China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting Taiwan, as the Taiwanese pineapple season is from mid-February to June every year. There might have been other factors, in addition to the deterioration of cross-strait relations since 2016, that led China to make such a decision, he added. Chiao said that China is no doubt hoping to use produce exports as a bargaining chip should the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) give in to pressure from farmers. China is a volatile, high-risk market, as the Chinese government tries to foster dependence on its market, and then uses this reliance to obtain seeds and other technology with the goal of eventually taking over a market segment, especially in produce, Chiao said, adding that this has been a known ploy used for years. The atemoya, a hybrid of sugar apple and cherimoya, is likely the Chinese government’s next target, Chiao said. National Taiwan University Department of Agricultural Economics professor Hsu Shih-hsun (徐世勳) said the best response is to expand the export of Taiwan’s agricultural produce to other countries. Last year, Taiwan exported 41,661 tonnes of pineapples to China, worth NT$1.49 billion (US$52.64 million) and accounting for 91 percent of Taiwan’s total pineapple exports, government data showed. Japan was the second-biggest importer, with 2,160 tonnes, while Hong Kong and Singapore
WHITE TERROR’S GHOSTS: Of more than 13,000 cases heard from 1949 to 1991, nearly 51 percent were brought to trial in the 1950s, with 1,153 accused sentenced to death
Trials of political cases reached their peak in the 1950s and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) participated in more than 4,000 of them, the Transitional Justice Commission said on Friday. In an event showcasing the accomplishments of the commission in establishing a database of politically motivated cases, commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said that 13,268 cases have so far been compiled in the database, which was launched on Feb. 26 last year. Three former presidents were among the major decisionmakers in the cases — Chiang, Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) — commission data showed. Chiang Kai-shek, who fled with his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to Taiwan in 1949 after being defeated by the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, participated in court procedures 4,101 times, the most among the major decisionmakers, the data showed. Among those tried for political reasons during the authoritarian regimes from 1949 to 1991, 96.27 percent were male and 3.73 percent were female, the data showed. Fifty-five percent of those brought to trial were native-born Taiwanese, while the rest were born in China, the commission said. The youngest of the accused was 11, while the oldest was 84, it said. Nearly 51 percent of the political cases were decided in court in the 1950s, the data showed. A total of 1,153 of the accused were sentenced to death, 169 were given life imprisonment, 1,628 were sentenced to jail terms of 10 to 15 years, and 1,498 were given sentences of five to 10 years in jail, the data showed. The commission event was held in the run-up to the 74th anniversary of the 228 Incident today. The Incident refers to a protest in 1947 against the then-KMT regime and the resulting crackdown that left thousands dead, and led to nearly four decades of martial law. Meanwhile, commission Vice Chairwoman Yeh Hung-lin (葉虹靈) said that
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) last week announced a US$2 million donation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some of which is to establish a program dedicated to the study of Taiwan in a global context. Of the money given to UCLA’s Asia Pacific Center, US$800,000 would be used to create a program on “Taiwan in the World,” while the remaining US$1.2 million would go toward establishing an endowment fund to help permanently support the Taiwan Studies Program, the university said in a news release. The program would “promote Taiwan studies in a global context and train a new generation of scholars and professionals in Taiwanese society, history and culture,” the university said. Students in the program would gain bilingual proficiency in English and Mandarin, including the ability to read and write traditional Chinese characters, it said. Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles Director-General Louis Huang (黃敏境) said that hopefully the initiative would become a benchmark for Taiwan-US cooperation in higher education, while cultivating students with a “global vision” for the countries. UCLA’s Taiwan Studies Program, which it launched in 2014 with funding from the Ministry of Education, has enough support to see it through 2024, the university said. Last week’s donation would also help the Taiwan Studies Program continue to grow, the university said. The program maintains close academic ties with National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University and National Taiwan Normal University. The Asia Pacific Center, of which the program is a part, offers a range of Taiwan-related exchanges, conferences and grants, UCLA said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is this year setting its sights on young, moderate voters by focusing on policy issues such as animal protection and housing, and offering trendy merchandise, the party’s youth director said on Saturday last week. To boost waning support for the KMT among young voters after last year’s general election, the party first focused on reaching