye hair at home, highlighting the importance of a skin patch test to help avoid an allergic reaction. The agency issued the reminder a day after YouTuber Tsai A-ga (蔡阿嘎) wrote on Facebook that he went to a hospital emergency room after developing redness and itchiness on his face, palms and scalp when dying his hair. Many hair dyes have ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause an allergic reaction, including rashes, itching, blisters and ulcerations, the FDA said. Inappropriate use of the products can lead to allergic reactions, because some of their ingredients can enter the body through hair follicles, it said. The first step for an ideal dye is to choose a safe coloring product, it said, adding that the packaging can be checked for a licensed serial number from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Before dyeing hair, people should conduct a skin patch test by applying a small quantity of dye on the skin and waiting 48 hours, it said. The dye should not be used if there is a reaction on the skin, it said. It is important to read the instructions on the coloring product, and to combine the dye and developer in the recommended ratio, the FDA said. When applying the dye, avoid getting too much on the scalp and avoid the eyes, it said. Dye should not be applied to eyebrows, eyelashes, beards or mustaches, it said. People should never dye their hair when there are wounds on their scalp, it said, adding that pregnant women should dyeing due to unpredictable risks. People who have recently had a cold perm should not dye their hair to prevent overburdening the scalp, it said, adding that people should wait at least three months between dyes. Some products claim to have washing
‘UNAFRAID’: Most Taiwanese do not seem to be aware of the danger of war and might be unprepared, a KMT legislator said of the poll by an affiliated foundation
Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese believe that a war between Taiwan and China is “unlikely” or “impossible,” a survey released yesterday by the National Policy Foundation showed. The survey asked participants if they thought there was a possibility of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on recent developments, said the foundation, which is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While 42.5 percent of respondents thought it was “unlikely” and 17.1 percent believed it was “impossible,” 5.1 percent said it was “very likely” and 17.2 percent said it was “fairly possible,” the survey showed. Another 18.2 percent gave no response. Asked whether they were fearful given a spate of actions by Chinese military aircraft and vessels near Taiwan, 3.8 percent said they were “very afraid” and 21.8 percent said they were “fairly afraid.” About 29 percent said they were “not very afraid,” 41.2 percent said they were “completely unafraid” and 3.9 percent had no opinion, the report said. The survey asked participants: “Some people say that to maintain the dignity of Taiwan, do not hesitate to fight a war with the Chinese Communist Party. Do you agree with this view?” It found that 9.1 percent “very much agree” with this view, 16.1 percent “fairly agree,” 30.6 percent “do not really agree” and 36.1 percent “very much disagree,” while 8 percent had no response. Asked whether they believed the US would send troops to help defend Taiwan in case of a cross-strait war, 15.9 percent said “definitely” and 29.6 percent said “yes,” while 15 percent said “no” and 18.1 percent said “definitely not,” and 20.9 percent had no opinion. Respondents were also asked about President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 that starting on Jan. 1, Taiwan would allow imports of US pork containing traces of ractopamine. The survey showed that 40.1 percent
The survival and safety of Taiwan is key to the US’ ability to secure freedom and openness in the Indo-Pacific region, former US defense official Randall Schriver said on Monday. Speaking at an online seminar hosted by the think tank Atlantic Council, Schriver described Taiwan as a “modern-day Asia Fulda Gap” whose fall would be catastrophic for the region. The Fulda Gap was a region between the borders of East and West Germany where the US and Soviet Union would “most likely clash if war were to start” during the Cold War, Schriver said. Holding the Fulda Gap was therefore thought to be key to the US’ ability to protect Western Europe, Schriver said, which is the position that Taiwan now holds in the Indo-Pacific region. If Taiwan were lost to China, it would damage Japan’s ability to protect its islands in the East China Sea and jeopardize peace in the South China Sea, he said. It could also “greatly complicate” Washington’s ability to be good partners and uphold freedom and openness in Oceania, said Schriver, who was the US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs from 2018 to last year. It is this perspective, that Taiwan is key to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, that is driving the current US administration to broadly support Taiwan, he said. This involves the “normalizing and routinizing” of arms sales, as well as recent high-level visits to Taiwan by top US officials, such as Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar’s visit in August and Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach’s visit last month, he said. Asked whether China would invade Taiwan in the next two months while the US is busy with domestic elections and increasing COVID-19 cases, Schriver felt it was unlikely.
China is trying to convince Taiwanese that an authoritarian system is preferable to democracy, the Information Operations Research Group (IORG) said at a conference yesterday. China has been employing Taiwanese sympathetic to its “united front” tactics to help spread disinformation about democracy and Taiwanese society through social media, television programs, YouTube and by other means, the group said at the conference to promote public awareness of China’s cognitive warfare campaign. In the group’s latest report, it highlighted eight disinformation discussions that its researchers listed under three main topics: flu viruses in the US are deadlier than COVID-19; US troop movements caused the spread of COVID-19; and US flu viruses were strains of COVID-19, IORG codirector Yu Chih-hao (游知澔) said. The eight discussions developed separately, but they were revised and combined into a single discussion by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅), Yu said. “Zhao Lijian combined these discussions into one and made them an official statement of the Chinese government through a tweet sent out in March,” Yu said. On Feb. 21, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on the annual flu season in the US, he said. The newspaper article was distorted by a Taiwanese YouTuber, who said it was evidence that COVID-19 originated in the US. The YouTuber’s comments and Zhao’s tweet were endorsed by Taiwanese scientist Pan Hwai-tzong (潘懷宗) in an Eastern Broadcasting Co program on Feb. 27, which is how the false information about the disease spread in Taiwan, Yu said. The discussion was also spread through several pro-China Facebook accounts that cited reports from China’s state-run Global Times, he said, adding that in March the Taiwan FactCheck Center confirmed that the information cited by Pan was false. However, despite being flagged as false, Pan’s comments continued to be shared via Facebook, the Line messaging app and YouTube through May, Yu said. Zhao’s tweet
The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it is inviting San Want Holdings Ltd chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), the largest shareholder of CTi News (中天新聞), to attend an administrative hearing on the news channel’s license renewal application on Monday next week. NCC Commissioner Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) is to preside over the hearing, alongside NCC commissioners Wang Wei-ching (王維菁) and Lin Li-yun (林麗雲), it said. “We fully respect San Want’s right to have an attorney represent them at the hearing. However, as the hearing would tackle many practical issues concerning the management and operation of the news channel, we feel that Mr Tsai would be the best person to attend the hearing, as he would have the most profound and comprehensive understanding on the direction that the news channel is heading and other relevant information,” the commission said in a statement. “As the media regulator, we would also like to use this opportunity to forge a dialogue with media outlets and talk about how we can better facilitate people’s participation in public affairs. As such, we sincerely invite Mr Tsai to attend the administrative hearing in person and make a dialogue between the government and media outlets possible,” it added. CTi News is part of the Want Want China Times Media Group, which was formed after Tsai’s Want Want Holdings Ltd purchased the China Times Group in 2008. Its license is set to expire by the end of this year. The commission last month announced that it would hold an administrative hearing to help it review its license renewal application, the first time that it would hold such a hearing. The commission’s decision is widely believed to be related to the channel’s performance in the past four years, during which it has accumulated NT$10.73 million (US$370,870) in fines for contravening media regulations. The