ISSUE 69                                                                              December 10, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● Featured Opinion: 
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


In Self-Help Move, 85% Pork Importers in Taiwan Say No to Ractopamine
Nearly 70 pork importers in Taiwan signed a petition pledging that they will not import American pork containing ractopamine.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

70 Pork Import Firms Sign Petition Not to Import Ractopamine Pork

United Daily News, December 4, 2020


Taiwan will begin importing American pork containing ractopamine next year. Nearly 70 pork importers across Taiwan signed two major petitions in Taipei yesterday, stating that they will not only not be importing ractopamine pork, they will also create a “No Ractopamine" label. After receiving a certificate, imported pork can be labeled as “No Ractopamine.” However, the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has misinterpreted the industry's actions as "helping the government to get off the hook," which immediately angered pork importers. The importers have said that “after almost being killed by the government, thinking that they are trying to help the government to get off the hook is completely absurd.


This press conference was just held yesterday afternoon, but in the morning when the heads of relevant ministries were interviewed, they rushed to have a say about the press conference, stating that this action allows Taiwan to not break its promise to the United States, creates a solution for the government, and mitigates public concerns.

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Featured Editorial
While the backlash related to permitting importation of U.S. pork containing ractopamine has yet to be settled, Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh's comments about easing Taiwan's ban on Japanese food products from prefectures around Fukushima (affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster) caused further controversy.
(Photo from: China Times)

After Ractopamine Pork, Radioactive Food Also Coming to Taiwan

China Times, December 5, 2020


While the controversy of lifting import restrictions on pork containing ractopamine has not been resolved, the timing to lift the ban on food from Japan’s Fukushima has become the focal point recently. People think that importing the Japanese food is Taiwan’s admission ticket to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Frank Hsieh, Taiwan’s representative to Japan, said in Taipei on December 5 that although Japan did not say so, the CPTPP is a high-standard free trade organization, and if Taiwan does not adopt the international standard, it will affect Taiwan’s entry into the CPTPP.


The importation of U.S. pork containing ractopamine has led to a messy battle between the government and the opposition parties. The government’s internal propaganda had embarrassed itself. Premier Su Tseng-chang had even drawn a Taiwanese pork exporter into the battle, President Tsai Ing-wen hastened to rescue Su several times, but the people are still opposed to the importation of ractopamine pork. Ambassador Hsieh, ridiculed by critics as “Taiwan’s helping Japan representative,” joined the controversy by saying that if food from Fukushima is tested without radioactive contamination, then it should be allowed to enter Taiwan. It seems that Hsieh has determined to make it happen; after all, Hsieh considers that this is the only big matter that he could help Japan as Taiwan’s representative.

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Featured Editorial
Media commentary strongly criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration in Taiwan for suppressing free speech by deciding to shut down CtiTV News and prohibiting picture books containing phrases like "Go Wuhan."
(Photo from: Tainan City Councilwoman Chen Yi-chen's facebook)

Honorable to Block TV, Ban Children’s Book, and Inspect Water Meters?

United Daily News, December 5, 2020


A picture book for children, Waiting for Dad to Come Home, depicting a child who misses his father, a doctor saving people and cannot return home during the pandemic, was banned in Taiwan. Because there were "Go Wuhan!" and "Go China!" slogans and illustrations of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) transport plane in this China-published picture book, which made some adults feel uneasy. Following multiple complaints by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and city councilors, the Ministry of Culture cited the Act Governing Cross-Strait Relations and the book had not been submitted for review, requested booksellers and libraries across Taiwan to remove the book from the shelves.


This children's picture book contains only a few words, yet it compelled the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen to take up arms, as if the PLA plane would virtually fly out of the book. The DPP legislators, who accused the book as inappropriate, said that the book excessively "glorifies China" and feared that children in Taiwan to be brainwashed. In fact, regular people see in the book "the love of father and son", while those of the DPP see "Chinese invasion." What kind of person would a hysterical Tsai administration cultivate in Taiwan? Are children on both sides of the strait not allowed to share even the affection of father and son?