out to people already within the pan-blue camp, KMT Youth Department director Chen Kuan-an (陳冠安) said. This year, the party is to target people without such ingrained ideologies through methods that would better appeal to them, Chen said, adding that the strategy is showing initial success. The first half of last year was the toughest for the KMT, especially among young people, whose support for the party fell to single-digit percentage points, Chen said. The KMT has worked to bring young supporters back into the fold, he said, adding that it largely met that goal by the end of the year. This year, to attract moderate voters, the party needs to adopt a more policy-centric approach, he said. It is launching a “youth think tank,” which is to focus on a few key issues, such as animal protection, housing, diversity, higher education, creative opportunities and public employment, he said. Eventually, the youth wing is to also attach greater importance to labor rights, he added. Another task for the department is to design merchandise, Chen said. The party has sold a few hundred thousand New Taiwan dollars of merchandise since setting up an online shopping portal in November last year, he said. Although most of the income is turned over to the KMT Administration and Management Committee, 40 percent is earmarked for the youth department, he added. Last year, 3,545 people aged 20 to 29 joined the KMT, while support for the party among young people rose to 14 percent, Chen said,
Survival games are becoming a widely accepted pastime among military personnel, as they help foster camaraderie and give soldiers a way to blow off steam while staying in line with Ministry of National Defense policies, sources said. Paintball, with a variety of game modes, allows military enthusiasts to simulate a battlefield, which they often further enhance by wearing military-like gear, including goggles, camouflage, tactical vests and other items. The 269th and 333rd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the Kinmen Defense Command, the army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense training center and the communication, electronics and information division have all established clubs for these kinds of games, the sources said. The use of personal equipment is not prohibited when participating in the clubs, which have allowed participants to bring in their own gear, they said. While the club activities count as leisure and recreation, their nature is almost inseparable from military life, and participation not only helps release stress, but also trains a soldier’s physical condition and accuracy in shooting, they added. These games help soldiers prepare and stay combat-ready even while participating in recreational activities, 269th Brigade Commander Major General Lin Chih-ying (林志穎) said. Lin, who had also pushed for the creation of a similar club when leading the 333rd Brigade, said he hoped the soldiers and officers could use what they learned in the army and improve their performance during club events. To meet this goal, the clubs adopt scenarios that hone soldiers’ close-quarters combat capabilities, squad-based combat abilities and covert operations, the military said. The clubs also use the strictest rules of “one-hit down” in hopes of fostering team or solo combat capabilities, it added.
RISK REDEFINED: Thirty million doses would be needed to vaccinate people in 10 priority groups, and paid vaccinations might be allowed later, the center said
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday released a modified list of COVID-19 vaccination priority groups, adding a 10th group to the list originally released on July 29 last year. Six months of discussion led to the update, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. “Healthcare personnel, including medical staff and non-medical staff at healthcare facilities, will have the highest priority for getting vaccinated,” he said. Second in line would be disease prevention personnel at central and local governments, including high-ranking officials, health department officials, officials at quarantine facilities, coast guard officials, firefighters, paramedics, and officials at customs and immigration agencies, Chuang said. The third and fourth priority groups have been redefined, he said, adding that the original list was more focused on at-risk government employees, while the update includes other at-risk groups. Third in line would be workers who are highly exposed to possible infection sources, including airline crew members, crews on international shipping vessels, disease-prevention taxi drivers, quarantine hotel workers, and other frontline workers at ports and airports, Chuang said. In the fourth group are people who frequently travel abroad for narrowly defined reasons, including diplomats and other workers at Taiwanese agencies abroad, as well as athletes who represent the nation at international events, he said. The lower-priority groups remain largely the same, Chuang said. The fifth group comprises police officers, the sixth comprises long-term care facility residents and workers, and the seventh comprises military and social security personnel, he said. In the eighth group are people aged 65 and older, in the ninth are people aged from 19 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions, or rare or catastrophic disease, and in the 10th are people aged 50 to 64, Chuang said. The redefined groups three and four include no more than 50,000 people, and 30 million doses
