ISSUE 43                                                                                       June 11, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


In Historic Recall, Former Presidential Candidate Han Kuo-yu Removed as Mayor
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu lost the recall vote. He thanked the citizens of Kaohsiung as well as the Kaohsiung City Government with a deep bow.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu Loses Recall Vote in Landslide

China Times, June 7, 2020


With nearly 940,000 recall votes, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu became the first municipal mayor in Taiwan’s history to be removed from office. After the results were confirmed on June 6, Han delivered his concession speech, while slamming this recall vote as being unfair and unjust. He then wrote on Facebook, "Once a Kaohsiung citizen, lifelong devotion to Kaohsiung." Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai, who was Han’s opponent in the 2018 election and is believed to be a candidate in the upcoming by-election, began to appeal to the Kaohsiung people on Facebook: "Even if there are different opinions, we will still be closely united after the vote."


Despite the intermittent heavy rain yesterday in Kaohsiung, the enthusiasm of the public was not dampened. The total turnout rate was 42.14 percent, with 939,090 consenting to dismiss Han from the office of mayor, while merely 25,051 votes saying no. Earlier, Han had appealed to his supporters not to vote in the recall election to reduce confrontation.

read more


Featured Editorial
After Han's recall was confirmed, anti-Han supporters held an international press conference.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Kaohsiung Residents Recalled Han Kuo-yu and Also Tried the DPP

United Daily News , June 7, 2020


By the strong mobilization of the so-called “National Team to Recall Han”, the Kaohsiung residents yesterday approved the recall initiative to vote mayor Han Kuo-yu out of office by more than 900,000 votes. Han had won the mayoral election by obtaining 890,000 votes just a year and half ago.


There are three important takeaways: First, the recall votes far exceeded the threshold number of 570,000, indicating that the Kaohsiung residents have not forgiven Han for running for president not long after he won the mayoral election. Second, the recall voting rate was only 42 percent, it can be seen as a trial on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that the Kaohsiung residents were not satisfied with DPP’s political manipulation. Third, the Han team and the Kuomintang (KMT) had adopted a passive strategy that avoided the fight, which was proven to be wrong and unwise.

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Featured Editorial
Before the Kaohsiung poll stations opened for the recall vote, ballot boxes were cleared and confirmed.
(Photo from:  China Times)

Commentary: Watch Han’s Recall Backfire

China Times, June 6, 2020


Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu lost the recall election on June 6. Aside from Han personally, if we assess the results, this retaliatory mobilization arose from the opposition between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the politicization of the state apparatus caused by administrative non-neutrality, as well as the societal and political problems caused by the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act. If these issues are not solved, although the victim today is Han, it is difficult to guarantee in the future that the same will not happen to the DPP.


Anti-Han groups claim that regardless of the outcome of the recall vote, it is victory for the people of Kaohsiung. However, the truth might be the exact opposite.

read more



This Week in Taiwan
The United Evening News announced that it would be ceasing operations from June 2, 2020. The image is the front page of the last issue, featuring a collage of 11,783 miniature front pages and "thank you" in Chinese to express gratitude to readers for their support.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

June 1: The Dunnan Branch of Eslite Bookstore in Taipei, the world’s first 24-hour bookstore, ended operations. Thousands flocked to the bookstore on its last day of business. Because the current lease of the building is expiring, the bookstore will be moved to Taipei’s Xinyi Branch.


June 1: The 32-year-old United Evening News, the last remaining evening newspaper in Taiwan, ended publication on June 2. The newspaper decided to terminate circulation due to changes in reading habits, development of digital media, and outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On the last day of June 1, the newspaper’s front page featured a collage of miniature front pages spanning 11,783 days to say goodbye to readers.


June 2: The Executive Yuan announced its scheme for stimulus vouchers. Specifically, consumers may purchase a NT$3,000 (about US$101) voucher for NT$1,000 (about US$33). Applications will open from July 1, and the vouchers will be available to use from July 15. Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, as well as their resident spouses, will all be eligible to claim the vouchers, regardless of age. For 1.2 million low-income and minority people, the government will directly remit NT$1,000 per person their bank accounts. However, the complicated exchange scheme has caused public resentment. Many predict that the stimulus vouchers will create another mess like the pandemic relief assistance last month.


June 3: Japan, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries announced lift of international travel restrictions, but Taiwan was not included in this first wave of permitted countries. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads of Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), stated that countries consider three conditions in deciding whether to lift travel restrictions: situation of the epidemic, parity and reciprocity, and political factors. Chen thinks that political factors played a greater role behind Taiwan’s exclusion.


June 4: Some 26,000 foreign and mainland Chinese students were supposed to be permitted to enter Taiwan in July, but the Executive Yuan held an inter-ministerial meeting on June 3 and preliminarily concluded that because most of the international community has yet to lift border restrictions, Taiwan will wait until the global pandemic eases further before lifting border restrictions. Many universities expressed fears that if they miss this key period of enrollment, many talented foreign students may give up on studying in Taiwan.


June 7: As the pandemic eases, many epidemic prevention measures have relaxed throughout Taiwan. Daily and leisure activities will no longer be limited by occupancy limits, and restrictions on mass transportation will be gradually lifted. Religious activities and services postponed due to the pandemic will also resume operations. In July and August, students under 19 years of age may enter 22 amusement parks throughout Taiwan for free. Domestic tourism in Taiwan is expected to pick up.

Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation and Association of Foreign Relations that provides coverage and perspectives into the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s), and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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