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Featured Opinion
According to Su Chi, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, Biden's ascendance to the presidency presents a window of opportunity to cross-strait relations. The DPP administration ought to take advantage.
(Photo from: China Times)

The Blind Spots in DPP Foreign Policy

By Su Chi

United Daily News, November 22, 2020


In the spring of 2008, Taiwan had a close call with disaster. According to a book published by Michael Tsai, then Minister of Defense in the Chen Shui-bian administration, following his government service, the U.S. and Taiwanese intelligence informed him at the time that if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s presidential candidate Frank Hsieh had won the election that year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would surely have taken military action against Taiwan. Chen Administration completely covered up all the information on the actions of the PRC's armed forces during those months. The Taiwan people, unaware of the situation, inadvertently saved themselves at the ballot box by voting Hsieh's opponent into office.


This year Taiwan had another close shave with danger. Before the U.S. election, the People’s Liberation Army put pressure on the U.S., and the U.S. in turn leaned on the administration of Tsai Ing-wen, forcing Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to publicly utter words completely dejecting to DPP supporters such as "[we are] not to resume diplomatic relations with the U.S." and "not to rely on the U.S. to protect Taiwan," and to issue a warning that, following the US election of November 3, "China might have improper notions to threaten Taiwan militarily." Compared with the unabashed cover-up in 2008, Wu's public warnings can be considered a step forward.

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This Week in Taiwan
Indonesian migrant workers have become a large group of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases within Taiwan. The Central Epidemic Command Center announced that Indonesian migrant worker travel to Taiwan will be suspended for two weeks.
(Photo from: China Times)
November 30: The number of additional external coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on this day spiked to 24, including 20 Indonesian migrant workers. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), announced that effective December 4, Taiwan will suspend Indonesian workers from entering Taiwan for two weeks, affecting about 1,350. To date, of 107 confirmed cases which involve foreign migrant workers, Indonesian workers account for 83. 
December 1: The new autumn and winter measures for epidemic prevention took effect. Now, people who enter eight categories of public locations are required to wear face masks, and violators will be imposed a fine of up to NT$15,000 (about US$531). In addition, those entering or transiting through Taiwan must present a nucleic acid negative test report. The CECC will now strictly inspect the test reports for fraud and will permit the public to report to the authorities. Those found to present a counterfeit document will be fined NT$10,000 (about US$354) to NT$150,000 (about US$5,316). 
December 1: The Taiwan People's Party (TPP) caucus of the Legislative Yuan reviewed data revealing that the Executive Yuan spent NT$6.8 million (about US$241,000) in a year to hire nine social media editors to create illustrators. This amount is 15 times the budget allotted to the same purpose in 2017. For the past four years, the Executive Yuan has spent some $103 million (about US$3.6 million) on "internal propaganda." The TPP caucus, suspecting that the Executive Yuan is taking advantage of the state apparatus to create illustrations on social media to attack opposition parties, demanded that the Executive Yuan respond within one week, or else the TPP caucus will propose a budget cut.
December 1: Yu Nai-wen, who heads the domestic investment section of the Bureau of Labor Funds, Ministry of Labor, was suspected of receiving improperly benefits and kickbacks from business people in order to execute certain trades for their benefit. This led to losses of NT$74.9 billion (about US$2.6 billion) in labor funds during the month September. Responding to interpellation at the Legislative Yuan, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun stated that when investment anomalies were found, she took the initiative to investigate and transfer Yu from his current post. 
December 2: The mainland Chinese picture book, Waiting for Dad to Come Home, which contains phrases like "Go Wuhan" and "Go China," related to the pandemic, was identified by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and city councilors as propaganda meant to beautify the pandemic in China. The Ministry of Culture ordered bookstores to take the book off the shelves. The move created controversy and was criticized for violating the freedom of press. 
December 4: Responding to the interpallation by Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an, Premier Su Tseng-chang claimed on December 1 that Sings Kout Meat, the chairman of which is a central standing committee member of the KMT, supports the polices of the administration. Sings Kout Meat immediately issued a statement denying support for importing pork containing ractopamine. The KMT demanded that Premier Su publicly apologize and step down. On December 2, the Bureau of Fire and Emergency Services, Pingtung County Government, arrived at the meat factory to inspect fire safety, suspected by critics as retaliation. The KMT went to the police station on December 4 to report Premier Su for violating the Social Order Maintenance Act, lying, and spreading false information.
Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on 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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