SEXUAL SERVICES, BRIBES: Officers in Taipei’s Zhongshan Police Precinct allegedly implicated in the case have ‘brought dishonor to the profession,’ prosecutors said
Three nightclub executives were detained yesterday after prosecutors on Friday indicted 12 people, including police officers who allegedly accepted bribes and sex services from businesses in Taipei. Taipei prosecutors listed several officers from the Zhongshan Police Precinct as suspects in the case. They are accused of accepting more than NT$5 million (US$176,641 at the current exchange rate) between them in bribes from the proprietor of businesses in the area of Linsen N and Zhongshan N roads from 2013 to 2017, prosecutors said. A bail court judge on Friday ruled that police officers Lee Kung-hua (李功華) and Chen Chun-an (陳俊安) should be detained, while Tseng Hsiao-chi (曾小琪), reportedly the owner of the Jialibao Group, and a businessman surnamed Yu (游) and an accountant surnamed Lin (林), who worked for Tseng, were detained yesterday. Prosecutors indicted Tseng, her associates and staff for “offenses against sexual morality.” They allegedly operated businesses offering sexual services and bribed public officials, prosecutors said. Lee and Chen were charged with breaching the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), with investigators saying that they received NT$20,000 each per month, and were given an additional NT$20,000 on each of three major traditional holidays each year. Lee, Chen and other officers allegedly shielded businesses operated by the Jialibao Group from raids carried out by the police precinct and other law-enforcement groups. Tseng reportedly operates several premises in the area, including the Fair Lady, Charming and Givenchy clubs. Lee and Chen visited the clubs once or twice a month, sometimes paying for services, while on other occasions receiving discounts or paying nothing, prosecutors said. The officers “have tainted the public’s respect for police and brought dishonor to the profession,” prosecutors said. The investigation is ongoing, as other officers at the precinct have been implicated in the case, prosecutors said, adding that they are likely to announce further indictments in a separate case. Prosecutors have been investigating
The Chin Yi Ho (金義合) building opposite the Wanhua Train Station was on Friday unanimously approved by the Taipei City Government’s Cultural Asset Review committee as a cultural heritage site. The building, which houses a store and the family residence of a local magnate named Chen Yi-tu (陳義塗), was built in 1927 and played a great part in the establishment of the Chen family’s commercial empire during the Japanese colonial period. In the past few years, the family had intended to knock down the building and construct a building for commercial and office use. However, they backed away from the idea, saying that the building had great significance to the family. The building was initially a glass and ceramics workshop, and was later the headquarters of the family’s foray into the petrochemical industry. Architectural tastes, such as Baroque-style reliefs and Majolica-style glazed ceramic tiles, of the time had a great influenced on construction of the building. Designed to function as a residence and workspace, the building has offices, a room set aside for the worship of the ancestors of the Chen family, as well as one of the few remaining indoor gardens built during the Japanese colonial era. Committee members Chao Chin-yung (趙金勇) and Kuo Chiung-ying (郭瓊瑩) on Friday said that the family and the building had preserved techniques and documentation of the family’s method of making ceramics, so conservation of the building would boost the city’s cultural assets. Architect Lu Ta-chi (呂大吉), who was commissioned by the Chen family, said that maintenance and repairs, as well as repurposing of the building, would take roughly half a year and cost about NT$80 million (US$2.83 million at the current exchange rate). Financially speaking, converting the building to an office or commercial building would be best, but that would increase the risk of later generations selling the estate when they no
The annual Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage, the largest annual religious procession in Taiwan, is to take place from April 9 to April 18, the event’s organizers said on Friday. To determine the dates, Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), the chairman of Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲), sought advice from the sea goddess Matsu in a ritual to clebrate her birthday, the temple said. Three of its Matsu statues are to be placed in a palanquin at 3pm on April 9, and the procession would formally begin at 11:05pm, the temple said. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed last year from March to June. This year, disease prevention measures similar to those at last year’s pilgrimage would be in place, the temple said. It recommended that worshipers watch the livestream of the 340km pilgramage to Fengtian Temple (奉天宮) in Chiayi County’s Hsinkang Township (新港) and back, instead of attending in person. For worshipers who attend in person, boxed lunches, packaged snacks and beverages would be provided in Taichung, Chiayi, and along the route in Changhua and Yunlin counties, instead of buffets as in previous years, the temple said. To enter the temples that the Matsu statues visit along the route, people would have to register, it added. The event, which had attracted more than 1 million worshipers in previous years, saw a decline of in-person participants last year, and the pilgramage was finished faster than expected, the organizers said.
From a crowded train of Taipei’s MRT metropolitan railway system to a hustling claw machine store, 33 local artists have used scenes of daily life as inspiration for their work, sending a greeting from Taiwan to the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Their works, which examine the altered meaning of “home” during the pandemic, are exhibited in a virtual exhibition in Taipei until Nov. 25. The Chinese-English bilingual exhibition titled “Home Town Taiwan” aims to showcase Taiwan’s charm and distinctive scenery to a global audience, and soothe the homesick Taiwanese who live abroad and cannot visit their families due to pandemic-related restrictions, said the event’s organizer, the Ministry of Culture. The works were originally to be exhibited at the Taiwan Academy in Houston, Texas, but due to the pandemic, the show was moved to Taipei, the ministry said. The works reflect the physical and psychological distance between people around the globe who experience the same pandemic differently, the ministry said, adding that the works are showcased in virtual showrooms. One of the showrooms features A Dream of Taipei MRT by illustrator Croter (洪添賢), in which a tuxedo-wearing cat is pictured surrounded by flamingos on a train. Addressing those who enter the showroom, a voice says: “Perhaps you feel the ordinary days we used to live have now become a surreal dream? However, do not get frustrated. As long as there is hope and we don’t fall asleep, everything will turn better one day.” Other showrooms feature scenes of daily life, including a stroll on a busy flower market before the Lunar New Year holiday and a person working from home in the company of a cat. “Although Taiwan does not have the romantic vibes of Paris or the cityscape of New York, it is the place we live. It is our sweet home,” said illustrator Page Tsou
Solar panels on train depots in Kaohsiung, Keelung and Taitung County would soon generate up to 17.15 megawatts (MW), the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said. To comply with the government’s policy on renewable energy generation, the railway operator has since 2017 been installing solar panels at its facilities across the nation, which also generates additional revenue, it said. Solar panels have been installed on the roofs of the Chaojhou Coach Yard in Pingtung County, the Hualien Coach Yard and other buildings in Hualien and Taitung counties, generating up to 6.25MW, the TRA said. It has in the past few weeks signed three new contracts for the installation of panels on depots in Kaohsiung and Keelung’s Qidu District (七堵), and on a depot and serveral other buildings near Taitung Railway Station, the TRA said. The panels in Kaohsiung, for which the contract was signed on Jan. 25, would produce about 6.9MW, and those in Qidu would generate about 4MW, resulting in a total output of panels on TRA buildings of up to 17.15MW, the agency said.
CULTURE Mermaid lantern to return An award-winning giant mermaid-themed lantern featured in last year’s Penghu International Bay Light Festival is to be reintroduced in the Penghu International Fireworks Festival on Penghu County’s Jibei Islet (吉貝嶼) on June 5. The 8m lantern would be the festival’s main highlight and illumiate the islet’s pristine beaches, the Penghu Tourism Department said. It was first showcased in last year’s light festival from Sept. 19 to Nov. 7 and later won a prize in the MUSE Creative Awards organized by the New York-based International Awards Associates. The fireworks festival is to be centered around Magong (馬公) from April 22 to June 28. HEALTH Pork import fines hiked People who bring unauthorized Malaysian pork products to Taiwan would be fined up to NT$1 million (US$35,328), as an outbreak of African swine fever has been reported in the Southeast Asian country, health authorities said on Wednesday. The fine has been hiked from NT$30,000, after Malaysia reported that the disease has caused the deaths of bearded pigs in the Pitas region, the Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever said. With immediate effect, people entering the nation with Malaysian pork products on them would be fined no less than NT$200,000, and fines for repeat offenders would be up to NT$1 million, it said. Foreigners who fail to pay the fine would be denied entry to Taiwan, the center added. ARTS Children win Czech prize Two winners of an award at the 48th International Children’s Exhibition of Fine Arts Lidice, an art competition in the Czech Republic, received their prizes at the European country’s representative office in Taipei on Friday. Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei Deputy Director Dita Taborska presented prizes to Sheu Yu-hao (許育豪), 11, and Daniel Lan (藍紹齊), 9. Lan’s painting colorfully depicts a man carrying a bundle of wood, while Lan’s painting
Vehicles travel in heavy traffic along the southbound lanes of the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) in New Taipei City yesterday. The congestion, which reduced the average speed to under 20kph, was caused by people traveling south for the three-day 228 Peace Memorial Day weekend.
Environmental campaigners, lawyers and New Power Party members at the party’s office in Taipei yesterday announce a referendum campaign to protect algal reefs off Datan Borough in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District.
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said
The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last year that the government would ease restrictions on the importation of US pork containing ractopamine residues and beef from cattle aged 30 months or older. The policy took effect on Jan. 1. The party’s other referendum, initiated by KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), would ask whether people agree that referendums should be held on the same day as national elections if the election takes place within six months of the proposed referendum being approved. In the signature drive — the second stage of the three-step process to hold a referendum — the act states that the KMT must collect the signatures of nearly 290,000 people, or 1.5 percent of the eligible voters in the most recent presidential election. The collection of so many signatures in such a short time represents the public’s dissatisfaction with the Tsai administration’s policy on US pork with ractopamine residues, KMT Organizational Development Committee director-general Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said. The party would continue to verify the validity of all signatures, calling on the Central Election Commission to remain politically neutral and review the referendum questions as soon as possible, he said. The public has witnessed how Tsai, after obtaining a record 8.17 million votes in the presidential election last year, has
OUTSIDE INSTIGATORS: Premier Su Tseng-chang said that ‘unscrupulous people from outside’ are probably using disinformation to hurt Taiwan’s diplomatic ties
News reports of the Taiwanese government spying on foreign envoys and opposition figures are part of a “cognitive warfare” effort by outside forces, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. The phrasing and Chinese characters used in a letter cited by the news stories are a red flag, Su said. “Our citizens and government agencies do not say things that way,” he added. “Unscrupulous people from outside” probably want to damage Taiwan’s relations with its allies through disinformation campaigns, he said. He was responding to questions about a letter received by several local media outlets, which claimed that the National Security Bureau (NSB) and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau had wiretapped the phones of diplomats, government and military officials, and media personalities, especially those affiliated with opposition parties. The letter listed alleged targets, including personnel of the American Institute in Taiwan and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). The sender claimed to be a long-serving NSB officer. The letter aimed to create social conflict in Taiwan, and sow distrust between the nation and its friends, the NSB said in a statement on Thursday evening. The letter contained terms commonly used by people in China, such as the translated names of some countries and institutions, the NSB said. Software had been used to convert some simplified Chinese characters into the traditional Chinese used in Taiwan, it said. Over the past few years, the NSB said that it had found people using fake social media accounts to spread misinformation about Taiwan. “Investigations showed that these were actions by outside forces to wage cognitive warfare against Taiwan,” the bureau said, urging the public not to be misled by fake news. Cognitive warfare is defined by some security analysts as an influence campaign that manipulates trusted information to change the target’s views and advance the initiator’s interests.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) yesterday announced that he was removing himself from the party until he clears his name in a bribery case. “I am relinquishing my party membership to protect my beloved DPP, and to keep from causing trouble for top ministry officials,” he said, adding that he aimed to return after being proven innocent by the justice system. Su, 56, has represented Pingtung County constituencies for four terms as a legislator. He has been accused of taking a NT$25.8 million (US$911,468 at the current exchange rate) bribe from former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) in a dispute over the ownership of the Pacific Sogo Department Store chain. Su was one of five former and current lawmakers indicted last year on corruption charges. Detained in August last year, Su was late last month released on NT$10 million bail. Su told a news conference yesterday in Taipei that he would focus on serving his constituents in his capacity as a legislator, and that he has no plan to stand in the election for Pingtung County commissioner next year. Although the corruption case has been a setback, observers had said that Su might run as an independent candidate. A run by Su as an independent would likely split the DPP vote, political commentators had said. Local residents had said that Su has the firm support of a number of local groups, despite being implicated in the bribery case. Additional reporting by CNA
US Senator Debbie Stabenow on Thursday said that she had contacted Taiwan’s representative to the US regarding a global shortage of auto chips, which she considered to be the result of a reduction of shipments from a major Taiwanese semiconductor company. “US manufacturers of automobiles, home appliances and other products are being forced to shut down a line or a plant temporarily because of a single company in Taiwan, which has reduced its shipments of semiconductors to our manufacturers,” Stabenow told a confirmation hearing for Katherine Tai, US President Joe Biden’s nominee for US trade representative. The Democratic senator from Michigan said that she had raised the issue with several people in Biden’s administration and also with Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴). Hsiao told reporters in Washington that she had explained to several members of the US Congress, who had expressed similar concerns, that chip manufacturers in Taiwan were last year forced to reallocate production due to a sharp drop in orders, as automakers anticipated poor sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a decision made by the private sector, she said, adding that chip manufacturers in Taiwan are working to increase production to meet market demand. US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said that Stabenow’s remark on the issue was “incorrect and misleading.” The chip shortage facing US automakers is “primarily a function of the industry itself miscalculating its production needs,” Hammond-Chambers said in a statement on the council Web site. “The absence of enough chips to run US plants is absolutely not a function of any deliberate punitive action by a Taiwanese company,” Hammond-Chambers said. “It is instead the result of US manufacturers failing to order enough chips.” Over the past few weeks, the US has sought help from Taiwan, home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to alleviate the shortage of auto
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen is to participate in the ceremonial tip-off at a basketball game in Hsinchu today, as the institute begins a celebration of “sports diplomacy.” The game between the Hsinchu Lioneers and the Taoyuan Pilots is to take place at the Hsinchu County Stadium, the institute said in a news release yesterday. The game is being staged by P.League+, the nation’s professional basketball league. Christensen’s participation is part of a broader series of activities celebrating sports diplomacy, and the ways that it has enhanced ties between people in Taiwan and the US, the institute said. Among the events planned is a workshop on gender equality in sports, it said. The workshop, which takes place on Friday next week, would be opened by AIT Public Affairs Officer Diane Sovereign, and attended by Liu Po-Chun (劉柏君) and Tzeng Yu-hsien (曾郁嫻), participants in the series, it added. Also, the US Department of State is offering free access to a streaming documentary titled Willie, about the first black player in the US’ National Hockey League, it said, adding that people interested in the film should sign up before 4pm today. In May last year, Christensen joined a virtual opening pitch with Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium to celebrate that the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) was still able to hold games, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Around that time, Christensen suggested to league commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) that the CPBL might want to add “Taiwan” to its English-language promotional materials to prevent foreigners from thinking that the league was based in China, local media reported.
STRICT MEASURES: More than 95 percent of vehicle owners owing fees would pay if their vehicles were targeted by the city authorities, the Taipei mayor said
Taipei might deny vehicle owners with outstanding parking fees the right to park on the city’s roads, following remarks by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) urging a tougher stance on unauthorized parking. People who owe parking fees for one week or longer should be denied parking public spaces, Ko said at a city government meeting on traffic affairs yesterday. The city in 2015 established a mechanism to enforce parking fee payment, and in 2018 added a mechanism to track and lock vehicles that have unpaid fees, the Taipei Parking Management Development Office said. In 2019, it began towing vehicles parked in certain spaces for more than 30 days, it added. The office last year collected NT$25 million (US$883,205) in fines from 210,000 vehicle owners who had not paid their parking fees, it said. Ko urged officials to target vehicles instead of owners, saying that vehicles should be denied parking in the city if there are outstanding fees. Entry to public parking lots should be denied, and clear warning signs along roadside parking areas should be installed, he said. Vehicles whose owners have not paid their fees in more than a month should be towed immediately, Ko said. “I believe that more than 95 percent of those owing the city government money would pay once this system is implemented,” he said. The office should draft strict measures, but people who have left the country for more than one month should be exempted, he said. Office Director-General Lee Kun-chen (李昆振) said that those who are out of country should pay for parking up front or find a parking lot that offers online payment. In response, Ko said that such a system was neither ideal nor convenient. Ko concluded the meeting by saying that city officials should not be afraid when enforcing rules and regulations.